The Purejoy Parenting Blog
Inspiration For Your Parenting Journey
I find it challenging to make contact with the vulnerable parts of myself.
There are parts that are so tender, it’s easier to keep them hidden, and to appear judgmental and angry instead of revealing them.
In doing so, I cut off from my true nature, which is love.
Whenever I feel angry or judgmental towards others, I take it as a clue that my vulnerability is right below the surface .
As a child, I couldn’t express my true needs, so I formed a pattern of judging others in order to protect my vulnerability and take the space I needed.
If I didn’t like something, I sat there, smiled, and acted polite, regardless of how I was feeling inside. I pretended like I was OK all the time, to make others more comfortable.
So if you’re feeling anger, ask yourself:
What vulnerable feeling is hiding that I don’t feel safe to express?
If you’re judging your partner, your kids, your friends, the environment, just notice:
What do I need in this moment that is scary to ask for?
Owning your needs and feelings gives you the freedom to release your desire to change or control how others are showing up.
Owning your needs and feelings feels incredibly vulnerable. It is easier to project onto the other, rather than risking the feelings that might come up.
It’s deeply vulnerable to be a human being. Just by walking around on this little round ball in the sky, we are taking a courageous risk.
I invite you to offer gentleness and kindness to that experience, and to the precious vulnerability inside.
As you do, you will offer the same to your children.
You’ll find it easier to access the deep love that has been inside all along.
Listen to podcast Ep. 42 “Opening to Your Vulnerability”
Disappointment is one of the core feelings I experience in life, especially in my parenting.
This morning, getting ready to go out for my usual morning walk I realized that my jacket, which was supposed to be hanging by the front door, was still upstairs.
As I realized this, a wave of disappointment rose up, like a little collapse in my chest, because I knew it meant going back upstairs and I was ready to be outdoors.
It was just a tiny moment, and yet it reminded me how often I feel a little burst of disappointment throughout my day in big or little ways. It’s such a part of the human experience, and yet I find it difficult to stay present when it shows up.
If you experienced disappointment in your childhood from your caregivers, when you didn’t take care of their emotional needs, there is a strong chance you’ll experience disappointment when your child doesn’t take care of yours.
Disappointment awakens when something you want doesn’t happen, or when your child doesn’t do what you want them to do.
I experience disappointment as a heaviness inside, as if something has gone wrong, so move away from it as quickly as I can. How about you?
If you organize your life trying to never feel disappointed, or have others disappointed in, you’ll be challenged to set your healthy personal boundaries. Instead you’ll try to be perfect or focus on getting your children to act perfect. And yet, to avoid disappointment, you have to get more and more controlling, setting everybody up for an unrealistic expectation.
Up for trying a different approach?
Next time your child doesn’t do what you want, take a moment and pause. Notice your disappointment arising without attaching to a story about you or your child. Be with that feeling offering it kindness. Slowly, turn your focus towards noticing the sensations in your body.
Do you feel tightness in your chest? Numb or frozen? What happens with your breath?
As you identify the sensations, Ask yourself, is it dangerous to sense this? It may be uncomfortable and yet is it actually dangerous to sense what is arising? Can you turn towards the sensations with kindness without putting meaning to them or acting them out?
Instead of blaming your children for your disappointment you’ll reclaim it while holding yourself in love welcoming disappointment back home.
Listen to podcast Ep. 42 “Dealing with Disappointment”
One of my favorite parts of spring is buying flowers to spread throughout my yard.
I live in CO where it can get quite hot quite fast and left a flat on my porch planning to plant them the next day.
On my morning walk as I approached the porch I noticed how droopy and fragile they looked even though I’d watered them the night before.
Quickly, I ran in the house and filled up my favorite watering can and stepped outside offering them a little drink. Within moments their little blooms perked up and they were smiling again.
As I stood there smiling back I was struck how this was an exquisite metaphor of my life, and how I forget to give myself a little drink when I’m drooping.
Often I fail to remember to offer myself the simple things that are nourishing, such as talking to myself kindly, giving myself little breaks, or pausing to breathe.
The plants got me thinking about tenderness, and how delicate and exquisite we all are. I need my own tender loving care and tending to bloom into my fullness and so do you.
Expecting myself to constantly give and attend to my child forgetting to include myself neglects my need for a little water just like the plants.
As a mama, I find it difficult to pause and give myself what I need when I have so much on my plate, and feel responsible for taking care of my family.
What about you?
Maybe you beat yourself up when your house is a mess or you haven’t gotten your to do list done? Maybe you expect others to water you and feel hurt when they don’t? I know I do.
What would it be like to offer some tenderness to the part of you that is working so hard?
What do you need in order for your precious flower to blossom?
If you notice you’re getting tired or irritable, see it as a clue that you just need a little watering. There is nothing wrong with you… take out your little emotional watering can and give yourself a BIG hug.
This is an invitation to turn a beautiful gaze of love back toward yourself.
As you practice, over time, you’ll blossom under your sweet tender loving care.
Listen to podcast Ep. 40 “Tenderness”
I never thought accepting my rage was possible.
As a child, I grew up with a raging mom. I swore I’d never be like her so as an adult, I organized my life to never feel rage.
Little did I know that rage was silently waiting for a chance to reveal itself.
I was determined to be a peaceful, loving parent.
So when my daughter expressed her rage, I retreated and withdrew, and yet rage demanded I meet her by expressing mine.
I was thrown into incredibly dangerous and volatile waters since I perceived rage as the Great Destroyer. Actually, it was the Great Awakener and was to illuminate a part of myself that I had longed to experience.
I’ll never forget the first night that I met my rage fully.
We’d just moved into co-housing and my daughter, who had been glued to my leg most of her life, was feeling comfortable enough to go to the neighbor’s, without me, to watch a movie.
I dropped her off and came home to put on my jammies and read my book upstairs. I turned on the whole house fan and got comfy in the bed. I was in bliss. After 8 years of 24/7 parenting I had a moment to myself. As I relaxed and opened to this new experience I heard a faint tap, tap, tap.
Happily, I floated downstairs and saw my daughter’s angry red face at the door banging furiously. (She had gone out the back door and was at the front door that was locked)
As I quickly opened the door to welcome her home she forcefully backed me up the stairs and into my bedroom. Her rage was burning hot and she was ready to attack and there was nowhere to go.
I was so shocked that I jumped into the middle of my bed to get away from her fury. She grabbed her toothbrush (which at that moment I perceived as a knife) and screamed “brush my teeth”.
At that moment, I WOKE up.
I said to myself. “OK, rage, I’m not going anywhere. I’m not going to time you out. I’m not going to fix or change you. If you take me out, you take me out. But I’m going to meet you, even if it kills me.”
As I looked in the mirror it was my rage I was finally meeting.
The minute I did, my daughter broke into tears wailing “I was so afraid.”
“I was afraid. I was so afraid.”
As she collapsed into my arms I rocked and soothed the one in her that was so young and terrified.
It was one of the most powerful moments of my life. Underneath rage was uncontrollable terror. As I found my courage to meet mine as well as hers we collapsed into love and tenderness.
Anger is a secondary emotion. It’s protecting a deeply vulnerable part of you that you hid away to keep safe. When you aggress on yourself, then you turn your rage out toward your children.
Meeting rage with kindness, will open up places where you are afraid and needing care.
I built the capacity to lovingly stay with my vulnerability, especially my rage.
As I did, my heart opened to the tenderness underneath that was longing to be seen, heard and understood. Just like my daughter’s.
Listen to podcast Ep. 39 ” Rage: The Great Awakener”
Do you know the difference between complaining and venting?
Complaining is asking to be fixed. Venting is wanting to be heard.
How do you react when your child is venting?
It’s hard to make space for your children to express in ways that weren’t welcome in your home growing up.
As a child, if your attempts to vent triggered discomfort in your parents, you learned to repress them.
When your child vents, do you feel pressure to change or fix whatever is bothering them, in order to avoid your feelings of discomfort?
When I vent to one of my friends, I get insight from hearing myself speak. I take more self responsibility once I get it all out in the open.
I come into balance.
However, if my friend tries to fix me or make things better by pointing out the positive, I get really pissed off because that’s not what I need.
I discovered my daughter is the same way.
If I receive whatever she brings, she finds balance.
When young, if your parents valued only “positive” expression, this most likely led to you repressing the negative.
The problem is, this denies half of reality.
There are benefits and downsides to every situation, and focusing on only one side or the other keeps you stuck.
Think about a battery, it needs both the positive and negative in order to get a charge.
As your child is venting, see what it is like to receive both the positive and the negative, supporting your child to come into balance on their own.
Try reflecting back what you hear, or even keeping your mouth shut and listening.
Welcome their expression in the moment without needing to fix or change anything.
What a relief!
Listen to podcast Ep. 38 “Tired of Hearing Your Child Complaining? ?”
When you position as the victim, you might feel like you’re walking on eggshells with your children.
You aren’t able to take care of yourself and set healthy personal boundaries, because it feels so uncomfortable.
Your children are going to have feelings about your personal boundaries. They are not going to say, “OK, that’s great. I’m so glad you’re taking care of yourself.”
They are going to have to experience your limitations and they may feel like victims. You might then feel like you are the perpetrator.
If you can tolerate those feelings and recognize that they are just feelings, you can begin to ride the waves without getting lost in the swirl.
When this happens you will be able to show up as the healthy mature adult that you have always wanted to be for your child.
Listen to podcast Ep. 37 “Healthy Separation”
As a child, you were a victim of your parents limitations. When you weren’t able to get your needs met you couldn’t just walk out and get new parents or say, “this isn’t working for me.”
When trying to express yourself, in ways that your parents deemed inappropriate, you were punished and labeled as rude, mean, selfish, or defiant. To compensate, you made yourself wrong or bad and aggressed on your neediness. You didn’t have a choice.
Stepping into our adult roles, we often continue this pattern by positioning as a victim to our child’s behavior. When triggered, we feel like that young child again who didn’t have choices and couldn’t get their needs met. We forget that as adults, we always have choices.
Sometimes we don’t like the available choices, since it requires us to face feeling selfish, abandoning, rejecting, or unsupportive of our children if we make a choice.
But we always have choices.
In our adult stance, we can take care of ourselves. We aren’t trapped like we were as children. This realization brings us out of victim mentality and into emotional maturity.
As adults, we can always make a change when needed.
We are not victims, we are powerful creators. Our super power is choice.
Listen to podcast Ep. 36 “Are Your Kids Out to Get YOU?”
In order to embrace parenting as a path of discovery, we must face our fear of the unknown.
If we are afraid of discovering the truth about ourselves, we will focus our attention on controlling our children.
When we try to change our child, we are avoiding the deepest parts of ourselves. These are the same parts that have the potential to change our lives if we can meet them.
Often, we avoid traveling a new path because of our fear of what might happen. We fear being outed from our families, seen as crazy, or losing the love of those we long to make proud.
But abandoning our wisdom to fit into our families creates a division inside us, which eventually comes out in our parenting.
What can finally bring us to the point of true change in our parenting?
Usually it is when we get crystal clear that if we don’t, we will be passing our fears down to our children.
When we realize that our reaction to our child’s behavior is the source of our suffering, not the behavior itself, it becomes possible to meet that moment with kindness.
Our suffering becomes the unexpected gift that guides us back to ourselves.
This can change a lifetime of self-aggression and pain, opening us to the pure joy that is our birthright.
Listen to podcast Ep. 35 “Parenting as a Practice”
The first time I read about attachment parenting, something inside said, YES!
I was raised in a very traditional home, so even the thought of co-sleeping with my child seemed radical.
Fortunately, I have a strong desire to dive deep under my conditioning to meet my inner wisdom.
I was determined to forge a NEW path, one that felt true.
In the beginning, I was excited and focused! I jumped in fully. I did co-sleeping, meeting her needs on demand and following her lead. I was determined to follow my heart, but along the way, I started running into some big time doubt.
Everyone around me began judging the way I was parenting, criticizing and blaming me for my child’s behavior.
At the time I didn’t understand that I was triggering their discomfort by stepping out of the mainstream parenting norm. I took it personally and started questioning myself.
For the next few years, I flip flopped back and forth between traditional methods and the more conscious methods of my original vision.
I’m sure it was crazy-making for my daughter when one minute I was yelling and the next I was loving and kind.
Finally, one of my close family members wrote a scathing letter telling me what a BAD parent I was. That was a turning point. Something inside snapped and I got crystal clear.
I had to COMMIT to a path, and fully practice whichever path I chose.
Following my heart and I chose the path of doing my inner work, instead of controlling outside circumstances.
Through this work, I understood myself, especially when I acted out, and this led to a better understanding of my daughter as well.
Surprisingly, as I offered kindness to myself, I was able to offer kindness outward, even to my family who didn’t understand my parenting.
The judgement I felt from the external was really about the inner judgement I had for myself.
Forging a new path is filled with excitement, but don’t be surprised if you have moments when you want to turn back.
It takes courage and commitment to stay on your chosen path, especially when others don’t understand.
Take your stand and carry on.
Listen to podcast Ep. 34 “Parenting, the Perfect Set-Up “
I had a fantasy. I thought that just because I wanted to be the best parent ever, I would naturally know how to do it.
I’d read a lot of parenting books and was clear on how I should act and yet every day I found myself yelling, consequencing and shaming my daughter.
I did all the things I NEVER wanted to do and my fantasy became a nightmare.
It was all about me and what my child was doing to ME at this point. I felt disrespected. I felt dishonored. I felt hurt.
I looked through the traditional lens of parenting and saw that she needed to be corrected and taught a lesson so that I could feel like a good mom.
Once I chose to look through the Purejoy lens, I started to see that my daughter only acted out when she was stressed and needed my support.
From this view I could focus on my child, and not make it all about ME. When she acted out I saw that she was feeling disrespected. She was feeling emotionally unsafe. She was feeling hurt.
It wasn’t all about ME anymore, so I could take responsibility for my part in the dynamic.
I asked myself: Do I have an agenda? Am I pushing or pulling her? I found there was always a cause for her behavior that I could tune into.
It takes practice to turn your attention from focusing on what you think your child is doing to you, to see what your child is expressing about their OWN INTERNAL EXPERIENCE.
When you don’t take your child’s behavior personally, you can show up to support them through their experience.
If you take it personally, you will want them to stop what they are doing in order to support YOU.
When you do take it personally (and you will) you can practice moving to your SafeSeat, offering yourself loving kindness. This takes the pressure off of needing your child to do this for you.
You can download a free 5-day teaching on the SafeSeat here
As you practice releasing your child from being the cause of your suffering you will find a new place to parent from. Purejoy.
Listen to podcast Ep. 33 ” A Different View of Parenting