The work we do here in Purejoy is about parenting.
I’ve been asked if Purejoy would be supportive for someone who is not a parent themselves- and when I consider that question the answer is a resounding YES!
Here is why- the way YOU were parented has a profound impact on the ways you do almost every relationship in your life. That lands us all in the same boat- we all had parents or caregivers that passed their views onto us.
We call it your family template.
Looking at my family template closely- I see the areas that didn’t fit for me. Especially where my authentic expression met an emotional block or a limitation in my parents.
When that happened, when I was just being a kid- in my experience, I perceived that what felt most true of me in the moment wasn’t ok. I felt the limit, I changed myself, or was punished, or maybe shamed, or blamed so that I would shift my behavior and be more pleasing to the adults.
Over time this sort of situation layered up over my true nature and I don’t know about you- but I find myself in adulthood, especially in my parenting reacting to those layers, rather than to my child.
Beginning the work of Purejoy in 2016 I was a swamped mama. I had these 5 precious kiddos that I loved so much I would give up an extremity if it came to that.
I would DO ANYTHING to make sure they knew I loved them. Especially, I would homeschool them, keep them close to me, and let them enjoy childhood and be free to play, emote, and move.
I had such a grand plan of how I would curate the perfect setting, and activities, friends- it was going to be magical and full of whimsy and delight.
They would never be stressed, pushed, or coerced- I would protect them from the layering.
You can imagine what a reckoning it was when I met this content- to find that my fantasy had actually become an agenda that trapped my kids into what I wanted, and actually landed them right in my family template, with a different flavor of expectations.
Leslie said- that all sounds so lovely, did you ask them if that was what supported them? Did you ask them if they want to homeschool and only be with you, and play house, and have wooden toys and beeswax crayons?
That’s where I realized the way I was parented- my family template had such a profound impact on me.
I was creating exactly the childhood I wished I had had.
Not the one that my kids came to have in relation to me as their mama.
I’m imagining an old cartoon where a mysterious anvil falls from the sky and pins a squirmy character in the middle of the desert- right? Such a huge AHA to see that I was parenting in response to the challenges of my childhood, rather than sinking into the moment with my beloved children and finding out what would work the best for us as a family.
It also happened in the ways I loved parts of my childhood- I clung to those pieces and added them to my parenting creation.
Or maybe you have this other story I had then too. You see, in an attempt to curate that magical world of childhood bliss, I looked out to the experts. One told me to focus on daily rhythms and my child would happily do chores.
Another said to eat only the best foods and your kiddos will never be sick.
Yet another said to leave them be to their curious nature and they will magically read by the time they are 7 or 8 years old.
There I was with 9 and 11-year-olds who resisted chores, wanted to eat chips and candy, and could care less about reading a book and rather snuck a hand-me-down Nintendo to bed and played video games late into the night.
Not to mention the nursing twins and a rowdy and curious toddler I was wrangling with BOTH hands.
I was FAILING!!! At all the expert advice as well as responding to my own childhood experience.
So here is how I turned that around- and I’m not going to kid you, it was hard and slow.
I started putting my attention inside- little bit by little bit.
I sat down in my SafeSeat for a few minutes every day and looked at a picture of me as a little girl. I went there too when I was emotionally activated in my parenting and just noticed what was coming up inside – my own thoughts and feelings, my body sensations.
It took time- but one day I started hearing a voice inside – the one who wanted a magical and slow childhood, with a lot more freedom. I started speaking to her with loving kindness- about all the ways she so wanted something different. What she desired, and felt and believed- it was beautiful!
I said to her from another part of me that could tolerate the disappointment- Of course, dear one…you wanted that. Instead, you had these other experiences… I’m here now. I’ve got you. Tell me about your magical desires and a big imagination.
And then I was able to turn back to my kiddos, in our home, and in our interactions and get curious, and say- how about you? What would you like to do today? Would you like to go to school? Would you like to have a different kind of toy? What are you excited about? Tell me about you!
New things started to happen when I offered kindness to the one in me that didn’t get what she wanted. She calmed down, she relaxed, and she let go.
My children did the same.
Next, I took up setting internal boundaries, which we will be exploring over the next several weeks, and releasing my children as characters in my fantasy childhood recreation.
My son, who will be nineteen soon, can tell us all how it shifted for him as the oldest, how it also took time to trust a new version of me who was genuinely curious about him, and what he desired, and how it made all the difference for him to step into his own true nature and share his brilliant self with me.