Natural parenting resolutions

Mrs and Little Miss Green

Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting resolutions!

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month we’re writing about how we want to parent differently — or the same — in the New Year. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Most people make resolutions in the new year. I find the name ‘resolution’ leads to instant failure. I don’t know, does it have a negative energy attached to it after so many years of people failing to get to the gym on the third day I wonder?
Instead I’m going to focus on goals. Although I parent as consciously as I can, I still have really bad days. Days when I could be more attentive, less impatient, less angry and well, altogether *kinder*.

In fact, this carnival has come at an interesting time. The other night I woke up crying from a dream – a dream in which my daughter was bugging me, pushing my buttons and acting altogether unkind and even though I knew she was over tired and over stimulated, I really wanted to lash out at her. I wanted to call her names and I think I remember in this dream almost getting to the point of hitting her. I woke up just before this, sobbing.

My daughter and I always discuss our dreams first thing in the morning and I was reluctant to tell her about this one. But I did share a toned-down version. I focused most on how the dream made me feel – upset, sad, out of control, guilty …

And herein lies the very thing that could become my parenting goal for 2010: my daughter’s response was “Well you know, you shouldn’t be upset because even though you WANTED to lash out at me, you didn’t. So this dream is really easy to interpret; it means that next time you feel angry with me, you shouldn’t get so mad.”

And with that she turned around and hugged me.

So here is my goal. To take a couple of seconds to breathe deeply into my abdomen before reacting to a situation that is angering me.

I know it’s simple and effective and I know it will help me move from a space of reacting to responding which means my response can be more proportionate, measured and helpful to the situation. Just why do I find it so hard to do?

Tell me, how do you deal with those moments that push your buttons? Does your inner child rise to the surface screaming or does your wise adult manage the situation?

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(All the links should be active by noon on Jan. 12. Go to Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama for the most recently updated list.)

• To Yell or Not to YellThe Adventures of Lactating Girl
• It Is All About Empathy: Nurturing a Toddler’s Compassion PotentialBaby Dust Diaries
• To my babies: this year…BluebirdMama
• Mindfully Loving My ChildrenBreastfeeding Moms Unite!
• January Carnival of Natural Parenting: ResolutionsCode Name: Mama
• Imperfect MotherConsider Eden
• ResolutionsCraphead (aka Mommy)
• FC Mom’s Parenting Resolutions 2010FC Mom
• What’s in a Resolution?Happy Mothering
• January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting resolutionsHobo Mama
• Natural Parenting ResolutionsLittle Green Blog
• This year, I will mostly…Look Left of the Pleiades
• Parenting ResolutionsThe Mahogany Way
• I Resolve to Breastfeed In Public More Oftenmama2mama tips
• Moving to Two KidsMegna the Destroyer
• Use LoveMomopoly
• My parenting resolutionsMusings of a Milk Maker
• Talkin’ ’bout My ResolutionsNavelgazing
• Parenting ResolutionsOne Starry Night
• Invitations, not resolutionsRaising My Boychick
• No more multitasking during kid timeThe Recovering Procrastinator
• I need to slow down, smell those roses AND the poopy diapersTales of a Kitchen Witch Momma
• Resolutely Parenting in 2010This Is Worthwhile

23 thoughts on “Natural parenting resolutions

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  4. Paige

    Wow, your daughter is amazingly insightful. Sounds like you are doing something right in the parenting arena! Taking a deep breath is a good goal for everyone. It reminds me of a lecture I went to on Embodied Presence – it was filled with great advice about centering before reacting.

  5. Kate Wicker @ Momopoly

    Aren’t our children amazing teachers?

    I can really relate to this post because just yesterday I felt like I didn’t have anything left to give. Sometimes I make this prideful assumption that I’m the only mom out there who feels overwhelmed. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone and that we all lose it sometimes. It’s also comforting to know that we’re all working on growing into our mothering shoes. I want to have a more gentle 2010. How? By praying for moments of grace before I react. And also by giving myself permission to “just” be a mom. What really exhausts me sometimes is trying to do all the extra stuff. My children – spending time with them – often restores me. It also cuts down on their irritable behavior. Nursing, babywearing, etc. isn’t enough. I need to make sure we’re having fun and spending time together.

    Thanks for the great post. Blessings!

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  7. Pingback: January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting resolutions! « Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma

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  9. Pingback: Craphead (aka Mommy) :: Resolutions :: January :: 2010

  10. Joni Rae

    I can totally relate. I’m parenting a 12 yr old girl… My days are filled with me trying to be patient and her rolling her eyes at me. I’m working on being kinder. And taking a moment before responding. Its hard!

  11. Darcel

    And people say we need to teach our children everything. I think our children teach us quite a bit.

    I have also taken up the practice of learning to breathe before I say or do something.
    I just told someone else today, that my kids play around the house,pretending to be me.
    Sometimes it’s cute and funny, and other times I can’t believe that is how I come across.

    I also try really hard to remember that this world is still new to them. They are learning how everything around them works. My job is to model as best I can the behavior I want to see in them.

  12. Dionna @ Code Name: Mama

    Wow! What a great comment from your daughter!
    I think we are all guilty of snap (angry) reactions sometimes. I really try to take a moment to breathe & chill out before reacting. It also helps me to remember that my son isn’t *trying* to make me angry or misbehave or push buttons – he’s just learning how to sort out his own feelings.
    It might also help to think about the fact that we are the role model – if we normally react quickly with anger, that is what we are teaching our children to do. That’s not the example I want to be for sure!

  13. Melodie

    I have some proud moments and some not-so-proud moments. When I get flooded with emotion and frustration sometimes I yell without missing a beat. That whole suggestion to count to 10 first doesn’t work for me. Usually my anger comes on so suddenly there is no moment to count to anything. Trying to prevent those moments from happening in the first place works the best for me.

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  15. BluebirdMama aka @childbearing

    Have you noticed how many of the Carnival participants have wished for just that: the ability to wait a moment before we react to our children? to measure our response? to not be angry?

    It was on my list for sure. It’s interesting to see that we are all feeling this need in our parenting. I think it’s necessary in all of our relationships but I feel the strain of parenting, the workload and the demands of parenting often push us to the point where we can’t quite manage to treat our kids the way we would treat everyone else. I think that’s why parenting for me is the major driving force in becoming a better kinder gentler person.

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  17. Arwyn

    It’s amazing how big a difference one breath can make, isn’t it? It’s also amazing how hard taking just those few moments to do it can be.

    Best of luck — to both of us.

  18. Jessica - This is Worthwhile

    I love that you discuss your dreams with your daughter. Dreams are powerful tools that so many of us miss out on and I have to agree with your daughter on her assessment, although it’s also clearly about your anxieties revolving around losing control and hurting her. I always say that you’re already a better parent than you think you are if you think you could do better.

    I’m loving this carnival, by the way :) You’re about half-way down my list as I visit everyone and I’m really impressed by everyone’s goals and aspirations. I look forward to being a regular reader!

  19. Lauren @ Hobo Mama

    I needed this message — thank you! Just to take a moment for a deep breath before responding is such a simple and essential idea. I love that your daughter was able to interpret for you. I need to remember to ask my own son for his wisdom.

    I love the insight about the negative energy surrounding resolutions — that must be it!

  20. mike

    I always say, in through the nose, out through the mouth, one deep breath at a time! Its like boxers, if we aren’t thinking about breathing we aren’t thinking!

  21. craphead

    That waiting just a moment before responding is so important and yet so hard at times! I can do it fairly well sometimes, and sometimes I find the things coming out of my mouth repulsive. Usually I can stop, but sometimes I just can’t stop. It’s like a script or something.

    I love that you talked with your daughter about the dream. Her comment was so insightful and hopefully she gained some insight into you, too, if that makes sense?

  22. Mrs Green Post author

    Wowee, I’ve never had so many comments – thank you all for taking the time to come over and share your thoughts.

    Paige, the lecture on Embodied Presence sounds awesome; so glad you took something positive from it.

    Kate, I love how your children restore you; that is such a blessing. I have a lot to learn from that; I often get negative and think of this as a drain, but I should stop and be more receptive. Thank you!

    Joni, simply having awareness that we could respond in a more loving and helpful way is part of the battle. Good luck; I’m quite sure your daughter adores you 😉

    Darcel, great comment. When I heard DD telling her babies off in exactly my tone, words and voice I was horrified that I sounded so stressed and impatient. it was a real turning point for me. I love that you model what you would like to see; this is a great gift.

    Dionna; I love this line “my son isn’t *trying* to make me angry or misbehave or push buttons – he’s just learning how to sort out his own feelings.” Wonderful – thank you!

    Melodie; I can relate to what you have said. I think to ‘know thyself’ and to feel when the emotions are escalating is certainly the way to go. I’ve been better at that in the last 3 years or so and I’m able to share that with DD too – letting her know that I’m getting near my limit and I need some time out to recharge…

    BluebirdMama, I DID notice that, wasn’t it amazing. I feel that lack of community is something that many mothers feel is missing. There is no extended family or the idea that the village raises the child any more, so many of us do not get a break, and we reach our tipping point more easily.

    Arwyn, how’s it going? I’ll be thinking of you next time I need to take that deep breath and let go 😉

    Jessica, the Carnival was awesome wasn’t it? Yes, we talk about dreams. I had one the other day to take DD to a cranial osteopath, so I’ll be following that up today; there is a lot of wisdom stored in our dreams …

    Hi Lauren, I’m a great believer in the wisdom of our children. They do know exactly what they need; we as parents need to get our ego out of the way and allow them to teach us without feeling threatened. I really sense that all the parents who took part in your carnival have that respect and reverence for their children which is truly heart warming.

    Mike, thanks for your comment. If we aren’t thinking about breathing, we aren’t thinking. Interesting idea – thanks!

    Craphead; oh yes, I get the flood of foul mouthed stuff that comes flooding out too. But you know what? I think we learn about ourselves and our children learns that we are not perfect and this is a good thing. We learn about boundaries and respect in this way…

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