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Taking Love Off The Line

 

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.jpg

 

You love your child. Period.

I know this the same way YOU know this.

It just is. A nearly universal thing we moms all relate to. A mother’s love for her child is unconditional — the sort of love that suspends all logic.

So why?

Why do we as parents act like our love is negotiable, putting our love on the line when we’re upset?

Why do we say things to make our kids think there is any possible way that we could love them less because of their flaws? Because of their human-ness? Because of the dark, scary places that live inside of them? The places they love and trust us alone enough to show? The places they hide — from their teachers, from their friends, for fear that they’d no longer be worthy of love if someone found them out.

WHY?

We do it for that exact reason it was done to us. Because it is what we know. It is hard-wired into us. It is our knee-jerk reaction when things don’t go the way we’d like them to go. When our kids misbehave. When our kids are different. When they don’t fit into the square hole their school is pushing for them to fit into. When they don’t fit into the round hole our (generally well-meaning) parents, in-laws, friends, neighbors, doctors, etc tell us they “should” fit into.

We get triggered. We snap. We “lose it” on our kids.

It’s what we know.

But don’t we remember how it felt? That look from a parent (or a teacher or any other person of authority in our short little lives) that told us we had just completely let them down. The look that said “You, my friend, are a disappointment.”

Don’t we remember feeling the not-enoughness? Feeling, deep, in the pit of our stomachs, the I’m not good enough. I’m not smart enough. I’m not organized enough. I’m not sporty enough. I’m not social enough. I’m not outgoing enough. I’m not quiet enough. I’m not pretty enough… And on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on.

The beating ourselves up for our challenges, so much so we lost sight of our gifts?

“I can’t remember things like other people can. I don’t pay attention like other people do. I’m broken.”

Not only seeing it in their looks, but hearing it in their words.

What if, instead, we remember? Breathing. Clearing. Coming back to love.

Remembering that day when first, we locked eyes with our little one. The way we loved them then. Unconditionally. With our entire selves and everything we were. Love. More than life itself. Love.

Remembering. Our child’s innate goodness. Innate wholeness. Innate deservingness of love, not for anything they did or DO so much as just because THEY ARE.

Letting go. When old hurts creep up from the past to make their way into our ways of being today. Feeling for these moments. Watching for them. Sensing when we are about to move, are moving or have already moved off our center, triggered by something our child has said or done.

Catching these moments quicker as the weeks go by, quicker because of our growing awareness. Quicker because of grace and our breath and the support of a circle of other loving parents, equally committed the healing, growing journey that is parenthood.

Taking our love off the line.

Holding misbehavior as a sign of an un-met need and not a broken child. Using responsible, respectful, clear, consistent and firm words with our kids when met with a “teaching moment”.

“I love you but I do not love your behavior today.”

Connecting before correcting.

“Can we talk? I’m feeling very far away from you these days.”

“What do you think we could do to make mornings gentler/smoother/etc…?”

“I feel like I’m yelling at you all the time. I’m sorry I get so anxious when we’re running late. Do yo have any ideas that could help us here?”

Because really, you and me? Us — all of us — parents. We are on the same team as our kids. We’re not playing tennis, one on one, on opposite sides of the court as our children. NO. We are playing DOUBLES. TRIPLES. QUADRUPELS even. And there can many, many, many people on our same side of the court: husband’s, partner’s, teachers, doctors, etc.

We are all on the same side of the court.

The balls are flying at us, coming over that net at lightening fast speeds, and there we are, side by side, playing this game of life together… with our kids. Those balls, they’re not our kids. They’re life. Our pasts. Our fears. Other’s fears.

Tell this to your child today: “You and I? We are on the same side of the court.”

In the words you use. In the actions you take. Tell your child. Your love is theirs. Unconditionally.

It just is.

xo

—–

When we tune in and trust, everything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here because mom-hood is BETTER when we’re holding hands. Let’s connect on twitterfacebook and pinterest as well, because the manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone!

RELATED POSTS:

Suffering From the Terrible Two’s? Remember to BIRP

How Parenting Helps Me Grow

 

 

 

You Know You Are A Parent When…

Ya feelin’ me?

Hope this made you giggle. (The truth is always funnier than anything we could possibly make up.)

Embracing the little moments of this day (the messy, imperfect and oh so sweet little moments…) with you.

xo

 

you know you are a parent when

—–

When we tune in and trust, everything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here because mom-hood is BETTER when we’re holding hands. Let’s connect on twitterfacebook and pinterest as well, because the manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone!

RELATED POSTS:

Suffering From the Terrible Two’s? Remember to BIRP

How Parenting Helps Me Grow

Embrace The Chaos

 

 

 

Embrace the Chaos

Want to help yourself AND your kids feel less anxious? Stop saying “oh no”. Where do these two words get us anyway? When mom-hood doesn’t go the way we’ve planned for it to go, we have a choice.... (click to read more) #positive #parenting #mindfulness #yoga #acceptance

Want to help yourself AND your kids feel less anxious? Stop saying “oh no”.

Where do these two words get us anyway? When mom-hood doesn’t go the way we’ve planned for it to go,  we have a choice. We can either go on being surprised by the chaos or we can learn to expect it.

My three year old child just cut her own hair. Today. The day before we are set to take our family Christmas photos. An ideal day for her to give herself bangs? No. But the end of the world? No again.

Did I yell at my daughter or want her to feel miserable about cutting her hair in fear she might do it again? No. Thankfully there were no tears (for her or for me :O). Did we talk about it? Sure. Do I hope she’s learned from the experience such that it doesn’t happen again (and have we cut enough paper snowflakes with safety scissors for the week?!?) You bet ‘ja.

We are not perfect. Our kids are not perfect. NO ONE IS PERFECT.

When motherhood offers up the unexpected there is really only one thing left to do.

Embrace it.

xo

—–

When we tune in and trust, everything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here because mom-hood is BETTER when we’re holding hands. Let’s connect on twitterfacebook and pinterest as well, because the manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone!

Related Articles:

Boundaries

How To Accept the Unacceptable

Self Love

Gentle Baby Sleep Support

 

 

Think Food Doesn’t Affect Behavior? WATCH THIS.

food affects behavior

It’s no big secret: sugary junk food can make our kids bounce of the walls. But how does it affect their relationships with other kids? Their ability to work as part of a team? A group of 5-9 year old kids in Britain have the answer for us in this simple experiment that had them attending two very different parties.

Party One offered healthy snacks of apple slices, carrot sticks, sandwiches, hummus and water to drink.

Party Two offered not so healthy (but fairly standard) party food including sweets, potato chips, and soda.

After eating, both groups played the same games, and with researchers and parents on hand to observe, the FUN began.

Admittedly, research and data can be, well, boring… but not so when collected into a nice 5-6 min video!!! Check out the results for yourself; the differences in these two groups of kids as the parties unfold is remarkable. Playing games. Putting together puzzles. Running around, playing with balloons, etc. Look at the incidents of physical aggression and hyperactivity measured by researchers at these two parties. VASTLY different and yes, as expected, far more common in the Party Food Group (dark blue) than the Healthy Food Group (light blue).

Kids Behavior: Healthy Food vs Party Food Graph

In the end, the Healthy Food Group did 48% better in the games overall. That’s huge.

The question in the end comes back to us, the moms and dads and schools and caregivers.

How we are setting our kids up to win, or not?

How are the foods we give our kids preparing them to learn, grow, question, create, participate AND play with friends? How different might a pop-tart-in-the-car sort of morning be than a hot-bowl-of-oatmeal-with-bananas-on-top-at-home sort of morning?

What is your experience with various foods and your kids behavior? How do you keep things in perspective, avoiding the far too easy to fall in and bottomless pit of mama-guilt (that truly serves no-one) when it comes to this issue? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

xo

—–

When we follow our bliss, tune in and trust, anything and everything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here because everything is BETTER when we are holding hands. Let’s share on twitterfacebook and pinterest too because the manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone!!!

Other Articles:

Infant Massage for Colic 

Gentle Baby Sleep Support

Babywearing

Average Is Not What Your Baby Needs

 

 

If you look up baby sleep requirements in a parenting book, you will likely find a table like this:

Total sleep time required over a 24-hour period

• Newborn…….16-17 hours

• 1-6 months….15-16 hours

• 6-12 months…14 hours

• 1-2 years…..13-14 hours

What they don’t tell you is that baby sleep researchers are forced to base their estimates of average sleep requirements on “best guesses” and that baby sleep norms vary greatly from culture to culture, study to study.

A little know sleep tip: average is not what your baby needs.

  

Now don’t get me wrong, these “best guesses” can be very helpful. They can feel reassuring and they can help flag some of the many other issues that could be altering your baby’s sleep (the true issue needing attention) like Reflux. Digestion. Constitution. Gas. Colic. Tongue Tie. A high palate. An improper latch. Milk supply. And so on, and so on. Here’s the deal.  Norms and charts are all fine and good if you:

1) take them for what they are, averages based upon the limited data collected in order to make the assessment (not your child)

2) are NOT dealing with sleep problems.

If you are dealing with sleep problems, worries and/or big concerns about your baby’s health, it’s time to dig deeper.

My advice to parents is this: read the studies, look at the charts, ask your best friend and neighbor… and then let ALL the information you collect filter down through you. Your higher self. Your mommy intuition and wisdom.

You know your child. You know your family. You and only you are uniquely connected to this little one because YOU are MOM or co-mom or dad or maybe even Grandma. Your title, age or even your male or female-ness do not matter. If you are this one’s mother, you know it. Step into your mommy intuition. Your love and connection to this child gives you a degree no one else in the world holds. Not the researchers. Not the sleep coaches. Not even your mother in law.

This may sound hypocritical given I am a sleep consultant. But it is not. My role might be better understood if I went by Suzanne Tucker, Baby Sleep Intuition Supporter or Suzanne Tucker, Mommy Listener/Cheerleader Such That Baby Sleeps.

Because here’s the thing.

There is no manual, except the one that exists within you. Not on baby sleep. Not on potty training. Not on where to send your child to school or how to love them best.

Open yourself to your mommy intuition to guide you as you take in sleep data… or any data. What is relevant to you will make itself known. Watch for the sparks — an inner “knowing” from somewhere deep inside yourself that says, “Yes!!! This is important for my child.” or “That’s what I thought!!!” or maybe “This is worth a try. It feels right for me/my baby.”

Here is an example of how easy it is to misread research and worry because you fear your baby is not fitting into the “mold”.

Imagine you have a one month old baby who sleeps 12.5 hours per day. They are happy. They are gaining weight. You are in a grove and no it’s not easy but yes, you genuinely feel your baby is thriving. UNTIL your best friend (or doctor or mother in law or someone else) tells you they are not. They tell you your baby “should” be sleeping more. That the books say 16 hours is normal. They have you worried, but do you have cause to worry?

Let’s take a close look at the data behind the averages behind the charts in the books, for example, this study, one of the most complete baby sleep charts, published in the highly respected medical journal, Pediatrics, based on the average sleep times associated with 493 Swiss children tracked from birth (Iglowstein et al 2003). Over a 24-hour period, total sleep time averages were as follows:

Baby Sleep Chart and Averages. Be careful how you read them. As far as baby is concerned, average is over rated.

Or said another way, the average total sleep time for 493 Swiss one month old babies worked out to be between 14-15 hours. One hour less than what your friend told you was “normal”. But look closer. Only 50% of the babies actually got between 13-16 hours. ONLY 50%!!!!! 96% got between 9-19 hours. Let me put it to you visually:

Average is not what your baby needs. Baby sleep charts. Be careful how you read them.

Never give your power away.

Never. There’s a lot of information out there, but it is worthless without you and your mommy intuition filter to make sense of it all. You are this one’s mom and this is not a thing to be taken lightly. Step into your power. Listen with all of your senses. Your baby is talking to you. Source support. Quiet your mind. Follow your heart. Average is not what your baby needs. You are.

xo

—–

When we follow our bliss, tune in and trust, anything and everything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here because everything is BETTER when we are holding hands. Let’s share on twitterfacebook and pinterest too because the manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone!!!

Related Articles:

Infant Massage for Colic 

Gentle Baby Sleep Support

Babywearing

References:

Iglowstein I, Jenni OG, Molinari L, Largo RH. 2003. Sleep duration from infancy to adolescence: Reference values and generational trends. Pediatrics 111(2): 302-307.

The Days Are Long But The Years Are Short

 

 

To have this simple truth take hold of you somewhere deep inside your soul when your children are still small is the greatest wish I could wish for you.

This moment. This hard moment. This perfect moment. This is it.

Today, just for one minute, make an intentional effort to see the world around you through the eyes of your child. They see so much. They have so much to teach us.

xo

days long years short

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When we tune in and trust, everything is possible. I hope you’ll walk with me and other moms here because mommy-hood is BETTER when we’re holding hands. Let’s connect, here and on twitterfacebook and pinterest too. The manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone. xo

 

 

There Are No Words

What does this say to you?

For me it is the wordless definition of connection. A sweet, sweet moment (I’d go so far as to say a sacred moment) of acceptance, love and peace.

This blissful state is the same space I see babes of all ages (especially newborns) moving into when they receive massage from their moms and dads. Babes, basking in the love held in a simple, shared present  moment. Love held in stillness and in touch.

Giving and receiving. Being. Connection.

xo

—–

When we follow our bliss, tune in and trust, anything and everything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here because everything is BETTER when we are holding hands. Let’s share on twitterfacebook and pinterest too because the manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone!!!

LETTING GO

rear view mirror

I’m sitting in the parking lot fumbling for the clasp. I can’t get it. It’s the “om” necklace given to me by my husband just days after we brought our first born home from the hospital.

Four kids and thirteen years later, this necklace remains my favorite.  I’ve put it on a million times and though I know the chain is short, I’m wondering why this morning, when I’m late and every second counts, that I’m having all this trouble getting the darn thing fastened.

I can see my hands fumbling in my car’s rear view mirror. Small-metal-ring heading towards open-silver-lever aaaaand…

it’s a miss.

“I. AM. SO. LATE!” I think-yell at myself for encouragement.

Not surprisingly, I miss again. And again. And again.

My shiny circle “om” glares back in the mirror, mockingly.

“This is RIDICULOUS. Why can’t I get it?!?” I lower my tired arms, hands dropping into my lap with defeat.

I stop. I sit still for maybe the first second that morning. I’d been rushing all morning. I’d rushed (more than usual) to get my kids out the door to school. I’d rushed (more than usual) to get back home. To get to the next thing. I stop and I breathe and just like that, some internal reset button is pushed and I know what I need to do.

I turn away from the mirror to have another go at my necklace. I notice immediately, things feels different. I feel different. My mind is settled. I’m breathing. My hands move the way they want to move. There’s no reflection staring back at me to confuse things— just my hands going the way they know to go.

Three seconds later and wa-la.  My necklace is clasped.

I sit in the front seat of my car, close my eyes and laugh at myself for a second. This moment. This lesson. How is this my life?

What happens when I force things? When I hold too tight or push too hard?

What happens when I soften? When I breathe and trust and hold on to letting go instead?

“Ommmmmmmm” my mind teases me. I open my eyes and notice the shiny pendant hanging from my neck. I breathe and say the word over in the quiet of my mind, the place I’d been rushing too next feeling far less important.

xo

ps: I’d love to hear of a time you “shifted” and things improved because of it. Maybe a parenting moment and awareness about yourself that helped you or a moment you look back on now with new eyes. xoxo

—–

When we follow our bliss, tune in and trust, anything and everything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here because everything is BETTER when we are holding hands. Let’s share on twitter, facebook and pinterest too because the manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone!!!

Related Posts:

A Curvy Road
Connection and Baby/Kids

Praise Or Discouragement

It might sound like I’m splitting hairs here… but the way we encourage our kids MATTERS.

My daughter stood on the podium marked 3, smiled and waved at end of her first ever gymnastics meet. Was I happy for her? Sure. Did I praise her as being an amazing gymnast? No.

Attachment-1

What did I tell her when she walked up to her dad and I after the meet, four shiny metals around her neck, trophy in hand, beaming ear to ear? I hugged her and said with an equally large smile, “I LOVED watching you out there. You had this big smile the entire time. It looked like you were having a blast. Honey, we’re so proud of how committed you are to your team. You are learning so much…”

Why didn’t I gush over her getting to stand on the podium? Why not go on and on about the shiny new metals that hung around her neck? It’s because when we praise the child (or the outcome like the “win”) verse praising the child’s effort, their brain holds onto our  praise as conditional and in the end, our praise becomes discouragement.

I think of it this way: praise the child/win/outcome and the brain thinks: I AM GOOD WHEN I DO GOOD. So what happens when our kids face something new and hard? Something they are “bad” at? Their brain is left to conclude: I AM GOOD WHEN I DO GOOD AND  I AM BAD AT THIS… I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS HARD THING. I AM NOT “GOOD” AT IT.

But praise the effort and waaaa-laaaa, you have a child whose brain is being incentivised to face challenges.

The real win, I want my ten year old to know deep in her heart, is the person she is. The love and respect she shows her coaches. The encouragement she gives her teammates and the girls on other teams, clapping for and watching them attentively. The commitment and focus she exercises, day in and day out, in getting her mom and her twin three year old brother and sister motivated to GET IN THE CAR NOW that she might get to practice on time (where early is on time and on time is late!). The patience and care she shows her body when she decides to sit a practice out because she is hurting even though it kills her to sit on the sidelines and watch.

Understanding the full impact our words as parents have on our kids takes time —but given the research, it’s time worth spending. There is power in the way we praise.

  • Praising the child: “Man you are smart.” Praising the effort: “That was a long assignment, but you stuck to it and got it done. That’s great!
  • Praising the child: “You are an amazing artist.” Praising the effort, “Wow. Look at all the different colors/techniques/materials/etc you used to make that picture.” or “What was your favorite part of making that?” or “Can I hang this in the kitchen?”
  • Praising the child: “You are such a great soccer player” Praising the effort, “You worked really hard today at soccer practice.” or “I love to watch you play.”

None of this sort of praising comes easy or naturally to me. After thirteen years of thinking about process over outcome, of working to praise the effort not the child, is it still hard for me?

YES. I do it “wrong” all the time. But that’s okay. I love a challenge.

Food for thought:

  • Are the things we’re saying to our kids inspiring them or discouraging them?
  • Are we helping them take on a growth mindset or a fixed mindset?
  • Are we preparing them for the challenges life will surely hold or are we not?
  • And finally, how do we, their parents, respond to challenges? Both ours and theirs.

Praise the effort, not the child. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

xo

—–

When we follow our bliss, anything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here because motherhood (and life) is better when we’re holding hands.

Related Posts:

A Curvy Road
Connection and Baby/Kids

Helpful Resources:

Effective Praise

Effort, Praise and Achievement

Children and Praise: Why Certain Types of Praise May Backfire

 

One Voice For Many

Not many films have so palpably touched me the way Generation Rx did.

As a mother, I’ve always questioned.

“You will not be able to deliver twins outside the operating room. It’s just procedure.” But I did, In a peaceful labor and delivery room just down the hall.

“It’s time for your baby to receive sugar water. She’s going to end up with brain damage.” But she did not, latching on to me instead as I cradled her in my arms, wrapped within a special light blanket, her red blood cell levels returning to normal as he body was give the time it needed to eliminate the excess blood cells. (Drinking. Peeing. Drinking. Peeing.)

Despite much fear and many attempts to scare me into parenting decisions, I prefer to question the things I am told, even when they are told to me by, yes, a doctor. Sometimes I go with the advice I am given. And sometimes I do not.

  • Allowing a Hepatitis immunization shot for my hours old baby? No.
  • Scheduling an MRI to rule out other (unnamed but scary) causes for my teens regular headaches? Yes
  • Scheduling annual flu shots for my entire family, introducing a virus in order to prevent it? No.
  • Taking my daily prenatal vitamin? Yes.

And so it was, as a mother who is used to questioning what she is told in favor of doing my own research to add to the recommendations my doctors give me, that I watched the documentary by international award-winning writer/director Kevin P. Miller unfold. Watching. Feeling at once validated and alarmed.

Through master storytelling and critical interview after interview, Miller’s film explores the narrow, largely pharm based treatment options millions with mental health conditions are afforded (our children included.) I watched as story after story told of a generation numbed (at best… at worst, driven further into the darkness of depression and violence.)

Following the film’s release, I was not surprised to learn that Miller received thousands of letters from real people: mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers — people who’s lived had been forever scarred by the negative influences of psychiatric drugs. It is from this outpouring the concept for his next film, Letters From Generation Rx was born, a film designed to spur an international conversation about mental illness.

I take heart that in Miller’s own words, his ultimate conclusion after receiving letter after letter, is a hopeful one. And it is this perspective he plans to drive home in Letters From Generation Rx: ”There is hope for those suffering, and it may not lie in the toxic elixirs we have come to know by name… There are remedies and therapies being overlooked…”

I share this worthy campaign with you, hoping it starts a conversation in your home. Hoping you too are as inspired by this filmmaker as I have been.

Letters From Generation Rx has 14 days and counting left for it’s indiegogo campaign to raise the funds and go into full production. Join me in adding your voice to the many voices represented in Miller’s films. One voice questioning the system. One voice calling for a more human, holistic approach to mental health. One voice lifting truth and our freedom to question what is best for ourselves and our families on high.

Generation Rx and Letters From Generation Rx. One voice for many.

Voices that might otherwise go unheard.

xo

—–

When we follow our bliss, anything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here because motherhood (and life) is better when we’re holding hands.

Related Posts:
Connection and Baby/Kids