Above Header

On being with judgment

My definition of judgment: noun judg·ment \jej-ment\: thoughts and words chuck full of all the many things I am not in this world, some justified, and some (most) not so much.

As moms, hearing and/or even just sensing judgement from friends, family, and strangers can sting, with perhaps the harshest variety of judgment originating within ourselves.

If you have four minutes, I want to lead you through an exercise on judgment that helped me transform the way I respond to judgmental people and thoughts. To things that want to cut me down to size. To the things that want to hold me back. To my doubts and all the many ways life tries to tell me that I am not enough (a belief I now call “BS!!!” on every time I hear it.)

I’d love to hear your response to the question I ask in this video in the comments and the ideas and experiences you have with judgment.

xo

I want to let you know about a NEW playground I’m playing on that’s built for more than just mommy’s. It’s called GENERATION MINDFUL and I hope you’ll join me there. We have some work to do if we’re going to usher the next generation into a more compassionate world. But our love? It’s powerful stuff. Strong enough to make even impossible dreams come true. I hope to see you there.

Let’s connect on instagramtwitter, facebook and pinterest too. The manual is ours to write, but we don’t have to write it alone.

Why Did This Thing Go Viral?!

I  posted this on Facebook last week about how extremely distracted I can be, and apparently it struck a chord because TEN MILLION of you have viewed it thus far.

Viral Laundry In Oven Post

 

You shared it with friends, tagging them and laughing about the many ways you do this exact same thing too. With your own personal flare of course:

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 9.16.45 AM Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 9.16.57 AM Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 9.17.10 AM Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 9.16.27 AM

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 9.17.30 AM

So to all the mamas, papas, grandparents, non-parents, teenagers, and more who read this and thought “yep, that’s me”, let me just take this opportunity to say THANK YOU. You’ve reminded me yet again and in no uncertain terms, of a beautiful truth that gets me through most every day…

that I am not alone. 

To you, who can marvel at your innate awesome-sauce-ness and crazy-ness all in the same breath, I offer a fist bump.

Solidarity in our humanness. You rock.

xo

ps: Perfect is a hella-va-lot-overrated, don’t you think? I’d love to hear more about what, if anything, you are working to love and accept about yourself. Trust me, saying it out loud? It’s liberating.

pss: I also wanted to let you know about a NEW playground I’m playing on that’s built for more than just mommy’s (which makes me feel very happy and even less alone…). It’s called GENERATION MINDFUL and I hope you’ll join me there. We have some work to do if we’re going to usher the next generation into a more compassionate world. Add you to this place and bring your husbands, in-laws, the kids’ teachers and more. We’re there, slowing life down and celebrating the little moments. And our love? Our shared focused? It’s powerful stuff. Strong enough to make even impossible dreams come true.

Peace, and I hope to see you there.

If you want to walk with me and other mamas in the My Mommy Manual community, join to the right and connect with us on instagramtwitter, facebook and/or pinterest too. The manual is ours to write, but we don’t have to write it alone.

Related Posts:

Hey, Connection Isn’t Always Easy

Teaching Kids Emotional Intelligence

The Crayon Connection

When I Stop Trying So Hard

rear view mirror

I’m sitting in my car, fumbling for the clasp.

It’s the om necklace my husband gave me days after our first child was born, and I can’t get it to hook.

Four kids and a decade and a half later, this necklace remains my favorite. I’ve put it on a million times and though the chain the om pendant hangs on is on the short side, it has never been difficult to fasten. So there I sit, fumbling with the thing, already running late and wondering to myself, ‘Why am I having so much trouble getting this thing on?!’

I can see my hands working the small hook close to the chain just under my chin in my rear view mirror. Small-metal-ring, heading towards open-silver-lever aaaaand…

it’s a miss. And a miss. And another miss.

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

I miss again. And again.

My shiny ohm necklace glares back at me in the mirror, mockingly.

“This is RIDICULOUS!” I lower my tired arms, hands dropping into my lap with defeat.

I stop. I take a little breath and I sit still for the first time that morning. And then it dawned on me. I hadn’t sat still all morning long. Not even for three seconds. My mind had been jumping from one thing to the next from the second I woke up (ten minutes late).

I’d rushed to get my kids out the door to school. I’d rushed to get home, pick-up from the tornado that had surely hit our kitchen that morning, shower, dress and get back out the door to my next thing.

Sitting in my car, going over the morning, I take a deep breath, and just like that, some internal reset button is pushed and I know what I need to do to get this necklace on.

I turn away from my car mirror to have another go at the necklace.

Immediately, things felt 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, wa-la.  My necklace is clasped.

I sit in the front seat of my car, close my eyes and laugh.

This moment. This lesson. How is this my life?

What happens when I force things? When I hold too tight or push too hard? When I’m too busy to pause?

What happens when I soften? When I breathe and trust? When I hold on to letting go? When I allow myself a moment (like, literally, as few as 10-15 seconds) of stillness and silence?

“Ommmmmmmm” my mind teases me. I open my eyes and see the shiny pendant in the mirror, at long last, hanging from my neck. I breathe deeply and say ommmmm again, this time out loud. And as I get my purse and move slowly to open the car door, the place I’d been rushing too next feels far, far less important.

xo

ps: I’d love to hear of a parenting moment and/or new awareness about yourself that helped you feel more present, even admist the chaos of everyday life. xo

—–

I hope you walk with me and other moms here because we are not alone. Let’s connect on twitter, facebook and pinterest too. The manual is ours to write, but we don’t have to write it alone!

Related Posts:

A Curvy Road
Connection and Baby/Kids

The Tough Days

THE TOUGH DAYS.

If you are a parent, I know you have them. (And if you are not a parent, I know you have them…) Because we ALL have them.

We are all in the same freaking boat.

If things feel tough today (like I didn’t want to get out of bed tough, or I’ve just lost it and yelling at my sweet baby/toddler tough) well then, you are not broken, you are not different, and you sure as hell are not alone.

Would you just grab a fork and join me on the floor already? There is pie to be had.

 

dropped pie

xo

PS: If you liked this post, join our community of mindful mamas. You will receive gentle parenting tips as well as a free gift, a Hug Each Moment Kit direct to your inbox. (Sorry, no spam.)

 

Inspiration and support for the journey of motherhood.  The manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone. Let’s connect on twitterfacebook and pinterest too.

 

Suzanne Tucker, CEIM, Parent Educator:

In over two decades as a physical therapist and parent educator Suzanne has help thousands connect on a deeper level to themselves and their families, teaching Infant Massage and Positive Parenting to organizations and individuals all over the world. Creator of My Mommy Manual, a website/community inspiring parents to “look inside (yourself) for instructions”, author and co-founder of Brentwood Center of Health, a holistic rehabilitation center, Suzanne lives in Saint Louis, Missouri with her husband, their four children, and far too many pets to mention.

You. Are. Awesome.

You Are Awesome

Yesterday in positive parenting class, I was overwhelmed to the point of tears — (shocker, right?). Ten moms were back for week four out of our six week positive parenting class, and with littles on laps and running around, we settled in to listen and share about our week.

How had it gone? Where had we broken through? Where had we felt stopped?

The moms in this sacred circle of mothers listening to other mothers told story after story of life with littles.

  • Of trips to the zoo with the kids where the zoo turned out to be closed.
  • Of cooking with a two year old and wanting to let them scoop up the flour by themselves but at the very same time, NOT wanting to let them scoop up the flour by themselves.
  • Of couches jumped on, limits tested and words that seemingly fell on deaf ears.
  • Of meltdowns managed and high emotions that were hard to be with.

And in story after story, though most were sharing moments they thought they’d failed or needed help in managing a different way, all I could hear were moments to to be CELEBRATED.

Kids were crying. Life was messy. These were challenging moments to be sure. But here is the thing, these parents were ROCKING the challenges before them.

Unknowingly, as these moms were sharing their struggles, they were also sharing their successes.

They shared about letting go of perfect and accepting instead what life delivered — the moment that was right in front of them.

They shared about patience. Of deep breaths taken. Of yelling avoided and of yelling not avoided and even some apologies that followed.

What brought me to my emotional knees was the idea that these parents did not know, really KNOW, deep in their hearts, how truly awesome they were.

How brilliant.

How loving.

How brave.

(How perfect?!? No, but thankfully, perfect is not in our parenting job description.)

I remember this place. This “I’m not enough” place. I parented from it for many years. It’s a place healing inside of me just a little bit more every day. It’s the place that propels me to remind you of one very important thing in case you too have forgotten.

You. Are. Awesome.

That’s it. Period. End of story. You are.

Be gentle with yourself on this parenting journey. As gentle as you hope to be with your kids.  Be encouraging. Give yourself props for being the parent you are. Today.

The greatest gift we can give our kids is not to be perfect. It is to be NOT PERFECT, and to love ourselves anyway.

When it comes to your kids and to your parenting, know this single thing deep in your heart.

You are enough.

Just keep showing up – for yourself, for your kids, and for your family – and remember to celebrate you.

xo

PS: If you liked this post, please click “like” above, share it and/or join our community of mindful parents. You will receive gentle parenting tips as well as a free gift direct to your inbox — Hug Each Moment Kit, a journal for you to keep, helping you to write love notes once a year to each of your children from birth to ten. (And a promise – I protect your email with my life — no spam allowed!)

 

Support for the journey.  The manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone. Let’s connect on twitterfacebook and pinterest too.

greatest gift not perfect

Suzanne Tucker, CEIM, Parent Educator:

In over two decades as a physical therapist and parent educator Suzanne has help thousands connect on a deeper level to themselves and their families, teaching Infant Massage and Positive Parenting to organizations and individuals all over the world. Creator of My Mommy Manual, a website/community inspiring parents to “look inside (yourself) for instructions”, author and co-founder of Brentwood Center of Health, a holistic rehabilitation center, Suzanne lives in Saint Louis, Missouri with her husband, their four children, and far too many pets to mention.

The Power of Kindness

Want to know where cultivating emotional intelligence in our kids gets us as a society?

This. Right here. What would the world look like if this single boy’s actions were commonplace? (This coach? This team? This community? So much kindness.)

Grab a tissue…

A 6 year old girl gives her mom a “wake-up” call.

Wow. This is an amazing conversation. Watch this little peacemaker’s heart-felt plea for love and her mother’s equally loving response.

“Mom… are you ready to be his friend? Try not to be that high up to be friends. I want everything to be low. Just try your best. I don’t what you and my dad to be mean again. I not trying to be mean… but…”

Our little people have big thoughts to share when we stop and listen. This mom stopped. This mom listened.
 

 
Love this little girl’s insights, the power with with she shares them, and the openness with which her mother receives them.

 

What wise words have your children shared with you over the years?

xo

PS: If you liked this post, please click “like” above, share it and/or join our community of mindful parents. You will receive gentle parenting tips as well as a free gift direct to your inbox — Hug Each Moment Kit, a journal for you to keep, helping you to write love notes once a year to each of your children from birth to ten. (And a promise – I protect your email with my life — no spam allowed!)

 

Support for the journey.  The manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone. Let’s connect on twitterfacebook and pinterest too.

 

Suzanne Tucker, CEIM, Parent Educator:

In over two decades as a physical therapist and parent educator Suzanne has help thousands connect on a deeper level to themselves and their families, teaching Infant Massage and Positive Parenting to organizations and individuals all over the world. Creator of My Mommy Manual, a website/community inspiring parents to “look inside (yourself) for instructions”, author and co-founder of Brentwood Center of Health, a holistic rehabilitation center, Suzanne lives in Saint Louis, Missouri with her husband, their four children, and far too many pets to mention.

 

I am hopeful.

 

Small people,

knowing themselves as powerful and connected.

Small people,

learning how to be with big feelings.

I am hopeful.

 

xo

PS: If you liked this post, please click “like” above, share it and/or join our community of mindful parents. You will receive gentle parenting tips as well as a free gift direct to your inbox — Hug Each Moment Kit, a journal for you to keep, helping you to write love notes once a year to each of your children from birth to ten. (And a promise – I protect your email with my life — no spam allowed!)

 

Support for the journey.  The manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone. Let’s connect on twitterfacebook and pinterest too.

 

Suzanne Tucker, CEIM, Parent Educator:

In over two decades as a physical therapist and parent educator Suzanne has help thousands connect on a deeper level to themselves and their families, teaching Infant Massage and Positive Parenting to organizations and individuals all over the world. Creator of My Mommy Manual, a website/community inspiring parents to “look inside (yourself) for instructions”, author and co-founder of Brentwood Center of Health, a holistic rehabilitation center, Suzanne lives in Saint Louis, Missouri with her husband, their four children, and far too many pets to mention.

Teaching Kids Emotional Intelligence

Meltdowns, tantrums, hitting, biting, screaming, crying, demanding. There’s not a parent on the planet who doesn’t feel triggered when their kids find themselves stuck in their brainstem, where FLIGHT, FIGHT and FREEZE rule the day.

Teaching Kids EI

Not surprisingly, the hardest moments for us to be with as parents are the most important. Navigating emotions with our kids.

How can we help our kids dig their way out of the many dark places they find themselves in the course of a day? One thing’s for sure, if we’re a family that allows for feelings, we are going to see big emotions expressed on a DAILY basis.

There will be only orange popsicles left when green is the color your child wants. Birthday parties and too much sugar. Bedtimes that get missed. Friends that don’t want to play that game right now and siblings that want the very same toy. Building emotional intelligence as a family can help us navigate all of the above and more.

Here are five things you can do to help your family build emotional intelligence (EQ):

 

1. HOLD EMOTIONS AS SACRED

Repeat after me: “If I have kids (humans?) in the house, feelings there will be.” And I mean daily. Big, messy, sometimes scary and often times ugly feelings. Once we as parents stop feeling broken because we fear our kids are broken (or why the hell else would they be acting so damn emotional all the time and what the hell did I do wrong?!?! Yeah, been there myself more than a few times), it’s amazing how much energy we can free up to then help our kiddos manage their freak-outs. This first step for building EQ requires very little action from us, but a whole-lotta effort.

Holding emotions as sacred. This mostly happens inside of us. When you begin to fully accept children’s big emotions as sacred (even as they melt down right before your very eyes) the shift in you, though often a quiet one, will be notable in two important ways that even a baby can discern. 1) through your accepting/present eye contact and 2), by the expression on your face and your body language as a whole. To cue your child’s brain with your body language in a way that helps them feel safe, simply squat down, uncross your arms (if they are crossed as mine tend to want to be) and be available. Offer hugs more than demand them. Sometimes hugs help – and sometimes they make your child want to scratch your eyes out even more than they already did a second ago. Depends. 😉

2. HELP KIDS “NAME IT TO TAME IT”

This second step is just as simple as it sounds. Your child didn’t get the color popsicle they wanted and as they crumble to the floor in disappointment you say, “Wow, you really like orange popsicles don’t you? You really wanted the orange one. You are feeling so sad (or mad or disappointed, whatever it looks like they are feeling) you didn’t get the color you wanted!” Then pause. Allow your child the time and space to take in the reassurance you are offering.

In naming and not judging your child’s feelings, you are modeling high level emotional intelligence (mindfulness, acceptance, self control, empathy and even kindness). You are teaching them even though you are not preaching to them.

3. SHOW KINDNESS WHEN IT IS UNEXPECTED 

In this third step to teaching EQ, practice pausing, breathing and standing by quietly as your child expresses him or herself. If you hold this space long enough, you might find your emotional child melting into your arms rather than your angry child, retreating to their room feeling upset and confused, blaming YOU and your reaction to their upset as the cause of their angst.

With sobbing child in arms, you might find yourself feeling a little bit surprised and maybe even relieved. Do not be fooled. It’s not over yet. Continue to hold the space. I like to say to myself, “ZIP IT” right about this moment because the drive to preach in this teaching moment runs deep. Remind yourself, the moment is talking to your child much louder than your words ever could right this second. Let your kindness do the talking. Allow for the moment and focus on being there for your child not being right. You can always talk things through later to drive home the finer points when things are less emotional and true learning stands a real chance of happening.

Your child will internalize your unexpected kindness. And heck, you just might be on the receiving end of it one unexpected day soon.

4. OWN YOUR OWN EMOTIONS

If you can own your own emotions instead of projecting them back on your child, what happens on the other side is magic. The aftermath of a child with big emotions, fully expressed and met with love, will astound you.

In the matter of the wrong colored popsicle, after an accepting hug and some tears shed, you might see your child take a deep breath, collect him or herself a bit, and then move those little legs quickly over to the freezer to grab an orange popsicle, somehow now seemingly oblivious to the fact that the thing still isn’t green like they’d been so torn up about just a second ago. It’s not that they don’t care anymore, it’s that they did care, they felt heard, and now they’re over it. Consider it payback for holding your SH*# together in step #3.

5. TEACH KIDS TO CONNECT WITH NATURE AND THEIR BREATH

What can I say about the calming qualities of nature and tapping into one’s breath that you don’t already know? Mostly, we just need to remember to use these two powerful yet simple tools to help our kids regulate their emotions. It’s not rocket science, we know they help. They are free and nearly always an option.

From the infant who won’t stop crying until we walk outside, to the toddler who is stuck inside and bouncing off the walls until sent outside to play. Once outside, this same child begins to channel their energy into countless creative games. Nature is the ultimate balancer. It has so much to teach us.

And as for connecting to our breath? This is the most important tool we have for finding and living from our center. Just check-in with your breath the next time you or your child is upset. I bet it stops.

Go outside and breathe. Two of my favorite tools to encourage my kids to do both of these things are by yogi and author Emily A. Filmore. If you have trouble getting your kids to settle down for bedtime, both of these will be a welcome addition. My twins and I read and practiced the postures in “It’s A Beautiful Day for Yoga” before bedtime nearly every night when they were three. It helped us connect on those night where all I wanted was for them to go to sleep so I could snatch a moment of alone time for myself. Through connection, movement and breath, I was able to get those heads on pillows that much quicker. 😉
it's a beautifulday for yoga mmm

In summary, parenting from a place of non-judgment in the face of an unhappy youngster can be challenging. Start by simply repeating the following:  “Emotions are sacred, emotions are sacred, emotions are sacred…” and over time, put the above five steps together. Odds are, when you were little, no matter how amazing your parents were, your big emotions were not always met with this sort of acceptance. For many, they were more likely met with a look of disapproval, harsh words, and/or maybe even the backside of a hand.

So be gentle with yourself. Take baby steps and celebrate yourself when you nail just one of these five things.

 

We don’t need to be perfect parents, just human ones, living, loving, growing and healing right alongside our kids.

And when that moment comes and you feel yourself calmly meeting your child’s big emotions from your center, believe me, healing will occur; and not only for your little people, but inside of you as well.

xo

PS: If you liked this post, join our community of mindful parents. You will receive gentle parenting tips as well as a free gift direct to your inbox — Hug Each Moment Kit, a journal for you to keep, helping you to write love notes once a year to each of your children from birth to ten. (And a promise – I protect your email with my life — no spam allowed!)

 

Support for the journey.  The manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone. Let’s connect on twitterfacebook and pinterest too.

 

Suzanne Tucker, CEIM, Parent Educator:

In over two decades as a physical therapist and parent educator Suzanne has help thousands connect on a deeper level to themselves and their families, teaching Infant Massage and Positive Parenting to organizations and individuals all over the world. Creator of My Mommy Manual, a website/community inspiring parents to “look inside (yourself) for instructions”, author and co-founder of Brentwood Center of Health, a holistic rehabilitation center, Suzanne lives in Saint Louis, Missouri with her husband, their four children, and far too many pets to mention.

Just Keep Swimming

This post is for all the mamas and papas out there of littles, whether of twins or not, that feel like they are “in the trenches”. I feel ‘ya. Those first few weeks, months (years???). Man.

When my B/G twins, youngest of four, stepped on the bus and left for Kindergarten this Wednesday, I sat in my quiet house for a good 30 minutes and looked back at the journey the last five years has been. What came to me was how TRUE this popular (and maybe even a bit cliche) saying is: “the days are LONG but the years are short.”

I also thought, “How the hell did I DO that???!?!?”

h and c first day K 2015 watermark

Lol. No really. Cause what my husband and I did and what you all have done/are doing — it’s the stuff of legends. Parenting our little people – it’s important, hard, a privilege and completely awesome. Not that parenting little people over five is a walk in the park everyday either… but it’s just – easier.

Anyhow, I thought it’d be a timely moment to share about the things that GET US THROUGH. Mine (especially those first two years of life with four and the youngest two being perpetually nursing twins) was this: I would sing a ‘lil Dori from Nemo to myself — “just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…”

Feeling… reflective and blessed today. Thanks for listening. And hey, if you’re parenting kids of ANY age, but most especially babies, toddlers and preschoolers, and you find yourself in need of some encouragement, watch this:

What say you? What gets YOU through??? And if your kiddos are old enough, how’s back to school month 2015/16 going in your world? Comment below.

ps: the pictures above are my littles — first day of life, at 6 months old and then this past Wednesday on their first day of Kindergarten. (Plus here’s a picture of all our kids so I don’t feel guilty. Yep. Mom guilt. Ugh!!!)

tucker kids oct 2014

xo

PS: If you liked this post, join our community of mindful mamas. You will receive gentle parenting tips as well as a free gift direct to your inbox, a Hug Each Moment Kit, a journal you keep, writing love notes once a year to each of your children from birth to ten. (And a promise I’ll protect your email with my life — no spam allowed!!!)

 

Inspiration and support for the journey of motherhood.  The manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone. Let’s connect on twitterfacebook and pinterest too.

 

Suzanne Tucker, CEIM, Parent Educator:

In over two decades as a physical therapist and parent educator Suzanne has help thousands connect on a deeper level to themselves and their families, teaching Infant Massage and Positive Parenting to organizations and individuals all over the world. Creator of My Mommy Manual, a website/community inspiring parents to “look inside (yourself) for instructions”, author and co-founder of Brentwood Center of Health, a holistic rehabilitation center, Suzanne lives in Saint Louis, Missouri with her husband, their four children, and far too many pets to mention.