How to Stop Punching Each Other In the Face

In civilized life domestic hatred usually expresses itself by saying things which would seem quite harmless on paper (the words are not offensive) but in such a voice, or at such a moment, that they are not far short of a blow in the face.
– C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

We KNOW this to be true, don’t we? The exasperation in our voices as we tell our child for the umpteenth time to BRUSH YOUR TEEEEEETH! Or for the love of all things holy, could you remember to put the tooth paste cap on??!

This is the point when we think to ourselves, “When did I turn into my mother?!” Aaaargh. (no offense, mom!)

As C.S. Lewis knows fully well, it’s habitual incidents like this that chip away at our domestic relationships, create the Mommy Guilt, and build resentment between us and the ones we love most in the world. But what recourse do we have, considering that part of our responsibility in raising these small beings is making sure that they make it to semi-adulthood with most of their teeth intact?!

I have this alternative to offer: disengage from the power struggle. It’s not the words themselves but the tone. So how does one deliver the words without the tone? Use signs. Wha? (VIDEO 1:13)

This is a technique that I learned in the Yoga Parenting lesson on Boundaries. [Read more…]

How to Be a Happy (Not Guilty) Mama

So I was supposed to be stepping onto a plane just about now.  I was heading for a weekend in Asheville, North Carolina with my BFF (and business partner) Ria Sharon.

Hotel rooms, dinners, lots of girl time… not to mention the real reason I was going: to speak at the very cool Type A Mom Conference, mingling with ka-jillions of super cool moms that work online like myself.

So what happened? Why am I sitting here in my home office typing while the twins take their afternoon nap? It has to do with two things 1) Mommy Intuition and 2) Mommy Guilt… the very things I planned to speak about at the Conference. [Read more…]

How to Lose the Mommy Guilt

Is it possible? Not surprisingly, Mommy Guilt is a hot topic. We’re explored that in a session called, “Lose the Mommy Guilt: Juggling Family Life and Blogging” at the Type A Mom Conference.

We were excited to be on a panel with Molly Gold and Kim Coleman to listen to you and how Mommy Guilt manifests. This session was great because each of the panelists are so different, that together we provided a range of solutions and perspectives.

We shared our Yoga Parenting tools on how to manage the beast! Of course, the Universe provided ample material!

As I prepared to leave for the conference, in characteristic “Practical Mommy” fashion, I had my T-48 hours to departure To-Do List. Of course, the problem with having everything so perfectly orchestrated is that any one hitch in plans means the wheels go flying off the bus, right? So on the day I was supposed to get on a plane, my daughter had an “emergency” with her homework and my son wets the bed! And as I navigated all this, I chuckled to myself because as Zen Mommy always says, “We teach what we most need to learn.” Balance. Aaaaah.

Linda Sellers, our moderator, started the session with the Webster’s Definition of “Guilt:” a feeling of culpability for offenses.

Where does that feeling of culpability, of having done something wrong stem from? I contend that it comes from our tendency to JUDGE OURSELVES.

For example,  I can’t live without my to-do lists. As Practical Mommy and not unlike @MyGoMom, it’s one of my go-to solutions.  But it is important to remember that the list is a tool, a means to an end rather than an end in itself. My tendency is to look at the list at the end of the day and evaluate the success of my day by the number of items I got to check off the list. It’s our human nature, er, habit to judge something/everything as either GOOD or BAD. Judgement is the root of Mommy Guilt and really, all guilt.

However, if we can withhold judgement and remember that when things don’t go according to plan, it doesn’t mean #FAIL! It just meant that reality did not match your preconceived vision. Did I mention that Zen Mommy had to cancel at the last minute? Our panel was planned as a panel of FOUR. Instead it was three plus a video post from Zen Mommy on How to Be a Happy (Not Guilty) Mama!

I loved Kim’s response to Mommy Guilt. She explained that she does not fall victim to this very often but when she does, it must mean that something is truly out of balance. Guilt is a red flag that lets her know that something in her life needs to change because the way she’s doing it at the moment, is not working, which led to the next topic.

Life Balance
We asked the audience for their definition of balance and you responded: Peace. Stability.

I happen to agree. I used to think that being balanced meant that all the different “silos” of my life were equal: my house column, my children column, my career column, my personal fulfillment column… if I had devoted equal amounts of time and energy towards each of these in a given period of time, say a day or a week or a month, yay for me! I was “balanced.” I realized that as Molly pointed out, this is “a myth!”

As my life has shifted, I realized that I can tap into feelings of peace and stability at any time. Any moment. Really. By taking a deep breath and getting re-settled in my body, I can be balanced. And when I am balanced, I can more clearly see what priorities need to go on my to-do lists and tackle those to-do’s with intention rather than frenetic energy… which I believe is the experience we are all trying to avoid, right?

My favorite trick is using the breath, Yoga-style of course, to tune and re-center myself. Here’s a quick video demonstration:

Kim also pointed out that everything is constantly changing. There are times when you will spend more time on work and other times you’ll spend more time with your family, depending on what needs attending or even what stage of life your children are in. I loved her takeaway that whatever is happening, nothing lasts for very long — good or bad.

Molly also reminded everyone that it’s important to figure out what works for you because each mom and family is different. What may seem like too much for you (like going to kids’ sporting events endlessly), may be a joy for another mom.

Someone in the audience brought up the challenge of blogging versus family, especially when blogging is not yet contributing to the family financially.

Of course you know me… I am a strong advocate for moms (anyone, really) going after their dreams and passions. A passion infuses happy energy into everything we do, even and especially our parenting. As moms, don’t we want our children to go after their dreams? If we are not willing to allow ourselves our own dreams, how do we expect them to do it?!

If you attended the session and have any more questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments. I would love, love, love for us to share more on mommy guilt and on life balance. We can all learn from each other.

Thank you so much, Molly, Kim and Linda. I’m sure I missed some sage words of advice so if you can remember more from the panel, please add them here.

Related Articles

How to Keep Following Your Bliss

How to Minimize Mommy Guilt

How to Stop “Shoulding” On Yourself

How to Be Enough

How to Recognize Warning Signs

An Interview with Sarah Susanka, bestselling author of The Not So Big Life

Practical Mommy is Ria Sharon, co-creator of the Yoga Parenting course. Are you ready for parenting to be easier, more fun and less stressful?

How to Be an Expert Mommy

When I first spoke with Zen Mommy about guest posting here, my heart was all a-flutter. This is probably because she told me that I’m funny. My husband doesn’t think so. Obviously, he’s WRONG. And it was great fun to throw THAT in his face. So, I was driving along swimmingly, my heart full of happy bubbles and my mouth moving at the speed of light when two very critical words seeped into my consciousness.

Expert Mommy.

I suppose I was so stoked by the offer that I forgot for a moment that this site is a cesspool of knowledge. You know, useful information. Me, an Expert Mommy? Hell, there are so many days when it takes every ounce of my being to just be a mediocre mommy. And right at that moment I almost backed out. I was intimidated at the thought. These women are educated and experienced. I’m a 27 year old mom of one with an uncompleted college education. How could I compete?

Then it hit me.

This is not a pissing contest ladies. It’s a sisterhood. [Read more…]

How to Stop Keeping Up with Suzy

cupcakesYou know Suzy. Perfectly frosted cupcakes. Gifts for every teacher. Suzy Homemaker.

Why is it that there’s always at least one mom in the carpool circle that seems to outdo everyone else? The perfectly wrapped and be-ribboned end of the year teacher’s gift isn’t just about showing appreciation for the preschool teacher, is it? Am I imagining a smirk of victory on that perfectly powdered face? I think I just lost that portion of the competition. [Read more…]

How to Minimize Mommy Guilt

mom_guiltLast week, I wrote an article about Child Immunizations and I realized that whether it’s about tough decisions like that one or small ones (like letting them watch one more episode of Dora while we finish a conversation with a girlfriend), moms seem to be hard-wired with Mommy Guilt. It seems like from the moment we conceive these precious beings, we want to be the best moms possible and yet the internal dialogue starts almost immediately… “OMG! I had that glass of wine and I didn’t know I was pregnant!” [Read more…]