How to Find Your Child’s Parenting Manual

I needed to be reminded by my own message today. Tune in. Trust.

Thank you spirit for this reminder that came in the form of a conversation with my friend Katharine — a loving mama (to a very lucky little five-months-old boy) who is navigating the sometimes crazy road of mothering an infant, seeking balance as she lives with sleepless nights  and the many questions we moms face as first time (heck, as ANYtime) moms. “Am I doing it right? What does my baby need? Am I a good mom?!?”…

My friend is a warrior because she is taking the spiritual path of motherhood ON. It’s not always an easy path, but what it lacks in ease it makes up for in soft baby kisses and looks of love that could charm the devil himself.

Here is what I am remembering today.


Ok…where’s the manual??? How many of us have felt that way when we are first sent out of the hospital with our little bundle of joy held snuggly in our arms? It would be nice though. Just turn to page 3 on crying and you will see exactly what you need to do. Not sleeping? Please turn to page 12.

Well, this may be hard to believe, but our children do come with a manual. And we actually get a different one with each child, each manual as as unique as they are. And like all manuals, just because we are given the manual doesn’t mean we immediately have all the knowledge inside memorized just by holding it. No, we will actually have to READ the manual if it’s going to help us. Or in the case of the manual that comes with each child, we need to LISTEN to it. You see, this manual is called our intuition.

The hard thing about intuition and parenting is that so often, as new moms, we are clear about one thing…we know nothing!!! I know it feels that way. But I am here to tell you, and hear me loud and clear, “Yes you do!!!” If it feels like you were absent the day this thing called “a mother’s intuition” was handed out, relax. It might just be that you are standing there holding it in your hands, wishing you knew what it said inside, frustrated that you don’t. Hey, I got an idea. Let’s OPEN IT UP and let that information in!

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How to Have Some Fun!!!

If you’ve taken our Yoga Parenting class on Ritual/Play, you’ll know we think it’s important to get silly with our kids. And yet, it can be challenging for us moms to exercise those “play muscles.” When I was married, I delegated the rough-housing, tickling, wrestling to dad. But why?! Are we short on time? Or are we too busy being the R-E-S-P-O-N-S-I-B-L-E adults?! (said in stodgy boring documentary voice).

I very often fall into the trap of feeling responsible for making sure my kids brush their teeth (as you recall from another post), take their medicine and eat their broccoli. Can you think of anyone more UNfun than mommy? Ugh!

A few minutes of playing goes such a long way to filling our buckets. So infuse a little fun into your day, moms! It’s your JOB!

Suzanne and I had so much fun on the trampoline that day. I’m telling ya, there’s nothing like getting physical to lift your spirits. On any given day but especially when you’re feeling a general sense of malaise, just channel your inner @AlliWorthington and [Read more…]

How to Improve Your Photos

You probably already know that I use my spare time to photograph people, things, and scenes. I use a Canon Rebel, two different lenses, an external flash, lights and other fancy gadgets when I’m shooting. But I haven’t always. And you don’t have to either. There are simple things you can do to improve your everyday photos. **Please note: For this tutorial, I used my little cousin’s Sanyo S670. It boasts 6 mega-pixels and 3x optical zoom! Also, I’ve used a very compliant model.

1) READ YOUR MANUAL. I cannot stress this one enough. Every camera comes with one and it details all the settings of your camera. Many people get all comfy-cozy with the little green box. Auto. It works okay. But knowing how to use the other settings is very helpful and can improve your photos more than you may imagine.

2) Getting to know your settings:

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How to Thwart A Devil’s Plans

We want him to be in maximum uncertainty, so that his mind will be filled with unpredictable pictures of the future, every one of which arouses hope or fear. There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human’s mind against the Enemy.

~ C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

If you are not familiar with The Screwtape Letters, it might help to know that it’s written from the perspective of a devil named Screwtape. The Enemy is God. And C.S. Lewis (I think) is brilliant. How insightful he is on the nature of us humans to be obsessed with “what if….”

The day that I left for the Type A Mom Conference, my daughter had a “crisis” with her homework. By crisis, I mean she had a complete and total meltdown about a book report that was due in two days. When I asked her what was the matter she cried to me, “My teacher is going to be so mad and I’ll have to sit in at recess and finish it and it will be only the second time in my whole history of school that I will have to sit in at recess!!!!!!!!”


But none of that has happened yet? You don’t know that it’s going to happen at all!

She’s only eight and already her mind has created pictures of the future – fearful ones at that.

So I coached her back to the present, using the breathing techniques we teach in Yoga Parenting. I like to say that our bodies are the only parts of us that have no choice but to be in the Present! There is real Grace in inhabiting our bodies. Uncle Screwtape wants to keep us mortals obsessed with the yet-to-be named future. And since he’s a demon, I’m making it my intention to stay firmly in the “Enemy’s” Now Camp. [Read more…]

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 Respect Each Others’ Boundaries

NO is not a bad word! “No” is how we maintain boundaries with each other, both adults and children. It’s a word that we want our kids to be able to say with confidence. Think of all the situations when we want them to “Just say No!”

So how do you react when your child establishes a boundary with you? After all, how are they going to master it without any practice! 🙂 Watch the VIDEO: Zen Mommy and I take on this question from the Yoga Parenting course.

No is powerful. But as a child myself, saying “no” to my parents was… unheard of. I’m sure that my tendency to NOT say “no” has been the root of… um, many many significant life lessons. Remember Jennifer Burden’s article last week, How to Just Say No? This is a biggie, people! This is how are little people learn!

Thank you, Jennifer for sharing how you set your boundaries. My dear readers, how have you set boundaries. Or, how has your child set boundaries with you? How did you respond?

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?

Zen Mommy Minute: Beautiful Boundaries

No, I do not have a twin. I just wanted to show you one of my favorite pieces of art which we happen to have hung by a rather large mirror. What I wanted to show you is how this piece of art reminds me of my “boundaries”.

Boundaries (in art and in life) are a beautiful thing. They give structure and form when they are present and can be sorely missed when they are not. Listen to this short video for more on the topic of parenting and boundaries.

What are some of your biggest challenges in the area of boundaries and parenting? Mine is [Read more…]

How to Get Centered

In this VIDEO, we talk about getting centered and staying centered. Centeredness is a state of mind — that does not have to be linked to your external circumstances. Really!

We can use our mind-body connection to help keep us centered. Click to watch the video and find out how.

Centering is Lesson One of our eight-week online course. If you ready for parenting to be easier, more fun and less stressful, check out the Yoga Parenting course

Zen Mommy Minute: Skinned Knees Rock

It is important to allow our children to fail. To fall down. To be disappointed. Sound harsh? Believe it or not, it actually helps our kids build self-esteem and self confidence when we refrain from “saving” them from life.

It also helps our children grow when they see us modeling acceptance in the midst of our own “not-perfect” moments. Example: You arrive 10 minutes late to school pick up and as they climb in the car you say, “I’m sorry I’m late for pickup today guys! How was your day?” with a smile instead of modeling GUILT with something like “I am soooooooo soooooorry I’m late. I feel so bad. I thought I could get another errand done in time. That was so stupid of me. Man. I hate when I do that…” or something to that effect.

When we swoop in and fix things for our kids before they get to experience the consequences of their own less than perfect moments (forgotten lunches, unsigned permission slips, messy rooms with laundry that needs to be thrown down or risk missing laundry day, etc) we are actually doing our kids a disservice, keeping them from a potential lesson in self love and what it takes to “be with” imperfection and disappointments.

What do you do when your child leaves his or her lunch/homework/gym shorts at home??!?!!

Do you remember being a kid and learning from life when it gave you a skinned knee or two?

I’d love to hear about how this topic of skinned knees (and their many blessings) lives for you.



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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. xoxo


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Positive Parenting Tip: The Importance of Predictability

positive_Parenting_tipOur Yoga Parenting audio tips are presented every Friday by Michaela Turner, BS Ed, CYKT, YKT, Co-creator of the Yoga Parenting course.

A great tip for both kids AND parents! Listen to this :15 AUDIO TIP:

Are you ready for parenting to be easier, more fun and less stressful?

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