Real Life Parenting.
Every week in my positive parenting Facebook group, we share a Real Life Parenting scenario from our group for new ideas + support. Here's our first Real Life Parenting Scenario.
"How do I make the most out of time with my child? Between my job outside of the home and taking care of the house, we spend about 3 maybe 4 hours of time together a day, but part of that he has to share me because I spend cooking and cleaning.
My son is two, and an only child so there is a light guilty feeling when ever I am not.. Entertaining him. I feel terrible when he is upset, because I worry that he is lonely. Being 2, he can't identify those feelings and express them. I often find myself wondering how much better of a relationship we would have if I didn't work. However, I read once and agree with that if I didn't work, perhaps I would not appreciate our time together as much.
I wish I could spend every second with my lo, but I know he also appreciates some space from a hovering parent. Where do I draw the line? It brings me to tears watching him wish I didn't leave him, but my job is important to me too. Help!"
I feel ya. The work-home balance can be so challenging.
If I could send someone to help every family in my community with cooking and cleaning, I would. The demands of modern parenting are crazy, and often unrealistic.
I love what you said: motherhood (and life), are all about appreciating what we DO have.
For life keeps going, and our children keep growing, whether we are enjoying- or not.
Too many moms spend our days wrought with mommy guilt.
To chill and enjoy what we do have is the greatest gift we can give ourselves, and our family.
Here's some suggestions to maximize your already existing positive outlook:
Create a positive saying to remind yourself of what's most important.
It's awesome that you want to make the most of the time you have with your little guy.
You already know what's most important to you. Let this positivity guide you.
You can maximize your positivity by creating a positive saying that you can repeat to yourself throughout the day. Something like:
"I'm a wonderful mom."
Or "I love my son and my work."
"My life is in balance.
Or maybe just "relax and enjoy."
A positive saying like this may feel cheesy at first, but if we think about how often we're repeating negative sayings of self-doubt or self-criticism to ourselves throughout the day, a positive saying or affirmation can be one of our most powerful tools.
Positive sayings are particularly helpful to help you bridge between work and home. You can repeat your positive saying on the commute home, and as you're getting settled in at home in the afternoon to help you stay connected to what's most important to you.
* Give yourself permission to do less.
If reading that statement feels like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders, wonderful and go with it. Truly, we can't do it all. Make your life easier.
Here's some possible ideas:
* Hire a mommy's helper to clean.
* Use the crock pot for dinner.
*If you do your own cooking, eat more prepared and packaged food
* Do the minimum amount of housework that keeps you feeling sane and at ease at home. If you value neatness and tidiness, and need a clean house to feel relaxed, that's wonderful too- then clean away. But if "lived in" doesn't really bother you, I hereby give you permission to prioritize time with your son over cleaning.
We can't do it all, so do what is most important to you. And let the rest slide like water off a duck's back.
* Power Time: Quality over Quantity
We fill our children's emotional cups through quality time together in which we feel connected to our children, and our children feel connected to us--- and this is the foundation for all of our children's future growth, health, and learning.
15 to 30 minutes daily of child-led, sitting on the floor connection time fills up your little ones emotional cup. It could be easy to dwell on the time you're not with your son, or everything that needs to be done while you are with him. Think 30 power minutes of quality connected time with your little guy everyday to meet his needs. For more info about the power of Special Time, this article may be helpful.
* Kitchen Time: Do it together.
Doing dishes and cooking together, either with your little guy helping you, or bringing his pretend play into the kitchen is a wonderful way to have together time, introduce life skills, and foster creative play. Children at this age usually love to help.
You can introduce kitchen together time on a weekday when everyone is more relaxed, and then continue it throughout the work week.
Some ideas include:
* Empty out a cupboard and filling it will all child-safe kitchenware
* Give him a small bowl of water to wash dishes, or having him help on a chair while you wash
* Buy or make pretend play food
* Together and Apart: Repeat.
It's always a balance as a parent of fostering both connection and independence within our children. Very often parents today feel they have to be with their children all the time, entertaining them, making sure they are happy. Or parents don't really know how to facilitate, or understand the value of, independent play, even for very small children.
On the other hand, we don't want our children feeling isolated from us emotionally or physically. In particular, media often becomes our babysitter so we can get done what we need to around the house.
Here's a general rule of thumb: for every 30 minutes of child-led "together time," think 5-10 minutes of independent play.
What does this look like?
* For example, do a puzzle together, then your little guy plays his favorite toy on the floor for a few moments while you take a moment for yourself, or to get something done around the house.
* Or while you're prepping dinner, your son is right next to you pretending to cook, and you are talking to him about what he's doing or you're doing. Then, he plays in his kitchen cupboard while you finish dinner.
The amount of times and the nature of the activities and the time together and apart depend upon your child's personality, and also what he needs that day (like if he is sick or over-tired he might want you to be closer).
The Circle of Security explains how to strengthen the parent child bond, and meet children's needs for connection and independence. You can watch this short video here for more info.
* Trust Your Intuition
And most importantly: trust your intuition. When you focus on first meeting your own needs, both emotionally and physically as a parent, you are in the optimal place to access your wisdom as a parent.
You know what is best for you, and your little guy. Trust in you, try out any of the ideas shared above or in our positive parenting group, and remember you have a supportive community behind you.
Thank you for sharing this Real Life Parenting Challenge that so many parents face today. And thanks for the amazing work you're doing everyday to raise the next generation!
All the best,
p.s. Join the Parenting for the Next Generation Facebook Group to share your Real Life Parenting Challenge. For more information about working with Megan to access your wisdom and the latest brain science tools in parenting, click here.
Children are great imitators. We may notice this most often when our children repeat back our negative behaviors, reactions, or things we say, including swearing. We may never even realize we respond a certain way, until we see the response in our children.
Our modeling is the #1 way children learn. In parenting it's "what we do, not what we say" that counts. It is our actions that teach our little ones.
Also, have you ever noticed how when you're having a bad day, your children also seem to be having a bad day as well? Part of this phenomenon has to do with the negative lens or intent we are seeing the world with when we're having a bad day. And this is also mirror neurons at work.
Overview of Mirror Neurons:
The concept of mirror neurons was developed from studies with monkeys.
Scientists discovered that the same neurons in a monkey's brain fired when the monkey picked up an object and when the monkey watched another monkey pick up the object. The monkey's brain is having nearly the same experience whether it does something, or is watches someone else do it.
Huge right? Scientists are studying mirror neurons in people, and the way we understand mirror neurons is every changing as on-going research explains how mirror neurons help us "survive and thrive in a complex world."
In order for your brain to adopt another's action as your own, you must be able to understand another's persons point of view. Neuroscientists believe mirror neurons can help us understand consciousness, empathy, and interconnectedness-- as well as the power and responsibility of not only our actions, but the intentions behind our actions. Mirror neurons also prove that feeling, not logical thought is the basis of our interactions with others.
While some scientists state that mirror neurons only are responsible for reflecting back actions, other scientists say mirror neurons are also responsible for how we reflect back one another's feelings and thoughts.
Mirror Neurons in Parenting
Some research has shown that our children are wired to reflect back our emotional and mental states. Dan Siegel has said that are children are more like sponges, soaking up our thoughts and feelings. One scientific article said that children are literal mind-readers. Children's ability to attune in this way to their parents and caregivers ensures their safety, and the survival of the human race.
Parenting is nearly all conscious and unconscious behavioral responses rooted in thoughts, feeling, and intentions that form the basis of our daily lives, interactions, and the foundation of our children's inner worlds. The
In this video, Dan Siegel explains how people have an ability to understand a pattern of repeated actions, the implications for the actions, and ultimately the intention behind the actions. All this occurs, for most us, automatically and is the inner workings of the brain that explain human behavior.
From this pattern of understanding other's behavior, the intentions behind the behavior, and the broader implications of this behavior, the brain then creates a neural map of this pattern. This neural map is the basis for how children learn both how to be compassionate, caring, thoughtful individuals or how we teach children to be mean, uncaring, and violent.
Children's behavior and character (and our very own behavior and characters) is all based on the intentions and actions from caregivers, and from the previous generation of parent-child interactions.
When mirror neurons in parenting are positive and pro-social, humanity- and the individual child- is on track to have a happy and healthy life from the inside out. And when mirror neurons teach children violent, anti-social, or negative behavior, it's truly sad and threatens the survival of the human species. The good news is that even the adult brain can change throughout the life span, and we can always rework and rewire negative patterns originating in our childhood. This creation of positive patterns for ourselves and our children is the hope for humanity, and the essence of my positive parenting programs.
Here's the deal...
It was good.
We got some summer magic on.
Enjoying the little moments
that make up our days
with our little ones.
Even with everything else
going on in a day.
Even when life is stressful.
We got serious on havin' FUN
while being good to ourselves.
It was just a week,
but Summer Magic 2016
for the waaaaay better
and I hope it did for you too.
My goal with Summer Magic 2016
was to help you get your inner glow on.
The foundation of you,
you shining like the sun,
is your belief in you.
This is your #1 for everything in life.
You can do it!
But you must believe it too.
One of the best ways we can come into the moment.
This moment in time with our children
it to let go (even a little bit)
of what's holding us back,
keeping us down,
or stressing us out.
In Summer Magic 2016,
we talked about letting it go
to get more inner glow.
When things get hot,
or plain old hard in parenting,
and in life
--- the key to getting through
and thriving through the storm---
is keeping it cool.
these lessons i learned
from my friends who call the tropics home.
people who are masters at keeping it cool
when temps rise,
and there's no air conditioning.
Here's those top lessons,
as they apply to parenting.
And our last Summer Magic
may have been the most important of all.
When you're feeling down and out,
when life is too much to bear,
when things feel impossible,
try a little gratitude.
Gratitude isn't just about being nice + polite.
It is a power,
and your bridge to happiness.
Your best summer magic pick-me-up!
Summer Magic 2016 is a wrap!
Continue the FUN + MAGIC.
This summer, transform your challenges
into your GIFTS.
The Summer Magic Mastermind begins Monday, July 11th.
Join us for the early bird reg rate, which ends on Friday, July 8th.
a 6 week online positive parenting program to:
Live your POWER this summer.
And we'll see you next year for Summer Magic 2017!
This summer is dedicated to doing it.
Whatever "it" is.
Maybe its your family vacation
that's right around the corner.
Or that project.
Having your kids home.
Or getting outside more.
Maybe it's a big challenge.
Or you just want to clean out your garage.
Whatever it is,
the first step
to doing anything,
is believing in YOU.
Believing that you can do it.
That it's possible.
Whatever "it" is.
You can do it.
But you have to do more than take my word for it.
You have to believe it too.
As I shared in Summer Magic,
I'm not saying that all your problems
will disappear just by believing in yourself
(or maybe they will!).
if you don't believe in yourself,
very little else is possible in life.
You believing in you
is your foundation,
upon which everything else
in your life
Believing in your children is one of the most effective positive parenting tools.
And believing in yourself is even more effective.
Because in order to really believe in your children,
you must believe in yourself first.
So how to cultivate this belief in you?
Say it til you believe it.
Walk around your house,
saying in your head:
"I can do it."
"I believe in myself."
Especially if you have insurmountable obstacles
in your world this summer.
Especially if you feel
10 times a day.
morning, noon & night.
"I can do it."
"I believe in myself."
And say it again,
when those little gremlins
of self-doubt start speaking up.
Yes, it will feel cheesy at first.
But say it still.
"I can do it."
"I believe in myself."
Say it like you mean it.
And like you believe it.
Then say it some more.
Your belief in you
is your most effective way
to do "it" this summer of 2016.
Whatever it may be,
have fun with the power
of believing in you,
this summer + beyond.
You can do it,
The day before Summer Magic 2016 began, unexpected house guests arrived.
A mom with two babies under 2.
The busiest week of my summer,
and a full house of a whole 'nother family
in our home.
My life goes like that.
Maybe yours does too?
When it seems like I can't do anymore,
then I'm called to do even more.
For that is how we grow.
it's selfish of me
to make that experience about me.
Because I did grow and learn last week
more than I have in a long time.
But it's not about me.
It's about how much I hate poverty.
I can't stand that some people have their basic needs met.
And other people don't.
It's not right.
Every single child has a human right
to food, water, and shelter.
Every mom has a right to parent
with her basic needs met.
How do we live in a world where that isn't the case?
It's absolutely beyond me.
And yet it's reality.
I learned about what it means to help.
And hat isn't helpful at all.
Sadly, how the lines blur
when people's imperfections get involved.
I learned about how I long to do more.
To be able to give more.
And help more.
For everyone deserves the basics.
The growth sometimes hurt this week.
But that's part of how we grow too.
This week, I'm wishing you:
Growth from the inside out.
So you can reach your highest potential.
To do more of what it is that you're here to.
p.s. Growing pains are part of the journey.
Have a wonderful week,
Hi friends, I write from the heart to tell my life story, and the story of those in my neighborhood called life. Research shows that our children's emotional & mental health is contingent upon us parents being able to tell our life story, or "coherent narrative." This is my coherent narrative, my life story in the making, with some of what I love in life too. My goal is to share my life in a way that is real, uplifting & positive- sometimes serious, sometimes fun. In my practice, I inspire parents to empowerment through reclaiming our life stories and learning respectful discipline. My work is my offering to our children- our future. Wishing you all a happy family!