Since becoming a Mum almost two years ago my priorities have re-aligned, my intentions have shifted and my whole world has been turned upside down in the best way possible. I believe that we are here to grow and learn, from each other, our teachers but also our children. I have learnt very quickly how much they do teach you; how accomplished they are at addressing your weaknesses; how wise they are at pushing you to a place of total surrender and love; and how deeply in-tune they are with themselves and the world.
For those of us who are parents and those of us who will become parents, I think we can all agree a strong and lasting connection with our children is one of our highest intentions. There are many parenting approaches out there, some you read about and immediately resonate with, others are recommended to you or sometimes you even resort to ones you promised yourself you wouldn’t because times are so desperate. The most important thing is to follow your heart, intuition and do what is best for you and your child.
I refer to myself as a “Knowledge Junkie” as I love learning. From an early age from favourite shop has always been the bookshop and I grew up with my nose permanently embedded in books of adventure, fantasy, inspiration, spirituality and growth. So of course when I discovered I was going to be a Mum I had to pay a visit to the local bookshop. I didn’t know what I was after exactly, but I knew beyond a slither of doubt that the way I needed to parent was beyond the norm, it was different, it was unique and I wanted in. So I put it out to the Universe to show me the way.
Two months before giving birth I went to a Calmbirth workshop with my husband and the handbook I was given contained many gems. However, the most valuable item was in the Appendices; a lovely article on Aware Parenting. From the first paragraph my husband and I knew we had been given an answer to what we were looking for. Now just a side note, I am not in any way affiliated with promoting this approach and as with everything you take what resonates and leave the rest. To me those Aware Parenting books were an arrow, a beacon of light onto the path I began to take once my son was born.
Since then it has been a wild, fulfilling, challenging and loving ride. Being a self proclaimed “Knowledge Junkie” I have combined what I have read from numerous writers, researchers and parents that have come before me and with my hands on experience as a Mum. However, at the end of the day it is my own personal experience that really shapes how I have formed a strong connection with my son that I know will last a lifetime and beyond.
I believe our roles as parents is to empower our children, inspire them, support them and allow them to flourish into the beautiful beings they are born here to be. Talking about this, lights me up, it evokes my passion and it brings me great joy. Each and everyone of us is as unique as every child, we have all come here to share our unique gifts with the world and I knew before I even planned on having children that I didn’t want to control them, shape them or mould them into something I saw they needed to be. Instead I want to support them, surrender to who they are and most importantly to learn from them. We can learn so much from our children when we see them as equals. From my personal experience they know a lot more than they can communicate, are more intuitive than we can ever fathom and are more pure and loving than anything I have ever experienced. On that note I would like to leave you with some suggestions that have been shaped by my knowledge absorption and personal experience on how we as parents and as a community can form strong, loving and lasting connections with our children.
Inspirations for Lifetime Connections by Steph:
Gabrielle Bernstein says that we need to measure our success by how much fun we are having. In our busy, time poor lives we sadly push fun and play with our children down our list of priorities. So I pose this challenge to you set aside either at least 10 minutes everyday or 30 minutes every week to play with your children. Let your child direct the play, trust them and allow them to lead you down a path that you yourself may have not experienced in years. They will take you to a place of pure imagination, fun and joy. It will release your stress, their stress and form lasting memories that will last forever. Measure parenting by how much fun you are having as a parent with your children.
Accept who your child is negative emotions and all. Many of us are taught that negative emotions such as anger, sadness and fear should be hidden, pushed down and concealed. However, all this repressive behaviour causes stress and anxiety. How many of you after having a good cry felt so much better, especially if you had someone who loves you sitting there and listening to you? Children are no different they need to cry to release their emotions as well. In fact Biochemists have proven that our tears contain the stress hormone cortisol. Meaning that our tears release pent up stress in our body. The next time you recognise that your baby/child is crying due to pent up emotions, sit with them, listen to them, let them know you love them and that you are here for them. They will feel extremely understood and accepted for who they are that as they grow older they will confide in you.
What makes you feel inspired and empowered? The answer is the power to choose. When we have the ability to make our own choices we feel inspired and motivated. When we are deprived of choice we may be left feeling powerless, hopeless and sometimes even abandoned. Even though my son is only 21 months old I still strive to involve him in choices he will understand. For example which t-shirt he would like to wear, what colour ball he would like me to buy, what he wants to eat for lunch, etc. Children already feel small and often insignificant in this large adult world, so giving them choice allows them to feel empowered. It also sends the message to them that you respect and trust their decisions, which feeds their need for self-love, self-worth and self-power.
Many parents often feel the burden of not having their own needs met. Common needs of parents include “me time” such as relaxation, journaling, reading, yoga, etc and “us time,” where we spend quality time with our partners. When we don’t nourish and nurture ourselves, we can find ourselves being short-tempered, annoyed and frustrated at our children. When we are a passenger on a flight we are told that in an emergency to put our own oxygen mask on before our child’s. The same can be true for parenting. I can hear you say “What, but our children come first.” That may be so. However, if your child grows up always seeing you put the needs of others first resulting in annoyance, anger, low self-worth and no time to relax the chances are that is exactly how they will behave in relationships with others as well. It is not selfish to have your own needs met, and it doesn’t involve neglecting your child. For example my husband goes to bed early so I can have my “me time” such as having a bath, reading, writing or journaling. He then gets up early in the morning to go for his run, do Yoga, journaling, etc. We then have a babysitter (aka family member) look after our son every now and then so we can have “us time.” This has resulted in my husband and I being patient, understanding, caring and loving with our son even when he has tantrums because our needs are still being met as well.
The last tip I will leave you with is to inspire your children and lead by example. Children as “monkey see monkey do.” Long before they learn to talk, they learn through observation. To your children, you are their role models, the one they look up to about how to act, what to say and what to do. It is a moment-by-moment practice to become aware of our actions and our words. However, it is freaking rewarding to be on such a journey that changes yourself and the world. My all time favourite quote is by Ghandi “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I would take that further and say “Be the change you wish your children to grow up to be.” If you want inspired, empowered, compassionate and joyful children then be inspiring, empowering, compassionate and joyful. Your children will absorb it like a sponge.
Finally, remember to be patient, loving and forgiving with yourself. This is a learning journey for us as well. If you find yourself snapping at your child due to a horrible day, apologise to your child and forgive yourself. Then go out in the fresh air and play together.
Our children are our future and our future is in your hands. Inspire and empower the unique sparks in your children, let their gifts shine bright and you will form long, loving and lasting bonds that will last a lifetime and beyond.
Love & Gratitude,