There has been so many posts from various mummy bloggers and parenting authors starting off this year about how to be a better parent, managing challenging childhood behaviour, getting better sleep, maintaining routines for easy days, creative play to get through holidays, encouraging literacy, screen free time, making interesting meals etc.
I don’t have any long sentiments to share that can give anyone a road map to being a better parent, but I will share my number one parenting tool that always points me in the right direction.
I know it’s ridiculously simple, but whenever I see unrest in my children, I always, always find it in myself.
Whenever I spend time fixing myself or eliminating pressures from my life, I always see the change in my children. Maybe not instantly, but certainly within a few days.
I was speaking with my eldest the other day about how we must have gentle words and hands with her little sister, because babies learn what they see. It was such a simple statement.
So maybe next time I feel out of balance, I will pretend I’m looking in the mirror. I know what I want to see. I want to see the change I wish to see in our world.
Hope you have a beautiful week. xx
The calm sea glistens in the sunlight. Dolphins swim where aqua water turns to blue. I wade out to my waist, then fall in up to my neck enjoying this quiet moment. Then from the shoreline I hear “Mama mama!” My tiniest toddler is reaching for me. Gathering her up, I take the little one deeper to watch the fish flitting out of the water.
She wants a breast feed. So as I nurse her in the calm waters I move her back and forth rhythmically and hum a repetitive tune while she looks up with smiling eyes. She sits up, throws her arms around my neck for a cuddle and switches sides to continue nursing. Moving with the gentle sea hum my little song.
She snuggles in, her eyes become heavy and she sleeps, right there, partially immersed in the water, cradled in my arms. She is so precious and perfect, it is hard to look away from her cherubic face.
This is why I breast feed, not because I am one of the lucky ones that can, not because it is convenient, not just for the physical benefits to us both, but because it reinforces my connection with my child. We become one in each other’s arms and she is secure in her safety.
She sleeps and I bask in the glow of early motherhood.
These are the little moments, the gems that I will carry through my life that warm my heart space and fill me with joy.
Excuse me while I go and hug my children xx
What does it say about our society when a little boy has to wear a tshirt that pronounces he is autistic and asks for strangers to be kind to him? What treatment has this small person endured from adults in his world that has driven his parents to dress him this way?
I was in the carpark of a shopping centre with my children when I saw a little boy standing next to my car. We said hello and he smiled back at us. His mother raced up to catch him with her arms full of parcels, obviously worried. We said smiled hello and greeted each other. The tension shifted from her and her shoulders visibly dropped. It wasn’t until I was reversing from my spot that I noticed his shirt.
On the front said in bold print “I’m autistic”. On the back said “I’m autistic. Please be kind to me”. I wanted to jump out of my car and hug this woman (alas, not appropriate). How stressed must she feel leaving the house to enjoy the sunshine? We live in a modern age, full of opportunity and information. How could our society arrive here? Is this as good as it gets? Please no. Let this be a message and a journey of repair.
This might sound like common sense, but I will continue anyhow:
- Everyone has their own path and their own story,
- Judgement breeds insecurity, resentfulness and sadness,
- Kindness is the basis of everything- when stripped bare, all we really want is kindness,
- Children learn from modelled behaviour,
- Words hurt,
- Love heals,
- It is our communal responsibility to care for the children in our area,
- People who complain about the state of our society’s problems better back themselves with direct action,
- Small acts of kindness on a regular basis make us better people,
- Better people make better communities,
- Better communities make better societies,
- Better societies make a better world.
I pledge to this little boy and his family. I will be kind. Thanks for the reminder.
A Christmas message: love thy neighbours and their children.
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My babies are both crying. One is having a meltdown and one is crying in sympathy and hunger.
It seems trivial to me that coming inside from the deck could cause such a stir but here we are living the disappointment and emotion of it. My natural instinct would be to tell my toddler to calm down and just do as I ask while I go pick up my infant for a calming cuddle.
What I actually do is crouch down and offer my arms to my toddler. My embrace is refused. Okay then. I stay down and empathise, “Yes I know it’s hard to come inside with me when you want to be on the deck. It makes you upset hey”. I look into her eyes and see a little child having a big problem. “I love you bubba”. All attempts at nose wiping would be futile at this point so I stay still and wait. She runs around the kitchen. I wait, while offering words of reassurance. I go back onto the deck and retrieve three toys and deliver them. No? Alright then. After a fair bit of hoo ha, there is an opportunity for connection. I pick up my toddler and give a cuddle. There is a fair bit of wriggling involved, then my darling comes good. The little face is wiped. I put some music on, cuddle and breastfeed my infant. The storm is over and we are back on track. Phew.
If I had gone with my first reaction, I could have ended up rousing on an upset toddler who has to calm down by herself while she watches her mother rock and nurse her sibling. She would receive no understanding for her big feelings or problems. They would essentially be dismissed, even though they are big issues in her world. She would then be taken to play school where she has a big day, most likely without any sleep. She would come home tired, needing connection at a time when infants are renowned for needing a fair amount of mummy time and physical affection. You can picture the rest. Sure, my infant would have had her immediate needs met, but there are two babies in my house.
A soft heart creates a safety net for the people around me, especially the little ones. Being a gentle place to fall, having a ready embrace and offering tenderness is my key to a happy life. Oh, it’s not all beach balls and sunshine all the time at our place, but practice makes perfect. The more moments where we choose a soft heart builds a better way of being. A hard heart makes for a hard life, for everyone.
So this is my commitment to myself. Offer myself a soft heart. Then everyone else in this crazy web of life with me will feel the love and be better off for it.