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My Digital Notebook
I like to be sure, real sure about the decisions I make. So I listen to my gut, pray and look for proof that I am on the right track. Here are my notes…
Parenting is a big task. Although two people are given the title "parents" it's too big of a responsibility for just two people. When it comes to raising fully developed kids into emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually healthy adults, I don't think anyone would disagree that it takes a village.
Life in general delivers a cross to be carried. Even when it's full of mostly great things there are tough moments and hard decisions to be made. Having kid(s) takes that to another level because your decisions have an impact not only on your life but also the lives of the little people that depend on you.
Furthermore, "they" say you can judge the state of a society based on how it treats its women. At the moment we, as a whole, aren't living our best lives (and it's not because we're lazy or incompetent or short on ideas). We're in the midst of a maternal health crisis. Though we're starting more businesses than any other group, we're not being compensated at the same levels. Many of us are doing the jobs of two parents and sometimes grandparents. I could go on. Basically, our dreams and voices have been ignored and everyone is losing out as a result.
All hope isn't gone though. Creating opportunities and space for thriving for women, moms in particular, will catapult our society and families in a positive direction. Coaching can and is helping moms to hold on to their dreams and their babies.
Moms need coaches because…
Coaches do all of these. Coaches that focus on supporting women who are moms pay extra attention to the unique challenges and opportunities that motherhood provides. They understand the babysitting juggle, the financial needs and the routine changes that come with a child's development (and they can work through the background noise during a meeting).
Coaches have a leg up in supporting moms compared to your friends. Friends forget to check in and sometimes fear offending you. Coaches aren't focused on maintaining a personal relationship but helping you accomplish the goals you set for yourself. They win when you win. And their money depends on it.
If you're a mom looking to leave a mark on the world simply by taking control of your finances, health and goals while enjoying your family in the process, get yourself a coach. It's a worthwhile investment in yourself. I know firsthand because I have a coach and I am a coach!
Do you have a coach? If so, what have you accomplished as a result?
I have been an aunt since I was 3 years old. I now have 2 nieces and 7 nephews (and 2 sons). I’ve always enjoyed being around and engaging with kids of all ages. I was the aunt wrestling on the floor, adding to dance routines and creating some random obstacle course.
So why now when my kids need a playmate and see pretend as their #1 way to connect, I am full of complaints and excuses? Is 1 hour of power ranger pretend play going to kill me? (The answer is ‘no.’)
I’m almost always down to play UNO, a board game, color or read. It’s the pretend, costume dress up, action figure wrestling that I resist.
Let's think about this.
There was a time when I didn’t have much clouding my mind. There was nothing using up my energy and I wasn’t concerned about preparing for the next day. Nowadays I’m thinking about dinner, budget, laundry, business, health, appointments, and whatever else. Many days, even when I’ve slept and ate well, I am still tired, just physically and mentally drained.
At this stage in life using my imagination is work. Not to mention Kobe (5) wants to control the narrative. He literally gives me the word by word script for our time together. I am a free spirit and rebel. It’s in my DNA to go against anything seemingly restricting. When the scripting starts, I instantly get a twitch and self sabotage so that he kicks me out of his room because he’s so annoyed. (I know. It’s childish.)
But there’s another side of me that really wants to play with him and some moments when I get over myself and fully participate. In those moments we connect so deeply. I see his smile and can feel the love in the air. It’s magical.
So what’s the issue? Why can’t play time be magical every day?
Is it when I focus on the connecting part and not the “work” that I am able to fully engage? Maybe it’s like everything else and clearly about perspective?
But what about those moments when I try to push myself and it just doesn’t work? I am literally speaking to myself and reminding myself about all the reasons why playing is a good thing and how it’ll enrich our relationship and bluh, bluh bluh. I wonder if those are times when I am mentally focused on other things and simply want to complete my to do list and playing is either not on it or already checked off?
Or am I over thinking this and should just accept that as a human sometimes I don’t want to play and that’s okay? I’m not horrible for not wanting to participate ALL.THE. TIME.
There are several reasons why this is even a thought or concern in the forefront of my mind. I feel the pressure to be everything to everyone and put my stuff on the back burner as if my stuff is not as important or deserving of energy and time.
Also I have a deep desire to be fully present in the moment regardless of what I am doing whether playing with the kids, reading a book for fun, or preparing business emails. I find this easier to do when I put myself and my stuff first. (Is this boundaries and self care?) Like “scheduling” my work time (and giving myself adequate time to get it done), telling my family and sticking to it. This is something I probably need to do more often and more consistently.
But that makes me feel guilty.
I don’t have the answers. I’m simply sharing my experience, my thoughts and unscientific analysis. I’m also inviting you to share yours. Anyone else having this internal battle? Feeling bad for both yourself and your kid(s)?
I have two boys. Peyton will be 2 years old in late July and Kobe will be 6 years old in mid June. I stay home with Peyton while Kobe goes to Kindergarden 9am-2pm most days.
I also run this (blogging, coaching, event curating, and production creation), I babysit about 3 days a week and mystery shop periodically. So I have alot going on.
Parenting in itself is a fulltime job even if your kids are in school because you still have caring for home, making appointments, running errands, and selfcare (which is an essential piece to not jumping off a bridge).
Recently, at one of my monthly 'Sistahs in Motherhood Support Circles' I realized one of the reasons I may have been struggling with my five-nager (a five year old that acts like a teenager) was lack of mental preparation and total commitment to gentle/attachment mixed with conscious parenting.
SIDE NOTE: For me conscious parenting is about love and transformation. Allowing our kids to love (build, correct, enlighten, help, and teach) us as we do the same for them. It's about recongizing their humaness and our own.
I enjoyed pregnancy (minus the lack of sleep) and birth. But parenting has been getting the best of me. I've been yelling, threatening, and plucking lips. These are all things I said I wanted to avoid.
So to get on track and start being the mom I want to be and the mom these particular kids need (forget what society or community says and thinks) I am reading 'The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Childern' by Shefali Tsabary and I pinky promised Kobe I would not yell or hit anymore (because that's not love).
I'm afraid to fail. But I had to give my full commitment aka belief in it just like I did with natural birth and breastfeeding. With those it didn't matter what was going on around me nor who was looking at me sideways. I said I was going to do it, I learned how and I DID IT!
This will be no different.
Are you on a conscious parenting journey? How is it going?
Research and countless parenting and child development specialists will tell you that connection is key in any relationship especially the parent-child relationship. Healthy, effective parenting is all about building and maintaining a strong connection but who has time for that?
I get it. Adulting is hard. Add parenting to it and exhaustion is one of the first things that comes to mind. The truth is our methods create more work, anxiety and don’t get us to our parenting goals.
So, Ashlee, what should I do?
Well, learn about child development, drop your expectations of having the fictitious “perfect” child and make time and space to connect. I challenge you to use the list below and take the 30/30 Challenge (for 30 days take 30 minutes each day to connect).
30 Ways to Connect with Your Kid:
What would you add to this list?
I coach women to prepare for and thrive as mothers via birth, breastfeeding and parenting education and self-care events. I am a Black crunchy momma that has something to say about how we create life, give birth, what we eat, how we connect with each other, and relate to $$.