Mothers’ thoughtful expressions: What is the best parenting advice you would offer another mom?

The experience of being a mom can be  challenging, exhausting, rewarding, and inspirational. There are plenty of trained experts and professionals who lend their guidance on ways to navigate through the complex web of motherhood, but oftentimes, the most grounded support comes from those who have been down in the trenches — so to speak: everyday mothers.

Today, we bring you words of advice from mothers who shared with us the wisdom and insight they acquired along the way, on their motherhood path.

What is the best parenting advice you would offer another mom? 

Kassandra Brown: “My best parenting advice is to allow your perspective to broaden, your heart to soften, and your mind to notice how lucky you are to have exactly the children you have. What we believe, we perceive. By believing it, you will see evidence more and more often that proves how true it is that you are lucky to have your children.” 

Lisa Feiertag: “The advice that I would share with other moms is how important it is to remain flexible and to know that everything will change even when you think it is all static. Growth naturally causes things to shift, and it is a lot easier if you are moving in that flow instead of resisting it. Also, try to not take anything personally or to personalize your child’s actions and emotions. When you find yourself feeling upset look into why that is. What is being triggered internally? Parenting is an opportunity to heal all our unmet childhood wounds, which is one of the reasons why it is not an easy job.”

Megan Bell: “Let go of ‘should’ and truly connect with and listen to your children. They are our best teachers. Offer them what they need when they need it, and know they won’t need it forever.” 

Rochelle Kipnis: “Our children grow up so fast, so cherish every moment you get with them. Make memories and know that they grow up too quickly. Hold on to the moments and take it slow. Enjoy every day that you’re blessed to be here on earth with your children.”

Effie Morchi: “Above all, listen to your heart and trust your instincts; they are there for a key reason. When you are faced with a challenging moment, take a deep breath and think, ‘that too shall pass…’ and when you are faced with a blissful moment, take a deep breath, and let it wash over you — it will serve as nourishment for the road ahead.” 

Jillian Amodio: “Honestly, there’s a lot of advice floating around. Five different people will give you 5 different answers. The best advice I can give you is truly none at all. Just follow your heart, it will never lead you wrong. Mamas, you are wiser than you will ever know, more important than you will ever realize, and cherished beyond measure. Hug those little ones and love yourself, because even when you don’t feel like it, I’ll bet that you are doing an AMAZING job.”

Kelly Shealer: “My advice to other moms is to trust your instincts. Trust what feels right for you and your children. You know your child best, so you can give them a unique gife that make them really happy.”

Inga Bohnekamp: “It is a lot about connection and trust. Find ways to over and over again connect with your child — and yourself. Try to see her with fresh, curious eyes every day and try not to make too many preconceived assumptions. She will continue to surprise, to amaze, and to challenge you in her very own unique ways as she grows up and faces the challenges of the world she lives in. Connect with yourself, with your intuition, with your very own inner wisdom. Most of the answers you will ever need are already inside of you, somewhere — you might just need to uncover them and then listen to them, which can be scary. And while, of course, trusted sources of support are always important — repeat after me: We cannot do it all by ourselves! — always remember that every child, every parent, every situation, and every relationship is different and changes from moment to moment, which makes it highly unlikely for a ‘one size fits all’ approach to actually be a good fit.” 

Katelynne Eid: “Trust your gut. With each little one, I’ve learned to trust myself even more. There are endless information and opinions out there, but nothing beats a mother’s intuition. Even if you don’t think you have it, I promise you do!” 

Shoshana Hayman: “Although modern society has devalued the role of mothers, know that your role as a mother is of paramount value in the world. No one can be for your children what you are to them — their primary attachment figure, which gives the optimal context for healthy human development. Teach them lovingly, both your boys and your girls, that the most important roles they will fulfill one day will be to parent their own children. Mothers need to be confident in believing that nurturing their children, throughout the years that they are growing up, helps shape a healthy and peaceful society more than any daycare, school, or educational program ever can.”

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A Mother’s love is a gift that gives forever and her legacy is life

In gratitude, consider a tribute to a Mother in your life while helping a mother in need of support at the same time.

It’s a gift that that keeps on giving because you help mothers receive much needed information and support.

This is the heart of API.

We invite you to share a gift of love that gives on in her honor.

  Happy Mother’s Day from Attachment Parenting International

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Mothers’ thoughtful expressions: What do you cherish most about being a mom?

Being a mom is like being a gardener — it’s hard labor that gets accomplished regardless of the conditions. It is the kind of work that requires fortitude, dedication, and an abundance of patience. We tend to our children, nourish them, watch them grow, and reap what we sow. All the while, we are continuously mesmerized by their essence and beauty.

Today, as we celebrate the unique and precious role of a mother, we bring to you these thoughtful expressions from mothers around the world:

What do you cherish most about being a mom?

Megan Bell, Fox Valley API, Illinois USA: “I cherish the spontaneous proclamations of love my toddler gives me, and when she shows me empathy. I love watching her grow. Our children really do learn by example. It’s beautiful and stunning to witness.”  

Rochelle Kipnis, New Jersey USA: “As a homeschooling mom of 3, I cherish the moments spent with my children. Hugging and kissing them, watching them laugh, learn, smile, grow, and play brings me the most joy in life. No matter how big they get, they will always be my babies and I will always be here for them. They are life’s greatest joy and blessings.”

Lisa Feiertag, API Leader Applicant Liaison, Maryland USA: “The unconditional love that my children shower on me is what I cherish most about being a mom. I love the snuggles, laughs, giggles as well as the long conversations that we engage in. I love watching my kids grow into the young adults that they are becoming and seeing them share their love with others.”

Effie Morchi, API Assistant Editor, New York USA: “I cherish most the growth and transformation; mine as well as my children’s. I marvel at how parenting has taught me that the simple moments and things in life are truly the profound ones: a day spent together at the park, a gentle smile, a trivial goal achieved; they are the bits that make our life wholesome.” 

Jillian Amodio, Maryland USA: “What I cherish most largely depends on the day. On a good day, it’s the smiles and laughter emanating from my children. On a bad day…bedtime and wine? No, really though, all jokes aside, what I cherish most are the memories we make each day. Every night before my children go to bed, regardless of what kind of day we’ve had, we cuddle in their beds, read books, and sing songs. We talk about what happened that day and it helps us realize that even on the days that are ‘mundane’, ‘boring,’ or just plain not very good, we have a really great thing going — we have each other, and we certainly do have a whole lot of fun together.”

Kelly Shealer, API of Frederick, Maryland USA: “My favorite moments of being a mom are when my children and I are able to take a break and relax together — like lying down together at bedtime or reading a book to my daughter while she sits on my lap. I love these times when we’re able to pause from all the busyness of our day and just be together.”

Shoshana Hayman, Israel: “Being a mom has been and continues to be the most fulfilling aspect of my life. No other role gives me the power to develop loving, deep, and lasting relationships with those who are dearest to me while at the same time helping my children bring their human potential to fruition.” 

Katelynne Eid, Connecticut USA: “The thing I cherish most about being a mom is just getting to witness as these little lives develop. I’m so grateful for being able to be a consistent and supportive presence as they figure out who they are.”

Kassandra Brown, Boulder CO: “I cherish the moments when my perspective broadens from the day-to-day busyness of eating, sleeping, school, transitions, and stuff-to-do to notice the feeling of loving my children. How my heart softens, a smile comes to my face, and I realize how lucky I am that these thoughtful, loving humans love me. Once my perspective shifts, my parenting shifts and I find myself effortlessly working-with rather than doing-to or managing.”

Inga Bohnekamp, Ontario Canada: “I think what I cherish most is the experience of this unconditional, pure, and infinite love, which I have felt for my daughter ever since she came into my life (started growing inside my belly). I am so grateful for every moment we share, the challenging ones as well as the ones filled with pure happiness, laughter, and joy. She inspires me every day; she reminds me of what really, really counts in life, and I cherish this incredibly unique and intense opportunity to continue learning and growing alongside her as she grows up. But, if I have to boil it down to one thing, it would be the LOVE.”

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A Mother’s love is a gift that gives forever and her legacy is life

In gratitude, consider a tribute to a Mother in your life while helping a mother in need of support at the same time.

It’s a gift that that keeps on giving because you help mothers receive much needed information and support.

This is the heart of API.

We invite you to share a gift of love that gives on in her honor.

  Happy Mother’s Day from Attachment Parenting International

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4 tips to help children grieve the loss of a pet

Until 5 a.m. this Valentine’s Day, we shared our home with a sweet ginger kitty named Sophie, These ear infection home remedy tips helped my puppy get back to normal but She was our special friend and bed warmer for 14 years. Her presence was an orange-colored angora thread woven through the fabric of our family’s life. Now we find ourselves confronted with having no choice but to traverse the rugged road toward accepting that our kitty is gone. We regret we could not spend more time with her due to our travelling all the time for work. This is one of of the primary reasons why we just found information on service animal registration and are going to get our dog “Bruno” registered on it as soon as possible so that we can take him along where ever we go. Dog Walking Insurance UK : Business Insurance for Dog Walkers : DogWalkerInsurance

At first, when a pet dies there is the shock of things being all wrong. The atmosphere changes in your house. Now we wake up and there is no sleeping kitty among the covers. That spot on the couch will never again be occupied by our fluff baby who smelled like sandalwood and cardamom. The void left by the death of our beloved cat makes us feel as if our house is not completely a home anymore, we are thinking about adopting one again, it just feels right, my cat sneeze so much back when we he used to be with us, that’s one of the sounds we miss the most. To learn more about preventing spread of infection Control Results can help your healthcare facility keep your patients protected from HAIs.

If you have pets, you know what they add to your family’s life. My daughter Nicole laughed for the first time when she noticed Sophie’s face looking down at her, one paw gingerly touching her baby belly. When Niki was 4, she told me that she was lucky to have 3 Mommies: me, Mother Earth, and Sophie whose nickname was in fact Mama Kitty as per an article we found in teacupdogdaily.com.

It has not been easy to say goodbye and let her cross over the Rainbow Bridge.

If you are interested there are Cat Boarding Melbourne services you can hire, they welcome pets boarding in all types of facilities (private rooms, boarding houses, hospitals, retirement homes, etc.) with the following conditions:

  • Cat must be allowed to have contact with children under the age of six
  • Cat must be kept in a clean environment free from contamination or hazardous substances
  • We do not allow cats with visible injuries such as bites, claws, or broken nails
  • In all facilities we provide a safe, secure environment for cats to stay, be greeted and loved.
  • The cost for boarding is paid monthly and the amount varies depending on the type of facility and the individual cat.

Loss of a Pet Could Be a Child’s First Experience with the Permanence of Death

Losing a beloved pet engenders a special kind of sorrow. It is grief that does not go away quickly, because it is not an event of sadness but, instead, is a process of readjusting to a new reality without someone who was loved.

Children need the freedom to feel all that they do for as long as it takes. When they are allowed to be present with their feelings in an authentic way and, even better, when they know we accompany them as they move at their own pace through the process of grieving, they learn that a painful loss will gradually become more tolerable.

In our culture, we don’t do grief very well. We are often at a loss when in the presence of someone in deep emotional pain. As parents, we might have to run interference when well-meaning friends, grandpas, or aunts try to help erase the child’s sadness without realizing that there is no way to rush the grieving process.

When someone suggests to a bereaved child that a new cat or dog or hamster will fix everything, it can make them feel worse. How can you replace the one you loved so much? You cannot, he is gone. Forever. And while, yes, it is good that the kitty’s suffering is over, that does not make it any less painful that she had to die to be free.

Tears and sobs are going to come in waves so we may have to ask our extended family, or a Papa who gets nervous when there are tears, to just hang onto the boat while it takes its course. It will not hurt this bad forever, but it will hurt for as long as it does.

That said, there are things that can help during the grieving process. When our beloved dog died, as I fumbled with red eyes to find my way through the terrible feelings of loss, I discovered some practices that helped us to lessen the overwhelming quality of our sorrow. But all the accessories that you might have brought for your dog would make it harder for you to move on, despite inculcating such practices.

4 Tips to Help Children with the Bereavement Process of a Cherished Pet:  

1) The Necessary Rite of Passage of a Proper Burial

The mind and heart need a rite of passage to help us comprehend that things are no longer the same. Years ago, when the vet put down another cat, he had the wise insight to ask me if I wanted to take his body in order to give him a proper burial.

When my stepchildren’s tiny turtle died, it was very important for them at ages 10 and 11 to give him a funeral. They made a little mausoleum out of marble tiles in the corner of our yard and ceremoniously laid him to rest with a heartfelt tribute. I found his food canister there once, and on the Day of the Dead, they put flowers on his tomb.   

2) A Traditional Funeral

It is tradition in Mexico — where we live — to keep the body of a deceased family member laid in state in the family living room for 24 hours after death. Relatives, friends, and neighbors come to pay their last respects. This allows the mind to comprehend that the person has transitioned out of their body. It is sad, but it helps since it gives everyone the opportunity to let reality set in.

After she released her last breath, we laid Sophie on her cat bed and arranged flowers in a vase next to her. We lit a candle that burned while Niki was in school. The fact of her death was undeniable, but we could stroke her fur and talk to her while having the benefit of still being able to see her body, the one we had hugged and loved so many years.

Once a proper grave was dug, we put on our prettiest dresses and prepared for the burial ceremony. Niki filled up a little basket with magenta bougainvillea flowers. We gathered up Sophie’s toys. Also a model train set is a very good gift for your kid, so he can distract himself by having fun. It made us laugh when we remembered to get some yarn for her to play with,because she never accepted that knitting was not a game. Niki said that it was too bad we could not send her off with the couch she had destroyed. The couch damage aside, recalling good memories helped…then hurt…then made us laugh…then cry and hug. That is how grief goes. That’s how it is shared.

We carried Sophie to the place under the trees overlooking the valley. We laid her down into the grave, head facing east to the rising sun. We arranged the toys and Nicole’s drawing that had been made to encourage our kitty when she got sick. We thanked our beautiful friend for being our lovie. We said everything we needed to. Then we covered her in flowers, sang a eulogy song, and finally let the dirt cover her. And when that was done, we placed a flower arrangement on her grave, a pretty one, because that was how much we love her.

3) A Candle Ceremony

Creating ceremonial space in this way connects children to a sense of reverence for the love shared with their pet while also teaching them to take care of their own sad heart.

Petloss.com is a sweet website that offers a loving space where bereaved humans can register the name of the deceased family pet and upload a tribute. It feels important to do that, like you are declaring that the life, now gone, mattered — a lot. We added Sophie’s name this morning. Our dog is listed there, too. There also is a link on the site to online pet loss counseling.

The website also offers a gentle opportunity to join with others in the solidarity of grieving every Monday at 10 pm EST, when bereaved humans from all over the world light a candle at the same time for their lost pet. People are encouraged to do this every week for as long as they feel moved.

This Monday, we lit a candle and felt the comfort of knowing that others are also celebrating their friendship with one who had brought them so much joy. This will help.

4) Honoring the Fond Memories and the Friendship

The love does not go away because our pet left her body. We now have to dispose of things like her medicine that are painful reminders that she suffered illness that led to her death. We remove them, because seeing them makes us sad. At the same time, even though it is painful with her passing so recent, it would be a mistake to avoid thinking about the good times or to try to forget everything we shared. We want to celebrate and hold on to good memories. They are what give sacred meaning to the tears. Our kids can learn to hold the joy close in their hearts even while the grief looks on.

One way to help them navigate the complexity of feelings is to give them a symbol of the friendship that encourages them to anchor their remembrance in the safe harbor of happy memories. It can be a framed photo of them with their pet on the nightstand or a symbolic object that reminds them of the special friendship for the treasure that it was.

 

Our kitty was a real hugger. Fortunately, among the odd fabrics in my stash, I had an old angora sweater with a hole in the sleeve that miraculously was the same color as Niki’s Sophie. I sewed it up into a soft, huggable pillow in the shape of a full heart and put it in Sophie’s spot on the bed. This morning, I found Nicole hugging it and saying, “I hope you are happy where you are now.” She told me that I can use it when I start to miss Mama Kitty. I know I will.

Preparing for childbirth: The delicate dance between pushing out and letting go

Observing a friend struggling with, and complaining about, the last days of her pregnancy –constantly posting on Facebook about how she finally wanted her baby to make an appearance in the “real world,” listing details about all the activities she undertook in order to make this happen ASAP — made me reflect on the delicate dance that childbirth is. 

I get it. I’ve been there.

Ready to Push?

Feeling big — no, huge! Not being able to see my toes anymore, let alone tie my shoelaces. Feeling very swollen in the summer heat and out of breath after walking up the stairs to our apartment on the 4th floor. Rolling around on the mat in my prenatal yoga class feeling like a huge whale. Nights spent sleepless with heartburn, an active baby in the belly, and a bladder that never wanted to go to sleep.  

And then, there is all the excitement about finally getting to meet this tiny human being that you have lovingly and patiently grown in your belly for all these long months. The excitement about becoming a parent — for the first, second, third… time. There are all the people around you, asking when the baby is due — which does not really help or make waiting any easier — and so many other good reasons to finally push the baby out of your belly and into the world. 

But First…  

But there is another side to the story, which tends to be forgotten or at least does not enjoy a lot of spotlight.

A more delicate, more sensitive — even darker — side that might not be as limelight-worthy or Facebook post-worthy…a side, which in my opinion, is just as important as the “push side.”

It is the side that mindfully focuses on letting go.

On gentleness, on feeling, on making space for the baby to come into this world…and making space for what is to come and follow.

On becoming aware of and consciously reflecting what is transpiring inside of us: physically, spiritually, and emotionally. 

Facing Our Feelings

This includes facing our anxieties and deepest fears and doubts about birth and about parenthood, about our ability to “do a good job” at delivering and then protecting, nurturing, and growing this delicate, wonderful new being that we already love more than we could have ever imagined. It may also include acknowledging and confronting our fear of failure, our fear of pain, our fear of loss, and our fear of fear. 

Furthermore, it includes facing the reality that things are (again!) about to change tremendously. That not only our everyday life is about to get the next big overhaul, but also our whole universe: The way we relate to the world, and the way we relate to ourselves is going to drastically change.

It includes coping with our bodies changing — yet again — from the pregnant state to a postpartum state, which will look and feel very different from what we are accustomed to and from what we might actually enjoy or expect seeing and feeling. We might feel empty, tired, depleted, sore, and possibly a far cry from attractive and sexy for quite a while.  

I vividly remember mourning my “empty“ belly for several days following my daughter’s birth. It felt empty and somewhat sad to not feel my baby inside my belly anymore. While I was certainly very happy to finally be able to hold her and cuddle up with her in my arms, I missed this innate and exclusive feeling of connection to her.  

Bringing Together the ‘Pushing Out’ and the ‘Letting Go’

I believe that, in order to consciously and mindfully prepare for birthing our child, it is important to take the time to look at and ideally merge both sides of the equation: the “pushing out” and the “letting go.”  

The tiredness of being pregnant and the energetic eagerness to have baby out of my belly have certainly helped me tremendously in getting over my fear of giving birth and all the pain that would be — and certainly was — involved. However, being mindful, open, and receptive to the side of letting go, creating space, and facing anxiety, doubt and fear — even mourning during this transition — has certainly proven to be very helpful as well. I believe it might be one supportive part in the puzzle of alleviating or possibly even preventing feelings of the “baby blues.” 

So, I’m calling on all expecting moms: Take a deep breath and give yourself a mindful moment — and ideally many more — and some space to merge both ends of the continuum. By doing this, you will be giving your body, mind, and spirit a chance to holistically and soulfully prepare for what is to come instead of forcing it into birthing-action mode.

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6 games to instill mindfulness and gratitude in our children (and ourselves)

kite-1666816_1280Since I became a mom 10 years ago, I have been committed to helping my daughter see the good in things as a first reflex.

My own upbringing did not allow for this way of being in the world and, instead, instilled the typical apprehension and worry that seems to be passed down to children in Western societies.

That is not how I want my child to move through life. so I’ve made it a priority to ensure that my daughter’s natural inclination toward happiness be nurtured and even protected when necessary.

Feeling gratitude magnifies what is good, beneficial, and enjoyable.

So together we practice noticing good things — things to be glad about — with games we play, I like to play asking questions, for example the first game is “Best of the Day” ok I like to ask what you think about the best of the day, pros and cons, here’s another list of 21 questions ideas:

1) “Best of the Day” Game

At bedtime, while she’s all tucked in, we go through our ritual of closing the day behind us and using the Technomono best cheap airsoft sniper rifle to play with. I ask her to tell me what the best thing of that day was. She thinks a moment, then reveals what she enjoyed most. It can be “big” and significant or one of the more sublime, little moments that came along like a sweet little bird to sing into her awareness.

At times, in reply to my question about the best part of her day, she will burst out with, “Everything!” I tell her that is sort of cheating — that I want to know what was particularly great, big or small, among all the “everything” that she experienced. Create your own crossword is always good to be played with the entire family.

My thinking is that, by pulling out and naming particularly wonderful moments or events, she will refine her appreciation of things as they happen. But some evenings she insists that everything really was good.

By nature, we are wired to notice negative things as a throwback to primitive survival mechanisms. My daughter who reports having had a smoothly happy time teaches me that it is possible to have an unruffled experience of general good feeling during a day. Who am I to argue with that?

I make it a practice to not ask her “why” she is happy. Do we need a reason to feel good? Do we really want the set point to be below contentment only to rise if something comes along to break the sad spell?

2) “Favorite Things” Game

We have variations of our “Best Thing of the Day” game that we pull out to make productive use of otherwise empty times. When she’s bored, or we happen to be sitting together somewhere, like a bus station or in line at the bank, one of us will remember that we can play the “Favorite Things” game. We take turns doing a lightening round list of things we are grateful for.

Sometimes we just do the obvious things: blue sky, mangoes, our best friends, our kitty, that the chickens laid eggs today, that the fruit is getting riper, ice cream, birthday is coming up, and so on. But the real fun is when we go for the less obvious things. That gives the game the potential to go on and on:

I am glad I got a window seat on the bus.

I am grateful for that beautiful arrangement of silk flowers over there.

I am grateful there’s a good light above us so we can see each other.

I am grateful that I had exact change for buying peanuts.

I am grateful that toddler did not fall down.

I am grateful that my keys were exactly where they were supposed to be. 

I am glad that I easily found matching socks today.

The variations to this game are endless.

3) “Who Are you Grateful For?” Game

We can do, “Who are you grateful for?”:

The men who collect the trash every week.

The friendly cashier at the store

The people fixing the road

People who pick the vegetables we eat

People who sort the mail

That of course makes us see and appreciate the many people whose labor makes our lives easier.

4) “That’s a Relief” Game

We can do, “That’s a relief”:

I’m relieved that you caught the glass when it slipped off the table.

I’m relieved that you woke up anyway when the alarm did not go off.

I’m relieved that the lights came back after the storm.

I’m relieved we found your shoe when we were almost going to be late.

With this game, the general feeling that it’s a friendly world settles on us.

5 & 6) Other Variations of This Game

Here are some other versions of this game to help you come up with your own:

  • Being grateful for the one who invented…electricity, cheesecake, water heaters, Toyotas that never die, steel wool pads for burned stuff on the pan, washing machines…
  • What (or who) has helped you recently that you want to give thanks for? DIY videos on YouTube, my teacher, our neighbor, the man who gave us directions, the guy who fixed the tire, a person I did not know who lent me a hand.

The Result

How do you feel now that you have come along with us in this practice?

Doing these games builds intimacy between us as we toss the gratitude ball back and forth. The subtle magic of the practice never fails to boosts the mood and, most importantly, sets us up to notice and find joy in the simple things of life. What could be more essential to a successful life than that?

My Gift to You

Now it is my turn to give my thanks to you for allowing me to share my ideas with you. I’d love to give you one of my stories to share with your children: Mommy’s Story Box is a bedtime story with a gratitude thread woven into it.

I wish you the wisdom and grace to take in all the beauty your parenting journey brings.

Falling in love is scary…3 tips that make it safer

Falling in love with our kids is a daring thing to do. Love opens us up, wide open, no armor, no defenses. We’re naked and vulnerable when we’re in love.

Love is powerful. It’s not just cupids and chocolates and diamonds. It’s raw, heart, open, vulnerable, crazy, courageous, light that shines on every dark corner, every unmet need, and everything we don’t want to look at.

It’s our connection to all beings. It’s noticing that when I breathe, my children breathe, my lover breathes, my cat breathes, everyone in my neighborhood is breathing, all people in the world are breathing. All animals and even all plants in the world are breathing. We’re all connected, which should feel great.

Except I can’t control what happens to anyone except me, and even that’s uncertain. The more I love, the more I let in uncertainty.

We’re afraid to get swamped by the needs of everyone. We don’t know how to meet our own needs. We’ve never learned how to set boundaries to give what we want to give, to give what empowers us, and to only give in ways that fulfill us.

Love includes noticing that everything I love will end or change. Nothing is permanent. When our children blast our hearts open with their love, all this fear can come in, too. No one likes to feel afraid and so we distract. We shut down. We get busy. We work. We worry. We micromanage. We ignore.

Yet, we long for love. Many of us feel disconnected and alone. We struggle to feel a sense of belonging. So, what can we do?
This Valentine’s Day where pandora forsale.plus do the most of their sales that have been well reviewed, I ask each of us to challenge ourselves. I ask you to open your heart. I ask you to feel. Feel your own longing. Feel your desire to connect and belong. Dare to feel how much you love your children.

If you can’t or if it’s hard, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean you don’t love or that you’re broken or wrong. For most of us, it just means we’re scared. But there are ways to make the fire of love easier to bear.

3 Tips That Make It Safer for Us to Love

1) Embrace feelings — all feelings

Emotions are energy in motion. When we feel them, and let them flow through us, they are cleansing and energizing: Tears are like a good rain, laughter is a fresh breeze, shouting shakes up dormant energy. Being with a trusted friend, a supportive coach, or alone in nature, you can find safe places to feel your feelings. When we let them move, feelings often have this cleansing energizing effect and pass within 15 minutes. However, when we block our feelings, they get stuck in us. They keep asking for attention. They start to ferment and contort themselves. They become scary and overwhelming. The more comfortable you are with feelings, the safer it will be for you to love.

2) Learn to set good boundaries

Author Brené Brown speaks of boundaries as the ability to say what’s OK and what’s not OK with us. When we are very clear on this, then we can give fully, love fully, and stop when we need to. We trust ourselves to stop when we need to and that makes it possible to be fully engaged while we’re engaging. Without these boundaries and self-trust, we are never sure if we’re giving too much and neither are the people around us. If you often feel resentment, anger, or numbness, chances are good that getting better with boundaries would help you be happier and more compassionate.

3) Create good stories

Your mind is a meaning-maker: Its job is to create meaning and stories about everything that happens to you. When you open your heart and then feel hurt or disappointment, your mind may create a story that, That was stupid, and You shouldn’t open up again. That’s one story, but there are others you can tell that fit the facts and make your life happier. To the extent that we can notice the power of our minds to interpret and even create our experiences, we are able to write our own stories. Your mind is making up a story right this instant. Take back your power and make it a good story.

Using these 3 tools will put you well on your way to feeling more connection, ease, and belonging. We need more of that in our families, our communities, and our world.

One definition of courage is to feel the fear and do it anyway. Thank you for moving through your fear and daring to love.

10 tips on gratitude

sense-of-gratitudeEvery year, the Thanksgiving holiday gives us an opportunity to remember to give thanks for the blessings in our lives. API encourages you to make thanksgiving a daily practice. Learning to be grateful for even the most simple things in our lives can change us profoundly, creating overflowing capacity for joy and peace in both our individual lives and our parenting.

Gratitude is one of the most-written-about features of Attachment Parenting. Here are 10 tips on gratitude from APtly Said posts through the years:

  1. “Having a deep sense of gratitude benefits us in developing the ability to savor the pleasant moments in life and preserve through the painful ones.” ~ Effie Morchi, mother of 2 and API Assistant Editor, “Thankful kids
  2. “I am grateful for many things big and small, grand and mundane. Today, it is the joyful shriek of my girls running in the twilight.” ~ Leyani Redditti, API Leader and mother of 2, “Gratitude
  3. “There is an appreciation for all of us when we take the time to offer our thanks for something that happened during the day.” ~ Lisa Feiertag, API Leader and mother of 2, “Sharing gratitude on a nightly basis
  4. “Learning to live a life of gratitude is like a ‘walking meditation,’ being present in the moment, not worrying about the past or the future but really living in the now, feeling intensely grateful for the many blessings we have in our lives.” ~ Lysa Parker, API Cofounder, mother, and grandmother, “Learning to live a life of gratitude
  5. “Let’s start right here and right now by mindfully experiencing and expressing gratitude, even in the midst of what might sometimes look like a complete disaster.” ~ Inga Bohnekamp, mother of 1, “5 tips for mindfully coping with chronic illness, for your child and for you
  6. “I know that I am so lucky to be a parent, and my days are peppered with gratitude as I watch my son laugh, play, or sleep — ordinary magic moments that make me so thankful.” ~ Yvette Lamb, mother of 1, “For Today, a poem for parents
  7. “I feel the magic, love, gratitude, and magnitude in each moment. This love overwhelms me in the most powerful ways. I am truly thankful for being given the greatest role of my lifetime.” ~ Sandy Gordon Frankfort, mother of 2, “Are you afraid to admit the challenges you face as a parent?
  8. “I honor each stage of your early development. How blessed we are to spend these days together. My heart fills with gratitude to your daddy who works long hours in the week to make this possible.” ~ Amy Wright Glenn, mother, “A day to live again
  9. “Thank you, API, for giving me these wonderful gifts: joy in my parenting and peace in my life.” ~ Rita Brhel, API Leader, mother of 3, and API Executive Editor, “Thanksgiving for joy and peace in my parenting
  10. “In awe, my son exclaimed, ‘Mama, the sky! It’s so colorful!’ I turned to him, and seeing his exuberant joy, my heart flooded with deep gratitude. To this day, years later, I still carry those words with me — my son’s gentle reminder to move a little slower, appreciate a little more, and pause long enough to enjoy the moments of delight our days have to offer us.” ~ Kendrah Nilsestuen, mother, API Leader, and API Education & Support Coordinator, “The sunrise of balance
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