I don’t like product launches. I do like helping people and that’s why I’m here. Allow me to do a little dance in celebration of my newest project- the one I am releasing here now! It feels like this has been a long time coming for me and I’m excited about the ways it can nurture a mother’s relationship with her child.

Today, I’m making my newest offer that will support your family while I support mine. And I’m super excited and proud of my work.

I would be honored to share your journey if you need help being a more patient, less explosive parent. I don’t believe that anyone wants to yell or scream or punish or spank and yet it can happen while we feel unable to stop ourselves. Sometimes we need new ideas or at least some ways to quickly recall what will help. I have a process that I use and I’m making it available for you to customize for your own unique family.

I show you how to stay calm, stop losing your temper and start building a better relationship through my e-workbook, Keep Your Cool.

Think of it as a workshop you can do at home in your own time. I offer principles and tips and give you some coaching through action ideas, mantras, what to avoid and thoughtful prompts to get you directly involved in the process of improving your situation. Learn how to stop reacting harshly and start responding positively and productively. I’ve tried to make all of the details clear on this page and will be posting excerpts through the week to give you a little taste of what you can find.

Here’s the fun bonus: As suggested by a facebook fan, I’m giving away a free copy!

Just leave a comment here telling me why you need this resource. (It would be awesome if you could share a link on social media, too!) Entries close at midnight June 13 and I’ll announce the winner on Friday, June 14.

Thanks for all of your support and I truly hope my work enriches you and your family in meaningful ways.

 

Update: Contest has closed and winner has been notified. Thanks, everyone, for your interest!

{ 8 comments }

We can find ourselves head-to-head with our children. Individuals have differing points of view, ideas, desires, personalities, plans, expectations, goals, abilities, preferences and timelines. With all of that going on we’re going to disagree sometimes. But it doesn’t have to be a screaming match or a power struggle. We can handle situations with a calm demeanor and have peaceful resolution. As a parent, you are in a position to model honorable behavior and problem solving skills. If we want our kids to develop listening skills, negotiation and critical thinking, conflict provides the perfect opportunity to practice. If we shut them down with a punishment or an order to be quiet, we’re robbing everyone of an opportunity for connection and learning, including ourselves.

Giving children room to experiment with their growing minds and bodies is critical.

As they begin to make friendships and find their place in the world, they will meet a variety of options. They will have their own ideas. You will have disagreements. This is a time to work together not against each other.

Honor their individuality by recognizing it and not punishing them for it. Don’t they deserve that much? Commit to taking responsibility for yourself while you guide your child with sensitivity as he or she slowly learns to take his or her own. It’s a process that does not happen overnight. Rushing it will only set you all back.

We can’t force an outcome or control the way people behave but we can decide how we will approach situations. We can decide what kind of mom we want to be; how we want to build our relationship with our kids; and what they will be learning about problem solving, conflict resolution and positive communication. As parents we wield great influence. Let’s make sure that it’s a positive, nourishing one.

It doesn’t mean that you are failing if you are struggling. It just means that every child is different and you have to open yourself a little wider. This isn’t a time to quit or give up or accept a hardship. It certainly isn’t a time to be harder on your child or tighten your control of them. It’s time to admit that you need two things:

1. Time and

2. New approaches.

 

As hard as it can be, occasionally all you can do is wait. Growth happens. Bodies and brains change, life experiences shape our understanding, maturity moves things along. Nothing you do can make that process faster. Have patience and know that time itself will smooth many bumps. While you are waiting you can build your relationship rather than damage it. And what time can’t help, you can by integrating some new thoughts and actions.

——————————————-

This is an excerpt from my e-workbook, Keep Your Cool: How to Stop Yelling, Spanking & Punishing. Hot off my heart with special pricing! More details and get it here.

{ 0 comments }

 

You are the best mama in the whole entire world for me.

 

Oh, sweet baby girl if you only knew.

If you only knew how hard it was for me when it should have been so easy. I don’t want to admit how hard it was to hear you ask me to play when I was so tired. How much I wanted to sit on the floor with you and build tower after tower and yet how hard it was for me to sit still, keep my hands from fidgeting, to keep my mind from wandering.

To listen to you cry and not be able to fix it.

To watch you exhaust yourself with your big emotions and not understand what was happening.

To want to give you what you wanted and needed while struggling with my body and mind that couldn’t keep up.

To feel so frustrated and confused and overwhelmed.

To be so triggered by all of it that it took every bit of effort to control my anger.

To be so disappointed, ashamed and angry with myself when I couldn’t control it any longer and I yelled at you, scared you.

To know so much better and not be able to do better.

Until I did.

If I could I would go back in time and take it all away, not waste those moments with my sweet tiny girl. It all seems so ridiculous now, how I behaved with someone I loved more than anything. It’s embarrassing and I don’t want you to how hard it was for me. And yet, I know that you did because you were on the receiving end of my loud voice, my hands clenched in my hair.

You saw the worst of me and yet you are the best mama in the whole entire world for me.

You don’t know what that means. How hard I fought for you to know how precious and special you were, how I wanted to be the mama that worked with you and not against you. To truly understand you and have a relationship built on trust and openness. I never wanted you to hide yourself, especially from me. My frailties were mine, not yours and more than anything I had to own that. You depended on me. I gave it everything I had and more.

And you were so worth the effort. Every time I gave you my full attention for 5 minutes helped me give it for 6 minutes the next time, then 10, then 20. Every time I showed up, I was learning how to be what you needed.

Every time I was your safe place, your testing place, your understanding place, I became what you needed.

Every time I made you offer after offer after offer until we got it right, I became what you needed.

Every time I gave you space to grow, to know yourself, to settle into what felt good, I became what you needed.

Every time I waited, I watched, I listened, I invited stillness, I rocked with you, I held you so close, I became what you needed.

Every time I yelled less than I yelled the time before. Every time I walked away sooner. Every time I breathed sooner. Every time I let it go sooner. Every time I wrote it out and freed my thoughts sooner. Every time I stopped listening to the negative voices; told the fear it was wrong; did the work. Every time I trusted that warm feeling I had when I held you, despite the cold fear and the sharp exhaustion. Every time I tried again and wouldn’t accept my own mistakes as the best I could do. Every time.

Every time I looked into your eyes and saw the little person that you were. Every time I accepted you and held onto my love for you, I became the best mama in the whole entire world. For you.

And this is what you know.

And this is where we are. In this amazing place of togetherness and strength, patience and encouragement, enjoyment and maturity.  I can’t remember what the hell I was so worried about and it all seems so far away. You explore the world unafraid and with vigor, kindness and tact. You don’t remember the yelling, me at my worst. All you feel is comfort and safety and rest knowing that I take full responsibility for the blessing that you are. That I hold you securely and gently in my honor and only want to protect the enthusiasm, joy and boundless spirit that is uniquely yours. We often tell you how much laughter, excitement and energy you bring to our lives and it’s wonderful.

I am no longer overwhelmed in upset but made breathless by the deep trust and confidence you have in me. There are no words to express the excellent care I want to give you, the deep abiding love I want you to feel, the unshakable belief I have in you. And yet you tell me you know every time you hug me. Every time.

You are the best mama in the whole entire world for me.

 

{ 4 comments }

I had so much fun chatting with Kelly Dahl as part of her Fulfilling Life interview series. It was an honor to be asked and a topic that I love. Like most speaking engagements, it’s impossible to cover every point and other details get forgotten. To introduce the video, let me tell you what I didn’t say:

I find fulfillment in simple things like taking care of my family.

When I do the laundry, I feel fulfilled knowing they can find their favorite shirt.

When I read to my daughter, I feel fulfilled knowing she feels important.

When I run errands to fill the cupboards, I feel fulfilled by providing and paying attention to their needs and desires.

When I fill the pets’ food bowls, I feel fulfilled by offering comfort and safety.

I love it when I write a blog post or a course that really helps someone. I feel fulfilled as I see myself on the page.

I love it when I host a conference. I feel fulfilled in the discussion, learning and people coming together.

Now, go watch the video to hear more about why I’m fulfilled by these examples, what obstacles get in my way and how I deal with them. Give Kelly some love, please, and thank her for having me! She really is the best.

{ 1 comment }

For some bizarre reason, our culture likes to scare the parents of toddlers. As a new mother, I loved, loved, loved being with my daughter. Camille was sweet and fun and delightful. She came with me everywhere and our genuine shared happiness was obvious to everyone we met. So much so that others began to take it upon themselves to prepare me for what was to come.

Just wait for the terrible twos.

I heard it again and again and again. I didn’t believe it, though. Everyone had tried to scare me out of natural childbirth, exclusive/extended breastfeeding, not vaccinating and attachment parenting, too. How could our relationship change just because she hit this mystical age? I read about child development and milestones and continued to foster and enjoy our relationship. The people who initiated these conversations, though, were insistent.

When our twos weren’t terrible, I was then told to wait for the threes. Those were even worse!

Now this freaked me out. Maybe I had just gotten lucky and the worst was yet to come. I’m glad that I got pregnant that year to distract me from waiting for the worst.

None of it ever came to pass and you won’t be surprised to know that I have a theory about that:

I expected the best. I took responsibility for my own best behavior. I looked at my daughter as someone who was learning as best she could.

When you expect the worse, you see the worst. When you brace yourself, you cause injury. Not taking enough time to heal or interrupting the healing by removing the cast creates a problem. Rinse and repeat.

Now, this doesn’t mean that challenges don’t arise; of course they do. But how you live inside of them makes all the difference.

If you want help in dealing with the terrible twos, I have exactly one tip:

Stop calling them the terrible twos.

 

How does that possibly set you up for good times? Re-frame your perception. Don’t look for what you don’t like.  Turn that negative quality you see into a positive attribute.

Parents tell me they want their kids to not give up, to keep trying. This is being persistent but when they’re two, it’s called stubborn.

We want them to talk to us about their problems. This is called communicating but when they’re two, it’s called acting out.

We want them to be confident and determined but when they are two, it’s called brattiness.

We want them to reach out to us but when they are two, it’s called just trying to get our attention.

We want to know how to make them successful but when they are two, it’s called manipulation.

We want them to express their feelings but when they are two, it’s called being whiny.

We want to give them every opportunity to learn how to fit into the world but when they are two, it’s called terrible.

Is that really want you want to think of your child? Is that really want you want them to feel from you?

How terrible!

When all you see is terrible, you’re missing the tender and the terrific.

The toddler years are full of energy, experimentation and emotion. It’s a big, necessary whirlwind of activity and change for growing bodies and minds. You can fight it or you can flow with it. Taking a battle stance is going to create a war. Instead, extend a hand and offer to dance.

Expect the best.

Your child already does and is waiting for you to join the party. I hear it’s pretty terrific.

 

{ 0 comments }

I write blog posts in my head every day but I don’t always make it to the computer to share them.I’ve finally made the time to sit here and all of these bits and snippets are rolling around me mind, eluding true form. It feels like too much effort to try to rope them back in as they have dispersed from the coherent structure of yesterday’s thoughts. The morning hasn’t gone quite the way I thought that it would as I welcomed back each daughter individually from sleepovers last night. Plans are being re-written and there’s confusion about who is going where, when with who and how we’ll meet back up this afternoon. The day has scattered, taking my thoughts and intentions with it.

Camille walked by as I opened this blank post and I asked her what I should write. Ping-pong! since she had a paddle and ball in her hand, of course. I reminded her: I write about parenting, remember? So what do I know about that that other people need to know?

“That kids are important.”

Now obviously, I agree with that and I would bet that all of you do, too. I would take it a step further and argue that it’s critical that kids know it as part of their core beliefs. They are important, even if they are smaller, younger and less experienced than the adults in their lives. With this as a bedrock truth, their sense of wellbeing and strength grows.  I thought it might be interesting, though, to find out what Camille thought and asked if I could interview her for this post. She agreed and made the point very clearly and simply. She said in just a few words what I would have tried to demonstrate in a few paragraphs.

 

Me: Why are kids important?

C: Because they’re fun. Because we can influence other kids, like my sister.

(This is not at all what I expected her to say. It’s very profound as I have discovered the fun my kids bring improves both my mood and our relationship. It also propels them towards learning and finding their interests and place in the world. It’s also true that their values, feelings and actions have an impact on everyone in their lives, especially those little ones who admire the big kids. It’s in this way that they do influence me and others and how we interact, the plans we make and change, the perspectives we gain. Can you see the productive, uplifting cycle that this creates? But what does it mean when a child knows they have this power? Hint: it has nothing to do with them feeling “like the world revolves around them.”)

 

Me: You know that you are important to me, right?

C: (nods)

 

Me: What do I do that makes you feel that way?

C: You play with me, you give me lots of attention, you take me to parties and activities, you let me do things, you buy me stuff, you sign me up for things, you take me places, you help me do things, you listen to me.

 

Me: How does it make you feel to know that you are important to me?

C: That you love me, you will cooperate with me and don’t think that I am annoying when I ask for something.

 

Me: How does that make life easier or better for you?

C: I know that I can just ask you, you won’t get mad at me, that you will be there for me and I can ask you for help. I feel safe.

 

Me: Can you think of a time that I made you feel important?

C: Right now.
Me: Really? Why?

C: Because it’s just me (here with you) and you are asking me what I think.

It’s that simple.

Kids are important. Know that and don’t be afraid to let them know it. Don’t be afraid to see the power in small gestures- elegant feats of securing relationships now and in years to come.

{ 3 comments }

Today she asked me to read to her.

She’s seven and busy as a bee most of the time. Not a lot of time to sit still. Except for a moment today and she wanted me to read.

I felt busy as a bee and didn’t have a lot of time to sit still. Except she won’t be seven much longer and my other stuff will always be there.

So I sat in the corner of the couch by the sunny window and she handed me her book. “Make Way for Ducklings! I love this book, mama!” As I opened its pages she closed the blanket around her, nestling into my lap. I made a silent vow to anchor myself like a kite in the hand of a little girl running along the beach. Everything else slipped away. I took my time with each word and spoke with enthusiasm, as if reading it for the first time myself. I saw her eyes light up as I explained to her that she had visited the very park the book portrayed. The time that I took was not spent; it was invested. As I read on, I could feel her sinking deeper into me, relaxing more, feeling the moment as much as I offered it.

I closed the book and she closed her eyes. My hand found itself stroking her round-for-a-short-time cheek, outlining her ear and marveling at her shape. I spent so many hours like this when she was a baby- just looking at her and wondering how anything could be so perfect. Taking in her softness, her innocence. Time was so quiet and so still and I could have spent forever in that place, just holding her head in my lap, cradling her youth. Being her mama. Being her mama. Her continued rest with me affirmed that she was feeling it, too. Remembering how it felt to be held, admired, so purely loved. Nothing had changed and I was still here. Her mama. Her mama. Oh, the love we both felt in that moment.

She finally broke the spell. Lifting her head a bit she said, “There was something I was going to do after this and now I can’t remember.” I told her my truth: that I couldn’t remember what it was that I had been planning to do either. We were lost in our connection; nothing else was as urgent, nothing else was as satisfying. So we sat together for a while longer. Snuggling and chatting about nothing in particular. It was an unremarkable scene in a world of seven wonders yet traveling the world couldn’t bring a thrill such as this.

Together we had all there is to have in a gasp of time: each other.

We have choices. In a fast and busy life, we can make it faster and busier. We can chase an elusive dream and plot all the ways we will rise to the top. We can organize our minutes by task and to-do, fret over the piles and the paperwork.

Or we can stop and make space. We can let go of worry and succeeding lest we fail. We can let the ends be loose and free without apology for not stressing over it. We can open to the possibility that single moment holds. That precious, solitary moment when our child comes to us, (to us!), and asks for some of our time. “Just a moment” is what you might say as you glance back at your work, asking her to wait. “Yes,” she might reply, not understanding your meaning. (All I’m asking for is just a moment.)

Give it.

What will it give back?

And how many more moments will there be?

As many as you give.

{ 11 comments }