Day Two: Twenty Days Toward Being A More Mindful Mother

 

2011-01-10 at 02-04-39

 

(Photograph courtesy of Samantha Fogg of work+play positive dog training  at http://workplaydogs.com/)

I love this photograph because it reminds me that beautiful things are still happening in some of nature’s most quiet and dark seasons; just as sometimes we personally have to go through dark periods to come out into new growth. Part of the process of creating your family often leads to acknowledging things you would like to do differently; things you would like to be better, and opportunities for a positive and beautiful new beginning.

 

In the process of acknowledging what you would like to change or do differently, I hope you take the time to see all the things that you do right.  I also hope you forgive yourself for any unrealistic expectations that you were harboring about parenting and family life or homeschooling.  I hear from so many mother who seem to be disappointed in themselves.

 

I think forgiveness is a huge part of a mindful path in parenting and in homeschooling. I have written some posts on guilt and forgiveness in the past that  I would like to share with you here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/11/27/forgiving-ourselves/ and here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/05/22/waldorf-guilt/ and here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/02/14/is-it-too-late/.

 

Self-forgiveness is often a process where one has to accept and forgive themselves for being HUMAN and not perfect. It is part of life to be “not perfect”, to be authentic and real, flaws and all.  We keep striving, and most of all, we start doing and trying.  It is not enough to read it in a book, or to gather and collect information..you must jump in and start in order to capture your own will and affect real and meaningful change.

 

So I ask you tonight……

What are your wounds that require self-forgiveness?

How do you acknowledge disappointment, loss?

How can your inner work help you in the journey of self-forgiveness?

 

Parenting is not perfection, it is a journey. Your child is not a psychological extension of you. I hear parents worry all the time that their child will grow up and resent the choices they have made; that Waldorf homeschooling will not be “enough” and that the child will blame them when they are in college and realize not every single thing was covered for them in their homeschooling education, etc.

 

Huh.

 

I don’t know about you, but I attended one of the best public school systems in New York. I have gone on to college to earn two degrees, and there were many subjects and ideas that were not covered in my public school career. If I knew everything coming out of high school, why would I need or want to go on to college? And then there were some things I learned in high school that made so much more sense in college –precalculus and physics come to mind!

 

There is always going to be some website or person who espouses the horrors of some parenting decision you have made –whether that is extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping, homeschooling, Waldorf homeschooling. We are all different people, and I think it is okay that people have different views. Our views also change over time. Part of being human means that we continue to develop until the day we pass from this earth.  We learn and we grow.  I find comfort in that, and I hope you do as well.  Sometimes knowing you are doing the very best you can Right Now In This Moment is plain powerful confidence!

 

We can still be confident even if we are not perfect. We still have more years of living than our children, we can still strive to be listeners, to be patient, to communicate without sarcasm or blame. We can exude a quiet confidence and strength in parenting even without perfection.

 

Forgive yourself, be easy with yourself, and most of all love yourself. I believe in a Creator, and in the Creator’s eyes, you are His Beloved!

 

Blessings and love,

Carrie

About these ads

12 thoughts on “Day Two: Twenty Days Toward Being A More Mindful Mother

  1. As usual, you said all the things I needed to hear right when I needed to hear them. Thank you so much for another thoughtful post full of love for all of us far from perfect parents! There is something in this that is really making me think……how to be at peace with dark times. Kind of like, I’m not mad that it’s winter so why am I mad at myself for having days of “dark times.” I’ve been through enough now that I KNOW they always end with light and new growth. It’s really its own little rhythm, isn’t it?

  2. Thanks Carrie, in this post and a recent one, I have been struck like you were talking directly to me when you speak DO-ing, rather than researching and analyzing and planning. That is just where I usually reside, in the research/planning/list-making part. I think the thing I find so healing about Waldorf just in my own life is the emphasis on actual work. I find it to be so healing, the gardening, the taking care of the home, the slow and steady things that need to be done anyway but I so often try and avoid. So, I am growing and do-ing this Lent season! blessings,

  3. Carrie,
    One of the things I get stuck on, and the number two or three reason why I am going to homeschool (or want to – still not sure my husband is on board with it yet!) is that I need to know what the ‘right’ answer is before I try to answer the question – and when I don’t think I have it – I don’t answer!

    This is the number one thing I don’t want my sons to have going out into live their lives. Being stuck without the RIGHT answer gives you no answer at all – and limits you so very much.

    So I am stuck not moving on when I don’t know –
    What does a wound look like? Feel like?
    I don’t know how I acknowledge disappointment, loss?

    No clue how my inner work is going to show up in forgiveness – how do I express something I can’t see? Predict?

    so I am ‘stuck’ here – and want to find the RIGHT answers but more than that, want to WORK wit the right answers. I know it is open-ended so that everyone can supply their answers more easily. I find it hard because I am stuck looking for the right answers and it just leads to me ‘spinning my wheels’ rather than getting anywhere effectively.

    There is so much I need to do – and so much I need to heal from – and so much I need to change – I’m trying not to get mired in this ‘do it right or don’t do it at all’ but not seeing the way out – without a few clues! Kinda like not having the money for the text for a class and required reading is there but unable to participate in class other than to hear the questions and answers but no way to make the connection – without the homework.

    I forgive myself for having a public education. I forgive my parents for having only that as their resource for teaching me. Neither are at fault, nor are they to blame for what I have retained or forgotten.
    The wound I would guess at is the emptiness I feel when I try to hazard a guess at what something is supposed to be – and don’t guess because I ‘know’ I might be wrong – and don’t know how to find out the ‘right’ answer.
    But FIXING that is likely to be the next 30 years – without specific HELP – and help these days costs money, and we’re trying to homeschool on a shoe string!

    So these are my answers to the questions – I’m sure they fit ‘somewhere’ but they don’t ‘click’ with me because I don’t ‘know’.
    I’d love to know what you would call this dilemma of wanting to fix my mindset of education and learning and fostering openness to be wrong in order to find right but be okay with finding out that there’s no one who will proofread you for free!

    • Dear Sweet long time reader Michele :)
      So what I hear you saying is that part of what you want to heal from, what you want to take away, is this perfectionism, this idea that you must have the right answers..maybe an understanding that the process is indeed as important as the product or how one arrives at an answer is as important as the answer itself. Does that sound like I am on track with how you are feeling?

      Not everyone carries around large wounds, and not everyone has gone through events that really have caused crisis. If you look at seven year cycles, many feel that time around 33 or so is a time of major crisis. Not everyone has that or hits it then. :) Maybe you honestly don’t have wounds, and maybe disappointment or loss doesn’t phase you as much as this perfectionism or wanting the right answer…maybe this idea of dealing with ambiguity is where you are right now. A more pertinent question may be, for you, how do you deal with ambiguity? What would be the worst thing that could happen with knowing no answer, let alone a right answer? What makes a right answer? Because someone else says so? How many sources have to validate an answer for it to be the right answer?

      I think, honestly, your healing will come less from the intellectual realm and more of the just plain doing realm. Working and doing, sleeping on it, and time and grace…these things help our personalities change, our lives move forward…

      Much love,
      Carrie

    • Hey Michele,
      I saw your second reply and I will email you back privately in a little bit. I understand a bit more about what you are going through….

      Love,
      Carrie

  4. Goodness! This is the latest in a series of answers I have received after praying these few days about guilt. On Sunday I watched a beautiful Finnish film called Mother of Mine about a Finnish boy who is sent during the war to a host family Sweden. The theme of the movie, if ones really gets it, is mother guilt. I identified very strongly with the Swedish mother. In any case, she was a tangible image of what guilt can do to a body. So then I was praying about guilt and how does one find freedom from it, etc.

    First, Fr. Richard Rohr’s daily emails are currently about the “shadowland” — answers galore in those. Then, in my inbox this morning are Lawrence Kushner’s words:
    “If God is everywhere, God is also in the perverse things we plan and even carry out. To be sure, God is less evident and less accessible than in acts of kindness, for example, but in them nevertheless…. Rejecting our sins only postpones the ultimate task of healing and self-unification. Accepting ourselves is another way of finding God.”

    And now your post! Thank you! (although my guilt has nothing to do with academic perfection! — Keep your kids’ curiosity alive! It’s all that really matters!)

  5. Oh, and what I really wanted to say was that what I’ve learned is that one can’t “get rid of” guilt by an act of will; only its impact can be lessened — by grace. Through grace thoughts begin to seep in to the cracks, thoughts like “actually, I like my life” or “really, I am doing a good job” etc.

  6. Thank you, Carrie. I find it helps me enormously to remember that I am where I am meant to be right now, DOING a dual purpose – taking care of my family and being creative. And just like I need to actually use my paints rather than just create in my mind, I need to DO whatever it is I need to do with my family, rather than reading about it. I agree with Amy – it is healing to bake and change the sheets and weed the vegetable patch – there’s a sense of grace that allows you to be fully present, doing …

  7. Lovely Carrie, beautifully said, much needed for all of us as moms, parents, human beings….it’s a journey of continuous evolution….a human being is a mixed bag of perfection in some areas and imperfection in others. It’s only when we expect perfection in all areas that we are disappointed with ourselves or others. We walk, we fall, we get up, and we walk again…it’s the walk that is important as long as we know the direction in which we’re moving. Sometime the outcome may not be what we expect but we made the choice consciously as we felt that is the best thing to do at that point.
    According to Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, we are rewarded for the effort and for the intention with good karma. The result and outcome is of the least consequence. The sanskrit verse translates as “Do your duty without expectations on what the outcome shoud be”
    God Bless
    Nirupama

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s