As Christmas is closely approaching and a furious energy stirs around us as we make lists, buy presents, bake cookies, wrap gifts and decorate trees-the staff at parentEASY challenge you to pause and consider adopting a practice of gratitude this holiday season-not because we claim to do gratitude better than others----but because we are moms too. Moms who typically get lost in
the feverish pace of it all and don’t realize we missed the point until after the presents are opened and turkey is eaten. Make this your year to do Christmas differently! Make this your year
to approach Christmas fully engaged, fully present and joy-filled!
As the owner of parentEASY I rarely share personal stories with my followers. But I am one of the converted and now believe gratitude is essential to our spirits-especially as moms. After several years of hearing and reading about the power of gratitude from Oprah to Anthony Robbins I was finally forced to give gratitude a try. Recently, during an extremely stressful time in my own personal life I made a commitment to practice gratitude-not for
a moment but as a daily ritual-and not because I was convinced it would work-but because I was desperate. I started slowly and painfully as I struggled to write down just 5 things I was grateful for: my house, my health, my kids...the usual.
Eventually, over time the miracle of gratitude, the power of
gratitude happened. I began to see the blessings in everyone and everything and my list got longer and more detailed and I began to look forward to my time of gratitude. The real miracle was that my circumstances hadn’t changed, just my attitude.
This holiday season the staff at parentEASY wish you all the blessings of gratitude. Blessings that include physical, psychological and social benefits according to Robert Emmons world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. The extraordinary benefits include, stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, more optimistic, more forgiving and compassionate. These benefits are not just a gift you can give to yourself but gifts you can give your whole family.
Join us on facebook as you DARE to do Christmas differently this year. Post your gratitude's, challenges and triumphs!
We look forward to reading them and hearing from all of
The parentEASY moms
Use it before you lose it. As parents we tend to bring out the reinforcers when all else fails. Introduce reward charts to your children to encourage good behaviour before there is an issue.
Focus on the positive. Reward charts are used to encourage good
behaviour. If you want your child to stop hitting reward gentle touching. The focus must be on the behaviour you want to see. Take this as a time to take stock of your families values and beliefs and decide what you would like to teach your children and then reinforce this behaviour when you see it happening.
One way street. Stars, tokens, check marks can be given when
the positive behaviour occurs. Do not take these away when the child does something inappropriate. Reward charts are meant to be rewarding. Other strategies can be used to discipline negative behaviour.
Timing is everything: The timing of stars and tokens should be in short approximations for younger children. Initially allow children to earn their rewards over an Hour and slowly move up to half a day or even an entire day. Older children are more capable of delayed gratification and could work for rewards over a couple
of consecutive days.
Motivating reward. Keep the reward novel and make sure your child is motivated by it. Your child will not respond to a Barbie DVD
if she is allowed to watch it throughout the day or doesn’t even like Barbie.
Take this as a time to become curious about what motivates your child.
Becoming a new parent is one of the most life altering events you will experience and requires a huge amount of learning, surrendering, exploring, growing and discovering. It is like starting a new job without any training or manual. All the other employees have been around forever and seem to think it is their sole purpose in life to tell you how to do your work but none of them are staying after hours to get their project done. Parenting can feel lonely and overwhelming and yet once you find your way it can be the most amazing journey ever traveled. So here are my tips to help you find your way as you start your new job:
Let go of expectations
Wow this is a big one. This is one of the most anticipated events of your life. It is scary and exciting all at the same time. Expectations and plans help us make sense of the unknown---and a new baby is uncharted territory. But when plans don’t go as we expect it is hard to adjust and enjoy the moment for what it is---not what we expected it to be. Just being aware of our expectations is a step in the right direction. I was expecting the baby to sleep longer, I was expecting to breast feed, I was expecting a girl. And then asking ourselves and trying to stay open to new possibilities of what parenting is going to be like.
Parenting is a process not a destination.
Before baby even arrives most parents have read all the right books, registered their child for mommy and me classes,
decorated the room, researched the best diapers, taken lessons on how to push and open the stroller and started making homemade organic baby food. We cannot “parent” until the baby arrives and we really have no idea what is going to be expected of us until we get to meet our baby. You cannot start your job until you arrive at your office or receive your first project. So expertise----parenting expertise just like work expertise---develops over time. It means you are going to make mistakes and you are not going to do it
all----and definitely not perfectly. Becoming a skilled and confident parent takes practice, time and conscious effort. So meet the baby first and then start your journey together.
Try not to compare
Every child is unique and comes pre-package with their own personality, likes, and mannerisms. You are unique and that means the relationship between you and your child is unique. It is an accumulation of your personality, your child’s personality and
the dynamic between you. Comparing your child to those of others forces us to focus on what our child cannot do verses what they can do and we miss the things that make them unique. This is what Brene Brown, author of “The Gifts of Imperfecting Parenting refers to as scarcity rather than gratitude. Practice gratitude. Your child’s self esteem and self-worth will thank you for it. And
you will become a more confident parent.
Have fun you say when you are knee deep in puke and poop. One of the best ways to laugh about your new experiences is to call another mom friend that you trust and share your story, keep a journal or video tape the chaos. It might not seem or look funny in the moment but it will become funny days or even weeks later…..or it might take years. The point is to not take yourself too seriously. Children have survived for centuries with much less. According to Judith Warner of Perfect Madness we are the most educated mothers to date. So remind yourself of that the next time things seem totally out of control.
The love affair evolves
As you get into a routine (however chaotic of routine this might
seem---especially for all you type As) and you get a handle on feeding, sleeping and showering and begin to distinguish day from night you will begin to have time to see, feel, smell, hold, play and laugh with your baby. This is when the love affair begins. So don’t worry if you are just not feeling it at the word go. These things take time. Love evolves and grows. Infatuation exists
in a moment and this is true even for your new born baby.