my kids

So this week, I read a parenting tip that said it’s important to teach kids that their needs and wants are not equal to mine. It was about making kids do things you want them to do whether they want to or not. Because my want is above their want.

It kind of stopped me in my tracks.

In my mind, I thought about how this would feel in other scenarios. So, ok let’s imagine the love of your life is just not helping you much around the house lately and so today is the day you’re having that talk about it. You calmly explain that you need more help around the house. Maybe just doing the dishes after dinner or cleaning up the living room after the baby goes to sleep. You want an extra hand to keep the house in order and can he (or she) help you?. And your loved one looks at you in the eye and lovingly, but firmly says to you, “I hear you, but your needs and wants are not equal to mine. And I don’t want to help around the house, so you’re stuck doing it. Ok love, now go about it.”

Hm.

Yeah, I don’t think that would fly all that well, right? But to the little people of the world, we’re supposed to as parents pretty much say that to them.  Oh and at the same time also major lessons like teaching self-esteem and empathy for others.

Oh I get it. I totally know that it’s not like whatever our kids want, they get. But, does it have to be, what you want is not equal to what I want? It’s really two very different lessons.

Remember how I said that it stopped me in my tracks? It did because I looked at my kids (three of them pictured above…4th one was being worn when I took this picture) and thought, could I really tell them this? Could I look at them and say firmly — “What you want is not equal to what I want so do what I tell you.” No, I couldn’t. Their trust and security in me would be damaged by statements in this. They know I care about their wants. That I respect their needs. And they know that when they can’t get what they want, we talk it out, we work it out. We try to compromise and when we can’t get it, they know why. But it’s nothing like — what you want is not equal to what I want.

I think in parenting in general, it’s important to think about how you’d want to be treated. What words you’d want to be told. How you’d want to be let down about something you really wanted. And then approach your children in that way…because most of us would want to be respected and heard. And nobody’s needs are above that.

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tantrum

With four kids, I’ve seen my fair share of tantrums. In fact, I can bet you the winning lottery ticket that there will be one this week. And I’m sure that if you have a toddler, you have seen one or you’ve seen another toddler having a tantrum at one point. And side note to mothers — when another child is having a tantrum, aren’t you usually soooo glad that it’s not your kid? In fact when it’s another kid, I kind of smile and find it cute.  Not so much when it’s mine!

How should we handle a tantrum? Should we punish the toddler and put him in time out for having a tantrum? Should we ignore the tantrum and hope it goes away soon? Should bribe the toddler with some candy if they stop right now?

Here are some tips for parenting through a tantrum.

1) Realize that a child having a tantrum is a distraught and frustrated child.

Have you ever felt so frustrated and aggravated and can’t seem to get the right words to express yourself? That pretty much sums up what a toddler feels like when having a tantrum. But, even worse because they simply don’t have the words to explain all those emotions. Basically tantrums are a release of frustration, confusion, anger and sadness all balled up into one. And no words to tell others exactly what you’re feeling.

2) Validate your toddler’s feelings.

A tantrum can be really scary for a toddler. They are expressing so much emotions and often times feel at a loss. It’s during these times that your toddler needs you to make him feel secure and that you’re there even if he’s mad at you. Some children respond well to a hug or touch during a tantrum and some children don’t want to be touched at all. Follow your child’s cue, you know your child best. Validate her feelings by voicing them for her. For example, you can emphatically say, “You’re so mad because you couldn’t have a have that spoon. You really wanted that back, I know. And now you’re mad that you don’t have it.” If you’re finding that your toddler is getting more upset by your presence, you can simply step away and allow her to have her tantrum until she’s calmed down.

3) Give your toddler alternatives to a tantrum.

After your child is calmed down, you can teach her how to use words when frustrated. Since  a toddler’s vocabulary is limited, you’ll want to keep it simple. One example is to teach her how to say “I’m MAD! I’m so MAD!” and perhaps even stomp when you say it. Teach her how she can use words when she’s mad or upset about something. Do it together so she can model the behavior.

Notice how in neither suggestion are you giving in to the tantrum? It’s with the assumption that your “No” meant “No”  And that you have saved those “No” situations for when you really are not able to say “Yes”. Many unnecessary tantrums can be prevented by saying “Yes” more and saving your ‘No” for when you really cannot say “Yes”.

I hope this helps the next time your toddler has  tantrum. And wouldn’t you know it…it’s pretty much what we’d want done to us at times of frustrations – understanding, validation and support.

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spiritual-path-holistic-entrepreneur

 

I recently saw this picture on facebook. It was posted and shared a gazillion times and said, “I’m a holistic entrepreneur”. It’s meaning is that in being a holistic entrepreneur, my life + love + work + spiritually are not separate but are one. And I thought hard about that. Really really hard. Because while so many were “liking” and sharing this picture, I didn’t do a thing with it. I let it be where it was. See, there’s not a “dislike” button on facebook and if there was, that’s the one I would’ve clicked.

For a long time I’ve also been a holistic entrepreneur. My life and my work and everything in between was all one. And that led to a lovely (said in sarcasm) road that I call….major burnout. And the ones that suffered the most from that burnout were the ones that unwillingly also had become “holistic entrepreneurs” because they were pulled into that “oneness” as well. It was my family. They suffered from this approach of being a holistic entrepreneur. And it wasn’t fair for them nor myself.

Then one day I realized, that while my work grew from the passion I found as a mother, I needed my  business to be separate from the other aspects of my life. Now, mind you, when you have a small business and you run on a small staff, it’s not like I could sit in a fancy office and work and leave it at home and then go care for my children, have dinner and not think about work until the next day. In case you’ve forgotten, on top of all of this, I’m also a homeschooling mom. My kids are with me the majority of my day and of course at night. And many times when I go into my store for example, I do often take them. So it’s not like I could ever be completely compartmentalized and have family in one side and work on the other. But, still I had to make the decision that the whole “holistic entrepreneur” thing just didn’t make sense for me. I had to make sure to keep separation. And because it’s a journey, every day it’s my goal to make sure that my family is first and separate from the rest. When I’m with the kids, I’m with the kids. When I’m at work and I have the kids…well, yeah that can go any which way (try bringing 4 kids to a small ecobaby boutique then come and talk to me). But I’m still their mom first and it’s not always perfect, but I’m there for them.

I just happen to not think that it’s “cool” (at least not for me) nor that it should be my goal to keep all the aspects of my life as a unity. It’s not a healthy approach as mother, a business owner, a woman and as a partner to my husband.  The joys and challenges of being an entrepreneur should not automatically also become those of my family, my love and my spirituality. And to keep a balance (a not always realistic goal, but still a goal), I aspire to keep them separate as much as possible. It’s what keeps me recharged and energized to conquer and dive into the many aspects of being an entrepreneur. For me, separation makes it possible. And that doesn’t make me any less of an entrepreneur. It’s a lesson I’ve come to learn and appreciate.

With that in mind, I will sign off on this post to pack up and head home….and truly be home, with the kids, with my husband and be present with them…completely separate from my work.

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21motherandchild350x233

As an attachment parenting mama and also as a Attachment Parenting International Leader (since 2007) I hear a lot of misconceptions about what exactly is attachment parenting. Before I get to that though, I wanted to start by covering what it is not.

  1. Attachment parenting is NOT permissive parenting. Being an attachment parenting mama does not mean that your kids can do whatever they want. Children are children and they don’t always do nor behave how we would like them to (I’ll be the first to say that loud and clear) but in attachment parenting there are boundaries and guidance.
  2. Attachment parenting is NOT being a martyr. I hear often mamas saying that even though it’s miserable for them they are going to be attachment parenting mamas because they think it’s best for baby. One aspect of attachment parenting is balance. There are realistic expectations in mothering – any parenting style. And attachment parenting has these as well but also it has balance.
  3. Finally, Attachment parenting is NOT a checklist. I don’t start out explaining that I practice attachment parenting by listing a list of what I do. It’s so much more than a list. In fact, it’s not even remotely about a list. And often times the principles of attachment parenting are confused with a checklist of what you must do to be an attachment parent.

So what is attachment parenting?

Attachment parenting is a style of parenting that forms a secure bond between parent and child by responding to your child’s emotional and physical needs.

Interested in learning more? Here’s a link for more information.

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pregnant-just-found

As a pregnant mama, you most like have dreams of what it will be like to be a new mama. How lovely your baby will be (and she/he will be for sure!), how beautiful your baby will look in the new nursery, how when it’s time for sleep you’ll smile as you put your baby down for a nap and watch her/him sleep soundly for a couple of hours as you read a book and catch up on things….

I will thread gently when I say that it doesn’t always look like we dreamed it to be. Life with a newborn is different than what we’re shown in cultural depictions of new motherhood. It *is* lovely and you will love this little being more than you ever thought possible, but there are some realities that differ greatly from how babies are born and what we expect them to be.

Here are some tips that I hope will help.

1) Babies aren’t born to sleep all night long.
You may have a newborn that sleeps a lot, well you most likely will have a baby that sleeps a lot, but babies have small tiny tummies and breastmilk is very easy to digest and so babies are biologically and amazingly designed (for survival) to wake up often to eat.  When babies wake up they also reset their heart rates and their breathing, so wakings help to prevent SIDs. Embrace those wakings and  use it as a time to connect, bond and feed your little one.

2) Babies are contact seekers.
Your baby right now is surrounded by…..YOU. Held in your miraculous womb, surrounded by your sounds, your tastes, your movement. In this way, you’ve grown your baby in uterous and towards the end we call this the “third trimester”. When your baby is born, it’s now time for the fourth trimester. A time when your baby seeks and needs your touch, your sound, your taste, your breastmilk, your movement. During this stage your baby strives the more he/she is touched and carried and interacts with you. It’s not a want – your baby doesn’t just want to be with you. Your baby needs to be with you for neurological and physiological development.

3) A comfortable baby carrier can be your most treasured baby gear.
There are swings, strollers, bouncy seats, mats…you name it there is a baby gear for that. But a comfortable baby carrier is the only baby “gear” that allows your baby to meet his developmental needs while giving you freedom of movement and convenience. Carried babies are touched more, kissed more and cuddled more and in this are able to have mother meet their needs. While other baby gear have their place, it’s a baby carrier that keeps on giving for both mother and baby. Baby carriers  help you meet baby needs #1 and #2 above and more.

4) Follow your instincts
There will be 1million and 1 books, blogs, friends, family, even this email that will have recommendations for your baby. Guess who is your baby’s expert? YOU. Listen to your baby – your baby will tell you what he/she needs. Watch for your baby’s cues, sometimes they can be very slight but they are there. Your baby will communicate with you and it takes time to figure out what he/she is saying. And sometimes you won’t be able to, but be there for your baby and listen to your instincts. You’re eternally connect and that bond never ends. Follow it and ignore anything else that tells you to go against your gut.

Giselle Baturay

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A day of soaking in anthropology brilliance

A few days ago, I got to be in a little of heaven on earth. I got to go listen to an anthropologist genius and crusader, Dr. James McKenna. It was like sitting in the sun soaking in all of it’s energy and goodness. Now a little background…. When my daughter was born 9 years […]

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