Mothering

Inspiration on parenting

You’re Beautiful!

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At the close of this day, may I offer these few words:

Life is wonderful.
Love is amazing.
Nature is stunning.
Music is inspiring.
Poetry is transcending.
Growth is encouraging.
And our pain is instructive.
And you, you are beautiful and making the world and all it’s possibilities come alive for your loved ones.
Now, take care of that beauty! Maintain your sense of awe at all creation! Cultivate your sense of humor, relax into the love in your life and continue to turn your face upward in gratitude and outward to those around you!

All is well.
Tomorrow will have it’s own cares.
For now, your efforts for today are enough. You are enough.

Rest my friend.

Love,

Jacque

Behavior IS Communication

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One thing that is sometimes difficult for me to wrap my head around, is the observation that our children’s behavior is a form of communication.

Particularly true of small children who are doing their best to communicate their needs to us, while not always having the words they need and or a regular dose of our full attention.

So, just a word to the wise, as I have learned the hard way many times, if a child is acting outoften it is a plea for your attention and your help.

You might ask yourself, “Am I preoccupied most of the time, or even a good portion of the day? Or am I pretty present in the time that I spend with my children throughout the day?”

You might look for signs of your own preoccupation with projects you’re excited about or work or even something as simple as your phone. Those signs might be that you don’t consistently look into your child’s face when they are speaking to you. You may have to ask them to repeat themselves multiple times before you really hear what they are trying to tell you. You may not realize that your child hasn’t been dressed for the day until after lunchtime or that they haven’t had their hair combed in a week. Or you may find that your frustration level is skyrocketing as you are trying to do several things at once and your kids seem to be blocking your progress.

My friend, as C.S. Lewis beautifully said, “Children are not distractions from more important work. They are the most important work.”

As we grow-up more ourselves, we realize that:

1 Babies and children are not trying to sabotage our efforts, they are simply trying to get their needs met.
2 When kids receive our freely given, undivided attention on a regular basis, the more they trust that their needs will be met, and oftentimes, as a result, their behavior magically calms down. They may be striving with all they’ve got to get you to notice them! And giving them regular attention is much more rewarding for both of you than cleaning up crazy messes made from radical behavior! The deal is, one way or another they will turn your head, now or in the future.
3 Children feel loved by being cared for, such as being clean, brushed, groomed and clothed. It doesn’t take much time, but it makes a big difference!
4 As a caregiver, having your needs met is equally important! But you are the one in charge of that care too. It’s part of growing up to learn to care for yourself.

I hope that these thoughts offer a little insight to those of you who are in the trench right now! Keep moving forward and take life a day at a time…and slow it down to an hour at a time when you are sleep deprived!

Much love,

Jacque

P.S. If you are an intense person like I am, know that your intensity can totally overwhelm a small person who doesn’t go at your speed! They are going to be listening for your vibe maybe more than your words (as a friend kindly pointed out to me!) so practice calming yourself down instead of getting more intense when you seem to be at odds with your child. That little piece of advice is golden if you’ll give it a try.

 

Madeline’s Advice

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I was working on a book review last week of the four autobiographies of Madeline L’Engle. (Author of A Wrinkle in Time, and other titles.)

In preparation, besides having read the books, I watched a few interviews/speeches she made and I thought the advice she gave on parenting, among other things, was noteworthy.

She and her husband Hugh raised three children while maintaining a country home and a city apartment. They were conscientious parents and loved their family!

Her advice went something like this:

“Don’t lose your temper in front of your children, but if you do, apologize! I apologize daily. Hug them and let yourself be real. As parents, love each other as you’re fumbling along, trying to figure things out. Some of the things we did with the best intentions, turned out to be the worst. And some of the things we did on accident, turned out to be the best!

Read to your children for hours. And let them pray for hours.”

I think there is a lot of wisdom in these words.

Another thought she offered, that I think goes hand in hand with thoughts on parenting was this:

“Not forgiving ourselves can be a supreme act of arrogance.”

Let’s keep trying, little by little, and determine to drink in the lessons we are learning and value the ways that we are growing…no matter how old our children are!

Sending you much love today.

Take good care,

Jacque 

 

Sweeten Your Speech

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I’ve had a few experiences lately with seeing the destructive reality of using sarcasm in our daily speech.

When I was  teenager, sarcasm was king! It meant you were in “the know” you understood the subtle undertones of snarky (now that word hadn’t been born yet, but it’s a dandy isn’t it?) teen talk. It also meant you weren’t a “goodie goodie” heaven forbid.

But really, sarcasm is victim talk.

It’s a, here’s-to-everything-wrong-with-the-world cheer.

It’s cutting and wretched and devoid of hope and positivity.

So I challenge you to cut it out. Out of your casual speech and out of your thinking.

Is this how you want to be remembered? From Greek, sarkasmos, “to tear flesh, bite the lips in rage, sneer, gnash teeth, speak bitterly?”

Sounds pretty violent, and you know it surely can be if you’ve ever been the brunt of sarcastic remarks.

But it’s especially wounding to those innocents who are not privy to such derision (ridicule, mockery) and deceit.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been on the receiving end of several sarcastic comments, and it has reminded me that I never want to give someone the potentially hurtful sting that sarcastic comments deliver.

Beyond comments that are directed at someone in particular, sarcasm is equally as destructive in the general sense. Even if we are talking about a large group of people or an incident or commenting on someone else’s beliefs or habits, sarcasm adds foul blackness to the air and calls in darkness rather than inviting greater light.

If you are accustomed to using sarcasm in your communications, (I know I can do better), it may take deliberate practice or asking someone close to you to bring it to your attention when you slip into sarcastic speech. But it is worth our best efforts. Being trustworthy pays direct dividends to all our relationships.

I wish you all the best this wintry night.

Be well,

Jacque 

Massage, Marinate, Memorize

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Here’s a mantra idea for this beautiful new year: massage, marinate and memorize!

First, massage your plan! Yes, take the time to work out your goals and plans, be dedicated about your time-blocking and then as you’re living those plans, massage them to make them enjoyable and doable! If things end up feeling too harried, rethink that part of your schedule, wiggle it until it’s a better fit. Pay attention to the kind of “stress” you have, whether it is heavy, under-the-gun type or the anticipating and somewhat excited kind! If you can mentally flip it around from heavy to light, by all means do it now! {If not, see the last suggestion for another idea.}

We all need self-care. But if you are living a life of care giving, make sure that you are marinating in self-care as much as you possibly can! {Marinating is thoroughly soaked!} I read a line today from C.S. Lewis, “we must think of a King at peace, enthroned, taking his leisure, serene.” That struck me. While we aren’t kings with servants and constant royal treatment, we are, in the big picture, God’s daughters and therefore royal. Maybe we could consider creating self-care that matches that title! Are you worthy of peace and serenity? Of course! So do all you can to cultivate peace and serenity in your day to day life. Be present and enjoy all of the simple blessings in your life!

Need a bit of a lift in the way you see your responsibilities or in your ability to set a few goals or to dream about how you would like things to go? Now is the time to memorize the declarations you need to support those shifts! In order for them to be really effective, you need to be able to repeat them often, so make them:
-short and sweet
-direct and powerful
-present tense and positive!
Then rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!

“I am happy and content.”
“I am grateful and constantly counting my blessings.”
“I am loved.”
“I take time to nourish myself.”
“I am worthy of constant care.”
“I break my goals into bite-sized pieces.”

I hope that you have your sights set on a great year ahead, doing small things {for yourself and others} with great love–which adds up to leaving a loving legacy of dignity, serenity and joyful peace.

Be well.

Love,

Jacque