Category Archives: mindful parenting

Today Was Enough

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I was thinking
I was going to get more done today
and suddenly
I was paralyzed.
With fear, with anxiety,
with self-criticism.
So, I did what any
self-respecting individual would do
under the circumstances…
I read a book.
The book is called
Living Your Truth
by Kamal Ravikant.
Afterwards,
I felt better.
I took one step,
then another.
I went grocery shopping.
I tidied up the house
a little bit more,
took care of some phone calls
and correspondence.
I breathed.
I remembered to repeat
I love myself.
When the kids got home,
I was calm,
and managed to stay (mostly) calm
through homework.
Dinner was beautiful,
and afterwards,
my kids—of their own accord—
had an art moment!
It was…glorious to see them
happily working away
while I tidied up after dinner.
They’re still making art
and here I am writing this poem.
I was thinking
I was going to get more done today,
but I realize now,
today was enough.

NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 17: She Served Us

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This is too much work!
This is the last time
I’m doing this!
Mom-Mom said
as she served us
a gorgeous Christmas dinner.
I was four years old.
I felt really sad,
wondering what future Christmases would be like
without Mom-Mom and her dinner.
Imagine my surprise when
the following year, like every other year before it,
she served us a beautiful Christmas dinner.

The Flow of All Things

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I lost my temper again today.
It took a moment,
but I was able to forgive myself
for my outburst
and my son
for his sneakiness.
I had been helping my daughter
with her homework
and my son
–against my wishes–
had taken the iPad*,
sneaked it up into his room.
I felt so frustrated
with his dishonesty
and so responsible somehow,
like it wouldn’t have happened
if I could have kept better track of him…
but how can I be in two places at once?
After I got over myself enough
I took my two children to the park;
it was 66 degrees, in February,
can you believe it?
I watched them ride their bikes
in a loop of sidewalk,
down a hill then up a hill,
watched other children
playing, laughing,
so exuberant, full of energy.
Back home,
instead of slipping into
my default mode of feeling
overburdened by dinner preparation,
I enlisted the aid of my children.
I was amazed to see
how happy they were
to help.
I wondered what else I’ll discover
about my two bright little ones
(and myself)
when I let go of the need
to be in control
and open to this moment,
to them,
to the flow of all things.

*Now, if you’re asking yourself “What’s the big deal?  It’s just a kid being sneaky with an iPad,” let me explain that we’ve had multiple conversations about how spending large amounts of time on the iPad will do nothing for his wonderful mind.  He also has been acting like a big time jerk face after spending too much time on the device–disrespectful, moody, whiny, throwing toys, taking swings at me. I thought it was important to take a break from it today and let him know this; he stomped and shouted and was in general very rude to me in response. So maybe you can see now why it would trigger me that he would go and sneak off with the thing when I was helping my daughter with her homework.  If you’re a parent who never loses your temper, tell me how you do it.

Returning to Sanity

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I kept admonishing myself
for losing it with my kids.
Feeling guilty, ashamed,
a failure as a parent.
And then I realized,
it’s normal to lose it.
Because I’m human,
because sometimes I’m tired,
overworked, overwhelmed,
undernourished…
it just happens.
And as I began to cultivate acceptance
for my own humanness,
it occurred to me
that the goal isn’t
to never lose it with my kids.
The goal is to gradually learn
how to recognize my own insanity
as it arises
and restore myself to sanity
as best I can.
The goal is to acknowledge
the mistakes I have made
and do my best to make amends.
And so I ask for my kids’ forgiveness
when I lose it with them.
And as they forgive me
I start to see that I can forgive me too.

Writing My Own Story

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Reading a book to my daughter,
a children’s story
beginning with the Irish Potato Famine
and a boy’s journey to the US…
and ending with a young girl
seven generations later,
being told by her grandfather
that the story will live
as long as someone is telling it…
My voice quavers, and I
just can’t keep reading
without that tremor of emotion
in my voice,
tears  bubbling up
to the surface.
My daughter looks at me, questioning.
I tell her,
“It’s so good, it’s making me cry.”
And I’m looking into her eyes,
doing this laugh-cry.
And she doesn’t know what to do,
so she laughs and keeps looking at me.
And I think about how we’ve been told
that showing emotions is weak.
And I think, No…this is not weak.
It would be weak to pretend
I’m not feeling something,
that my heart has not been touched
by this sweet story,
weak to cover up what I’m feeling
because I’m too afraid to be vulnerable
in front of my six year old daughter.
I was strong…
I made it through to the end,
laughing, crying,
glad to be myself,
glad to share this moment
with my daughter–
feeling freely,
writing my own story.

Anger Questions

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Caught in a cycle of anger,
bumping my head,
catching my finger in the latch,
feeling tired, hot, frustrated.
Angry outburst.
Apologies to my kids
for the angry outburst,
repairing.
Wondering when the time will come
that I don’t believe in my anger enough
to have to let it fly out in my words
and actions.
Can I feel it without letting it fly?
Can I let it pass through me like a wave?

A Good Night Conversation

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I hope you don’t die
he said to me
as I gave him a kiss good night.
I had just told him how much I love him
and how glad I am
that he is my little boy…
Everyone will die, sweetheart,
and this is why we should love each other
as much as we can
and treasure every moment we have together.
We never know what will happen,
so we have to love and enjoy one another now.
He is four years old.
I don’t know how much he understands,
but perhaps after a few years of thinking about it,
he’ll grasp how there are no guarantees for tomorrow,
and how important it is to love with his whole heart today.

Motherhood is Letting Go

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Time is flying
but we don’t notice
because it all unfolds
in this one moment.
I look at you, my children,
and cannot believe
how much you’ve grown.
Every moment of motherhood
a giving away,
a letting go.
Celebrating your steps,
your leaps and bounds,
knowing that someday
you’ll fly away
and I’ll have only the memory
of your tiny hands
reaching out to me
asking for the comfort of my arms.
It takes every ounce of courage
to not hold on too tight.
I don’t want my love to be a cage
that obscures the light you need
to flourish.
So I hold you when you let me
and breathe and let you go
when you’re ready to stand on your own.
Every moment of motherhood
a giving away,
a letting go.

Patience Not Perfect

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Patience.
I’d like to say I’m an adept,
but sorrowfully, I am not.
I yell at my kids still.
Especially when it’s about 4 pm
and my son has peed his pants
for the sixth time that day
and my daughter is wildly
flinging toys left and right
leaving landmines in my path
as I attempt to manage the chaos.
I’d like to say I’m patient
when I’m tired beyond belief
and there is no respite in sight,
and when I dare to attempt to rest,
closing my eyes
for just fifteen minutes
both of my children team up and destroy
the basement–
couch cushions everywhere,
toys everywhere,
complete disorder.
I’d like to say that my years of
daily meditation,
yoga studies,
therapy,
journaling,
and just growing older
have cured me of my reactivity,
but no–
I’m still reactive.
Only now,
I can see it, and I can feel it more.
I also apologize to my kids
for yelling at them and scaring them.
I am not the pinnacle of patience,
but I do know enough about it
to realize that if I can tap into its source
just a little bit more,
I might learn how
to love myself unconditionally.