What it looks like to drop expectations with kids.

Whenever I make plans with another person, I have two strategies, one where I don't tell the children at all who we are going to see until we see them, it's exciting, it's fun and usually I use this particular strategy when the person is planning on coming to our house. The reason I don't tell them who is coming over is that if plans are canceled or something comes up for the person, I don't have to go through the disappointment of the failed expectation. The day goes on as usual, I text "That's totally fine, see you another day!" And wish them well. Because that is genuinely how I feel  It's easy to get caught up in being offended when something goes different than expected. "We HAD A PLAN!" "NOW MY KIDS ARE GONNA BE DISAPPOINTED, WAY TO GO!" But it doesn't have to be like this. We don't have control over what other people do. We don't have control over traffic or the weather or anything but ourselves, which brings me to my next approach:

I tell the kids where we are going and who we are meeting, but I also say "These are OUR plans, we are going to -this place- FOR SURE and we MAY see -so and so- BUT if they don't end up coming, it's no big deal, right? We will still have the best time, because we aren't in charge of other people's lives. Only our own!"

And then naturally, kids are very excited.

 We have had this happen several times where the person we are meeting had had to cancel. The kids have fun either way, Z usually says "MOM, THEY CAME, THEY REALLY DID COME, I KNEW IT, YAY" and then we have the best time or if not, Z might bring it up "I wish I could have saw -so and so-, but maybe another time!" And I say, absolutely right, we still had a good time, we can see them again soon.

This helps in a lot of ways. I avoid having any anger at my friends, they have lives and shit happens, when I decide that it doesn't affect me, even when we made plans, then it doesn't. I don't have to have any conversation that starts with "I'm sorry" or "can you believe it, they aren't coming..." Because I don't EXPECT either way. I love seeing my friends and when they do manage to get their brood out like I managed to get mine, it is wonderful and fills my heart. But the opposite doesn't happen if they cancel.  In telling the kids that we made a plan, but sometimes plans change,  I am empowering them, that their emotions and whether it's a "good" or a "bad" day is only up to them and absolutely no one else.

Don't place your happiness in anyone else's hands. Only let your "village" enhance the happiness you already create. Life is beautiful when you claim your power. This is what that looks like day to day.

Amethyst

I'm not sorry you're sad.

I've had the revelation pretty recently on my parenting journey that even though I'm pretty sensitive and mindful of their emotions, I to stop telling my kids "I'm sorry you're sad" if they are crying or having a rough day because being sad isn't a bad thing, it's a perfectly normal, healthy and helpful emotion. Just like being frustrated or mad or anything else! I don't want my kids to think there is something wrong with being anything other than happy. I had a recent conversation with Ezekiel that went like this:

Z: "MOM, I FEEL SAD"

Me: "It's okay to feel sad. I don't try and fix you when you feel happy, so why would I try and fix you when you feel sad? It's just another emotion and all emotions are important I am here with you, by you and for you, always, to sort through whatever you are feeling, otherwise just let me know what you need."

It's true, kid's don't need help with feeling happy, they are inherently happy, they are inherently good and they are inherently emotional and that is a beautiful thing. Throwing a tantrum on the floor is a wonderful outlet! Imagine how good we would feel if we could instantly feel our emotions, instantly process and move on. It's pretty interesting that we have been conditioned to punish children for feeling their feelings exactly how they do because of etiquette or social structure or what have you when we really should be learning from them how to feel.

So if my kid is mad, if my kid is crying, if my kid is happy or sad, how fantastic! Teach me more about holding space for emotion guilt free, my love! I welcome your emotional wisdom and will stop apologizing for it. I will stop making it make me feel uncomfortable and figure out, truly, why it did in the first place. Let's talk about it, let's work together but I'm not sorry you are sad.

 

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Fuck off, don't touch me.

Earlier this year, we had just arrived at the beach, Ezekiel was walking about 10 steps ahead of me when I saw a very large, drunk man approach Z, he reached down and picked Z up! Ezekiel was terrified, screaming "MOM, MOM!!!!!" I was sprinting, it all happened so fast, but it was also in slow motion. I lowered my voice about 15 octaves and demanded that he put Z down immediately. I don't think this person meant to relocate or do anything malicious, but it scared Ezekiel, so automatically, this is not okay. He stumbled down the side walk and left. I made sure Ezekiel knew that every way Z reacted was perfect and that what had happened was absolutely NOT okay. It is never okay for someone to touch your body without your permission and I wanted to empower and equip Z, so never again would that fear be felt.

That's when I decided screaming the phrase "FUCK OFF, DON'T TOUCH ME" At the top of your lungs was a solution. And we practiced. And we talked about reading people's energies and looking at their intentions before they even get near you. Approaching a family with kids if you are lost? Great idea. Someone sketchy coming up to you if they think you are alone, you know how to feel that out because you are strong and capable and smart. And if ANYONE touches you without your permission and you feel unsafe, you yell right in their face and you yell until they listen because, I'm not far behind.

And it has been helpful, it has been empowering and I will forever be grateful for words that scare people and make them pay attention, because when you are small, sometimes words are all you have.

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Truth, children and a change of vocabulary.

I am very open and transparent with Ezekiel. There are no silly stories of why things are the way they are or how come things happen, no tooth fairy tales or storks or anything but facts. I feel anything less is insulting. I want my kids to be open with me, so I am open with them. This has been challenging for me because I have no example or template or how to or anyone close that has parented successfully in this way. As we grow, as I practice, I get better, more confident, my vocabulary gets more understanding and clear as I learn. Like last night, we were scrolling through old pictures and one came up of Ezekiel's sperm donor. Z stopped me and had a look of "I know I should know that person but I don't." Z: "Who's that?"

Me: "That's the person that brought you earthside with me."

Z: "ohhhhh riiiiight. What's his name?"

Me: "I don't think it's super important that I tell you his name. But if you wanna know it, I'll tell you."

Z: "It's important to me."

So, I tell Z and he repeats it several times and we move on with pictures.

Z: "I just don't remember that guy."

Me: "I said, nah, I wouldn't expect you to, you chose him to get to me. You didn't choose him to be your dad."

Z: "I know, I choosed my dada to be my dad, the one in California." (Greg is in cali for work)

Me: "Yup, and Greg chose you. We probably won't ever see the other guy again...I should clarify, unless you want to when you are older, -I- am content with never seeing him again."

Z: "Why don't you want to see him again?"

Me: "Because I feel his role in my life is complete. He brought me you and that was the plan. I would gain nothing good from seeing him again."

More pictures.

Z: "I just don't like when that guy washes his hands. Just keep em' dirty, ya know, like hello! That's why I cry. Because he washes his hands. He washes all the blood off his hands and I don't like it....I never want to see him again."

I cannot be one hundred percent certain of what Ezekiel meant by that and I didn't want to be that annoying adult and pry. But it is very profound considering that Sperm Donor phased out of our lives on his own accord, last seeing Ezekiel September 2014 and is now raising his girlfriend's three kids like nothing ever happened and like Z doesn't exist.

I learned several things from this conversation, that once again, children see and feel much more than we think. I NEVER discuss anything about this person or their life with Ezekiel, unless asked and that's been extremely few and far between and definitely not including any personal detail of how he lives his life.

That empowering our kids and trusting them with the truth is so important. It could have gone so differently. "Oh, that's the shit bag that abandoned you!" "Oh, that's the guy that was supposed to be your father." "Oh....that's no one." No, none of that. Just truth.

Kids can handle truth, especially when your vocabulary delivers it in such a way where they are in charge of their own lives. Me saying "I don't want to see him again." Was for me and I leave it up to Z to choose any future actions, forever arming Ezekiel with truth, empowerment, building self-esteem, confidence and love, so if a day comes when they do meet again, Z will stand tall and whatever this person or any person has to say does not define who Ezekiel is, nobody will but Z.

Another example of an empowered vocabulary is if your kid's want a toy that you can't particularly afford, instead of saying things that encourage lack and worry and guilt (we are poor because of me) "We can't afford that. We have no money." etc, You say "I am choosing to spend our money elsewhere right now, but let's be thinking of what toy you want to play with when we get home!" "Instead of buying something else, let's go to the park instead!" Empowering words.

From my own experience, children are our partners if we let them be. If we stop belittling them with cute frilly lies about how things work. If we stop projecting onto them our own insecurities. We think we are protecting our kids with these cute passed down stories, but it leads to US and THEM, separation. I'm smart, you're dumb. I know more than you. It's insulting. Just because we are bigger, we've been here longer, doesn't actually mean we know shit. You can study one book your entire life and know the ins and outs and then 40 years later, it comes out that the details were falsified and everything is fake. Then what do you know? We live in a society where they largely teach us what they want us to know (They being the government, passed down, old, outdated jargon from our parents, etc) not necessarily what is true for us, what resonates with us. But kids. They do what they love, they remember a time of complete freedom, where anything is possible. They aren't bogged down by fear or stigma or the idea that one person, job title, gender is more desirable than the other. They hold the keys to the future and that's the kind of person I want by my side and teaching me. We learn together because I don't have all the answers.

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Lessons from a dancing flower

wordswag_1475693621312 I love this beautiful being. The ridiculous gender stereotypes that I had helped uphold for society were all brought to the surface as Ezekiel began to grow, Z showed me who they were, what they liked, what they gravitated toward and I listened. More reluctantly at first because, after all, I needed to project the all important gender boxes to be a good parent right, I didn't want Z to get made fun of, right? Fear based decisions kept me from allowing Ezekiel from living in their truth. What a disservice. What a tragedy if I didn't check myself and wake the fuck up. Does this mean Ezekiel is gay? Trans? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN that Z loves pink and is the equivalent of a flower dancing in the wind in every motion Z makes? What does it mean? Well, the lovely thing is, it doesn't mean anything...or it could? Fuck the labels and the boxes. It means freedom, it means having the power explore, it means Ezekiel will bloom into the person they were always meant to be. "But won't HE look back at pictures of HIM in dresses and be embarrassed?!" What is embarrassing about expression, about art, about genuine happiness? If what Z chooses to be clothed in different style clothes, look like a different version of themselves, express themselves as whatever, it will be nothing more than the evolution of self that we all go through. Z will always know that body autonomy and respect was number one in all choices.

Being loving to your children, empowering them, holding space for them to trust themselves, allowing them to show you who they are, these are the keys in life and when someone is unloving toward them, it won't matter. Because they know they look amazing. They know they are amazing. Kids are born confident. What has potential to destroy that is your unconscious dialog and actions. "Oh, look at her hair, how ridiculous" "Omg, they look HORRIBLE, how could they even wear that and think in looked good."  Etc etc on and on and on. Wake up in your speech, your children are listening. Even in the unloving things you say about yourself. "My thighs are so gross" and kids think "thighs can be gross? Are -my- thighs gross?" Replace your unlovely speech with life giving words "I am strong, Oh, looks like I'll need a bigger size, that's no big deal, Those pants look amazing on you, oh, that hat looks so great on them.." Refuse to continue to bully yourself, to be your kid's first bully, unconsciously. Let love grow, bigger than your fear.

Conscious Partnership

How could you do that, how could you be so stupid? If you find yourself asking your partner, your kids, your whoever these questions, you are part of the problem. I know, it's shitty to hear, but it's true.It automatically puts them on the defense, it fuels the need to put walls up and be "right" and it won't produce any fruitful or productive answers. It's time to change your dialog.  To elevate the conversation into a space where healing takes place and answers can be found. "You messed up. What are you going to do to fix it?" This eliminates the blame game. It calls a thing a thing and presents itself for what it is. It puts the focus on solution instead of back and forth, unhelpful banter.

Whenever you get more than one person into a space for an extended amount of time, like in a relationship, for example. There will be disagreements because you are setting up people on the same path but equipped with different life experience, different tool boxes, different coping mechanisms, etc. They will not deal with the same situation in the same way, once we can realize this and see it for what it is, fighting becomes communication, becomes appreciation, becomes a fruitful partnership. Feeling and expressing all your feelings is important, holding space for your partner while they feel feelings, feeling feelings together without blame, shame or being an asshole will change the way you interact in a positive way. When we cease to see "your side; my side" and instead look at things objectively, working together building on the others skills, helping with weaknesses, everybody wins.

Partnership doesn't just apply to a significant other, but allrelationships in our lives, every encounter. How can you elevate your relationships today?

-Amethyst Joy

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Everybody deserves respect.

Let's get rid of the idea that the size of a thing is the measure of its power? Just because children are in tiny bodies doesn't mean they are less important or less or anything. How do you measure "Power"? Your physical strength over another being? I think that's pretty gross. If you feel powerful when making others feel small or by controlling them physically without their consent, it's criminal.  Hurting children to make them behave, to do what you want is actually really narcissistic and abusive because you are basing everyone else's existence on your perceived morals, not actual facts. What if what is best for you or what you think is best for you is not serving the person that your child is? Why isn't that the moral dilemma? You are not raising mini mes and to do so is to break the spirit of another human, forcing them to fall in line or respect you based on fear. And you think that is what "respect" looks like. No wonder my generation is riddled with anxiety and depression, the fear instilled in us has crippled our greatness. And I absolutely believe it stems from the twisted idea that fear was more respectful than love. More practical, more useful.

Respect is based on compassion. To see another person and realize the humanity you both share in having a human experience, not because of what they do or don't do, because they exist on earth, it is not something that needs to be earned. Everyone deserves respect. EVERYONE DESERVES RESPECT. It takes nothing from you to send a loving thought to an enemy.

Slug of Atmosphere said it best "Do ya thang, Honey, as long as your thing ain't got a single thing to do with me." Respect your boundaries. Respect the boundaries of others.

Because what are we teaching our children about social interactions when we judge people based on the decisions they make about their own lives? They don't deserve respect because of how they live? That is so strange to me, because people are accountable for their own actions and no one else's. Your kids are listening when you speak fear and hatred. They also listen when you speak love and compassion. Work to change your dialog. Listen to yourself talk.

Respect all life, starting with your children, show them that even the smallest creatures deserve respect and that love does not EVER include violence.

My kids don't make me happy

One day, Ezekiel came up to me and he asked "Mom, do I make you sad?" I said, "No way, love. You don't MAKE me anything, I am in control of my own emotions. Just like you don't you make me happy. I am in charge of my own happiness. I love being with you, you make life so fun, but you are not in charge of making me happy. He said" Oh, well sometimes I get mad at you."

I say: "I totally get that, I get mad too sometimes, but it's not because of you. I am in charge of my reactions, just like you are. We can still be friends and be mad at each other. We just have to talk it out, that's all."

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So, no, my kids don't make me happy or sad or mad, only I have the power to do that for myself. Looking within instead of looking without, nothing of worth will come of that. My house doesn't crumble dependent on anyone else but me. All my power is for me and I find freedom and power in knowing that.

 

So, when I ask Ezekiel is I make him happy and he answers "NO." Then I have given him the tools to create a full life for himself and that is all I can ever do for my kids. We are not half of a whole, we are not waiting to be completed. We are whole the day we are born.

Be conscious in your speech, your emotions and your choices, even with your kids. <3

 

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Discipline.

I think some people wonder how there can be discipline without force or a giant show of authority. It's really quite simple. Science and the universe have already sorted that out for us. You can take your ego, fear and sense of ownership out of the entire equation.

"Every action has a reaction."

 

The Golden Rule. "Treat people how you would like to be treated."

"Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself."

"Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss."

That is the only compass one needs for morality and It's easy to see why, but I will explain it anyway.

Would you want someone to hit you every time you did something they told you not to? Probably not. How about yell and throw their weight around when they don't feel you are listening or shame you for your decisions etc. etc. etc. The Golden Rule. Applies as much to parenthood as it should in every day life dealing with peers and adults.

An example of what this active discipline looks like happened here just minutes ago:

Ezekiel ripped a page out of a book, he had to go lay down on the bed and we talked about how every action has a reaction and a consequence. A hug will receive a hug. Ripping out a page in a book will receive a time out. You -can- do whatever you want, but you are not free from the consequences of your actions. It is important to be respectful of your things. Then I had his fat cheeked baby wristed body repeat "Every action has a consequence" twice.

No big show, no big deal. We talk like adults and, dare I say the four lettered word in the child/parent relation paradigm, we talk like friends. I respect him because he is a person and will teach him that all living things deserve respect because of their existence. Not because their age or size or because they have "earned it". You earn respect by being alive. I suppose that is a blog for another day...

Be conscious in your relationships. Be conscious in discipline. Live life on purpose.

April 2016 266

 

Dissapearing Moments

You're touching your belly and imagining what they'll look like. You're losing your mind with nursing every two hours, with sore boobs and drowning in demanding baby cries.

Will these moments ever end? Will I get through this? You have no idea how fast.

You have a watchful eye because they are getting a hang of their bodies....kinda. You become a nervous spotter, for what seems like ever, but it's not.

The words come and you become the ultimate encourager.

Then the words don't stop. and then all of a sudden, you re holding a giant boy body and listening to endless chatter.

The moments that seemed to never end have disappeared and you are left with memories of the times you were drowning in not long go.

You heard it a lot, time goes fast, but you didn't really know until you saw it before your eyes.

Don't blink <3

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My Greatest Teachers

20150103_120006 I can't even express all the lessons I have learned in the last four years from my children. Everything I am currently, has been because of their influence.

Allow. Release. Ego.

These all have a new and profound meaning since my little people showed me the way life should be.

Live in the moment! We have been conditioned to believe that BUSY is good, productive, desirable. But is it? My children teach me that great joy is found in little busyness. Find the joy in a moment of staring at the clouds, comparing the feel of two bits of cloth (Ezekiel's favorite), examining just how a straw works, following the cracks of a sidewalk or just looking at your hand! Your amazing hand! And they always make sure I look, too. "Look what I can do, mom! I am strong for that" As he's picking up a toy with his fantastic hand.

The most productive days I have are when I'm with them and we are just all together being ourselves living in no one's judgement.

Allow. By simply allowing my kid's behavior to teach ME lessons, I give myself the gift and the freedom to observe life in a new way. Release. To acknowledge that my kids know more than me, put my ego on the back burner and just be free to learn.

Feelings are valid, we deserve love and validation because we exist

Isn't it true then, that children long for connection instead of being put away by themselves alone for the very feelings they have no idea how to express...or maybe they know exactly the way to express them and that it uncomfortable for us as society because we have "rules" before us that make no sense in the fist place.

Allow yourself to have fun, to remember a time when you felt comfortable, safe and free. (before all these societal ideas, perhaps?) We are born perfect, kids carry perfect DNA. It's only after we are born that they may not fit Society's made up idea of perfection.

I have learned to allow my kids to embarrass me, because it's not about me at all. THEY know their limitlessness. We have forgotten how that feels. Self consciousness, embarrassment,  is a societal flaw, not a human one. We have been taught to be in competition with each other instead of seeing humanity for what it once was, one of One. We are all connected by our humanness. That connection is ageless.

A toddler screaming on the floor of a department store isn't trying to be embarrassing, they are trying to feel heard. HEAR THEM. Create a dialogue of inclusion instead of authority. Set boundaries before you go somewhere, remind them of those boundaries every few minutes around the store as needed, TALK to your kids from a place of love and they will respond the same.

It's all about actions. When kids are upset, it's quite apparent. Instead of passive aggressive jabs, they lay it all out, immediately. And you know what's lovely? They address the problem, immediately. And then they get over it, immediately. They don't sulk for days or hint around that they are maybe possibly mad. (until they've been taught to by action) Get it out, get on with it and HEAL.

My greatest teachers may be in tiny bodies, but they have divine, wise souls, as all children do. I am so thankful that they were up for the challenge of coming with me on this journey to deconstruct every idea that I have ever had in order to become a new, whole person. We are partners/equals working toward creating and healing our world with LOVE.

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