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My Challenge, My Love - Page 11

post #201 of 913
Originally Posted by MsMoMpls
Except for the worries, the guilt and the full breasts... it was fantastic. So here is my complaint... my babe slept for 12 hours- waking once for a quick bottle. : I don't even know how to feel. On one hand I am so thankful that it went so fantastic (might be able to do it again soon) but on the other hand I have been suffering through sleepless restless nonstop nursing nights that I don't think are good for anyone. Aurgh!!!
Maureen, a night out sounds wonderful. So glad you enjoyed it. It sounds as if your babe maybe knew that Mom needed a night off. Has night nursing resumed same as usual since then?
I had a friend whose babe, between 1 and 2 still nursed all night long, despite eating lots of table food and nursing during the day. She found it hard to believe that her daughter was still hungry at night. One night she tried putting after her daughter fell asleep, she put her in the other room, with a baby monitor on. Her daughter stirred a few times but went right back to sleep! Happened again the next night and the next. My friend's idea was that, sometimes, just being too near to mom at night was enough to trigger the idea of "ah, mommy milk, I want it now". That idea sounds familiar to me, but I can't remember where I heard or read it.

Originally Posted by MsMoMpls
On Topic- Do you think there is a real parenting article in here somewhere? The stuff that we are figuring out is so important and not available anywhere. I want to start writing for publication... maybe we should try putting the best stuff about parenting "spirited" kids together and write and article for Mothering.
If you want to write for publication, I say GO FOR IT!
think it would be great if you would write a piece about spirited kids and be our "mouthpiece" so to speak. I'll share whatever tidbits about dd I've got, if they are worth anything for the article.
post #202 of 913
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
One quick book recommendation-Hallowell's Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness. I know, I know, this from the woman who says she shouldn't read anymore parenting books. But this, to me, is the best i've read in a long time. Basically giving me reassurance that kids are resilient and that being human teaches them something. Not quite through it yet.


Oh, the books!! I love books. They have always been my friends. For fiction as well as nonfiction.

There are so many books on my parenting wishlist to read that by the time I'm done with them all, I probably won't need the advice in them anymore.

I struggle with (one of many struggles) reading books and hoping to find good bits of advice and not reading anything at all for a good while and just trusting me. Also I can spend so much time reading, I could use the time to be with dd, or sleep, or what have you.

"Raising Your Spirited Child" for example, was a great book for me because it so clearly painted the picture for me of accepting your child and working with them. But I don't really refer to it for specific situations, just pick it up once in awhile for the rgeneral reassurance. Kind of like what we do here at MDC, but I also like having the portable book version. :

How do all of you do it re: parenting books? Do you also read and search or are you learning to trust your instincts?

I think this is on-topic, because if anyone searches for reassurance and advice, I think it's we parents of spirited/challenging/unique children. :


ETA: I checked out the book at Amazon. It does look good. 5 star ratings. I think I need to add this to my wishlist too....
post #203 of 913
loon, recently I counted all of the parenting books I've read (both the ones directly related to how to parent and the ones about the experience/feelings of parenting) and I came up with over 3 dozen. There may have been more that I don't remember. (Why did I do this? Curiosity. Geekiness. ) Will I continue to read? Sure. I love to read, I love to learn. I love books of all kinds, too. But I also have to periodically put the books down and engage in real life with my kids. I can get too caught up in the books. So at this point I'm not reading parenting-related books but if I run across one that sounds interesting I might. I'm sure the preteen and teen years will have me running to the bookstore. The books can offer some great tools and ideas. In order to use them though, I have to understand myself and my kids and trust myself and my kids and I really have to be aware in the moment, really present. That's something that does not (in my own experience) come from a book, though some of the tools for getting there can (but I haven't found those tools in parenting books, I unexpectedly found the tools that allowed me to learn to do these things in books on buddhism).

ETA that I found the neatest idea yesterday (in a book, where else?). The person writing the book uses this mantra when in a difficult situation and facing difficult emotions in order to pause and not lash out: "I am more than these feelings." I like it, I may use it myself.
post #204 of 913
I, too love parenting books and get to write them off my taxes as business expenses so that gets me into all sorts of trouble. I struggle with how I feel about them. Of course some are really helpful. I worry that they often don't encourage me to be who I am with my kids. I also am just intrigued with Daddies! I don't know Daddies who read parenting books. My dh does a pretty great job with the kids although it amazes me that he has no philosophy, no language about what he is doing or why. I also worry that he hasn't considered all the influence his behavior has on our kids. But maybe not considering this helps him be a stronger parent. He certainly doesn't seem to worry a lot about his parenting. Part of that is he seems pretty comfortable being the secondary parent, knowing that I worry about all that.

It is funny. When I asked him about delaying vaxing, he said he didn't know you could do that. He had never even considered that he had any rights to make decisions about his children. Wow!! We joke that in our next life- I want to be a dad so I can just be a parent without all the guilt, and wants the intimacy and connection of being a mom. (I doubt that- it looks good but he would hate being as tied down as I am.)

Ok- OT again but parenting books really get me thinking about how we know we are good parents, how we think about being parents.
post #205 of 913
I just wanted to share this:

"...I offer you that reassuring advice given to me by my daughter, that nobody's perfect, to remember that anything that's worth doing is worth doing poorly. And the job of parenting, of course, is extremely worth doing, but we're going to do it poorly at times. If we're going to be brutal with ourselves when we're not perfect parents, our children are going to suffer for that.

I often tell the parents that I'm working with that hell is having children and thinking there's such a thing as a good parent. That if every time we're less than perfect, we're going to blame ourselves and attack ourselves, our children are not going to benefit from that. So the goal I would suggest is not to be perfect parents, it's to become progressively less stupid parents..." -Marshall Rosenberg, from Raising Children Compassionately

He goes on to talk about how those times we're less than perfect are usually mean we're not getting our own needs met, we need emotional support ourselves in order to give our children what they need. He says "We can only really give in a loving way to the degree that we are receiving similar love and understanding."

I'm also thinking now, as we're discussing books, that one of the problems I've had with parenting books is that I think parenting is a relationship, not a skill. I'm not sure, really, that learning how to connect with someone, how to build a relationship with an individual, is something a book can teach me. Maureen, daddies are interesting. My dh doesn't read, and he's a great dad. I've wondered if maybe that's so because he doesn't worry about how perfect he is and he doesn't get distracted by the books/articles/experts though he is open to discussion and new information. He's just present, having a relationship with the kids. And he knows he's human and makes mistakes and he's comfortable with that. His attitude is sort of like "I'm doing the best I can, I can't know how it'll turn out in the end, so why worry when I can just enjoy it." (He thinks about the future but he doesn't worry about it, because worrying doesn't help, yk?)That's pretty much his life outlook. No angst. My perfect counterpoint.
post #206 of 913
Hi everyone,

Not had anytime to write recently but still have a daily read! Sledg, thank you so much for your earlier reply re: advice/your experiences with baby no2. I have been a big fan of your posts on this threads :-)

My gut instincts have continually telling me to continue to nurse/co-sleep etc and I feel it's the best all round. I have good days and bad days re: thoughts of how ds1 will cope with new baby generally. Eg, today - we went to a playgroup and he was intrigued with a little baby and kept going back to it to look, in a very curious sweet way. He has also done this before and it makes me feel quite nice. His expression is caring and loving. What will happen when he sees another baby on Mummies boobies could be a different story!

Loon - thanks for your note on 18mth olds not being too patient. I think I have been doing that silly thing of comparing my child to other more patient children. He is who he is.

I also enjoy parenting books and they do offer me reassurance. What is interesting from recent threads is the topic of being a perfect parent. Am I right in observing that there are quite a few of us on here with that sort of trait.....? I know I am guilty myself. Is there a link with trying to be perfect and having a spirited child.....? Maybe not a link but I can't help put the two together - just a thought.

Bye for now
post #207 of 913
Originally Posted by Justine
What is interesting from recent threads is the topic of being a perfect parent. Am I right in observing that there are quite a few of us on here with that sort of trait.....? I know I am guilty myself. Is there a link with trying to be perfect and having a spirited child.....?
I think there are a few of us here who long to be perfect! Now that you mention it, maybe we're spirited too. Maybe our kids get it from us. I know my spirited child is a perfectionist. She has been since....oh, birth I think. I remember when she was very tiny (probably a toddler) and she couldn't do something the way she wanted to, and she refused help and she was getting so mad/frustrated-I mean whatever it was (it's happened so often I can't remember the specifics of so long ago), she was doing it but apparently not just the right way. We thought "are kids this little supposed to be perfectionists? Did we do this to her?" But I'm that way too. So is dh. Hmmmmm
post #208 of 913
Thread Starter 
Hi Mamas,
Wow. So much here. Especially on the parenting book front. I have a ton, too. And I think I've mentioned this before, but when Bear was an infant and not sleeping AT ALL and screaming and generally just being inconsolable (despite co-sleeping, baby-wearing, and breastfeeding, btw) I would read, read, read. And finally, DH said to me YOU HAVE TO STOP READING. YOU ARE MAKING YOURSELF CRAZY. The only really helpful advice I finally found when Bear was about 6 months was Dr. Sears stuff on high-needs babies. I searched and searched and searched for answers. And that hasn't stopped. Although I'm finally realizing, at least on some level, that this knowledge that I'm looking for won't come from a book. It will come from me. I already have it. It's like Dorothy and the ruby slippers. She's had them all along.

Interesting Justine about the spirited kids and perfectionism in our kids and ourselves. Funny, too, that yesterday at Bear's first school conference they said that he won't join in or participate in anything unless he knows he can do it perfectly. Hmmmmm??? And I would say that DH is much more of a perfectionist than I am. Although emotionally, I always want to work things out, figure myself and others out, etc. And perhaps that's perfectionism. You know, thinking I can make it right in relationships.

Gtg, more when I can.
post #209 of 913
Thread Starter 
Oh, sledg-Since we're on the topic of books, I was wondering if you could expand on how Buddhism (or at least reading books on Buddhism) has helped your parenting the most. Of course, I'm paraphrasing here, but I *think* you said this a while back. I'm intrigued. I've read some here and there over the years. And the ideas have always resonated with me. But where to begin???? If this is way OT, please PM me if you're up for sharing. Although it looks like this thread has morphed so much that we're hitting all aspects of parenting our challenging kids.
post #210 of 913
: Hi, my name is Loon and I have perfectionistic tendencies.

Really, I do though. In some ways, I think I've gotten better (everything non-parenting, lately) and in some ways I've gotten worse (everything parenting! : )

Talk about timing, I just read a quote today on another thread about trying to be a perfect parent. The gist of the quote is that being a perfect parent makes an impossible ideal for our children to live up to. Thus we perpetuate the perfectionism cycle. I didn't want to cross-post the quote without the poster's permission, so I'll link to the thread:
Unconditional Parenting Tribe thread, post #140

I need to print that one out and post it where I can see it often.
post #211 of 913
Thread Starter 
loon-Thanks for linking to that quote. I think that it's very similar to what a therapist said to me one time. She asked if I would want a perfect mother or a REAL mother? Perfect people are a little scary, IMHO. YKWIM?

My own mother was far from perfect. And she also never apologized or held herself accountable for her actions or inaction. I mess up all the time. Just yesterday I lost it with Bears b/c the little one had fallen pretty badly and I was tending to him and Bears just couldn't tolerate not having attention at that moment. I was able to apologize after a few minutes of calming down and making sure my other son was okay. Somedays I feel that all I do is apologize, but IMO, that is better than not holding myself accountable to my child.

Right now I'm working on trying to use "I" statements. I always thought I was good at this until I realized that I was saying "You're making me really angry right now" quite a bit. I'm also working on repeating some self-affirming stuff when I feel the stress level rising. Another biggie for me right now, too, is trying to recover quicker from the bad moments. You know, stepping away, calming down, and then getting right back into being involved, loving, etc., with Bears. Hard when you're still angry. But I'm working on it.
post #212 of 913
Bearsmama, I think it's at least partially on-topic to talk about how reading about buddhism helped shape my parenting. So I'd be happy to, though it's not easy to express. Basically, reading about mindfulness and non-judgment/not blaming really helped me learn to just pause and observe what was happening in me and around me. This allowed me to see clearly what was happening and what options for responding there were.

So, instead of just getting angry and yelling and generally making an ass of myself, I learned to observe myself getting angry and yelling and generally making an ass of myself-without judging or trying to stop myself from doing it. It was totally counterintuitive (you should stop yourself from behaving badly, right?), but it was so informative. When I wasn't busy calling myself a bad mom and trying desperately to feel something else or be someone else, I could see what feelings/thoughts of my own were contributing to the problem. For example, I always swore I was the type of parent who didn't value obedience and didn't want to be controlling. But I realized that even though I didn't want to admit it, in many cases I was feeling angry because I wanted to be in control and yet I couldn't control my kids-and in frustration over not having control and in desperation to attain control I was yelling, threatening, etc. Once I saw that, which I could only see when I wasn't busy judging myself or struggling to change/be someone else, I could let my desire for control go. How I was able to let it go is a process I can't describe-it seemed to just suddenly make sense, suddenly something clicked (but really it wasn't quite that simple).

Once I was getting some practice at observing myself without judging or trying to stop myself, I started finding that more and more often I wasn't reaching the point where I was yelling and generally behaving in unhealthy ways. I was observing my feelings and thoughts without judging and then out of that I was able to find ways of interacting with my kids that were much healthier and more peaceful. The more I do this, the less close I get to that point of yelling, KWIM? I guess the simplest way to put it is that I'm learning to be aware in ways I was never aware before.

In learning to be aware, I can take responsibility for what I do without blaming myself or my kids but instead take responsibility with understanding (knowing what's happening, seeing it clearly) and compassion for both myself and my kids. It's shifting pespective from "they're driving me crazy with that fighting" to "I really feel irritated when they yell at each other because it hurts my ears", from "I have to make them stop" to "I need to be in a quieter home, how can I help them understand that or what can I do to help create a quieter atmosphere right now or maybe they need some guidance so they can work this out peacefully." It's shifting from "Stop hitting, hitting is not right" to "I feel scared/worried when I see someone being hit, because I need for everyone in our family to be safe", from "how do I get her to stop hitting" to "why is she hitting, what are her needs, can I help her express herself in a more effective way? And until I find those answers, how can I keep the kids safe?"

And you know, since being able to let go of some things, like my desire for control, I've been able to understand some of the communication techniques I've tried before but that never seemed to work. Now I'm trying them all over again with different intentions and understanding, and they are working in the sense that they are helping me communicate with my children more effectively and gently and to connect with them more-which is helping our home to be more peaceful.

I think I've written a book. Does any of it make sense? It's so hard to describe, because it's so hard to describe such an internal experience. None of it had anything to do with changing my kids' behavior.
post #213 of 913
Thread Starter 
YES, YES, YES, sledg. All of it makes sense. I've found that I when I'm really being present in a different way, *I* can behave differently. And I think you hit the nail on the head about none of this being about changing your childrens behavior. It's about YOU. ME. I get it. Not to beat this horse on the Buddhism thing, but was there a book you read that really helped you get some of the basic concepts??? OF COURSE I'd ask that question, right????
post #214 of 913
Good! I'm glad I managed to make sense. As far as good books go....I started with Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hahn. I love that one as a starter and highly recommend it. I found that Buddhism Is Not What You Think and Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen were very easy to understand overviews of buddhism and I loved them. By Thich Nhat Hanh, I also read and enjoyed Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, Being Peace, The Miracle of Mindfulness and Teachings on Love. Waking Up to What You Do (I can't remember the author) was great. I've also found some great articles in the magazine Shambala Sun.
post #215 of 913
I would also add "The Art of Happiness" by the Dali Lama.... helped me with the judging stuff.
post #216 of 913
Thread Starter 
sledg-This is exactly what I was after. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Although I never need an excuse to buy boooks. Gtg. More later...
post #217 of 913
Hi ladies. I'm having a really rotten afternoon. After weeks, maybe months, of not freaking out on my kids and feeling really good about how I'm doing as a mom I just totally lost it. I yelled, and it must've been freakin' loud because my throat hurts. It's been like an hour and a half of hell, of my own making. And my poor dd1 was not the only recipient of my fury but I feel especially bad for her because she has been having such a hard time going to school and missing me, and all she wanted was to hang with me and bake a pie after school today. And so far here we are, nowhere near baking and it's almost time for dinner. So I'm off to bake a pie with next to no patience left and feeling utterly crappy about myself. I have worked so hard to not do this. I feel so discouraged right now. Thanks for being here to vent to.

(eta sorry for hijacking, I feel safe here with you ladies)
post #218 of 913
Oh dear sledg... I am so sorry you are feeling so disappointed with yourself. Time to use your best GD on yourself... just let it go, ignore negative behavior, right? It isn't important, it happened. Just kiss your babes one for all of us. They chose human parents, its part of the package. Hope the pie turned out well.

I think you just had to lose it so the rest of us wouldn't feel intimadated by your patience.

Tomorrow is another day. Hang in there.

post #219 of 913
Thread Starter 
Oh SLEDG I can't give you enough hugs. And Maureen is right: We need to know that even our guru loses it sometimes. I am by no means trying to minimize how crappy you seem to feel about your day and your behavior. You know that I have been exactly where you are so, so often over this past year. It sucks. It really, really sucks. Please work to let it go. We have to be easier on ourselves. It really is just a giant emotional black hole for me to fall into when I go there, which I often do.

If it's any consolation, yesterday was just AWFUL around here. In fact, the past three days of Bear's behavior have been horrible. I hate to say it was the full moon, but Thursday night I looked out the window and yelled up to DH who was bathing the kids, "It's a full moon, honey." And that's all I had to say.

Last night's crazy behavior culminated in Bears poking the little one in the eye so hard that we ended up being directed to the ER by our doc. Needless to say, our little one has a pretty big corneal abrasion. He'll be fine. But spending the end of a torturous few days in the ER at 2:00am was not my idea of a relaxing end to a bad week.

But SLEDG-I digress. I have learned so much from you. Follow Maureen's words and be gentle on yourself.
post #220 of 913
Originally Posted by MsMoMpls
I think you just had to lose it so the rest of us wouldn't feel intimadated by your patience.
: :
Thank you for making me smile. Now if you could only come live with me for awhile and understand what I'm really like...

Do you think patience comes effortlessly to anyone? It takes enormous effort for me to be patient.

Thank you both so much. It's good to hear words of encouragement. The pie turned out delicious, and we had fun doing it. I cried and my sweet, sweet kids gave me hugs and drew me pictures. While normally that would make me feel worse, being such a mess that my kids feel the need to comfort me-how inappropriate, yesterday I found myself thinking "How cool is that? My kids are compassionate. They want to help a fellow human being who's hurting. How nice would it feel to them if I just say thank you and accept their love?" So I did, and I apologized, and I reassured them that I was fine, and we all felt better.

Bearsmama, I am so sorry you've had a crappy few days. And I'm so sorry your little one was hurt. I hope he's better soon. And I hope you're okay after all that. Oh, and I really do think the full moon has a lot to do with kids acting crazy. I used to work at a residential school for kids with intensive special needs, and the rate of tantrums and other undesirable behaviors was always higher during a full moon (yeah, that's completely anecdotal). Same with my kids now-you can just tell. Don't even need to look out the window. Now if only there were some way to prove it's the moon that does it and figure out why...
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