Be Gentle

From a young age children are taught to be gentle with others. To respect feelings, challenges, personalities, struggles, and everything else that make up the individuality of all other beings. We remind children to share their toys, to be kind to others, and to behave. We give children a set of rules and standards to live by. We do our best to make them “good kids,” and yet more and more we see the dark struggle of humanity around us.

Woven into the regular stories of crime, hate, war, poverty, politics, and economic statuses there are the many stories of death. Stories of death at the hands of others, and more and more commonly death at the hands of oneself. The rates of depression amongst people have grown as the years have gone by. A “silent killer” I have heard many call it; a “secret disease”. The shame and solitude around depression as well as its  many causes have been a sensitive and taboo subject for a great many years.

The recent passing of renowned comedian and actor Robin Williams who suffered from depression for most of his life has brought more light to the subjects of depression and suicide than has been shone on it in a few years. It is sad to think it takes a tragedy to open those communication channels. Reflecting on Robin’s passing stirred many thoughts and emotions in my mind and I began to think about somethings my dear friend and I have discussed at length over the last few months, especially in those moments where our own anxieties and depressive moments have kicked in.

We are always told to be kind to others, to be gentle with others, but why so often do we neglect ourselves? We forget to remind ourselves and one another that we must ALWAYS be gentle with ourselves. We must respect our own individual needs as beings first and foremost, whatever your role in the world is. If we are not gentle with ourselves, if we can’t fulfill ourselves respectfully, we can’t ever be there for others, and that includes being there for our children and our spouse, being present and fully active in our marriages and relationships with others.

Remind your own self to be gentle and others you may see struggling to be gentle to themselves as well. This concept is hard, but find a way that works for you – to bring that into focus each and every day, throughout the day. That constant reminder when things start to get bumpy to just, ‘be gentle’.

For my best friend and I this struggle is daily and sometimes hourly and with us being many hundreds of miles and many states apart we can’t always be right there for each other when that road turns a bit rocky, so this week while she was out visiting me we designed this tattoo together which we both had placed on our forearms. The constant reminder to be gentle with ourselves. The constant reminder of the love another person holds for me despite all my struggles. The constant reminder that we are enough, we are capable, we are strong even when we are weak, and we can do it all if we just remember to have love for ourselves as well.

be gentle

Depression has a way of stealing  fulfillment, joy, and love in all the worst ways, leaving you feeling isolated and alone. It is hard to pick yourself up some days and to keep trucking along. It’s easy to feel hopeless and abandoned and like you have no one to turn to. So in those moments of hate. Of self doubt, destruction, insecurity, fear, and any other emotion, remember that you are always worth it, you always matter, and even if no one else in the world will, remember to BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF.

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Sometimes Mommy Needs a TimeOut

Yesterday, LM was being a particular brand of Toddler difficult. With a runny nose and congestion I knew that she wasn’t feeling well but that did not excuse her acting out. She was hitting, not listening, throwing, and just generally being a meany and I was quickly becoming frustrated with the behavior.

This was all happening while SCM happened to have called on FaceTime so not only was he able to witness LM’s meltdowns but his wife’s too. He was fantastic at encouraging me that it was going to be okay as well as reminding LM that she needed to behave and be nice as well.

At one point in the morning LM decided to look at me, laugh, and the spray water around the kitchen from her bottle. Under my breathe I mumbled “ugh, little shit”. I instantly felt bad and mumbled it loud enough that my darling husband had heard me over the computer. I didn’t have a second before it was off my lips that he was chastising me for it, and rightly so. He reminded me that talking about children or anyone that way was not acceptable and was in poor taste. He also told me that maybe it was time for us both to take a break from each other. I hugged LM and apologized for MY behavior and then, we took a nap. I laid her down and then I promptly curled up as well. 3 hours later, we both woke up in much better moods ready to take on the rest of the day.

As parents sometimes it is hard to admit when we make an “oops” in parenting, get overwhelmed, or lose our cool, but the fact of parenting is, it happens sometimes. Our jobs as parents is realizing WHEN it happens and FIX the issue. There is no shame, as a parent in taking a step back from a situation and re-evaluating. There is nothing “un-parental” in apologizing to your child for a mistake. Some times parental “time-outs” is best for everyone’s sake.

Everyone deserves respect which is something I have covered in the past but as with adults there are times that we “miss the mark” with our children. The bonus is, that we can rectify those “oops” moments by just taking a step back and trying again.

 

 

What are some of your parenting “oops” moments? How did you make it better?

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Respect comes in many forms but respect should not change based on the age of an individual. Everyone deserves it, it shouldn’t be dictated by mood, by age, by gender, by race, by anything.

One of my biggest pet peeves, something that will send me from zero-hot in an instant is being “shushed” and being talked over. Both of those things I find to be extremely disrespectful, rude, and uncalled for. Many people, when that happens say, “Don’t treat me like a child” with that I ask, why is it that we find it appropriate to treat a child as such? If we dislike it, if we find it rude, then why on earth would we treat someone else like that, no matter their age?

The fact is, we shouldn’t.

So how do we change a behavior that is so easy to slip into? By doing what we so often ask children to do; we use our words.

Instead of “shushing” get down on a child’s level and explain to them why they need to be quiet, or change their attitude. If you use words with them, they will use words with you.Likewise, if you are speaking to an adult or young adult that is acting in a similar manner the same rules apply. Explain to them, “maybe we can talk about that in a minute,” “Now isn’t the best time for that, maybe later,” “That is a good thought, let’s discuss it more in a little bit.”

Communication is vital from the beginning, if you want it later, you need to start it now, and that holds true for all aspects of ones life. So today when you go about your day remember to show that respect comes in all forms and is deserving by all people no matter who it is or how YOUR day is going.

 

A smile for your day. LM rocking her new sunglasses.

“I am my own person…Respect me!”

This week has been an examination of my parenting abilities as I learned and re-learned and observed LM’s cues and desires of accepted practices. She is fierce and has no problems telling anyone if things are not to her liking, if her space is being challenged, or if she is just generally done with someone.

The problem I have encountered is adults, and sometimes other children, who refuse to see her as her own person with her own needs. Many adults try to handle every situation with every kid the exact same way and that is not practical because every child/person is different even if they are only 13 1/2 months old. When approached on the subject they are upset at the prospect of changing THEIR tactics to meet the needs of someone else.

This week I have learned and re-learned the following about my fierce, beautiful, independent, strong willed, amazing Little Miss.

1.She does not like help unless she asks, helping without permission results in a scream followed by some “not mommys” and a head shake. 

     2. While taking a shower with mommy is fine, mommy taking a bath with her is highly unacceptable and results in “not mommy” followed by attempts to push, pull, shove, or head butt mommy out of the tub. Once out mommy is told to “stay” with hand motion included.

     3.Cuddles must be indicated by her otherwise they are unwelcome. 

     4.Talking close in her face (something aunts and uncles love to do) results often in a slap and shout and push.

     5.If she signs indicating something and I do not acknowledge her she will take my hand and sign it on me and then give me the ” well…” Look.

 

While all these things are good in the aspect that she is exerting her will and making it known what she wants and how she wants it, it is a balancing act to make sure that not only are other people, young or old, respecting her boundaries but that she is learning to handle it appropriately when they don’t.

At a less interactive level I love watching her apply herself and “take the lead” so to speak. To see her grow into her own little being is truly a remarkable thing to watch happen. We have been working on using words or signs to express when we are unhappy about a situation vs hitting or being mean and it is slowly getting through. Every moment that something like that happens and she handles a situation a little differently than she would have preferred is such a proud Mommy moment for me. She truly is amazing.

Every child is different, and just as you wish to be treated in manners that help you be the best person you can be remember to show the same respect to other people especially our children who are searching for their sense of self.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How did/does your child(ren) express their personality/needs/desires and preferences? What have you  found works well for helping them deal with more tense moments, perhaps when someone is not respecting their boundaries?