After a super rainy winter here in San Diego, we're finally experiencing some consistent warm weather and the most beautiful green grasses and wildflower blooms you've ever seen!
This floral field is one I drive by daily and I've had the pleasure of watching it blossom from a dirt lot last fall, to this incredibly beautiful overflowing yellow & white delight. Of course I got to thinking about how this beautiful abundance of blooms has so much in common with parenthood.
You see, this little slice of heaven would have never been this abundantly beautiful if it wasn't for the dark clouds and storms this last winter that brought SO much rain. Some probably loved it, but for a super active family like ours, we were beyond challenged with all the indoor time (something we're definitely not used to as a surfing, running, biking, volleyballing, skateboarding, block hanging, dog playing crew!).
Many of you may be in a stormy season right now with your kids, family, health or marriage. Sleepless nights where toddlers will NOT stop coming into your bed or your new baby munchkin is still relying on you for multiple feedings and you feel like a zombie. Or maybe you have an older kiddo who keeps getting notes sent home from school that he needs to "work" on self-control and you've tried everything to teach him, with no luck. Some of you may have hitters, or biters, or yellers, or tantrumers. For many of us, those hitters or yellers may be us and we're hopeless and disappointed in ourselves on what we've become as parents...often irritated, annoyed, short-tempered, explosive, lacking compassion. Maybe you and your spouse are on totally different pages when it comes to discipline and on top of you constantly having to discipline your toddler, managing the disagreement on the "right" parenting approach has you exhausted. Some of you may be so confused on how three of your kids can be totally easy going and then one is the most defiant and strong willed human you've ever met....how did that happen and how the heck do you handle this kid? At times you might ask yourself, "How did this storm become so intense and how long am I going to have to endure this nasty weather?".
Well the good news is....I promise this storm will pass, whatever it may be for you...and wildflowers WILL bloom as long as you're seeking and planting healthy seeds! When I think back to the storm I endured when I found this work (if you don't know my storm story, you can watch my 2 min. brand video here), it was so nasty and literally seemed like it was never going to end. I remember being really scared that there was something wrong with my daughter, wrong with me, wrong with my parenting and wrong with my life. In the end however, this season changed me from within so deeply that the future trajectory of my life (and relationship with my kids) would be forever changed for the better (into the gorgeous wildflower field it now is). Don't get me wrong, there are still weeds in my field, however nowadays, I'm able to pick them out with grace and move on, while admiring the gorgeous blooms, instead of letting them destroy my garden (thank you positive parenting, phew!).
So what kind of seeds are you planting or should you be seeking? In the world of families, these positive seeds are plenty, you've just got to look for them, acquire them, use them and believe in them!
Here's 10 ideas that will help get you through your stormy season(s):
1. Find a community! Attend groups or online support forums.
2 of my local favorites in San Diego are Scripps San Diego Breastfeeding Groups (if you're nursing a little one & figuring out motherhood) & Dr. Cassidy Freitas Mother's Support Group (if you could use a hug & place to vent/ask questions with other mommas). Google the support group you're looking for in your area, there are so many available these days.
2. Keep your Redirecting Children's Behavior book & workbook on your nightstand & read a little each night. Staying refreshed in concepts will help you get smoothly through your day.
3. Reach out to a friend and tell them you just need to talk to someone (or better yet CRY! Crying when someone is there to listen is always so good for our souls). Vulnerability with ones we love creates beautiful connection, so don't be scared to expose your imperfections. I promise you'll learn you're not alone in your thoughts & will grow closer to the person you reach out to.
3. Attend a Fresh Start Parenting Seminar. There are two to choose from next week! (or better yet, attend them both!) REDUCING POWER STRUGGLES - Tuesday 4/26 (Aspirations School of Learning - Carlsbad) & CONSEQUENCES THAT WORK - Thursday 4/28 (FSP Office - Encinitas). Both are in the evening from 6-8:30pm and you'll leave feeling empowered and ready to try out many new positive tools in your home. Register for a 5 pack of seminars to receive a tuition discount & get consistent guidance with applying positive parenting concepts into your family life. It will change everything for you once you develop a continual practice.
(helping parents practice empathy at last month's "limits" seminar)
4. Listen to a podcast. Here's one I did with "New Mommy Media/Parent Savers" on Getting your Toddlers to Help with Chores & another great one from Susie Walton on Misbehaving Toddlers - tips & tricks.
5. Schedule a date night SOON! Yes, I know it's tough to get away...baby won't take the bottle, toddler freaks out when you leave, good sitters are hard to find, you'll be tired at work tomorrow, etc. but JUST do it! Whether it's with your spouse or close friend, adult time will do you so good! Click here for a $35 credit for urban sitter, a great site to help you find reliable, local background checked help!
6. Get outdoors for a walk or exercise. Nature is one of my fave prescriptions for parents to use with their kids when they are out of sorts, and the same prescription goes for parents to use on themselves. Go for a hike, jog, ocean swim, or surf, or just grab your yoga mat & squeeze in a lunch session on the grass or beach. Robin Long from the Balanced Life has many free pilates videos that are wonderful and great at reducing stress. If you're really short on time, even a brisk 10 minute walk outside at sunset alone is fabulous.
7. Order a new book from the library or amazon. My latest fave's for tired parents seeking support are Mindful Discipline & Mothering with Courage.
8. Keep a journal of things you're thankful for (If you've got healthy kids & live in America, those should go on the top!). Read it when you're having a moment when you think you might go crazy!
9. Commit to a self growth weekend course that will help you reduce blame, work on better tones when communicating with others and love yourself more deeply, resulting in the ability to love others (your kids!) more deeply, even in times of hardship, stress & relationship strife. My favorite weekends are hosted in Encinitas, CA by the amazing teachers from Your Infinite Life. I'll be assisting at the next course called "Freedom to Be" the weekend of Cinco de Mayo, I'd love to see you all there!
10. Hug your kids and family more! The benefits of hugging have been shown in so many studies. This great article gives us 7 health reasons why we should up this method of connection.
Cheers to joyful parenting & seeking the wildflower blooms on the other side of the storm!