Posts Tagged 'parenting'

Positive and Negative Spirals

Our partners in life are one of the biggest influences on our growth, development as a person, and happiness (parents are the other big one). If you’re having trouble, you and your relationship are worth improving!

People tend to underestimate how much of an influence your love partner has on your life. Stop for a minute. This is the person you see every day, who you usually live with, who you talk to about everything (hopefully).

They can help you grow as a person and support your dreams and hopes in life.

They can also influence you in ways you’re not even aware of. Research studies have shown that couples’ rate of breathing, heart rates, and walking paces synchronize when they’re together. Their communication styles also synchronize and they become very efficient at communication. Someone who can do all of this to your body also has an influence on your emotions and mind.

One study showed that negative interactions between couples also synchronize, which means that the “negative spiral” is a real effect! It’s not just in our imaginations that we hit a rough spot. It really does happen. It also means though that you can enter a “positive spiral” and hit a really good spot.

Positive spirals build on each other and help protect the couple when they hit a rougher patch. If you haven’t had a positive spiral in a while, talk to your marriage partner to see if you can shift it together. Do some things you enjoy together to help shift you into a positive spiral.

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Lifetime t.v. interview

I was filmed today as the marriage expert for an upcoming segment on Lifetime t.v.’s show “The Balancing Act.” What a fun experience! More importantly though, they asked some good questions. One of them was:

What are some signs that your partner is dissastisfied?
The answer that got them laughing was Eye Rolling! O.k., we all do it from time to time but if it’s going on alot, then it’s something to be aware of. Eye rolling is actually a sign of disrespect. And depending on how it’s done, it can even be a sign of contempt for the other person. So keep an eye out for it (yes, pun intended!).

What to do if you see it?
I would address it with your partner. If they continue to do it, then I would look a little harder at your relationship and decide if you need to seek some help. One thing I said on the show was to get help sooner rather than later. We all change the oil on our cars and change the tires. We do the regular maintenance required to keep it running well. Don’t wait until your marriage has fire and smoke pouring out of it before you take it in. At that point, it’s no longer a tune-up; it’s a major repair. Get into counseling before that point to keep it running well.

Should I have had this child?

I was recently at a going away party for a mom who has grown children. Most of the moms in the room had children ranging from Littles to teenagers. Several had grown children.

We all talked about those mothering moments when we ask whether we should have had the child. It goes like, “maybe I shouldn’t have had this child. . . . maybe I shouldn’t have had the first one, only the second . . .  maybe I shouldn’t have had the second and was only meant to be mom to one . . . maybe I shouldn’t have had the third . . .” Etc., etc., etc.

They all admitted to having doubts at one time or another, usually during a really hard mama day, about whether they should have had that child.

One, I felt huge relief to hear these mamas talking about this.

Two, I gathered that everyone has these thoughts which means . . .

(three) . . . forget the guilt that goes with them. Just throw it out! Everyone has the thoughts. Everyone has bad mama days. Everyone struggles, whether you’ve had one kid or six.

What the thought is a sign of is not your commitment to your child or your love for them rather that you’re having a bad day; that you’re struggling and probably need a break (at least a 5 minute one!).

It’s only information about your own process so next time the thought comes up, realize that and take the break!

Does anyone “deserve” to be a parent?

It’s been about a month so time for me to blog again in my “barely a blog.”

So you have a baby . . . and then you feel really guilty for having a baby as in, “Omg, I don’t deserve to be a parent! What am I going to do now??!!”

This happens to everyone. Let me repeat . . .  everyone! In fact, only the people who do not have children think they deserve to be parents. Nothing will change a pre-kid mindset (see below) faster than having kids though.

I do think it happens worse if you’re one of the unlucky ones to get hit by postpartum depression or anxiety. I’ve heard women and men say they get obsessed by the thought, repeating it in their head over and over. Stop that! Seriously! Here’s something for you . . .

No one deserves to be a parent. These children come into the world so precious and beautiful and innocent. None of us are perfect enough for them. We all mess up, end up yelling from time to time, don’t get enough “me” time. I could go on and on. O.k., yes, there are the “angel mamas” (aka mothers who seem to be perfect, i.e., everyone but you) but most of us are not them.

I’m going to get all spiritual on you. There are reasons beyond our understanding that children are born to us.

You don’t have to believe in god or vishnu or the great alien to get this. On a purely biological level, we procreate for reasons unknown to us. Parenthood is so hard that it’s a miracle anyone repeats it. And if you do want to go to a spiritual place with it, well then consider that a child may come into your life for spiritual reasons of their own. They picked you for whatever insane reason.

So hopefully that will help stop the obsessions. It’s something you have to learn to live with and despite it, continue parenting.

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Pre-kids mindset – Sense of superiority to all other parents held by someone before they have children themselves; ideas that you have about raising children before you actually have them; something you will think about fondly and laugh at after you have children.

Shake that Bear Cub

There is such a focus these days on gentle and aware parenting that there seems to be no room for practical parenting. As mothers we’re supposed to be gentle, kind, never raise our voices, always keep our cool. We even are expected to talk to our children as if they’re mini-adults and have the capacity to understand reasoning on an adult level.

Where did practical parenting go? I sometimes have to remind myself that these are children we’re dealing with, not adults. And that it’s o.k. to treat them as such. Right about now you’re probably wondering what that translates to.

This came up when discussing a particular problem that is happening with one of my friend’s children. We were talking about how she felt ineffective with her “calm, reasoned” voice. We discovered that perhaps she should try out her Mama Bear voice. Think Roseanne Barr right here. As in, “DJ, stop bugging your sister and go straight to your room.” Now keep your Roseanne Barr voice and add in the aware parenting piece . . . “DJ, I’m so sorry you’re feeling so angry today that you have to take it out on your sister. But go straight to your room and don’t come out until you feel like you can handle yourself.”

What does this do? It helps the child contain himself, because they’re incapable of doing that themselves. They’re children and we’re their parents and that’s part of our job – setting limits with them when they can’t. It helps them feel better about themselves in the long run because then they don’t have the guilt of beating up on their sister.

My friend laughed and said “that’s like picking them up by the scruff of the neck and giving them a shake.” Yes, it is. And mamas all over the animal world do that without a second thought. Go Mama Bear.