Welcome to the Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival: Week #5 – Practicing Presence
This post was written for inclusion in the 10 Week Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival hosted by Prenatal to Parenting. This week our participants have written about Practicing Presence. We hope you enjoy this week’s posts and consider joining us next week when we share about a week of Developing Positive Self-Talk.
After what I felt was my “failure” last week, I received the loveliest email from a friend of mine. It made me cry and smile all at the same time. I am blessed with amazing friends. (Thank you C!!!) It was also a good reminder that I needed to pick myself up, dust myself off and get on with it. One week of feeling overwhelmed and chaotic does not make me a bad parent… it just makes me human.
This week’s challenge was all about being present. Truly listening to what people were saying. This was easy for me. I’ve always been someone who loves to listen to people and I always aim to “hear” not just what they are saying but what they are truly “asking” for. I also decided to make this week about controlling the chaos in my life. I took time on the weekend and chose a few projects that would be easy to get off my to-do list, but that would grant me huge satisfaction.
The first one was an art project that I’ve had in my head for the girls bedrooms. It involved some painting of ticklish feet, lots of laughter and a couple of silly kids. However, it was mostly about staying in and enjoying the moment. It was about slowing down (see, I got it… just a week late!!).
Here’s the finished products 🙂 Nothing fancy but I’m happy with them!
Then I tackled some paperwork. I didn’t get as far as I’d hoped to on this front, but I made a dent in it and am chipping away at the mound. Goal… to have my office space completely organized by the end of the month. To ensure I meet this goal… I’ll even put a challenge out there. If I have not posted a photograph of my clean office space on this blog by September 4th, 2013, the first person to send me an email and ask me where it is will get a gift. I haven’t decided what that gift will be yet… but it will be worth it. So I do hope you’ll hold me accountable!
Then on Tuesday, as I was getting ready to start dinner, Ella asked if she could help. For one split second, I thought about putting on a movie for the kids, as it would be much simpler to cook by myself than have her help. But then I HEARD what she was really asking for. She wanted to spend time with me. I chose to listen and said yes. She asked me to pass her down her special cookbook. It was a Christmas gift from my parents and it’s simple recipes for kids in the kitchen. She flipped through it and came upon a photo of cookies. She asked if we could have those for dinner. I told her we didn’t have enough time to make cookies… and that cookies were dessert food. So she went flipping through her book again and came across some decorated animal cupcakes. She asked, what about this for dessert then? I knew I had half a dozen cupcakes in the freezer, so I made a deal with her. I would make dinner and as I was doing that, she could help me decorate the cupcakes we already had. She was so excited. She decided that we’d decorate them as purple flowers (don’t ask me how she got to purple flowers from animals… but there we are!). She quickly ran and grabbed our aprons and a stool and we got down to business. A few minutes later, Tehya got really quiet and then I heard a funny noise. I turned around to find her colouring on the wall with pencil crayons! I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and went over to her. I spoke very firmly to her as I took the crayons away, picked her up and put her in her room, telling her that “no, we don’t colour on walls, that is naughty behaviour. We only colour on paper” and she needed to sit quietly for a few minutes to think about it. I went back to Ella and we mixed up a few more things. After about 3 minutes, I went back to Tehya’s room and found her sitting exactly where I’d left her. As I crouched down to talk to her a little more about her behaviour, she wouldn’t look up at me. After a moment, she finally whispered out a “torty” (sorry!). She gave me a hug and kiss and then came back into the kitchen with me. She decided that she’d like to help too, so pulled up her stool and the three of us worked on the cupcakes. When Eric got home a little while later, I had Tehya show him the mess she’d made and she helped him scrub the walls, as Ella and I completed the cupcakes. When we were done, Ella could barely contain her excitement at what we’d done and showing off the finished product to her dad. It was a simple moment and I silently put a check in the “win” column.
Yesterday, Ella kept asking me if we could paint her feet again. Instead, I promised her that when Tehya woke up from her nap, that I would let them paint something for their room. This is how Eric found us last night when he got home from work.
They were both covered in paint by the time we were done, but also grinning from ear to ear. It was worth the extra cleanup to see their joy!
So my lessons this week… listen not only with my ears but also my heart. Deep breaths and calm words go a long way. Life with children will always be an adventure that I feel incredibly lucky to be on.
So how’d your week go? I’d love if you would post a comment or two. Don’t forget to check out the other articles written this week!