Saturday, July 16, 2011

Maintaining Spirituality In the Midst of Everyday Parenting, Marriage, and Life

Welcome to the July Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Philosophy
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared their parenting practices and how they fit in with their parenting purpose. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

This post is a departure from my usual, and I don't plan to make a habit of it.  So if this isn't up your alley, stay tuned.
Life with children is very challenging.  Before having children, it was easy to think I was in control of my emotions and responses, and to remain calm in all that happened.  Kids are so unpredictable. I never could have guessed the daily challenges of being a parent, and the constant need for compassion, forgiveness, and love.

It is so easy to fall into negativity, to feel angry or sad or disappointed at things that happen every day.  It is so easy to lose the spiritual connection in what is happening day-to-day, and to feel pulled down into thinking "this is too hard," "I am disappointed," "why is this happening," or even "just obey me!"

The reality is that every single thing that happens is an opportunity for spirituality, an opportunity to practice the higher good.  Instead of wondering why, I try to remember that God will never give me anything I cannot handle.  All of the resources needed to handle any problem are available at any time, because I am always connected to God and God can handle anything and everything. 

When I feel the need to nitpick my husband or my daughter, God is there in the highest thought.  I don't need to voice my selfish thoughts. I don't need to be heard. I do need to tap into the highest thought.  It was never between me and my daughter or me and my husband anyway.  It was always between me and God. I've nothing to prove by being self-serving or needing my husband to do something different, or act differently, or love differently. It is between me and God to behave as I should regardless of what is happening or what I'm feeling.

And if I remember that I'm always connected to God, then I know that the right thing to do, the right answer, is always available to me.  Everything that happens is an opportunity to learn patience, compassion, love, the strength that is God.

I can choose to be right or I can choose to be kind, and being kind is never the wrong thing to do.  I can choose to be compassionate, loving, patient, understanding.  This is my choice in every interaction, and everything that happens.  And when it seems to hard, I know that God is always there, always on tap, and that means I always have the ability and power to choose the right way, which is the kind and compassionate way.

We are each responsible for making our own miracles happen every day, by remembering our connection to God.  All things are possible when we listen to the highest voice, the highest thought, which is always available to us.

We can make our own small miracles at any time.  It is a small miracle when I can remember that I am connected to God, even when faced with an obstinate preschooler or a stressed husband or any disappointment, or even when I have failed miserably and lost my temper, my patience, and my self-respect.  Forgiveness is always the right path, whether it is my children, my husband, or even my self that needs to be forgiven.  Guilt has no place in a compassionate heart.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon July 12 with all the carnival links.)
  • Between Love and Fear: On Raising our Children Sensibly — Mamma Earthly at Give an Earthly discusses the fear factor in parenting and how she overcame it, despite societal pressures.
  • really, when do i get my cape? — Sarah at small bird on fire is a working city mama trying to learn how to set aside her expectations of perfection and embrace the reality of modern parenting.
  • Baby, Infant, and Toddler Wearing — Child wearing is part of Sarah at Nourished and Nurtured's parenting philosophy. In this post, Sarah describes benefits of child-wearing and gives tips for wearing babies, infants, and toddlers (even while pregnant).
  • First Year Reflections — As her daughter's first birthday approaches, Holly at First Year Reflections reflects on how she and her husband settled into attachment parenting after initially doing what they thought everyone else did.
  • Making an allowance — Lauren at Hobo Mama welcomes a guest post from Sam about the unexpected lessons giving a four-year-old an allowance teaches the child — and the parent.
  • How to be a Lazy Parent and Still Raise Great Kids — Lisa at Granola Catholic talks about how being a Lazy Parent has helped her to raise Great Kids.
  • Philosophy in Practice — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares how her heart shaped the parenting philosophy in her home.
  • What is Attachment Parenting Anyway? — Gaby at Tmuffin describes the challenges of putting a label on her parenting philosophy.
  • Of Parenting Styles — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom talks about how she and her husband tailored various parenting styles to fit their own preferred parenting philosophy.
  • Moment by Moment Parenting — Amy at Peace 4 Parents encourages those who care for children (including herself) to explore and appreciate parenting moment-by-moment with clarity, intention, trust, and action.
  • Maintaining Spirituality in the Midst of Everyday Parenting, Marriage, and Life — Sarah at Nourished and Nurtured shares her perspective on finding opportunities for spiritual growth in every day life.
  • Parenting Philosophy — Lily, aka Witch Mom's parenting philosophy is to raise child(ren) to be compassionate, loving, inquisitive, and questioning adults who can be trusted to make decisions for themselves in a way that avoids harming others.
  • Long Term — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis thinks about who she would like to see her daughter become — and what she can do now to lay a strong foundation for those hopes.
  • Connection, Communication, Compassion — She's come a long way, baby! After dropping her career in favour of motherhood, Patti at Jazzy Mama discovered that building solid relationships was going to be her only parenting priority.
  • My Parenting Inspirations - Part 4 — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at her biggest parenting inspiration and how that translates into her long-term parenting philosophy.
  • A Parenting Philosophy in One Word: Respect — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction summarizes her parenting and relationship philosophy in one word: respect.
  • Knowledge and Instinct — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment believes that knowledge and instinct are super important … as are love, encouragement and respect. It's the ideal combo needed to raise happy and healthy children and in turn create meaningful relationships with them.
  • THRIVE!The Sparkle Mama wants to set a tone of confidence, abundance, and happiness in her home that will be the foundation for the rest of her daughter's life.
  • On Children — "Your children are not your children," say Kahlil Gibran and Hannah at Wild Parenting.
  • This One Life Together — Ariadne aka Mudpiemama shares her philosophy of parenting: living fully in the here and now and building the foundation for a happy and healthy life.
  • Enjoying life and planning for a bright future — Olivia at Write About Birth shares her most important parenting dilemmas and pours out her heart about past trauma and how healing made her a better parent.
  • My Parenting Philosophy: Unconditional and Natural Love — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares what she has learned about her parenting philosophy from a year of following her instincts as a mama.
  • An open letter to my children — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine writes an open letter to her children.
  • My Starter Kit for Unconditional Parenting — Sylvia at MaMammalia discusses her wish to raise a good person and summarizes some of the nontraditional practices she's using with her toddler son in order to fulfill that wish.
  • Responsiveness — Sheila at A Gift Universe has many philosophies and goals, but what it all boils down to is responsiveness: listening to what her son wants and providing what he needs.
  • Tools for Creating Your Parenting Philosophy — Have you ever really thought about your parenting purpose? Knowing your long-term goals can help you parent with more intent in your daily interactions. Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers exercises and ideas to help you create your own parenting philosophy.
  • Be a Daisy — Becky at Old New Legacy philosophizes about individuality and how she thinks it's important for her daughter's growth.
  • What's a Mama to Do? — Amyables at Toddler in Tow hopes that her dedication to compassionate parenting will keep her children from becoming too self-critical as adults.
  • grown-up anxieties. — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life explains her lone worry concerning her babies growing up.
  • Why I Used Montessori Principles in My Parenting Philosophy — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells why she chose Montessori principles to help her now-adult children develop qualities she wanted to see in them as children and adults.
  • Parenting Philosophies & Planning for the FutureMomma Jorje considers that the future is maybe just a fringe benefit of doing what feels right now.
  • Not Just Getting Through — Rachael at The Variegated Life asks what truths she hopes to express even in the most commonplace interactions with her son.
  • Parenting Philosophy? Eh... — Ana at Pandamoly shares the philosophy (or lack thereof) being employed to (hopefully) raise a respectful, loving, and responsible child.
  • Parenting Philosophy: Being Present — Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses the changes her family has made to accommodate their parenting philosophy and to reflect their ideals as working parents.
  • Who They Will Be — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro shares a short list of some qualities she hopes she is instilling in her children at this very moment.
  • Short Term vs. Long Term — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes recounts how long term parenting goals often get lost in the details of everyday life with two kids.
  • Parenting Philosophy: Practicing and Nurturing Peace — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle sets personal goals for developing greater peace.
  • Yama Niyama & the Red Pajama Mama — Part 1: The Yamas — In part 1 of a set of posts by Zoie at TouchstoneZ, Zoie guest posts at Natural Parents Network about how the Yoga Sutras provide a framework for her parenting philosophy.
  • Yama Niyama & the Red Pajama Mama — Part 2: The Niyamas — In part 2 of a set of posts by Zoie at TouchstoneZ, Zoie explores how the Niyamas (one of the eight limbs in traditional Yoga) help her maintain her parenting and life focus.
  • Our Sample Parenting Plan — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey shares hopes of who her children will become and parenting strategies she employs to get them there.
  • Philosophical Parenting: Letting Go — Jona at Life, Intertwined ponders the notion that there's no right answer when it comes to parenting.
  • Unphilosophizing? — jessica at instead of institutions wonders about the usefulness of navel gazing.
  • Parenting Sensitively — Amy at Anktangle uses her sensitivity to mother her child in ways that both nurture and affirm.
  • how to nurture your relationships — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog believes that sometimes all kids need is a jolly good listening to …
  • Philosophy Of An Unnatural Parent — Dr. Sarah at Good Enough Mum sees parenting as a process of guiding her children to develop the skills they'll need.
  • Life with a Challenging Kid: Hidden Blessings — Wendy at High Needs Attachment shares the challenges and joys of raising a high needs child.
  • Flying by the Seat of My Pants — Heather at Very Nearly Hippy has realized that she has no idea what she's doing.


Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

I am 20 wks pregnant, and we are just reaching the point where it is uncomfortable for me to wear my 3.5 yr old. Part of the problem could be that he is 35-36 lbs, but it really wasn't hard to carry him in the Ergo pre-pregnancy. It will be hard to give up that part of our relationship (until I'm able to wear him again, if he so desires), but I am SO looking forward to wrapping up the newborn in our trusty Moby!

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

And - oops! I posted my comment on the wrong post - obviously the above should go on the babywearing post ;)

To this I say - Such wise words about choice - it is something I am constantly working on, choosing to focus on understanding and loving, not focusing on my own reactions. I'll be doing a book discussion through Code Name: Mama in August on Nonviolent Communication - you would probably enjoy the book!

earthlytreasures said...

This message (albeit from a slightly different, more pagan, angle) is the kind of thing I preach on a regular basis - to friends, acquaintances and peeps who read my blog. But in real life it's a challenge! Being there, in the moment, when things are crazy and you want to jump ship and you feel the need to be YOU for a moment (like right now I'm trying to type this quickly whilst baby is wailing for her nap!) - it's hard to remember to stay focused.

It has to be a very conscious choice, to keep yourself centred, focused, whatever terminology you want to use. And it has to be a daily ritual, where you tune into yourself and ensure you allot some real meditation time so you are able to give of yourself without qualm or quibble, safe in the knowledge you won't shatter into a thousand pieces in doing so!

Rosemary said...

Isn't is amazing how He uses our kids to refine us? Every time I'm at my wit's end, my husband looks at me and grins "character development" and all I want to do is roll my eyes. But it's so true!! There is a space between the stimulus and our response, and in that space I have the ability to tap into the Holy Spirit and respond how He would want me to - lovingly, compassionately, slow to anger. Rather than my snap instinct, which is impatience, snark, etc... All things that need to be refined out of me!

Lauren Wayne said...

That's such a beautiful and meaningful post — and exactly what I needed to read just now. We've had a hard day here with a lot of tantrums (some even from my child…), and I need to think about forgiveness, of him, of me. Thanks for the reminder!

Patti @ Jazzy Mama said...

Yes, yes, yes! Parenting--as with every relationship--is always all about choices. I get so sad when I hear people (especially parents) say things like "That's just how I am" after choosing an action or words that hurt or offend or cause tension and discord. We ALL are capable of questioning ourselves and our actions and making choices to use words and actions that heal and connect.

I love how you've talked about COMPASSION. It is one of the most important themes in our family and I am working on being a more compassionate person in all aspects of my life.

Sarah V said...

I love how you said you don't need to voice those things. It is so counter to the voices I heard in my childhood, but so true. It nourishes relationships too when you stay away from speaking out.