Category Archives: Woman’s wisdom

Mastering self love

{Photo of me at my most recent yoga training. Photo sent to my family at the time :).}

Hi gorgeous! I hope that you are taking care of yourself. I know it can be challenging sometimes. Modern life demands so much of us, doesn’t it? It can really feel like we are being pulled in a hundred directions.

Often, when we make a decision to slow down and start doing more for ourselves, we end up causing ourselves more anxiety. Living in a way that is more attuned to the cycles of nature and in alignment with our true nature is not an over night achievement. Often, we are up against years and years of unhealthy habits. Years of putting ourselves last that may have built up as resentment, anger, tiredness, pain in the body and even depression.

If you are wanting to heal your life, my advice to you is to take is slow. Make one change at a time.

Ayurveda does not advise making lots of changes at once. Yoga is taught in stages. We don’t just walk into a yoga class and stand on our heads in the first lesson!

We learn about our bodies, start building a relationship with our breath and each time we step on to the mat, we peel away another layer. I like to think of it as an artichoke. There are many layers that need to be peeled away to reveal that delicious heart.

And how many of us do not want to cook artichokes because it is so damn hard to get to that heart?

We are so accustomed to living in an instant society that when we decide to make changes for ourselves, we are surprised when things don’t work out  immediately. We get discouraged when we take a perceived step backwards.

Today, I would like to encourage you to reflect on your life up until this time. Sometimes, when we look at how far we have come, we can relax into our journey.

Ask yourself: What do I know now that I did not know 10 years ago? How am I living more in alignment with my true nature than I have ever been? What am I really proud of?

Marvel at the progress you have made in your own self development. Perhaps you eat healthier than you have ever eaten. Perhaps you value your sleep now and you didn’t before. Perhaps you are more patient and kind with your children and your family.

Remember, we are not looking for perfection here. We are looking for perspective. We are always, always growing. Nothing is ever complete. Just embrace where you are in your journey right now.

Now, think of one thing, just one thing that you would like to focus on improving for a while.

Perhaps you would like to start going to a yoga class. Did you know that the cost of a yoga class is less than the cost of a movie? Yoga teachers have so much wisdom to impart. We don’t think twice about going to watch a movie, but we have to budget for our own self care in the form of a yoga class.

Really think about how much you value yourself. Don’t your children deserve to receive the best of you?

Perhaps you can make a commitment to be in bed by 10pm. Did you know that Pitta dosha is active between the hours of 10 and 2? If we are still awake after 10pm, we have entered the element of fire, which is why we have a renewed burst of energy at 10 o’clock. Lots of fun at 10, but not so fun in the morning when our family needs our attention.

I would love to know about your journey. Have you made positive changes in your life that deserve to be celebrated?

Mastering self love is a daily practice. There is no destination. There is only the journey.

What can you do today, that can bring you more peace and joy?

Blessings to you.

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Welcome New Mama

Dear Mama.

Today is a special day. It is your birthday. The crossing over the threshold. A new role. A new life. A new initiation. You are Mother.

Please don’t miss the sacredness of this day.

Your baby has chosen you. Yes, you!

You, with the swollen breasts, sore body and heart that has just been broken open. It’s ok. You don’t know what to do. It feels so scary. It feels so beautiful. It feels so perfect. You are as close to Spirit as you can get right now. Inhale the smell of pure Love. In your arms.

Your baby has chosen you. Yes, you!

You, with the crooked nose and matty hair. You, with the thighs that are too big. You, with the blemishes on your skin.

Your baby doesn’t care. Your baby only sees your beauty. Your baby only sees the love that is bursting from your heart. Treasure the vulnerability you are feeling right now. Your greatest strength lies there.

Your baby has chosen you. Yes, you!

You, with the insecurities and bad moods. You, with the PMS. You, with the fear of failure. You, who gets things wrong. You, who shouts at people and eats ice cream in the middle of the night.

Your baby doesn’t care. Your baby only sees your beauty. Your baby only sees the love that is bursting from your heart. Treasure the vulnerability you are feeling right now. Your greatest strength lies there.

Your baby has chosen you. Yes, you!

You, with the strength of the Great Mother flowing through your veins. You, with all the Mothers before you living inside you. You, with the love of Mother Mary. You, with the compassion of Quan Yin. You, with the creativity of Saraswati. You, with the fierceness of Durga.

You. Beautiful Mother. Sacred, blessed Woman. The keeper of life.

I bow to you, new Mother. I believe in you. You are chosen to raise this child. Let Love guide you and you cannot fail.

Blessings to you on this new day.

The day a new Mother is born.

 

Would you like to subscribe to the Peaceful Mothering newsletter? Join the Peaceful Mothering tribe and get Olga’s updates. Click here.

 

Being a first-time mama is an amazing experience. The New Mama Welcome Pack blog hop is a celebration of this life changing event! Follow the links to discover more unmissable advice, stories and essential tips. And if you’re a new mama who wants to rock motherhood without guilt, overwhelm or losing yourself, check out the New Mama Welcome Pack here.

New Mama Welcome Pack / Lotte Lane / Dreaming Aloud / Zhendria / Birthing in Conscious Choice / Natalie Garay / Eli Trier / Knecht Ruprecht / Lise Meijer / Naomi Goodlet / A Lifestyle By Design / Story of Mum / Like a Bird / Holistic Mama / Birth Geek / Joyful Parenting / Stroller Packing / My Healthy Beginning / Mums and More / Kate Beddow – Growing Spirits / Ellen Nightingale / Stacie Whitney / Maternity Leavers / Photography for Busy Parents / Close Enough To Kiss / Atelier Susana Tavares / Offbeat Family / Katie m. Berggren ~ Painting Motherhood / Winship Wellness Blog / Liberate From Weight / Jessica Cary / Art + Craft / Raising Playful Tots / Peaceful Mothering / Play Activities / Lauren Nenna / Nurture You / The Adventure Mama / Be Wise Be Healthy / b.a.d.momGoodmom / Doula in Your Pocket / Making Mom Strong / Adrienn Csoknyay / Joyful Parents / Alison Hummel / Simple Solutions for Photos / Lynne Newman / Euphoric Birth / Mumpreneur Mentor / A Walk in the Clouds / Parenting on the Fence / MiaMily

Inspiring Peace – Conversations with wise women

{The image above was drawn by my eight year old, Annie. It is a picture of me doing yoga, looking very peaceful and chic with my mani and pedi. Thank you Roxanne Gordon at Rogo Graphics Inc for the graphic design on Annie’s artwork. I love it.}

Hi gorgeous ones!

Welcome to the Inspiring Peace Series. Showcasing mothers all over the world who live by the philosophy of creating peace in the world by parenting from the heart, in a way that adds love to the world. Sounds good?

Today we meet the lovely Claire McAuliffe from Claire the Life Coach.

ClaireMcAuliffe

  • What was the catalyst that inspired you into mothering the way that you do?

My mother was very distant with myself and my siblings so I always knew that I wanted a close relationship with all my kids. I’m still their parent but certainly not as strict as parents were in years gone by. I’ve learnt so much from my kids and also found that they are more open to sharing all sorts of things with me, some of which I’ve known nothing about! It’s been pretty hilarious at times!

  • If you could tell a new mother just one thing that would make her journey of parenting more joyful, what would it be?

Relax and don’t sweat the small stuff, trust your intuition! (I know it’s more than one but they are all important!) I worried too much about what other mothers’ thought instead of being practical and following my instincts.

  • How do you honour your femininity as a mother?

I always like to dress well wherever I am, not only because it makes me feel good but I see the pride in my children’s faces when they see me looking neatly dressed. I recently had my 9 year old son request that I wear an evening dress to the parent information night!! How do you explain that you would show up all the other mothers??!!!

  • What are your non negotiables for your own self care?

It is very important that I exercise every morning, eat clean and sleep at least 8 hours a night. When this is right, all is well with the world. I really love the quiet time in the morning too, it sets me up for the day. It is very important that I exercise every morning, eat clean and sleep at least 8 hours a night. When this is right, all is well with the world. I really love the quiet time in the morning too, it sets me up for the day.

  • What is one practical thing you do on a daily basis to make your daily life run more smoothly?

I’ve always been an early riser and find that an organised day makes for a less stressful day. I like to organise one day in advance so everyone knows exactly what they are doing.

  • How important is rhythm in your life?

Rhythm is very important in my life and also the children’s, when life runs smoothly, everyone is happier. Having been a single mother of 8 children for almost 8 years now, rhythm provided the children with stability.

  • Finish these sentences:
  • I am happiest when: I’m drinking my morning coffee in the sunshine! (The beautiful quiet makes for wonderful insights!)
  • Love is: the most beautiful emotion on earth and makes the world go round.
  • My greatest wish for my children is: for each of them to find their own unique gift that makes them happy and be a bright shining light to the world.
  • What does being a peaceful mother mean to you?

Now this was the most difficult question to answer. Being a ‘peaceful mother’ to 8 children is difficult as I’m sure you can imagine. There have been moments when it all gets on top of you. BUT, when you think about these creations you’ve brought into the world and look at their characters and personalities, it warms your heart. They are each unique in their own way and as much as some things frustrate me at the end of the day I’m their mum. Being peaceful to me means doing my best for my children and letting them become responsible adults and I can look back and say ‘ Yep, I did a pretty damn good job’!!

About Claire:

Claire describes herself as a loving mother who out of difficult times has come through the other side to explore her gifts. A new life coach who want to guide women through their own troubles to find inner peace and excitement in the world. You can connect with Claire on Claire – The Life Coach.

Wow, Claire. Thank you for such beautiful sharing. Your radiance really does shine through in your picture and your words. Your 8 (wow!) children are so lucky to have a mama like you. I totally agree with you about always being well presented. It makes such a difference to our mood and really demonstrates our own self love, doesn’t it?

Would you like to subscribe to the Peaceful Mothering newsletter? Join the Peaceful Mothering tribe and get Olga’s updates. Click here.

 

Inspiring Peace – Conversations with wise women

{The image above was drawn by my eight year old, Annie. It is a picture of me doing yoga, looking very peaceful and chic with my mani and pedi. Thank you Roxanne Gordon at Rogo Graphics Inc for the graphic design on Annie’s artwork. I love it.}

Hi gorgeous ones!

Welcome to the Inspiring Peace Series. Showcasing mothers all over the world who live by the philosophy of creating peace in the world by parenting from the heart, in a way that adds love to the world. Sounds good?

Today we meet childbirth advocate and unschooling mother of five, Krystal Trammell of birthinginconsciouschoice.com and Empowered Birth Doula Training :

KrystalTrammell

 

  • What was the catalyst that inspired you into mothering the way that you do?

I became a mother when I was just 18, and my parenting style has really gone through so many shifts and evolutions since that time, when I was so overwhelmed and terrified of messing everything up.

I suppose, when I really think back to just one thing – it was my desire to succeed in breastfeeding my second child, which led me to La Leche League’s work – that was truly the first step in the journey towards Now.

La Leche League talked about babies and mothering in a way I’d not heard of before – so connected and gentle, almost synergistic in the meeting of both mother’s and baby’s needs as one unit.  This led me to question everything I thought I knew about childhood, parenting, discipline, and even education….which in turn led me to the cooperative, mutually respectful, freedom-focused philosophy that is unschooling, which continues to play a huge role in the way I relate to my children, partner, and even to myself.

  • If you could tell a new mother just one thing that would make her journey of parenting more joyful, what would it be?

To slow down, relax, and trust in the innate wisdom of your child.

Even in the womb, babies can give us glimpses of their unique personalities.  Contrary to traditional ideas about “spoiling” our baby, the much more simple, joyful, and loving truth is that babies need their mamas – and that truth only evolves into different forms as children get older.

They will always be asking the timeless questions, “am I loved? am I okay?”, in a million ways over the course of their childhoods – and they’ll do so in a multitude of ways that can be endearing, challenging, and everything in between.

Continually bring back your focus toward loving connection with your children, and chances are you’ll be on a positive path.

  • How do you honour your femininity as a mother?

I believe that motherhood is one of the most expressive and vital expressions of divine femininity out there!  Okay, so sometimes it’s spit-up and diapers; devoid of sleep and glamour – but you’ve gotta admit that there’s a deep, powerful sensuality in the nurturing of children – in the act of continually tending to the needs and feelings of your child, all while balancing your own in the mix.

I think that too many mothers have somehow gotten the message that they must lose themselves or give themselves up to be a “good mother” – but I feel that that’s one of the worst untruths being perpetuated out there.  You must continue to honor and be your true self, even as a mother – if not especially as a mother!

What kind of a message does it send to a child if they continually see mama putting herself last?

So wear the clothes you love.  Eat the last chocolate.  Take time for yourself, and with your partner and friends.  Keep up with your hobbies or interests, even if it’s something you only do occasionally.  You cannot completely martyr yourself to the dutiful side of motherhood without you and your children suffering in one way or another.  

  • What are your non negotiables for your own self care?

Well, as the ages of your children change, I think this changes as well!  There is, however, a deep and continual need for self-care in some form, no matter the ages of your children.

So, right now, in this slice of life where I have five unschooled children between the ages of 2 and 14 – I am enjoying being able to expand a bit in honoring my own desires and needs more fully!

My focus used to be simply on eating enough healthy, whole food; sleeping well; and getting out for regular physical movement and socialization with other adults at least weekly.  (You may guess that I’m an introvert, and you’d be correct! Your needs may vary, and that’s perfectly okay.)

Now, I make time to do yoga daily, even if it’s a quick session before my toddler wants to join in.  I am mindful of my own emotions, and try to check in with myself regularly through journaling and meditation, to make sure that I am not suppressing my needs in some way.  I let myself listen to music I enjoy, instead of always defaulting to “what the kids want”.

When my hubby is not away for work, we need at least one date night a week – even if it’s just something simple.  As an introverted mama with a big family, I must be especially mindful of my need for uninterrupted time to be by myself, and to have deep conversations with my hubby that aren’t punctuated by our kids’ requests.

  • What is one practical thing that you do on a daily basis to make your daily life run more smoothly?

I include my kids in the planning of our week and day.  If I have errands to run later, I mention it.  If I have a lot of projects to tackle on the computer, I mention that, too.  Even for the younger kids, who don’t have a solid concept of the passage of time – it seems to really help them if I can say, “We need to do X, Y, and Z today, so we’ll be pretty busy,” or, “We don’t have anything scheduled – is there anything you’d like to do this afternoon?”

I try to honor and consider my kids’ preferences as often as possible – but in a larger family there is simply no way to cater to everyone’s whims, even if I wanted to.

People seem to think that kids need to be told what to do quite often – but in my experience, the less you tell them what to do, the more likely they are to cheerfully cooperate with you – if it’s not a constant occurrence.  For the most part, people are agreeable if they’re treated with kindness and empathy – and kids are people too, of course.

  • How important is rhythm in your life?

Rhythm, yes – structure, not so much.  I’m big on flexibility, but I like to keep general patterns throughout the day and week.  For example, mornings are often quiet and calm for our family, while early evenings can get pretty fun and rowdy, with everyone playing together or watching movies.  This is just the natural flow of our personalities, and in the absence of school, we are generally free to go with it.  I schedule days for cleaning, cooking, and social time, so that there’s a loose theme to the week – but it’s always negotiable.

While I don’t let my kids “call all the shots” – I do encourage them to participate in our daily activities as much as possible.  That means that sometimes – many times – plans will change, arrangements must be made, and contingencies must be dealt with.

Letting the 4 year old cut his own banana, or the 2 year old dress himself, often means extra work, extra time, extra messes…

It’s less about “planning activities” and more about allowing the organic flow of their curiosity take us for an impromptu wander.  Often, these sort of things simply can’t be planned for, and are inconvenient – but nobody ever said parenting was convenient

  • Finish these sentences:
  • I am happiest when: I’m cuddled in bed with my entire family, with nowhere to be or go, and lots of ideas flowing.  That’s when everything feels right in the world.
  • Love is: unconditional acceptance that knows no boundaries; it’s letting go of fear and expectations; a feeling of security and freedom all rolled up together.
  • My greatest wish for my children is: to truly know, believe in, and honor themselves, while remaining aware of the interconnection we share with others.
  • What does being a peaceful mother mean to you?

I used to think that “peaceful mothering” meant never showing any emotion that wasn’t peaceful – but I don’t think that anymore.  Suppressing your own feelings of hurt, fear, anger, or frustration means you’re not being honest with yourself or your children – and it creates a pressure that will surely explode at some point, usually in a non-peaceful way!

I’ve learned over the years that part of being peaceful is being honest about my “negative” feelings (and I put “negative” in quotes because, really, that’s a judgment you’re making about your own feelings.  Feeling aren’t “bad” or “good” – they just ARE).  If I ignore them, they won’t just go away – and they will interfere with me being the peaceful parent I desire to be.

To me, being peaceful is about letting go of the conditioning, fears, and “shoulds” that get in the way of expressing our true selves and interacting authentically with those we feel closest to.

In order to feel heard and understood, I must sometimes express feelings that are unpleasant for my family – but I must be equally willing and open to listen to the range of feelings (pleasant or otherwise!) from my family members as well.

With younger children, I believe that peaceful parenting has a lot to do with just learning to trust your child:  trusting that they’re not “out to get you” or “doing it on purpose” – finding ways to cooperate with them, and showing them that you value their feelings.

As children grow in age and awareness, I think that peaceful parenting has more to do with cultivating mutual respect and kindness toward each other, and a willingness to put in effort toward understanding each other.

Peaceful parenting is most definitely NOT a destination – it’s a journey:  One of the longest and most challenging journeys you’ll likely ever embark upon!  So, relax and enjoy the ride.

About Krystal:

Krystal Trammell is a freethinking mama of five unschooled kids, ranging from teenage to toddler.  She’s also a childbirth advocate; writer; artist; and loves to help women find their voice and power through conscious, connected pregnancy and motherhood. Krystal has spoken at unschooling conferences, and written for parenting and homeschooling magazines and blogs.  She has authored a successful multimedia course on holistic childbirth, and is currently creating a freedom-based doula training program. To learn more about Krystal’s work and ideas, please visit her at www.BirthinginConsciousChoice.com and Empowered Birth Doula Training.

Wow Krystal, you are really inspiring! I totally agree with you about our feelings just being what they are and not just bad or good. And yes, parenting is a journey! Thank you for being part of this series.

Would you like to subscribe to the Peaceful Mothering newsletter? Join the Peaceful Mothering tribe and get Olga’s updates. Click here.

Inspiring peace – conversations with wise women

{The image above was drawn by my eight year old, Annie. It is a picture of me doing yoga, looking very peaceful and chic with my mani and pedi. Thank you Roxanne Gordon at Rogo Graphics Inc for the graphic design on Annie’s artwork. I love it.}

Hi gorgeous ones!

Welcome to the first of a little series I am creating. Showcasing mothers all over the world who live by the philosophy of creating peace in the world by parenting from the heart, in a way that adds love to the world. Sounds good?

I will start the series by sharing a bit about myself:

IMG_5730

 

  • What was the catalyst that inspired you into mothering the way that you do?

My own mother had a very big heart. She loved her children fiercely, seeing only the highest potential in us and always encouraging us to be the best versions of ourselves. Unfortunately, she was not very good at taking care of her own needs. After I ended up with post natal depression when my first-born was four months old, something in me clicked. I realised that I was pushing against my own needs and not really living to my highest potential. I realised that I was modelling my own mother’s behaviour by putting my needs last. I realised that if I did not do things in a different way, my own children would just do what I do and not what I say. The profound realisation that if I model self love, I will teach my own children to love themselves. I realised that my children deserve to see a mother who is happy and living to her full potential. I realised that for me to parent my children, I had to parent myself first. And the journey of learning to love myself first began.

  • If you could tell a new mother just one thing that would make her journey of parenting more joyful, what would it be?

Get help so that you can take the time to enjoy the little things. Indigenous cultures live in communities and mothers of young children are left to look after their babies while the rest of the community takes care of the day to day tasks like cooking, cleaning and looking after older children. I was so frazzled and such a perfectionist that when the neighbour’s mother came to help me learn how to breastfeed, I said “No thank you.” I was too embarrassed to get something wrong, that I would not let anyone help me. It was much better with my second child, where I let my husband do as much house work as he was able to, while I gazed into my baby’s eyes and allowed myself to enjoy the gift that comes with caring for a new life.

  • How do you honour your femininity as a mother?

I live my life around my menstrual cycle. We have a family calendar and the whole family knows when it is mama’s time to rest. I have learned that if I don’t honour my body’s natural need to slow down, turn inwards and reflect, that my whole family suffers. If I am not filled up, I have emotional outbursts and tears, which does not serve anyone at home. I am teaching my children that women go through cycles and that it is perfectly natural to stop and rest. I make a point of planning my social events around the active time of my cycle and keeping things really quiet at the reflective time of my cycle.

  • What are your non negotiables for your own self care?

A daily yoga and meditation practice. Sometimes it is two minutes, sometime it is two hours. The point is that I visit the sacred space within at least once a day. I light a candle every night and do my practice. This includes yoga postures, writing in my journal, reading something inspiring and meditating. Sometimes I do all of these, other times, I just connect with the flame. I always do a deep yogic relaxation (yoga nidra) in bed before going to sleep. I have been doing it every night for the last four years. I have a recording that I listen to, which my husband can repeat word for word! A twenty minute relaxation equates to three hours of sleep, a very good thing for all mothers!

  • What is one practical thing that you do on a daily basis to make your daily life run more smoothly?

I give my children chores. This depends on their ages and abilities. My son still needs a lot of encouragement and often I help him. I find that children need an adult to get in there and do things with them. Standing and yelling only increases the tension for the adults and the children. I find it much more productive when I get in there with them and show them my enthusiasm for taking care of our home. My daughter is now very self sufficient and she often does things out of her own without me having to ask. She is learning to take pride in her environment. I try and focus on the good things that they do and this inspires them to do more. I get them to take a step back and admire what they have done, always ending with: “Doesn’t it feel good to take care of your home?” Everyone in the world wants to feel that they matter and that what they do makes a difference. I think that involving children in the creation of a beautiful home is one of the most powerful ways for them to understand their worth.

  • How important is rhythm in your life?

Rhythm is crucial. The whole of nature is governed by rhythm. The sun rises and sets, seasons change. I find that I am much calmer when I attune to the rhythms of nature. I also find that my whole nervous system is more relaxed when it knows what is coming next. Rhythm is different to routine in that it allows for flexibility, whereas routine can be so rigid that it actually increases stress instead of relieving it. I find that my children are also much happier when we have a rhythm of eating times, sleeping times and even specific days for certain meals. Everyone looks forward to Moong Dhal Mondays in our home!

  • Finish these sentences:
  • I am happiest when: I have a cup of tea in one hand, my husband’s hand in the other hand and we are sitting in nature, listening to the sounds of birds, happy children and the satisfaction of a life lived in alignment with our dreams.
  • Love is: Seeing the highest qualities in the person in front of you, even when they are do not see it themselves. Love is unconditional. Love is the true form of the universe.
  • My greatest wish for my children is: That they live a life that inspires them to be the best versions of themselves every day. My greatest wish is that I always see that sparkle in their eyes.
  • What does being a peaceful mother mean to you?

Being a peaceful mother means being ok with not being perfect. It means being ok with getting things wrong. Apologising to your family. Letting go of the need for perfection and learning to love the beautiful mess that comes with being a woman and a mother.

Would you like to subscribe to the Peaceful Mothering newsletter? Join the Peaceful Mothering tribe and get Olga’s updates. Click here.