Tag Archives: Inspiring Peace

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 totally inspiring Meagan from This Whole Family.

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

I’m not sure there was ever a catalyst that turned me towards a certain type of mothering. Parenting has really been a learning journey for me. I knew very early on I didn’t want to fall into the habit of yelling or that there was no way I could participate in spanking etc. Personally one of my strongest values since I was very young is to “be kind”. I mean, I think it is my most valued virtue- kindness, compassion. So, I strive more than anything to model kindness and compassion for my children in every aspect of our lives.

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

Try to find the humour in the daily grind. Things like my children dumping a 2kg bag of cocoa all over the toy room floor and me discovering them with chocolate rimmed mouths and covered from head to foot in brown powder. I could have flipped out OR I could take a breath and see the humour in it (and the humour in retelling the story in the future.) You can still seriously parent, discipline, set boundaries while also quietly seeing the humour of it all too.

  • How do you honour your femininity as a mother?

I try to reming myself to “go gently”. I try to get to yoga, I eat whole foods, I blog to record and capture happy, beautiful moments from our days, I have a simple skincare regime, I put essential oils (usually mandarin or lavender) on my wrists before I leave the house in the morning, I listen to Regina Spektor, I try to get at least 8-9 hours sleep a night, I try to re-establish a real connection with my husband at least 3-4 times a week.

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

I think I am pretty low maintenance: Washing my hair 2-3 times/week, washing my face and applying moisturiser morning and night, brushing and flossing, eating wholesome, nutrient-dense real food, sleeping a lot, getting at least 20 minutes of sun each day. I don’t exercise much at the moment- sometimes I do yoga classes and sometimes I do light weight training at home but while I am breastfeeding I don’t worry much about exercise – I find it already takes a lot of energy out of me. And more than anything- at least 3 home days each week. I really, really don’t like feeling busy, rushed or constantly on a deadline.

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

I unload the dishwasher at night before I go to sleep, I pack lunches before I go to bed, I run a load of laundry as soon as I wake up. Also on Sundays I always plan out my week ahead on paper.

  • How important is rhythm in your life?

Very important. I plan meals, I goal set for each week, each month and for each year and in order to accomplish these larger goals there are mini tasks that I need to accomplish each day. A rhythm helps me to organise my thoughts and to prioritise. Rhythm also helps to carry my children throughout the day which means less meltdowns, more predictability and more stability.

  • Finish these sentences:
  • I am happiest when: my children are happy, healthy and playing cooperatively together and I am in the kitchen undisturbed.
  • Love is: infinite, unconditional, exponential and simultaneously heavy and light.
  • My greatest wish for my children is: that they grow to be happy, healthy, fulfilled and compassionate citizens of the planet.
  • What does being a peaceful mother mean to you?

Not sweating the small stuff. Trying not to take things personally. Trying to see the world from your children’s eyes. Being compassionate, calm and patient as much you can. Spending a tiny bit of time each day on personal development, spirituality and prayer (in any form).

About Meagan:

Meagan Wilson is wife to supportive husband, Brad and mother to a vivacious 5 year old, North, feisty 3 year old, Indigo and bubbly baby Juniper. Meagan began researching playbased and natural early childhood learning over four years ago when she stumbled across some Waldorf inspired blogs that resonated with her deeply. Since then she has passionately shared her parenting journey including her transition to a TV-free home, her parenting style and beliefs and delicious holistic recipes on her blog- thiswholefamily.com. You can browse her series of seasonal Family Rhythm Guides at www.wholefamilyrhythms.com.

Thank you Meagan, I have been reading your blog for many years and I am always moved by your gentle spirit and the love you have for your children. I love the practical tips about the dishwasher, washing machine and planning for the week. All these things are so helpful. I also agree about not pushing the body too hard while breastfeeding and having young children. Preservation of our energy is so important and you do it so well.

Make sure to have a look at seasonal Family Rhythm Guides, they are really fantastic!

 


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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 Christina from Tumbleweeds and Seeds.

Christina Selby headshot

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

After my first child was born I went back to work after four months. Shortly after I took a promotion and more responsibility. It was fulfilling to move forward in my career but it cost me dearly in terms of my health, my sanity, and the added stress to my family. I decided then I would seek a more balanced and peaceful life if/when I had a second child.  Also through my spiritual practice I have learned that peace is the most important thing to me. I am focused on bringing peace into my home and have that radiate out into the world. I am starting up another business, but I am doing it with boundaries and priorities – peace in my home first, self-care, enjoyment of my young family, then comes my contribution to the world through work. I am thankful that I can make that choice at this point in my life. I know it is not always possible based on your circumstances.

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

Be mindful, stay present. Enjoy your time with your new baby. Read a few good parenting books and then throw them away and trust yourself and your intuition about what is best for you and your family. Connect with other new mothers – my relationships with women was essential to getting me through the hard times and celebrating the good, especially in that first year of mothering.

  • How do you honour your femininity as a mother?

I participate in a Mamas circle. We meet monthly to share and celebrate our journey as women and mothers. I also stay connected with mother earth through gardening and spending time in nature, this helps me to remember my humanity, my body and my capacity for nurturing myself and others.

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

I have a regular yoga practice. While the number of times I do yoga a week fluctuates with the age of my kids, everyone in the household knows that if I do not do yoga regularly I get rundown and unpleasant to be around. So they work with me to make sure it happens. Sleep in the morning is also essential. I do the night shift with the kids, so I get to sleep in a bit. I am no good before 7am.

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

I write out a list of the 3 most important things that I want to accomplish in a day. These are things that will forward my career, work, or peaceful home. I do those things first. Once they are done, all the other little stuff seems to get done with more ease. We also have clear tasks that each of us in the family take care of. My husband, 6 year old and I all have certain areas of the house or chores we are responsible for. That way we each know what has to get done and who is responsible for it.

  • How important is rhythm in your life?

Rhythm makes all the difference in my life. As a writer and stay-at-home mom my schedule is much less structured than many other people’s. When I get into a regular rhythm, it makes me feel more grounded and peaceful and life has more ease. While flexibility is necessary for us to thrive, I try to keep the baby on a regular nap schedule, we have a regular dinner time and all eat together at the table, we have family time after that and a set bed time each day. We keep our Sundays open for family day and decide what we want to do together that morning. Having a regular rhythm to our day and our week helps me to know when I will have time to care for myself or get some writing done, it keeps me sane and happy.

  • Finish these sentences:
  • I am happiest when: I am on an outdoor adventure, exploring nature with my kids and husband.
  • Love is: the superior force in the universe and best when it flows freely by working to open our hearts in every moment.
  • My greatest wish for my children is: for them to find what they love, what they are good at and be able to do that in life. To find contentment and have a happy home.
  • What does being a peaceful mother mean to you?

What does being a peaceful mother mean to you? It means putting the desire to have peace in your relationships, your life, and the world above everything else. It means constantly asking myself, will this bring more peace to my home and my family? It means reminding myself that what I want more than being right  is being peaceful.

About Christina:

Christina Selby is a writer, blogger, educator, wife and mom. She lives with her family on two acres of tumbleweed-ridden land in Santa Fe, NM into which she is constantly trying to breathe life. On her blog, Tumbleweeds and Seeds she shares tips and ideas to help change-makers live simply, sustainably, and take their positive action to a new level in the world. Visit her blog at www.TumbleweedsAndSeeds.com.

I relate to so much of what you have to say, Christina. I particularly love what you say about being peaceful or being right. I always ask my children if they would rather be right or be happy. Yes, they may be right about something, but are they happy in the fuss it takes to prove that they are right? Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us today!

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 the gorgeous Katie from obaitori.com.

KatieHinshelwood

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

Mothering doesn’t come naturally to me. I‘ve had to learn how to parent peacefully. When I was six my mother used to take her yoga mat and go out to class for a couple of hours. She would return radiant and tell us all the things she had learnt. I observed her endless compassionate nature and wanted to use the same parenting/life style for my children. My personality is far fierier than my mother’s and I needed/need yoga. I need to work on patience, tolerance and understanding constantly, every-day. That is why I practice yoga. I observed my mother and other wise women like a hawk. I was always and still am trying to pick up exactly what those magical qualities are in a person of peace. It was clear I needed more focus and training. My life and studies turned to human behaviour, spirituality, yoga, Buddhism, Montessori and a Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood. At the education institute where I studied the main areas of child development did not include the development of the spirit. I don’t think that spirituality is something that should be left to chance. I think it should be systematically taught and imbibed by the child. To make up for this short-coming I did a thesis on the Spiritual Development of the Child. The main book I recommend to people is, “The Tibetan Art of Parenting” Anne Hubbell-Maiden. It covers the pre-conception spiritual development of the child up to adult-hood. What is really great about this book is that it is filled with practical application of things to do in everyday life. For my beliefs this all made sense.

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

Listen to everyone, read all the books you like. Ultimately learn to listen to your intuition and in the end do what suits you, your individual child and your family.

I try not to be the person who does it all. People need to feel like they belong, are part of something, especially in a family. I used to have everything done when my husband got home but I think he was beginning to feel a bit useless. Now I leave things for him to do. I smile at him warmly when he is doing those jobs. I stay connected with the fun loving, spontaneous, joyful young girl in me and greet her every morning. Do what makes you happy.

  • How do you honour your femininity as a mother?

I try to teach most things through example. I’m a very independent person and that can have particular outcomes; firstly I want to control and secondly I want it done well and that leads to exhaustion because I stupidly end up doing it all myself. Over the years I have learnt how to be independent and vulnerable at the same time. I’ve tried to stop or limit my need to control things at home, situations, people, events. When I remember I surrender most things to God. I practice vulnerability especially with my husband. I bare my tender feelings rather than cover them up with anger. “Vulnerability is not the same as weakess – it actually takes more strength and courage to risk emotionally than it does to stay defended.” The Surrendered Wife, Laura Doyle. I worship the moon with asana, Chandra namaskar and always know where the moon is during her cycle. I sing to the Mother, Durga, Lakshmi, Mary, Saraswati. In yoga this form of worship is not singing to an entity somewhere ‘up there’ but invoking those qualities within yourself. The education and culture of Saraswati, the grace and calmness of Mary, the strength and fierceness of Durga, the abundance of wealth and health of Lakshmi. Buddhism and Yoga are matriarchal lifestyles. They worship the mother. It is good that my children are experiencing this in their young lives. I also do odd and funny things like dressing like Radha, Krishna’s partner and I always put lipstick on in the car before I drive : ) Always have fun. Be joyful and child like.

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

I look after myself first so I can give unconditionally to others. In very practical terms if I wake at night I think to check on the children but first I will slip on my dressing gown and slippers, go to the bathroom and have a sip of water. When I look in on the children and if someone needs help or extra time for a cuddle I can give it to them. I’m not lying there freezing and desperate for the toilet. I’m there.

I do a lot of early preparation so the house is organised and ready. I find that forethought helps a great deal. I like to plan meticulously because then I feel calm, content in knowing that I’ve covered all the bases. It’s a form of self-preservation. Taking time out is non-negotiable. Once a month I meet my friend, we drive to Sydney for a Buddhist meeting. It lasts for an hour and then we go to lunch, which lasts for three. I think there is great wisdom in talking to others, particularly people in a similar situation. It’s the cheapest form of therapy and people need people. Keep good company.

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

I have a commitment to personal sadhana – spiritual practice. It gives me strength, makes me less frustrated, gives me peace and harmony. I get up before dawn, bath, light a candle, chant om three times, focus on the breath, chant three other mantras, practice asana, pranayama and Antar Mouna. This is me filling up at the petrol station. My body doesn’t go around the day very well without it. It breaks down and has tantrums. Yoga Nidra is a mother’s blessing. A 30 minute deep relaxation before lunch, equivalent to 3 hours sleep is what gets me through the hard part of the day which for me is 6-9pm. Some days when I feel frazzled or get that jumpy feeling when there is a sudden noise; perhaps a wail from a child, I take a big calcium/magnesium tablet with milk at night time. It soothes the central nervous system and makes it strong.

General practical children things are; a warm smile with a lovingly long look at each child every morning, orange oil in the diffuser, classical or Sanskrit music playing, a lit candle, extra protein for whingers, extra love for those whom seem like they least ‘deserve’ it.

  • How important is rhythm in your life?

Life is good with rhythm. Occasionally ours sounds more like a 14 piece jazz ensemble and when it does that’s an opportunity to practice equanimity.

  • Finish these sentences:
  • I am happiest when: I’m practising contentment.
  • Love is: all.
  • My greatest wish for my children is: to be true to themselves, to keep following their intuition, to honour, respect and love themselves.
  • What does being a peaceful mother mean to you?

To me it means loving myself and accepting myself as who I am. I don’t beat myself up about stuff – not for too long anyway. The concept of yamas and niyamas makes the whole yogic lifestyle practical, achievable. The first yama is ahimsa. That means non-violence. That is non-violence in thought, word and deed. To me that means not having the negative thought in the first place. In yoga nothing is supressed so if a negative thought comes up I acknowledge it and let it go. Some thoughts are easier to let go than others. If that negative thought is difficult to move I will chant or imagine a saint’s face, the Buddha, Jesus, Sivananda, Krishna and it the feeling dissipates.

Control of the mind is very important. War begins in the minds of men. A negative thought, especially a presumption, quickly spirals down into a round of hell. It is a choice to be peaceful. A choice to be happy. I actively choose to be happy. This can be difficult at times because the nature of the mind is to be negative. The mind needs to be trained, cultured and tailored towards peace. Children are not born like this. We have to teach them to train their mind through example, with activities that foster beauty, happiness and gratitude.

About Katie:

My name is Katie. I have been practising Satyananda Yoga for 21 years & have 2 yoga diplomas, the most current in Satyananda Yoga. In 2002 I travelled to India to met Paramahansa Satyananda Saraswati & my guru, Paramahansa Niranjanananda Saraswati. This was the greatest experience of my life.

My father created a great spark in Buddhism and Sikhism. He taught me the basic principles of Buddhism – being kind to others, what goes around comes around, do not kill & the middle path. His father’s most notable teachings was, “If the whole world looks wrong, take a look at yourself.” My parents taught awareness and empathy. My mother introduced me to yoga.

I studied Early Childhood education at Macquarie University & specialised in Montessori Education. My thesis’ at university were ‘Nurturing the Spiritual Development of the Child’ & ‘Tibetan Parenting’. With a fellow Montessorian, we have set up a school at Wamberal on the Central Coast, NSW, Australia. The first Montessori school on the Central Coast.

In 2005 I founded a yoga school called ~ Yoga by the Sea. I teach yoga on the Central Coast & at Satyananda Yoga Ashram, Mangrove Mountain. I also facilitate two groups; Sivananda Math – an Indian charity institution – & Stitches for Tibet – a creative group which raises money for a Tibetan woman (living in exhile – Dharamsala) to complete a tailoring apprenticeship. These three groups fall under the banner of the Saraswati School of Arts. I facilitate a conscious parenting group called Obaitori. It is an all-embracing collective of women who support each other in ‘sharing the struggle’ belonging together and not living in ‘isolated perfection’.

I live on the East Coast of Australia with my husband & two children. I write at obaitori.com.

Like everyone I make mistakes and make it up as I go along. It’s lovely to meet you. Katie.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Katie. I have been following Katie and her wise words for many years.  I always feel like everything is going to be just fine when I connect with her. I love that you say that we each choose our own happiness and that it is a choice we make on a daily basis. You have an incredible toolkit of peace in there, Katie. I am sure that our readers are better off for having read your wisdom.

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 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.

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