“People are People, No Matter How Small.” ~ Dr Seuss

When I’m not quite myself – tired, emotional or over-worked – there are a few things that can make me feel better. Calm, back in the moment. But sometimes, I am so outside of myself that I forget to reel myself back in and attempt to find peace. It wasn’t long ago that this happened often.

 

Makes me think: If I have not always been able to self-regulate, how can I expect my children to self-regulate? When our kids are anxious, tired, under or over-stimulated, they may be amidst the struggle of an internal imbalance. So, what can we do to help them?  

 

Ground them!!!

 

I’m not talking about the “go to your room by yourself” kind of grounding. What I’m referring to is helping them to restore a state of calm in themselves (spirit, body, emotions and mind). The connection we have with our babies is what allows us to easily be their teachers. Mainly by just being, as they observe. I calm myself to help them calm. I silence my fears and reflect peacefulness. I revise my behavior each day as I shift to another level of consciousness. And when I’m feeling unstable, out of my mind or lost in emotions – I know I need to ground myself.

When they fall and scrape their knee, when their sibling makes them mad, when they have hurt feelings or aren’t getting what they want, when they are so tired they can’t fall asleep. When they seem outside of themselves…. ground them. Bring them back to Earth. Grounding our children makes them feel safe, secure and teaches them to not get lost in their emotions.

 

When I tuck my sweet boys into bed at night – they ask for a grounding. As they lie on their backs, I gently brush my hands down their legs in repeated soft strokes. I talk of branches that reach out from the bottoms of their feet to secure themselves deep in the Earth, and how the crowns that shimmer on their heads reach up to hold on to the Stars. I remind them that they are safe, they are creative, powerful, loving, expressive, intuitive and connected. From their toes all the way to the tops of their heads and beyond.

 

Soon, they will be able to ground themselves, pull themselves back together after a handful of chaotic moments. Give themselves time outs and realize they are in control of how they are feeling. Create safe havens and recognize how to move past the obstacles that are overloading them.

 

A.C.T.

Tell me. Do you ground your children?

Send them to their room with no tv (and no explanation or guidence)?

The next time your children are acting crazy (and making you feel the same) try offering them a grounding. Bring them back to themselves, with soft words, a gentle touch, or even some alone time with your loving face still in their eyesight.

 

They may need to be by themselves to become grounded. Surrounded by silence but not alone and confused.

 

It takes a strong will and peaceful core to teach our children this simple act of thrive vs. survive.


Find your way,

Jess Thompson, get REAL mama

 

Piece by Piece We Assemble this REAL Family

Sun is shining, white puffy clouds amidst a beautiful blue sky. Sand in my hair and children laughing, shrieking, crying. I must be at the playground. As April comes to a close the realization hits me that I will be here quite often the next few months. I make a mental note to prepare good snacks and portable lunches – not just for the kids but for myself. I decide I may need a new summer skirt and a new shade for my toenails. Not necessities of course – but with every new season comes new schedules, tasks, adventures, learning curves and new ways to take care of yourself.

 

My daydream is interrupted as I hear the frustrated tone of our oldest son Xander (4) coming from the play structure. I look over and see him “directing” the play of his little brother and two other kids. There was a time where I might have rushed over to give him a quick pep talk on “how to make friends”. But those days are over since I’ve learned the difference between what I know and what I’ve been told. The scrolling voices (“Nobody likes a bossy child”) are not my own. And I very much appreciate his ability to control and create stories or adventures. This is part of who he is and I love him for it. I love his fearlessness. I love his will to lead and his flair for igniting excitement in others. Why would I ever want to change that for fear of someone reacting badly? So, I hang back – close enough to “mom” the situation if needed or take mental notes for later discussion. But all I see is joy, simple and free. A group of children being themselves with each other, learning how to interact and for the most part – Loving each other for who they are, now.

 

Moments later I see Silas (almost 3) running off on his own. He gets these ideas and rushes off to attempt something. Nothing can stop him, I have tried and failed. Not because I don’t love him for who he is. I overflow with love for his ability to accomplish things, his ability to overcome obstacles and push himself beyond limits. As “Mama” I was always afraid of him getting hurt. But worry is just our imagination creating things we don’t want to happen. So I allowed him to explore. And I learned to trust in “his” intuition. Holding back the over Mommying and making sure I’m only there when he needs me to be. Yes, he gets some bumps and bruises. He falls – but he always gets back up and tries again. If I were to step in and make my voice louder than his intuitive voice – what would he hear when I’m not around?

 

 

It’s getting late. Food is running low, cheeks are rosy red and emotions are heightened. Its been a long day of playing. Its been hours of me figuring out how to guide them by allowing their actions to enlighten me. I’m starting to gather our things when I see a little fella of 1 or 2 walk up to Xander and hit him. Not provoked, not even hard or malicious – just the testing boundaries kind of hitting I’m sure we all have witnessed. I’m too far away to say anything and not even sure that I need to, but worry (there’s that word again – See! nobody is perfect) that Xander might be getting angry and reactive. So, I start to walk over and see the little hand continuing to smack at my child. I stop in my tracks and watch as Xander gently grabs his hand and says “Baby, don’t hit. Hug instead.” He repeats this over and over again until the little fella finally hugs him back and then walks away.

 

He didn’t know I was watching and this certainly wasn’t anything I had “taught” him to do. But I was well aware of how he learned it. His innate kindness that he was born with, his loving spirit that is given the space to shine – mixed together with the kind of family and home we strive to assemble.

 

Piece by piece we assemble this REAL family – where mistakes are made, lessons are learned and we allow each other to be exactly who we are. We walk together, each on our own journey but fully respecting the experiences of the other. We stay present and enjoy all the moments. We stay connected at our hearts and notice when there are disconnections, only to grow stronger as we repair the breaks along the way. And we do hugs… lots and lots of hugs.

 

A.C.T. (Action Changes Things):

 

Is your voice louder than your child’s (intuitive) voice?

Stepping in? Stepping over his?

What would he hear if you weren’t around?

Next time you want to “voice over” your child, first breathe.

Breathe in, out, through the moment.

Take as many breaths as you need to resist stepping in for “the rescue”.

Perhaps your little one will surprise you, work it out his way,

and get a result better than you could have ever imagined.

 

If you catch yourself making your voice louder than your child’s AFTER the fact,

take note and try again. Practice. Again and again. In time it’ll be second nature.

Find Your Way,

Jess Thompson, get REAL mama

 

I Feel Your Pain (Connect. Empathize. Guide.)

Silas asks me to put a blanket on him. I pick up his favorite one, appropriately named “big white”. I fluff it up in the air and let it fall gently around his body – just like I always do. Peace in my heart as I lovingly take care of my sweet boy.  And then…

VOLCANIC ERUPTION of emotion explodes out of my child!!

He screams, “No, not like that, like this.” I fix it and verify, “like this” I ask?

“Noooo!!!”…..  followed by the saddest crying and devastation known to man.

The peace in my heart is quickly replaced by a bit of anxiety, a sprinkle of fear and a splash of anger. I think to myself how much I would love if someone would wrap me in a warm blanket. I wonder if I should explain to him that there are children in the world who don’t have any blankets at all. I feel tired and a little disappointed. I feel tired. TIRED, ah yes. And so is he…

His 3 year old little body and mind had a long day; he is tired and overwhelmed. It’s not my job to judge his emotions. I need to put myself in his shoes. It’s not the time to teach him about gratitude or poverty. It’s not right to get angry at him and tell him he is overreacting. These are his emotions, in this moment, in his own stage of understanding and development. Besides, I’m not even sure he knows what “overreacting” means. And it certainly doesn’t pop into my mind that this is the perfect time to video or take a picture of my child.

I want him to know that his feelings are important. So I get down to his level, look him in the eye and give him my “I love you and I’m concerned for you” face. He notices and catches his breath.

I want him to see that caring about the feelings of others is crucial. So I ask if he is OK and if he wants a hug. He nods his head yes and I graciously deliver (or sometimes not, and I respect that too). Either way I start taking obvious slow and deep breaths and wait for him to follow.

I would never want him to feel shameful because of his emotional reactions. So I say, “You really didn’t like that blanket right there did you? I understand honey.”

I want him to learn better ways to communicate. So, I ask him if he would like to explain to me in a nice voice where he’d like his blanket to be.

Connect. Empathize. Guide. I can’t say that this is the answer for every child, but I believe in my heart that a variation of this could be helpful for many children. As parents when we connect, empathize and guide, we help our child develop the necessary skills to understand and regulate their own emotions – so they can learn the balance that we as adults are striving to find once again.

 

A.C.T. (Action Changes Things):

Does your child’s extreme reactions cause extreme reactions within yourself?

Is it fair to think that ours are allowable and theirs are not?

Next time you want to react to their reaction, stop.  

Breathe in, breathe out – SLOWLY… until your flared up feelings start to ease and you are able to once again focus on the distress of your child.

Try to stay soft and calm. Use your “zen” energy in hopes of it becoming contagious to your child. Sometimes this happens easily, almost miraculously. Sometimes not. Sometimes the words you carefully choose are perfect, other times not so much.

 

Go easy on yourself and your little growing person. His feelings are real, just like yours. His mistakes are learning opportunities, just like yours.

I promise… the more you try the connect, empathize and guide approach the easier it becomes for you & the quicker your child responds. You will notice his frustrations, and also his ability to understand himself better. You will notice his feelings, and his growing ability to find his voice. You will notice less and less volcanic eruptions, and soon he will make himself feel better by calming himself and finding solutions to his problems.

Sound crazy? Give it a try.

Find your way,

Jess Thompson, get REAL mama

 

Big Belly, Hopes and Dreams…Then Your Baby is Born.

LoveBomb_DanceToTheBeatOfYourOwnDrum

 

Big belly, hopes and dreams.

Images, ideas of who my child was going to be. He’s going to have my eyes and daddy’s lips. He’s going to be sensitive and intuitive like me, he’s going to be innovative and hard working like daddy. All the while we think we understand that he is only going to be whomever he is supposed to be. Yet we still hope to see so much of ourselves in them. Because if they are like us, we won’t ever have any problems, right? We will always know what they need. There will be no surprises.

 

And then your baby is born.

A whole world is opened up to you. You realize the massive responsibility you have – not only to keep this little person safe, but to be the guide he needs. You feel your parenting knowledge shatter as it becomes clear that you really don’t know as much as you thought. The things you learned growing up, from your upbringing and peers begin to feel separate – you understand that their way isn’t always going to be your way. Scary. Uncharted territory. Clean slate.  And then you look at your child. That beautiful face with eyes that see your soul. Your journey begins.

 

Your parenting technique emerges and it has no name.

Before your child can even speak, there is a connectedness which brings knowledge. A touch, a look, a sound. Communicating through the energy between you. Opening your heart enough to realize all he has to teach you. You begin to do what needs to be done because “you just know”. And if you don’t know, you become what I used to playfully refer to as the MBI (mom bureau of investigation). You feel something may be off so you research until you find the answer. The more you listen to your instincts the stronger you become. Your parenting technique emerges and it has no name – it’s something that belongs to you and your child. It’s what works for you and you are confident.

 

Like a blossoming flower, emerges this beautiful human.

So, does your baby have your eyes? Even if they look like yours, the answer is no. He has his own and he sees differently than you. Of course there are similarities. As you grow together, you will see how alike you are in ways you never imagined. But as each day unfolds, he reveals more and more of himself to you. This being who has so much to offer the world around us, in his own way. Like a blossoming flower, emerges this beautiful human. My first child came into this world and taught me how to love myself and others. He taught me that I am love. My second son has taught me how to heal him and therefore heal myself. They taught me that I am teacher and student. They taught me that it is okay to be different, as long as you are truly yourself.

 

A.C.T. (Action Changes Things):

Is there some aspect of yourself as a parent you have been wanting to change?
If it doesn’t feel right, have the confidence to throw it away and try something new.
Let yourself grow and change, even if it feels like rocking the boat.

Is there something about your child you have not been wanting to accept?
Are you able to trust him, allow his own instincts to guide him?

So much control to let go of, so much trusting and flowing.
And becoming…. who we are supposed to be.

 


I would love to hear about any changes you have made for the better,
or even things you have been wanting to try to change.

We all go thru growth, we all make mistakes, learn and find new ways.
Share your thoughts.
For REAL, even if it’s scary.

Be Your Own Parent

LoveBomb_DanceGirl

 

Last week was rough for me.

I was feeling extra tired, a little invisible and a lot overdrawn. I went about my business. I ignored my emotions, I shrugged off my pain. Well, my “business” got all messed up, my emotions turned into impatience and my pains turned into a flared up back issue. On Sunday, when it was my turn to eat – all the pancakes were gone and I was too tired to make any more. I cried. For real. Over pancakes. Ummmm…

 

Crazy? No. REAL? Yes.

I am a spirit in a body with emotions and a mind. Being aware of all of these things is what makes me mySELF.  Ignoring what any part of me is in need of is not good for me or anyone around me. I need to put my oxygen mask on first. Easy? Of course not. Necessary? YES! So much easier for me to write this than it is to follow my own advice. But it’s important – for all of us.

 

Are you continually crossing yourself off your to-do list?

Are you one of those people who is really, truly needed? Big time, by many people and in many different ways? Pulled in different directions? Re-prioritizing your priorities? Making list after list? Continually crossing yourself off before it’s “your turn”? Well, Stop it. STOP IT I say! A wise woman once told me, “If you don’t start asking for help it will kill you.” A little extreme maybe, in some cases maybe not. Bottom line is, you are needed because you are important. Way too important to be crossed off any list.

 

Be your own parent.

Get your sleep. Eat the good stuff. Take your supplements. Find your balance. Do the things that make your heart soar. Of course being the “you” that your family needs brings you so much happiness you could burst. The good kind of bursting we like. To avoid the bad kind of bursting means taking a step back from that role. The role you are so good at but sometimes lose yourself in. And by golly, NEVER feel guilty or think it selfish to read a book or take a yoga class. Be your own parent. Do for you whatever you would want done for your children. Because they need the happy, healthy, strong and REAL you standing in front of them. Not the one distracted – longing for a break… in the closet… with a cookie.

 

A.C.T. (Action Changes Things):

The next time you have a quiet moment to yourself, sit down and make a list (yes, I said list, haha).
A list all about YOU. Things you want to do for yourself, by yourself. Things you want to accomplish. Activities you want to do with your significant other or as a family.
Fun things…scary things…things that you have always wanted to try. Then get to it!

 


So, how does that sound to you?
Are you angry because “there just isn’t enough time”?
Or do you feel a little flicker of excitement in your belly?

Roll with it…baby steps.
You are so worth it. You are important.
You are more than enough – beautiful and deserving.