I know, I know. Me. The problem is that I’ve been so raw lately – blaming the cold chill and all the emotional mumbo jumbo – that I’ve had my not-so-stellar parenting moments IN FRONT of people I know and love. Class act. There was definitely the time I mumbled that someone in the parking lot was being “moronic” (she was) but I didn’t mumble it low enough, because my kids heard AND she did. The window was open. It was one of the most mortifying experiences of my adulthood. Few things come close, in fact. My words went out the window, as well as my hopes and dreams for modeling patience and kindness to others in front of my kids. That day, anyway. There are always new ways & new days to model patience & kindness.
Like many expectant parents, I once thought parenting would be an endless supply of positive emotions and inspiring teaching moments, but even better. It would be my own unique spin on things. My zany, happy, dizzying, adventurous spirit. I’d tell my kids all about how I blast music to feel good, and to set the tones of the days, and I’d teach them about love and kindness and spontaneous experiences. I’d teach them about how every day is not only a fresh start, but an exciting adventure.
Today we played Des’ favorite song – “Break It Down Again” – and Scarlet asked me what it was about. Her theory was that it’s about those trucks with those big wrecking balls, that break down buildings, again and again. I wasn’t as sure, thinking it was maybe about war and love and beauty, and pain. And how humans can be so awful to each other. She said, “Hey, I like my idea better.” I said, “Hey, that’s cool.” We decided in the end that maybe it’s about gay rights and stereotypes and stupid humans, and strong humans. God, I love talking to her. Then she got out of the car and we walked hand-in-hand to the cold schoolyard. We broke apart, after a hug and “I love you”, and I walked back to my car with two friends and a smile.
Then I got back into my car and realized I’m alone with Des until tonight, and I became terrified. How will I be able to remain patient and calm? Will we do amazing things together today, or will he whine me into submission? Will I accept it if we can’t and we don’t, and he does, and then we have a lazy day of sniffles, snuggles and processed snacks? Will it be enough?
Then I think, “What would Nina do? What would Nina say? How would she approach this semi-scary day? This.. just another day of parenting?” There IS a way to find out. Who is Nina, if you don’t know? Nina is the blogger behind Sleeping Should Be Easy, and the author of Parenting With Purpose. I don’t remember when I discovered her blog, but I’ve been a regular reader for well over a year or two. Nina is a mom to three young boys – a six-year-old and two-year-old twins – and she started her blog to record everything she was learning about being a mom. She also works in graphic design and just wrote a book!
You know what I love about her? She fully admits to flaws and mistakes, or as I like to call it – humanity! This is a vulnerable act, this whole parenting thing. Sometimes it isn’t philosophical questions, dancing to Tears for Fears and getting lots of hugs and cuddles. Sometimes parenting is having Des scream at me from the backseat so loudly while I drive down Main Street, in this painfully small city, and having friends outside my car hear it and give me sympathetic smiles. Parenting runs all ranges.
Dealing with your children’s bad behavior is difficult, especially when you feel like you’ve tried every tactic with no success. Parenting calmly and with intention is challenging for anyone, regardless of where you are in relationship to your child.
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