Recently I had an opportunity to speak with Jed Doherty, host of "We Choose Respect!!!" Parenting Podcast. Jed is a social worker who has created an amazing career by developing ground-breaking educational assemblies that teach kids to respect themselves and others. And, he does magic tricks. Very cool stuff. You can learn more here: http://wordpress.jedlie.com/
I was excited to have an opportunity to talk with Jed and our conversation touched on many aspects of Conscious Parenting including the importance of parents findings joy in their children. Use the link below to download the PodCast and read on for some more of my thoughts on Joy in Parenting.
Joy in parenting...it sounds so lovely. It makes me think of my kids when they were infants. Actually, when they were peacefully sleeping infants with rosy cheeks and adorable PJs. Or when they took their first toddling steps, or tried their first bite of something delicious. Everything was new and they were precious. Trust me, I don't have complete amnesia. Seriously, I think I went without sleeping through the night for seven years and often times those cute PJs were decorated with remnants from snack-time. That said, it does seem that babies are joy machines. Even with colic and teething and all sorts of challenges, their eyes are so big and they smell so wonderful (most of the time). It's hard not to fall in love with your baby.
In reality, babies come into the world hard-wired to tap into our emotions and urge us to love them and care for them. So, Mother Nature clearly had her hand in this and it definitely helps get things off to a nice start when adjusting to the role of parent-hood. But flash forward several years and for some families lots of that joy and mushy, gushy, delish emotion is much less abundant. At times, it may even be absent.
As children develop more of their own ideas and the legs and voice to actually act on them, things definitely change. Lots is for the better as independence increases, but there are often more conflicts as "little" opinions and wants and needs compete to be heard (perhaps in a lovely whining voice or on a never-ending repetitive loop?). Add this dynamic to a life already full to the brim with errands, lessons, deadlines, meals, and carpools and things can really look bleak.
Often times when I find myself in a bit of a parenting slump I try to think back to those moments when my kiddos were brand new to this world. I try to remember how I was filled with the kind of love I could feel way down to my bones just from seeing their eyes light up when they smiled or hearing them sing when they didn't know I was listening. I dig deep and try to hold onto that connection and remind myself those are the same eyes I look into now (even if they are telling me repeatedly how it's my fault their homework is hopelessly impossible or asking for the 19th time if they can use the computer). I try to fall in love with them again by remembering how things started and that truly allows me to better appreciate all the amazing things about them right now.
It's definitely a process, but I think it's a good first step in rediscovering joy in parenting. Check out the PodCast for more on Joy in Parenting.
Sharing practical strategies that help parents rediscover joy in their children (even when someone's crying, the phone is ringing, and it smells like the house may be burning down)