Category: spirituality/relgion

The Spirit Of Exceptional Children Is Stronger Than Their Challenges

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Michael amazed me once more at the end of the week. We had an up and down week with his blood sugars and build up of nighttime anxiety and fears returning. We had beautiful bonding and calm daytime behavior. We also had some behaviors returning (and coming to a head on the weekend). But despite all of this, Michael’s spirit, as always, was adventurous and he surprised me by agreeing to go somewhere I was worried he would not go at all this year-catechism. He has not been interested to come to church with me in many months. It is hard for him as he can’t stay with the adults, and does not want to be in the Sunday school at the moment. There are a lot of kids there and he finds it overwhelming. We wanted him to do his Confirmation and he enjoyed his Communion preparation so I signed him up hoping for the best. We missed the first two weeks due to Michael not feeling well then me the second week, but last week he announced on the Friday afternoon that he was willing to try to go. It didn’t hurt that he got to wear his Halloween costume and would probably get a goody bag, but his real answer for going both impressed me and warmed my heart:

“I’m afraid Mommy and I want to pray to God to help me be strong. Is that a good strategy to help me with my fear?”

“You are already strong and brave honey, but asking God for help when you are scared is a wonderful strategy. I am so proud of you!”

I had almost given up that he would change his mind about attending catechism. I was thinking of going to sessions myself and teaching him at home. I was debating whether to pull out and try again next year. I didn’t know what to do. I prayed to God too for guidance. My prayers were answered. As always, Michael’s strength, positive spirit, and willingness to try new things reminded me why people besides us love him. On Sunday, we went around shopping for some extra Halloween decorations, a birthday gift for a friend, and his usual walk around his favorite mall. There we encountered the manager of one of his favorite store. She gave him a hug and insisted on buying him a small bit of candy. I assured him he could have a little bit here and there. ūüôā Then we ran into people from our church. The excitement he felt in seeing them was reflected in their eyes in seeing him. And I thought of it again. Michael is light. Pure light. He brings joy and positivity to so many people. I have made more friends out of total strangers when he is with me than at any other time. His smile and energy is infectious. And even on the days when we are having a hard time at home, I remember Michael is a beautiful little boy who shines in spite of his challenges. It’s important as his Mom that I remember that and help bring more of it out at home when he is struggling.

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Struggling and behaviors happen when our children feel unstable, fearful and uncertain. As much as our Exceptional Kids can talk, communication is still a big challenge for them, especially interpreting theirs and other people’s feelings. As I learn to read Michael better I learn to tune in to reading myself better. He has taught me that I can be having a challenging day, but it does not have to defeat me. I can still find something positive and in my fear or worry, take a risk or plunge into the unknown. There is no one braver than my child and he pushes me past my own limits daily. Just when I think there is something I can’t do, I think of Michael. He does it with ease or difficulty, but he keeps on pushing ahead, finding beauty, joy and forgiveness.

Exceptional Parents, how have your Exceptional Children surprised you in the past or present moment? Remember, never underestimate that something will not happen that your child previously said they would not do. They will surprise you! Keep in mind what they battle every day inside and outside their bodies. They are all brave little people and we need to remind ourselves that stretching past our fears will only help us show them another example of resilience. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with Autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of  living in the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence on their own exceptional parenting journey.

For more information on my coaching services,¬† for a FREE 30 min consultation, and to receive a¬† copy of my FREE E-BOOK ‚Äú5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY,‚ÄĚ see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.¬†

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Learning to Live in the Moment of Christmas With My Exceptional Son

Each Christmas has posed its own challenges for me as an Exceptional Mom. And every year, I have made the same promise to myself; that I will not get overwhelmed myself, get angry, and feel stressed when I can’t help Michael. I have usually failed in having this success at going with the flow of the holidays for one simple reason; ¬†I was just saying words. The words were lovely in essence, but I wasn’t really practicing what I was preaching; tolerance for things not going exactly according to plan, worries about other member of my family or friends judging my parenting decisions, and my own little girl notions of what a “perfect” family Christmas should be. Heck, even my friends with neuro typical kids don’t experience that perfect a Christmas. But what could I say? I was a perfectionist. Now, I am a realist. I make mistakes with Michael. I make personal mistakes too. But that critical inner voice, the one that used to tell me I was stupid and something was wrong with me is gone. The hard work I started doing years ago has paid off, and though there are still things I am working on to improve in myself, the process is gentle and loving now, as I would do with Michael.

What is different about this year is that I know Christmas won’t be perfect. I don’t want perfection¬†anymore. What I want is the best Christmas I and my family can have within our emotional parameters. I also remind myself what I have always known, but this year due to work and Michael’s exta challenges, I got away from. All cliches aside, Christmas is not about presents, decorations,¬†or parties. It’s about a feeling deep down inside of light, peace, gratitude, helping others and¬†goodness.¬†Whether you celebrate ¬†Christmas, Hanukkah, Qwanza, or the Winter Solstice, it’s really all about the same things; light and love coming into the world. It’s about people coming together to bring this light and remember we are all one people. This year I had to miss two Sundays of Church. I¬†did my Advent prayers and lit the candles once a week, but I¬†did not take a lot of time for God and prayer and contemplation like I had planned in between mass and my quick prayers of thanksgiving in morning and at bedtime.¬†No matter. I will start today on Christmas Eve, get immersed in the beauty of Christmas Eve Mass as usual, and I ¬†will continue for the holiday season and beyond to try and be a light in the world for myself, my family, and¬†¬†others who cross my path. I will be that light for Michael even when we both struggle with peace inside.

Exceptional Parents, do you know that you are the light of your child’s world? The holidays are a great time to connect to whatever religions or spirituality you believe in, if you are a spiritual person. If not, meditation is a wonderful way to connect to a powerful Source, to nature to the Universe and feel recharged and whole. Take this holiday season to slow down. There is no “one” way to celebrate the holidays, other than finding that light inside of yourself, keeping your loved ones near, and remembering to charge your spirit with love and peace to be the best channel for your child. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza and a Blesssed Winter Solstice. Wishing you and your families Happy and Healthy Holidays. Until next time.

I¬†am a writer and parent coach¬†at “Exceptional Parenting/Exceptional Balance.” I¬†am passionate¬†about¬†empowering parents to trust their own instinct when¬†raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation, see my website: http://www.exceptionalparenting.net

Are you and your exceptional family ready for the holiday season? Do you need new strategies to cope with anxiety and stress? Download my FREE EBOOK on ‚Äú5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY‚ÄĚ http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS

Gratitude and Sharing In The Community- Teaching My Exceptional Son About Love and Faith

 

It’s been a difficult journey, trying to teach Michael about things that are not concrete, things like spirituality. But never has Michael needed it more than now, when he is struggling with finding his own voice, power, and feeling like he has control making decisions. I can see that he is on the cusp of puberty, and has been there for quite a while. He has been questioning many things his Dad and I have said for awhile now, but when he started questioning his spirituality and religion, I knew he had come into a new realm in his development. It makes me sad that we can’t pray together like we used to, and that he is not taking what I am teaching at face value anymore. Yet, I have to say I am proud of him for asking questions, for challenging me. It is exhausting sometimes, particularly when the big questions calmly asked are interspersed with days when everything I tell him to to do is questioned and results in exchanging words. However, this shows me how he is maturing and becoming his own person. He also patiently listens and watches what I do. I see his maturity.

We have yet to put his rosary in the car. He asked me this a few weeks ago, so that he could see God there.  I admit I keep forgetting to do it. Tomorrow I will bring it up and offer to let him put his up next to mine. He will also once in awhile ask questions about God, about prayer and about the state of the world we live in. He asks about homelessness, people struggling in poverty. I do my best to answer honestly trying not to trigger more anxiety. He lives and breathes enough of that everyday.  I am happy to answer these questions, but he does not want to pray with me. Still, I take it as a promising sign that he is being open minded when I pray out loud and he does not get angry like he used to in the fall.  He is seeing so much turmoil with some of his closest friends now and trying some of this out at home. He is re-enacting some strange games. He rolls his eyes when I put on Christmas music. He is a mini teenage, I think. Still there are great amazing days when I see how his intelligent mind works. These days help me through the emotionally difficult ones where he and I struggle to understand one another through the maze of autism and anxiety.

Exceptional Parents, how are your children handling the lead up to the holidays? Is this a difficult time of the year for them and you? For many families it is due to the structure going down and uncertainty about what is coming. Do your best to be there for your child, listen to them, be clear in your expectations, and let them observe you taking a positive and proactive view in practicing what you believe, physical or spiritual. Until next time.

 

One of the hardest and most stressful times of the year for special needs families is fast approaching. Are you and your exceptional family ready? Do you need new strategies to cope with anxiety? Download my FREE EBOOK on ‚Äú5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY‚ÄĚ http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS

 

How My Exceptional Son Sees Spirituality, Life, and The World

Wow! What a weekend on many levels. First of all, I started a wicked sinus cold on Thursday which sort of came to a head on Saturday, but I didn’t let it stop me from doing the clean up in my house. I had plans of grocery shopping, cleaning out my home office (LONG overdue), and laundry. ¬†In spite of maxing up on Tylenol Cold Medicine, it was a productive weekend. It was also an amazing weekend with Michael as far as long talks, questions, and bonding went. He had some issues with Dad and was particularly sensory on both days (weather getting colder), but they managed in the end. The amazing discussions with me were about life and spirituality. After another tough few weeks of managing behaviors, it was a welcome break.

He surprised me by being up super early on Saturday, which does occasionally happen but has not in awhile. I’d had my coffee and my lemon water and was about to start my meditation when I heard his door open down the hall. I was greeted with a big smile and a good morning. I asked him if he was ready for breakfast soon and he surprised me with a yes, then told me he would go to stim and listen to the radio (basically rocking on our couch as he listens to his favorite pop music station) while I made his pancakes. ¬†He went to the washroom, but when he came back, instead of heading into the living room, he came back to the kitchen, and sat down in one of the chairs and began to talk to me while I worked.

He began to talked about how happy he was the house was getting cleaned up and we were renovating our bathroom. He also asked about money as he’d overheard a bill discussion Dad and I had had. This was the perfect lead in for me to gently bring up that a good way for me to¬†have more time to make money, would be to have more work time availability open to me if he went to an after-school program a few days a week. The bus would bring him there and I would pick him up a little later. ¬†I prepared myself for anger or crying, but Michael surprised me by being interested to try. I had been thinking about an after-school program for Michael for a few months already. He always needed to go places. We had this beautiful mature discussion about work, money, how families could share chores and make the most of their time together on the weekend. I was so proud of his maturity.

The next surprise came Sunday evening at dinner. We were all eating when Michael randomly asked his father if he believed in God and prayed.  Michael does not like to talk about God and religion, and even went through a phase where he was being negative just to spite me. Dad answered that yes he believes in God, but he leaves the praying to me for everyone. Then Michael answered that he does not believe in God or in going to church. I took a chance and calmly corrected him telling him that I know church is hard for him as he is bored, but that I know he believes in God. He looked surprised. I reminded Michael how he asked me to put his rosary in the car next to mine so he would feel God there. I also reminded him how he admitted he sometimes prayed to God and that God is everywhere.

“Is God here right now Mommy listening to us talk?”

“Yes, Michael. God is always here and listening. He is always there for you.”

“I keep my rosary by my bed Mommy so I know God is there. I don’t feel alone.”

It warmed my heart as I know praying has given him so much comfort since he was little. I am happy to see his beliefs coming back. Once again, he amazed me with his maturity and the discussion we had.

Exceptional Parents, what eye opening moments have you had with your Exceptional Children? I’ll bet each day there are many times¬†that they take your breath away with their take on life, and their wise beyond their years answers. Hold on to these moments. They are the ones your child needs to remember to move forward in growth, love, and security and you along with them. Until next time.

I¬†am a writer and parent coach¬†at “Exceptional Parenting/Exceptional Balance.” I¬†am passionate¬†about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when¬†raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children. You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and GooglePlus. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation, see my website: http://www.exceptionalparenting.net.¬†

One of the hardest and most stressful times of the year for special needs families is fast approaching. Are you and your exceptional family ready? Do you need new strategies to cope with anxiety? Download my FREE EBOOK on ‚Äú5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY‚ÄĚ http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS

Impromptu Santa Visits And Learning About Gratitude And Materialism

This year it is cute but a little worrisome how Michael has really gravitated to the whole gift receiving thing. I was a little worried when he went to see his first Santa (yes he likes to visit them all this year) and asked for, wait for it, 13 gifts! I found this out as Santa turned in shock to me and said that he’d asked that. I told him that Michael was confusing the gifts for Christmas and his birthday which is a few days after and made sure, in front of Santa, to tell Michael that Santa does not have time to deliver all those gifts to him. Sigh. I have unintentionally become that parent I didn’t want to be, the materialistic parent whose kids wants more things.

To think I was so worried when as a baby he didn’t “get” Christmas. Add to this the fact he does not want to come to church, it is troubling. There is hope for Michael learning gratitude and giving though. At school we had to send in money to help a little girl whose family is struggling. Each child contributed some money to buy her toys. Our family also gives through our church to a charity that helps homeless men in Montreal. It is a sock campaign and they ask families to buy thick winter socks and each family can contribute toileteries to put in. There is also a canned food drive to make Christmas baskets. Michael usually helps us either buy, assemble or bring the goods to our church to help others.

We have answered many questions about children and families who don’t have enough money to buy food, clothes or pay for necessities. I think the message is being driven home somewhat, but we need to do more. Michael is rebelling a little bit and standing his ground about he wants to believe. I commend him for speaking his mind, and understand the difficulties of church for him due to a lot of it going over his head. Still, he is still asking about God, telling me he prays sometimes and the other day asked where his rosary was. I encourage all of this without pushing. Learning gratitude and that you are part of something bigger is important for all of us and a small step towards heading in a more spiritual and helping direction.

Exceptional Parents, how do you talk about gratitude and navigate materialism in your Exceptional family? Are your children at the stage where they are aware of it? Trust me, when it happens you need to be ready with lots of patience and love to show them that true happiness comes from connecting to others, helping and being a part of the bigger whole. Until next time.

 

One of the hardest and most stressful times of the year for special needs families is fast approaching. Are you and your exceptional family ready? Do you need new strategies to cope with anxiety? Download my FREE EBOOK on ‚Äú5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY‚ÄĚ http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS

Spiritual Confusion, A Lost Social Milestone, and Handling What We Can’t Control

I am feeling sad sometimes these days and experiencing ¬†a heavy heart. Michael¬†refuses to come to church with me. I saw it coming last year; all his questions, his boredom, everything being over his head. It is also so abstract, God, an ¬†entity in the universe he can’t feel or touch. Lots of neuro typical adults and kids have trouble with the concept. Yet still, going to church was something we did as a family. It got difficult for Dad to come, then it was Michael, now I go alone. I stayed away all summer knowing the summer was hard for him, and hoping, like last year, I could bring him back with me. No luck this year.

I finally realized I would have to go myself. And what’s so bad about that? It’s great in a way. I can fully be present at mass and worship. I am experiencing church in a more relaxed way. ¬†But I miss him. I miss his interruptions and questions and us going as a family. I have experienced going to different masses hoping that changing masses and seeing different faces would be less painful for me, but no luck. Instead I just missed the wonderful people at the children’s mass that I know and love. And, I realized I deserved to have my Sunday worship space back. Also, I am a stubborn woman. I do still hope that Michael will change his mind and come back to church with me. But I have let go of worrying. It wasn’t serving either of us.

Why am I taking this so hard? Well, you see, I wanted to give Michael the same upbringing, more or less, that I had had. I wanted to expose him to the same ideas and have him decide when he was older what he accepted or rejected. ¬†I also wanted him to know he has a home in our church, and that there are people outside of our special needs community that understand and respect him. ¬†Was I making my child a poster child? I don’t think so. In my own way, I wanted to normalize autism and disabilities and show Michael that who he is is¬†something to be celebrated. He didn’t want this anymore though, and I have to accept t and respect his decision. I also viewed his moving away from church as a lost milestone of functioning in the non adapted world.¬†Did he lose the skill? He has talked a lot about his social fears lately. Then I realized no. You and he did not fail. This is a skill he must learn in his own time.¬†We’ve gone from him getting upset when I pray or talk about God, to understanding that it is my right to pray as it is his not to, for now. I am doing the best I¬†can for¬†my¬†son. And, my son is an amazing little boy doing his best too. We must each do our best, follow or own path, and the Universe and God will show us each the way.

Exceptional Parents, where have you felt you failed your child? How have you beaten yourself up for simply doing the best and sometimes things not working out? Have you felt a milestone of progress has been lost? ¬† First of all, you did not fail. It’s ok. You’re human. They’re human. You are doing the best you can as a parent. You cannot blame yourself for everything that does not work out. You are not a therapist, and you do not need to solve every problem your child has. All you have to do is go with their flow, love them for who they are, and take care of loving and respecting who you are and what you need. Until next time.

 

Looking for tools to handle anxiety? Download my FREE EBOOK ON “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” at http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS.¬†

 

Coming Back Home: Church and Nature: My Exceptional Sanctuaries From Stress

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I sat in the Church pews for the first time in two months yesterday. I was alone. Michael was not ready to come back to church. That is a whole other blog post. In this one, I want to talk about how I re-connected back yesterday to something important to me that I had been losing over the summer in the hectic day to day life. What was it? My ability to re-connect inwards with my soul and spirit to get strong for what lies ahead with Michael, and any other life events that are coming my way. It was bittersweet and emotional for me to be at mass alone yesterday, but I needed that time. Lately, Michael has still been having growing pains adjusting to school, homework, and his ever growing need to be on the move and keep busy. His stimming people tell him he has to. I think it is due to all the worrying and stress he carries around in his head. He is literally running from it. That, and the fact as he has told us, mapping out all these destinations on Google Maps means now he has to visit the countless stores and places everyday after school that he has seen. This is part of his love and hyper focus on directions. I am proud yet exhausted, and am slowly trying to find a compromise for both of us. I have told him we stay home once a week this month, twice in October, three times in November, and then in December four days a week, and that I will show him the fun things he can do at home. It has not been easy. There have been tears, fighting and stress on both our parts, but I know we will find a compromise.

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This is why being in church yesterday was so good for me. It helped me remember how to go in ward and find strength to help Michael and myself. The next place I went yesterday afternoon that recharged me, was a park with Michael. While he played, I sat on the bench, and after taking some pictures of the trees and nature around me, I lay back, closed my eyes, and began to slowly heal from the stress of our fights over the last few days, the mental and physical exhaustion of working, taking care of Michael, making time for my marriage, and catching up in my house. I felt my old positive spirit start to emerge again slowly. I was in danger of losing it due to stress and anxiety. And that is when the word hit me: sanctuary. Nature and religion are my sanctuaries and the places I must retreat to when times get tough and stormy.

Exceptional Parents, what are your sanctuaries in times of stress and difficulty? If you don’t know offhand, try experimenting BEFORE your tension levels skyrocket. Try out taking a nature walk or sitting near a body of water, try a new exercise routine or yoga routine,¬†go sit in a coffee shop, do whatever you need to do to heal your spirit. Make sure you show and remind it what it needs to do to recharge so that when things do swirl out of control, you know where to go. I’m sure glad I did, and now I can show Michael to do the same thing. Until next time.

Where My Exceptional Child Leads Me I Go

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My life is nothing short of boring. I think I have spoken before in this blog how many years ago, more than I care to imagine now, I was feeling restless and bored in my life. It was way before Michael was born, way before I saw how important writing was to who I am, and I, humble human, asked God to please challenge me and show me the path to a life of meaning, which despite a good marriage, a loving family and friends and health, I did not feel I had. Yep. I said to challenge me. I asked for it. And the next thing I usually say is that God and the Universe has not stopped challenging me since I requested that all those years ago. Sometimes, on particularly “meaningful” days I have been known to scowl and talk upwards, “Ok, enough. Stop laughing.” But I digress. In many ways, I have grown up so much. From doing many jobs and seeing that none satisfied me. From moving out of my hometown and learning what I was made of, for better or worse, and then from spectacularly crashing from two burnouts until I finally remembered, “Oh yeah. I asked for challenges. Now, I need to be strong and ask for help to get through them.”

That’s the thing. God and the Universe never give you something you can’t handle at some point. Even in my darkest moments of despair when I was crying holed up somewhere and I would pray fervently, “God, I can’t do this. I can’t be strong anymore. Get someone else.” I would always hear what I imagined was a sigh, but a patient one. And the answer was always the same, “Yes, you can. You were made to overcome whatever challenges you have.” And dang it, I knew I was, but challenges and unexpected adventures are so scary. What if you fail? What if you upset people? What if you lose stability? Michael has taught me that none of this really matters in the end. Of course¬†we all need to follow rules, have stability of some sort to pay bills and have a routine. But, all the people pleasing, all the time worrying about what others think instead of feeling life, trying new things, going on adventures. I’d been missing out, and Michael has showed me, and continues to show me more and more, how important it is to go on crazy adventures.

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The other day we went to a new park that he had seen driving in the car. On the way back to the car, he discovered another mini park that was too small for him to play in, but my little guy insisted on going on the equipment. He bumped his head, got annoyed, but then said, “it’s ok Mommy. I wanted to try. Let’s go back to the car now.” We ended up going back to the car from a totally different direction. Michael and I together navigated back. He is rubbing off on me. ūüôā I never would have done something like this prior to Michael’s birth. Ask my close friends. I tend to go to the same places, the same restaurants, but now Michael is shaking me out of my comfort zone. I have been reborn, and my new self, my exceptional mom self, is not afraid. I have Michael to guide me as he has me to guide him.

Exceptional Parents, how many crazy adventures have you gone on with your Exceptional Children? ¬†Our kids naturally draw attention to themselves because they are different, and are not afraid of being so. This is a good thing if channeled properly. Don’t be afraid to go along with them for the ride, wherever it leads. Until next time.

 

Feeling stressed about fall and back to school? You are not alone. Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net

 

 

10 Ways To Test Your Limits And Grow

 

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As always, I am learning from Michael. I am learning how important it is to stretch myself as a parent, as a woman, as a person. When I forget that lesson, life teachers it to me by the people who come into it, friends and others, by my health, mental, physical and spiritual, and by my writing or rather what I am writing. I now take the lesson as I never did before asking, “what can I learn from this? What is this positive, negative experience teaching me? Yes, both positive and negative experiences teach us. I am helping Michael understand this, as I have just learned this myself.

How can you stretch yourself and grow though? These are questions I ask myself everyday, and sometimes the answer is a little different. Usually though there are the same bunch of ways that keep coming up. I am sharing them here with you.

10 Ways to Test Your Limits And Grow:

  1. Do something that scares you every day: This could be anything like driving to a new place (for me with no sense of direction this is a good one), public speaking, trying out a new food or activity. As long as it meets the criteria of stretching you.
  2. Read spiritual texts and self-help books: I know, I know, what parents have time to read? We’re so busy parenting our children, but you know those odd moments you have in the am before they are up, commuting to work or at the extra curricular activities. Read texts that open your heart and mind. This will help you grow.
  3. Keep a gratitude journal: In here you write things you are grateful for. This will help you see how far you have come from the beginning and what you need to work on.
  4.  Make a TO DO LIST of things you want to change in your life: This is a biggie. It has to be realistic and you need to focus on one thing at a time: weight, anxiety, career, etc. and follow through slowly.
  5. Make a deal with a friend to tackle a big area in your life and help them do the same: This works great for weight loss, exercise, but even a friend to help keep you on track from getting depressed or anxious and call each other on it when you are not on top of it.
  6. Have stress managing strategies on a paper nearby for you like you do for your child; This one has helped me tremendously. I now have a “go to tool”¬†when I am nervous and I use my strategies like Michael if I ever feel myself losing control.
  7. Start a yoga and meditation program: I can’t stress this one enough. Even five¬†minutes of meditation and ten minutes of¬†¬†yoga stretches (which is pretty much what I do most days) helps TREMENDOUSLY. If you can do more, great.
  8. Regular exercise and movement: This could be walking, treadmill, aerobics, sports, dancing. It has to be something you will stick with when it gets easier to make excuses not to move. Check with your doctor and away you go!
  9. Play with your child: What I mean is really have fun. Do spontaneous games with them, hide and seek, I spy with my little eye, go to the park, kick the ball around the yard. etc. It will bring out the kid in you too.
  10. Spend quiet time alone doing something relaxing-reading a book, watching a favorite movie: This is what your body needs to re balance itself, and then you’ll be ready for more challenges and to stretch yourself in a good way.

 

Exceptional Parents, how have you become a stronger person since your parenting journey? How have you stretched yourself? You’d probably be surprised if you looked at how much you’ve grown. I’ll bet it is as much as your child if not equal. Don’t worry if ¬†you don’t get to everything at once. None of us do. Pace yourself. You’re doing the best you can. Work, rest, let yourself heal from stress and then start small changes like you do for your child. You’ll see the changes in your life that start to happen. Until next time.

 

4 Ways To Parent Better By Quieting Your Mind

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All this week I have been seeing signs form the universe that have been telling me the same message: slow down, be quiet. And no, it’s not me telling Michael to keep quiet and gave me some Mom space, though as with any Mom, I have my moments. This goes deeper than that. This is about finding my inner strength again by quieting my mind properly and slowing down. One of the people sending me this message has been Michael ironically enough. He has been very independent this week, not asking to go anywhere, but content to swing downstairs or do his Google Maps or You Tube videos after his homework. Even when he was anxious about school the other day, he calmly told me about it. No tantrums, no fuss. His Dad was relatively calm too, but it’s been me who has been working at warp speed, thinking that way too, and have been feeling a little, well, like I can’t seem to get off the roller coaster.

May is a busy month for us, but it’s more than that. Finally, as I began to pay more attention to signs that God and the Universe were sending me about what has to change, I began to see very clearly what I had to do: be quiet and slow down. First, Michael making me alter the course of my day on Monday by him being home. It was great. I actually stopped mid morning to have a snack, I took a small break. I also had a lot of quiet when he was playing alone. And I slowed down. Tuesday I had a business conversation, and was given some really good advice about taking time to get quiet when making any decisions. ¬†And¬†last week, as my meditation has not been having the same effect on me due to, you guessed it, not slowing down, I learned why I couldn’t get quiet inside. I was moving too fast. So, guess what book fell down in the room when I was in there looking what to read next? “You Are Here” by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk, who talks about living in the moment and doing things mindfully. By this point I was smiling in relief. Finally, I had my last gentle reminder.

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Last night I attended a wonderful cafe at my church. And the lovely speaker talked about the very same things I have mentioned only she went deeper. She pretty much described by the ritual prayers and meditations she had us do around the theme of spring and renewal, the whole last year of my life and where I was now. Wow! What an experience. It made me think of how important it is for all Moms, all Exceptional Parents, to get still and quiet, and slow down on the inside. That is when growth will happen. But how do you do it? Here are 4 Ways that Have Helped Me Learn to Slow Down as an Exceptional Mom:

  1. Meditation and Yoga: When done properly, it opens up your body, mind and spirit to seeing the world in a different way.
  2. Prayer, resting and spending time in nature: These could go all together, or be done separately. This doesn’t necessarily mean structured prayer, or a nap, but whatever way you pay homage to the blessings in your life by stepping away from your immediate world and looking around you.
  3. Attend a talk or take a class that opens your mind: By opening your mind, you free it to think of other things, and learn new ways of being and existing.
  4. Keeping your eyes, ears and heart open for signs of what to do: This is a biggie. Now I know this sounds a little crazy, but it’s not. You will see signs that you are on or off the right path if you look for them. Try this: Ask a question to yourself, really it is to God or the Universe, about what you should do next. See what people, things, events transpire in the next few days. You will see a pattern and have your answer.

Exceptional Parents, how do you slow down and get quiet? What are your tricks for doing that? Are you showing these to your Exceptional Children? Remember, every opportunity you have is a chance to slow down and get quiet if you make the effort. You will enjoy life more and doors will open up as never before. This goes for your child too. Trust in your heart and in the power of the Universe and God to lead you down the right path. Until next time.