I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can go through this season well as a gentle parent–both in staying gentle with my children, and in respectfully dealing with difficult situations with others. I decided to share my goals here, in hopes they may help some of you as you’re thinking about how you want to handle this season.
- Take care of myself so I can stay calmer and be the unruffled leader my children need. During this time of year when things tend to be extra busy and stressful, it’s more difficult… and more important. For me right now, taking care of myself looks like: taking supplements that help me, like B 12, Magnesium oil (applied topically before bed), CBD oil, and more; taking time to rest–I’ve discovered that when my husband is with the boys in the evening, I can go in our room, turn the lights off, turn a candle and some soft music on, and snuggle in bed for a few minutes. Another way I like to relax is by sipping a cup of tea while reading some Mary Oliver poetry. I also have been doing my best to eat well–one thing that really helps me is to make a big batch of something like healthy muffins or breakfast cake (I use trim healthy mama recipes) to eat with eggs for breakfast and to eat as snacks. I often eat dinner leftovers for lunch–it’s a quick way to get a balanced lunch in. And before bed I like to do a gentle wind down exercise routine.
- Avoid getting sucked into defending our parenting choices. I want to be gracious–and avoid getting into conversations that won’t go anywhere productive. We are confident in our parenting choices; we’ve researched, thought, and prayed a lot over them. Others may disagree, and that is really okay. If someone is genuinely curious, I will be happy to share as time and energy allow. But I am not going to waste energy trying to defend or convince. I want to stay on more neutral topics.
- Remember that my children are my priority, not other people’s opinions of my parenting. I don’t need my children to act a certain way to prove that my parenting choices are valid. That’s too much pressure to place on them, especially at a time where they are more likely to be tired and overwhelmed. I want to stay focused on my long term parenting goals; connection and teaching. I know why I’m doing what I’m doing, even when others don’t understand.
- Do my best to meet my children’s needs and protect their boundaries. With so much going on, it’s easy for me to forget our normal snack times and to let them get too hungry. I want to be prepared for those times and have snacks on hand. I also want to protect nap and bed times as much as possible, and be ready to bring them aside or go home if they get too overwhelmed and need a break. I also want to be ready to step in if someone is violating their boundaries.
- Talk to them about what we’re going to do and what will be expected of them. Having an idea of what is going to happen and who they’re going to see may help things go more smoothly. I’m also talking about the fact that we may not get everything on our lists, and how we can respond well to that. And reiterating being thankful and expressing that as well. Will they remember in the moment? I guess we’ll see. lol. But it’s more likely to happen if we’ve been preparing for it.
- Connect, connect, connect. Always a goal as a gentle parent, but one that I sometimes loose sight of when I’m stressed and busy. And it always causes issues. It’s truly amazing what a difference connection makes in how well my sons behave.
What are your goals for this season?