How do you want to be perceived as a mother?

Earlier this week I gave a talk to 20 or so women— it was more me doing what I love doing best, facilitating deep and real conversation. 

I asked them to share one word that described motherhood as well as what gets in the way of being present. From there they dove right in. Really enjoying the space to talk openly about how they are REALLY experiencing mothering. And not just 'positive' and 'negative'. Just the truth without judgment. So important. When we can lessen the judgement, we get unstuck and feel less alone.

We often don't allow ourselves to share the hard stuff and the great stuff because we don't want to be perceived as...ungrateful, selfish, negative, bragging or too happy. 

This is a great little exercise...ask yourself this:

I don't want to be perceived as ______.
I want to be perceived as ________. 

Being aware of your train of thought is huge. 

All this to say, I acknowledge you and all that you are doing as a parent. No matter where this finds you and where you are at. Please know that you are supported, not only by me rooting you on, but by something much bigger. 

We share this big blue sky. You're never alone.

On this Mother's Day, may you acknowledge all that is real and true for you. The grief of what you may have lost or what may have been. And the joy of what is right in front of you. 

Mama of a sensitive child? You're not alone.

In this six minute video, I share an example from our epic morning and a few things you can do to bounce back from a less than desirable moment. Of course, with the foundational belief that at any given moment, we are all doing the best that we can with the amount of stress, support and sleep available to us. 

When things are intense, I often judge and call my daughter names—mostly in my head and once in awhile, something slips. And of course, I am not happy with losing it on my daughter, mostly because I want her to know that her sensitivity is a gift rather than a fault. And yet it triggers me oh so much!  

So I imagine like you, I'm consciously shifting patterns and habits, so that I can be there for my daughters, the way I like for people to be there for me when I'm at my worst. With some inner work, I now get triggered less and can bounce back quicker. What does this do? It maintains the connection and trust between me and the other person, despite the intensity of the previous moment. So there's hope and progress. One step forward, two steps back. 

What does it mean for us when we aren't calm and collected and lose our shit?

Initially we may believe we are 'bad mothers'. I know I used to judge myself and feel so much shame. I only admitted my secrets to my husband; now I feel more comfortable sharing with others because I don't believe in 'bad mothers'. Simply tired, unskilled, imperfect moms. That's not wrong. It's part of the experience. We will be tired. We will make mistakes. We will develop skills.  You can join our free and beautiful space of strong, smart and conscious mothers in the Gray Mothering Collective. I could tell you some stories too perhaps if we ever talk 1:1. Either way, don't do this alone. It's better together. 
 

Free community space. Click to join.

Free community space. Click to join.

It is possible to judge less and take it as an opportunity to learn and understand what is going on. At each stage and age, we are going to be triggered and grow. I'm not sure we have much choice. 

If anything I've said resonates, than let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Five ways to think about the dark

Often in our society people over-focus on the "positive' and of course, I'm a silver lining kind of person. However, there is much need for the dark as well. It scares people to look at their shit. And I get it. It also takes special kind of people to truly be there and not fix, judge or give advice. The lighter you want to be, the more essential it is to navigate through the dark and shed some of that heaviness.    

"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy of life is when men and women are afraid of the light".
—Attributed to Plato

Now I'm not sure it's always easy to tolerate our kids' fears, however what stops us from truly being there for them and being the kind of parent, spouse, friend we want to be, is that we are actually getting in our own way. Maybe not always. But often. I've done a shit ton of inner work and it's ever-evolving as new storms come and test the skills I've learned (awareness, compassion, trust, surrender, acceptance, empathy, boundaries to name a few). 

So if you're still reading, good for you! Have you noticed that I love introspection and depth.  As we start winter and the holiday season, you may also have other stuff simmering beneath the surface. Irritation. Blah. Overload. 

And another layer deeper. Grief, envy, shame. Conscious or not. We all have it. 

Here are five ways of thinking about the dark. Whether for a moment or an extended time.   

1. Everyone has shit to work through. 

That's not to minimize or compare our own experiences. Simply, there is comfort in knowing you are not alone even though your shit is unique to you.

2. It *can* be transmuted into medicine.

Know that there is more than one way to look at things. Often we think of dark as being 'bad/negative/wrong'. It's not. At least not until you shift things. 

3. Use your allies.  

Often we avoid looking at our shit because it feels uncomfortable, unsafe and frankly not somewhere we want to be. Nor do we know how to change old habits and generational patterns. Or understand why it's important. Until you find something or someone that can reflect the light you have within so you can find your way.

4.  It's cyclical.

The dark is less scary when we know there will be light. And there will be dark and light after that. Obvious, I know. And sometimes we forget. Especially when we can't "see". 

5. Facing the dark has its benefits.

When we go deeper and shine a light on all the thoughts, feelings and patterns we'd rather keep hidden, even though not always fun, we unlock a power within and lessen the control it has over our lives. Think more calm under pressure. Permission to be you— imperfections, failures and all. Being less triggered and overreactive.

Of course, two steps forward, one (or three in my case) steps back ;)

Maybe you know this or you have no idea what I'm talking about, either way, I'm sending you loads of light and love as we celebrate the first day of winter. 

Lynne xo

P.S. Simplicity group starts Jan 11-Feb 1 (4 week series)!
You can register here.

A perfect time to talk about "getting back to basics and focusing on what really matters".  

Folks who have completed simplicity series will be invited into The Gray Mothering Collective deep dive that starts in February. More details to come. How does Triggers + Trust sound for a title?

 

2017 Fall Simplicity Parenting Series

The fall is a time of transition and change— something that we can count on in life. The thing that I have found that has helped me through the ebb and flow of life (read: ups and downs) is not only to trust and let go of doing it someone else's way, but slowing the fuck down. Which takes some conscious effort and a bit of rebellion in our very fast paced world. 

This is why I, and others, have found the simplicity parenting series so helpful. This is time and space that you create as a parent to reflect on the direction that you and your family are headed.  

These gatherings are not about quick fixes (is there such a thing?), however we are all about  'less is more' + doing what is sustainable. It is also nice to hear from other like minded people (who may make different choices than you but simply want what is best for their children). 

90 minutes of devoted time for six consecutive weeks. Doable and motivating. In our last group, we were parenting some odd 30 kids total ranging from in utero to 16 years of age. Pretty neat to think of the ripples created. 

The group starts online next month- Monday, October 16 from 8-9:30pm EST. You can read more here. Oh and enter promo code BACKTOBASICS before Wednesday to receive $100 off. 

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to hit reply.

Looking forward to connecting with you, 

Lynne

P.S. If you live in or near Toronto and are intrigued by horses or would love a day away from the fam, there's always the option of joining us on our last retreat of the year—Friday, October 20. Read about Paddock