Swan Mothers

Discovering Ourselves through Parenting

A Holiday Gift for Yourself

My paternal grandmother was a master of self-indulgence and womanly arts.  Each year, on my grandfather’s birthday, she would buy herself a new dress, “So he can enjoy looking at me.”

My grandmother managed to travel all over the world, despite limited means.  My husband recalls her delight as she told him in heavily-accented English, “Mahyke.  I go lots of places.  Rome.  Fatima.  Mayami, every winter.  I go Hawaii, tree time.  I go Aruba.  They have divi divi tree.  ”

Her hair was always done and she was always carefully dressed.  In her last years in a nursing home, she was known as Queen Irene.

It took me almost 40 years to appreciate her gift for honoring herself.  Before that, I had considered her focus on appearances and travels shallow and frivolous.  Now, I know that self-care, self-confidence, and self-love are not indulgences, but a necessary foundation for being able to do our work in the world. The most important aspect of my life work, at the moment, is caring for my children.  When I nourish my body, soul, and spirit, my children have a much better mother.

From Me, To Me

In the midst of the holiday season, consider doing something nice for yourself.  Linger in your favorite store, or avoid the stores and sit down for a cup of tea with a friend.  Savor a good book, or give yourself permission to take a nap.

Consider giving yourself a gift that will keep on giving throughout the year.  May I suggest the gift of camaraderie, support, and tools for easier living for mothers who want to see the best in their children?

My book, Swan Mothers, is available in paperback or Kindle formats. You can read the first chapter for free via Amazon’s sample.

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Natalia Erehnah on Starseed Radio Academy

This evening, Tuesday, November 26, 2013, I’ll be the featured guest on Starseed Radio Academy. Please listen and call in.

Learn more about Starseed Radio Academy at http://www.starseedhotline.com.

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11/11 Gateway to Easier, Happier Mothering

11/11. The ones of today’s date seem to create gates.

  • Wouldn’t it be nice if we could step through a gateway to an easier, more joyful life with our children?
  • Wouldn’t it be nice if today were the day to take this step?
Whether your are reading this on November 11 or on a day with no elevens in the number at all, consider that today can be the day. Read on for some ideas for stepping into easier, happier living.

Reaching for “A Little Better”

Are you content with life? How do you see your children today? How do you feel?

Esther and Jerry Hicks created an Emotional Guidance Scale  that helps us move from feeling bad to feeling better about whatever we are experiencing.

In looking at the chart, most of us yearn to be at the top, in the purple zone. Even the blue and green areas look good. We want to feel hopeful and happy and to appreciate our children and our lives.  However, if we are currently in the gray or burgundy zones of guilt or grief or despair, the leap to joy seems inconceivable.

Instead of aiming for giant leaps, it is usually easiest and most productive to move through one gateway at a time. Sometimes, we simply step through. At other times, we must knock and a door will open. Once in a while, we need a battering ram.

Wouldn’t It Be Nice?

One way to move up a level its to find something — anything — that feels good about the current situation.
  • In the midst of a tantrum, consider finding something good. “My child is safe. I am staying calm and looking for a good way to handle this moment.”
  • When you child struggles to communicate, consider, “We have wonderful speech therapists. Look how she tries to show  me what she wants!”
  • As your child insists on the thousandth meal of the same food, think, “It is so easy to feed him. I know what he wants.”

Celebrate Success, Celebrate Yourself and Your Child

Every step is one that brings you closer to the Joy Zone. Anger and rage may not, by conventional standards, seem like a good thing. But anger and rage let you know that your do not feel powerless. You are moving closer to hopefulness and joy.

Tools for the Journey

Please browse the blog archives for tips for really easy ways to support you as you step through each level.
Consider exploring:

Next time you see 11:11 on the clock, take a deep breath and think of one thing that feels good about that moment. Every good feeling that you focus on will bring you closer to more experiences that feel good.


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Words Matter: Moving from Casual Cruelty to Conscious Kindness

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 10.16.42 AMIn a whole wide world of color-related words to choose from, Sephora selected Celebutard as the name of a lipstick hue. I’m sad that we live in a world where people would want to buy something named “Celebutard,” or that marketing/sales thinks they would. We need to consider the effect of “clever” words before we send them into the world.

Before I had children, before I realized one of my children is autistic, I did not think about the misuse of words like retard or spaz. I did not think that saying, “I’m a little OCD,” to refer to my preference for order might be painful to someone listening. I didn’t think saying, “That’s retarded” when I meant, “That doesn’t make sense” was bad. I did not think about the power of words.

Becoming aware makes us kinder people.

I am a first-generation Ukrainian-American.  I grew up in an all-things-Ukrainian community.  We Ukrainians were perpetually deeply offended because most people, if they had heard of Ukraine at all, thought it was the same as Russia. (This has changed since November 2013.) I thought I was so smart because I knew where Ukraine was on a map and knew some Ukrainian history.  I knew not to say “The” Ukraine.

Then, in college, I started discovering what I did not know.  I had never heard of Cambodia and was uncertain of Pakistan and Indonesia’s locations in the world.  I did not know that people my age had, as small children, hidden in self-dug basements while bombs fell or terrorists searched for them.

Oops.  Not as smart as I had thought.

We know what we know.  And we don’t know much more.  None of us knows everything.

We are ourselves, with our own experiences, gifts, and challenges.

But we can learn — by listening to and reading stories of fellow humans.

I have found that it is impossible to hate someone once you know their story.

If you  think it’s okay to casually use the R-word or variations thereof as an insult, please read this post about a beautiful cognitively impaired girl.  Then, read more stories about people (you think are) not like you. Listen. Tell your story.

Another great post on what’s wrong with Celebutard.

Knowing and understanding are bliss.  Ignorance is not.

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