Swan Mothers

Discovering Ourselves through Parenting

Parenting Sloooooowwwwwlllly

I once read a blog post at Qoya is wise, wild and free.  (so are you).  Rochelle Schieck believes “…that through movement we remember.”  We remember our inner wisdom, express our wildness, and revel in our freedom.

I wanted some of what Rochelle was having.  I got up from my desk and followed her instructions to “walk across the room sloooooowwwwwlllly and enjoy yourself as you walk. . . This is an opportunity to say, “Hello, I love you” to your body.  Notice your inner dialogue…”

It was a nice little exercise.  But I’m practical and sensible, not wild and free.  Two minutes later, I was at my desk, back at work.

I Take My Qoya for a Walk

This morning, I was walking.  For exercise.  I moved quickly, purposefully.  As I was nearing the end of my return loop, it occurred to me to move sloooooowwwwwlllly.  I did.

I wondered, “When is the last time I walked the way I want to walk?” 

I’ve read about walking:  yoga walking, walking the T-Tapp way, other ways to walk I no longer recall. When I walk, I either walk without paying attention or the way some article or book or YouTube video suggests.  I don’t think:

  • How do I want to walk?
  • How do I want to move?
  • How do I want to feel?

I am generally so busy concentrating on my heart rate and stance and arm swinging that I do not enjoy myself, as I could.  My trying interferes with enjoying.

Waking Up to Parenting

It occurred to me that I used to parent this way: by the book. By some book.  Following the instructions of someone whom (I assumed) knew better than me.

I learned a lot from my reading.  I made many useful and necessary changes.  Now, I choose my own way to parent.  Usually.

I am confident with my own way of mothering.  I seldom consult books or ask for advice now.  I know how do to it, just as I know how to walk.

Still, like my walking, my parenting is too often unconscious.  I intend to stay conscious.  I plan to slow down and be present for my children. Then, schedules, activities and ideas of how things should be get in the way and I forget that I intended to slow down and pay attention.

Slow down. Pay attention. Let go of what I know, what I’ve read, what I assume. These steps to letting go seem to be my theme this week.  Do you see any trends in your parenting and in your life?

If you want to change ingrained patterns, the best way I know is with Matrix Reimprinting.  I will soon be offering free Group Tapping Sessions so that you may explore Matrix Reimprinting and the amazing changes it can bring to your life. If you’re interested in learning more, please leave a comment below.

New Week, New Opportunities

As we begin a new week, I will move sloooooowwwwwlllly.  I will check in and ask:

  • Is this the way I want to be moving?
  • Is this the way I want to be mothering?

I will pay attention as I walk, and as I interact with my children. I will let go of what I “know” to see what is presenting itself. I will practice listening and knowing.

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Full Responsibility Parenting

A Mother’s Lament by ~Yohnnilee Fan Art / Traditional Art / Drawings / Books & Novels©2010-2013 ~Yohnnilee

A few days ago, I wrote some lovely words about not interfering with my children, about letting them have their own experience, about trusting that they can manage their own lives. I clicked post, sending my insights into the world. I felt good about my enlightened parenting. For a minute. Then, life resumed its relentless march.

Ellana came down dressed to go out in tights and a shirt. Daniel got in Jonathon’s face and made silly faces, which caused Johnathon to groan and speak harshly to his brother. YouTube and i-Pad games took precedence over homework, for a long time.

And I . . . interfered.

I used what my daughter once called The Tone of Voice, the same tone of voice which I admonish my children not to use. I offered dozens of suggestions in rapid succession. I pushed and prodded, which, in my Not Interfering post, I implied would build a foundation for resentment. Way to go Swan Mother. Yay, me. <sarcasm>

Knowing What Kind of Mother I Want to Be, Not Being Her

Cover ImageI wrote a book about my journey to recognizing that my children are magnificent exactly as they are. I’ve been a mother for a long time (15 1/2 years). I’ve done lots of things wrong. I’ve read piles of books and blogs. I’ve learned from my mistakes. I have a clear picture of the supportive, gentle, and loving mother I want to be.

So . . .

  • Why do I offer observations and suggestions, when my goal is non-interference?
  • If I love them exactly the way they are, why am I frustrated?
  • Why is my best so flawed?

Total Acceptance

“I have come to drag you out of yourself, and take you in my heart.  

I have come to bring out the beauty you never knew you had and lift you like a prayer to the sky.”

originally, Rumi (now, my family, to me)

We do not live in a bubbles. The moods and actions of people around us affect us. Weather affects us. Moon cycles and solar flares affect us. Childhood experiences and what our spouse said this morning affect us. Humans are complex creatures.

There is no excuse for me to speak unkindly, but I apologize to my children, not here. I do not want my children to apologize to the world for being who and how they are, so I accept myself as I am — even when I don’t like myself or my behavior. I keep doing my work and remembering Carl Rogers’ curious paradox:  When I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.

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Doing It My Way: I’m No Mother Warrior

How do you label a child who, before kindergarten, has the vocabulary of a seventh grader but can’t cut with scissors? Where do you put her? How do you teach her? Public school “averaged” gifts and deficits and put Ellana a regular classroom, where she was alternately bored by the basic reading and writing instruction, and frustrated by cut and paste time. By first grade, we realized that even the schools that claimed to work with all of a child’s abilities – including Montessori and Waldorf schools – were doing more harm than good.

At this point, the Warrior Mother would have started scheduling meetings at the public school and engaging advocates and lawyers to ensure that her child gets what she needs. She would have created a gifted program for first graders in her school system, brought in a cut and paste advisor for her child. I was no mother warrior.yoga-2176668__340.jpg

“I won’t put my energy into fighting,” I told my husband.

We took our child out of school and I began homeschooling.A few years later, our second child “graduated” from the amazing autism program where he’d been thriving for three years. He no longer belonged in the specialized autism classroom. He spent his kindergarten year putting in a full day, half of it in a regular classroom (no aide) and half in a room for cognitively impaired kids. That was the best the school would offer, though he is not cognitively impaired. I knew that what worked in kindergarten would not work in first grade. There would be more verbal instructions and more demands for independent work. If I wanted an aide in the classroom for first grade, I’d have to fight for it. I had not developed any warrior skills in those years. I started homeschooling two children.

Our choices worked for me and for my children. Another family, another child might need a Mother Warrior. My children got a different kind of mother, one that works for them.Though I am not nor do I desire to be a Mother Warrior, I have great respect for Mother Warriors. They do what they need to do for their children. I do what I need to do for mine. There is a place for warriors — and a place for peacemakers.

Curbies on Autism

I learned the term “curbie” reading Kim Stagliano’s memoir All I Can Handle:  I’m No Mother Teresa. Kim is the mother of three girls with autism and “a curebie. That’s an autism parent who believes that, in our lifetime, we will be able to bring these kids to point where they blend in with their peers and can live full, independent lives – through a combination of medical treatment, therapy, schooling, and a rosary that stretches from Connecticut to California.” Stagliano adds, “Call it recovery. Call it cure. Call it remission. Call it pasta e fagioli. I don’t give a crap what it’s called… I just want Mia to be able to live a garden-variety, normal live without needing an adult to keep her safe… I want a cure for her, damn right. What kind of parent would I be if I didn’t?”  (p. 19)

The Neurodivergent Camp

I am not a curebie. I excelled at blending in and doing garden-variety my whole life.  When I heard the terms neuroatypical – and later, neurodivergent – I fell in love and embraced the concept with my mind, heart, and soul. The idea that it was okay for my children to be themselves was freeing and exhilarating. (Could this liberating idea mean it was okay for me to be myself too?)

I also strive to keep my children as healthy as possible. I have long-studied nutrition and the natural health sciences. I continue to learn. I continue to provide the best food and living environment that I know for my family. I believe that everything matters.

Many Flavors of Autism, Many Flavors of Mothers

carefree-2280933__340.jpgMy experience of autism is not the same as Kim’s. In one of my favorite passages, she says that autism is like Bertie’s Every Flavor Beans from the Harry Potter books. She points out that some autistics got raspberry cream or root beer flavor. “They can speak eloquently, write blogs, move out on their own…”  “Others with autism, like my three girls, got the ear wax/vomit/dog poop flavor. They need help 24/7 to navigate the world. When I talk about autism, I mean the version that my three girls have.” Obviously, that is simplified, but it makes the point that if you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person.

I hear and understand what Kim wants. Though we use different words, and I do not want my children to be indistinguishable from normal (whatever that is), Kim and I mostly want the same things for our children. We want our children to live comfortably in the world, to enjoy life. Kim wants that through recovering her children. I want it through transforming the world into a place where we all live in harmony.

Getting to this place of acceptance has been a journey. I wrote about it in my book, Swan Mothers: Discovering Our True Selves by Parenting Uniquely Magnificent Children.

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Ordinary Autism

I revel in the amazingness of human beings. I love the video clips and drawings and music that show that autism is really awesomism.

  • I cry each time I watch the YouTube video of Carly Fleischmann, typing “hurt” and “help” at age 11 when, until that moment, she had been presumed to be cognitively impaired and unaware of her surroundings. I love that, after refusing to type on demand for the television crew during an interview, she types “Is he cute?” when the reporter mentions that he has a son.
  • I love watching Clay Marzo surf and hearing his mother talk about how he is at home in the water, but struggles for air on land. Many of us could learn volumes from Clay’s authenticity and honesty.
  • I am blown away watching 13 year old Jake Barnett, a college sophomore and a math and science prodigy, who says autism is the key to his success. Knowing that a child that stopped speaking just before his second birthday is now an articulate, innovative researcher is amazing and inspirational. That Jake is writing a book to help the rest of us overcome our fear of math is another indicator of how cool he is.
  • I am in awe of Lyrica Mia, a non-verbal, autistic adult, who, together with her mother, Gayle Barley Lee, wrote , Awetizm:  A Hidden Key to Our Spiritual Magnificence. Lyrica has discovered/revealed that autistic beings have unique gifts and wisdom beyond this world and is leading the world is seeing these gifts.

The Spectrum

It is wonderful that the world is recognizing that autism is a spectrum. It is leading to the awareness that humanity is a spectrum: a distribution of energies, gifts, challenges, abilities, and goodness. Since I’ve noticed my children’s uniquely wonderful ways of being, I’ve realized that there is no such thing as normal or average. We are all Uniquely Magnificent.

My children don’t have skills or abilities that are television-worthy. Their needs are not particularly demanding. They simply, extraordinarily, amazingly, are the way they are.

There was a time when I would have asked: When will my child start typing or talking in full sentences? When will his gifts be revealed? When will he surf, play piano, write poetry, or solve complex equations? Why doesn’t he communicate with me telepathically(When will he say a few words? When will he learn to tie his shoes? When will he be able to eat comfortably?) I was envious of the Magnificent Autistic Beings that awe, inspire, and delight us.

The thing I finally understood is that there is no contest. There is no competition. In watching the video clips linked at the beginning of the post, I notice Magnificent Individuals fully and authentically being themselves. They do what they love. They are who they are. They derive their magnificence by tapping into and being themselves. And that, is available to me, and to us all.

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