It’s the Supermom Superbowl!

December is here! It’s GO TIME in the land of Supermoms. Are you ready for the Supermom Superbowl?

The smell of pine trees, the twinkling of lights, the cranky teens studying for finals, the late nights finishing projects and the last minute requests (“I need black pants, red glitter and a secret santa gift by tomorrow!)

Ah, the joys of the holidays! Save some sanity with this one simple strategy, decide ahead of time.

List all the things you love and look forward to this month. Then list all the duties and responsibilities that fall on your shoulders, beyond your normal duties, between now and January. Your list may look something like this….

Buy presents for kids, bake cookies, take holiday photo, send cards, donate to toy drive, drive to look at lights, attend church service, decorate gingerbread houses, contribute to class party, take the kids to visit Santa, host Hanukah party, wrap presents, ride the “train of lights”, clean house for company, volunteer, go caroling, help with the winter production, spend time with extended family, watch Christmas movies, string popcorn, buy teacher gifts, deliver gifts to neighbors & friends, do Christmas crafts or handmade presents for family, go to the Christmas tree lighting in the city, cook holiday feast, hang exterior lights and decorate, make plans for new years, etc.

Christmas stress
but you feel more like this…

No wonder we go a little nuts! This is quite a list above and beyond our already full to-do list!

Christmas stress
You want to feel like this

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now rank each item on your list on a scale of 1-10. The highest number means you are so excited about this one thing, you can hardly do anything else. When you think about it you notice your body (not your head) reacting with a feeling of expansion, light or freedom. The 1 on your list means you feel heavy or tense when you think about it. You want to curl up into a ball and hide or run away. Your head might say “but I love doing that” but your BODY reacts negatively. You don’t have to know why, you just have to acknowledge how your body reacts and give each item a number between 1-10.

Once you have your list ranked between 1-10, take anything that scored a 7 or lower and ask yourself, “Could I just decide NOT to do this?”  There is so much freedom in deciding!  Your energy goes where your attention goes, so if you hold an exhaustive list in your MIND, without eliminating anything, you will be depleted before you even get out bed!  Deciding NOT to do something frees up your energy and creates more enjoyment of the other items on your list.

Are you having a hard time eliminating anything? It might be because you want evidence to prove you aren’t “Mom enough”. So many of us have perfectionistic pictures of what “good moms” do that we create these unrealistic expectations for ourselves. You can choose to stress your way through the holidays and feel exhausted yet accomplished at the end, or you can reduce your expectations and enjoy every aspect of the holidays.

Try this – mentally make the decision to eliminate your lowest scoring items and just see how it feels for a few days to have made the decision. Make the decision to feel calm and peaceful, while being proud of all you accomplish.

Are you worried about politics coming up at your holiday celebrations?

The house is all decorated for the holidays, the kids are happily running around with their cousins, the smells from the kitchen fill the warm house, and someone starts talking about Trump.

For Americans, discussing politics at the dinner table has changed from an intellectual, logical discussion to something highly emotional and divisive. If you are worried about the topic coming up at your family gathering and ruining your festive mood, I created a healing meditation recording for you to listen to. With politics as they are, it seems the only way we are going to create positive change is with a spiritual solution. When we can recognize our similarities instead of our differences and do our job to heal the broken parts of ourselves, change has a better chance. If you dislike the contentious political climate in our country and worry about it infiltrating your family gatherings, try this healing technique to create peace within yourself first, and then allow that peace to impact those around you. It’s a combination of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy techniques and the Hawaiian healing technique of Ho’oponopono and it works.

CLICK HERE to listen to the 20 minute meditation 

Thank you! May you be happy, may you be well, may you be free from conflict. I wish you a peaceful and loving Thanksgiving to you and all who sit around your table.

“Smother” Nature and the art of letting go

Sometimes, writing a letter to someone that you never intend to send is the most therapeutic thing you can do.

Thoughts about my teenager….

I’ve been seeing signs that it’s time for me to let you go. You withhold affection when I try to hug you. You side with Dad on everything (even when we are saying the same thing!). You seem to want more privacy and even my presence makes you tense up. It’s hard for me to be demoted from my former status of “almighty-center-of-the-Universe-Mom”. It wasn’t that long ago when just walking in the door made you squeal with delight. Now I see things are shifting for you and although I know it’s normal and healthy, it’s still hard.

Your job, right now, is to separate from me. I get this intellectually. Even when I stop nagging about studying for your test or the latest online danger, I know you can feel my worried, hopeful, caring, needy energy. I remember when I was your age and how hard it was for me to give my Mom a compliment or thank her for all she did. When I was a teen, giving my Mom something that she wanted, felt like giving up a piece of my soul that I just couldn’t spare.

Letting go of you feels like giving up something precious. It feels like not caring about you. It feels like being a bad mom. I don’t even know where to start but I know it’s something I need to do. If I don’t, I think the next four years will be a giant battleground. If I hold tight to my control and expectations for your life, I will increase your stress and resentment, build a wall between you, your Dad and I, and make us all miserable. If I care too much about your grades, your social life, your activities, your appearance, your online presence, and your future, I fear you will sabotage your success to earn your freedom. I need to release you so you can figure out who you are meant to be, other than my child. It’s time for me to love more and care less.

I say goodbye to the tight bond we had, knowing it will never be the same again.

I say goodbye to the belief that I am responsible for your success.

I say goodbye to my expectation that you should be better than you currently are.

I say goodbye to my belief that I know what’s best for you.

I say goodbye to the idea that I can and should protect you from negative emotion.

I say goodbye to the idea that worrying and managing will keep you safe.

I give you permission to make stupid mistakes like every other teenager on the planet.

I give you permission to be insecure and imperfect, like every other teenager on the planet.

I give you permission to surprise me about the person you are becoming.

I give you permission to fail, if that’s what you need to do, so that your victories can be your victories and not mine.

This isn’t just your independence day, it’s also mine. 

As a thank you for the unconditional love you gave to me, I will continue to appreciate and love myself the way you showed me when you were five. I free myself from the idea I need you to be happy, in order for me to be happy. I allow myself to believe I am a good Mom, no matter what shenanigans you get yourself into. I choose to calm down and relax enough to access my instinctual intelligence, that way I’ll know when to step in if you should need me.

Thank you for the years of love and companionship you have given me. I love you and I release you.

Register for the free webinar this week to learn about living with teens without losing your mind.

www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/got-teens

The only advice you’ll ever need

Lin* was a stay-home Mom of three school aged kids. She worked from sun up to sun down, striving to do her best. Even in the summer, she made sure her kids ate healthy, organic foods, practiced piano, played outside, spoke kindly and read books. Her life was dedicated to being the best Mom she could be. She read parenting books, took parenting classes, and treated motherhood like her career. When one of her kids got a bad grade, she felt like a failure. She thought she would be rewarded for her hard work, but she’s still waiting for the praise and accolades. With no report card or performance review, Lin struggles to know if her hard work is worth the investment.

Schools teach us to look to the outside for information, answers and feedback. We listen to lectures, read books, and internalize information that comes from outside sources. Then, we apply our knowledge on a test or presentation and await feedback to find out whether it was considered valuable. This system is subconsciously training us to rely on external sources for information, answers, wisdom and positive reinforcement.

Danielle* was a hard worker. She put in extra hours at work, was always more than prepared for presentations and was great at follow through. She believed that if she worked hard and did a good job, she would be recognized by her superiors and rewarded. Instead she gets overlooked for promotions and while she is well-liked by her team, she believes her financial compensation is not where it should be.

This week at my Girls Leadership Camp, I’m teaching the value of turning inward for information, accolades, and motivation. Big light bulbs go on when the girls get permission to listen to the answers they’ve had inside all along. Whether we call it gut instincts, inner wisdom, wise guide, or higher self, it is constantly giving us valuable information. When we turn inward for answers, we can tell if we are believing a lie, going outside our comfort zone, operating from our highest self, playing small, hiding, or avoiding. We don’t need praise or rewards, we just need to show up in our lives, and be the person we are meant to be.Dear Future, I'm ready

The only person you need to take advice from, is your future self. Imagine yourself twenty years into the future: What do you look like? Where do you live?  What accomplishments are you proud of?  Ask your future self any question you have, like: Should I ask for a raise?  Quit my job? Put my kids in private school?  What should I eat? What kind of exercise should I do? Should we move?  You won’t believe the wisdom your future self can offer you, once you build a relationship with her.

Danielle’s future self told her it was time to stop trying to downplay and minimize her efforts, and start believing in her value to the company. She got better at owning her accomplishments in front of her superiors, practiced self-confidence, and got the promotion and praise she deserved.

Lin’s future self reminded her that she loved being a stay-home Mom. That she wasn’t choosing this life to create perfect kids, but because she enjoyed it. When Lin switched her focus to having the most fun possible, her kids relaxed, the stress level went down and everyone felt permission to pursue the interests they loved the most.

What advice would your future self give you today?

When your teenager doesn’t measure up…

My Facebook feed is full of happy graduation pictures, parties, awards, nor-cal championships, and other brag-worthy achievements. It feels SO GOOD to be proud of your child and celebrate their amazing-ness with the world. But what if your kid doesn’t measure up? happy graduate

Alli’s* son was an excellent student, happy and full of life. Sophmore year, he made new friends with whom he started vaping. Junior year he started smoking marijuana and was a daily user by Senior year. He got through school, barely, but lost interest in clubs, sports, dating, part time jobs, everything that used to make Alli proud. It was hard to sit through graduation watching other successful, high achieving kids receive their awards. Her mind was full of angry arguments, “He should have done better, He’s wasting his potential, When is he going to snap out of it and actually care?” Underneath the resentment was shame, “I should have set clearer boundaries, I’m not a good enough Mom, People think I’m a loser because my kid is a loser.”

Kylie* was an amazing soccer player: Division A, State Champion, on track for a full ride scholarship to play for her first choice university team. Her parents couldn’t be more proud. Half way through her senior year of high school, she broke her femur and suffered a concussion. She laid in a dark room for a month, recovering from her injuries. No school, no sports, and a future that will forever be altered. Her parents felt lost, confused, and uncertain. They were grateful she was going to recover but grieving the loss of the dreams they had for her.

All sorts of things can derail a teenager’s life: depression, anxiety, a first love or bad break-up, parental divorce, teen pregnancy, addiction, you name it. Here are things parents can remember if they find themselves on the downturn of a parental-pride roller coaster. compare and despair girl

William Shakespeare said, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” But we’ve also hear “Children rise to your expectations.”  If expectations give something for kids to aspire to but are the root of all heartache, what’s a parent to do? It’s good to remember that just because children rise to our expectations, doesn’t mean they MEET them. If we expect them to get all A’s on their report card, they might get all B’s. If we expected all D’s, they might get all F’s. Isn’t that what “rising” means? Maybe, because of Alli’s high expectations, her son started smoking pot at 16 instead of 13. We’ll never know.

Having a teenager not live up to your expectations can be a step on your spiritual journey. Other parents had to work on dissolving expectations with divorce or diagnoses. Some parents will walk further down their spiritual journey when their child “comes out of the closet” or quits college to work at Hooters. The highest purpose for raising children isn’t to fuel our ego, but to dissolve it. Great spiritual teachers talk about our goal to “die before we die”.  To kill off our ego attachments to this physical world so that we can start enjoying the benefits of heaven, before we actually arrive.

Have high hopes and aspirations for your children if it feels good to do so. Celebrate their achievements and accomplishments relative to THEM, without entering the land of “compare and despair”. Bring your brain into the present moment with this question, “What do I love and appreciate about my child as they are today?”

Feeling negative emotions is a sign that you are off your spiritual journey and attached to ego. Every time you argue with reality you will suffer: “He should take his grades more seriously” (but he doesn’t), “She shouldn’t party so much” (and she does), “How come she isn’t more like me?” (because she is different).  Try accepting reality as it is and ask yourself “How do I want to feel about the fact that he doesn’t take his grades seriously?” or “How do I want to feel about the fact that she likes to party?”

Another trick to feeling better is to add three words onto the end of a sentence “and that’s ok”.  She is different than I am, and that’s ok.  She has anxiety, and that’s ok.  He’s not going to college, and that’s ok.

Some people meditate on mountain tops or live in an ashram to achieve enlightenment. The rest of us use our teenagers and Facebook to move along on our spiritual journey. When your ego takes a beating, it’s time to go higher. Want help? Schedule a free initial life coaching appointment at www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/work-with-me

 

*top photo courtesy of tOzz at freedigitalphotos.net * second photo courtesy of Sira Anamwong at freedigitialphotos.net