Tag Archives: parenting

Connected Families:

When we talk about being mindful, we start with the breath and move on from there; towards eating mindfully, walking mindfully or driving with intention; listening to our hearts.

When we are parenting children, our hearts are often intertwined with the hearts of our kids as well as our spouses’ heart. Having different interests, needs and priorities gets amplified with the number of personalities that constitute ones family.

My first step towards being a connected parent is being sure that some of my desires are met. Yes, some not all. Since some of my needs are not aligned with the needs of my children or my spouse, I listen to my heart to find the ways that I can balance our needs daily, therefore simplifying our lives.

Hard to do?  Yes but possible!

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Durga:

Have you ever looked at how little boys rough house?  They decide that a placid current of energy in the air is toxic, and they start pilling onto each other, growling, and after a bit of a tussle they are off playing again as gentlemen, just like (the Hindu deity) Durga and her mighty sword. She took the obstacles that were in her way and loved them to death or slashed their heads off.

A couple of years ago, I ran a play group once a week out of my home. A little boy with a French background and who was the same age as my daughter joined us every week. His full name translated  was “Throws a Rock.” This boy was raw, raw Durga.  My daughter was raw as well but raw with two feet still in the clouds.  Quite quickly this boy taught my daughter how to plant her feet and be a Durga.

Cultivate a little durga in your children

Cultivate a little durga in your children

They would play, he would get mad, she would get upset, he would plant his two feet in the ground bend his knees, growl, put his hands in front of his body, and plow and push.  She reciprocated and learned quickly how to move obstacles out of her way.  Both would get up happy after working out their tussles and keep sharing the sandbox.

I am not advocating teaching our kids to fight in the sandbox, but sometimes when we let our bodies and minds move obstacles we can learn and find our inner truth. That is one of the things I like so much about the ease that boys can get over a disagreement.

Today at yoga class the teacher asked us to do a dancing practice. We were to freely play within our sun salutations.  At one point she said that all our bodies ever want to do is play.

That exercise made me ask myself: when did I start using my body in a systematic way instead of letting myself play and explore?

My daughter can ski well. When she goes down a steep hill, we might ask her how did you do that? She says, “I just did it, I got to the top of the hill and I knew what to do.”

Yet we start teaching young children how to use their bodies – this is where you put your foot to kick the ball, this is what you do when you are frustrated, your arm goes here when you do the breast stroke, and slowly we teach them to stop playing and start doing actions that are linked to their thinking minds.

We end up modeling thinking that leads to moving, rather than teaching moving towards freedom and understanding the way fiery Durga moves through barriers – towards pure knowledge.

Our children are born with an innate understanding based in play, let’s not forget to support that.

Bored:

Pico Iyer said  “ … I’ve stepped out of my daily haze, the somnambulism that is my life!” , in an article I read in Mindful -Taking Time for What Matters.

Last week while picking up my daughter at dance class I stopped to talk with a dad who has a similar routine. He waits twice a week in the same spot for his daughters’ classes to end. He said to me that he felt like he was experiencing the movie Groundhog Day.

Have you had that feeling before?  Monday feels like Monday, then Tuesday feels just like last Tuesday, and Wednesday is no different than the one before, and even your weekends are filled with the expected and regular.

To get beyond that place in life sometimes feels like it should happen any day. Anyways, that is what we are told to do – dream big, work hard and we will be rewarded  with fame, riches, or talents.  But in reality for most of us our life is the one we have chosen to live and will continue to live.

Being stuck is not a great feeling, and as parents we need to model how we don’t hide from the reality of our lives and that moving to see clearly is part of of our routine on this earth.  We want our children to have the tools to get out of those moments that feel like we are entitled or stuck.

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In the next few blog posts I will try to explore ways that can help us all towards this practice of being mindful and awake to the reality of our lives.

Heidi Ahrens

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Big Girl, Little Girl

Language is a difficult topic to cover when thinking about parenting.  There are so many different ways our culture uses language, and many families have unique ways of communicating.  Most of us know to stay clear of sarcasm, condescending statements, and hurtful tones of voice, but how many of us have thought about the conflicting messages that we can send to our children?

What if we tell our children that they are unique and beautiful on the inside, yet we insist on having our kids leave the house looking a certain way each day?

Or if we talk about loving the planet, saving money, and recycling, but our favorite pastime is shopping?

Growing up so fast, no need to speed things up!

Growing up so fast, no need to speed things up!

A friend of mine has the wonderful ability of talking slowly and deliberately.  It is beautiful to watch. Yes, at times you want her to get to the point but each of her sentences are intentional and reflect her true thoughts.  I, on the other hand, talk and talk until I figure out my point while I talk.  I was named the ‘non-stop talker’ in Tibetan by a monk I was visiting in Spain.

Parents refer to their children as their babies. Then soon after they might say something like : “Be a big girl and go potty,” or “Be helpful to your mom,” or “Be a big boy and set this on the table.”  Then the same child will be told they are not old enough to do something or told: “You’re too little to stay up late.”

I found that it was helpful to look into my speech habits to see if I was contradicting myself. I have worked hard to teach my daughter to step away and calm herself before reacting by breathing and thinking of a way she can be positive towards an unexpected situation.  Yet I often react instantly to her actions or sibling disagreements. I’m working on taking my own advice to her, and trying to calm myself when my children present me with unexpected situations.

Does your language follow the values you instill in your children?

Do your values reflect the actions your children see you do everyday?

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Slowly becoming apparent.
Heidi Ahrens

Pillsbury

Once a week I am a dorm parent to eighteen teenage boys; it is a totally fascinating experience. I watch them navigate space with their bodies and their interactions are so awkward – full of uncertainty, strength and confusion.

When I feed my daughters everything is homemade, organic and nutritious. The boys know this (I think) since when I am in their space I read books like Mindful Birthing, The Birth Partner or I sit and crochet. They usually stay clear of me; just the way my brothers stay clear of me when I drink nursing tea.

Looking up to teenage spontaneity

Looking up to teenage spontaneity

A few weeks ago the boys were studying for exams, so I prepared 40 of those Pillsbury instant croissants and biscuits that come out of pop out tubes. I also had carrots, almonds and juice.

Well, Pillsbury doughy goodness brought all the boys to my feet. They congregated around the table, eating with abandon and joy. Seeing this level of sheer bliss reminded me that as parents we try to control everything. I wanted to feel this freedom they were experiencing from biting into something without thinking anything. I wanted to be able to just mindfully enjoying the flavor, texture and moment of filling my stomach without thinking about nutrition or the corporation that brought me the product.

So a week later I took a big step, I bought one of those Pillsbury croissant tubes and let it sit in my refrigerator. Then a week after that, once the girls were asleep, I baked the 8 croissants, sat in my bed and ate 4 of them. It was divine! I left the other 4 for my husband who was returning late from hockey and he agreed; they were divine.

Being around these boys on a weekly basis often teaches me about letting go, about just being our awkward selves. For the most part each one of these boys are very different from each other, yet they cohabitate at such a young age and are still accepting of each other (sort of!). I often want to scoop them up and bring them home. Make them my pet sons. I know this is not a possibility but at least I get to learn from them every Sunday evening.

Becoming a Parent-Heidi Ahrens

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Time:

This is a short blog because it is about something we all hold so dear: time.

I am too busy
I have been so busy
I did not have the time
Where did it go?
Hold on a minute…
Maybe in an hour I will have time

Coney Island

We make our own time. We are the creator of our own time fillers.

When I think of some statements around time like “ I have been busy” or “ I had no time”, I realize that it really means that I did not make xyz a priority, or xyz was not something I wanted to do with my time. I know that often these honest answers would be hurtful to the person questioning me about my day, but most of the time I am very much in control of my day and fill them with things  that bring me happiness. Often, I can’t fill the day with all the things I would love to do, but I prioritize. This does not mean that I am unhappy with my busy life, it just means that I filled my time with things that bring me joy or closer to understanding.

Do you know of another way to say “I have been busy” or “I had no time” that does not carry the negative connotations of time wasted or stress?

What is your relationship with time?  Why are we so protective of our time? Why are we so busy, yet we want to have more time to do?

Becoming a Parent!

We are available to answer any of your family and parenting questions. Please email us at heidiahrens@me.com

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Be the Person You are not!

OK! You are looking over your shoulder and thinking thoughts about that parent near the monkey bars. Filling your head with negative energy, you either criticize yourself or the parenting style being displayed.

We all have moments in which we think we shine as parents and others don’t; we also get really embarrassed by things we say to our kids or the way we act around them.

Take perspective!

Take perspective!

My challenge for you this week is to try out these two scenarios:

1) For one whole day act differently than you do on most days. If you are a sloppy parent that does not do dishes and leaves laundry piled around the house then clean-up and be orderly. If you are super neat and put together then go out in your sweat pants, don’t bother with a home cooked meal and don’t clean the toilet. You get the idea…

2) On another day try being the super involved parent; play Legos all day, pretend to drink tea and flutter like a fairy. If you are already that parent, drag your child to the nearest coffee shop, get a coffee, go shopping and complete your to-do list.

Remember to reflect after each exercise and see what the positive outcomes are of acting differently than you normally do and how it feels to get back to your old self.

Become apparent!

Food for thought:
How do you think your child feels when you ask them to act differently than they are?
What do your children learn when they see you talking positively or negatively about others?
Can your child learn from you stepping out of your ‘regular’ self?

We would love to work with you one on one. Please email us with any questions heidiahrens@me.com