Parents are people too

June 17th, 2009

When choosing a profession such as a nurse, accountant, a teacher or a builder there are certain qualifications you will need to achieve before you are fully able to present yourself to the world in a competent fashion. Extensive study, theory exams, months of practical experience, acquired tools, techniques and skills are necessary for you to achieve certification, diplomas or degrees in your chosen field.

However when choosing to become a parent there are fewer requirements (ie, intercourse with a partner of the opposite sex, the ability to fall pregnant, carry the child for a period of nine months and deliver this baby into the world) and ‘voila’ – you are a Parent. There is no test to find out whether or not you are compatible with your chosen partner, no one to be accountable to during  pregnancy if you choose not to, no one to mark you on your work(mother-in-laws exempt)  and no compulsory course to grant your competency.  Yes, there is certainly support available to those who choose to use it. There is an overload of information from peers, parents, the media, books and the internet for you to consider. There are experts in the field of human behaviour offering opinions based on research and peoples experiences, and there are experienced  parents  who have gone before us offering advice not knowing if what they have done has been right, wrong, good, bad, indifferent or even enough.

However, the way you choose to parent is completely up to you – it’s your responsibility and it is your choice. As we take on this responsibility particularly for the first time our journey can be rewarding, exciting and fulfilling giving us feelings of joy and fuelling our spirit like never before.  There are times too when it can be challenging, exhausting, mundane and arduous as we struggle to discover what works and what doesn’t for us and our children. We soon learn that whilst some of our ideas, values and beliefs are the same as our partners they can also be different causing confusion and conflict. We learn that ‘yes’ we wanted the baby but where are the instructions for the screaming toddler or the defiant teenager. We soon learn that as parents we take on many smaller roles that fit under the one ‘responsible parenting’ umbrella. (i.e. teacher, nurturer, disciplinarian, taxi driver, night shift worker, chief cook and bottle washer, events organiser, Easter bunny, Santa, football team manager, nurse) to name a few. We do all of these whilst holding down a job and or even parenting alone without the support of a partner. Often we over identify with these roles and in doing so we lose ourselves as Human Beings. We try so hard to be everything to everybody often with little reward or recognition. (Mothers and Fathers day excluded, thank you God). After some time we forget the person we used to be and we often don’t want to admit to the person we have become. Resenting, blaming partners and children for the life or chaos we have created is common and we become a victim of our circumstances as we get stuck on the merry-go-round of life not knowing how to get off. This of course is not to say that we don’t start off with all the right intentions of being organised, having time for self and partner, knowing our responsibilities, finding that right work/life/family balance. However, life often has an uncanny way of getting in the road of our well-formed plans.

If you wish to parent consciously and effectively understanding yourself as a person first is essential. To truly know yourself is key to helping you on the road to mastering all aspects of your life on all levels. Getting to know the real you, spending time accessing your inner essence will lead to being the person you love to be and consequently the parent you aspire to be. It is important to understand your needs – physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally and energetically.  Knowing self and being the essence of your true self will ensure that when you present yourself to your children you will be coming from the energy of love.

Echart Tolle says ‘Awareness is the greatest agent for change’. We need to be fully aware of how we are in the NOW and how we are using our energy. Some of the best people to teach us this are our children. Have you ever watched a child building lego or making sandcastles. They are totally focused in the now, creating their masterpiece and trusting in the outcome of their creation.

PHYSCIALLY –  regular exercise of your choice such as yoga, swimming, gym, bike riding or walking outdoors for 30 mins at least 3 times/week  is imperative for your own well-being and you are also being an excellent role model for your children. Playing full out with friends or family is a beautiful way of reconnecting with your own inner child.

MENTALLY, stimulate your mind with information from books, attend self help or parent courses and listen to expert advice that will support your personal growth and the social and emotional well being of yourself and your family.

EMOTIONALLY – Understanding the importance of attending to your emotional needs  and communicating these needs will support your self esteem and confidence as a person and as a parent – your children will learn the benefits of expressing their feelings and communicating their own needs – what a great gift to give them.

SPIRITUALLY, focus on your faith or whatever your beliefs are and spend time daily in some form of prayer, meditation or relaxation – taking time to go inside will support your perceptions and projections in the outside world.

ENERGETICALLY, take the time to notice your own energy and who the energy boosters  and  energy vampires are in your life. You need enormous amounts of energy to Parent effectively and being aware of how both giving and receiving energy assists you in making decisions will only enhance your contribution towards your family.

Prioritising the time to do for self can be challenging and difficult to manage and it is possible providing you are fully committed to YOU. Writing out a ‘needs analysis’ and sharing this with your family will help all of you work together. Having this awareness of your needs helps you get back on track when the normal stresses of life have taken you elsewhere. By choosing to honour yourself first enables you to be a loving, conscious, authentic parent and this in itself is reason to celebrate and embrace the freedom (however brief), love, peace, joy, and aliveness of family life.  Your children will love you for it and be forever greatful. How does it get any better than this?

Perfectionism

June 17th, 2009

Are you or do you know a PERFECTIONIST?

The word ‘Perfect’ as defined in the Concise Macquarie Dictionary – in a state of complete excellence without blemish or defect; faultless or ‘the highest degree of excellence’.

Ask yourself – Is this me? – the king or queen of strive and drive. Do your high expectations of yourself and others often lead to anger, resentment, disappointment, criticism and judgementalism?

Perfectionists main focus is on being right and typically they tend to react to what they perceive as being wrong. Other words associated with this personality trait are Controlling, Dominant, Self-righteous, Anger, Low Self Worth (love). When one does not feel good enough or worthy enough you are able to mask this belief through dominant and sometimes bullying behaviour.

Research tell us that what you disapprove of within yourself becomes the focal point when criticising and controlling others. Beware of your “Judge in Action”.

Be aware of the mirror in your own life when you are in full flight judging others. Watch for your physical and verbal reactions when life isn’t the way you want it.

Perfectionists live by a set of standards and rules and assume that everybody has the same rules. Their negative emotions come to the surface when these expectations are not met.

Are your beliefs and rules about life and what the behaviour of others should be like limiting you and your growth?

What are you getting out of the need to control? What’s the payoff for you? Recognition, Attention, exhaustion, Inflated Ego!!

What if everything was already perfect just the way it is right now. What if there were no right or wrongs. What if some things weren’t meant to be finished. What if people weren’t meant to be changed to suit your ideals .What if events were meant to happen.

If life was always perfect when would we ever learn and grow from our experiences. When would we embrace the differences in people. When would we get the learnings and the fun from making mistakes, the serendipitous results from being flexible, the “do it different/better” next time, the efforlessness, the flow of life energy!

How dull life would be if it all went according to plan. Or maybe it is going according to plan. Just not our plan. Just not meeting the expectations of our plan.

Learning the art of allowing and receiving is a great lesson for all of us. The freedom and flow of the life force that comes from this gives you more peace, gratitude and fulfilment that you can imagine.

So, What is the right way. Your way, My way or the Highway? What is right for you may not be right for others.

Remember, life may not always give you what you WANT but it will always give you what you NEED.

Copyright: Angie Quinn

Time

June 17th, 2009

We are all given the same amount of time per day. 24 HRS. Why is it then that some people use their time effectively and efficiently and others are always chasing their tails.. My learnings have taught me that some people are ‘in time’ people – meaning they live in time, are on time and value time. Others are ‘out of time’ people – meaning they sometimes have no concept of time and do not value time as much. Yeah, you know who they are.

There are different archetypes (personality types) when it comes to Time. There’s the PROCRASTINATOR, the CREATOR, the DAY DREAMER, the ACTION MAN, the KING/QUEEN OF EXCUSES, the POSTPONER, the RESISTER, the MASTER, the SLAVE, the WASTER, the UNFINISHED TASKS person. Any of these sound familiar? Which one are you?

From my experience its not so much how we USE or PLAN our time but our BELEIFS about time that can bring us unstuck. What do you believe? – “There’s never enough time” or “Time is Money” or “No time like the present”. There are hundreds of sayings, poems or songs about Time that support our belief system. What you need to do is to challenge yours, seriously.

I’ve discovered there are three Secrets to Success with Time.

The first is “SURRENDER TO THE PRESENT MOMENT” – Learn to Live in the NOW. Training the mind to BE in the moment can be challenging. Many people use the art of Meditation to help them achieve this. I also believe that if your not meditating ( bit hard at work or surrounded by screaming kids, yeah) it can be difficult to Stop your thoughts. It is a more natural state for the mind to experience thoughts coming and going as it takes willpower to actually STOP them. However, its when we give them meaning and then add pictures we entertain our mind and its here we lose the present moment or our focus. However, have you ever noticed when you focus on the task at hand, completely immerse yourself in it, give it relevant meaning, create a vision of the end result that you can make time stand still. You’re actually surprised you achieved all you did in the time that you had.

The second secret is “CHOOSE THE RIGHT ORDER IN WHICH TO DO THINGS”.

There are many rules to follow here and it is a matter of which suits you personally.

Either * First Things First

  • ABC Order of Priority
  • The Time Quadrant (Urgent/Important, Urgent/Not Important etc)
  • The 4 D’s (Deal with It, Delegate It, Divert It or Ditch It)

For me,  I turned my whole life around when I started using my Diary for absolutely everything. Educating all the members of my family to use it too and enter in their activities on a weekly basis made life run a lot smoother. DIARIES AND TO DO LISTS are a great tool to help you plan ahead and is also a visual confirmation of the structure of the day/mth/yr or event etc. Having the willpower and discipline to use it religiously proved trying (apologies to my chiro for missing that appt) but persistence won out in the end.

The Third Secret is “HAVE A POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE ABOUT TIME”.

Establish a belief system that serves you. Educate yourself about time. Learn from others who have mastered the art. Eliminate time-wasting activities. Find out what time of the day you are more effective and efficient and use this to your advantage. Affirm daily ” I have more than enough time to achieve all the things I set out to do”.

Make all of this your new mindset and then you’ll have plenty of time to rest and then maybe after that just do nothing.

Angie Quinn