When I signed up for Foundations Training to learn Sholdering skills, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My background in technology and research already made me a great listener, right?
What I found was unexpected.
After the first couple of hours, I was already putting my new skills to work.
Parenting has been the most amazing and challenging experience of my life. The levity that comes with the responsibility is heavier than I could have ever imagined (that’s for another article – or for time with my Sholder!).
Before the training I thought I was a pretty intentional parent – not perfect, but not terrible. I knew I was heavily influenced by my own upbringing, bringing both the good and the bad. The agreement my husband and I have is it is our job to help our kids become ‘good, kind people’, you know the ones who don’t cut in lines and always replace the toilet paper roll. We want them to be independent, brave, and ‘respectful’. These goals for our children informed all of our interactions. Of course – all parents in the trenches know that even with the best intended framing of your intentions, there are moments that just don’t go well. And even then, what if your framing is wildly offbase for self-actualized, awake children?
Before Foundations training, there were things we were doing right – talking to our kids – really engaging with them, holding them with love, apologizing when we messed up . . . Things we were doing wrong? See above ^ demanding respect, setting goals for them, telling them who they’re going to be . . . Eek.
After my first day of Foundations training, I walked away with a new appreciation for the concept of space; and how creating a container for whatever that needs to come up can – created a tremendous amount of trust and safety in our relationships. I didn’t realize what had happened, but something had already started to shift in me.
Mindfulness & Intentionality
So. 4-year olds. BIG feelings. Let me set the scene for you. She wakes up from a nap. Clearly ravenous. Clearly irrational. And clearly melting. Little One was absolutely inconsolable. The military mama in me desperately wanted to control – Little One, off to your room!! There is not space for your big feelings in (gulp) public.
But in that moment. I stopped. Paused. And moved forward with my whole heart – Little One – I’m here. I can sit with you. I can hold you. We can move through these feelings together.
And that fast, I became a new, more intentional parent. The power of the pause.
Connection and Communication
Turns out, my desire for my daughter’s and my connection is quite a lot bigger than my desire for control. Understanding that building trust with her and helping her to understand that I’m here for her -even when she’s having a cataclysmic, irrational tantrum- might be the most important gift I give her. We’re still working on words. Every now and again she’ll whip out an ‘I’m disappointed in you, mommy’ (OUCH) but man am I proud to have a little girl that can stand up for herself – even to her mommy.