THE SECRET TO BELIEVING IN YOURSELF AS A PARENT

By Leanne MacDonald, Spiritual Transformation Coach, Author, and Founder of The Everyday Goddess Revolution.

Do you believe that you are a good parent?

Or do you beat yourself up over how you ‘think’ you should be? I did this for years; I was that mother with serious comparisonitis.

How did other parents manage to look so well turned out, how did their kids look so balanced and happy, how did their facebook page look like a scene from Disney land with rainbows and unicorns.

Was I doing enough? Was I good enough? How could I do better?

Attending mother and child groups was like having my eyeballs removed. It was painful. Is your child doing this, and that and the other? Can your child juggle while singing the national anthem? Does your child eat quinoa with butternut squash and drink chamomile tea? Does your child speak five languages and whistle twinkle twinkle little star backwards in the dark?!

Ok, I exaggerate but the intensity of the questions and story shares hit me like a ton of bricks. No, my children cannot do all these things. So, what the hell does that mean about me?

That ‘what the hell does that mean about me’ question became a common one. When ever I felt like I was lacking in some kind of parenting way it always cropped up. The answer to that being reinforced time and time again. You are not a good parent.

If you are not able to be, do, have, say, behave in a certain way – you are not a good enough parent. I honestly did not believe in myself for a long time. My intention was there to provide the best experience ever for my two younger children but whatever I did was always viewed through this lens of – you are not a good enough parent.

I could have built a matchstick model of the Taj Mahal and still not been good enough, in fact whatever I did as a parent was just not good enough.

I had read the books, I had watched the you tube videos, I had signed up to courses, I had attended seminars, I had even completed a child psychology diploma and every action I made as a parent I always viewed in the same way – I am not good enough.

It honestly did not occur to me that I could see myself in another light. I really thought that the feelings I had about my parenting skills were true, factual and real.

I was at place A (not good parent feelings) and wanted to get to place B (parent of the year vibes). I had read everything that told me that if I read, I would get to place B. But it still felt out of reach.

All this perception was taking place in my own awareness. My mum told me I was doing a great job, strangers in cafes were telling me I was a great mother – but the thoughts I was having about my ability overshadowed that as I believed my own thoughts to be real and doubted the opinions of others.

I danced this merry dance for eight years! Eight years of beating myself up, comparing myself to other parents, wishing and willing to be in a place that I did not feel possible for me. All the while completely ignoring the here and now.

The kids were quite happy with their mum, but I was like ‘hang on kids, a better version is coming’

Looking back, it is mad to think I literally put my life on hold for a quest, a quest to be a better parent, instead of just being a parent.

I was parenting of course, an innate part of me showed up everyday to be a parent, while my mind engaged in constant chatter about my ability – my inner parent just parented, and like a boss!

I was not aware of this inner parent for a long time because I was so focused on my thinking.

This inner parent just knew what to do – always. This inner parent cherished and connected with the children, anticipating their needs. This inner parent knew how to comfort and encourage the children.

This inner parent knew what was important and what was not, and most importantly this inner parent knew how to have fun and embrace life.

This inner parent is what my children experienced.

We all have this inner parent and without exception, we just sometimes cannot hear it because of the noise.

The advice from others, the comparison to others, what our parents think is right, what our partners think is right, what the TV says is right, what the parenting books say is right.

We end up entertaining all these ideas and can end up drowning out the lovely little voice of our inner parenting guru saying ‘hey, over here’.

That feeling of ‘you are not good enough’ that grew and grew to a deafening noise, was my personal alarm. It was my inner parent saying get out of your head and back into your heart – all is well.

So, I did! I started to listen to my heart and what felt right for me and my children. I even wrote an inventory of my parenting expectations and worked through the list to understand where they came from.

Did they come from a book, from a conversation, from someone else, from my parents, from my family or did they come from my heart?

This opened a whole new way to see myself as a parent. I was good enough at doing me, and I would always struggle trying to be someone else.

What feels right and works for one parent may not for another. What feels right and works for one child will not for another children.

We are all unique, as are our children, and we all have our own unique needs and there is no one rule fits all when it comes to parenting.

Our family units differ, we differ, our children differ. The only way we can truly be the best parent to our children is to follow what we feel is the right thing for them in the moment.

Once you connect to and trust that inner parent you can never fail, you can never make the wrong choice, you will never need to seek external advice.

You will be guided all the way.

All the time that I was buying into the story of ‘I am not a good enough parent’ I was reinforcing that as a fact and ultimate reality, blocking me from seeing myself in any other way.

How do you see yourself, what statements are you playing on repeat about your ability as a parent? This will act as a lens of how you see all your parenting abilities.

What parenting ideas and rules are you trying to live up to? Are they coming from your heart? If not, where are they coming from?

Really understanding the story that you are creating is key to reconnecting with your inner parenting guru.

Our thoughts are a moving energy, they continue along their journey of flowing in and out, allowing us the opportunity to play with them in the process of creating experiences in life.

They flow in and out without meaning, they are neutral, and we all perceive those neutral thoughts in our own unique way.

That thought of ‘I am not a good enough parent’ did not mean anything about me until I made it mean something about me.

I believed a fleeting thought, which I probably perceived in a state of sleepless nights, to be a fact about me.

Let us explore where you are at right now and how you could look at things from a new and fresh perspective.

Journal Exploration:

  • What words would you use to describe your own parenting ability?
  • What areas of your parenting ability do you have an issue with or feel you lack on some way?
  • What stories are you trying to live up to which would mean you are lacking as a parent?
  • Are these stories / beliefs coming from the heart or from ideas you have picked up along the way?
  • What is important to you as a parent?
  • What areas do you have the most conflict with your children?
  • Is what you are trying to police something that is important to you or something that you feel you should be imposing as a parent?
  • What words would describe the ideal home life / parenting style?
  • Why do you feel (if you do) that you are not there yet?
  • What is it that you are doing when you do feel that you are there and in that place?
  • What parenting ideas and limitations could you let go of because they do not feel right in your heart?

Enjoy getting curious about how you see yourself as a parent!

Leanne x

HOW TO HAVE A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CHILDREN

by Leanne MacDonald, Spiritual Transformation Coach, Author and Founder of The Everyday Goddess Revolution.

The biggest transformation has occurred in the relationships I have with my children was when I stopped taking their behaviour personally.

It sounds so obvious doesn’t it? Yet we fall for it so easily.

Our children are feeling their way through life and learning and exploring new things every day, new emotions, new sensory experiences – and we are here as their guide.

So why would we take their behaviour as they go along this journey personally?

Because we are human beings having our own experience also.

Last week, I really felt that my four-year old was throwing orange peel onto the lounge floor JUST to annoy me.

In a fleeting moment it felt as if yes, she was in fact doing it with full intention to disrespect me.

In an instant, feelings of anger started to wash over me. I was annoyed and irritated, why would she do that?

The story played out like a well-rehearsed play in my mind, she’s doing that because she has no respect, she is naughty, she is intentionally trying to spoil my day.

And then I caught myself.

She threw orange peel on the floor because she didn’t want it and it seemed to her the most logical thing to do in that moment.

I calmly explained that the bin was probably a better place for the orange peel to go and she agreed.

Had I not caught myself, well I imagine a battle of wills would have ensued and she would have probably been sat on a time out step crying.

Ps: I don’t actually have a time out step, but in the orange peel mood I was in, well one would have been whipped up toot sweet.

Removing ourselves as parents from the behaviour of our children allows for space in our mind.

Space for the wisdom and connection to occupy.

There is a saying – ‘see with your heart’ and I find this very helpful when parenting.

For a long time when I felt agitated by my children and their behaviour, I used to say to myself – what would my heart do?

This took my thinking in a new direction giving me a break, allowing a chink of light for my wisdom to shine through.

Every moment of conflict I have had with my children has, without exception, has come from me taking their words and behaviour personally.

Whenever I take a step back and allow the energy of that initial reaction to pass through me, I find my communication is a lot more effective.

Remembering that we are all experiencing life in exactly the same way.

There are times in our adult life when we are tired, preoccupied, engrossed and in those moments, we say things, do things and behave in ways that are just how we feel in that moment.

We are also very good at having to attach an emotion to a thing.

We need to have a reason for the way we feel a certain way and often attach it to the wrong thing.

I have in the past been trying to pop my youngest children to bed, knowing that I had a pile of work waiting for me downstairs.

Feeling the stress of that pile of work and misplacing that stress in thinking that my children not staying their beds was the reason.

When we are in a lower mood state, we think EVERYTHING is annoying us and the reason for our feeling state.

The traffic jam, the car that pulled out on us, the kids not getting their shoes on fast enough – it all looks plausible as the reason we are stressed.

But it’s not – This is just our human experience.

Our human experience is established based upon how we have made meaning of things as we go about our journey of life.

When we make meaning of things we are creating core beliefs from which we begin to filter our experience of life through.

The majority of our core beliefs being formed as children, these core beliefs become the lens of how we see life.

Our beliefs are formed based upon who we are as an individual, it’s a sense of self.

What does it mean about me? How does that impact me?

What do I, a separate self, believe about life?

Our brain plays a vital role in facilitating this human experience and very kindly stores for us every single emotional memory that ever was.

It stores how we make meaning of everything in life in relation to us.

Then as we go about life these memories pop into our awareness from time to time helping us to shape our experience in that moment – They become a point of reference of how we see life.

When our children don’t listen, don’t act in a way we think they should, they can trigger some of these core beliefs stored in our memory and if we are not aware that this is happening we can very easily take personal offense.

It’s an automatic process that happens in a blink of an eye, not to catch us out, but to help us navigate life.

For me the ‘not good enough’ core belief was the filter in which I viewed a lot of my children’s behaviour.

And of course, no one wants to feel not good enough, so I embarked on an imaginary quest to do better, with my children’s behaviour being the marker of success in that quest….

Knowing that my initial response to EVERYTHING is automated based on the past was life changing.

You see your child’s behaviour and communication in a different light.

Of course, there are times when I still see things through a personal lens, because I am a human being, and my humanness is very effective!

Choice became an option then.

I could choose to carry on down that initial path of emotion or I could pause and reflect and see what other ways I could view the situation.

Our initial response to anything is never fixed and is almost always filtered through – what does that mean about me?

The answer is actually – it means nothing about you.

When you take yourself out of the equation the situation always looks different.

But being curious and exploring the nature of my human experience and seeing how when I insert myself into situations the emotions are more challenging is a journey, we should all be unfolding.

The power of the pause in life is an underrated one, giving yourself a few moments for the emotional energy to pass makes all of the difference in the direction you then take in life.

Journal prompts to help you explore your parenting relationship:

  • The last time you struggled with your child’s behaviour / words, what did you perceive this to mean about you as a person / parent?
  • If you think of the last time you really struggled to give advice or guidance to your child, what emotions were you experiencing?
  • The emotions you were experiencing were coming from a thought in that moment, what was on your mind as you were processing the situation?

Leanne MacDonald, Spiritual Transformation Coach, Author and Founder of The Everyday Goddess Revolution. http://www.leannemacdonaldwellbeing.com

WHAT LONELINESS AND ANXIETY LOOKS LIKE FOR ME.

By Amy Whistance, Holistic Therapist, and CoAuthor of ‘Living Life Goddess Powered’

I have started a long-overdue blog and this is one of my first posts on what loneliness and anxiety were for me at stages in my life. I thought it may resonate for some of you. I think that there is a common misconception about what loneliness is.

Many people who have never experienced it think that it can be resolved by simply surrounding yourself with people. Anyone who has will know this to be far from the case. Loneliness has held different interpretations for me throughout the various stages of my life.

Well, I say different, at the core it was very much the same issue. As a child, I held back a secret. Sometimes it felt as though keeping that secret was all-consuming, other times I could push it right back in my mind, sometimes deluding myself, actually questioning it at all only to be reminded. I put on a mask at such a young age in the hopes to keep everyone happy, in the hopes that everyone would continue to love me.

My secret kept me trapped in my cage, separated from everyone. As a teen I had many friends, my family played a large part in my life, and yet, my shame kept me lonely. My friends all seemed so ‘together’ at the time. Their families loving and caring, they didn’t seem to have a care in the world. I tried to behave the same. ‘If they knew’ framed every moment and deep down I didn’t worthy of being in that circle. My shame kept me at a distance from my family. I wanted to protect them but at the same wanted to scream out, I was so angry.

‘How can you not see?’. ‘Do they just not care?’ The shame I felt kept me lonely. As an older teen, now in a relationship, I felt more isolated than ever. I had watched for years as my mother had hidden and lied about my Step Fathers physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. I had by then opened up and been shut down by my family, the police, and my mother. I had learned that it was shameful and humiliating to expose and so when my own relationship very much resembled the physical and emotional abuse I kept quiet, in fact, I did worse.

I made out that everything was ok.My fear of humiliation and my belief that I was worth no more kept me lonely. After I fled my marriage we experienced incredibly difficult financial times. At the time a combination of misconceptions and beliefs I held about myself I agreed to enter the sex industry aside from my day job. I was no longer simply wearing the mask that I had donned when I was young, it was a part of me now. To my children, I was a hard-working mum who provided them with all of the materialistic items in life but was emotionally unavailable.

To my family, I was a successful child to be proud of. To my friends, I was someone that they could rely on to bend over backward for them and who had it all together. To my online fans in the industry, I was a very popular temptress, and to protect my family the world that I portrayed to them was purely fictional.

Some would say that I was made for that career and I have to agree. I, at my most broken and unhealed absolutely was. This continued until I reached a breaking point. I was unable to compartmentalise, I was mentally exhausted, had crippling depression and chronic anxiety. Throughout those stages, in my life, I had an abundance of people in my life but my loneliness bore an emptiness within me that is hard to explain.

Loneliness is -Feeling as though you have no one to turn to for support.

Feeling isolated (Often self-inflicted as it can feel like the only way to protect yourself).

Lack of genuine, healthy relationships. Lack of relationships in which you feel you can be authentically you. Loneliness is a warning sign just as hunger is. It is a pain to highlight a lack of human connection.

We as humans have a fundamental need for social interaction, to feel as though we belong.I don’t feel lonely anymore despite having fewer people in my life than ever before.

I don’t suffer from chronic anxiety either. It took a great deal of healing, most especially around the subject of my fear of being rejected and abandoned rooted in many childhood experiences.It took courage to be me.

There was a time that the secrets that I have shared so freely with the world up above that kept me caged with severe mental unwellness. There was a time that I believed that I would keep it all to my death.I chose to show up for myself, to the world. Me just as I am.

Warts and all.I am true to myself, I honour myself, I chase my passions and dreams, no fear of judgement, no f***s given because life truly is too short.

I don’t want to spend it in the misery that I lived before.

I express myself and make space for others to do the same. Life has turned around. Loneliness doesn’t live here anymore. Crippling anxiety has left its residence.

Amy Whistance, Holistic Therapist and Co-Author of ‘Living Life Goddess Powered’

Visit Amy’s Facebook page HERE

WHY BREAKING SOME OF YOUR OWN RULES WILL BE THE BEST THING YOU EVER DO.

by Leanne MacDonald, Spiritual Transformation Coach and Author of ‘Awaken The Everyday Goddess’

The less rules you have the more joy and opportunity you tap into…

How many rules do you live your life by?

How many requirements need to be met before something is acceptable to you?

You probably will not be aware of a vast majority of these rules, they are just there, set and filtering your experience of life.

Our life rules create our life experience.

But they also MASSIVELY limit our life experience.

What do you tell yourself has to be happening in your life for you to be happy? Life rule.

What does your partner have to do before you believe they love you? Life rule

What do your friends have to do otherwise you doubt their loyalty? Life rule

What does it mean if someone does not return your call? Life rule

Why do you hold back on something you would really love in your life? Life rule

What you think when you are not recognised for something? Life rule

Your response when someone appears to be doing better than you? Life rule

Your response if someone is not as tidy as you? Life rule

We have a little narrative for every single possible interaction with others and ourselves – that determines how we experience our life.

And that is ALL you will experience.

You cannot have limitations in place of how things should be and experience it any other way – ever.

These rules become the equivalent of taking a big rubber and rubbing out all other things possible in life until they are no longer visible.

When we let up on these life rules, we can start to see a world that we did not even know was there!

The blinkers come down and we see a life beyond our limitations.

Your life rules will all boil down to one common thing, for me it was either not good enough or not capable, in 100’s of little different narratives.

You will have created them unconsciously to protect yourself during an emotionally intense moment in a past stage of your life, in that moment it would have made perfect sense for you to come to the conclusion you did, but they only serve that one moment, not the rest of your life.

From then on, the conclusion you make will live on replay, constantly shaping your life experience.

My rules were a way to prove to myself that yes, I was in fact not good enough, so all relationships wouldn’t last, new friendships would end in me being left out, and I would be overlooked always, I created rules to almost reinforce and confirm this in my mind.

In my mind I was not good enough. I had decided that during a situation at school where I very vividly remember being different to the others and not in a good way.

And that is key because how we feel about ourselves is unique to us, ask your friends and family to describe you!

It will be nothing like how you describe yourself.

Externally I was getting up and doing the things and achieving but internally I did not see that all I heard was my narrative.

Let go on the need to have rules about everything in life.

Use self-inquiry to get to the root of that one common theme in your life rules and shine the biggest torch on it.

When things are brought to light, they lose their power.

Think of a time when you were lying in bed and terrified thinking someone was in your home, only to turn on the light and see there is nothing there.

Face your life lessons head on and decide if they serve you being a part of your life moving forward.

Less life rules…. More opportunity for choice.

More opportunity for choice…. More chance of bringing joy and purpose into your life!

Tons of love

Leanne

Leanne MacDonald is a Spiritual Transformation Coach & Author / http://www.leannemacdonaldwellbeing.com

Join Leanne’s Facebook Community here

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