Sunday, December 30, 2007


Consensual living has taken a turn for the worse here, and I'm the one who is the hub of that. My attitude kind of seems to determine the atmosphere of the entire household - which is great when I'm feeling connected and aware and present and peaceful. But when I'm completely drained and overwhelmed and feeling thwarted and needy.... I just can't seem to pull it together. And this pregnancy has been hard on me, totally unlike my past pregnancies. I'm being more careful with my diet and supplements now - since I feel like a lot of it was nutritionally based.... but I feel like even under duress my behavior/attitude sometimes is totally uncalled for.
My children amaze me. They are such shining lights. They really are my gurus. Fairy came to me when I was melting down and said, "I will help you to calm down, Mommy. Breathe, breathe" and she breathed with me. "Blow out the angry thoughts" she said. And the other night I got into a battle of wills with Mermaid (which is the sort of thing that happens when I'm feeling so drained) and I said to her, feeling desperate, "I don't even want to hug you, because then I feel like you win!" (*wince*) and she said, "But Mommy, if you hug me, we BOTH win." and I realized how very very true that was -- once again, she lights my path like a beacon. My resistance slid away and we were able to reconnect then. And even Dragon - when I said "Aaargh" in frustration and was absolutely fuming about something, near tears... he came over to me and put his hands on my face and looked into my eyes with concern. He said "Uh? Uh?" in such a loving although preverbal way ... I was overwhelmed by his sweetness. His empathy is pure and authentic.

I can't believe sometimes that how "good" they are is assessed by whether they eat food they don't like or go to bed before they're tired, or if they do any number of things they don't want to d, or don't do things they do want to do, without complaining. When I see such goodness and grace shining out of my children, I am just amazed at the yardstick that is used to judge children in most of society. And I thank God that I was shown another way of looking at things.

And in writing this I realize that I am judging myself using a similar yardstick... I'm a good mother/wife if I do XYZ without complaining. And the stress of that judgment hanging over me is 90% of what overwhelms me. Otherwise when I was tired I would simply get the rest I needed. If I needed some help, I'd ask for it, if I needed some space, I'd make sure I got it. I would certainly eat when I was hungry. And then my physical and emotional needs wouldn't grow to such a flashpoint that I end up exploding irrationally and disproportionately.

I need to have a new way of looking at myself too. One that is free of judgment. Accepting myself unconditionally... because until I do that I will keep slipping into judgment and conditionality with my husband and kids - since my fundamental paradigm hasn't shifted far enough.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Connection First

I've been working on keeping a more positive perspective, thinking about
intention and manifesting, and my daughters had heard me talking to my husband about "positive thinking" and such for some time, and one day Sarah asked me about it. I told her that I was trying to hold onto happy thoughts, so I could stay calm when I was frustrated or angry.

A few days later, when Mermaid and Fairy were having some debate, I ended up taking Mermaid on my lap for a moment. (Fairy didn't want the connection at that time, she was distracted by something else.) I validated her for a moment, and then she said, "I don't have any happy thoughts, I only have angry thoughts." I said, "Would you like me to help you think of some happy thoughts?" and she said yes. So I talked about her and Fairy on the beach, playing in the water, sunshine, seagulls... and Fairy came over and sat with us too to hear about happy Mermaid and Fairy playing together.

The next day, they were arguing and I offered my lap and they both wanted to sit with me (one on each knee is our habit). I validated them for a couple moments, and then Mermaid said, "Okay, I have happy thoughts now." Fairy said in a very upset voice, "I have ANGRY thoughts." I said, "Maybe Mermaid will tell you her happy thoughts? Mermaid, do you want to do that?" Mermaid sat back down, and took Fairy's hand, and said, "We're holding hands on the beach, and there's sunshine, and we're playing in the water..." and Fairy said, "And I chase the birds?" very excitedly. It was a paraphrase of what I had verbalized the day before. It was so wonderful to see the mood change. They still didn't have resolution for what they were arguing over, but we were able to figure it out after that.

The power of connection is amazing.

Friday, March 9, 2007


I've noticed that when unschoolers want to explain unschooling to those who are involved in public schools, or are school-at-homers, there is a tendency to use radical unschooling in a really negative way, for contrast. The assertion usually amounts to: "We're not letting them be raised by wolves, like radical unschoolers."

I know that they do it to show the difference between active, involved, respectful unschooling and being neglectful and self-absorbed. So they use the phrase "radical unschooling" as a synonym for "neglectful," and "unparenting" is a word that gets tossed around in a denigrating way. Basically they see RU as "You're on your own, kid." And honestly, in the past I was very sure that radical unschooling and unparenting were one and the same. Plus, one has to consider the demographic that they're speaking to: people who don't really get unschooling at all. So quibbling about the definition of one label or another is pretty silly at that point. The idea of releasing any limits on children with good results is foreign to most people, and saying, "Oh, and my kids don't have a bed time!" would be counterproductive, branding all unschoolers as NUTS. Not even plain nuts; salted ones.

I know that my unschooling friends don't think of me as neglectful, and that they enjoy my children. So it's not personal. I don't want to make an issue of the way things are worded - but I also don't want these ideas of RU perpetuated. I have in the past broken in to say something to the effect that while some radical unschoolers may be neglectful, really it's just an extension of the idea that children will learn the academics that they need when they need it - RUers also believe that their children will learn other things such as ethics, morals, limits, and their bodily needs without being forced to.

Honestly: why would a child be naturally wired to learn to read... but NOT naturally wired to learn to sleep when they're tired and to be a connected part of the social group? When I looked at it like that I was SOLD on RU.

And if what we're trying to do, and working really hard at, is "unparenting," then I guess it's kind of a worthy goal, in my opinion. Maybe I should just get comfortable with it, own it, and sell it as positive?