“Clean up your room.”
“Get back in bed.”
“Eat your broccoli if you want dessert.”
“Turn off that computer now.”
Sometimes I feel like automaton mom—just trying to keep my kids doing the things I deem good for them and keeping them away from the dangers of modern life—video games, cell phones, materialism, sugar…
Where’s the joy?
To find joy, I need to get back to my core—go for a walk in nature, sing, dance or write. Once I’m fed spiritually, I can meet my kids where they want to be—experiencing the richness of life, finding their joy and experimenting with limits and new experiences.
Rather than judge their inclinations and impulses as good or bad, I can explore their world and find creative ways to reach resonance with them. Broccoli florets become “boom boom trees” harvested by dragons (my preschooler begs me to tell these stories every time I serve broccoli or cauliflower in for dinner).
Sometimes my boys find ways to find the fun together. They don’t like cleaning their rooms alone, but my preschooler loves to help his brother clean his room and possibly earn a discarded treasure in the process. My fifth grader has a gift for motivational delegating—he could probably write a book on inspired leadership.
Spiritual parenting starts with being present—when you’re present, spirit moves through you.
Sometimes it’s hard to be present.
Here’s a way to write yourself into a spiritual parenting space: Write down the problem—describe it in detail.
Now be your child and write about it from their perspective—be playful. Try to really get into his or her world. What does he want? How can you meet his needs creatively? Again be playful.
Now write the scenario in a way that his needs get met and you feel alive, present and happy. It can be pure fiction but allow yourself to get creative. You can even have a magic fairly come in and fix everything just so. Just allow the story to tell itself—not from that ego place of trying to control your child but form a place of playful spontaneity.
Next time the problem comes up, stop yourself from reaching for your usual phrase, complaint, order or request. Instead, get down to eye level with your child and acknowledge what they want or are asking for. Bring that playful writer with you and see what she has to offer.
Perhaps your imagination will take you to a place where the pirates force the hairy eyed monsters to clean up their pirate mess. You can both play the bossy pirates, then switch to the hairy eyed monsters who either grumble or—it turns out—love to clean!
With older children, their desires may be different, but you can still access your inner wisdom to explore a problem. Write about the problem from the child’s view. You can still be playful and creative in imagining a resolution.
Then when the issue comes up again, stop yourself, get into your daughter’s shoes and acknowledge her frustrations, needs or desires.
See if you can come up with creative solutions together. By doing the writing exercise first, you help shift your own energy and allow yourself to be more present with your child. You’ve also paved the way by putting good, fun, light energy into the “problem” as you write, making it easier to access the spiritual, present, fun mom who lives within.