Saturday, 3 December 2011

Slinging It - Continuing the Continuum

I am so excited as I am finally getting round to ordering a Mei tei - our first Mei Tei from new!

It is custom hand-made, and we cannot wait to recieve them and go for some lovely long walks over the Christmas period. 

Here is the make of Mei Tei we are getting:

Our Baby Wearing Story Societal change requires a change in the way we view children and how we parent - and for me it started with realising that my instincts to respond to and nurture the children who share my life were always right.

Before the boy who shares my life was born I had a vision of orderly control. I painted a nursery and filled it with things. In the instant that he was born, time stopped just for a moment and then everything changed. When he came home with me and he didn’t go in the cot for long, soon we were co sleeping. I had a pram but I found he preferred to be mostly in arms. 

Then when I discovered that we were expecting twins, I wanted to have the same bond I had shared with my son with them.  So after some research on the long-term benefits of respectful attachment parenting I discovered "proper" slings. 

At first I was scared to put the twins in slings as it seemed too complicated, but it soon became second nature. We started off with a piece of jersey to wrap, then used thicker fabric to wrap but discovered that woven is better (Storch, girasol, Didymos). I have also test driven my friends Ergo and that is a fantastic buckle carrier, really comfortable but only goes up to around 18 months as far as I know.  Kinderpacks are also highly rated in the sling wearing community. I love mei teis but also love the double hammock wrap carry when I can do it right!

Making Paint

I have been slowly working through the house and trying to make everything non-toxic. Then I was loooking at the remnants of the "washable" paints we have and I thought how wasteful they are due to the plastic bottles, and then I wondered what is inside the bottle?

As luck would find me at the moment - I found a lovely home made paint recipe from the Greenparent magazine and we tried it. Success! The paint is a lovely consistency and the colours bright - the only set back is that you have to mix the colours before reusing.

1 tablespoon of cold water
1 tablespoon of cornflour
1 cup of hot water
Food colouring

Mix the cornflour with the cold water to make a paste. Add the hot water a bit at a time - then add some colours of choice. Put in a jam jar and use!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

A Story to Make us Think

"When I was about twenty years old, I met an old pastor's wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn't believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was standard punishment at the time.

"But one day when her son was four or five, he did something that she felt warranted a spanking — the first in his life. And she told him he would have to go outside and find a switch for her to hit him with. The boy was gone a long time. And when he came back in, he was crying.

"He said to her, 'Mama, I couldn't find a switch, but here's a rock you can throw at me.' All of the sudden a mother understood how the situation felt from the child's point of view: that if my mother wants to hurt me, it makes no difference what she does it with; she might as well do it with a stone.

"The mother took the boy onto her lap and they both cried. Then she laid the rock on a shelf in the kitchen to remind herself forever: never violence. Because violence begins in the nursery — one can raise children into becoming violent."

~ Astrid Lindgren, author of "Pippi Longstocking" (From a peace prize acceptance speech)

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Toys and Television

One year after darling boy came into this world, I can recall a friend being horrified that I hadn't bought him a gift. I reasoned that he didn't need one. I bought most clothes and toys from a second hand sale, and just, didn't need anything.

I was shamed enough on her insistence to then and there go and buy a plastic toy vacuum cleaner. Two days after his birthday it broke and I returned it secretly pleased.

For starters, I hate plastic. I hate throwaway culture and how disposable people deem plastic to be when it is actually not degradable and often toxic.

What I find even worse than plastic toys, are light and sound toys. Not only do they drive me mad but they are so tacky and for want of a better word, patronising! You may wonder how can a plastic toy be patronising, perhaps it can't, perhaps manipulative is a better word. It is just that children learn exactly what they need to learn when they need to learn it, given opportunities. But manufacturers think how can I get people to buy our tat and make money? Hmm we'll pretend babies need this! We'll make parents think babies need to be super-stimulated and need more and more toys in order to learn and be "clever". That brings me to an even worse toy crime - having too many toys.

Many would not agree with me. Therefore I will start with my television argument. There is a plethora of research stating that brain activity is at its lowest when watching TV. The brain activity when watching TV is LESS than when one is sleeping. You may think what is wrong with that, but then consider how a child's brain could be developing in that time instead.

I believe or propose at least, that having a lot of toys makes play passive; in a similar way that TV works. Notice that when a child is infront of a lot of toys they don't play with anything for long. They move from one thing to the next very quickly, there is no involvement or play going on. Compare this to a child instigating play and being deeply involved in exploration? E.g tonight whilst in the bath Curly Locks picked up a boat and scrutinised it for a long time, she dipped it in and out the water, used it as a cup, dipped her fingers in it. I watched her exploring the boat for quite some time. Left to self-regulate, children have a long concentration span. When exposed to a lot of TV they don't.

As a result of not having television and having a few toys (mainly wooden toys and puzzles) I wonder if this has allowed the children in my life more freedom to direct their own learning and play.

Today my son found a DVD he had been given as a handout 5 months ago. He asked to watch it and I put it on as such requests are rare. I worry slightly less about the occasional DVD because there is slightly less brainwashing. On this DVD however, the first words echoed in my mind "we hope you enjoy this Episode from the Disney Channel, do watch us every day" - at that point, as I walked up the stairs, I didn't doubt our opposition to television and a room full of toys.


Photograph courtesy of the boy who shares my life

Monday, 31 October 2011

Talking to the Little You

The boy who shares my life was going to school one day, and as we were leaving he told me that a little boy who I shall name Timothy was being put in a naughty chair “all of the time”.  When I asked what naughty meant he said it meant he was not being nice, when I asked how he said he wasn’t sitting as the teacher wanted him to, and pushed, hit and hurt other children. I just felt very sad for Timothy because for a boy of his age 5-6 years to be wanting to hurt other children he must be feeling hurt himself, frustrated, misunderstood even. And to be punished for that just doesn’t seem fair. 
I understand that it is not appropriate to hurt other people but I thought it could be handled differently, and singling him out and sitting him in a naughty chair must just compound his ill feelings towards himself and others.
I thought about if I met Timothy, what I could say to him to make him feel better – all I could think is that he would want to feel understood.  I thought about what I would say to him, and then I realised it was what I would have wanted someone to say to me.
I can remember being may be 7 years old and playing hopscotch. This friend of mine was playing really excitedly and freely and I got really irritated and angry, may be because I couldn’t play like that, and when she went to jump over me I purposefully tripped her up. I can remember how it felt, how satisfying it felt, how it healed some hurt or at least reduced it for a while. But I can also remember the shame I felt about feeling like that.

 I would say something like: ”When I was at school I used to hurt other children and I didn’t want to do what the teachers wanted, do you know how that feels? I am so happy you understand, I always felt like no-one understood. And I hurt inside and that made me want to hurt other people. Do you know how that feels. That makes me feel better knowing someone else gets it. And you know, when the teachers or my mummy or daddy told me off, it just made me feel worse. It made me feel wrong but what I was feeling was right and perfectly normal. Do you know how that feels?” 

And then I thought about the boy who shares my life and how I loose perspective and empathy with him. May be if I saw myself as him more it would allow me to respond to him more compassionately?

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Boundaries Part Two

I also trust that the children who share my life will learn things as they need to without being taught. Some people may say that children need boundaries in what they are allowed to say and do. If you have an issue in what a child says that is your issue surely and if it triggers something, then that is an opportunity for you to heal. As an example, I was sat in the car talking to the boy who shares my life, and he turned around and shouted “be quiet, stop talking to me” and it got louder and more angry when I questioned him. I normally would have gotten angry and not known what to do but yesterday I sat in it. I said nothing and I felt what he had triggered – it wasn’t really anger it was deep shame and self-hatred and resentment. Partly because he was just repeating what I had said to him(and really shouldn’t have). Manners are taught through being respectful. I have written about this before but I really believe that being told to say thank you, please etc robs a child of their ability to learn about gratitude, because they are being humiliated and shamed to parrot expressions!
I have been told that I need to push him to socialise. Well he is very chatty to people he meets that he instinctively trusts. When we go out and someone talks to him that he doesn’t want to talk to, I am not going to humiliate him and call him “shy” or push him to “say hello” because I trust his instincts. There are some people that we just get a bad feel for and I do not want him to loose his ability to know himself. I am there to talk to them and be the source of manners, and he will learn small chat from seeing me.

Another area of self regulation is with food – as a child we are told when and what to eat. What if we never were? People wonder why there are so many unhealthy people who overeat and have completely lost touch of what they need to eat, or to eat when only hungry, to distinguish thirst and hunger– well is it really a surprise when from an early age purees are shoved in unwilling babies mouths, babies are weaned before they are ready, children are coerced, forced, bribed to eat even just one more spoon or to try something, disallowing certain foods when someone thinks they have had enough. Imagine baby led weaning and trusting your baby knows exactly what to eat and when (I am not talking junk food which is in effect a drug and no-one is able to regulate because the hydrogenated fat and refined sugar is addictive). As an example, one of the baby girls in my life is going through a phase of just wanting to eat yoghurt, I trust that it is a phase and after a few days she will recognise that her body needs something else – so I’ll wait it out. Again my son was not baby led weaned, and I went through a naive period of using reward charts to get him to eat and now he has little self-regulation so I need to step back and let him learn to self regulate again before it is to late.

The difference being in the first list of imposed boundaries, to the second set which I do not impose which I have been told I should, is that in day to day life we don’t play on a road so neither will the children who share my life – it is always dangerous, we don’t play with chemicals – but we do have confidence in what our bodies can do and we do have faith in our ability to use basic tools.


  • Aldort, Naomi. Raising our children, raising ourselves. (paperback)
  • Aldort, Naomi. Trusting our children, trusting ourselves. (CD)
  • Graham Brent. Teresa. Parenting for social change.
  • Grille, Robin. Parenting for a peaceful world
  • Jackson, Deborah. Letting go as children grow. (paperback)
  • Jackson, Deborah. Three in a bed: the benefits of sleeping with your baby. (paperback)
  • Liedloff, Jean. The continuum concept.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Boundaries Part One

I cannot be sure, but from most of the authoritarian parents I encounter, they believe me to be permissive/indulgent, even somewhat neglectful due to my different opinion about boundaries.

 There are (if you did wish to categorise) four styles of parenting – authoritarian (traditional coercive, socialising style), neglectful, indulgent/permissive and authoritative (helping, respectful style). I consider myself to follow the latter.

The difference being I can gather, is regarding trust, interference and whether you guide them respectfully with love, or not at all. I am consciously trying not to use control measures to train my children like manipulative use of praise, punishment, rewards, or evaluation so may be that is seen as neglectful. I tend to watch and be a guide when required. For instance if my son brings me a picture, I don’t praise or evaluate like “oh wow good boy, aren’t you a good drawer!” I just validate his own expression of achievement so he relies on his own standards and feedback.  For instance I would mirror his emotions and say “I see it, I see your picture. You have used lots of colours. When did you learn to draw like this? You figured it out by yourself!” But anyway, back to boundaries!

I feel extremely frustrated about the accusation that I have no boundaries. I know my failings because I have analysed myself to death.  They are that I can be inconsistent, too emotional, I let myself be bullied and I can be very indecisive and that means that I am not strong in myself – a big fail. But I am working on all those areas.

But will I create more boundaries for the sake of fitting in? No, I cannot do that because my lack of control in is purposeful. I shall explain after exploring some boundaries I have in place. Safety is where I draw the line – I child proof rather than say no all the time, because then no really does mean no. I remember being in a supermarket and seeing a boy walking around with his dad who was saying “no don’t walk like that , Oliveeeer don’t touch that, Oliiveeeeeeeeer NO NO NO don’t walk there, no don’t walk so fast, no Oliveeer can you not see you are in his way….”. Any one could see that Oliver was blocking out his dad’s incessant whining and any “no” coming from his lips wasn’t taken seriously because his dad’s over control created a world, where Oliver didn’t know what he should be doing at all.

So some examples of my boundaries: I have created a child free kitchen when I am cooking by child proofing it and placing a baby gate across the archway, playing with chemicals and wash powder is a definite no, eating soil is a no, eating anything poisonous or breakable is a no, no walking on a road, not playing with glass, no hot water, basically anything dangerous and without an opportunity to learn .

And here is where I may shock you. Because here are some boundaries that I probably should impose for social reasons but do not, and I will explain why. My children as babies have or will be introduced to climbing, scissors, knives, graters and peelers, and stairs. At around two years old (and definitely by age 3), my son was able to use a knife to chop vegetables, he could grate himself cheese, and peel vegetables. When I see the children who share my life trying to use tools, I guide them. If I am using a pair of scissors and a little pair of hands tries to grab them, I validate “yes, I see you want to use the scissors, let us explore together – you see these blades are sharp, I never touch them ouch ouch,  this is what they are for – we cut things” and I guide their hands to hold the scissors and we cut together. Some might say I am encouraging them, I would argue that they are in less danger of accidents because they know how to use the tool properly and do not have the same unnatural curiosity about these objects that other children do.  My opinions about stairs and climbing have changed since the boy who shares my life has grown. When he was a baby, I was a lot more fearful and did not trust that he knew what his body could do, I can see now that my fears have become his fears. I taught him not to trust his body and he now has a lack of coordination and lack of trust in his physical ability that brings on raging feelings of guilt in me.
Every time he went to climb or he lightly fell, I would rush over grimaced face giving him the impression he could not trust himself to know when he was upset or what his abilities were. Since then I have learnt that children know what their bodies can do WHEN left alone to learn without interference.  As an example, if you look at babies from tribes who live in high up tree houses, they do not fall. If you look at tribes which have deep holes dug out in the ground, the babies crawl to the edge, look down, then crawl away and never go close enough to fall in. It is not because they have the fear of God in them but because they have been left to explore and discover for themselves. As I am sure you have experienced, being told not to do something doesn’t make you not want to do it, it just makes you even more curious.  For most children taught not to do things out of fear, they’ll just wait to do it when the source of fear is not around!
Can you imagine the trust involved from the mother? Seeing your baby crawl across, and look down a huge drop? Can you imagine. Can you then imagine knowing your baby needs to learn themselves and letting go? Well I tried an experiment at home. One of the babies that shares my life was constantly trying to climb on the table, and I started off by pulling her off constantly. Then I remembered to trust her so she could trust herself. I saw her going to climb and I smiled benignly and went about my business. Next thing I see she is sat on top of the dining table helping herself to a piece of fruit.    I then watch as she tries to back off the table, she lays on her tummy and pushed backwards – she missed the chair and dangled her legs down. At this point I got very nervous and wanted to “save her”. I walked closer but did not touch her. I watched as she pulled herself back onto the table, she then shifted over and repeated the movement until she made contact with the chair. She then sat in the chair, very content. She repeated this three times and then went off to play on the ground. She learnt how to climb on and off a table, without accidents, without intervention because she had confidence and trust in herself. She has since learnt to climb the stairs and comeback down, as has her sister (both 15 months). I cannot lie and say I trust them enough to do this without me around, but as they gain confidence so do I. Now I can sit at the bottom of the stairs waiting for them to come down, seeing how happy they are with their own ability.
The difference being in the first list of imposed boundaries, to the second set which I do not impose which I have been told I should, is that in day to day life we don’t play on a road so neither will the children who share my life – it is always dangerous, we don’t play with chemicals – but we do have confidence in what our bodies can do and we do have faith in our ability to use basic tools.



  • Aldort, Naomi.  Raising our children, raising ourselves. (paperback)
  • Aldort, Naomi.  Trusting our children, trusting ourselves. (CD)
  • Graham Brent. Teresa. Parenting for social change.
  • Grille, Robin. Parenting for a peaceful world
  • Jackson, Deborah. Letting go as children grow. (paperback)
  • Jackson, Deborah. Three in a bed: the benefits of sleeping with your baby. (paperback)
  • Liedloff, Jean. The continuum concept.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Being an Authentic Child

This week I went with the boy who shares my life to a Tae Kwon Do class.  I watched as he followed the instructions, trying to do sit ups and jabs and reverse jabs, he was so happy. At the end, all the children were learning a sequence, and I watched as he copied as best he could and then at the end shouted "YAH!" along with the other children.

I was amazed at the freedom of his expression - how he really didn't care what anyone else thought of him, didn't care if he was doing it "right", he was so at ease with himself. I recalled how awquard I felt in my own skin, even up until recent years and how even now, I probably couldn't do what he did. I would just have felt so selfconsicous, so embarassed,   so afraid of negative judgement. I am so entrenched in fear that I often miss life's opportunities. So damaged.
And as I watched him, long awaited tears fell down my cheeks, I gulped in pain. I was so proud of him the emotion was brimming. I was just ecstatic with joy that he was so free.

Since then, I have been thinking about how to not damage his authentic expression.  How can I stop his confidence being damaged? May be there are no gaurentees, but I believe with care, with self care too, I can be the mother that I need to be to protect him when I need to.

I am getting closer and closer to pulling him out of school. After two months of school, he has been taught about retribution, seen children punished when in need of healing and learnt how to be controlled with punishments and rewards. I am sure he has learnt lots of positive beautiful things, like....  when a mother came in to talk about alternatives to houses, and meeting a builder, and discovering about the past 100 years. But I am just not sure that I want to risk loosing his creativity and authenticity? Whilst so many children thrive in school, it isn't suitable for every child because it caters for one type of personality, one type of learning style.  The trouble is I don't know if it is his style and deep down I doubt it is.

All I know right now is that I am so lucky to share my life with these children.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Child Stealing and children learning eugenics in schools


Bankers have been funding military like training programs in schools with the teaching of eugenics. They have also formed a charity which isn't so charitable - Barnados and then I learn about child stealing.

I wouldn't believe it had I not seen so much evidence.

And this in England? What sort of society are they trying to create? This goes against everything I believe in for children and societal change.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

All by myself...

I suggested to my husband that doing a foundation course in non-violent communication would be very worthwhile for our marriage and family life, even his career. I let the seed sink in, it grew, and then he went off for the weekend.

I'm happy for him but am spending the weekend with my children but without him. Saturday has been fine so far but as night creeps in, I'm less amused. Why is it I feel perfectly confident in the day but now it is dark, even though I am surrounded by little bodies, I feel a little nervous. Feminist as I try to be I want a man in the house - not just any man, the man who shares my life.

But it is for a good cause I remind myself. You see Captain Underpants lacks empathy and finds it very hard to communicate without being.. hard. He says
what am I? Tin man?
I read recently that authoritarian parenting with all the forced "thank yous" and "say please" actually stops you feeling pleasure and gratitude because instead you feel manipulated and humiliated. As an example I didn't ask the lovely boy to say his Ps and Qs - so when he says thank you it is true gratitude. He can learn about English manners soon enough.

But I digress - what is non-violent communication? It is basically a way of communicating with compassion, removing all the beliefs and judgements and evaluations - a way to truely listen. Guess I'll be trying it all week and giving a report next weekend. I heard it has changed the dynamic of some families, I shall wait with hope!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

More than a Bottle

Monday is the day we do a baby/ toddler sign language class. I walked there, (scrutinising the sky for chemtrails - just in case) battling against the Autumnal winds.  In the hall, I settled down with the girls who share my life, metal water bottle in reach. Babies soon flocked over, wanting to explore the shiny beacon in front of us. As the babies arrived over the hour to explore my water bottle I smiled at them and the mother acknowledging them and showing I didn't mind. I watched the mothers' reactions knowing in any given day, at ant stage of my life, I could be one of these mothers:

Some mothers raced over to remove their child, saying "that's not yours"-   Others called their babies "nosey", and one pulled them away saying sorry their baby was trying to steal. One mother scowled disapprovingly and raised her voice repeatedly saying "no", until the child was removed from the vicinity of the bottle.

The most thought provoking reaction was a mother who started scowling and shouting as soon as the baby started to crawl over, the baby sat 5 inches in front of me. I smiled and the baby started to make a noise similar to a wince, her hand darted in front of her and then back to her body. She did this several times. I cannot know what she was thinking, but I guess she was so used to being told off that her need to explore was inhibited with her uncertainty. I nodded at her to gesture it was okay and she gently touched the top. At this point her mother rushed over, yanked her off the ground grumbling "mummy told you no, I SAID no!". A minute later, the baby started crying, I wondered if she was finding a reason to cry and therefore find healing. The babies' mother watched her cry, and was only when another mummy exclaimed that she was crying that the mother responded. I felt really sad for both the mother and the baby, because clearly there was a connection missing. The mother sad, angry, resentful; the baby distressed, emotional needs unmet, unsure and fearful. What saddened me most was that the baby didn't seem consoled when her mummy comforted her.

How would I have responded - in an ideal world, on a perfect day:

I would probably have had the thought they shouldn't play with someone else's bottle, then I would have questioned it and realised it wasn't true. I would have let them explore and waited incase I was required. If the bottle owner seemed uneasy with the baby playing with the bottle, I might have left it for her to tell my baby. My baby will learn about the world given these opportunities. Otherwise I would have gently gone to my baby and expressed my empathy - yes I see, I see you want to play with this bottle but this lady wants to keep it herself. I understand that you want to play with it, can I offer you another bottle/toy? And if they cry, comfort them.

I feel so much frustration and anger that people don't realise that there is another way, that in my trying to be respectful and unconditionally loving I get so much opposition.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Petitions against Child Abuse Guides

Today I would like to share a petition posted in the link below by Dr Momma blog. Amazon are selling books on how to abuse your child, really hard to read the exert giving detail of what to buy to whip your baby: Please sign the petition - Just to lighten the mood sharing this picture (now if I did publish a back-at-you parenting manual, I'd have to get this on the cover:

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Parenting Handout Required? Part Two

Yesterday I posted part one of my ridiculous parenting manual. Here is part two:

3. You have no boundaries. You should parent like me.

I think you are confused. One could group parenting in four styles:
a)Authoritarian (conditional)
b) Indulgant/ permissive
c) Authoritative
d) Uninvolved

Permissive parenting is not the same as authoritative / unconditional parenting.  In permissive parenting styles there is no boundaries, children are left to do as they wish. In respectful parenting, the child-parent bond is paramount. Children are not overly controlled, if there is an issue it is resolved through respectful discussion. The source of the issue is tackled in a compassionate way, rather than the resulting behaviour punished.

I consider the style we are aiming for to be peaceful / respectful. We have boundaries - these are set through modelling and the child's intrinsic need to be with his tribe, rather than fear.

4. Why don't you use praise, rewards or punishment like me. I know what I'm talking about, I am a good parent, people tell me so. And a teacher so do explain doormat?
Yes Miss. Please read the link. Praise and rewards are the different sides of the same coin. Over 70 studies have shown that extrinsic motivators are not merely ineffective long term, but can be counter productive. They damage self esteem and the child's authenticity because the child becomes addicted to pleasing others.

5. Authoritarian parenting is the only way to parent, I should know. Why are you not doing as I say?
I do not agree. I believe that authoritarian parenting that uses shame, punishment, and manipulation is damaging long-term, despite it being so effective short-term.
 I believe parenting peacefully or with respect(unconditional parenting) is better:

Note respectful parenting is NOT permissive parenting ( where there are no boundaries). Instead children are parented to feel loved without conditions. Boundaries are modelled or enforced with respect. Milestones and development are generally child led because the parent respects and trusts the child.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Parenting Handout Required? Part One

I keep getting asked the same questions by the same relatives, especially one, so that I can be talked over, ignored and then she has an opener for a two hour session of her saying what I do wrong by using respectful /unconditional parenting practice. I started writing a pamphlet to hand her, until posting it on Greenparent realised after someone pointed it out that if I defended myself I was giving her the upper hand and making her think I had something to defend! It also came tomy attention that while she spends so much time stating that my son has no boundaries, she is the one without boundaries, and certainly without respect. Ouch.

But I shall share some of my answers - see if they are useful or you can add to them!

1. You're obviously not doing a good job parenting, look how unhappy your son is, he needs boundaries. I know much better than you, explain why you won't listen?The reason why my son has been unhappy the last 6-14 months are reflective of a huge change in our lives ( arrival of two babies) the fact we are generally unsupported, isolated and alone. He is mirroring my behaviour.

Any mother who has no emotional support would really struggle. Typically mothers left to be unsupported are much more likely to abuse their children and commit infanticide.

Since having J I have received little acceptance or support. While you may consider that untrue, from my perspective, acceptance means leaving someone to be as they are without withdrawing approval, attention and without criticism.

I am presently at the stage of considering moving to an area where I can find emotional support, alloparents and more likeminded networks. I feel that I don't really know myself, having always been so sensitive to pleasing others, I often just feel torn, "wrong" and I guess I am just components of what everyone I have ever met who told me I should or shouldn't be or do.

2. Why don't you punish him (i.e. dominating and controlling children) he is crying and at his age he shouldn't / he wet the bed/ helped himself to something out the fridge/ doesn't want to wear the shirt I just bought him ? :
Here is an article about the cost of shame: (basis of your parenting style)

We live in a control dominated society. Most parents styles use control to make children behave in a manner that fits with the adults belief system. Children are manipulated with shame (i.e you're too big to do that), praise, rewards and punishments. Praise and punishments are different sides of the same coin.

Most parents believe the assumption. . that children need to be controlled, shaped, taught. They believe that nature is wrong.

Throughout history minority groups in the USA and empire (disabled, Asian, Irish, gay, lesbian, women, etc) have been considered uncivilised and unable to make their own decisions and have been controlled. I believe this historic injustice is still alive today in the ill treatment of children.

Babies are born able to crawl to their mother's breast, they know how to breathe, they know to communicate their needs. They know when they are hungry, when they need to be held, they know how to heal themselves with crying, they know when they want to start eating and how to learn to crawl and walk. But adults interfere because they were controlled as children, that is all they know, they believe it is the only way). They were never trusted so they are scared to trust their own instincts, and the children who share their lives.

Babies are forced onto schedules and well-meaning midwives tell us they "should" go through the night at this age, they shouldn't cry to be held, at night they "shouldn't" need mummy so they "should" be left to cry, they "should" sleep away from their mother, and they "shouldn't" trust their own body to know what and when they want to eat solids so adults innocently give them unidentifiable mash and coerce and bribe them to eat.

And this control gets worse as the baby turns into a toddler, worse as the toddler turns into a child. There are no tantrums in a loving respectful mother-child relationship. There might be frustrations and expressions that a mother is in tune with, but the child is always right.


Is the New World Order Killing Us All

Today I've been reading about the Iluminatu/cabal/guardians and their century's old plans to control and kill off the population. If you look at the World Banks plans - a lot of what they are planning is coming to fluition or has passed. Strangley it has been said that a staged alien invasion would bring all nations as one, and let the NWO take charge. The plans to do so were apparently in operation since the 1940s and that is why we've slowly been groomed to accept the existence of aliens, or so I read. But imagine my surprise when The New Scientist had a small piece on aliens, like their existence was accepted?

Apparently we're being drugged using chemtrails
But what worries me is that I have a lot of the symptoms and recently have seen a lot of planes flying over.

I know you cannot believe everything you read - there are so many conspiracies. But what if TV, media, commercialism, what if it is all a ruse to control us, use us - and now we are no longer needed? I am just going to keep an open mind...

Monday, 3 October 2011

School Days

My son has just started school. There was much trepidation in him starting, due to the fact that his school ( like most)  is very much built on the philosophy that children need to be taught and controlled.

From the way society is going, it is clear that conditional love and fear based parenting practice isn't working. I want my children to enjoy learning. Schools can extinguish the joy a child naturally feels when learning, they either do "work" because they are addicting to pleasing their teachers and parents, because they're competing with peers, because they're going after rewards, or because they are scared of failure (and we know greatness comes from learning from mistakes right) - so traditional school doesn't follow my wishes for my children or any child for that matter.

Praise/rewards and punishment are different sides of the same coin.  Over 70 studies have shown that extrinsic motivators are not merely ineffective long term, but can be counter productive. They damage self esteem and the child's authenticity because the child becomes addicted to pleasing others.

On Friday I get a letter from his school saying he has been selected to join a special communication group where he'll learn to make eye contact, to not talk unless his turn, to make and keep friends, to have empathy etc. I do not believe that children learn these things by being taught. I don't tell my son to say thank you, I model it - and no he doesn't say thank you all the time, but when he does it is true genuine gratitude. If as soon as I gave him something, I said "say thank you" I'd take away my joy in giving and worse, I would have robbed my son of the opportunity to contemplate and feel gracious.

Children don't learn empathy from being told about it - they learn from seeing it, experiencing unconditional love.

You might ask why he has been selected - well I never said I was perfect, and these are my ideals that I need support to carry out. This is my aim and I'm getting closer.

Interesting reads:

Alfie Kohn

Naomi Aldort

Teresa Graham Brett

Robin Grille

Please note: My blog is now open for comments

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Barefoot Walking

Barefoot walking is therapeutic according to 19th century priest Father Sebastian Kneipp from Germany. I'd heard of reflexology and knew that gait can be improved when walking barefoot, but Father Sebastian suggested that a disease he had suffered from was cured. I believe that walking barefoot is good for circulation too. What was interesting was how grounding it was.

We visited an outdoor nature centre, and paet of the experience was a barefoot walking trail. It started off (as you would expect) with the removal of shoes. Babies in slings, and our son holding Captain Underpants hand, we began on latticed rubber matting on mud; that was pleasant enough. The next sensation was a cold muddy waterbath, it was refreshing and a gentle start. The ground under foot gradually became more stoney! The most painful was a waterbath with stones and some coal type rocks. The bed of large rounded stones and log rolls was like a pleasant massage. To finish there was a trail of straw, hardened clay and a squishy mud bath!

I know I always tend to over analyse, but I stopped and spoke to my family about how it really did feel like a therapy. In the moment when you are walking on sharp rocks, there is nowhere else you can be. And it was so grounding to be focussed on each step.

In that moment I woke up. Not in the sense that I wasn't tired, it was rather the opposite, as if I stopped to listen to my body and I felt how exhausted I am. 

I googled Barefoot Therapy and found out there are holidays! I think for now I will dream about building my very own experience in my back garden...

Saturday, 1 October 2011

MARY HASKELL [1873 - 1964]

Nothing You Become
Will Disappoint Me

Nothing you become will disappoint me;

I have no preconception that I’d like to see you be or do.

I have no desire to foresee you, only to discover you.

You can’t disappoint me.

This is so beautiful. I keep reminding myself of this in moments when I forget that the children who share my life are a gift from God - an opportunity for me to know beauty.

A Day in the Sun

I always find that it doesn't matter how bad I am feeling, how tired I am, how caught up I am in my negative thinking, as soon as I go outside and potter around the garden,  or go for a walk on a sunny day, I just feel great.

Today we had a long day out, we drove to our nearest town, parked and began strolling through the park down to the town centre.  We went to the health food shop and bought some freshly cooked spanacotas (I cannot spell it - spinach in filo!)  and lentil flan, and with babies in slings still walked to the Buddist cafe. I am so astonished at far one of my babies walked today, she was unstoppable!

I have been reading Deborah Jackson's book "Letting go as children grow" and while I am not even halfway through, it has really illustrated that as far as I have come, I am still trying to control my children. She explains that children, when left to explore naturally, do so safely. (Of course not in front of cars or with chemicals! But within nature they explore and understand their limits). So I have had tolet go because constantly trying to limit one's child can decrease their confidence and   actually hamper their development, making situations less safe for them. She also claims that you can make exploration more dangerous for your child by introducing fear and expectations that can then occur because of the seed of doubt - i.e. if a child is happily balancing on a wall and you say "arghhhhhhh! Look at you, you'll fall!" then knowing that, they'll be thinking about falling and thence fall, when not knowing that they may not have.  Roll on today when my baby is climbing everywhere  and I am having to not look at having to let go. She is climbing onto our dining chairs, then onto the dining table and crawling around eating fruit and then clmbimg back onto the chair and onto the floor. I watched as she once, twice tried to climb down from the table top where there was no chair.. she quickly pulled her legs back up and located the chair andsafely got herself down... on our walktoday Ihad to trust she knew how far she could walk and tried torespect her will and it was enjoyablebut notsomething I can do without support. Two babies need two adult hands!

Okay the kangaroo has nothing to do with a walk in England, I took it in Australia but this kangaroo illustrates the heat of the day and my sense of being in the moment!

Head shake moment of the day: Watching my husband watch the "four candles" sketch on uTube... again.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Detached from Nature

I was walking along thinking how detached I am from nature and the seasons. It is so easy to forget that the world has a rhythm and so do we as humans to. It is autumn and the leaves are dropping and it almost feels like I'm ready to slow down, getting ready to fatten up and hibernate in the coming cold weather.

Even food should follow seasons. Eggs naturally aren't available all year - strawberries, peppers, even apples aren't annually grown. So I have started again with an organic vegetable and fruit box. Now we can only ear what is in season and grown locally.

One thing is got sure, I won't miss returning all the unnecessary wrapping the supermarkets toxify my produce with for no apparent reason.. Yes, I do that.

Cutest baby moment of the day: My girls clapping hands at eachother and giggling!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Making things Simple

On reflection I wonder if my family's beliefs that academic intelligence and education are actually damaging. I've grown up feeling not good enough or feeling superior at times, both ugly experiences.

As I watched my son - his simplicity is so beautiful and I wonder why we spend life making everything so complicated? As if by building this bank of false beliefs about what we need and should or shouldn't do we're somehow successful or important? I've been running around thinking I have to do this, decide where we'll live, when we'll go, how we'll sell the house and what to do because we cannot afford it. I've created so much stress and pain and yet our situation remains the same.

I definitely need to watch my son and baby girls - let them guide me, teach me how to be in the here and now.

Favourite child magic moment of the week: we went for a walk and our son kept walking ahead, he'd scrutinise a stick, murmur to himself, drop it and find another. After a while he turned around and said "none of these have my name on? Where is my stick?". It took me a while to realise when we got there my husband had said "bet there is a big stick here with your name on it!"

Monday, 12 September 2011

A Beautiful Poem

On Children Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Parenting for a Peaceful World

I have been reading Robin Grilles book - Parenting for a Peaceful World. It covers the history of parenting, how they have been raised through the ages and the building research about how important parenting is in shaping children into adults and society overall.

This book was really to read in its content, but not so easy on my emotions. Some parts were hard to read because they are so raw,uncomfortable in terms of how children have been treated historically, but then as we got into the last 100 years and present day and emerging parenting methods - I felt an impending guilt, self -disgust and  pressure to really do better.

One part, I don''t know exactly how it was put, describes how even the best mothers, those with the most loving intentions, become abusive if they do not have any support. That really hit me. I am not saying I am a child abuser - but okay I am actually. Because in term of how I want to parent my children, my ideals, I am abusive. I really do know better but I find it so impossible because I am unsupported, overburdened and lonely. I am not a victim, not anymore because I am going to change the situation. I don't need to live like this to be at my family's pleasure so they can "pop in" and see a grandchild and then go off to live their "own life".

Looking at how authoritarian parents use guilt, control, manipulation to control - I can see why I have been mindwashed to try to please everyone (up until recently) and now understand the overwhelming guilt, self hatred and shame I feel when I even THINK about doing something my old family don't approve of. I guess if you are brought up to be judged and blamed and evaluated, that is how you think to treat everyone, including yourself. You can imagine our family converstaions - you should do this, you shouldn't do that... so painful and negative.

Something to mull over - I'll keep reading this book however painful I find it. If it didn't ring true it wouldn't hurt so bad, and I think if I face it I can change it.

A poem by Mary Haskell that I have been thinking of in the last few days  - great fridge poetry for parents:

"Nothing you become will disapoint me; I have no preconception that I'd like to see be or do. I have no desire to forsee you, only to discover you. You cannot disappoint me"

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A Quest for Sleep

Three nights ago one of my babies slept through the whole night. I've never been one to focus on how long a child sleeps, (not since the two week period my friend pushed Tracy Hogg in me). I have the expectation that my babies will wake in the night.

But I have limits. Each of my twins wakes 2 to 5 times a night.  So I am usually awake 6-8 times a night, and I get insomnia too, so it is really affecting my mood and health.

So far I have tried feeding them up before sleep, I have encouraged them to sleep without nursing, I have taken them to see a chiropractor, I've moved our mattresses onto the floor as one big co-sleeper, the girls are in sleeping bags next to me, I'm offering water in a beaker,  I have given them a bit of time to do supported crying (when every need is met and we cuddle and I soothe them.
(See Althea Solter book for more details).

Nothing seems to be working. I believe one baby is teething and the other has gas but still, give me a break girls!

It will get better, I know this to be true. I know I'm doing the right thing by not crying-it-out with my children. Incidentally, what is "it"? Ever wondered? Crying-out-their-dependency on you? Crying-out-their-felt-needs? 

I guess I will never need to know. 06:32 and I'm winning the battle with the babies in our rocker, if only I could sleep in here...

Monday, 29 August 2011

Fitting In

My son has not been invited to another party. Part of me expected it, I don't fit in so my children are rejected too. I wonder, if I had lived in Salem at the times of the witch trials whether I'd have been dunked?

From a child I've always been unsure of myself, untrusting of others - so I guess that puts a lot of people off. I get that.

Where I live, I have returned to be here three times under pressure of my family. But it just hasn't worked.

The best times of my life were at uni and in the year following when I was gaining acceptance for being me. Now I feel like the odd one out. I'm a real girly girl who is also an intellectual, athletic (okay not so much now...) hippy. It's a weird and suspect mix and I know I can intimidate. 

I cannot and should not keep having to explain my choices - why I breastfeed, co-sleep, eat healthily, exercise, aim for attachment / natural parenting, don't watch TV, don't leave my babies to cry-it-out, baby lead weaned, cloth nappy, don't drink really and don't go out, why we try to follow Jesus and go to church, why we try to live Eco-friendly and want to live sustainably. I could go on!

I watched my son today, how easily he makes friends, how full of joy he was; I wish he will stay like that.

Today we made the decision to move overseas again. We have been considering it in the two years since we've been back.  Our aim is to live in an Eco-village, with organic crops, permaculture, and community. It feels right. I believe that if we embrace us we'll be happier, I don't want to keep going against the crowd and alienating our family.

An exciting prospect!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Respecting our Children

Today I went to a twin group, and at the end my son held onto a toy he hadn't finished playing with. Because they were packing away the two ladies prized it off him in a way that suggested "we're in charge." He got very upset and I took him off to cuddle him, getting looks along the way like "aren't you going to tell him off" as he screamed "leave me alone poo head". I understand their motivation and thoughts, people don't know there is another way to treat children. And to be honest I was struggling with my inner demons to not react to his anger.
Up until the last six or so months I didn't know I could be a different way with him because I strayed from the natural parenting path. But punishments aren't respectful. An adult wouldn't get treated like that? Imagine being at a restaurant savouring your desert, and a waiter takes it away because everyone else is finished and he doesn't want to wait? Wouldn't you be annoyed! Wouldn't you have a little tantrum (in our own adult way) and say "hey bring me back my desert!". Then imagine getting arrested for being upset? Can you imagine the frustration, the injustice?

But if children get upset, then society says we're meant to punish them and control them for fear they won't learn self control. 

Children heal by expressing their emotions, however uncomfortable it feels for us as parents. I used to try and distract the boy in my life, because I found it too painful to see him crying or see his anger as I could not express my own as a child. Even as an adult I cannot cry. Now I see that children know exactly what they need to do to heal any pains. In your loving company they can cry, scream, frustrate and then it's all gone. They are happy again and it is all forgotten! What a gift they have, why did I try to take that away because of my own issues?

Children flourish with parents who have self control and can love unconditionally, that is my aim after all. For the children who share my life to grow up experiencing unconditional love. 

Whilst I know this, I personally, have very little self control and find it very hard not to loose my cool. It's all I know. I never felt loved unconditionally (even though I was undoubtably loved by my parents) and I never had  safety in my emotions. This must be true for most people who are parented in the traditional way - but for me it was magnified by my innate sensitivity.

I have to remind myself to empathise - how would I feel in this situation, how would I react, how would I like to be treated? I forgot more than I remembered at first and at one stage I seriously considered getting a reminder tattooed on my hand!

The more I practice the easier it gets, but I have longer to go on this journey. May be the growth I require will be life long, but I am committed.

This week's listen:  This week I am listening to Naomi Aldort's Trusting Our Children, Trusting Ourselves 7 cd set. This is a immensely valuable resource for me. So far my husband has wriggled out of reading parenting books, and the podcasts CDs - but he heard a bit of this and asked me to put it on an MP3 player for him. Something clicked for him and I'm excited at how this could change our family life. I have been reading Naomi's books, articles and listening to her podcasts and CDs for some time and this CD collection really helped me with the issues I need to work on to be a better mother. Thank you!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Money Money Money

This week I took the wonderful children who share my life out to an Eco centre.  Whilst there we went to get a jacket potato for them to share - however my card was declined. I could only think we'd ran out of money!

With 10 days to go before pay day I started running through strategies on how we'd eat and pay any bills. In a way it was exciting, like a project, but then I remembered that this is how some people live every day, only they might not have the pay day coming.

It made me realise how very very lucky we are. We have so much because really we have more than enough. We could failing all else go to family for support. We have options and I am thankful for that.

Today's Prayer: Lord, I thank you for giving us all we could ever need and more. I thank you for the life I share with these three beautiful children and my husband. I pray that I will remember gratitude in every moment. Amen.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

A Day Out

Today we've had a wonderful trip out. I'm still feeling rather low about the whole NHS-cut-up-my-face-without-bothering-to-ask-and-for-no-apparent-reason thing, so I needed the escape from my self-imposed sulking. I know deep down that there is no point in thinking negatively, use these thoughts to make change. I went to see a plastic surgeon for creams to reduce the scaring and he said that the pit in my lip will even out if I massage it firmly 20mins a day when the stitches fall out. And I have a voice so I can campaign for the NHS to treat people with more respect and honesty. I can make a difference for someone else, and that's a great opportunity.

In the vein of seeing opportunity from negative situations, today we acted on our "people shouldn't" thoughts and it yielded a positive outcome.

As we were walking round the Eco centre grounds, we saw lots of litter and dog mess everywhere. My husband and I often get angry, having thoughts like "people shouldn't drop litter, people should pick after their dog".  Instead of moaning, we decided to do our own litter pick.

While I often pick up litter, this time we had a lot of fun because the centre lent us pincers and a bag holder!

Our 4 year old loved it! We were all involved, the beautiful babies who share our lives watched and bobbed from the safety of their slings. In an hour we managed to fill a whole bin liner full of plastic bottles, wrappers, beer cans, cigarette butts, etc., and we all felt so fulfilled.

Litter pincers definitely going on my wish list.

Our next activity involved my walking ahead with a piece of chalk (okay I was sulking again - but I turned it into a game...) I used twigs to make arrows and drew arrows with chalk and my son and Captain Underpants followed us and loved it!

If you have an eco friendly activities for the family to enjoy please share x


For the last six months I'd been on the waiting list for the removal of a blocked salivary gland in my lip. I was told it was a very minor op, would take 10 minutes, in and out.

I was told it would not affect the appearance of my lip - just be a small incision inside.

Imagine my horror when I get home and there is an inch long incision on the front of my lip. The surgeon decided to cut vertically from inner lip to out rather than horizontally without my consent.

It looks horrific and I feel violated. My husband said well there are people worse off, and while I know that, I know, I still feel so angry.

So what is making me angry? My vanity? The fact that my best facial feature is now marred - scarred and missing a chunk? The fact I can't kiss my children? The fact I feel so down I cannot play with my children? Is it shame because I let them do this? Because my parents looked at me so pityingly when they asked why they'd taken a chunk of my lip?

Probably all of the above. But not sure if making myself suffer is helping - I barely sleep last night and I don't want to leave the house.

I am sure there is a lesson here - to be more positive, to be less vain, to take myself less seriously. Whatever it is I don't feel like learning it today.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Seeing the World Through your Child's Eyes

I've been wishing and hoping a copy of Parenting for Social Change would turn up at my house somehow. I went onto Teresa's website yesterday, and read an article hoping it would fill my need but I got so excited it made me want it even more!

I read one of her articles about how to have more empathy with your child. And I had a surprise because for all these years I thought I had empathy but I didn't because I was acting. Or seeing it from my side. No wonder it stopped working.  

So last night I walked into the babies' room and he'd mixed a load of dirty washing with the clean I'd put away and drawn on the carpet with a pencil from a case he'd found and then emptied onto the floor. I started to get really angry, I'm so tired I don't need this! I have enough to do. I started to clean up the pencil and it wasn't coming out. "Why did you do this?" I said angrily knowing I shouldn't but unable to stop myself - perhaps I should have done a count or left the room? But either way, the point about seeing it from the child's perspective came to me.

I started to think and talk:

"Why then. Let me think, so you saw the pencil case and you thought wow that's bright, what's in there? Then you opened it up and there were so many pens! You couldn't wait to see how they looked so you tipped them all out. Then you saw the pencil pen and you wondered - does it work? And it's so far and long away to get paper so you thought I'll write on the carpet. I'm so excited to see if it works I have to do it here..."

I looked at my son, his eyes were alight. "Tell me about when I made the nest with the sheets." he said "tell me about that."

So I did. And then I realised I might have tried to sympathise, but empathy not so much because you have to be there on the floor looking through their eyes.

Today's prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for giving me more clarity, for showing me more truth. I am strong enough now to know. I am ready to know you.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Book review: Conversations with God, Neale Walsh

I was recommended to read Conversations with God by a cousin. There are three parts and I managed to get the first two second hand. Since I was raised Roman Catholic and was actually told not to question  it felt like I was a naughty school girl, reading under covers at night with a torch! 

Neale Walsh believes that God spoke through him and wrote three books answering questions in a dialogue between them. While I cannot say I know this to be true without doubt, what I can say is that the book gave me an answer to all those questions that no-one had answered before.

To me it was a real eye opener. There are some areas that I question still, however everything made sense at least and my faith was cemented. I read reviews that ranged from sheer delight, a must read, to accusations of blasphemy, to a literature review of a theologist who questioned who Walsh was talking to.

Still, for me this was worth reading.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Book Reveiw: Naomi Aldort, Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves

I thought over the next fortnight I would review some of the recent books I have read.

For me having struggled to attachment parent in an authoritarian culture, reading Naomi's book was like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally - yes, yes, YES! At last I found a voice that supported my views and also challenged me to build on my skills to be a trusting loving model of a parent.

If like me, you started off with the best intentions but worry whether your child actually feels loved (even though of course you love them) this book is a great read. This book is to help parents raise themselves to be the parent their child needs them to be.

Naomi suggests you use the rewind technique and the SALVE formula to eliminate parenting based on negative taught behaviours and beliefs. She recommends when your child does something that pushes your button, like spilling milk, that you:

S stop and separate your thoughts from the action. Run how you are about to react in your head, then think I want to be loving instead.
A give your child attention
L listen to your child
V validate their feelings as right
E empower your child

Naomi believes that the child is always right. That our parenting capability is clouded by our limiting beliefs. Authentic parenting is not to be confused with permissive parenting - see my earlier blog - there are boundaries but they are imposed in a way that allows the child to be authentic and feel unconditionally loved.

The difficulty is how to do it. I reread the book three times and I struggled to know what to do. I have found that Naomi's book is best supported by the free podcasts of her speaking on iTunes and some of her CDs. She also has a website with FAQs. However if you keep using her SALVE formula, it gets easier because you start listening to your own natural instinct and therefore parent authentically.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

The Scent of a Mummy

I will always remember the lingering aroma of my mother - then her perfumes were Rive Gauche or Paris. My parents had and still have a good social life. When I was young, they'd frequently go out in the evening, or at least it felt that way. And I'd long for them to come back as every child does.

 Desperately, I would try to stay awake longing to catch their return. If I fell asleep, I'd jump awake -  and I knew they were back because I could smell her scent hanging in the air of my bedroom. I'd snuggle back in my duvet and smile.

I felt safe again.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Naughty Words

Whenever I hear the word "should" I cringe. I hear myself thinking I should or shouldn't do that, my family should or shouldn't do that, people should or shouldn't do that, and it causes stress. Because should and shouldn't's are beliefs that limit you and make you narrow minded.

I have recently started to be more conscious, thinking is it true? Should Captain Underpants make his bed - I want the bed made, he doesn't. So by being angry or disappointed in him, by having this expectation of him he won't meet - I'm imposing my stressful limiting beliefs on him. And making myself stressed! If I didn't have the thought, I'd simply make the bed if I wanted it made.

If you actually questioned ANY and all your beliefs that cause stress, would even one be resolutely true? 

I've been writing down all the thoughts that I got stressed about and not found one that was absolutely, resoundingly 100 percent true.

Here is one thought that stresses me to show you how to work on it:

People should stop criticising me.

1.  Is it true?

Yes, they're so rude! They say things I wouldn't dare.

2.  Is it absolutely true - that people shouldn't criticise me?

Okay, may be not. Because they do and that's their business. No matter how I feel about it they'll still do it because that's them. I guess I should just walk away.

3.  How do you react when you have that thought?

Ashamed, humiliated, angry. Very angry! Incensed. I don't say anything and then seethe, and if I do defend myself I still seethe because they don't accept my point of view.

4.  Who would you be without that thought?

I'd not be holding on to these emotions I cannot face. I'd not hide behind anger. I'd just walk away and think that us their business to criticise, it's not mine to listen or even defend because defence is the first act of war.

5.  Turn the thought around (with 3 reasons why the statement is true or truer than the original):

People should criticise me
(Because it is our way to judge - the sky is blue, the grass is green - they're judgements. Because people have beliefs that they don't question and that is their business not mine to change. Because people are scared of what they don't know so they're voicing fears).

I should not criticise other people
(Because I judge others and criticise them in my head and out loud so it's hypocritical. Because it isn't Godly. Because I'd rather have positive loving thoughts).

I should not criticise me
(Because I am very hard on myself and don't celebrate my positive traits. Because I feel guilty about errors rather than seeing them as opportunities to learn. Because it isn't useful - blameless acceptance of my issues will create learning opportunities).

This doesn't mean I accept people's mistreatment of me when I "work" on it. It just means I get less stressed and deal with it. If someone hurts me, I ask them to stop, they don't, I distance myself. As an example I was getting really annoyed at the park because I don't want people smoking near my children - so I can politely ask them to move away and move away myself.

Source: Byron Katie, Loving What Is: Four Questions that will change your life.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Why you Have to Love Yourself

As if there isn't enough pressure to be a good parent. I pressure myself to love unconditionally, to embrace my child's authenticity and model good behaviour. To be a good wife and mother, to have a clean and tidy house, garden and mind.  And if that isn't work enough, for me, I need to love myself to do this properly.

I spoke with a parenting (authentic parenting / attraction parenting / attachment parenting - does it need a label?) counsellor, and I outlined our issues and she said to me something on the lines of why am I letting people criticise me and belittle me? Why am I letting myself be bullied? I, she pointed out, am modelling poor self esteem, I'm showing my son it's okay to be abused. Ouch. But sadly it is true.

In trying to seek approval from people that won't accept me or my opinions, I wonder - have I missed out on a most important trait to model - self respect and hence, self love?

I let other people's (albeit perceived) negative voices seep inside me, to creep up so I get angry believing my children should or shouldn't do something. I am letting other people's self-limiting beliefs limit me.

I know I should not speak ill of others and if I have an issue with someone treating me wrong I should say no. But that part of me, is just going to have to wait.  Because it takes time and energy to fight my inner negative voice, and I don't have it in me to take the pain out of every stressful thought when every negative encounter brings more.

In the instance that you encounter a negative critical person that you cannot be assertive with for whatever reason, the most loving thing to do is create a distance, politely.

Because if you let someone treat you badly, you're not respecting them either. Truly. l have absorbed other people's negativity and then I seethed and had bad thoughts about them.  I've wronged us both because I've withheld an opportunity for mutual growth and respect.

So whether I smile and walk away, or stay and assert my true voice, it has to be done with love.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Nappies in a Pail

I'm a lover of nappies in a pail. Not so much the soiled stinky ones, but I do get real satisfaction from filling up the nappy pail with cloth nappies. After washing them, I enjoy pulling them out the machine and oh hanging them on the line. Yes that is satisfying especially if there's a breeze.

I use shaped nappies and wraps, prefolds, bamboo squares, Bumgenious, Nature babies, Diddy Diapers, Bambino Mio, One Life, fleece liners - I got a huge pile of seconds from a local supplier. And they're all great. I even use cloth wipes, and thinking about buying some for me apres wees to save loo roll.

Today as I was soaking them, I wondered how many do we use? In the first few months of having twins we used about 14 nappies a day between them, as they got older they use less but I'd say we use 6-8 a day now. So being a year old.. Let me estimate they have used 2,779 nappies. By the time they have decided to use no nappies, I estimate that we'll have used 7,159 nappies. Apparently most babies use 8,000-10,000 each in 3 years so I've grossly underestimated. I guess if we used only disposables, that'd fill a room or two? So I personally couldn't live with putting that much waste in landfill.

But it's so easy to do. So easy to throw those nappies in the bin and never think of them again, conveniently lost in the fortnightly collection.

I admit, at the moment I still use Eco disposables at night, if I can really call them that. Perhaps if I work out how many we will use in the next two years I'll make the change to total cloth nappies. Right 1,465 nappies. Okay... That's a lot. It's worth a try especially at 13p a nappy. So I'd save £189.80 by not using a disposable at night.

I think about buying any friend that's had a baby just one cloth nappy and a couple of cloth wipes - if that nappy is used just twice a week for two years - then that's saving 208 nappies going to landfill.

Come on! Let's make the change.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

The Chemical Maze

Food is glorious isn't it? It nourishes you, it comforts you, it sustains you, it can seduce you, it can also make you ill if you don't make the right food choices.

Many people buy a sandwich after scrutinizing its fat and calorific content. But is there something else more important we should be looking at? Have you ever wondered what all those numbers on the rear of the packet mean?

Could the chemical cocktail in your diet be making you ill?

Whilst food additives are mostly tested on animals, this doesn't mean that they are safe for us to eat.

There is a direct link between some additives and health problems such as allergies, behavioral problems, migranes, even sleep disturbance to name a few.

I am very interested in the additives in food. I used to walk around with a little red book titled Chemical Maze. It describes the potential health effects of food additives and ingredients used in food, cosmetics and personal care products.

Nothing is safe. My poor husband..

He wants a take away curry - no. It's got MSG in it, we'll be up all night! “Not if I team it up with a few beers love? Cold, chilled beers.....”

Beers... oh no no no I say.

Did you know that chemicals are added to speed up the brewing process to make that big head of foam!”

Husband hopes... “Well surely in moderation it’s fine. Refreshing, delicious beer.”

But, but it has Betaglucanase or Propylene glycol alginate in it?”

Okay, diet coke. I really fancy a can of diet coke...” He asks hopefully.

I have to tell him, did you know it’s carcinogenic and causes osteoporosis? I have to remind him to be a good role model, and I have got stricter and stricter as time has gone on – what is there left to eat?

I really struggle with the fact my son doesn't eat all the fruit and vegetables we eat. I have encouraged him to eat more and more healthily by basically child proofing the home of any unhealthy food.  I cringe whenever we go to a child’s party. He’s straight into the fluorescent, multi-coloured icing on the cake. In fact, he doesn’t eat the sponge part of the cake, just the icing. He therefore comes home and quite literally, bounces off the walls – that’s apparently, the tartrazine.

A variety of immunologic responses have been attributed to tartrazine ingestion, including:

  • anxiety,
  • migraines,
  • clinical depression, and
  • sleep disturbance

When I go shopping I try to buy organic fruit and vegetables, unprocessed local food.

Although it’s hard work to begin with, over time you do build up a picture of the things that you shouldn’t really ingest. You also find products which are much healthier for you.

So I’d suggest the next time you go shopping, that you look at those little numbers. Are those food additives really necessary....

Food for thought.