Our Mindful Life

Our Mindful Life: October 2010

Our Mindful Life

Our Mindful Life is about paying attention to what it is that we do on a day to day basis and how we impact each other and the planet. We will talk about all of the things that we do here at home to make ourselves and the world a better place.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ending Battles at Bedtime

I'm doing a guest post today over at Code Name: Mama!
This past fall and winter were hard for me and the Bean. Beanie hit a new stage where she was busy all of the time, and it seemed like we were just not connecting. For example, when I tried to get her attention to ask her to please pick up those dirty socks and put them in the hamper instead of throwing them on the floor, she was too busy to listen. Instead, she was dashing out the door to grab the stroller and take our dog for a walk. Repeating myself over and over again all day was tiring at best. My fuse got short on a daily basis, it seemed.

 See the rest at http://codenamemama.com/2010/10/14/ending-battles-at-bedtime/


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Knitting for My Family

Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Staying Centered, Finding Balance
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they stay centered and find balance. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

I knit for a lot of reasons. I knit because I love the look and feel of wool. I knit because you can't buy in stores the clothing that I want my children to have, without spending a small fortune. I knit because I love having an artistic outlet that is so functional. I knit because it allows me to create, to modify, to think my way logically through something. I knit because the steady rhythm and pattern relaxes me, relaxes my muscles, gives me something to focus on when things are really hard. I knit because it is something that I do because I love it, and no one else can demand it from me. And I knit to get away from my kids.

Four blessed hours a week, on Thursday nights, I go with a group of friends and knit. I go and I laugh. I talk. If I am interrupted, it is because someone told a joke at the other end of the table, or someone wants to come sit down by me - not because my children feel that they need my attention away from whatever it is I am doing. I talk about grown up things. Sometimes, I even crack a racy joke.

I live for Thursday nights. When the going gets rough on Tuesday, I just think about Thursday. When someone won't stop yelling, I think about Thursday. When I'm just too tired to get up again, I think about Thursday. And just the thought - the knowing that I will get a break, that this will not go on forever - calms me. Helps me to regain my center. Helps me to be a better mom in the present.

I didn't used to knit on Thursdays. When it was just me and the Bean, I didn't need to knit on Thursdays. I told myself that I was happy being with her 24 hours a day, and I didn't understand how people could leave their little babies. And then their toddlers. I was on duty 24 hours a day. I was usually attached at the nipple to my little girl. And I was perfectly happy. Granted, I looked forward to nap time, and bed time, every day. I looked forward to the time when Daddy would come home and make me a sandwich, because I couldn't put the baby down. But I did NOT need a break.

And then, we were four. The children never napped at the same time. If the Bug was asleep, the Bean woke him up. If the Bean was asleep, the Bug woke her up. Neither of them could sleep through anything, and Daddy making me a sandwich didn't give me any time with my hands empty. I had run out of resources and ideas. And I did NOT want to be with my children anymore. When things got hard on Tuesday, there was no hope. When someone wouldn't stop screaming, there was no end. When I was just too tired to get up again, it seemed that I never would have the energy. I was at the end of my very attached rope, and I had nowhere else to go.

I knew I needed a break. I knew it needed to be weekly, for at least several hours. I knew that it had to be out of the house without the kids. But I stalled. I couldn't bring myself to be ok with leaving the Bug. He was still under a year old. I had never left the Bean like that! What would my friends think if I just up and left my kids once a week? Would I still be a decent mom if I wasn't with them every single minute of my life? So, I couldn't find just the right thing. Every idea I had was too far away, not the right time, cost too much money, etc.

Finally, the abyss of never having a moment to think was too much. When the Bug was 9 months old, I took my knitting needles, the big blue rectangle (Papa's scarf in progress at the time) and went to a coffee shop to knit. I wasn't sure anyone else would show up, but they did! Eventually, we had a pretty good sized group. Then, I found out that the rest of the group also met with another group the following night and we merged. It was amazing what a difference it made for me!

Instead of being at the end of my rope, I got a chance to rest and miss my children. I got to have a break from putting them to bed one night a week. I got to be an adult, with no one depending on me, for a few hours every week. And I got a lot happier very quickly. Also, I learned a lot more about a hobby that I had toiled at alone for several years. I got to grow as a person. Not everyone I knit with is the same kind of parent as me. In fact, only a few of them are. I got to learn how to sit at a table with other people and take in different perspectives on things. I got to learn about how different people do different things. I got to make some amazing friends whom I never would have met otherwise. And through all of this I learned, and am still learning, to be a better mother, a better wife, a better person.

Thursday night knitting has lead, on a superficial level, to wool sweaters for my kids, wool hats and mittens for the whole family, wool socks, a wool scarf for my husband, reusable dust mop covers, dish rags, and many other projects. But on a deeper level, my Thursday night knitting has lead me to be a better, bigger, smarter person, and I am so grateful for it, every week.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated October 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • Balance — Sheila at A Gift Universe has put her baby first — and has no regrets. (@agiftuniverse)

  • A Moment for Mama — Starr at Earth Mama has learned how to recharge on the run, so she doesn't miss a moment with her children.

  • Take a 30-Minute or 5-Minute Me-Break — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now discusses the merits of taking small daily breaks to maintain balance. (@DebChitwood)

  • Achieving Balance — In a guest post at the new Natural Parents Network, Heather explains how yoga has helped her find balance in her personal and family life. (@NatParNet)

  • A Stitch in (Quiet) Time Saves Momma’s Mind — Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma didn't realize she needed "me" time — until she got it and had no idea what to do with herself. (@kitchenwitch)

  • Attachment Parenting and Balance — Michelle at The Parent Vortex believes that the last item on the "attachment parenting" list is both the most important and the most overlooked. (@TheParentVortex)

  • Little Breaks Bring a Little Balance — Jen at Grow with Graces finds balance - some days! (@growwithgraces)

  • Finding Balance — Are you a Type A mama? Dionna at Code Name: Mama is, and she needs your help to find balance. (@CodeNameMama)

  • (high)Centered — Stefanie at Very, Very Fine has had a spa gift certificate sitting on her nightstand since last year, a symbol of her inability to take time for herself.

  • Taking Time for Me — Marita at Stuff With Thing takes refuge in the world of books, with her daughters immersed in reading beside her. (@leechbabe)

  • Writing as a parent: October Carnival of Natural Parenting — Lauren at Hobo Mama didn't let parenting put her passions on hold. (@Hobo_Mama)

  • The Dance of Balance — Balance isn't static. It is dynamic, it is a dance, it is about keeping in touch with you. Read this wonderful bit of wisdom from Seonaid at the Practical Dilettante. (@seonaid_lee)

  • Rest Hour - a Primer — Do you get 15 minutes to yourself each day? How about an hour?! Mrs. H. at Fleeting Moments shares her tips on how to incorporate a "rest hour" for adults and kids.

  • Separation Is Critical — Only through enforced separation with the end of her marriage did Jessica at This is Worthwhile realize she should have taken time apart all along. (@tisworthwhile)

  • Bread, Roses, and a Side of Guilt. — Betsy at Honest 2 Betsy isn't ashamed to admit that she enjoys a pint once in awhile, or that her daughter recreates it during pretend play.

  • The World from Within My Arms — Rachael at The Variegated Life finds balance despite her work and her husband's commitment to art through attachment parenting. (@RachaelNevins)

  • Balancing the Teeter-Totter — Rebecca is rediscovering balance by exploring her interests and passions in several different categories. She shares in this guest post at The Connected Mom. (@theconnectedmom)

  • Balancing this Life — Danielle at born.in.japan is slowly learning the little tricks that make her family life more balanced. (@borninjp)

  • Uninterrupted Parenting — Amy at Innate Wholeness has learned that she does not need to interrupt parenting in order to find balance.

  • Knitting for My Family — Knitting is more than just a hobby for Kellie at Our Mindful Life, it is her creative and mental outlet, it has blessed her with friendships she might not otherwise have had, and it provides her with much-needed balance.

  • Taking the Time — Sybil at Musings of a Milk Maker has all the time she needs, now her girls are just a bit older.

  • Please, Teach Me How — Amy at Anktangle needs your help: please share how you find time for yourself, because she is struggling. (@anktangle)

  • A Pendulum Swings Both Ways — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment found herself snapping with too little time for herself, and then veered toward too much.

  • Finding Balance Amidst Change — It took a season of big changes and added responsibility, but Melodie of Breastfeeding Moms Unite! now feels more balanced and organized as a mama than ever before. (@bfmom)

  • At Home with Three Young Children: The Search for Balance, Staying Sane — With three young kids, Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings knows parents sometimes have to adjust their expectations of how much downtime they can reasonably have. (@sunfrog)

  • Attachment Parenting? And finding some "Me Time" — As a mother who works full time, Momma Jorje wants "me" time that includes her daughter.

  • A Balancing Act — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes has concrete ways to help keep centered with a little one and a new baby on the way, from exercise to early bedtimes to asking for help. (@sheryljesin)

  • Aspiring Towards Libra — Are your soul-filling activities the first to be pushed aside when life gets hectic? Kelly of KellyNaturally.com aspires to make time for those "non-necessities" this year. (@kellynaturally)

  • SARKisms for Sanity — Erica at ChildOrganics has found renewed inspiration to take baths and laugh often from a book she had on the shelf. (@childorganics)

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