The Mother Magazine, Editorial
Issue 56, Jan/Feb 2013
Just five minutes, by Veronika Sophia Robinson
A mother recently asked me how to demonstrate an inspired life to your children (re: my editorial in TM54) when you’ve got two little ones, and you’re constantly exhausted. I reflected upon my early years of mothering.
My daughters are 22 months apart. I know what it’s like to meet the needs of a baby and a toddler, Continuum-Concept style, and feel washed out from lack of sleep, and fully stretched from tandem nursing all day and night long. I’ve experienced the reality of parenting without family and friends around to support us; not to mention moving between three countries in the space of a year, not long after my youngest daughter’s birth. I know what it’s like to parent in isolation away from friends and support.
What I also know is this: five minutes playing the piano each day, with a baby on your lap, is far better than no minutes. If our children see us doing something like this, they soon learn that ‘this is what mum does’, and will let go of sabotaging this time. Ten minutes of yoga each morning is better than no practice at all. At first, your children will climb all over you ~ not conducive to relaxation ~ but the novelty of using you as a climbing frame will wear off.
It’s important to set the intention, and then allow the time and space to be created around you. The inspired life comes from doing what you love ~ right from the start of your parenting.
What are we saying to our children when we let go of our pleasures? There is no question that parenting consciously, and certainly in an attachment style, requires what we might call sacrifice. Primarily, that sacrifice is bound up with time and energy. And yet, they’re the most valuable commodities that anyone has regardless of who they are.
I’ve also learnt that when a mother feels disconnected from life, it means she’s not recharging adequately from the Source: Mother Earth. When was the last time you walked barefoot outdoors for more than half an hour? When did you sit with your back to a tree? When did you put your hands into the moist earth and kneel forward, prayer-like, to our great planet as you planted seeds or pulled weeds?
Our lives are so domesticated that we have lost sight of what brings us nourishment and sustenance. We wear shoes which disconnect us, and we live in houses or work in offices which not only disconnect us from the Earth, but bombard us with electromagnetic radiation.
Days are set to clocks, timetables, routines and appointments. The natural calendar of seasons, Moon cycles, sunrise and sunset, fall by the wayside as if they’re somehow not important. When we live connected to Mother Earth (by walking barefoot, sleeping on an earthing sheet and living by her cycles, for example), our body clock can reset itself, and we’re in a position to heal ourselves and our family, whether that is from illness or exhaustion.
The other nourishment comes from enjoying ourselves. Whether you play an instrument or throw clay to make pots, grow herbs or paint seascapes, read novels or do embroidery, bellydance or camp outdoors, find a way to nourish these pleasures and passions, even if only for a few minutes a day, so that not only are your children seeing a model of inspiration, but you are feeling nourished. Looking after ourselves ~ meeting our biological need for pleasure ~ is as vital to natural parenting as is wearing a baby in a sling, sharing the family bed, breastfeeding on cue, or healing your child with natural remedies. If our children see us being martyrs to the natural parenting cause, they might just well parent Gina-Ford style when they grow up!
I believe we’re designed to enjoy the company of our children. If that’s not happening, then we need to look for the original wound to find the cure.
Show your children that natural parenting isn’t just about what we do, it’s about who we are. A natural parent, first and foremost, connects with Mother Earth. When she’s connected, then she knows that she doesn’t need permission to bring pleasure into her life. Pick up your flute, bake a cake, illustrate that children’s book, carve wooden toys, craft silver jewellery, or whatever it is that makes your heart sing. Walk barefoot on the beach or in the woods, across a meadow or up a desert trail. Connect to the Earth and to your joys, don’t let go of it. Do it in micro-moments if you have to. Steal this precious time ~ even if it’s ‘just five minutes’ ~ as if your life depends on it. It does! When you value yourself enough to make this a priority, you’ll feel everything in your life change ~ your awareness of time, your relationships with partner and children, your energy levels, sense of vibrancy and your zest for life. Seeking out pleasure is something you have to choose for yourself. Only you can give yourself permission.
To model an inspired life for your children, you need to invest in a pleasurable life for yourself.