As human beings, we’re wired to connect with others and be in harmony. It leads to the love, meaning, and fulfillment we all desire.
We know this as truth, yet day-to-day it’s a challenge to connect at times, especially with our little ones.
What is Connected Parenting?
Connected parenting to me is choosing connection over control, love over fear, oneness over separateness moment by moment.
This article on Motherly says Connected Parenting is the key to a happy family. The author says that connected parenting is when “you try to emphatically connect with your children and see their perspective before guiding them” (author at GoZen featured on Motherly).
Connected parenting shifts the energy within us and in our homes. Allowing us to be more lighthearted, accepting, and laugh and smile more. We enjoy more moments together because we are feeling more love, meaning, and fulfillment everyday.
It’s not easy…that very evening after I read this article and was fresh with all the positives associated with this type of parenting and ready to apply it. I completely lost it at bedtime.
It was one of those long, nonstop days with hubby working late and me 100% on. Baths were finally done, PJs on, teeth brushed, books read, and a last hug and kiss planted.
So now they soundly and calmly drift off into to sleeping bliss, right? If only it always worked that way.
It starts out sweet. Mama, will you cuddle with me? Mama, one more kiss. I need water. I did all of this then I snuck out of there.
I’m finally enjoying a moment to myself. Actually looking forward to being away and just doing the dishes on my own. Then I hear her call out for me again and I respond quickly. Mama’s busy. I can’t be there right now.
Then more panicked. Mom, I need you. I have a scary dream.
I let the sound of the water as I wash dishes drown out the calling out. Maybe if I ignore she’ll stop?
And as she gets louder and I want nothing more than quiet. I simply call out in a loud, far-from-loving and connected way. I can’t be there. Go to bed. Go the F to bed (the image of that book with that title plays in my head).
She cries and cries. I’m annoyed and now I berate myself for being so mean.
I think back to the article and all the techniques I am doing that are not connected parenting. I take a moment to breathe, let go of the anger and resentment and just be here.
I know what she needs—for me to just be with her, in a loving way.
I finally chose to see from her perspective.I have empathy, remembering what it was like when I was young and just wanted to know I was being heard, that what I said mattered, that I mattered.
I went up and connected with her, in a present loving way, and she does go to sleep. It may not always be this easy. But the more we work it the more it works, just like in our relationships with our partners.
It all comes back to our own buckets—when we’re filled up and connected within, we can connect with our children.
I felt completely depleted at the end of that day. It happens. The first thing I could have done is accept that. That would have been a start toward getting present again and showing up in a way that felt good for me, to connect.
It doesn’t take long. In a moment, I could have paused, taken a deep breath, reset and re-centered.
Then I would realized sooner that her agitation and not being able to sleep could have very well been caused by my own negative mood and energy that I brought into bedtime routine that night. From not taking a couple moments to myself, to fill myself up.
Instead, I avoided, I yelled. I didn’t have my tools because I was depleted. When we’re not centered, haven’t filled our own buckets, we’re disconnected from our own selves and we can’t connect with our children either.
We have to be kind to ourselves—it’s hard and we are doing the best we can.
We all react instead of responding with love at times. We shame or guilt. Go through the motions, instead of really being there.
Yet, it’s our full, present self that are kids really want.
Flowing through our day in a more connected way
We talk about self-care, in our it in our book Peaceful Mama because it works. I can honestly say they are less frequent since I have been practicing self-care and taking MAMAHH moments throughout my day.
When we are take care of ourselves, even in a moment, we can show up in our life—for the little ones who mean so much to us— in a more loving, intentional, and connected way. And this helps us be ‘connected parents,’ which helps us and our children feel better at the end of the day, to be happy.
That’s what we all want, our children included—to be connected, and to feel love, meaning, and fulfillment.
As we practice, we become more aware. We notice when we’ve lost center. We breathe. Find our inner peace, our center. We lose the judgement, the shame, the guilt, the anger, and we return to love.
It’s not easy, but it’s worth it, because our days of having kids call out to us for more cuddle are fleeting and we don’t want it to pass by and feel like we missed it.
In the end, it’s the love, meaning, and fulfillment that matters most, and that comes from connection.