How To Put The Toothpaste Back In The Tube!
Making Mistakes - Can I Still Approve Of Myself?
Have you ever said or done anything and wished you hadn't. I have done many times, and I am sure you have too. A friend of mine compares this to trying to put toothpaste back in the tube once you have squeezed it out! Impossible. It is often not possible to change the situation (put the toothpaste back in the tube) however we can change the way we think about it and hence respond in a more helpful way and move on.
In last week’s blog 'Experiments in the Kitchen' I wrote, “I am trying to be more mindful of being more approving of myself ‘doing my best’. I am trying to let go of outside approval (even though I am tempted to check the likes, ask friends what they think etc.).”
It is interesting that often the lesson I need to learn comes up. A few things happened following last weeks blog to help me learn to approve of myself.
I felt like I was playing limbo as these situations came up and allowed me to look at ‘Can I approve of myself now? ….and now? ……….and even now? I tend to make these blogs a little long so I plan to explore the first situation 'Making mistakes - Can I still approve of myself?' here and look at the situations that followed in next week’s blog – 'Disapproval from others – Can I still approve of myself?'
The first thing happened just after I sent last weeks blog 'Experiments in The Kitchen'. I hit the 'send' button' then reread the blog for the umpteenth time. I noticed a huge mistake. I had typed cooking ‘with’ expectation instead of cooking ‘without’ expectation. "My mind attempted to go on that negative thought train." How can I get that email back? This is a disaster, how could I have not noticed that mistake, I had checked it so many times, why didn’t I see it, I always stuff things up etc. I knew this was not helpful t and fortunately remembered a more helpful response. I came to the present moment using my breath. I recalled why it is often not possible to change the situation I can change the way I think about it. What helpful things could I remember to allow me to approve of myself when I have made mistakes?
So could I approve of myself having made mistakes? Yes I could, when I remembered a more helpful way to think. So when you are tempted to be that unkind task master it may be helpful to remember to do your best with the understanding that perfection is an impossible goal, we all make mistakes and mistakes are how we learn and that rather than blame and criticise ourselves or others forgiveness is best for all.
I can honestly ask myself - 'What was my intention in writing this blog?' And answer truthfully 'I was doing my best to share what has been useful to me, which may be of benefit to others." I can approve of that and myself, even with the mistakes.
I am really pleased to have had made that typo, it was a beautiful reminder that we all make mistakes and to let go of impossible perfection and open myself up to the rewards that practicing humility, forgiveness and allowing vulnerability bring. We are all human and sharing our humanness allows for connection with others. Like the rest of us I am continuing to learn and grow from these so-called mistakes, be a kind encouraging friend to myself and to do my best to live with respect, fun, kindness and connection.”
Knowing I had done my best and letting go of the result or need for approval was liberating and fun. It is when I can get that 'worried Maree' who is concerned about getting it perfect or wanting approval from others, out of the way and do my best to do what is needed for others at the time that I am happiest. Doing my best to share the blog post for others without expectation of appreciation, approval or even success is a much more fun, kind and peaceful way to go.
You might want to explore doing the ‘Worry to Wonder’ 4 week course to develop a mindfulness meditation practice and equip yourself with some tools for a happier, more confident and peaceful you.
This 4-week course can be done individually or together with your child or someone else too. It can be done face to face or through Skype or Face time.
If you feel you would like to know more sign up for a free 30 minute phone consultation with Maree to see if we seem like a good fit. CLICK HERE
You might want to explore doing the ‘Worry to Wonder’ 4 week course to develop a mindfulness meditation practice and equip yourself with some tools for a happier, more confident and peaceful you and your family.
This 4-week course can be done individually or together with your child too. It can be done face to face or through Skype or Face time.
If you feel you would like to know more sign up for a free 30 minute phone consultation with Maree to see if we seem like a good fit.
Experiments in the Kitchen
Have you ever wanted those you live with, be it family or friends, to be more involved in the sharing of the running of the household? I certainly have but as I discussed in "last weeks blog" I have not always been so good at letting go of unhelpful ideas regarding the needing to control how I wanted things done and that whole ‘needing to be needed’ over parenting unhelpful habit. I have also often been unsure of how to involve others without nagging and needing to be in total control.
Following are a couple of great ideas that have helped me let go of the control and have others I live with more involved in the cooking – joyfully even!!!!
My Signature dish
A few years ago now I heard of a family who had young children, around five or six years old. This family had a tradition of teaching their young children one dish that they could easily cook. From memory it was their favorite, and I am sure you can guess what the most popular option was, Spaghetti Bolognese.
So the child selected their ‘signature dish’ and was assisted to learn to cook this, so they could make it by themselves. They then went on to cook this dish once per week for the family. While in our family we missed the boat regarding this idea for young children, but we have been able to adapt the idea so that we each take a night of the week to cook. Also as I said last week, our family discussion regarding me taking responsibility for the whole ‘over-parenting’ thing rather than playing the blame game, allowed for others to take responsibility to be involved in household tasks like cooking and for us all to work together with more cooperation, peace and joy.
The challenge for me is to let go of getting in there to help or control what is going on and rather let them have the run of the kitchen to create their meal for us all. It is often better if I get out of the kitchen and house. I try to remind myself to let go of expectation and judgment and to be appreciative and encouraging. Some of us have developed a ‘signature dish’ while others have been a little more adventurous. If we are unable to make a meal on our assigned night because we are going out or whatever we can swap with someone else or prepare a meal to be heated up. I don’t want to present my family as having everything sorted, this like everything else is a work in progress and often things go not as planned. We are all learning and all doing our best to live with cooperation and respect. I am so grateful for not having to cook every day and for the opportunity to let go of my control of the kitchen and share. Good for us all and harmony at home.
The Cooking without Expectation Experiment
A few years ago I became aware of how much I was looking for my families’ approval of my cooking. This was certainly not the only area of my life I was looking for the approval of others, though it was the first one that was obvious to me. As I discussed in "last weeks blog" often we go looking for others’ approval of us in whatever role we play. I noticed how much I looked for this approval and appreciation from my family following every meal I cooked. Did you like that? Etc. The truth is we need to give this approval to ourselves. We cannot get approval from others until we are able to give it to ourselves. The tools that have helped me approve of myself are;
I decided when I cooked a meal I would watch my mind around the need for approval or appreciation. So with my tools of understanding I was doing my best, that perfection was an impossible goal and watching my mind around comparing myself to others as better or worse I would do my best to prepare a healthy meal without expectation of praise or approval. I decided to trial some new meals as I was sometimes in the habit of bringing out the same old meals without too much care or thought. If the family liked the meal it would go into a recipe book for future use, if not it wouldn’t. It was so interesting to let go of expectation of whether it would go into the book or not. I knew I could approve of myself – I was doing my best to make a meal that was healthy and tasty and resisted the expectation of approval or appreciated, somewhat tricky but well worth it.
I learnt I could approve of myself, doing my best without seeking approval from others, comparing myself to others, or expecting perfection.
Many meals did not make it into the book, some were flops and others were a success. Knowing I had done my best and letting go of the result or need for approval was liberating and fun. It is when I can get that 'worried Maree' who is concerned about getting approval and appreciation from others, out of the way and do my best to do what is needed for others at the time that I am happiest. Doing my best to plan and prepare a meal without expectation or appreciation, approval or even success is a much more fun and peaceful way to go.
Why not explore doing the Worry to Wonder 4 week course to develop a mindfulness meditation practice and equip yourself with some tools for a happier, more confident and peaceful you and your family.
This 4-week course can be done individually or together with your child too. It can be done face to face or through Skype or Face time. Click on the image below for more information
If you feel you would like to know more sign up for a free 30 minute phone consultation with Maree to see if we seem like a good fit. CLICK HERE
Go to the POM Facebook for daily tips and inspiration and weekly blog
Harmony at Home and Work - Living with respect fun and connection
Harmony at Home and Work –
Being together with teenagers and adults with respect, fun and connection
Do you crave greater harmony in your household or workplace? As I said last week no matter what situation we may find ourselves in, we all want to create an atmosphere of peace, respect and cooperation. Being mindful of living with respect, kindness and consideration of others and ourselves is the key to harmony at home and at work too, however we often do not know how to do this. I know I am still learning.
As I also said last week, I am not a psychologist or parenting expert. I am a mother of 4 adult children, 3 of whom are living at home. This seems to have happened so quickly and I have found it useful to continue to reflect on how we can do our best to live together with respect and cooperation with our changing circumstances. When our daughter was undertaking year 12 last year I tended not to demand too much of her. However maybe I needed not to be so ‘protective’. That has changed now and the expectation is that she contributes to our household by taking responsibility for her own washing, shares cooking, tidying etc. We are in the adjustment phase and it is tricky as we negotiate what it means to be interdependent and be respectful of others.
While it can be tricky when we feel that others restrict or control our ‘freedom to do what we want’ it is important that we respect ourselves and others we live or work with by cleaning up after ourselves, putting in and contributing to the running of the household or workplace and letting others know if we are not going to be at work or home for meals or the night. When we fail to show respect to others or to honour the commitments we make to them and let them down we end up destroying our own peace of mind and create the causes to feel disrespected, let down and unhappy ourselves. I know I always feel lousy when I have been disrespectful or not done what I said I would do, no matter how much I try to fool myself it doesn’t matter. It is important we assess our resources before we commit to undertake a particular task. However once we have said we will put away our dishes, meet that person for coffee, be home for dinner, do that task or whatever it is, it is important to follow through. We all have times when something unavoidable happens and we can’t fulfill that commitment but most of the time, in my case anyway, it is my distractibility, ignorance or selfishness that prevents me from following through.
I have found it useful to reflect on some, often unconscious, unhelpful habits I have developed along the parenting path as I skip and trip along. Some of you may be able to relate to these, others of you not. I am sharing my experience because it may be of benefit to you and it certainly helps me contemplate and hear myself say such things
Why it is not useful to revisit unhelpful habits in order to bash myself up for my ‘so-called’ parenting mistakes, it is helpful to learn from these situations and to think about how to move forward. Becoming more mindful, receiving some wise advice and doing my best to put it into practice has helped me be able to reflect on some unhelpful habits and change these for more helpful ways to think for a happier me and more harmony at home.
Reflection on some unhelpful habits
The need to be needed
For me, I think that sometimes I was reluctant to let go of my control of household tasks because of a ‘need to be needed’. Often I did not give others the chance to be involved in these tasks because I felt the need to be indispensible and the super efficient mum who had everything ship shape. I think this encouraged dependence, laziness and did not always allow my family the freedom to give things a go. I plan to explore this in a future blogs - 'My Signature Dish'.
Setting high standards and expectations that are not realistic
Sometimes I did not communicate so well with my family, and at times set unrealistic demands regarding what needed to be done or by when. I would catch myself barking instructions from the end of the house expecting them to be heard and performed straight away. At times my unwillingness to accept that these tasks may not have been done to my ‘standards’ saw me taking over with an exasperated “I may as well do it myself”. So often instead of asking for help I would 'huff and puff' and do it myself with the burning smell of martyr lingering in the air. I was interested to read recently that a martyr is person who pretends to suffer or who exaggerates suffering in order to get praise or sympathy. It is so good to be aware of this unhelpful habit, which erodes peace of mind. I plan to explore this further in a future blog 'Slapdash Socks'. It may have been more helpful to be patient; appreciative and encouraging of efforts made with kind face to face reminders and appropriate consequences that were followed through. And to ask for help!! Please.
I remember sitting down with my older teenage children a few years ago and apologizing for 'over-parenting' them. I felt my over-parenting behaviour related to ‘needing to be needed’ and high standards, had contributed to a lack of opportunities for us all to be involved in the running of our household. This approach with me taking some responsibility for the lack of cooperation, instead of my usual blame game, seemed to promote more peace and working together. We now share cooking, each do our own laundry and tidy up after ourselves. As I look around the house I am reminded this is a work in progress and we all have a way to go as I learn to loosen of the control at home and share responsibility while at the same time remind my family to be respectful of our home and standards.
Not following through
I now understand the importance of following through on what I say I will do. This also includes following through with logical consequences, as I mentioned last week.
The need for approval
Often we go looking for approval in things outside of us. We look for others’ approval of us as a good parent, cook, employee, partner, or person. I would go looking for the family’s approval and appreciation regarding how I was doing with the cooking, and parenting in general. It is exhausting to be constantly looking for this approval and appreciation from outside of ourselves. I did a cooking experiment over a month once where I did my best to make healthy meals and tried to let go of the expectation of the family approving of them. I will write this up as a future blog post “The Cooking Without Expectation Experiment”. The truth is that we need to give this approval to ourselves. We cannot get it from others until we are able to give it to ourselves. Some things that have helped me remember this and to approve of myself are
In last week’s blog post http://www.pom-melbourne.com/blog/harmony-at-home-living-with-young-children related to younger children I explored the importance of setting boundaries, clear realistic expectations and logical consequences, which are followed through. And also the importance of being aware to avoid materially and emotionally indulging our children to prevent that unhelpful habit of a “sense of entitlement”.
It is tricky sometimes because as parents, even of older children, we are reluctant to enforce restrictions and are tempted to give them what they want to keep them happy. This tendency to want to have their approval or be their friends may not be appropriate, respectful to ourselves or helpful to them.
I was reminded of this recently when a friend of mine mentioned to me about her adult child who had come to live at home after some time living in a share house. Her child had commented how easy it was to slip back into habits of just leaving their stuff around, and not tidying up or offering to help around the house while back at home. While they felt they had learnt to be more respectful and cooperative in the group home they felt it was ok to be lazy around the family home. While it may seem easier as parents to let this go, to not upset the situation and 'keep them happy' and to have them 'approve' of us it is certainly not helpful for them or us. Strong love is required to kindly say something to show respect for ourselves as parents and also to allow them to not harm their peace of mind by being disrespectful. It may be that tricky conversation we need to have. It is important to live with respect and consideration of others no matter who they are. Being grateful and respectful is important for our happiness and peace of mind. For me it is helpful to remind myself and my family to be respectful of our home and each other without nagging. Quite tricky, but well worth it.
As a parent of teenage children and young adults some things I have found useful include;
The bottom line is to treat others as you wish them to treat you. Being responsible to show respect and kindness toward others and ourselves is fun and makes for harmony and peace at home and at work.
I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow through all the challenges and rewards that parenting and living and working with others brings. Like us all I have done my best with what I knew at the time and have made lots of mistakes along the way. I am continuing to learn and grow from these so-called mistakes and to do my best to live with respect, fun and connection. I am grateful to you for the opportunity to share what I have found useful. I sincerely hope you find something of benefit to create more harmony and peace of mind at home and work.
Why not explore doing the ‘Worry to Wonder’ 4 week course to develop a mindfulness meditation practice and get some tools for more harmony at work or at home and a happier, more confident, peaceful you and your family? To find out more about POM You can sign up for a free 30-minute phone consultation, below
Or to have a look on the POM website please press below
Harmony at Home with Young Children– Living with respect, fun and connection
No matter what living situation we may find ourselves in, whether it be at home as an adult because our finances do not permit us to move out, at home as part of a family or couple or in a shared home with others, it is helpful to be mindful of living with respect and consideration of others and ourselves.
I am not a psychologist or parenting expert, I am a mother who has had the opportunity to learn and grow through all the challenges and rewards that parenting brings. I have done my best to a strong reliable parent and have made lots of mistakes along the way. Like the rest of us I am continuing to learn and grow from these so-called mistakes and to do my best to live with respect, fun and connection. I feel extremely fortunate to be a parent and a daughter too. I am grateful for all the joy, harmony, chaos and learning that being together as family brings and am grateful to you for the opportunity to share what I have found useful.
As a mother of four children I have at times been a little unaware of and slow to adapt to my families’ changing needs and circumstances, as well as my own. We have all had to adjust as we have moved through the different family stages of having young children, adolescents, teens and adults living at home.
I thought it might be helpful to do these two blog posts the first on living with younger children and next week living with teens and adults. I am grateful to you for allowing me to share my experiences with you and to my wonderful family and friends who teach me so much and give me so much joy. .
Living with younger Children
When our children were younger and needed assistance and guidance it was appropriate for me to take charge of the household duties and provide what they needed. However, it may have been more appropriate from the start to involve our children more in household tasks like cooking and cleaning and also not to be so quick to provide them with everything they wanted. Maybe it may have been better to wait a little longer for the latest and greatest ‘i-whatever’ and to be ok with being the ‘only parent in the world’ who did not provide or allow such things.
As parents it is so easy to be seduced into thinking we are being helpful to our children when we indulge them emotionally and materially. We somehow think they will be happy if we provide them with what they want or protect them from suffering disappointment. However, at some level we all know that happiness does not lie in material things, if it did everyone that had all the things they wanted would be happy and we all certainly know that is not the case.
It is also true that attempting to protect our kids from any risk or suffering any disappointment does not help them learn to be resilient and grow from tricky situations. I recently wrote a blog post on dealing with disappointment.
It is important as parents we do our best to communicate openly, honestly and clearly with our children. It is our job as parents to provide appropriate support and guidance to allow our children to develop. Many a time I have barked instructions from one end of the house to the other and become frustrated when what I have asked has not been done immediately. It is much more helpful to communicate face to face and make sure what is being asked for or outlined is realistic, clearly understood and allows for appropriate negotiation which may include logical consequences for not complying.
Boundaries, clear realistic expectations and logical consequences are all really important to allow children to develop and be safe. It is tricky sometimes because as parents we want our kids to be happy and to like us and we think the way to do this is not to enforce restrictions, to give them what they want and to be their friends. However, sometimes, strong love is required to set up clear boundaries, expectations and logical consequences with follow through. This may not make us popular but it will ensure our kids emotional health.
This current generation has been accused of growing up with a sense of entitlement. We can help our children no matter what age avoid developing this unhelpful way of thinking by understanding how it develops. When we emotionally and materially indulge our children, fail to set boundaries and rarely enforce consequences we are encouraging that sense of entitlement, which will lead to unhappiness and disharmony.
As parents, we can help our kids by showing that strong, kind love that does not allow them to hurt themselves. Being strong and reliable as parents is about being respectful, not supporting and attempting to meet unrealistic demands and wants and setting clear fair boundaries with consequences and follow through.
Dame Elisabeth Murdoch is one of my heroes. For me she was a woman who displayed strong love and quiet generosity. Paying tribute to his late mother at a state memorial service Rupert Murdoch said his mother had “taken on the role of disciplinarian in the family because her husband was of uncertain health, much older and given to indulging his children. He went on to say “she pursued that role with none of the angst or self-doubt that consumes so many modern parents. For her love wasn’t soft or mushy it was strong and reliable.”
As a parent of younger children some things I have found useful include;
Have a peaceful, happy week, best wishes and kind regards