Monday, June 9, 2008
It’s fairly easy to be a good parent when things go well.
The real challenge comes when we encounter a crisis that tests our beliefs, or stretches us past the boundary of where we feel safe. We get out of “parenting” mode and move into “survival” mode. It’s scary, but it happens to all of us at one time or another.
So, how do we remain focused on our children during times of crisis? How do we take care of the needs that must be taken care of, either financial, health-related, or otherwise, and still meet the challenges of parenting with mindfulness and compassion?
This past year our main source of income stopped when my husband closed the business that he had owned for 20 years. I was nine months pregnant with our second child, and suddenly I was shaken out of my nesting instincts toward something that resembled basic survival. Looking back, I see that I actually protected myself somewhat from the reality of what was happening –perhaps a necessary state of denial. I was present to my husband and daughter, but my primary focus was to prepare emotionally, physically and spiritually for the coming baby.
I remember feeling elated after having a beautiful, natural childbirth. It felt strange to have such an incredible, expanding experience in the midst of loss and struggle. The elation I felt sustained me for months and after giving birth, and rather than experience a postpartum depression, I felt an urge to become active, focused, with an urgency that wasn’t completely related to panic about our financial situation. I felt that the birth moved me into a different phase of my life.
I was faced with the challenge of what to tell our oldest child. Do I shield her from the reality that our lives were changing drastically? Do I tell her the truth and risk her feeling anxious and unstable? My husband and I decided to tell her as much of the truth that we believed she could handle. We reassured her that she was safe and that most of the things in her life weren’t going to change.
I felt it was important for her to understand that we didn’t have as much money as we once did, however. I never could really understand the tendency to have children believe that their every wish can be granted instantly. I think it creates adults who have little impulse control, and can’t handle disappointment. I see our situation as an opportunity to teach our children compassion for others, but also to bring them a dose of reality about money. Life can sometimes be difficult, and living frugally isn’t something that should be done as a mean to an ends – there is honor in choosing a simple way of life.
We are always refining our approach to parenting these days. We are more in tune to “issues” that may crop up with the kids that reveal a struggle on their part. We’ve learned to talk to each other about things that we probably wouldn’t have had an opportunity for before. I see that as a gift.
Lisa Fyfe is a contributing columnist for The Lohasian. Her column, “Life with Fyfe: Confessions of a Holistic Mom” delivers a perspective on the everyday life of a modern holistic mom, as well as provides an insider look into best strategies for natural health and healing for the whole family.
Lisa is a Reiki Master, and an expert in Essential Oil Healing, and has spent the last several years extensively researching traditional diet and nutrition, with a focus on “whole,” locally grown and raised natural foods. She is a married mother of two children, Sophie and Max. Lisa approaches mothering as her highest calling, and believes that all mothers are natural healers and enjoys helping mothers (and others) help their children through the use of a variety of natural modalities.
To Reach Lisa, Email Here at lisafyfe (at) verizon.net