What If…(Radically Rethinking My Parenting Beliefs)

  • The following was orginally written and published on Lovefrombaby.com in 2013 when my littles were still little. Eight years later and I love every brave word written more than ever.
The Sword of Truth!

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. “
Albert Einstein

I’m in a stage of my Mothering Career where I’m unraveling ALL the “beliefs” that have been crammed into me since I was a child myself. What if beliefs are just a fancy word for “very strong falsehoods based on fear”. Okay, that’s even fancier, but you get my point. Parenting in our current culture is set up in such a way to promote daily struggles ~ or if not daily struggles, then simply squashing our children’s input by bullying them.

Oh, I know “bullying” is a dramatic catch-phrase these days. Usually we talk about bullying in peer settings, such as school. We never talk about parents bullying their children.  But, isn’t FORCING them to brush their teeth every day a form of bullying? I know most would say it’s for their own good. But when we say things like that, we clearly have an agenda ~ and it’s  a FEAR-PUSHING agenda. We are saying “You HAVE to do this thing you don’t want to do OR something REALLY BAD will happen!”

How many times are we, The Loving Parents, FORCING fear down Our Dear Children’s throats?

The following are all the things I’ve been questioning in regards to my children, my Mothering, and our cultural consciousness over the past year. Since November 2011, I’ve been in a period of rapid awakening, and within that awakening I’ve found that our fears have been TRAGICALLY limiting us. When we are living simply to “keep bad things from happening” it takes our energy away from far more important pursuits…like our LIMITLESSNESS. And in our LIMITLESSNESS, anything is possible…ESPECIALLY the impossible.

So, even if the following content challenges you (or you just think I’m a crazy loon) indulge me a bit and consider:

What if our kids REALLY DON’T need to brush their teeth everyday?

I started considering this one when my second son was about 2 years old and each tooth-brushing session became a reality trip straight through hell. I would literally have to pin him down to do it and it became the most stressful part of the day.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that pinning him down to brush his teeth was probably much more harmful than skipping it and keeping our relationship intact. It was at this time I decided to approach teeth-brushing from a place of LOVE instead of fear ~ if he wanted to do it we would sing silly songs as we brushed, if he wanted to skip it, we did. It became much more harmonious, and now at 5 years old tooth-brushing is done very smoothly…on a semi-daily basis.

Now, both of my older children had early cavities, but this happened BEFORE the semi-daily-love-brushing-changeover. They got their cavities while I was forcibly brushing from a place of fear, which brings me to my next question:

What if cavities are not caused by certain foods..but by cultural conditioning?

It would have been so easy for me to blame myself for my children’s cavities…and in fact, I did. I blamed myself, beat myself up, and then went on a rampage to “fix everything.” I cut out sugar, read all the alternative-tooth-care books and links, started cramming cod liver oil down their throats, said “NO!” to all grocery-store-treats, among various other fun things. Yes, in my fear I decided to create even more fear.

Then I started talking to other people about their children’s teeth and it seemed like ALMOST ALL OF THEM had dramatic tooth stories to tell! Even the people who were “doing it all right” with raw food, gluten-free-crap, and zero-taste-fun had children with cavities. There seemed to be no magic formula for healthy teeth….except maybe one. In my informal sociological research, I discovered that the people who worried very little about their children’s teeth had children with healthy teeth. And on the flip-side, it seemed that the MORE “health-conscious” the parents were, the worse off were they kiddos. Now, I’m not saying this is the way IT IS….it’s just what I noticed in my own daily life. And this is what led me to the dramatic reconsideration that perhaps it’s not food at all that causes cavities ~ perhaps it is the WORRY and FEAR and EXPECTATION of cavities that leads to cavities.

I know I didn’t want to teach my children to be afraid of food. So I stopped regulating and controlling and just went back to saying YES. Imagine my dismay when there was more cavities at the next visit. As I sat there, frustratingly pondering WHY the hell there would be more cavities when I’m NOT afraid of food anymore, my infinitely wise inner voice said, “You’re not afraid of food. Now don’t be afraid of dentists.”

Of course! Fear of food, fear of dentists, fear PERIOD creates cavities.

I know I’m right on this.

Which brings me to my next question:

What if our bodies know EXACTLY how to heal themselves without any outside help?

I’ve always felt this way about our bodies ~ that they have enough natural wisdom to do what they need to do. It’s why I’ve always had unassisted homebirths and we’ve never had a regular doctor. And since we’ve been speaking of teeth and dentists, let’s keep that conversation going.

I believe children have an innate wisdom about their bodies that stays intact until well-meaning adults squash it. If it weren’t for my old programming of fear around food and/or dentists I do believe my children’s cavities would heal themselves without them even having to think about it  ~ who knows maybe they’re healing right now even as I write this! I believe an intentionally well-guarded secret is that our bodies actually need NO OUTSIDE assistance to heal…but that little gem would sell a lot less drugs and lots of high-paid people would be out of a job, so I don’t expect the masses will jump on board just yet.

I’m not even jumping on board 100% yet, as I will keep taking my children to the dentist…while also expecting their cavities to heal themselves.

If we trusted our children a little bit (okay, A LOT) more I think we’d be utterly amazed by what their bodies can do…all by themselves.

And speaking of children’s body wisdom…

What if our children dislike vegetables for a reason? Maybe little bodies don’t need a lot of vegetables yet?

If forcing our children to brush their teeth is a form of bullying, then forcing them to eat vegetables is too.  All three of my babies have been great eaters ~ they will eat whatever I put in front of them whether is cake or carrots. Somewhere around toddler-hood is when they start to get picky. I can count on one hand how many vegetables my two older sons will (willingly) eat. Now, at almost 8 years old, my oldest son is starting to get adventurous again ~ he asked me to buy him an orange pepper at the store last week because he’d never had one before. I’m happy to see it and it also strengthens my notion that perhaps at certain ages, kids DON’T NEED to eat a lot of veggies. Right now, my just-turned-5 year old will only eat raw carrots, lettuce, and black olives. For years my first son only ate lettuce and onions (on tacos). I never really got perturbed by this, because I remember my own childhood-body-wisdom that only wanted to eat lettuce and onions.

Now, if you have a kiddo that loves veggies, all the power to you (though try not to look so smug). If you don’t, try not to worry. Keep offering veggies (without fear or expectation) and eventually one day (perhaps many years from now) that child will say “Yum” and ask for more.

I would say this notion of trust also applies if your child likes only a limited amount of any food. Maybe they NEED to eat just peanut butter sandwiches for a year. Which brings me to:

What if our children can get the highest nutrition from ANY food they eat?

Let’s just play with this one for a bit. What if those peanut butter sandwiches are giving that child’s body everything it needs. Futhermore, what if that peanut butter sandwich is giving that child even more than what it says on the nutrition label? I once read about a gifted child telling an interviewer that he could eat a potato chip and get the same nutrition he would from an apple.Why rule it out when believing it is JUST SO MUCH MORE FUN?!

Let’s take it one step further and say:

What if our children don’t really need food at all, but eat it just because it’s fun?

Okay, this may be stretching us a bit too far right now. But, speaking from personal experience, I fully know that when we raise our vibration to a certain frequency not only can we eat any food and have it go through us like water, but we actually need very little food at all. 

If this is something I’ve been experiencing in the last year and know to be true, why shouldn’t it be true of our children who are already at a higher vibration than we are?

Look, I know this is challenging. I know that there are probably only a handful of people that will read this and GET IT. Probably even less that will read this and BELIEVE IT.  All of this could be considered crazy, impossible, outrageous, and lunacy. It goes against the grain of EVERYTHING we’ve been taught. Which brings me to my final question…

What if EVERYTHING we’ve learned up until now is….FALSE?

Santa Doesn’t Come Down Our Chimney…

* This BRILLIANT and TIMELESS blog post was originally written in 2013 and has been published on CTworkingmoms.com and Lovefrombaby.com

I never told my kids about Santa. I was uncomfortable with the whole lying aspect of it ~ telling them that he comes down the chimney, puts the presents under the tree, and eats our cookies just felt icky to me. It’s not that I don’t believe in magic ~ quite the contrary. My family makes villages for the Fairies in our garden and we talk about aliens and hell, I communicate with unborn Spirit Babies! All those things we believe in. But Santa Claus coming in our house and bringing presents…well, that’s just not real!

The other aspect of the whole Santa Claus thing that always made me uncomfortable was the “naughty and nice” crap. Telling our kids they will only get presents if they act a certain way feels very wrong to me. Take that whole first stanza of the popular Christmas Carol:

“You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town.”

Telling my kids that they shouldn’t feel sad or angry or anything negative, because they’re being “watched” and they’ll be put on a “naughty list” to me sounds like a recipe for emotional repression. It also sounds to me like conditional love: “You’re only worthy of love and good things if you act the way I want.” I want my kids to know that ALL emotions are appropriate and that they’re ALWAYS worthy of love and good things no matter how they feel.

The Santa tradition also stinks strongly of conformity: “Act THIS way and good things will happen. Act THAT way and you’ll regret it.” Hmmmm….sounds like the government…and corporate America….and public school. But I digress!

My children have taught me so much, since even before they were born, and one of the things they’ve taught me is that they are not blank slates here to be molded into what I want. They came here with their own agenda, their own life purpose, their own passions and their own internal compass of what is right and wrong. Granted, I’m here to guide them when needed and to help them put a name to their feelings. But their feelings are to be trusted ~ when they’re sad, they’re sad for particular reasons. When they’re angry, frustrated, etc, it’s for particular reasons. I don’t have to try and fix those reasons but I can certainly accept and validate their feelings. I don’t even have to assure them their feelings are appropriate ~ THEY know that until we tell them otherwise. So “naughty and nice” have no place in our home.

All this being said, my kids learned about Santa from other sources ~ friends, cousins, television, and movies. And they believe all those things I never told them: he comes in our house, he puts presents under the tree, he eats our cookies. Yearly I’ve internally cringed each time they mention such things but I’ve never corrected them. Lately, however, they’ve been asking me if Santa is real and since I’ve not known quite how to answer I always put it back to them: “What do YOU think?” They always say yes. The questioning got more intense this last week, though, and they’ve been prodding me for specific answers.

So this is what I said “You know how we believe in Fairies, Angels, Spirit Babies and Other Things We Can’t See? We know those are real. So many people believe in Santa that he MUST be real on some dimension. He doesn’t come in our house and put presents under the tree, but I believe he helps all parents each year. He probably helped me find all the presents you guys wanted, helped me find the money to pay for them, and helps me find the inspiration and motivation to make Christmas magical. I believe each year the Spirit of Santa enters into our home from whatever realm he is in and helps us in any way we need. Yes, Santa is very, very real. More real than most people know.”

And I believed what I said. My kids did too. And then they started elaborating on all the ways Santa helps us, like when parents eat the cookies, the magic goes back to Santa and we all benefit. Sounds true to me.
So, Santa doesn’t come down our chimney. He doesn’t expect my children to conform to a certain code of conduct nor does he expect them to repress their emotions. But he loves us very much from his magical dimension and helps us celebrate Christmas each year.

Yes, Santa Claus IS real.

Candy for Breakfast

Disclaimer: I share these things not to say “THIS is the ONLY way.” I believe that every mama has wisdom in her own heart and does what is best for her family at any given time ~ it will often change (as it has with me!) and it will look different for everyone. I share these things to show ONE possible way ~ the way I follow my own heart.

The Most Important Meal of the Day

When mothering my first son I took pride in the fact that he didn’t like candy all that much ~ I’m sure I used it for bragging rights, like I’d done something amazing in my parenting. So of course when my second son came along he was immediately “My Candy Man.” He couldn’t get enough of the stuff, providing me endless opportunities for reframing my ideas and ideals about food.

Have you ever noticed how much mothering energy is spent around FOOD? Have you ever felt judged (at least by yourself) every time you go to the grocery store with the contents of your cart on display? You know what I’m talking about! Being militant about food has become a significant signpost of being a “good mother” (or even just a “good person!”). The current generation of mothers has been programmed to believe that to be “good,” you and your family must eat only organic food or be gluten free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, or some other version of deprivation. At the very least you MUST control the sugar intake of your children or you’re bad, bad, baaaaaad.

Well, let me tell you, society at large would call me a VERY bad mother because I follow NONE of those things. I may not have always known what I was doing, and yes, constant candy eating was a challenge when I was young in mothering, but ONE thing I always knew for sure: I NEVER wanted my children to be afraid of food.

So I decided NOT to program them with society’s food rules. We never discussed “healthy” or “unhealthy.” Dessert was never a reward for eating their vegetables, and they were never forced to eat anything they didn’t like. When they were younger I’d make them a big tray of snacks, and sweets got equal billing next to veggies. I never judged food in their presence and hoped they wouldn’t end up judging food either.

Food rules are hard to escape, though, you see them EVERYWHERE. So, every now and then one of them would ask “Is this food healthy?” My rote answer is the same now as it was back then: “If eaten in JOY, ALL food is healthy.”

It’s truly NOT about the food, it’s what we BELIEVE about the food. If we believe what we’ve been programmed to believe, then yes, some food is healthy and some is not ~ and we will live out that reality. But to me, those sorts of beliefs are based on fear, judgment, and limits..and THAT is where I choose NOT to live.

Back in November of 2011, when I was in the midst of what I call my “Soul-Merger-Initiation,” I was told two things specifically about food:

1.) There will come a time when food has no impact on your health or weight.

2.) There will come a time when you go to the grocery store and say YES to everything your boys want.

Nine years ago, both those ideas seemed like QUITE a stretch, if not down-right miracles. But now it is absolutely TRUE. It has taken me nearly a decade of spiritual growth to embody these freedoms, with a whole lot of unlearning, rescripting, and TRUST. Slowly but surely, though, true food freedom started to come naturally and easily. Just the other day I realized I’ve been saying YES to whatever they want for quite awhile now.

I was told something else back in November of 2011, and it was SO important I wrote it in sparkly letters and put it on my wall: “Trust children. Allow them to be the MASTERS they are.” That notion is the cornerstone of my mothering. I trust my children ~ I trust their ability to self-regulate, I trust the wisdom of their bodies, I trust them to follow their own inner guidance, and I trust that, if I stay the hell outta their way, they will always listen to the limitless, fearless voice that is inside them.

So Halloween candy? No guilt, shame, or limitations here. They don’t have to trade it in, give it away, or have it doled out to them in small quantities. This year we decided not to trick-or-treat (because 2020 seems to be a year to do everything differently) and instead I spread hundreds of pieces of candy around the house for the boys to gather while costumed up. I had a blast buying all their favorites ~ so much so that I made three separate trips out just for Halloween candy. And it was a success. They got all the good stuff with none of the crappy stuff no one likes, deeming it the best Halloween loot ever.

This morning I asked my youngest, “Do you want me to make you some food, or are you having candy for breakfast?” He answered, “I’m having candy for breakfast.” And that was simply that.

I’m choosing to live in a limitless world ~ one that doesn’t back-fire on joy nor make me pay for freedom. In Enlightenment I’ve come back full circle to my childhood innocence (with A LOT more experience and wisdom), where food is something to be fully enjoyed without judgment nor fear of reprisals! And what is childhood for if not to enjoy candy for breakfast? Right, I’m off to eat a Baby Ruth….

P.S. When my “Candy-Man,” turned 11 years old he apparently had his fill. Seemingly overnight, he traded in candy for carrots. Now instead of sweets for dessert, he eats a big raw carrot after every meal. Of course I use this for bragging rights, “You see, you stuff ’em full of candy for 10 years and then they start craving vegetables!”