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In:Four Love of the Globe

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I’d like to share a recent interview in which I was profiled as One Hot Mama by the author of One Hot Mama, Erin Cox. I know we all do our best to strive for balance each day and I share some of the ways in which I do that. I’m very happy to be connected with all of you on this journey through parenthood.

Tell us about you and what you do, and tell us about your family.

Hi, I’m Sandy. I am a proud Mom of two precious boys, Pierce (age 5) and Aston (age 3). I’m currently traveling around the world with my family for a year. I created a website documenting our family travels which I am very connected to and passionate about, Four Love of the Globe. My husband and I enjoyed traveling before our boys were born and made a decision to sell our cars, lease out our home, put everything in storage, and take a life-changing journey as a family, eight months ago.

We are all exploring and learning about the world around us and each other every day. This journey, education and experience will be a part of our souls forever.

It is in the formative years that children absorb and build their true foundation. I am so thankful they are developing that foundation, as they travel around the world, surrounded by such diversity and the constant thread of our love. Our boys are grounded, free-spirited, loving and adventurous. My love for them is beyond words or explanation.

My husband, Dana and I have known each other for twenty two years and we built an enduring friendship first. Over the course of many years and many challenges we connected again nine years ago and have been together ever since. I am so happy he wanted to take this trip as much as I did and he makes all of this possible. I am so thankful for him and his Love. We share the same outlook about traveling and broadening our knowledge and perspective in this life. It is ever changing and ever growing and I am so lucky to have him and our boys beside me every day.

How has motherhood changed you?

Being a mother is the greatest role of my life. I had no idea how deeply I would be affected. From the second I gave birth and witnessed the soul of my first born son, I was changed forever. As a woman, we go through so many stages and phases. As a mother, I have a true purpose, which often was unclear in the past and now, is what drives me every day.

My purpose is no longer only my own. My heart is more sensitive than ever before. I have learned sacrifice, unconditional love and what it means to be completely vulnerable. I see the world through their eyes and I want to nurture, support and encourage who they are and what they need. I love witnessing our boys as they discover this world. I love being their Mother.

Motherhood inspired me to create my business, Baby Love Wrap. I wanted to design a product that would encourage others to wear their babies as much as I did. My newborn baby was attached to me as I built this business. I wore him in a prototype of my wrap to all of the meetings and factories every day. We had a great time and we developed something very special together.

How do you maintain being fit, healthy, and feeling beautiful?

Breastfeeding helped take my pregnancy weight off quite quickly and since I did it for over 5 years, it made keeping it off, much easier. I’m active every day because I have two boys. We hike, play tennis, swim, run and anything else that may come our way while exploring this world we live in. I also do my own workout on days when I still have energy after all of that.

I have lupus and when I have flare ups, life can be challenging. There are days when I wonder how I will make it through. I am very proactive with my health and I do my best to be healthy with the things I am in control of. I am a vegan, I stay active and I do my best to get sufficient sleep. The sleep thing is new because for many years I didn’t get much of that. I am grateful for that now and I think it’s contributing to my better health these past couple of months.

As far as beautiful goes, let me tell you this. I just had my first pedicure in 7 months and my grey roots colored after too many months. This is the longest I’ve gone with such little maintenance on my outside appearance. It was an interesting period for me and one in which I’m actually thankful for. I’ve never been one to think that our outsides makes us beautiful. I’ve always believed that one’s inner beauty is the most important thing. When you are shining and confident and comfortable with yourself, you are beautiful.

I see hair maintenance and basic grooming as ingredients for making us feel good about ourselves and these things also give us a certain confidence as women. This said, I also have seen that the opposite opens space for a deeper understanding of what is truly important. Traveling the world and being present to my family and everything around us is what matters. I feel beautiful when I am living the life I am meant to live. I feel beautiful when I am connected to others and this world. I enjoy feeling feminine and pretty when I have pretty toes, a dress on, my hair flowing and the scent of my favorite perfume permeating the air as I walk, however that for me, isn’t beautiful. Beautiful is a feeling that comes from within and I am feeling beautiful right now as I write this. I am in my true, authentic space and sharing with you and this is an amazing place to be in.

What is your biggest challenge for taking care of yourself?

My biggest challenge for taking care of myself is when I can’t control my lupus flare ups. I do my best to get through them and I’m so grateful when they pass. Now that our boys are getting a little older, I make time to take care of myself more than I did when they were infants and toddlers. A shower was a big accomplishment in those days.

How do you balance goals and responsibilities?

Balance is an important thing for me. My goals are aligned with my priorities every day. My responsibilities are just part of that alignment and they don’t feel like work. I just continue taking steps each day and doing what needs to be done within those days. Sometimes I accomplish a lot and sometimes, nothing at all in terms of responsibility. Mindful Living is one of my main goals each day so the responsibilities which align with that are usually quite enjoyable.

What inspires you about being a mother?

I always say that being a Mother is the greatest gift and role of my lifetime. The fact that I get to LOVE completely, nurture, protect, teach, support, encourage and raise my boys each day is unbelievable. I am so inspired when I wake up and get to look at each day as a new day. We create adventures and truly live. Traveling with my kids is a very different experience than my past of traveling alone or with my husband. The world presents an education that is incomparable. I am inspired to constantly learn and grow as a woman so that my perspective as a mother is enriched in order to teach and inspire them about the world around us.

How do you reward yourself?

At the moment, I reward myself by creating time to write and read. I’ve written my whole life and it’s always been very cathartic for me. It’s also always been a true form of self expression and I’m thankful to have people to share this expression with.

I am happy when I get to take a hot bath after our boys are asleep. I enjoy going to the gym, blasting my music and singing while on the treadmill. These are rewards for me. These are the gifts that re-charge and inspire me.

What brings you inner-peace?

Writing and expressing my thoughts give me inner peace. Knowing I am doing my best each day in raising our boys and witnessing their growth and development, calm my soul. Contributing positively and lovingly to my family, those around me and to the things I believe in, give me peace. My inner voice, my heart and my mind, guide me. When I trust my instincts and live my life while trusting these, I find inner peace.

How do you remain joyful amidst the chaos?

My joy comes from my attitude, my patience and my Love. I’m not saying it’s easy or that I’m always smiling through the chaos. I see chaos for what it is and I calmly work through it. It usually doesn’t take very long. Once I do, I find the joy again and balance is in place until the next challenge presents itself. Then repeat.

How do you bring balance to your life when things are chaotic?

I remain calm and patient. I find a way to sit quietly with my thoughts so I can process what needs to be shifted in order to find balance. I really don’t find life to be chaotic. Chaos is a mindset in my opinion. I choose to just handle each thing as it comes, calmly and peacefully. The answers are soon revealed and the clearing is made for new light and new growth.

What does success look like to you?

Success for me is feeling comfortable in my own skin. It’s knowing I am loving with all of my heart, supporting and encouraging our boys as they discover who they are and the world around them. It is contributing to society in positive and constructive ways. Success is being an example of what I wish for others. Love. Peace, Harmony, Balance. Self respect. Full self expression. Success is living and loving with all that I am and feeling the gratitude for each moment I am given.

What have you failed at that turned out to be a blessing?

I fail to follow the masses and the expected norms of society. I choose my own path and I pave new ones every day. I fail to let other’s tell me how to live and how to raise my children. I fail to give up or get discouraged when I witness evil and hate in our world. I fail to live a passive life. These are failures which I am blessed with every day.

What projects are you working on?

I am currently traveling around the world and enjoying the most exciting projects of my life. I am capturing precious moments through photography. I am writing for several publications on parenting, traveling and mindful living. I passionately document our journey through my personal blog at Four Love of the Globe. I am donating and selling my Baby Love Wraps around the world. I am writing fictional short stories. I am getting ready to write my first book. I truly feel that I am living my dreams and discovering and experiencing life so deeply and fully. I am more grateful than I can possibly express.

How do you nurture your relationship while parenting, traveling, and maintaining a business?

This isn’t always easy and I find it to be another thing that comes down to ‘balance’. At the moment, while on the road, I do my best to have quality time together as a family as well as individually. We all need space sometimes and we all need one on one time. I love my family so much and the nurturing comes easily because we are always together which promotes the kind of intimacy and connection I need and love.

What is a favorite quote that inspires you to be your best?

“Every single second is a chance to turn it all around.” -Inspired by the film, Vanilla Sky.

I believe that we have a choice in each moment to be our best. A positive attitude and that choice set up the foundation we need to build upon. No matter what happens, I know that I can choose to be my best and to make the most out of what I have. When challenges arise, I make the choice to rise above, learn and grow.

Here is a link to the interview and you can check out Erin Cox and the Hot Mama Movement!
http://www.erincox.com/hot-mama-profile-sandy-gordon-frankfort/

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In:Attachment Parenting, Travel with children

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After giving birth for the first time and choosing what instinctually felt right, I was told I wasn’t doing things the “right way.” I was, and still am, whispered about, talked about and judged by many. I know this because I eventually hear about it. I really don’t care what people say or think of me but today I’m choosing to use it as fuel for my message.

Since becoming a mother, I’ve witnessed how others live to judge and tell you, either to your face or behind your back, what you are doing wrong in terms of parenting. Everyone is an expert it seems. They will make it known every time they disagree with the way you choose to live your life or raise your children.

I live a life I am proud of. I hope you do as well. I am connected to my higher purpose. I am grateful for my family and my life. I am doing my best, with pure intentions, patience, acceptance and love in my heart.

I believe traveling is one of the best ways to open the mind to curiosity. You will not learn everything about the world while you are traveling but you will be exposed to new ways of life and things you never knew existed. I believe this is one of the most important decisions and choices my husband and I made. We are teaching our boys that the world we live in is not the only world there is.

Many people thought, and still think, we are crazy for not enrolling our boys in school yet and choosing this path of traveling. At the moment, the world is their school and education is in front of and around them every day, with ancient history, new cultures, different ways of life and more. What we choose to do in the future will be our decision. We will always do what is best for our children based on who they are and what they need.

People warned me if I breastfed too long, our boys would be weak or too attached. If I co-slept, they wouldn’t know how to be by themselves. Now these same people have bets that we won’t continue this journey for the year we planned and each is waiting to collect on that.

This time, it isn’t about extended breastfeeding, bedsharing, babywearing, or veganism, but rather, the fact that some people think we are doing a bad thing by traveling around the world with our children.

Our boys are strong, independent and can’t wait to venture out every day. They have beautiful and expressive spirits. They are centered and they are free. They are loving this experience and growing each day. We are all in this together. We all make time for our relationships and time alone.

Our kids are not perfect. We do not live a perfect life. We struggle and suffer and face challenges just like everyone else. I don’t claim to have everything figured out. I simply choose to have a positive outlook and a lot of gratitude for every day I am given.

As I type this right now, I question whether I should just let all of this go and not post my feelings about this matter. Maybe I should do what Abraham Lincoln used to do, write this letter, let it sit in my desk for a day and file it away, never to be sent. That isn’t the answer though. I am sharing this because I want to tell you to LIVE YOUR OWN LIFE. DO NOT let others put their self doubt, their unfulfilled dreams, their negative attitudes, fear or insecurities on You.

I am happy to be away from the U.S. right now. I am happy to be away from the microscopes, the expected norms of society and self-appointed, parental control officers. I am happy to be free in a world where togetherness and intimacy is not only accepted but encouraged. I am happy to raise our boys with our beliefs and values. I am happy they love and respect nature and are participants in other cultures and societies beyond the comfortable bubble we popped.

I am happy to make mistakes and learn from them without those people clapping their hands or smiling when we fail. I am happy we are all growing and enriching our lives and our relationships more than ever. I am happy we are in this together, through the good and bad.

My life is not perfect but it is mine to live. If you don’t like it, just as you don’t like other things I do, ask yourself why. Hopefully you will come to the realization that you have your own life to live and that my life is not your business to judge. If you want to join us on this journey, we are happy to have you. I believe we are raising boys that will be healthy, contributing parts of the society they choose to live in. This is what matters to us.

As for those of you who can relate to my feelings, please remember, this is Your life. You have been given what you see in the mirror and your choices are yours. Ask yourself if you are running away from something or chasing your dreams. Choose based on what you believe. I am not here to justify why I believe this journey is amazing or why I do anything for that matter, although this letter seems to be doing exactly that. I am sharing this with you because I hope you don’t feel the need to justify or defend against these types of people in your own lives. People who refuse to look in the mirror and would rather look out the window and tell others how to live.

I feel a lot better now. Even if I never post this, writing helps me work through my feelings. If in fact you are reading this, I believe I made the right decision in expressing myself. We will begin a new adventure today and enjoy each moment. I wish the same for you.

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Our three year old son enthusiastically yells these words as we step out the door each and every day! That may seem like something every child says but let me tell you why this warms my heart and inspires me to share with you.

My little Aston was inflicted with many chronic issues since three months of age. We spent most of his first two and a half years of life in the doctor’s office, the hospital, on a nebulizer and suffering in some way. This never stopped Aston from smiling and persevering though. In fact, it made him stronger and more compassionate.

He doesn’t want attention when something is wrong. He actually wants to prove that he can endure it and wants to move on to more exciting things. He is a deep thinker. He is a philosopher. He is wise beyond his years. He touches my heart and melts it with each word he utters and each action he takes.

I am an attachment parent. I am so grateful that I get to be with my two boys all the time and that we are so close. I am thankful that I chose and continue to choose to breastfeed and have been blessed with an abundance of milk for over five years. I wore both boys until they were ready to be on their own. I continue to co-sleep today.

I am sharing these things because I wouldn’t have it any other way. When something is wrong, I am right there. When I am needed, I am there. We are so connected and I know my boys like I know myself. Aston communicates clearly whenever something is bothering him. He tells me if his stomach hurts and why. He tells me if he can handle it or if he needs something. He reminds me to give him his medicine and vitamins each day.

I want to mention a very important person to us and how she has made such a huge difference in our lives. Dr. Nancy Blumstein. I am so thankful we were led to her and she is the greatest pediatrician we could’ve asked for. She practices homeopathy which is what I believe in and use for myself and my family. She guides me and I trust her. Thank you Dr. Nancy for all that you have done for my boys and for all that you continue to do even from afar these days. We love you.

As we are on this journey around the world, I see my son growing. I see him thriving in a way I always knew he could and would. His brain is always working and his imagination is always creating. As we walk the streets of each city, rain or shine, he grabs my hand and says, “Mommy, let’s run!” When I slow down, he says, “Let’s run faster, Mommy.” When I am tired he runs over to Daddy for some more.

This brings tears to my eyes each day and as I write this. He is my little Rocky Balboa. I see him in his sweat pants and hooded sweatshirt running his little heart out with more soul and love than I can even express. He inspires me. He shows me how to live. He shows me how to Love. He is my little angel.

His big brother loves him so much and he loves his big brother just as much. They are so close and so connected and for this, I am so grateful also. As Aston runs each day, Pierce lets him lead and he says, “Aston is the fastest runner ever.” If you knew how fast Pierce was, you would understand why this is so sweet and says so much about Pierce. I am so proud of my sons and I love witnessing their precious souls develop and grow each day.

This trip is all about allowing each of us to grow at our own speeds. To let life unfold before us as we discover new lands and new people. We learn as we go. We spread love like we are sprinkling fairy dust through the air. Our education is life and the rewards are priceless. We have never been closer or more connected as a family.

Aston’s spirit is what guides him. He won’t let anything hold him back and he wants to take in and savor all of the splendor this life offers. I feel the same way about life and I am truly grateful for every second I am given.

“Let’s Run.” I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow, hear those words…and do it again.

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Hello all,

I wanted to share this letter below that I received today. I am deeply touched that this person, identity unknown, took the time to express himself so openly and honestly. I hope we can all read it and take something from it, whether we are parents or not.

Dear Sandy,

I’m probably not your average reader. I’m a single man without kids.

I take responsibility for the path I have chosen to follow in life and the dreams that have never come to pass because I have never followed them to see where they would lead. Still, there is a part of me that wonders how much different my life would be today if I had a mother who had loved me, the way you love your boys.

I wasn’t yet in the first grade and I remember going to bed at night, looking forward to the hugs and kisses my mom would give me. I loved her so much and couldn’t tell her enough times or kiss her cheek often enough. Then a moment would come, before bed, when she would tell me that she’d had enough and it was time for bed. I would ask her to tell me just one more time that she loved me and she would refuse, telling me that it was getting to be a bit much.

I would begin by asking nicely and when she refused to tell me that she loved me, just one more time, I would begin to beg, “mom, please tell me that you love me, please.” “No”, she would say. “Now go to bed and quit being a baby.”

I remember the feeling of going to bed wondering if I had upset my mom and if she even still loved me at all. In the morning, I would wake up and look for a smile on my mother’s face or a hug to reassure me that she did in fact still love me.

It was this one event that continually reoccured. She quit tucking me in at night because of the fuss it would cause and this is what began the deterioration of my self confidence. From that point forward I remember that I would never hear her say, “I love you” often enough. Even when she did say it, I doubted whether she really meant it or was just saying it so that I would behave.

The feeling of insecurity that comes from believing you must earn your mother’s love, is damaging beyond belief to a child. When I made this observation last week, I began crying uncontrollably.

I just want to say, “Thank you for showing me what love looks like.” From this one observation I have been able to take back control of my emotions and I have a confidence in myself that I have never had before. Now, for the fist time in my life I truly feel comfortable in my own skin.

Signed,
Better late than never.

Thank you, Mr. single man without kids, for your kind words and for allowing yourself to be vulnerable. I respect you for looking at yourself, and your upbringing, and for being open to learning and growing. I am so happy you are comfortable within your own skin and I wish you so much love and happiness in this life. We all deserve to be loved and I do believe that the need for LOVE begins at birth and continues on always. I am so delighted that you get to move forward and live your life from a different perspective and with a newfound confidence. Much Love and Respect.

Please always tell the ones you LOVE that you LOVE them. Please do your best to show it by being patient, respectful, loving and kind. We all need to hear it and feel it. I choose Love always and I am sending my Love to all of you.

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I am sitting on the plane en route to Costa Rica…both boys on my lap asleep, my husband a few seats down asleep as well, and I am so grateful for this quiet time to share. I have so much to say and I only hope I’m able to convey some of it in these precious moments.

When I first suggested we take this trip as a family around the world a few years ago, I remember the surprise and enthusiasm my husband experienced as he pondered the idea. I’ll never forget the look on his face and the light that shined within him in those minutes.

There are so many roads to take in this life. There are so many choices. I’ve never been one to take the road most traveled and since becoming a parent, I’ve truly found a path and many side streets that are my own. I’ve been questioned and doubted along the way and as I always say, I’m sure that will continue and that is just fine.

This story and idea of traveling with our family first began as an idea, a thought and perhaps even a dream. I do believe strongly in visualizing what you really want and putting your energy, passion and love into everything around it. That said, with the actions and intentions, I also believe things happen the way they are supposed to…when they are supposed to.

So, here we are. We are at the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. We are facing the unknown with all eyes open. Inspiration, love, and excitement are taking over our beings as we fly away to new lands and toward new experiences.

The preparation of this journey alone sparked new life in all of us. Our sons not only took an interest in world maps because they found them fascinating and colorful, but also, because they wanted to understand the world we were planning to tread our feet on. They want to talk about the food in each country, the sports played, the modes of transportation we will take, and mostly, of course, which superhero costumes they will be wearing in each place along the way.

Curiosity is one of the greatest gifts we are born with. Sadly, I believe society often wants to squander that natural curiosity in an attempt to place everyone in the “traditional” norms most people find to be comfortable.

I am thankful and proud to say that I didn’t conform. I didn’t let anyone take my curiosity away or the spirit that makes me, ME. I will do everything in my power to give our children the opportunity to explore this world freely and openly. I want them to discover and create who they want to be in it with all of the love, determination and free spirited nature of their precious little souls.

This is how I choose to parent. This is what I believe will empower my sons with all of the tools necessary to grow and thrive in this world that so badly wants to make everyone the same. As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”

I thank you all for joining us on this adventure. I thank you for your enthusiasm and support. I am grateful for technology and the amazing gift of social media and networking. It allows us to stay connected and truly share and experience things together. I often hear people refer to the social media world as a cold and distant excuse for communication. I disagree. I’m sorry I don’t get to see or talk to many of you more often than I do but I am so thankful we at least have this connection and communication.

When we are honest and real and authentic in who we are and what we share with one another, I am touched, moved and inspired. I want you to know that we are connected for a reason. I hope you believe the same.

Here’s to an enlightening, thought-provoking, fascinating, soulful and loving adventure. My wish is for all of us to allow new awakenings and perspectives for and within ourselves. More risks and less fear. More action and less hesitation. More Love, More Love and More Love.

We are just over Costa Rica right now and I am feeling the importance and magnitude of this very moment. Allow yourself to do the same, no matter where you are. This is your life. Live it the way you want to and don’t back down.

Much Love from this crew of superheroes above the clouds and beyond.

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Jan 21

Tides

As I’m packing my life into boxes and storage containers, I’m finding myself nostalgic at moments. I just found a file box from over 20 years ago. Inside was a folder with many pieces I wrote when I was younger. I wanted to share this one with you. I was 17.

I will never forget sitting on my special grassy hill in college, a place of much introspection and inspiration. I wrote this and I must say that I still feel the same way today. Don’t exist within a mold and don’t let anyone or anything define you. You define YOU.

As a parent, we can easily fall into the mold society and previous generations tell us to fit into. I am thankful that my instinct guides me to my own places and my own choices. I am thankful that I trust this and follow it each day. I suppose this was appropriate to find today. I am definitely living these words and allowing myself to LIVE and be FREE. I wish the same for you.

Tides

The tide of existence protects us from and exposes us to the harsh nature of this place. As the waves crash from a distance, we are forced to open our eyes and face what we know is there. As the tide comes into shore, we are blinded by the realities before us. As it goes back out, we see more clearly, not only what we want to see, but rather, all that hides in the stretch of sand beneath it’s Mother.

Why are we so afraid of this vision? We create superficialities in order to better understand who we are, what we are, what we’re doing and why. We’re so mesmerized by these false perceptions that we mistake them for the truth. What is the truth? What is real? That which the tide covers and at times reveals, I’d rather not see, Everything around us is more or less temporary and sooner or later, the problems of today will fade into the light of tomorrow.

There should be no final destination of goal to reach, no ladder to climb. The path need still be there but only as an unformed, undefined passage that contains no boundaries. Regulations, rules and social conventions bound us from the freedom our bodies so desperately need for expression. Why can’t we just be free and experience what it is to “Live” rather than “Exist” in this mold formed around us? ~ Sandy Gordon Frankfort

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My family and I spent most of the day yesterday in the Federal Building updating passports. It was a very long day in a crowded space and what else does one do, other than watch your kids play superheroes with other kids in their common language, except people watch.

I’ve always enjoyed people watching as a way of understanding the world and people more. It’s so easy to let the little gifts pass us by unless we take the time to look for them. Today we were surrounded by newborns. There must have been at least 20-30 of them with their parents in line and in the waiting area. At first my heart just melted and I had to ask how old they were. Most were only a week or two weeks old. Then my boys and I just stared as we viewed the miraculous sightings of these precious little angels.

I watched the mothers and fathers and it took me back to those first days and weeks. I remembered the magic, the LOVE, the fragility, the fatigue…all of it. I saw first borns, twins and siblings with their new little sidekicks. It made the day go by and I truly enjoyed being around and interacting with such a diverse group of people and witnessing my boys doing the same.

What surprised me the most in this very large crowd was the fact that not one person was wearing their baby in a wrap or carrier. It actually made me sad but I also felt fortunate as I reflected on the years I wore both of my boys in wraps and carriers. I wanted to stand up and tell everyone the joy that comes from wearing your child. The room was filled with strollers and car seats. I watched the babies drink from their bottles, get burped and then placed back into their seats, then repeat….over the course of several hours. My wish is that one day soon, I will walk into a waiting room or public setting and see a room full of parents holding and wearing their babies.

I am not judging those who bottle feed, nor am I judging you if your baby is in a car seat or stroller. What I am saying however, is that I feel our society has become and continues to promote and encourage detachment from our children. They go from car seats, to strollers to walkers, to play pens to cribs. I know they get fed and cuddled somewhere in between but I can’t help but to wish we could all connect even more. We all need to know we are loved and our babies are completely dependent on us for everything. If we are able to give them as much love, contact and warmth as possible, I believe they will feel more secure and safe which will only make them thrive even more.

In other societies and cultures throughout the world, it is normal and commonplace to wear your baby all day, sleep with your baby and spend as much time skin to skin as possible. Especially in the first year of life. I think about newborns. I imagine their world before they were delivered into this one. They are tucked in, warm, cozy, safe and comfortable within the womb of their Mother. When they enter this new realm, they are no longer tucked in tightly. The stimulation must be overwhelming and the warmth and basic necessities are all they require. Sleep, eat, burp, poop, repeat.

I know as a first time parent the responsibility of it all can be intimidating and taking care of the basics makes you feel like you made it through the day successfully. Again, I want to make it clear that I understand we all do our best. At least I hope so. Not everyone was born to be a babywearing, cosleeping, breastfeeding parent. I get it. Not everyone will agree with me and in fact I realize many will disagree with me and my ways. That is ok also. I accept you. You can accept me if you want but if you don’t I can live with that.

My need to express here isn’t about you or me or how we parent. It’s about the most fundamental principal in all of life. LOVE. If you aren’t wearing your baby in a wrap or carrier, I’m not saying you don’t love the same way a babywearing parent does. I’m saying, let’s do it more. All I thought about in that room all day was how happy those little babies would have been if they were wrapped up close against their Mothers.

I saw people getting frustrated and annoyed that their babies were crying. Babies cry. Don’t ever feel embarrassed or ashamed when yours does. To me though, the quickest way to ease them once you tend to their needs, is to hold them close. Let them feel your heartbeat. Let them smell your skin. Let them hear your voice. Let them feel the thousands of kisses on their little heads as you carry them throughout your day.

Yes, I support babywearing. Yes, I am an attachment parent. I am not saying I’m better. I am not saying it is all easy. What I am saying is this. This time goes by so fast. These moments need to be cherished. The sacrifices we make are worth it. I promise. The love, security, stability, warmth and connection you offer will make a difference. My wish for the New Year is for all of us to Love more. To connect more. To Accept more. To Attach more. That is my wish.

Congratulations to all of you who have already experienced the extraordinary gift of giving birth. I wish those of you expecting to have safe and healthy deliveries. Being a mother is the greatest gift and role of my life. I am so thankful for my boys and for my family and I will love with all of my heart each and every minute I am breathing.

Much Love and Support,

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I often look into the eyes of my friends, or strangers in Target with toddlers and babies in their carts and ask, “How’s it going? Most of the time I get the big smile and the cheerful voice telling me, “Great!” I stare a little deeper and I ask again in case I might be the one person they want to tell the truth to. If I still don’t get the answer I’m looking for, I’ll ask again, “Do you ever find that it’s hard?” “Do you ever have really rough days?”

I have found that I desperately want to connect and relate with others in the reality of parenthood. I feel the magic, Love, gratitude and magnitude in each moment. This love overwhelms me in the most powerful ways. I am truly thankful for being given the greatest role of my lifetime. The gift of being the mother to my two sons. This said, I find that many people don’t want to admit how crazy hard it can be sometimes. Even when I am standing there giving them the space, or at least that’s what I’m attempting to do, to speak the truth. To let it out. To relate. To understand that you are not alone. I want you to help me realize I’m not alone just as badly.

I am a very positive person and I have so much love inside and so much love to give. I am an extremely patient person as well. Patience may be one of those things that comes easily for me or a choice I make in each moment, yet sometimes, even that doesn’t make certain situations any easier. Yesterday, I broke down a few times in tears and felt completely helpless. I knew why it was rough but that didn’t make the hours go by any quicker and it didn’t resolve the stress and sadness I felt.

I believe we all do our best to know ourselves. Know our limitations, our bodies when we are sick, and our instincts when something doesn’t feel right. I also believe we do our best to know and understand our children. For example, I have learned recently how important a solid twelve hour night sleep is for my boys. They wake up cheerful, enthusiastic and playful the following day. It’s so simple and yet, so true.

Well, my boys have had stuffy noses the past few days and this hasn’t allowed for much restful sleep. That is my excuse and justification for why the past 24 hours have been absolutely and beyond…challenging. I now understand the need to lock yourself in a closet for just a minute to cry and regroup. It is just necessary sometimes. The crankiness, the crying, the attitudes, the not listening to anything I say, the getting hit in the ear with a wooden plank (accidentally)…all of it. I am laughing now as I write this because the visual seems amusing in this moment, but trust me, there was nothing funny about my day yesterday.

At times like those, even with the excuse I tell myself about the lack of sleep, I look at myself and wonder what I am doing wrong. I wonder where I can improve. I wonder if anyone in the world experiences days like these. I just want to cry. I want to go to sleep and let a new day begin.

I got the boys to bed early last night and they slept a full and tranquil twelve hours. Like a scene out of the Sound of Music, a new day began this morning. Big smiles and hugs from everyone, birds chirping, a shower WITH my hair washed, a lovely and peaceful breakfast, boys playing together, a dentist appointment with no crying, and smiles, love, and fun this entire day. I am thankful, recharged and happy. We skipped and laughed and hugged and as I was walking through my day, I felt compelled to share my thoughts.

I believe we are all grateful for those enjoyable moments spent with our children. We are grateful when we get through a store or a day without any ‘episodes’. I just had to express to you how hard it can truly be sometimes. I am not afraid to tell you that. I would love to ask you to express the same when you need to. If it isn’t me you want to vent to, please tell someone. I see so many people in our society working so hard to pretend their lives are perfect. Facebook, a platform I adore for many reasons, is one of those places especially, where I witness the ‘My life is perfect’ syndrome. There is comfort in hiding behind the protection of a computer screen, and fabricating the life you want to present to the world. It is really comfortable though?

I also believe that many of you, including myself, truly are positive and happy and feel compelled to share wonderful moments or photos publicly. I get it. I also believe that when you are down, putting out positivity or even receiving positivity is helpful in beginning a day with a good attitude…even if you don’t have one in that moment.

I’m not telling you to spill all of your hardships onto the social media masses. All I am saying is, don’t be afraid to be who you are. Don’t be afraid of what people will think of you. Don’t be afraid when you divulge a certain truth, that people will discover you are not perfect. Guess what. None of us are. We are not. Our children are not. Our lives are not.

Whether we have kids or we don’t, we go through ups and downs. I believe it is our attitude and the way we approach and respond to those downs that will get us through. Dig deep for patience in those moments. I know sometimes it may seem impossible. Go cry in the closet. The moment will pass. The day will pass. A new day will begin with another chance to experience the miracle of being alive.

I also want to acknowledge those with newborns. I always think of you. Hang in there. While you are enjoying first smiles and precious glances, you are also experiencing sleepless nights, fatigue and responsibility for another like you’ve never known. Hold on to each moment. Enjoy it. Find the beauty. Find the patience and the Love. Be present. I promise you this. You WILL sleep again. You will have moments to yourself again and most importantly, I promise you this. It all goes by faster than you know. This is it. This is your chance to be the mother or father you never had or like the mother or father you did have and respect so much. This is your chance to be YOU. This is your chance to be the best Parent you can be. There isn’t a greater role or responsibility on Earth…in my opinion.

Much Love and Support.

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Love.    Patience.    Presence.    Respect.

Our role as Parent is constant…ever-changing and ever-growing. We each have different parenting styles and we each face challenges differently as well.

As an attachment parent, four of my fundamental principles are Love, Patience, Presence and Respect. There are many others but these four will sum up an important message I’d like to share today.

When we operate from Love, I believe our intentions are for Harmony, for Peace, for Happiness. If we Love kindly and gently, we hope that these things will naturally be results of our Love.

I have discovered that Love, combined with Patience, Presence and Respect, will not only guide me in the direction in which to handle situations, but will also carry me through the challenging times when I truly don’t have the answers.

Please imagine yourself, as a child or as an adult, experiencing frustration, sadness, anger, or any other emotion or feeling that makes you uncomfortable. When you imagine yourself feeling that discomfort, what do you believe could take that away or at least make it easier in that moment?

I ask you to imagine yourself because many times in life, it is important to put the shoes on your own feet to gain the necessary perspective in dealing with others. I find this to be true and probably most importantly, in the way we treat and listen to our children.

So often, parents decide it is their way or no way. It is this way simply because “I say so.” You are the parent, they are the children, and for many, it is thought to be the hierarchy that sets the tone for discipline and commands.

I don’t believe in those methods. I believe our children deserve to be heard. I believe they deserve respect. I believe they deserve an answer and an explanation. I believe they deserve our Love. Our Patience. Our Presence. I believe we all deserve this.

No matter what is going on, crying in the middle of the night from your newborn, a screaming tantrum from your two year old, your angry four year old making a demand out of frustration…these need to be met with tenderness, calmness and composure of mind.

I’m not saying this is easy. I’m not saying you won’t be challenged and tested beyond belief, because you will. I’m only sharing what works for me. I’m sharing this because the alternatives are not only damaging to your children, but they are damaging to you as well.

When we don’t take the time to truly be present and listen…when we don’t dig deeper than we think is possible for patience in a trying moment…when your love turns to anger and you lash out or lose control with your children, damage will be done. I can assure you of that. The negative feelings and situations will be prolonged, everyone will feel worse than they did initially, and someone, if not everyone, will walk away feeling misunderstood, unheard and alone.

It is my goal to nurture, love, and create harmony in my household. I believe we all want the same. When that isn’t happening, we must have the awareness of these principles at our disposal so we can easily tap into and operate from them at all times.

Love.

There was an unconditional Love that was born in me that I never knew prior to giving birth. That in itself, is the source that guides me in everything I do.

Patience.

The source of Love will give you the Patience you need most of the time but there will be moments when you think you can’t possibly keep it together for one more second. You must remember in these moments that you are capable of endurance. You are capable of self control. You can do it. Just breathe deeply. Close your eyes if you can…just for a few seconds. Stay calm.

The short term and long term effects of losing your patience and lashing out bitterly will hurt your children and you. During conflict or stressful situations, our children simply want to be heard, understood and accepted. They are trying to communicate something. If we are able to remain calm in these moments, not only will it ease their stress sooner, but it will not let the situation turn into something worse because of the anger and negativity added on top of it. You will then be able to communicate and allow for both of you to learn from the conflict. Your patience will comfort them and your empathy will encourage them to resolve the struggles within themselves in just knowing you hear them.

Presence.

Physical closeness, level headedness and a choice to be present with your children will make a difference. Not only in the quality time spent together, but this will also allow the lines of communication to be clear and open.

Whether it’s reading a book together on the couch, or when your child doesn’t want to leave the park when it’s time to go, your presence is always important. They can accept when they are doing their thing and you are doing yours…most of the time. When you are with them though, choose to be with them. It’s so easy these days with our phones and technology to get distracted. We may physically be next to them but mentally, conjuring up our next facebook status update. When you are present, they feel it. They appreciate it. They cherish it. When they don’t want to leave the park, your presence in that moment will help them understand that it’s ok. Talking on the phone while yelling at them to leave won’t have the same outcome.

Respect.

We all want to be respected, valued, recognized, adored, appreciated…
Children deserve this as well as we do as parents. When we experience this respect from others, we are empowered to be our best. We are comforted in expressing our voices. We are strengthened with Love and we are emotionally available. We discover that in times when we don’t feel respected, the walls begin to rise and the willingness to communicate and connect shuts down. This usually then shifts the relationship to “Because I said so” again where the parent believes they are the only one who deserves respect and the child’s feelings are dismissed. This will only leave your child feeling unheard, misunderstood and left without an explanation.
Please respect them as human beings and by that respect, it becomes possible for you to earn theirs.

We are all doing our best and I believe these tools will help us do it better.

Let’s all make more of an effort in dealing with our children and one another lovingly, patiently, respectfully… and let’s all make an effort and the choice to be present as often as possible. It will make a difference.

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The title of this post is a line from a movie I just saw. Cloud Atlas. I am still in such a deep and introspective space since watching this film. These words inspire me to share my thoughts and reach out to you.

The links that connect us. The energy that forms us. The souls we once were, the souls we are in this life, and and the souls we become. Is the soul the same and just the body form changes? I believe so.

The people we meet. The familiarity. The Love. The Dislike. The chills you feel when someone walks by. The connection you feel when looking into someone’s eyes you may have thought you never met…in this life anyway. The bonds we form and share. The people that are put here to enlighten us. We are all here to teach each other something and the willingness to be open to the lessons are so important.

I have always believed the simple saying, Everything Happens For a Reason. I’ve always believed that I’ve been here before. I know many of you. Past and Present. We are connected for many reasons and I choose to be open to why.

As I write this, tears fall down my face. I can’t believe how powerful this Life is. I can’t believe how amazing the gift of Love is. Truly. The gift of health. The choice we are given to be kind. To be compassionate. To be love. I realize this may sound silly but if only you could feel my heart. If only you knew how much Love I have inside.

We are all bound to one another. In this lifetime and in the next. How we treat each other. What we do. What we don’t do. These actions will all affect the outcomes in our future. Karma. Some of you use that word daily, some of you quickly dismiss it and say you don’t believe in it. For those of you non-believers, what about it doesn’t make sense to you?

I realize that bad people sometimes receive goodness in their lives and good people, sadly, receive pain and suffering they don’t deserve. This said, I believe it will eventually come back to you. This life form that we are in right now, is your chance to get it. To grow. To redeem past mistakes. To create a different future for yourself, those you are connected to, and the next form you show up in.

I know this world is vast. I know many of us do our part to be the change we see and want. I also know that so many things separate and divide us. I don’t give up. I don’t determine that I am powerless, even though many things sadden me. We must articulate our Voice. We must share our Love, even in the faces of adversity and hatred.

I’ll never forget an old friend of mine who used to make fun of me and the naiveté he used to say I possessed. He’d say that the love and hearts and happiness I surrounded myself with made me seem childlike. He thought it was guileless that I was so passionate about love. Not love for just another person, but rather the love I felt for humanity. For all of you. For all people. I remember I took a look at myself and had to wonder if something was wrong with me. Maybe I was wide eyed and unaffected. I realized however, that I was thankful for these traits.

I will say this. Innocence and love may seem naive. They may make you appear to be someone who hasn’t yet been jaded or beaten down by the harsh realities of the world. They may make you appear as if you haven’t experienced hardships in your life yet. I will tell you that none of this is true. It is in fact those harsh realities and hardships that make me choose Love in every moment.

Please keep Love within your soul and your heart and spread it. Give it away. Each day. To everyone. You may not be innocent of all crimes and you may not think you have it or deserve it, but we all do. We all must Love and believe we are deserving of Love. There isn’t a more powerful emotion, expression or gift on this earth. There isn’t a force greater. It is LOVE, not Hate, that will change us.

We will perish in this life. We will be heard by at least One. Hopefully many more. Your voice and the stands you take in this Being will be heard and witnessed. Some form of change will take place because you believed.

Don’t be afraid. Don’t underestimate the person next to you, the old man in the elevator, the woman on the street, the child in the chair next to you at the hospital. Just take the time to look into their eyes. It only takes one second. That glance. Our souls will remember and we will consciously or unconsciously connect with the people we are supposed to. We will create our next day, our next life by who we are here Today. Please remember this.

In closing, I must share another line from the movie that moved me deeply.

“My Life Extends Far Beyond the Limitations of ME.”

May you choose to walk forward with this awareness and understand that we are all the same. We are all connected. We all need to Love. Make your choices based on that. I don’t believe any of us like seeing others suffer nor enjoy suffering ourselves. In the name of someone else or for any other reason.

Please take the time. Find the Empathy. Find the Compassion. Find the Kindness. Be LOVE. Always Be Love.

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