I’m currently reading Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris and came across this Seth Godin quote; which had light bulbs popping for me:
“What could possibly be more important than your kid? Please don’t play the busy card. If you spend 2 hours a day without an electronic device, looking your kid in the eye, talking to them and solving interesting problems, you will raise a different kid than someone who doesn’t do that. That’s one of the reasons why I cook dinner every night. Because what a wonderful, semi-distracted environment in which the kid can tell you the truth. For you to have low-stake but superimportant conversations with someone who’s important to you.”
This quote sung out to me because I have experienced the same "phenomenon" in raising my son and learning to communicate with my husband. I notice it is the best way to find out about their world and their day, with what's on their mind - not mine. I now specifically choose moments of "semi-distracted environments" in which to have 'casual' but important conversations with all my kids.
I noticed a long time ago that my son was never one for sitting down for the long-haul, eye-contact conversation – he always got squirmy and wriggly and eventually annoyed, so I learnt this is not the ideal way to enter his world, as much as it may be my daughters and mine.
Communication and connection come in many different forms, not just the form I show my love in and therefore looked for.
The more in love I fall with the masculine, the more I am aware of how harshly I judged our differences in connection and communication – the years I’ve wasted with monkey-mind insecurity or meaningless arguments and disconnection all because I was looking for love in only one form and had zero gratitude or respect for the forms it already existed in.
Connection with men and boys happens on their timeline and in a way that doesn’t have them feeling like a deer in the headlights, stuck and strung out for the “right answer” I’m probing for. As my son grows into himself, connection with him looks nothing like the hours of infant gazing or pre-school cuddling.
It looks like Seth Godin’s version. It looks like unconscious “hanging around” or “goofing around” but really, its just a different form of play and a different way of saying “hey, I’m here, wanna play? Wanna connect? Want to tell me something?”.
It also looks like “acting in their values”. If I start something that involves my child’s values, likely they will gravitate towards it. In my son’s case, it’s watching a documentary, shooting hoops, massage or cooking dinner/snacks – then, he just hovers around me like a moth to the flame and all I need do is banter and offer physical connection in the form of playful nudges and in no time he’s snuggling right back and I’m gazing into his eyes with no pressure on him for any specific outcome. It’s at these times the magic happens.
His body relaxes, his mind softens and he melts into conversation. As he gets older this gets more apparent and important. BUT, it can’t be eye to eye contact, it needs to be casual and without the pressure for being still or having specific answers to my probing questions.
So I cook and I play and I just “hang”, because I know its in these seemingly pointless moments that the magic in my family happens. I get to really witness my children and they let me in to what's going on for them. It's in these moments we have the profound and sometimes awkward conversations.
It's in these moments I realise why its so important to "just be around" - because its the every day small moments and conversations, that stack one upon the other and create a deepening of connection and a broadening of support, it's never the one big conversation or point in time.
So, just show up. Hang around. Be there in an open way but without agenda and you will find your children open up to you and invite you into their world...but it relies on your presence and ability to pick up the subtle cues and this is where the intentional "setup" for super unimportant conversations becomes SO important.
When we carve out the time in our day to be present with ourselves and honour our most authentic needs, we are free to show up in a way that holds space for our family. Children know this, they know when we are available and when we are not. They will not seek us out when we feel "unsafe", distracted or anxious.
You are worth investing in and so are the "low-stake but superimportant conversations with someone who’s important to you". Go seek both out.
Our Aligned Parenting course starts on the 30th April and we'd love you to join us!
WHAT YOU'LL LEARN:
Module 1 - Emotional Evolution
Learn the basics of secure attachment, respectful, emotionally-attuned parenting and the profound nature of the dynamic we have with our children to facilitate mutual growth. Understand what happens when we're 'too attached' or over-supportive of our children and what 'dis-regulated' states in our children and ourselves look and feel like and how to find balance again.
Module 2 - Mirror Magic
Your child's behaviour is never separate from your own, and the parts of them that trigger you the most, embody the greatest learnings about yourself and your childhood story. Learn how to find the wisdom in wounds your child is calling you into, so you can parent from a place of authenticity, rather than guilt, shame or blame.
Module 3 - Functional Dysfunction
The 'perfect, peaceful family' is an illusion. A family needs both 'war' and 'peace' within it to grow, just like we need to both support and challenge ourselves and our children to grow. Gain an understanding of your own unique family dynamic and find a new sense of gratitude for those who push your buttons, so you can empower yourself, and love more of your family, just as they are.
Module 4 - Play The Universe
Unlock the higher order of the 'guilts' that plague your motherhood and empower yourself with playful parenting principles to create freedom and joy in your relationships with your children. Implement tools to teach empathy and resilience in your children, and by extension, your own inner child, re-patterning your experience and transforming your reality.
Julie Tenner is Co-founder of Nourishing The Mother and is The Pleasure Nutritionist. Julie is a Naturopath, specialising in women’s and children's health, with specific focus on awakening women to their full potential – health for the mind, body and soul – creating lasting life change for you and your family by “coming home” to your magnificence.