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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Are You Listening?

“The world is a playground, and life is pushing my swing.” ~Natalie Kocsis

When you are at the playground with your children.....what are you doing? Are you there....but not there? Are you thinking of the 401 other things that need to be done this week? Are you talking with other moms or dads? Connecting with someone over the age of 5? or are you playing? Climbing, sliding, running and swinging? In my should be.......doing........any, or all of the above. Are you surprised I said that?

It is my belief that only you know best what YOU need on any given day. Your needs and wants change depending on your mood, and what all you are dealing with each day. It is important to listen to your body, and HONOR what it is telling you. Through this communication with yourself, you are better able to be the person you want to be, and most importantly....the PARENT you want to be. We must never lose sight of the fact that we are humans who have feelings, emotions, needs, and wants, and they need not be sacrificed to our children. In fact, I do not believe for one second that a person can actually give up themselves completely and still be a worthy partner or parent. It is a recipe for disaster.

Today, I'd like to encourage you to slow down and listen....listen to what your body is telling you. Are you ready for some fun? If so, then go for it., jump, and swing. Be silly, let loose....forget what others think. Your children will love it. They will feed upon your carefree spirit, and give of themselves as well. You might be surprised at how the energy builds, and you might walk away with a replenished soul.

Listen to your body.....are you stressed, and really need some time to organize your life in your mind? Give yourself permission to take advantage of the time at the playground to encourage your children's ability to entertain themselves, while you sit back and calculate what needs to be done first....and what can wait. Certainly some folks benefit from time to just plan. The park can easily be a place to get our kids out of your hair long enough for you to THINK. By the time you leave, you just might have a handle on what to tackle next.

Listen to your body....are you craving adult interaction? If you have one more conversation about Potty Time Elmo, you might make good on your little fantasy to wire Dora's loud little mouth shut? If this is case, please find an adult and commence talking. There is absolutely no shame in a "mommy play date!" While the kids are wearing themselves out, reconnect with the outside world. In the end, you'll be better prepared for the after dinner discussion of why they won't be allowed to wear their bathing suit and rubber boots to preschool tomorrow.

Listen to your body....are you just needing some time to mentally "checkout"? Are your kids old enough to handle themselves at the playground while you quietly flip through a magazine on a nearby bench? Just a half hour of "me time" can do wonders. As you leave the park, you might find a more relaxed state of mind. When we are relaxed, we are much more likely to be understanding, and patient with our kids. Everyone benefits from an emotionally healthy mom and dad.

I have no doubt that every person reading this post has their children's best interests at heart. A recent post of mine was mostly well received. I have to admit that I had my doubts when I published it. I worried over how folks would take it. I wanted very much to simply convey the idea that parenting by chance might not be the route best suited to meet the needs of our children. I wanted to encourage others to simply look at who they are, and who they want to be as a parent, and strive to achieve it. Through reading the comments, and a few other blog posts inspired by mine, it became quite obvious that:

a. We all love our kids more than we ever imagined possible.

b. Parenting is the hardest job on earth.

c. Often we aren't parenting the way we would like to.

d. We can be pretty hard on ourselves.

It is my hope that in the next few weeks, I can address some of my thoughts on these observations. I'd do it now, but as well all know, my posts tend to be on the extremely LONG side, and I am fairly certain this post has reached it's entertainabilty (yes, I made that word up) limit as it stands. So stay tuned! In the mean time, concentrate on listening to your body, and honoring what it is telling you. In the end,that is the best way to ensure your child's happiness.

17 Live It or Love It:

KatieBug said...

Love the new look!!

Laura said...

I loved this post, Corey. You're so wise! And I'm looking forward to the upcoming posts you referenced too. :)

Michele said...

Oh, you've done a great job of capturing the fun and the innocence of playtime!!
You are not only a great photographer but a great mommy!

Anonymous said...

I totally needed this gentle reminder today Corey! Thank you :-) I adore the pic of Sugar between the two slides (or at least that's what I think it is???) The mostly orange one, with her in the middle of the circle. The composition and colour are amazing! Can't wait till Nate's big enough to take to the park!

Gen said...

I've never been very good at playing with my kids at the park. Probably because I've spent a lot of my parenting years depressed and tired. Even so, I've connected with my kids in other ways, and their just always glad to be at the park. For me, just sitting on a bench and watching them play was a much needed boost. Thanks for writing a post that honors the differences in all of us.

Amy said...

i love how your photos are so real. they just come to life. your daughter is a cutie!

Anonymous said...

Yes, but what if your body is telling you that it died nearly a week ago...? What then, Corey, what then??? :D

Seriously, though... wonderful post. I am just in love with your beautiful parenting and Sugar's photos were a real bright spot in my day :) Keep up the most excellent work!

Maude Lynn said...

Terrific post! Just what I needed to hear (read).

I think that the fifth picture is one of my absolute favorites!

tommie said...

Very good reminder for me. My husband has been gone for almost two weeks. I get wrapped up in having to do everything.....

thanks for making me realize I just need to pause and slow down.

Mary Ann said...

Great advice! I love the photos. The last one is my favorite!

Carolyn said...

Another great post. How did you get so wise? Aren't you younger than me? Looks like I have some growing up to do!

Anonymous said...

Great reminder of why me time is important!

Also, beautiful pictures. I know from experience how hard it is to capture just the right moment in the action.

CMB said...

I am so glad I read your blog! Thanks and that daughter of yours is too cute.

Unknown said...

What a great post!! so well written, and you're right, if you listen to your instincts and your body, you will be a better parent. In fact, a better person

Deb said...

I have to preface this by saying that yes, I did read what you were saying, but I just have to say that oh I'm so looking forward to being able to take the kids to the playground again! I hadn't realized just how much I've missed it over the winter.

Such a thoughtful, insightful post as always... :)

holly said...

okay so you're saying i should have stayed *at* the park with them. .. good to know. i will get that right next time. ;)

Michelle said...

what a fun time at the playground... and great life lessons too!

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