How to Handle Parenting Guilt

How do you handle parenting guilt? I must admit that is a pretty ambitious title. I must also admit I do not have the answer, only suggestions. Here they are.

Q: “I am in school plus I work. I love being with my two children and we have a great relationship. When I put them to bed and I need to go study, I feel so guilty because I cannot snuggle with them until they go to sleep. They cry when I leave the room. What can I do?”

A: You sound like a very caring mom who enjoys her children and spends quality time with them. I understand your pull between two important duties of parenting and school work. A key phrase for your guilt is in your comment, “until they go to sleep”. Although you put a child to bed, he must learn to put himself to sleep. Establish a loving ritual at bedtime to set a tranquil transition atmosphere. This can include a warm bath, light snack, teeth brushing, favorite story, goodnight prayers, snuggle time, tuck in kisses and assurance of your love and presence - even from the next room. Help the child feel secure by embracing a special toy. Set a safe and cozy atmosphere by turning on a faint nightlight and perhaps soft music.

Don’t Cope, Overcome. Understand that parenting guilt is par for the course.

Q: Although we are a two-parent family, my husband spends most of his time in his selfish endeavors and leaves the child rearing to me. When I go to work early, my daughter begs me to stay. She does not like her daddy getting her dressed or fixing her hair. What should I do?

A: Gloria Steinman observed that most families have too much mother and too little father. Unfortunately, the mother is often a procurator of this situation by failing to encourage dad to participate or by being too critical of his ways.

I appreciate your concern over the child’s issues and encourage you not to allow her crying to be a control tactic. Children are sensitive to unexpressed expectations and want to please. When your daughter knows (through words and senses) that Dad is a welcomed co-partner in parenting, she will warm up to it.

Your needing space to the idea of co-parenting is not the same as being against it. Talk with your mate about misgivings and listen. Do not become defensive when the other is being honest. Be vigilant against neglect while understanding conflicting emotions and attitudes. Set firm schedules with a leeway for legitimate exceptions; give and take space as needed. Together all of you will enjoy the family bond.

Parenting is a tough job and very rewarding. Hang in there.


The Power of Words

Words are so powerful. The Holy Scriptures asserts that God spoke the worlds into existence. To a lesser but equally important degree we also speak our world into existence. Words are very powerful - how we use them as well as whether we choose to use them or do not use them.

Words have meaning. Words paint pictures that produce the blueprint from by which we build our "house". Words are alive and therefore meaning changes with usage.  When words are fueled by emotion they become more powerful, to motivate or to de-motivate.

Human beings are a tricodomies, among them are: body, soul and spirit; eat, learn, and sleep; ego, id and super-ego; want, have and need; and mind, will and emotion.

With our mind we consider the issues of life - think about, weigh, measure and judge. Our mind puts words to the experiences of life. With our emotions we feel the issues of life - content, happy, sad, angry, frustrated, confused, etc. Our emotions assign meaning to the events of life. With our will we decide the issues of life - "Yes I will" or "No I will not". Our will accepts or rejects life’s happenings.

Here’s another tricodomy: pleasure, pain and neutral. Our internal sonar-system seeks as much pleasure and success as possible while avoiding as much pain and failure as possible. With the striving for attainment and the struggle to overcome losses, it can be difficult for one to find the neutral zone. And even more difficult to live there.

Emotions are the sonar that sends and receives signals. The mind (psyche) formulates actions based on the signals received. The body obeys the commands given to it by the mind. The mind operates on the concrete words, not nebulous thoughts or emotions.

Signals received/sent become our perception that in turn becomes our reality. Only it may not be real. We may have assigned incorrect words to the event and therefore see things askew. No wonder we are so complicated. No wonder life is so wonderful (full of wonder).
Non-acceptance of what is creates pain. How futile to resist what already is. Use your words to acknowledge what is so you can move forward. I misunderstood. I spoke hastily. I made a bad investment. The tornado destroyed my home. The economy is trashing my lifestyle.

Accept what is and then act. Use your words to redefine the happening. Soften it from horrible to not so good. Use your words to formulate the future.

One’s life becomes calm when lived in the neutral zone. Neutral is accepting what is. And lovin’ it. Neutral acknowledges that pain is a messenger to be heeded. Neutral mysteriously turns potential into energy (for problem solving).   
Let’s start a conversation. Give your feedback.

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Beat the Winter Blues

Although February is the shortest month of the year, sometimes it seems like the longest. With cold days and gray skies and the deadness of the landscape, we overlook that spring is around the corner. Here are some thoughts for beating the winter blues.

Maintain an attitude of gratitude. Write down three things for which you are thankful. Everyday. Deliberate and do not record the same item twice. When being thankful for an individual – say your mate – enumerate a different character quality or deed.

Engage Life. Dance. Put on some music and sway back and forth. Allow the movement to awaken your spirit. Feed the birds and watch their antics. Socialize. Do something to add zest to your daily routine.

Let there be light. Dig out a few Christmas lights and swag over a window or fireplace to brighten the place up on dreary days. Give your home a festive look; decorate a table or special area. The theme is not so important, just add sparkle and cheer. Sit and luxuriate in the beauty of your handiwork.

Read for the pleasure of pure entertainment. Laugh with a comedy or be taken away by a romance novel. Hone your strategizing skills with a spine-tingling mystery. Find empowerment in true-life experiences written by those who have been there. Be comforted through Holy Scriptures.

Stay warm. Layer your clothing to allow air to act as insulation. Keep your hands, feet and head covered. Bundle up and take a relaxing walk.

Treat yourself. Employ simple ways to delight you. Drink hot chocolate from your best china cup. Wear a colorful scarf. Purchase a small item that makes you feel special. Surround yourself with the soft light and sweet smell of a candle.

This too shall pass. Carl Jung said, “The gold is in the dark.” What is the winter season trying to teach you? Allow this poem to be a source of encouragement.

When you're feeling down and all alone,
and your faith in tomorrow is gone;
Without the night, the sun would seem dim;
and thorns are found on the roses' stem;
It is stones in the brook that creates a song,
as the waters flow faithfully along;
And roots grow deepest in the winter's frost.
So cheer up, my child, your hope is not lost.
© 1986 Mona Dunkin

We welcome reprinting of articles in your newsletter or magazine, providing credit is given as follows: “This article was written by Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach, www.monadunkin.blogspot.com or www.monadunkin.com.”


Aha” Moments and an “Aha” Lifestyle

You’ve had them. You know, those times when the mental light bulb comes on and you suddenly understand a previously confusing concept. You can view one of mine by going to www.monadunkin.com.

I suggest the filming of that “Aha” moment came about through living an “Aha” lifestyle. A lifestyle where you choose to see everything as connected to something bigger and you cherish the placing of the small puzzle piece. A lifestyle where you recognize that what you sow really is what you reap and you take care to only plant good seed in good soil. A lifestyle where serendipity is viewed as normal and thus every chance encounter becomes a divine appointment.

Reality wins only every time. The way we see things becomes our perception. Only our perception may not be real. When life flow rather smoothly – and our body attests to that truth – then we are bordering on reality. When we treat others in an honorable manner – and our relationships bear the fruits – then we are getting closer to reality. When life slaps us around, makes us sick, divorces us and robs us of peace, maybe it’s time for a reality check.

Have no point to prove or to defend. If the point is acute, it will make an impact regardless of the pressure. Although truth or deceit may take time to show itself, in time either is undisputable. Truth stands on her own two feet. Conversely, lies fail.

Embrace change: revise, add to or discard. As life shows the possibility that our assessment is askew, summons the courage for honest reflection. What revisions need to be made? Do new facts or insights need to be added? What faulty concepts need to be jettisoned? If force has proven ineffective, try gentleness. It is the mark of greatness and understood by all.

Carry message not the person. One’s stance may be 100% right-on yet presentation results in a hardened heart. The message is “There are other facts to consider.” The reality is he has to be willing to hear. The message is, “Help is available.” The reality is she must buy the ticket and get on the bus.

We are each self-determining. An “Aha” lifestyle embraces personal choices and monitors results for freeing truth or limiting self-deception. An “Aha” lifestyle graciously allows others to discover truth, all the while speaking honesty in love and developing relationship.

Please share your "Ah" moments with us. Would love to have your input.