Sep 172014
 

chickens-pecking-500

Parenting is exactly like getting pecked to death by merciless chickens. – G

 

Sister had her baby two months ago. Now she has a two-year old and an infant and she is also handling all things Momastery and so I think maybe she hasn’t showered since May. She called me one afternoon last month and said: “LISTEN. THESE KIDS ARE LOVELY. REALLY. I LIKE THEM AND ALL. BUT THEY ARE ALSO KILLING ME. AND IT HAS RECENTLY COME TO MY CONCERNED ATTENTION THAT I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE HELL I’M DOING HERE. AND SO TELL ME THIS- HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO LEARN??? HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO LEARN ANYTHING ABOUT PARENTING WHEN WE ARE ALREADY DRIPPING WITH CHILDREN??? IT IS LIKE ONCE WE HAVE THEM, IT’S TOO LATE!!! WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME????!”

And I said, “Because if I had told you what it was really like, Sissy, you might never have had Bobby and Alice. And I really wanted them. So I just planned to ask forgiveness later. But: I know. There’s no time to learn. It’s like we’re so busy putting out fires that we have no time to step back and learn why the fires are starting in the first place. I’ve got a shelf full of parenting books and I’ve never read any of them. Except for one. Parenting Without Power Struggles. You really need to read that one, Sister.”

This was, apparently, the wrong thing to say.

“WHAT? I THOUGHT YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE A HOPE SPREADER!!!!! WHY ARE YOU SO MEAN? READ??? I CANNOT READ. I REFUSE TO READ. I CANNOT EVEN SLEEP, SISTER. I ATE UNCOOKED MAC AND CHEESE FOR LUNCH. ACTUALLY- NO CHEESE! JUST UNCOOKED MAC. MY TEETH STILL HURT. DON’T TELL ME TO READ, SISTER. SHOULD I ALSO TAKE UP KNITTING IN BETWEEN DIAPER CHANGES AND TANTRUMS?? I AM HANGING UP ON YOU.”

And so I thought about my sweet Sister for a while and about all of us Monkees who know that parenting it is one of the most important, sacred jobs we’ll ever do in our lives — and hate that the most important job we’ve ever had is the one job for which we never received training. How odd is that?

And then I thought about my dear friend Susan Stiffelman. And how after I read her amazing column on the Huffington Post, I ordered her book and read it cover it to cover. It was the first and last parenting book I’ve ever completed. And how after I finished it I wrote to her and said: “THANK YOU for approaching parents and children with the RESPECT they deserve. Thank you for understanding that parenting is nothing less than a spiritual practice. That one of the reasons it’s so hard is that it brings to the surface all of our STUFF. And for knowing that this is not our fault- this is purposeful. Because maybe parenting is just another chance to heal. Anyway, thank you for refusing to offer shame and instead offering REAL help and ideas and BEAUTY! Your book not only made me a better parent but a better person. I found myself using your approaches with my NEIGHBOR the week after I read it. THANK YOU.”

And how she wrote back and we became friends. So wonderful. And then I thought: WAIT A MINUTE. I AM FRIENDS WITH ONE OF THE WISEST, MOST BELOVED PARENTING EXPERTS IN THE WORLD. AND I LEAD A COMMUNITY OF PEOPLE – MANY OF WHOM ARE DEDICATED TO BEING THE MOST WHOLE, HEALTHY, PRESENT PARENTS THEY CAN POSSIBLY BE. HMMMM.

And so I called Susan. And I said:  “SUSAN! Would you help me and Sister and my Monkees?? Would you talk to us? We need you. But here are the things: We don’t have a lot of time. And we don’t have any desire to get dressed. And we don’t have a lot of money, either. The reason for all of these deficiencies: our kids. The other thing is that we need your help NOW. It has to be NOW because September is the Parent New Year and for one solid month we are fresh and energetic and dedicated to becoming amazing parents wooohoooo! But honestly by November we’re kinda like: Meh. FORGET IT. Too hard. Everybody just watch TV and we’ll try again next year. So it has to be Now, Susan.

AND SHE SAID YES. Because she loves us. She reads every essay and participates in all the giving and is obsessed with you guys and your huge hearts and minds. So listen: not only did she agree to offer a three-week parenting workshop just for US but she agreed to do it for a fraction of what she usually charges and THEN SHARE THE PROFITS WITH US SO WE CAN USE IT TO HELP DEFRAY BLOG COSTS.

I thought long and hard about this and could not come up with a single way this was not a win/win/win. SOOO….starting September 28th at 7:00 pm EST, we’ll come together online for three Sunday evenings in a row (in our jammies) and spend an hour with THE BEST the parenting world has to offer, Susan Stiffelman. I’ll mediate – which means I will ask her your questions and offer stunning insight (comic relief). Since it’s a webinar- you’ll be able to see us and it will be funny and warm and HELPFUL and easy and wonderful. And together we will learn some truly helpful strategies that are UNIVERSAL and will not only better your relationship with your kids and your partner and yourself but with everyone in your life. That’s what I love about Susan’s work – it’s about becoming a better lover of self and others, not just little ones.

OKAY! JOIN US???? CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP!!!! INVITE A FRIEND!!! SEE YOU SUNDAY NIGHT STARTING SEPTEMBER 28th!! And, if you can’t meet live on those three Sundays — NO PROBLEM! You can still sign up and hear the whole workshop whenever it’s convenient for you.  Easy Breezy.  There are FAQs about the whole thing at the link.

Parenting Without Power StrugglesP.S. Susan said to tell you that she suggests reading the first chapter of Parenting Without Power Struggles before the first session, but she does not want this to cause us even one minute of stress. You can still come and learn from the webinar without reading first. And also the chapter is short and full of graphics.

P.P.S. The last time I spoke with Susan she said: “Ok love, I have to run because I need to send some writing to Ekhart.”

“To Ekhart? “I said.  “EKHART WHO?”

“Ekhart Tolle.”

“Ah. Yes. I see. I have to go too, then. Because I have a coffee date with Yoda. And then the Pope’s coming over for a sleepover. So, you know. I’m really busy, too. Bye.”

 



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery on-line community on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest


Sep 142014
 

kids sermon

My church –bless their brave, beautiful souls– lets me offer the children’s sermon on Sundays.

Here’s what I said to my Little Loves Today:

Hello to my favorite people on my favorite day in my favorite place!

Remember how I taught you that one of the most repeated lines in the Bible is: ”Do not be afraid?” Today’s Bible story is one of my favorites because it helps me remember to not be afraid.

Here’s the story:

God called some people to do a really hard thing – to travel through the desert for a very long time, and they were hungry and tired and scared. Do you ever feel hungry and tired and scared?

I do. Lots of times every day, usually.

Well, these people who were hungry and tired and scared prayed to God and said. “God! Help us!”

And God said, “Of course I will help you – I will always help you because I love you.” So God started pouring bread from the sky every morning. This magic bread was called manna. And God said – don’t even worry about saving this up, because I am going to rain down new blessings of manna every single morning for you. I will make sure that every day you have enough, because I love you.

And Loves: I think that ‘s also what God wants YOU to know today.  That every morning God will look at you and know exactly what blessings you need for that particular day. And that God will rain down those blessings for you fresh each morning. And that you will always have enough. Today, tomorrow and forever.

Do you remember our special prayer that Jesus taught us? The Lord’s Prayer? Remember that part that says: “Give us this day our daily bread?”  Well, bread doesn’t mean just food. Daily bread means everything we need to live and love that day. We only get what we need one day at a time.  That’s the way it works. But we wish we didn’t have to start over each day. Sometimes we’d prefer to pray for our yearly or monthly or weekly bread. Because we love to feel safe. But God loves trust. And maybe God knows that if we were able to save up- we wouldn’t  have to go to God every day and trust God to show up each morning with fresh blessings, would we?

And so maybe God just gives us enough each day so everyday God will get to see our faces. So every morning we’ll come back  with our open, empty hands and say: Please send us what we need for TODAY. Send us enough love and courage and food and money and wisdom for Today.  And we trust that we don’t have to worry about tomorrow because it’s always today, and you have promised us that we will always have enough for today.

Let’s end with a prayer.

Dear God, help us not worry about tomorrow or next week or next year. Help us stay in TODAY, believing that whatever today calls for, you will send.  Amen.

I love you so much-  and so does your whole church family. YOU ARE LOVED. Always and completely and No Matter What. Off you go to Sunday School.

 

Love, G



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery on-line community on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest


Sep 102014
 

Chase

I just dropped Chase off at middle school. MIDDLE SCHOOL.

Like I’ve been doing for three weeks now- I let him out of the car. I let him walk away from me and toward that huge building filled with PEOPLE AND DYNAMICS AND IDEAS and other horrible wonderful things that will break his heart and MAKE his heart and that I have no business trying to control. I let him walk toward a life that is HIS and not mine. Toward experiences that he is meant to have without me. Toward journeys he has to take alone.

Someone needs to create a word that describes what happens inside of a mama’s heart as she’s watching her child walk into a school building. We need a word for the feeling that overtakes her after saying goodbye to her infant who is somehow masquerading as a young MAN and who is walking away from her into his adolescent life. A word to describe the phenomena that is a mother sitting helplessly in her empty van while her heart silent screams her daily PLEASEPLEASEPLEASES!!! PLEASE be good to him Please see his strengths and overlook his weaknesses Please sit by him at lunch. Please smile back when he smiles. Please want to be his partner. Please be gentle. Pleasepleaseplease.PLEASE.

And how as she watches him walk away- toward the unknown of his day and away from the KNOWN of her (SO BRAVE! HOW DID HE GET SO BRAVE??? IS THIS LEVEL OF INSANE BRAVENESS EVEN WISE????) her head understands that the world is unfolding as it should. Her head KNOWS that all is well. That he is beginning his LIFE and that LIFE in all its bruty is what he came here for. And that he is ready. But her heart will not receive that memo. Her heart wants to run after him and pull him close and say: JUST JOKING HONEY! WE MADE A MISTAKE! THIS IS TOO MUCH! Come home and we will stay together forever and I will make sure that life NEVER HAPPENS TO YOU. Don’t worry. We will snuggle forever. Because I am not ready.

So she just sits in her empty van for a moment- holding up the car line for a split second too long. Her body is temporarily paralyzed, short circuited by the opposing messages from her head and her heart. The mixed messages SWARM her being and all at once she feels pride and fear and terror and excitement and hope and hopelessness and tenderness and ferocity and loss and gain. All these emotions swirl until her heart becomes so swollen that it threatens to escape out of her throat into tears and so she instructs herself to snap out of it. She shakes herself a bit. She breathes deeply and shrugs it all off and she drives away. And on her way home she tries to restore her heart to its original size by thinking of other things. Practical things. Because it’s all too much. Whatever that feeling is- it’s a lot like looking right at the sun. It’s simply too bright to stand for longer than a moment.

Is it love? Is the word love? Damn. Love wins but love hurts.



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery on-line community on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest