We LOVE what we do here - and there's a few key things that help lead us to this goal.
Some people would call these our ‘guiding lights’ or values.
We call them our Playful Path.
These are the stepping stones that empower us to embody who we choose to be: self-aware parents who are intentional about raising and empowering their children.
Are we the living, breathing embodiment of these things all the time?
Of course not!
(We are humans, not robots.)
But these stepping stones remind us that being a parent is a reflective and ongoing process.
They empower us to attune to ourselves and our unique family.
And, of course, we honour that we are going to make mistakes and stuff up...and get up and try again.
We recognise that perfection is a unicorn (aka it doesn’t exist) and strive for connection with our children - and ourselves - instead. Instead of trying to be 'perfect', we reflect on the question: 'how would we respond if our goal was connection?'
We help our children develop emotional intelligence by acknowledging their experience and supporting and guiding them through it. We don’t rob them the opportunity to develop self regulation, emotional intelligence or authenticity by trying to control, shame, judge or punish feelings. ‘It’s ok to feel angry, it’s not ok to hit.’
Stuart Brown says, ‘the greatest rewards of play come when it arises naturally from within.’ When we are too involved or structure their play too rigidly, we rob them of the opportunity of learning and self-discovery. Our children learn about themselves and the world around them during play and that means that there will be times that their play may look inconvenient, messy or pointless. We believe in recognising the division of responsibility: what’s our responsibility? What’s their responsibility?
Just because we are adults, does not mean we are done growing up! We view mistakes as opportunities for growth and learning and release harsh self-judgement and criticism.
We approach each day with the knowledge that we can - and will - learn something new. When we know better, we do better. And when we grow ourselves, we grow our children!
We may not love all of their behaviour, but we love who they are, no matter what. When we distinguish their behaviour from their worth, we give them a safe space to blossom into the authentic version of themselves. They will learn they are enough exactly as they are.
Just as acknowledged in Alison Gopnik's book, children are messy, unpredictable, playful and imaginative, each and every one of them different from their parents and siblings. Rather than viewing them as blank slates to be moulded into a certain ‘type’ of adult (a carpenter), we create nurturing environments, routines and habits that help them blossom into who they’re meant to be (a gardener). We strive to cultivate opportunities for autonomy and agency in our children’s lives.
We understand that meaningfully connecting with our child doesn’t mean we need to DO more. When we tap into the power of being mindful and present in the moment, we see how abundant the opportunities for connection are in the messy, ordinary day-to-day.
As the gorgeous Amy Taylor-Kabbaz says, ‘everybody tells us that parenting is about raising kids. Nobody tells us that parenting is also about raising ourselves.’ Just as adolescence is a period between childhood and adulthood, matrescence is the profound and ongoing identity shift and evolution from maiden to mother. We can release beliefs about motherhood that don’t serve us; cultivate beliefs, skills and habits that do, and recognise that being a parent requires a constantly evolving identity.
We lean in and honour the embedded timeline within our child. We observe what he or she can do, what they are naturally drawn to and what they are good at rather than focus on what they can’t do (yet).
There’s no such thing as a ‘one-and-done’. Raising children is a practise. We honour our children’s journey of growing up by being true to our values, being consistent in how we show up and recognising that getting to know each other is an ongoing process as we both grow. We trust in the long game!
We know we need to carve space and time to connect with ourselves, and nourish our mind, body and spirit and that doing this is productive - even if we are conditioned to think that it is not. We recognise that we can’t be a constant source of presence, understanding and connection to our families when we feel that our own needs are not being met. We are meant to enjoy our one and precious life!
We recognise that the challenges of raising little people can trigger unhealed parts of our own inner child. When we are aware of our buttons and triggers, we can show up and support our children in a different way, allowing us to respond with intention rather than react on autopilot.
Find out how to ditch the ‘shoulds’ of unicorn parenting, build more joy and connection with your little ones, and have fun doing it!