Parenting through Thick and Thin

toddler tantrum crying parenting terrible twos leilazamoramoreno

Toddler and motherhood is not always sunshine and butterflies (although yes, the sun still shines when all hell breaks loose, as in this case on the trampoline). Whenever a tantrum happens, we always check ourselves as parents first – did we do or say anything where we did not consider him fully which may have thrown him off balance? If we did, we apologise, ask him to forgive us, explain what happened and how we will do things differently in the future.

Other times he throws himself off balance.

In this moment, he got really upset when I started going around the trampoline in a different direction . He often goes into a controlling state when he is in an experience he doesn’t like and/or understands. Where instead of focusing on his internal reality and grounding himself, he gets obsessive in arranging things in his environment to be a certain way – whether it’s objects, animals or people. If he doesn’t get the desired result he explodes. If he does he get the result, he goes unto controlling the next thing, and the next – until he still inevitably collapses as he realises that re-arranging his external reality doesn’t re-areange his internal reality. When he goes into this, we take him to a quite space, remove distractions, relax and sit down. Saying is name in a low, grounded voice. Guiding him to calm down and let go of his experience. Showing him that through fixating, we only hurt ourselves more, as anything but our way then becomes ‘wrong’ – instead of moving, embracing and flowing WITH life, rather than resisting and being against the currents life takes us. As he goes on and expels all his excess energy, he starts grounding himself. Once he has centered himself we move on with our activities and embrace the new moment.
Toddlerhood is definitely not easy as he is able to explore, interact and do more – yet is still lacking vocabulary in so many ways causing frustrations. Imagine having so many questions about yourself and the world around you, yet having no way of asking them.

#toddlerhood #terribletwos #parenting #tantrums #cries #control #frustration #development #motherhood #consciousparenting #zen #candidchildhood #gowiththeflow #embrace


From Control to Vulnerability | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

control vulnerability parenting emotional turmoil leilazamoramoreno

‘No’ was my son’s favourite word for a long time. The moment he got it, he wouldn’t stop using it. Even when he actually wanted to say yes, he’d say No – just because he could.

Whether it was about the food being offered, a planned activity or simply moving to a different room ‘No, no nononono!’ was the standard answer. When this first happened, I got quite a fright. He was always pretty easy going, and suddenly everything was just NO. I couldn’t help but feeling challenged, restricting inside myself and feeling the urge to ‘man up’ and take control over the situation. When I acted on this state of mind, he’d start cooperating even less and we both ended up with the short end of the stick in the situation.

I realised that my forcefulness directed towards him, was misplaced. When he’d say ‘no’ I immediately assumed that his ‘no’ was meant to challenge me and my authority as a parent – instead of seeing it as him practicing his own individuality and his own voice. I’d feel powerless and helpless for a split-second, and then immediately sway into a dominant and controlling stance to get away from that icky-feeling to pretending that I absolutely know what I am doing and force him into a decision he didn’t want to make. Ironically, within believing that he was challenging and undermining me, I was through my controlling behaviour undermining and challenging HIM. Through imposing ‘my way’ on him, I was removing the space for his voice, for his individuality to come through. While I believed I was being the victim of the situation, I inadvertently put him in the exact same position.

I reflected on this behaviour, and looked at why I was being triggered into controlling behaviour. When I looked at how the event played out, I could see more and more that I wasn’t so much upset at him saying ‘No’, but that I was upset with myself and my split second experience of helplessness and powerlessness. Instead of seeing and acknowledging how I felt, I immediately suppressed the experience and entered its equivalent polarity of domination and control. When I worked on not reacting to him saying no and voicing his preference the whole dynamic changed. I could listen to his voice, his preference and modify our course of action if there was space to do so. If he really didn’t have a choice, I’d explain to him why and he’d cooperate knowing that his voice was heard and that the course of action we were taking was not a personal move ‘against’ HIM.

Whenever we enter into a state of control, we’re actually entering into a state of avoidance. We modify our behaviour and try and change and be on top of things in our environment. Through externally keeping everything a certain way, we are allowed to remain in our personal comfort zone. There is no room for growth or expansion, for trying something new, for a new perspective – because it may trigger feelings inside of us we don’t know what to do with. In a sense, we enter control because we are afraid of ourselves. We know ourselves very well, we know our weaknesses, we know our vulnerabilities. Instead of embracing them with open arms and working with them, it’s easier to arrange everything in a way where we don’t get triggered so that we are not reminded of their existence.

Unfortunately, the more we try and hide from ourselves, the stronger these experiences become. Within fearing our own vulnerabilities, we are stating that they are ‘more than’ us, that these experiences are ‘so big’ and ‘so powerful’ that we cannot deal with them and that it is better to sweep them under the rug. More often than not, the experiences we try to avoid as parents have their origin in our own childhood. Wounds from our own childhood which have yet to be healed as they have been ignored over time. When we keep suppressing and ignoring them, while at the same time be controlled by them which becomes apparent in our behaviour – we inevitably wound our own children. This is because we will consciously or unconsciously manipulate, control and steer their behaviour to fit a certain image we are comfortable with, while eradicating and persecuting any behaviour which may remind us of our own personal wounds. They are no longer free to be true to themselves and develop their independent voice and unique expression, because the parameters of what they can do and can be – are rigidly being kept in place by the parent.

When we are vulnerable and open with ourselves, we can deal with our own insecurities and pains from the past and work through them. Vulnerability is our ability to feel ourselves, to draw ourselves near to what we really experience so we may learn from it. Our behaviour towards our children is then no longer controlled by what we experience, but we can now actually see our child and act in accordance with what is best for them and their unique expression.

The Art of Horsemanship, starts with Self-Mastery

horse woman leilazamoramoreno

When I first got into contact with horses on a daily basis, I was already walking a process of Self-Investigation – analysing who I am and where I can improve myself to my make daily life and living more effective and enjoyable. For me, spending time with horses was a ‘hobby’, something I would do for fun to ‘take my mind of things’. Yet, soon enough – it became very clear that working with horses and spending time with them was not the kind of ‘break’ I was looking for. Quite the opposite happened actually. My buttons were continuously being pushed, and no matter how much I just wanted to ‘relax’ and enjoy myself around the horses and specifically the horse I ended up having as my companion, I found myself in an almost constant state of inner conflict. I really wanted to get to know my horse and have a fun relationship, but he was bullying me around and I was anxious just being around him. When I had first met him at the farm he was staying before coming to live with us, he seemed like a sweet and grounded horse. But when it came to daily interaction, a whole new dynamic came to the surface. In the first few weeks, I’d need to keep his halter on in the stable while grooming because he was very pissy and all too happy to bite/nip to express his. With the assistance of others, I was able to set boundaries and stabilise myself through addressing my fear relationship with him.

When I was a child, I got my share of beatings – this left a very deep impression on me which affected my entire life (and is something I am still working through). Now, having this BIG animal with massive strength and power around me – it scared the living shit out of me. Just seeing him, seeing his grumpy expression and the intensity of him movements whether directed towards me or not – would trigger all sorts of memories bringing me back to my childhood, scared, insecure self. When I was a child, all I would do to cope with the situation is to draw back inside myself and wait the situation out while sitting in complete fear and petrification.

My experience of myself around my horse was absolutely awful. Either I would stop participating with horses, or I would change and empower myself – teach and give myself the tools I did not have as a child, to find a constructive way to work with another being who is angry and plays this out physically – without getting hurt and going into self-diminishment in the process.

This has shown to be a very challenging task. Every fibre of my being has since childhood been set up to avoid conflict situations at any and all costs, especially situations where things could get physical. It was very difficult to give up my primary coping mechanism as the survival skill I developed in situations of conflict. I had to constantly remind myself that I was no longer a child and in a position of powerlessness. I was an adult now and I did not have to be a victim of the situation. I was very scared to change, because all I knew was that ‘avoidance’ would keep me safe. So every day, I would make the deliberate effort to change. To be present, here and work with my horse regardless of the anxiety inside myself. I was taught to take notice of my posture and body language, as any emotional instability would translate into a particular body posture, which would draw out a particular response from the horse. Horses are herd animals as well as prey animals. Their survival and well-being depends on effective leadership. Someone who knows what they are doing. If you are scared, fearful, and go into states of self-diminishment – it is logical to the horse to get rid of you or at least ‘know your place’ in the hierarchy with all the consequences that come with it.

Not only are horses very perceptive of the state of being of their fellow herd members, but they are perceptive of the state of being of any human or animal that gets into their environment. In the wild, a predator who’s just had a nice meal and is fully satisfied can stroll by a herd of horses and the horses will peacefully graze on – because they already picked up on this state of being from miles away. If that same animal however would have approached them in a state of hunting, they would have ran off the moment they picked up on the animal. Much of their behaviour is determined by ‘where everyone else is at’. This became very clear that, as I changed – my horse would change. And so my horse would become the mirror reflection of myself and my state of being. Challenging me, pushing me, checking where I am at and responding accordingly.

Unfortunately, many people do not consider this aspect when working with a horse or any other animal for that matter. If a horse is being unruly, then simply more control and force is used. Someone in my position, then easily moves from being a victim to being a perpetrator – doing unto the horse exactly that which had been done unto self. Horses, in their kind forgiving nature – will put up with this behaviour until they have either had enough (at which point they get sold or sent to the slaughter house) or until they collapse under physical strain and pressure.

To have a willing, trusting and cooperative relationship with your horse – Self-Mastery is absolutely essential. This means constant evaluation and assessment of yourself and your horse. Never assume that your horse is simply being an ‘irrational animal’. This great creatures are very advanced processing machines – to call them stupid would be a deflection of our own inability to see beyond our limited perspectives.

Parenting as Damage Control | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

toddler gate suppression control leilazamoramoreno

If you’ve been following my blogs, then you know that before I had Cesar, I had pretty much zero experience with children or parenting. It hadn’t been part of my world and I didn’t really have a clue of what was ahead of me. All I knew about parenting, was from my own direct experience as being a child and being part of a family and being parented by my mother and father – and from what others made parenting ‘seem to be’.

While I was pregnant I did a lot of reading, some books and monthly parenting/pregnancy magazines. The world that was about to open up for me seemed so blissful! Yes, there were a lot of warning signs in terms of physical considerations in terms of what baby should eat, how much babies should sleep, what possible problems to look out for and so on. But what was missing in all the information was how I would go through a change inside MYSELF and how I would be affected with a parent-child relationship coming into the picture. Nothing warned me of the emotional, internal turmoil I would face or how to work through it (except for maybe saying ‘sometimes things will get hard and make sure you get some alone time/get a break).

So while I was once engulfed in a world where everything was roses and sunshine where having a baby was made seem this ‘heavenly experience’; when I actually got my baby and what I went through was more a perfect Hell.

It took me a while to realise that things are NOT perfect, are NOT easy, are NOT blissful as how it was made out to be. It took time to accept that things were hard, that I was going through immense emotional turmoil and that I didn’t necessarily know how to work through it / cope with the physical demanding task of taking care of a new born whilst processing the information which was running through me at a fast pace.

Yet, once I made peace that things were hard – I realised – but this is also not ‘the truth’, this is also not the ‘reality’ of the situation.

Yes, things were hard *right now* but I did not have to experience myself this way. Just because things weren’t this beautifully, glamourized picture – it didn’t mean that its opposite polarity as ‘everything is total hell’ was now the truth of the day either.

I did get stuck for quite a while in the acceptance that ‘well maybe it’s just hard – maybe that’s just ‘how things are’. Yet, even within this level of acceptance, I could sense that something was amiss, that something’s sitting quite right and that there were still different doors and directions to explore. That this ‘couldn’t be it’.

This acceptance of ‘everything is bad and that’s just the way it is’ reminded me of the Bible and how mankind was ‘born in sin’, for ever ‘in debt’, for ever carrying a burden, forever having a ‘difficult experience. It also reminded me of Thomas Hobbes’ political philosophy, how if you let things run their course within the ‘law of nature’, you find yourself in a perpetual state of conflict, strife, turmoil, chaos and anarchy. Even in other religions, myths, stories – this concept that our base state of being is essentially a ‘bad’ and ‘negative’ one is a theme that pops up over and over.

This base foundation/state as being ‘inherently bad’ is used as a justification time and time again, to justify structures and approaches of control, separation and domination – as our ‘bad nature’ needs to be contained ‘for our own good’. We have extensive law systems, specifying everything we can and can’t do. We have extensive education systems, as we need to ensure that everyone knows their place and is properly trained and civilised to take part in this world. Parents use domination, manipulation, strict rules and regulations to keep their children in check. People all over the world are controlled through money, where only a few hold the vast majority of money while the rest fights and scrambles for some money to call their own. Money is one if not the most regulated and controlled object in this world. People don’t just have access to money, they don’t just receive money – because OBVIOUSLY, they can’t be trusted and don’t know what is good for them. They must work for it, they must EARN it.

This concept of the big bad human is omnipresent. And therefore control is omnipresent.

And this was something I was doing while I was in this level of acceptance that ‘things are just that hard’ because I couldn’t possibly conceive something outside of this age old paradigm. Or that I even deserved to experience anything other than this constant agony.

Yet, living according to this paradigm, to constantly uphold some level of control = it’s freaking exhausting. It’s exhausting to be constantly telling your baby what to do, when to do it, when to eat, for how long to eat, what to eat, when to sleep, how long to sleep, to force them to sleep, telling them when they can have your attention, when they must leave you alone, when they must do this, do that…

So one day I had enough, and said fuck it. Fuck all those rules I have been living by and imposing on by baby. Fuck this idea that he doesn’t know what’s good for him and that I don’t know what’s good for me. Fuck that I must rely on so called experts and specialists to tell me how to do things. I am going to listen to myself and I am going to listen to my child.

Suddenly, it’s like a weight gets lifted. Your baby responds to you and you respond to your baby and you are both in sync with one another. You do things as they need to be done. Not because some rule or belief says you must do it, but simply because the moment itself reveals the direction you require to take.

This change didn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t a 180 degree turn that manifested all in one moment – it’s something I am still walking. All the rules and regulations we live by and parent by, all stem from our own belief systems, of our own world views, how we perceive things, how we interpret them. They originate from our own upbringing, from our own training to become ‘someone’ in this world.

Within this I realised that my own emotions and feelings as the emotional turmoil and conflict that would ensue were key in identifying these beliefs and ideas. These ‘misconceptions’ essentially, of ‘who we really are’ and ‘how the world really works’ – which would translate into misconceptions of ‘how to parent’.

When I was agitated and frustrated to the point of nearly hitting rage – that’s when I gave up my old paradigm. The emotional turmoil inside myself wasn’t telling me that ‘yes, this world is shit and parenting sucks’; they were telling me ‘this is not the way’. As long as I kept doing what I was doing and kept holding on to self-limiting ideas and beliefs – the emotional turmoil and inner conflict would remain, accumulate and eventually burst. They were essentially red flags, big hands waving HELLLOOOOO!! What you’re doing is NOT WOORKING OOUUUTT!! Instead, I believed them to be a reflection of the reality I was in, that things ‘were hard’ that things ‘were difficult’ that ‘life is a burden’. I didn’t see and realise that I was the one making things hard for myself. And that this was what my emotions and feelings were trying to convey to me. That something had to give, something I had to change, this couldn’t go on.

Constant friction, conflict, fight – this is not the normal state of living, of being. These manifestations, both within ourselves and outside of ourselves in the form of war, poverty, competition, etc. – are only the result of our own acceptances and allowances. Of what we believe and perceive to be ‘the truth’ – without ever really checking in with ourselves and seeing whether what we believe and what is reality is a match.

When you let go of limiting beliefs, perceptions and ideas – things just flow. Everything comes together in a perfect balance, there’s harmony.

Within the next blog I will go deeper into the design of Emotional Turmoil and Inner conflict, and why it exists. In the blogs after that, I will walk through specific Emotions and Feelings, the message they are conveying to ourselves and how to respond to them so we can come back to a state of balance and harmony within ourselves, our parenting and so within our world and lives at large.

Thank you for reading

The Laughter of a Child

Aaah, the uninhibited laughter of a child… Have you noticed how captivating it is to see and hear a child laugh, where you just want to hear and see more and more of it, like you just can’t get enough?

I absolutely LOVE seeing and hearing Cesar laugh – because he does just that: laughing. He’s not concerned about anything or anyone else but allowing his laughter to just flow out freely.

It’s such a rare thing for us to just completely and totally embrace the expression of laughter and go with it. Limiting ourselves by all these behavioural policies and fears of what other people might think.

When is the last them you really let yourself laugh? Where you are laughing with your whole body and just letting it all out? Where your whole body rumbles and bubbles?

#toddler #baby #laughing #child #innocent #expression #pure #free #uninhibited #control #suppression

Brainwashing through Books

books reading toddler leilazamoramoreno

It’s Cesar ‘s birthday soon and we went to buy him some books on his grandmother’s behalf. Finding and picking out books is each time quite a lengthy process because so many of the books out there are simply not the type we want to expose him too. Almost every book we pick up is trying to ‘teach’ the child something – and within how the words are placed,are trying to entice an emotional reaction within the child to have him or her adopt this lesson. One book for instance was all about toilet training. It shows how the boy can take off his own pants and do everything on his own with lots and lots of praise and each time emphasising how he is SUCH A BIG BOY!!!! Now if you’re a child who is not yet doing all these things are maybe you are doing these things – what type of influence does this sort of #praise have? You are a BIG BOY when you are able to pee in the toilet by yourself, but if you are not then obviously your are only small boy. When praise is used like this, it seems like a positive approach, but it’s really just a form of polite shaming. A lot of these books use pretty words and pictures but at their core are only trying to demean the child to control and conform him to some type of behaviour. It’s really sad.
#toddler #baby #books #manipulation #emotional #control #behave #parenting #motherhood #mother #positiveparenting #continuumconcept #eqafe #desteni