So exciting! Thank you for accompanying me on this journey.Special Episode: Instead of answering a listener question, I thought I’d walk you through some of my parenting a-ha moments that shifted my energy. I’m going to tell you 7 stories of my personal transformations that I’m sure you will resonate with. I’m also going to tell you the results of some informal surveying I’ve been doing, asking grown kids the following questions: What did your mom do well? What do you wish she had done differently? What was the highlight of your childhood? And why the answers to those questions really matter! First, let’s talk about the 7 levels of energy. This concept was taken from David Hawkin’s book Power vs. Force and outlined in Bruce D. Schneider’s book Energy Leadership, modified here for motherhood. 1 – Victim – Circumstances dictate my life. I have no power. “I lose” Guilt, worry, self doubt, hopelessness, fear. “I have to…” “I need to….” “I should….” Moms in victim mindset say things like “I have to do everything around here.” “How come I do all the work” “My kids, partner, bank account, won’t let me do what I want.” The a-ha moment that lifted me out of level one victim energy was modified from Eckart Tolle: “Do the dishes, or don’t do the dishes, but don’t worry about doing the dishes.” 2 – Anger & Conflict – This level is marked by lots of conflict and power struggles. A scarcity mindset is prevalent. There’s not enough time, approval, help, money, love, attention to go around. It’s the idea that you need to lose, in order for me to win. Mom’s at level 2 get angry and annoyed with their children, at other moms on social media, at their partners and themselves for not doing enough. Resentment, greed, pride, and blaming others are prevalent. In this stage we feel like we have to prove ourselves worthy, earn our rewards, and wait for external approval or validation. “I need you lose so I can win.” My a-ha moment came from my mother-in-law’s comment that I’m always working. This comment helped me shift from Level 2 to level 3. I started looking at the amount of hours I was putting into parenting and decided I had earned time off. Doing math, calculating hours spent, and taking responsibility for my relaxation time was a big shift for me. 3 – Rationalization – Explaining, justifying, and taking responsibility. Lots of words are used at this level! Being able to put yourself in your child’s shoes, understand their personality and accept their behavior. “I can understand why they behave this way.” There is forgiveness and cooperation at this level. Problem solving and a intense or hurried focus on the to-do list. Intellectualizing instead of feeling. This level involves lots of words but little emotions, intuition, or listening to spirit. “I win”. This a-ha came to me at workshop for The Life Coach School. Every spring, my coach, Brooke Castillo, would offer master life coach training and every year, I was WAY too overwhelmed to consider. She had a guest speaker walking us through an exercise, drawing pictures of where we are today, and where we’d like to be. I wanted to be less chaotic and frenzied, and more peaceful and calm. She asked us to name 3 big, bold action steps we could take to get us where we wanted to be and I wrote a “working weekend” in a hotel room by myself. This was the beginning of me taking weekends away by myself that was such a gift. After these weekends I realized how much it benefited my whole family, not just me. 4 – Being of service. Love, compassion, gratitude, caring, playful, supportive, helpful, generous, “How can I help you win?” Many moms come to life coaching wanting to be at this energy level. They say, “I just want to be grateful for what I have.” This level feels so much better than the lower levels that it’s easy for Moms to get stuck here. Society approves of moms staying in level 4. But spending too much time in level 4 will bring you back to level 2, resentment. There is a difference between love and self sacrifice. If you slip into anger, victimhood, or martyrdom: “I will die on the sword before I’ll let my children suffer a negative emotion”, it’s time to elevate your energy. Purposefully shifting out of level 2 energy with my partner, and shifting INTO level 4 gave me a profound boost to my marriage. I Let go of the expectation that my husband should be like my dad, and encouraged him to be happy, without feeling like he “owed” me anything. 5 – Reconciliation – Love, freedom, and peace. Letting go of good/bad, right/wrong. See challenges as an opportunity for growth. Letting go of judgment. Open minded. Focus on growth and empowerment for all. Everyone in the family has certain skills and talents, how can we utilize them to make our family function better. Looking at the bigger picture: “A rising tide lifts all ships”. Accepting differences and co-creating for the higher good. “What’s right about me?” “What’s right about you?” “How can we build something better together using our strengths?” What’s good for one is good for all. “We all win” This hit me when I was struggling to help my son recover from a concussion. It was a very dark time and it seemed like everything was going wrong. His health was terrible and we couldn’t figure out how to help him. All of sudden one day, I had the thought, “What if this is all for me?” What if he is going through all this so I can learn to help other moms of struggling teens?” It was a very peaceful, freeing and mind blowing way to think about it so I’m calling level 5 energy. 6 – Joy and Connection to all things. Everything has purpose and value. Connected to source energy, to spirit, to all people, to collective consciousness. Very intuitive. Perfection in all things. There are no negative experiences, just curiosity, “I wonder why I created this experience for myself?” Abundant wealth, success, joy, love for all people. Responding to inspiration. There is nothing to fix, it’s all perfect. Synthesis and joy. “We are all always winning, nobody ever loses.” One day when my kids were little I laid my head on my husbands lap in sheer exhaustion. I felt overwhelmed and exhausted trying to figure out how to parent my strong willed daughter when my husband said, “You cannot expect to be a parenting coach and only have easy children.” He said it with so much love and levity, that I was able to hear it as ultimate truth. There is perfection in all things. I started to think of myself as a “Perfectly Imperfect” parent, raising perfectly imperfect kids. 7 – Oneness and Zen. Equal passion for all things, yet total, non-attachment. No judgment. “Winning and losing are illusions.” If life is a game of chess, watching the players move in and out, you are the chessboard. Loving the game, creating, playing and observing all at the same time. Complete fearlessness. Byron Katie and Eckart Tolle. (Difficult energy to parent from or connect with those of us still on the Earthly plain) Glimpses going into surgery (I love all the people!) and in Costa Rica (There is nothing to fear).
What did your mom do well?She trusted me. She was very kind and loving. We had a very stable and predictable house with little drama. I always knew she loved me. She was fair. She taught me to pay attention to feelings: mine and other peoples. She was an excellent nurturer.
What do you wish she had done differently?I wish she had taken more time to herself to relax. She was always stressed, I wish she could have been less urgent and more fun and playful. I wish she had pushed me more. I wish she had pushed me less. I wish she was more tuned into me as a teenager. I wish she had backed off and trusted me more. I wish she had been more involved. I wish she had been less involved. I wish she had provided more structure. I wish she hadn’t been so rigid. It was interesting how the answers to this question were more about the child, than a reflection on the parent. How they answer this question might give you a glimpse into their future career path or lifestyle choices. It’s more of a glimpse of where they are now, than it is about your parenting.
What was the highlight of your childhood?There is a theme! Everyone responded with some version of: Outside, moving in nature, unstructured time with kid led activities, peers……. but no adults nearby!
10 Powerful Questions
5 Questions every morning to give you clarity and intention.
5 Questions every evening to give you satisfaction and gratitude.
This is the best way to get you in the driver’s seat of your life.