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The Mother Swallows the Anger of the Child

Gurumother

I was sitting in our big comfy recliner when Goldie (2 1/2) came running to my feet. She threw herself on top of me and started crying. I pulled her onto my lap and listened while I stroked her head, “Oh yes,” I said, “I know, you wanted something and you couldn’t have it, you’re upset, etc.” Kissed her little forehead and eventually, she started smiling and then she bounced away.

I laughed as she toddled off because our interaction was not too dissimilar to many interactions I’ve had with my spiritual guru, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation. People, including myself, travel all over the world to see him. He’s a very busy man, so when we finally get the chance to talk to him, we all gather around, painfully eager to get a chance to sit with him. And… he usually sits in a big chair! We laugh, we cry, we ask questions, we tell him our problems and our triumphs. The question I’ve heard him ask me the most is, “Are you happy?” He doesn’t really care too much what we do, so long as we are happy.

Guru is another word for teacher, but I’ve heard Sri Sri Ravi Shankar sometimes say that a guru is like a garbage disposal. “Leave all your troubles with me,” he says. Some days I have to remind myself that I am the garbage disposal (the guru) for the little people in my life. If they can’t leave their problems with me, if they can’t bring me their anger, their sorrow, their problems and even their excitement, then who else can they go to? If they can’t walk away from me most days and feel happy, then who else will give them that feeling when they are so small and learning about life? Of course, adults should know that nobody can make us happy but ourselves. But, little people need someone in their life to be there to protect them from the over stimulation of the world. It sounds like a daunting task for a mother (or father) to take on, I know… but it is our job, whether we like it or not.

When my children bring their emotional storms to me, it’s easy to want to run away and hide. In fact, some days I think I would do just that, if I didn’t remind myself that taking on the anger of a child is a privilege. When children bring you their problems, it means they trust you. They feel comfortable in your presence. They know they are safe with you. They know that anger and fear are not their nature. They need you to help soften the blows of life. They’ll throw their frustrations at you with everything they’ve got. And, we have to take it. Not internalize it and take it personally, but to help lift it off their shoulders.

Even when my energy reserves are rock bottom, I somehow find the strength to meet their needs. Ever mother I know does the same thing, again and again. I don’t always do it quite as calmly and coolly as an enlightened guru would do, but I do it nonetheless. When a mother needs to take care of her kids, she can somehow always find a tiny bit of strength left hiding, even when she feels she has none. And, if she doesn’t have the strength, it’s probably because she’s so sick she should be in the hospital!

It’s so important for parents to take care of our emotional and physical needs. We need to have that much more energy so that we can be the garbage disposal of emotions for our children. “Just leave your problems with me…” I hope I give my kids that feeling, because what a relief it would be to have someone to take my daily problems away like that! ‘Mama makes everything better‘, is true. Even if I can’t fix the problem, and even when I’m in the foulest of moods, I hope that my presence is somehow comforting to them. For me, I do a little bit of meditation and yoga that I learned 13 years ago, from the Art of Living Foundation. Without that, I’m not sure how I would handle all the chaos of a household, with no family in a 10,000 mile radius, and still manage to maintain a smile!

Although I serve a huge role in my children’s lives now, my role as the emotional-guru-garbage disposal won’t always be that way. One day they’ll go off to find new teachers. They’ll find new ways to process fear, anger and frustration. They won’t always be crying out for me when they spill their juice or break a toy. In the meantime, I’ll take as much of their garbage as I can handle. I make sure that my cup is full, so that I can empty their garbage when they come dropping it off at my feet! It’s not easy, like I said, but I’ll do it because if I don’t do it, who else will?

How to Naturally Clean a Carpet Without a Steam Cleaner

Clean

When you’re on a single income and you don’t have the money to buy or rent a steam cleaner, it’s pretty much up to elbow grease to get your carpet clean. Seriously, you must get down and dirty. You’re gonna have to get on your hands and knees and scrub. You’ll get sweaty. You’ll feel sore the next day. You’ll get a workout! But, your carpet will be clean.

*This post is only for getting general dirt and light stains off a carpet Read the rest of this entry

I’m Not Buying Any Presents for My Kids This Christmas!

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Ba Humbug.

Yup. I said it. I’m not buying a single Christmas present for my kids this year.

I sat down on the couch one night, in a rather cheerful mood after the kids had gone to bed, and started thinking about what I was going to get them for Christmas. I rarely ever get to put my feet up, so I was happy to just sit and stare into space… but as I sat there, I started to inspect the scenery in the house and began feeling disgusted. Read the rest of this entry

The Truth Behind, “I’ll Give You Something To Cry About”

 

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We were supposed to be rushing out the door, but my four year old was bugging me to play a game with her. The past few days I had been feeling too unwell to connect with her in our usual way, so understandably, she was looking for a little extra attention. But, the timing was so bad. The whining only worsened while I tried to carry on packing our bags to go and she was sort of half crying. At one point, I got so fed up with her complaining, that in my head I thought, “OMG! Shut up or I’ll really give you something to really cry about!” And then, I imagined whacking her across the face or threatening her. Read the rest of this entry

Love Your Gall Bladder Green Soup

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My friend, Maria, and I like to commiserate about our gall bladders. We both have a few little gall stones that like to play up sometimes, especially on dry and windy days. On one particular day, when our gall bladders were both trying to kill us, I went over to her house and she made this amazing green soup. Warm, wet, oily, filling, yet easy to digest. This is why the gall bladder loves it. The soup is even green, which is sort of the color of the gall bladder and the bile that is stored inside the gall bladder. Mmmm… The green soup doesn’t look like much, but it tastes delicious! Anyway, when I eat it, my gall bladder squirts for joy! Read the rest of this entry

Have a Merry Honest Christmas

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My husband and I both grew up in households that celebrated Christmas, although, technically, neither one of us are Christian! But, let’s face it, no matter what your religion is, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to avoid Christmas. I mean, unless you live a cave or in a non-Western country, you’re not going to be able to escape. For us, Christmas is fun and lighthearted! We ‘do‘ Christmas in the sense that we talk about it openly and honestly. We do presents. We talk about Jesus. We have a very VERY small Christmas tree and my kids and I do Christmas craft and all that stuff. The one thing that I am adamant about though, is keeping Christmas within the realm of sanity. Read the rest of this entry

Too Tired To Sleep: How a Supported Cry Can Help

Tootiredtosleep_katesurfs

When I put Goldie to bed at around 7pm, I thought for sure that she would fall asleep and be out cold for the night… I mean, the kid was BEYOND exhausted after having a massive day out. She usually sleeps through the night every other night, but within a half an hour of me putting her to bed, she was up crying!

Ugh!” I thought! “What the FRICKING HELL! She is exhausted, why won’t she sleep!

I went in the bedroom to lay down with her so she would fall back to sleep. She kept dozing and then waking back up, whining, squirming and half hearted crying. I started getting so annoyed! Really! I knew she was exhausted, so why wasn’t she sleeping?!

Luckily, the lightbulb switched on for me. She hadn’t had a big cry in a very long time, maybe a couple months. I knew it was time. Read the rest of this entry

A Child’s Intuition: However Powerful as We Listen

Katesurfsintuition

The kids and I had been running around all morning and when we finally got home, I collapsed in a heap on the couch. Straight away, Margo, 4 1/2 came crashing over to me, jumped on my lap and said, “Can we go to the beach?”

She did have a good idea. It was boiling hot at home. We had already eaten and we didn’t have anything else to do. However, the thought of leaving the house again was not at all appealing to me. I rolled my eyes. I was grumpy. I was tired. I didn’t want to go. I said, “Well….why don’t we go later?” A friend of ours had said she wanted to meet us there that afternoon anyway. Margo said, “No! We need to go now!” As I was trying to string together my argument for going later, she ran into the bedroom, with her sister, and they both put on their swimsuits. I groaned and peeled my self off the couch to get ready for the beach. Read the rest of this entry

The Moment You Realize You’re Way More Unschooly Than You Thought You Were

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Right before we were about to leave to meet twenty people we didn’t know, Margo, 4 2/3 disappears into the bedroom for a few minutes and proudly emerges with black facepaint all over her face. Not like nice pretty color facepaint. Like smeary… black… can-barely-stand-to-look-at-her facepaint. I said, “Oh! You painted your face! Ok, we’re leaving as soon as I get dressed!

My little one, Goldie, 2 1/3, who had been wandering around naked, also disappeared into the bedroom and emerged, showing off her own outfit. Every article of clothing she had on had stripes. Striped shirt. Striped pants that were 3 size too big for her, but functional, as they were not falling down. A mismatched pair of socks, both with stripes. Oh, and a tutu on top. No undies. Read the rest of this entry

Surprise! Children Are Not Born Racist

Katesurfsracism

Nippers training was happening at the beach on Sunday morning (Nippers is Australian life saving thing for kids). One of the nippers coaches, a lady in her mid fifties or so, was leading a group of younger kids down the beach to do some exercises. She was barking out instructions, telling the kids where to go, but one of the boys didn’t hear her. When she was asked to repeat herself, she yelled out, “Just go down to where you see that brown skinned person with the broken arm!” Read the rest of this entry