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Spiritual Parenting

By Jessenia Nozzolillo

Spiritual parenting is a difficult subject and I get a lot of parents who come to me burnt out, sacrificing, struggling to survive their daily lives and feeling overwhelmed with life. Many of you know I have an army of children, 6 to be exact. I manage their full daily routine, activities, homework, busses and appointments. But many of you don’t know before I started my spiritual based business, I ran a state licensed daycare and watched other people’s children for 18 years while actively parenting for 17 years and still climbing. It allowed me to develop some tricks to managing a busy house and large family. My favorite piece of advice is something I call “COMPLETION CYCLES” which I will explain in a moment. But first, you are no one’s slave. Our job as parents is to teach, not do. What does this mean? It means if they can safely do something they should! Kids love helping with cooking! My kids were fascinated with laundry as early as age 5. No, they cannot do everything on their own, but the idea is that they should be involved in the process by becoming familiar with the experiences they will have to master to be successful adults. That also includes giving them age appropriate responsibilities. A three-year-old can’t mow the lawn, but they can certainly pick up a couple of toys! Remember that if we do not teach them these life skills, they will not have the ability to follow through with them as adults — meaning they struggle with the practicalities of life. It’s also important to keep in mind that setting up your house in a way that allows children to be independent is incredibly important for their development. Are their toys easy to access AND clean? Can they reach their own cups? Can they grab their own clothes? Kids can’t be independent or thrive in an environment not made for them. If they don’t understand, teach them! The mind is fully programmable. Children need to be taught new skills! I know that sounds really obvious, but how many of us have gotten upset at our children for not cleaning properly or doing something “good enough” and just did it ourselves? How are they ever supposed to master that skill if you are not taking the time to teach them in the way that they can understand? If they DON’T understand something, teach it in a way they DO understand it. “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” -source unknown “Completion cycles” mean that everyone is responsible for their own things. If you took it out, you put it away. If you made the mess, you clean it up. This isn’t true across the board. If my baby had an accident and is hyper-emotional, I’m not going to force them to clean up the accident right away. Especially if there is a hazard or risk in the materials (like feces or glass). It's ALARMING how many adults DON’T understand this concept. They trash their house every morning and don't clean up after themselves and then get overwhelmed when there is “too much to clean.” A completion cycle is a huge component of success, self-regulation and health! Letting things pile up is never going to help you feel better about your life or environment. If you didn’t clean it up after you took it out, then you didn’t actually finish what you were doing. It’s so important to schedule time in your day to finish the things you started when you’re done with them — whether this means cleaning them up, putting them away, tidying up. Do as much as possible the day before! My children all have extracurricular activities and appointments. My 16 year old even has her first little job. So I spend a lot of my time shuttling around children from 2-8 p.m., getting them to their activities, many times doing homework in the car. But we also make sure to shower, pack lunches, prep outfits, pack bags, clean and fill water bottles the day before. Kids are so much more productive from 5-8 p.m. than they are 5-8 a.m. Even if your kid is a morning person they’re likely going to struggle getting their things together. We are rushed. They are stressed. We send them to school upset, we forget something on the list. We feel bad and guilty all day because we raised our voice! Avoid it by doing as much as possible the day before. Make time for nutrition and nature! Nature is our energy source! The more tired, drained, stressed, and overwhelmed we are the more we need nature. Not the other way around. Kids are sponges to their environment and pick up overwhelming amounts of negative energy from school. If you don’t give them a place to recalibrate, release and decompress, they will be explosive and emotional which makes it harder to have a successful day. Epsom salts in the bath also helps kids release any negative energy they have absorbed. Give your family the gift of nutritional variety. Your fuel, energy levels, and ability to focus are mostly dependent on food. So many parents are “too overwhelmed” to eat well, not realizing that not eating well is why you can feel awful, run down, and exhausted. The human body is naturally regenerating. Every day, billions of cells die off in the body and are recreated. Without the right nutrients, those cells can mutate, birthing disease and chronic health issues or trigger genetic health issues. Give yourself a fighting chance by making sure you are eating a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods. The pickier the eater, the more important this is. Also, stop drinking wine to “manage stress” or parenthood. It’s alarming how out of control the “parent wine culture” has gotten. The most dangerous thing we can do is participate in escapism. Running to wine or any other escape like weed, alcohol, shopping, or candy because you are “stressed” is only adding to the stress and eventually that compounds and you feel like you are having a mental breakdown or burnout. Recognize the cycle, stop the cycle. Instead, take time to recharge, rest, relax. Learn to emotionally regulate and decompress. Take time to heal. See a therapist! If you are tired of the pattern, then it’s time you do something about it. In moments where I feel overwhelmed I breath deep, ground my energy, calm my energy, focus on what I CAN change or do, then take action by releasing whatever is out of my control. I'm not shaming you for having a drink or smoke — just pointing out it’s not actually helping the issue if you are struggling with some of the subjects above. Having a clear mind and clear energy is the only way to view challenging times and get through them! Recreational alcohol becomes a fast addiction when we are using it as an escape, so be cautious with that. Children do not misbehave for no reason! There is always a reason… are they stressed, or overwhelmed? Are the kids at school being nice? Are they frustrated with something going on at home? Are they not sleeping well? Are they not eating well? Are they coming down with an illness? Look for the why before reacting. Emotions are an external visual of internal struggle. Instead of getting angry at their emotions, understand where it’s coming from and help them understand and regulate it! Time is an illusion. We don’t have time, we MAKE time for things that matter to us. How many of us say “I don’t have time to wipe my bottom, so I didn’t.” Probably no one. Why? Because you think it’s important enough to make time for it. If something is requiring more time, reprioritize your schedule to make time! Our children are depending on us and have no one else to depend on! They are the priority. It is our job to make sure we follow through on that agreement. Make time. Your home is a direct reflection of your energy! If you are stressed, overwhelmed, or easily distracted look around. Having kids means that they play and will make a mess. But a completion cycle means that mess is cleaned up by them as soon as they are done with it. Using the previous example, we teach children to wipe their bottom after they poop. It is not optional. It’s a natural part of the process. We don’t say “We’ll do it later when we have time.” Or “I don’t want to.” We simply expect that when we go to the bathroom we will clean ourselves. Trash your house and try to find something. It’s much, MUCH harder to do. It makes us stressed, late, or irritable. Organization and cleanliness is peace. It says, “I know things are where they should be, I know the kids can get the things they are looking for, I know that we can be energetically efficient.” Everything in your house should have a spot AND purpose. We sometimes get overwhelmed because we buy things we don’t actually need or use that collect dust or get messy. We should take the time to give something a “spot” and teach our children “This will always be here and when you are done with it this goes right back to this same spot.” Organization helps breed independent behavior and success especially when you are training children to clean. Being energetically efficient means being orderly and organized. Now this does not mean immaculate, untouched, or unwelcoming! I’m writing this while looking at a couple toys on the floor, some dog hair and dirt. It just means that we are keeping up with the mess and aware of how that affects our energy by making sure we are creating long term solutions to the chaos, and not just getting comfortable ignoring it while it becomes us and alters our mental/emotional/energetic state. And lastly, you don’t need to control everything and everyone. Problem solving, imagination, and healthy “risk-taking” are tremendously important for a strong adult mind. All of those only happen when we step back and allow children to safely explore their environment, solve age appropriate problems, and don’t treat a bruise like the end of the world. We cannot steal their lessons! Having to speak up to a bully is a life skill they are learning in a safe environment like school where everything is supervised and parents are informed. What happens if you *immediately at every sign of discomfort* get involved into the communicating for them? They never learn those skills and are now adults who cannot speak up for themselves or defend themselves! That is a huge issue! So remember, TEACH. Teach them to use their voice. Teach them to express how they feel. Teach them to defend themselves and others. Teach them the psychology around the “bully” (a deeply suffering individual trying to project their pain onto others to make themselves feel better) and work on tools to help them manage those attacks. Telling a teacher, principle or responsible adult in school means that the child might get the help they need. They can do that! Then they are less likely to have anxiety at school and with their peers because they understand there is nothing they cannot handle. Remember, we are not just protecting children, we are building the next generation. That means making sure our work is in alignment with their exploration, expansion and evolution — not just safety or survival. It’s the most important job in the world! Copyright Protected Jessenia Nozzolillo 2022
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