A Letter to My Mama Self in the Swirl of Change

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Welcome to the December 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: The More Things Change . . .

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about life changes.

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Dear Mama Self in the Swirl of Change,

You know how we are in that season of gratitude and giving, and you wrote that heartfelt and authentic newsletter asking parents to appreciate themselves? Well I wanted to take a moment and point out some important tidbits about your life, since so much has changed in the last year. Just so you can remember what life was like a year ago.

madhava cake

My son, 2 in a mere 2 weeks, on his 1st birthday.

A year ago, you had an 11 mo who had just learned to walk. He was not yet talking, so you’d wait a month or two for him to sound anything like he does now. You had no idea the world of joy, wonder, curiosity and love that was inside that little person.

A year ago, you could not imagine leaving your son to go to gather with some powerful women for Radical Self Care. You thought for sure having never given your son a bottle and leaving the him and your then 3 year old together with your partner seemed unthinkable. How would they do it? And yet you knew they would; you knew he could handle it, and they would get through, even the better for it. You’d done all that once before…

I've got a little unschooling/homeschooling coop going on Fridays, Sundays and some Tuesdays.

I’ve got a little unschooling/homeschooling coop going on Fridays, Sundays and some Tuesdays.

A year ago, you had no business side of A Living Family. You had a fledgling local community that had just gotten some awesome families that would stay with you through your growing family, business and self. You would realize that you had, in fact, done it. You created A Living Family in your life. A year ago you did not know that, though, and were still feeling isolated and alone at times. Can you believe it?!

A year ago, you had no newsletter. You didn’t even know how to make a newsletter work. You would start that in January, taking the biggest leap you could ever imagine. Becoming legit. Ha! Who knew that you would lead your first NVC in person work shop, and create on online! A template you will be using for 2014 for the video email series you are brewing in your heart, mind and belly now…

A year ago, you knew nothing of Birth Story Listening. Who knew your training to become a Birth Story Listener would alter your perception of life in the direction it was already going, that you already intuited, so profoundly that you would never be the same? Think back now, to the women whose stories you have heard and held. Feel the power and wisdom in these mothers, the clarity and healing they created for themselves that they carry forward into their families and lives.

Riding a real "pedal bike!"

Riding a real “pedal bike!”

A year ago, your daughter was not even touching her balance bike like you thought she would. In fact, she had barely become big enough. Little did you know it would take 2 weeks of focused and inspired practice to become confident on the balance bike and within the year your first baby would be on a real 16 in bike. Total badass. And the pure joy on her face lights your heart up and brings tears to your eyes, doesn’t it? The way she said today, “When I am riding my bike, I have a happy feeling.”

A year ago, you and your partner were world’s apart at times. In such pain and unable to reach out when needed, to connect when desired. The busy-ness of family life and the deep growing and work we were each doing inside made it necessary to dive headfirst into the tool we had in Nonviolent Communication (NVC). And in doing so you would form a partnership together that would evolve more quickly than you could possibly imagine. You would soak up the Parenting by Connection tools into yourselves and your children so deeply your whole experience as a family would shift — not outwardly, on the inside — in a way you could each feel and appreciate with deep joy and gratitude.

My how I and my family have grown....Here's to another year of A Living Family!

My how I and my family have grown….Here’s to another year of A Living Family!

A year ago you had not loosened the hold of shame, blame, guilt and anger like you have.
A year ago, you had not felt the deep trust and connection between you and your kids that you can now tangibly feel and see and between you and your partner that you can feel.
A year ago, you did not love yourself, your family, A Living Family, this life this much, with this much gratitude, with this much care and conscious attention, with this much freedom, acceptance and presence.

You have been blessed with a year of abundant changes. May 2014 bring more in the way of presence, peace and connection. May you continue to love more each day, to show love more each day, to live a life of love each day. You matter. Your effort matter. You are enough, just as you are now and for all that you have ever been.

Super big hugs of love to you,
~sheila

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon December 10 with all the carnival links.)

  • Mature StudentAmber Strocel is embarking on a new adventure in 2014, by returning to a space in her life she thought she’d left behind – that of being a university student.
  • And then there were four — Jillian at Mommyhood learned how quickly love can grow when welcoming a second child to the family.
  • Handling Change As A Mother (And Why That Takes Things To A Different Level) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she helps her young daughter navigate change and why it is so important, as a mother, to gauge her own reactions to change.
  • Without Dad-One Year Later — Erica at ChildOrganics shares how her life has changed one year after losing her husband suddenly.
  • Family Ties — Lori at TEACH through Love realized that her most significant, most painful wound paved the way for her to share her greatest gift.
  • Rootless — After Dionna @ Code Name: Mama‘s parents packed up their home and moved to Florida this fall, she is feeling rootless and restless.
  • A Letter to My Mama Self in the Swirl of Change — Sheila Pai of A Living Family shares a letter she wrote to herself to capture and remember the incredible changes from the year, and invites you to do the same and share!
  • Junctionssustainablemum explains how her family has dealt with a complete change of direction this year.
  • Planning, Parenting, and Perfection — Becca at The Earthling’s Handbook explains how most of the plans she made for her adult life have worked out differently than she planned, but she’s ended up getting a lot of what she really wanted.
  • Why First Grade Means Growing Up… for Both Me and My Daughter — Donna at Eco-Mothering discovers that her daughter’s transition into first grade is harder as a parent.
  • First Year of Mothering — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot reflects on the quiet change that took her by surprise this year.
  • Building the Community YOu Desire — A recent move has Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children working toward setting up a new support network.
  • Slowing down in 2013 — A car fire and a surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome made 2013 a very different year than the one Crunchy Con Mommy and family were expecting!
  • The Seven Year Cycle — After 7 intense years of baking, birthing and breastfeeding 6 kids, Zoie at TouchstoneZ wonders, “Will I be enough for what comes next?”
  • Rebirth — Kellie of Our Mindful Life has found that each of her births leaves her a different person.
  • When a Hobby Becomes a Business — This year, new doors opened for That Mama Gretchen‘s hobby of writing and blogging – it has turned into a side business. She’s sharing a bit about her journey and some helpful tips in case you’re interested in following the same path.
  • 5 Tips for Embracing a Big Change in Your Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about a big change in her family and shares tips that have always helped her family embrace changes.
  • Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes — Ana at Panda & Ananaso ruminates on how having a child changed her priorities.
  • Homeostasis — Lauren at Hobo Mama is finding that even as elements shift in her life — in cosleeping, homeschooling, breastfeeding, & more — they mostly remain very familiar.
  • Sally go round the sun — A new baby brings joy and unexpected sadness for Douglas at Friendly Encounters, as she is diagnosed with a rare genetic condition.
  • Embrace it — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen muses about the changes in her family this year and how she can embrace them . . . as best she can anyway.
  • Big Change; Seamless but Big — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how one of the biggest changes of her life was also a seamless transition.

  • hobomama

    What a beautiful letter, Sheila! Thank you so much for giving us a peek into your own love for your self and your soul. I’m so inspired by what you’ve done this year, and you’ve reminded me to take joy in the achievements and changes in our family as well.

    • The year(s) go by so fast, Lauren, don’t they? When I first read the prompt for this month’s carnival, I immediately realized how long the year had really been, how far back it extended, particularly with the shifts in my son — so much and so many! I would LOVE to read your love letter to yourself for 2013. Maybe there’s a way if folks from the carnival are inspired? It would be such a wonderful diversity of mothering and motherhood…
      Thanks for “peeking!”
      ~sheila

  • Mercedes Donis

    Wow, what an inspiring and moving letter! This must have been an incredible year for you, a lot of growth! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • It truly was, Mercedes. I said YES to a LOT of internal work and shift. An amazing year indeed! So grateful you stopped by.
      ~sheila

  • Dionna Ford

    What an incredible journey you’ve been through this year – you are, as always, an inspiration for me!

    • I have been thinking of you often of late, Dionna. I had no idea you moved! No more trying to see you in KC when I see my parents, I guess. Would still love to connect with you about some stuff relevant to a couple my love letter items here. Definitely would love to read your love letter if you feel inspired to capture one and hear how your year and family have been.
      Wishing you peace, ease and joy, mama,
      ~sheila

      • Dionna Ford

        Oh no, *I* haven’t moved, just my parents 🙂

        • Whew! Well, hopefully I’ll see you in 2014! <3

  • Wow! Sounds like a great year!

    I often find myself writing articles about how to do stuff and then reading them over again to myself and realizing how often I’ve been ignoring my own advice. Once it’s online and public, I feel more like I’m “supposed” to be doing it, and it’s easier to stick with it! I hope that by writing directly to yourself here, you’ll experience that effect even more strongly and have another very improving year.

    • Yup. You know, Becca. “Take your own advice!” Lucky for us, we give good advice?! 😉 I definitely work best in a social and public manner. Always been that kind of learner and doer. I certainly appreciated the moment (inspired by the prompt from Dionna and Lauren) to stop and really acknowledge all I have shifted and all that has shifted in one year. Tremendous. Still processing it. I love your wellwishes to experience the effects into another year of digging deep, growing roots, stretching toward the light and, of course my purpose, sprouting peace. This has been a year full of life, and wow am I so deeply grateful for it all…
      Thanks for connecting and sharing here,
      ~sheila

  • Donna

    Wonderful post! It inspires me to write something like this for myself as a look back on 2013. Thank you!

    • Oh please do, Donna! Write it and please share with me! As I told Lauren down there in another comment, I would love to read letters from other mamas (and dads) about their acknowledgements and appreciations from the year. Thank YOU for taking a moment to read!
      ~sheila

  • Laura Burns

    Beautiful, beautiful post!

    • Thank you for reading, Laura! If you write your own letter, I would love to return the witnessing. 🙂
      ~sheila

  • I write a letter a little like this to my children on their birthdays, charting the changes, developments, learning etc throughout the year. Perhaps I should start to write one to myself on my birthday too! This is a lovely idea and a great post so many lovely postive changes for you in one year, thank you for sharing 🙂

    • I have heard of other moms writing letters on the birthday. I love that idea and would like to get it together to do that. 😉 What an awesome way to bring a tradition you have for the kids into your own life, to acknowledge your own glorious mama self! Grateful you read and shared!
      ~sheila

  • Momma Jorje

    It is so amazing, the difference a year can make! I really want to get my preschooler a balance bike, it just seems like a great way to start down that path!

    • The balance bike was an epiphany for me. No training wheels? No fearful falling? Seemed genius! It’s not that she doesn’t fall or get scared so much as that I KNOW she has the competence and confidence to figure out her body on that bigger bike because she’s used to picking her feet up and balancing. Now she has the goal of learning how to brake with the bike “so I can get a bike with hand brakes!” She is excited. 🙂
      Thanks for reading, Momma,
      ~sheila