Fake It Til You Make It

The Single Crunch: Nursing In Public

If you’re reading right now, and you’re a parent who maybe this morning or yesterday or just a couple of minutes ago, you yelled at your daughter or you hit your son or you ordered your toddler to their room in a booming rage – this one’s for you.

If you’re at home, or at work maybe, or sitting in the doctor’s office or waiting for a city bus (it’s cold, keep bundled Sis), and you’re reading in tears or near tears and with a heart so heavy it’s sinking you, and with so much guilt parasite-ing your soul you’re sure it’s visible to others, and you read blogs such as mine because you want to know better so that you may do better – I know you.

Just when you feel you’re getting it – you regress.  You have to apologize to your kids again and you feel you’re starting all over.

Your children don’t get along,

Or they won’t stop saying mean, hurtful things to you,

Or you have no help from anyone,

Or you only have help from adults who completely disagree with everything you’re about,

Or you have issues in your life that negatively impact your mood, so it swings,

I know you.

I think you should fake it.

For awhile.

Hear me out.

Why aren’t we awesome at parenting positively, gently, peacefully, consciously?  There are so many reasons, but that’s not what this post is about.  Whatever yours are specifically, it doesn’t matter right now.  The important thing now is that we aren’t the “naturals”, the women who knew when they were Negative 60 that they wanted to do this, the ones who were parented by free-thinking adults, the ones who knew what to look for.  That’s okay.  I mean, it’s not okay but it’s going to be (don’t roll your eyes, either – it is going to be okay).

When I was transitioning, when I’m down, when I lose my cool – I fake it.  When I feel least like a peaceful parent, I pump myself up, aloud or in my head:

“I am a peaceful mom.  I don’t yell.  I don’t spank.  I respect my children.”

When I would read articles about the ideals I wanted to incorporate into my life, I would tell myself they were already present:

“My daughters will work together, I am patient, I am the coach, not the ref (shout out to Lisa Sunbury), we are a team.”

When Ryleigh would snap at me I would pause and talk to myself:

“I am patient and understanding.  I don’t speak over Ry.  I listen to her and I think before I respond.”

When I’d read an article about a mom or dad or family I admired, I’d tell myself:  “That’s me.  That’s us.  The unschooling, natural-living Price Family.  Oh yeah.”

It may sound silly but hey – it worked.  Being absent from Cyber Earth for over a month proved to be a test for me.  Not so much because I missed the screens, but because I had only myself to rely on for reminders, support, encouragement – what I’ve come to share with my readers and fellow bloggers.  I am open about my struggles with gentle parenting, and I noticed the difference in myself when I stopped reading, at first.  I was short and impatient.  I never came close to hitting but I raised my voice and did some storming off.  I saw glimpses of my former attitude – not my former self – at times.  It didn’t get far though.

One night about a month ago, Ryleigh and Logan and I sat at the dinner table, and Ry and I were discussing chores.  Somewhere in the conversation, Ry said, “…plus, you’ve been really MEAN today!”  Well.  I looked at Ryleigh and I felt anger rising into my belly and it burned and shot into my throat where it burned harder so I had to open my mouth, so I did:

“Well you know what Ry, I’ve been up all morning cleaning and you got up and didn’t even offer to help, so yeah, I’m upset!  I have a right for my mood to change when I’m doing everything by myself!”  Ummm…

I got up from the table and walked into the bathroom.  I heard it as soon as I hit the light switch:

“I am patient and understanding.  I don’t speak over Ry.  I listen to her and I think before I respond.”

It was Me!  It was me talking to myself, reminding myself who I was now!  I stood in my drafty bathroom and put my head into my hands.  I was wrong.  Ry has been doing pretty well about helping out when I ask, but I guess that’s the problem – I shouldn’t always have to ask, she’s at home all day and she’s mature enough that she can take initiative – if she wants to.  I heard myself again:

Dr. Laura said she had high expectations of her children, and because of that she was HIGH. ON. SUPPORT.”

High on support.  High on support.  One of my favorite gems from my conversation with Laura Markham.  If I want Ryleigh to want to take initiative, I have to support her in doing so.  My family is a team (that was me talking to me again).

I went back to the kitchen immediately.

“Ry, I’m sorry,” I said.  Ry looked up and smiled the most beautiful smile, the kind only children can make.  Her whole body smiled.  I kept going.  “Sometimes when people tell me things I get really defensive, because at first it stings.”  Ry stared at me.  “I have been mean today, and I am upset about the chores, but I should have talked to you about it.”  Then I told her what was bothering me and we talked about me being “high on support”, something we’d discussed before.  Ry agreed that she could do more on her own, and she accepted my apology, and thanked me for it.

Since then, Ryleigh wakes up and cleans her room on her own.  She wipes down the counters if she sees a mess.  She sweeps if she notices dust in a corner.  She comes into my room and offers help if she sees me folding laundry.  I do the same.  When I see her cleaning a room I ask if she’d like help.  After dinner we call dibs on kitchen jobs and talk as we work.  I give gentle reminders when I notice she’s forgotten.  I am patient and understanding.  I don’t speak over Ry.  I listen to her and I think before I respond.  We’ve been working together, my friend and I, ever since.

Fake it, Mommas.

Every time you yell or storm off or respond sarcastically or say you don’t have time, remind yourself of you who are.  You are a peaceful parent.  You are patient.  You know you can do this.  Go right back out and talk to your children, however old they are – don’t wait.  The older the better, because you can really explain yourself.  Toddlers get it, too, so talk to them as well.  Keep at it, keep reading, keep thinking.  You’re doing awesome work, thank you.  You’ll know when you’re no longer faking it.  All love.

-Kimberley

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Categories: Gentle Parenting

Author:Kimberley

I'm Kimberley, work-at-home single momma to two girls, Ryleigh, 9, and Logan, 3. The Single Crunch is the story of our journey from a lifestyle saturated in mainstream ideals to an organic existence, and learning to love each other, ourselves, and any living thing, unconditionally. I'm passionate about breastfeeding, unschooling, single parenting, writing, grief, childhood abuse, childism, and natural living. I write about all this and whatever else moves me, which is a lot, and I throw in some funny on the regular. I'm humbled and grateful to have you reading, thank you. I hope something here will help you in any way.

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13 Comments on “Fake It Til You Make It”

  1. January 24, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    Thank you, so so much for this. This has really hit home for me, especially as the last week or so I’ve had a constant stream of guilt/self doubt/concern. Sharing this with my partner x

  2. January 24, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    You have me in tears. I needed this so badly. I am so new to gentle parenting…..and even parenting at all. I flop between passive, patient and possessive. It shows me how desperately human I am. It shows me how desperately I need to be high on support.

    We missed you, Kimber <3 I'm so glad to hear that things are going well!

    • January 24, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

      Let the tears flow, momma! It’s healing. Every day is new…and yes, we are human. :) Thank you Casi. Love.

  3. Joanne Price
    January 24, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    thanks Kim,
    I have had a horrid day..just finished apologizing to Mackenzie and Wyatt like ten minutes ago!
    REALLY glad ur back too.
    Joanne

  4. January 24, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    Reblogged this on M.I.O and commented:
    Awesome blog post….yes, sometimes we MUST fake it til we make it! ~MIO

  5. Erin
    January 25, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    Yesssss! Thank you.

  6. Aiesha
    January 27, 2013 at 12:53 am #

    I’m a fan on fb and we’ve missed you so! Happy you’re back… and thank you for writing this. I’m going to keep repeating that mantra tonight until I believe it, until I know I’ll wake up as a patient person when my 29-month-old kicks me in the side and cries for even more “milkie”, inevitably waking up her sister and setting her up for another groggy day. I will drink more water so I always have more milkie! lol TMI? Sorry. But maybe if I get it to her before she cries, they won’t wake up too early and be overtired! (Hopefully.)

    As I tried to say it a few times just now, it definitely felt fake, because all I could think about was all the negative and stressful stuff awaiting me tomorrow. I have a lot of that around me. I have no help. But I won’t give up hope. I want to show my daughters how strong they can be by being strong for them, and together we’re learning how to not let frustration get the best of us. People like you keep me going. Thank you.

    • January 27, 2013 at 8:17 am #

      Aiesha, what a great attitude. That’s what it’s about. I had to fake it for a long time before I believed it. I am happy to support you through my blog; I wish I could do more. All love.

      Kimber

  7. Amy
    January 30, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

    Thank you! This is exactly what I needed today. This last week I have doubted myself so much and wondered whether I was really cut out for a gentle parenting approach, but now I think maybe I can do it. :)

    • January 30, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

      Please don’t wonder, you are cut out for it. It has so much to do with self-regulation and self-care. Check out ahaparenting.com please, it’s a great resource. All the best to you on your journey.

      Kimberley

  8. Kat
    February 3, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

    I’ve just discovered your blog, and being recently again an effectively single parent…wow. One of the things I do when I find myself losing patience or getting extremely frustrated with my almost 9 month old daughter – I tell her, “I love you, Mallory”. It really helps. >.> I will definitely be sharing this with my mom, though. She’s been helping me raise my son…and as we’ve temporarily moved back in, she’s helping me with my daughter, too. Looking forward to poking around reading more articles and sharing more words of wisdom! Just a few moments ago I had to use that mantra, when Mallory dropped her bottle (I breastfeed, but was experimenting giving her a baby bottle of water to play with, so maybe she can get used to the concept of angle when I have to run an errand by myself and mom’s feeding her my expressed milk). The lid broke. Unfortunately I’ve not found anywhere that sells just the lids – it’s always the entire bottle, or the nipple. Ugh. At least we have two other bottles…and if I can get an income going, I hope to get a few glass ones. Blessed be!

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