bringingupbuddhas

suburban adventures in bu-curious mothering

Tag: thoughts

purpose and parenting

Most of us Moms are straddling two worlds. The one that revolves around family, and the one that revolves around purpose. For some Moms, those two worlds settle cozily together. Born to flourish motherly love, these lucky ladies pack healthy lunch boxes with passion, organize closets with pleasure, and serve children with absolute presence of being. By fulfilling the needs of both Self (purpose) and family, no one leaves the planet disappointed. Life is streamlined. Neat. Lovely. But for many of us, the roads of purpose and family intersect very little – or not at all. There’s an unspoken struggle, a ubiquitous guilt, a ceaseless pressure, making us feel like we can’t give ourselves over completely to anything, always delivering our best, knowing it’s not *really* our best, rather the best version of ourselves available given our situations. I’ve been struggling with this balance for a few years. Taking courses, teaching meditation, and writing [unpublished ūüė¶ ] children’s books are activities that propel my life’s purpose; but the time it takes to do these things is time away from my family. And to complicate matters, I’ve had trouble transitioning into fully-present Mommy mode when the kids tumble through the front door after school, keeping one eye on them and one eye on the day’s project, sneaking in emails while they eat snack, listening half way as they chatter about this or that. I didn’t realize how unfair I¬†was being to my kids – through¬†my¬†hesitance (or conjured inability) to put away my work and *be* with them. It took a summer of disciplined motherhood to learn this huge lesson. In June, I decided my intention for this summer was to just be a Mom. I started by vanquishing a mother’s ultimate nemeses – unplanned interruptions. I turned off my YouTube account and logged off of Twitter, ignored my Gmail inbox and steered clear of my Facebook newsfeed. (Mostly. No one’s perfect.) I cleaned my house and folded laundry, planted gardens and provided three meals a day. I broke up fights and yelled at my kids, demanded submission and rewarded compliance. I played Ghost in the Graveyard after dusk and packed sandy bodies into my trusty Ford. I was 100% Mommy. Some good, some bad, but 100% nonetheless. While, admittedly, I went a little crazy in the land of board games, Top 40 radio, and sticky ice cream cones, I never once felt guilty; because during the vast majority of our time together, my little crew captured my full presence. Being a completely tuned-in, uninterrupt-able parent allowed me to release that chronic sense of incompletion (aaahhhhhh), and I’m so grateful for the lesson. We may spend a lot or a little time pursuing purpose, be it by working, hobbying, volunteering, or mothering, and we are left with a remainder of time to spend with our children. Regardless of its length, the time can be equal in quality if we are fully present with them. “I am here for you. I am here with you.” When we provide them with that assurance, we have nothing to feel guilty about. Duty calls, though, and purpose we must pursue, even if our children would rather us just be Moms. But¬†our babies can still feel well-attended and well-loved by knowing that when we’re in the room with them physically, we’re also in the room with them mentally and emotionally. To do that, it’s important that we¬†spend a few quiet minutes getting centered in the space between our two worlds. In that passage from purpose to parenting, when we’re arriving home from work, tasks, or projects, a few¬†minutes of meditation helps us shift gears from afternoon to evening, logging out of the virtual world and stepping into the world of heartbeats and eye-contact, clearing space for our families’ needs. Chanting, breathing mindfully, gentle exercise, and listening to soothing music are also great ways to ease that transition into parenthood. (It’s important that this centering activity be inviting, comfortable, and easy or we’ll never do it!) Even five quiet minutes in a parked car before greeting our children can help us to release the passionate-person-with-dreams-and-to-do-lists and welcome in the wholly-present-parent-with-gobs-of-love-and-patience we know we can be. http://www.vanessagobes.com

dear wordpress, i love you

i mean seriously. ¬†how funny is this???? ¬†i accidentally “liked” my own post and received this message and photo in my inbox. ¬†from one blogger to a gazillion others, do you love the funny questions, inspirational quotes and cheeky encouragements that the wordpress staff drops on us? ¬† i know i do. ¬†and i’m grateful to them for inspiring my lips to curl. ¬†but not so grateful for having carly simon tunes stuck in my head all day.

You liked your own post on bringingupbuddhas

You’re so vain. You probably think¬†does your kid have superpowers?¬†is about you.
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please don’t click the “like” button unless…

you are actually going to READ this post.

Each of us bloggers writes with passion, hoping that folks will find our stories and identify with our experiences. ¬†The feeling of connectedness and acceptance that results is awesome. ¬†That “like” button is one of the zillions of reasons why we love the internet.

I use the “like” button when I see a picture that intrigues me (like on this guy’s blog) or when I read something that touches me (like on this lady’s blog). ¬†I hope that everyone who “likes” my blog is ACTUALLY READING my material. ¬†After all, I’m not posting stories for a virtual ego-boost. ¬†I’m posting because I care about this planet and the people on it. ¬†And I have a gift of compassion and transparency that I am happy to share through writing.

So this is my plea to bloggers who are “liking” pages just to drive more readers to your own page: ¬†This is not a one-way street. ¬†Please READ what you “like”. ¬†Better yet, prove you were there by LEAVING A THOUGHTFUL COMMENT.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

don’t. yes. wait, stop. okay, go.

I’m going to apologize for this post before we even get started. ¬†So. ¬†Sorry. ¬†But I chortled and snarked all the way through. ¬†Maybe a bit of an Andy-Rooney-meets-George-Carlin moment for me.

I was in my bathroom getting ready this morning, examining the silver hairs streaking through my locks and thinking about expectations. ¬†A lot of my friends (and one extremely close family member in particular whom I worship and adore) would look at me in this slowly-advancing state of salt-and-pepper and use the word, “hag.” ¬†Besides the silvers (they’re not grey, they’re silver), my hair is probably a little too long. A little too frizzy. ¬†Oh, I could take the time to blow dry, grease it with Moroccan Oil, dye it back to its original monotone chestnut color, but I’m not sure I care. ¬†Anna Wintour says that any woman of a certain age should cut her hair above her shoulders. ¬†Hmmmm… ¬†yah, no.

thanks, DD, for a nice, demonstrative pic of my hag hair ūüėČ

There are lots of rules like Ms. Wintour’s here in America –¬†social norms¬†we call them, if I’m remembering the term from 11th grade Sociology correctly. ¬†Don’t wear white between Labor Day and Memorial Day. ¬†Don’t eat on public transit. ¬†Greet people with one kiss on the right cheek (unless you are a New Yorker who pretends to be a European, then you deliver one kiss on each cheek while scanning for other more important friends in the room). ¬†Do not invade a stranger’s 18 inch bubble. ¬†Get married before you make babies. ¬†Hold your tongue in an elevator. ¬†Tip anyone in the service industry. ¬†Etc, etc, etc.

And then there’s the cursing. ¬†Oh, the cursing.

I know there are social rules about cursing, but I still go back and forth on how I feel about it. ¬†Those who read my blog faithfully are familiar with my ease at dropping eff bombs. ¬†Writing for me is a passionate release, a focused meditation – and often times my fingers fly over the keyboard so quickly that I barely know what I’m writing until I’m done. ¬†If a few unclassified words end up in the mix, who am I to edit them?

Plus. ¬†In real life, I quite enjoy the eff word. ¬†I use it occasionally. ¬†Maybe too occasionally. ¬†But I don’t place any verbal value on it, except as a non-verbal verbal that lets people know that I am flawed. ¬†(Though most wouldn’t need four letter word to see that.)

And then there’s always pressure to stifle the cursing in front of the kids. ¬†Tell me. ¬†When it comes to parenting, what is right? ¬†Apologize for letting “shit” escape in front of the kids? ¬†Don’t apologize for letting “shit” escape in front of the kids. ¬†(Maybe they didn’t notice???) ¬†Is hell a cuss or a place? ¬†Is ass a donkey or a bum? ¬†Is fart okay? ¬†What about penis and vagina? ¬†I think they’re good. ¬†But not in school. ¬†Boobs? ¬†Butt? ¬†Shut up? ¬†How ’bout the modern alternative – Shut it? ¬†Is it okay that my 7 year old knows all the words to “I’m Sexy and I Know It”? ¬†Is it okay that my 5 year old sings “Red Solo Cup” and that I think it’s kind of funny when she says, “And you, sir, do not have a pair of testicles if you prefer drinking from glasses.” ¬†(I mean, she’s almost 6, really, but that’s still pretty bad, right?)

I actually spend time pondering the spiritual repercussions of cursing. ¬†Oh, yes, I do. ¬†I mean, it’s about 49th on my list of priorities, squeaking in just after emptying my mom’s dog’s anal sacks, but the spiritual questions are there.

Is cursing an unmindful form of communication? ¬†Is cursing offensive? ¬†Yes, I suppose it is. ¬†But why? ¬†I guess I know why, but is it because God cares? ¬†When I splatter searing hot bacon grease on my bare arm and shout, “JESUS!” does Jesus give a shit, ahem, I mean give a damn, ahem, I mean give a rat’s ass… oh whatever. ¬†You know what I mean. ¬†But really. ¬†Does he? ¬†And does he / He / HE care if I capitalize or not? ¬†Honestly, I’m thinking no. ¬†And if, by some small chance, I’m right and God doesn’t care, why do some people care so much?

(Whew!  Tangent.)

But, like I said, it’s not just cursing, it’s everything. ¬†There are hundreds of social norms that differ greatly from culture to culture. ¬†Wave with the back of your hand in Greece, cover your shoulders in Morocco, don’t be American in England, take off your shoes upon entering a house in Japan, wear thongs on the beach and bikinis to the grocery store in Brazil, wash your poopy bum with a communal bar of soap but only with your left hand in India, don’t write in red ink in China, stare at people past the point of awkwardness then let your dirty white lap dog eat off your plate in France. ¬†What is acceptable changes so vastly from country to country, it just makes me laugh. ¬†Because it’s all so funny, isn’t it? ¬†All these rules about living.

The rules are all so particular.  And peculiar.  Are these socially acceptable (and unacceptable) behaviors cast offs from religious orders?

Don’t eat meat.
Don’t eat meat with milk.
Don’t eat meat with milk on Fridays before sunset on the fourth night of a Harvest Moon.
Sit cross-legged with your hands open on your lap.
Sit with your middle fingers touching your thumbs.  No, your index fingers.
Don’t sit. ¬†Lay down. ¬†Or stand up walk. ¬†Just shut up and be quiet.
Wear an orange robe and only an orange robe.
Shave your head.  Let one piece grow.  Let two curls grow.  Let one long hair on your face grow.
Don’t cut your hair. ¬†Don’t cut your beard. ¬†Now hide it all in a turban.
Hide your hair, hide your shoulders, hide your ankles.  You know what?  Just hide your whole face.
Kneel down, stand up, cross yourself, repeat after me, say it again, say it again, one more time, say it again.
Eat this dry cracker.
Now return to your pew and continue with your dozing off.

Who made these rules anyway? ¬†(Men.) ¬†But seriously, who? ¬†(Old men.) ¬†Really, though. ¬†We judge others so harshly when they don’t abide by the rules. ¬†Meanwhile, the most important rules are often ignored – BE KIND, BE PATIENT, BE HONEST, BE HERE NOW.

Well. ¬†Now that I have thought and pondered and assessed and analyzed the things we humans do and why we do the things we do, I have to go explain to my kids why they can’t say “fart” in the classroom.

From mine to yours,
Vanessa
*Reposted from my June 8, 2012 entry on Everything Old is New Age Again