tried and true…

November 26, 2012

There is something about having an old friend in your life. Someone that knew you when you weren’t even sure who you were but still saw your heart. Then you lose touch, you go off, get married and have babies. Thanks to the Facebook gods,  Marilou and I found each other again with even more in common than before. This is such a treasure to me because in so many ways I feel so very different from that girl I was before and it’s special to find someone old and yet still feel familiar as the new me.

I didn’t really have any grand plans when I started Soul Parenting, I just wanted a place to share something real and hopeful. Real in the mess and hopeful in the intent. …and in the wise words of Lucy yesterday when I was having a freak out of sorts- “Mom, I just wanna share my power so you can have hope and stuff…” …and that feels about right. I know the power of images that give us hope- hope because someone else’s kitchen is messy too, hope that really beautiful connection is happening, hope that there is another parent out there with a delightfully sassy 8 year old.

I was so drawn to Marilou’s images, because I know her and yet it’s been so many years that I don’t at the same time. Her photos make me wish we were neighbors because everyone needs a witty and kind friend next door…I wish I knew her kids because her captures of them make me feel like our kids would be buds…like we were. She has a way of showing you the soulful beauty of childhood with kids that are stepping fully into their hearts every day, so effortlessly…like we all should. This makes me want to pepper her with questions and adoration.

I know you will love her (and her work) and I am so glad she will be part of Soul Parenting. It feels so special to me to have her on this path. You can find her images on the Facebook page once a week and daily on her site here.

More about Marilou:

Marilou is a marketing manager for Corporate America. In her free time, she is a photographer and small business marketing & design consultant. She spent 15 years as a computer programmer before switching to the creative side. Her kids go to bed late and her house is a wreck. She is currently ignoring those facts, pulling from both her computer geek and photography pools of knowledge, and creating a photography workflow course for the everyday family photographer. You know – the one who uses her phone, or her fancy DSLR camera, to capture life as it unfolds around her – and then wonders how she’ll ever organize all those pictures, much less make an album out of them. You can find Marilou at http://mariloujaen.com, when she is not glued to her iPad.

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her gentle depth and view…

November 20, 2012

When I started Soul Parenting, I knew I wanted to include images of everyday life as they help us see our life as a whole. Pictures that honor the beauty and the mess. Aimee McNamee came to my mind in .02 seconds. I have admired her work for quite some time now and was so excited when she agreed to be part of this project. She has a grace and gentle depth about her, she is wise and kind…and I love her soulful view of her girls, her family and the world. Welcome Amy, we are so grateful you are willing to share your goodness with us.

You can find Aimee’s images weekly on the Soul Parenting Facebook Page and daily on the Aimee McNamee Photography Facebook page. 

 

 

 

 

 

About Aimee:

Aimee is a self-taught photographer and a former middle school Language Arts teacher whose life also includes stacks of books next to her bed, good food cooking on the stove, a love of art, warm friends with hearty laughs, the need to be outdoors, a glass of red wine at 9 p.m., and a penchant for road trips. She believes People Watching should be an Olympic event. Married to her favorite boyfriend of ten years and the mother to two beautiful little girls, appropriately nicknamed “Turtle” and “Rip & Tear”, she feels like a blessed woman. Aimee is available for lifestyle family/children photography, portraits, and small events.  Her website is under construction, but her facebook photography page can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/AimeeTMcNameePhotography

soul parenting…

November 7, 2012

She was unkind this week…in a way I have never seen her be…but her walk to making amends was so sweet- showing me all she holds inside.

Part of me was embarrassed and perplexed by her meanness and other parts of me knew the vulnerable place you stand when you make a decision you know is just not good. Not good for you or the other person…but sometimes you just do it anyway.

I was  hard on her, she was tender and contrite…and then I took this picture of her and saw her little soul…no, her giant, too big for her body soul…and then I felt tender and contrite.

And we just aren’t that different from each other, kids, parents, families…we are all doing our best to care for each other while we make our own way in the world. Nobody knows what they are doing most of the time, but there are moments when you do, your intuition is bright and wide…and you grab the hand of the person behind you and you lead the way.

Sometimes it’s your kids, sometimes it’s your partner leading, sometimes it’s a bum on the street or the checkout girl.

I want to be a soulful parent- one that isn’t afraid to make mistakes and try to sort them out with my kids, one that can come in and save the day the way only I can, one that leans into family love, one that freaks out when no one is picking up their clothes off the floor, one that makes space and trusts others to lead the way, one that says sorry, one that is confused but cares, one that holds tight to her partner (even when we are on each other’s nerves), one that holds hope, one that makes space for everyone to be themselves, one that gathers, loves and believes.

So, I created Soul Parenting … it’s a page on Facebook for folks to share stories and pictures about the messy love that each family holds. …because I believe we were never meant to do it alone.

It’s a place to tell us about your shitty day or parenting survival, the ways you find your kid’s heart, the things that surprised you, the parts where you have failed and totally triumphed…the real deal of everyday life while holding the intention to carry each other as we seek to be soulful parents and families…together.

I am trusting it to unfold as it is meant to. I will only post when I have something to share or a question to pose…I hope you will do the same. …because lord knows everyone’s soul could use it.

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The gig is hard and we all have a moment (or 57,000) when we wonder what exactly we are doing…or we have hit a limit or a wall. The thing is, we must keep going and it’s so great we have a truckload of love to see us through. Even so, I need someone to get out and help me shovel some out or find it or carry it some days.

Here are 5 things I need when I am stumbling through parenting:

1. Validate, but don’t hate too much. 

Please, oh please tell me, “Of course you are feeling ______!”  “It IS hard, isn’t it?!”  or whatever it is you can see in my heart…and stand in that place with me… “It IS annoying that they ___________!”,  “I don’t know why he does that, my man/kid does it too….”  BUT I don’t need a whole lot of kid/partner bashing. It just makes me feel bad later because I really do love those people… and while it’s so natural and normal to get sick of each other and express it, I don’t want to live in that place.

2. Tell me a story.

Tell me a story of your experience, failure and triumph,  the funnier and more honest, the better. It doesn’t have to be my same problem and there doesn’t have to be a solution but it makes me feel less alone and more connected.

3. Don’t tell me to read the book, just cliff note it for me! 

Unless it’s DEFCON 4 and you just know that book will save my parenting ass, skip the suggestion and just tell me the best parts of the book. I have zippo time to read but am so open to any wisdom anyone has to offer. Also, remind me of all the development stuff I forgot that actually explains everything and tells me my kid is normal- and that I have forgotten it’s all part of growing and learning for both of us. Or tell me parenting books suck and just follow my intuition.

4. Remind me what you (and I) love about my kid.

Remind me of all the magical parts of my kid… “I know she is driving you crazy now, but remember when…?”. Tell me what you love about her, and stand in my gap for just a minute. Offering to take her for a bit so I can regroup will score you extra “being the village”  friend points. It will also makes me want to climb mountains to do the same for you.

5. Believe in me as a parent.

Tell me to take care of myself, remind me I am and want to be a good parent, be gentle with my mistakes but also believe in me enough to give the gentle nudge to keep going, or own my own shit, or ask a thoughtful question filled with grace. I don’t want to be around other mothers to just complain together, I want to be around people that also make me want to be a better parent.

and when in doubt, bring chocolate (or vodka) and quiet love.

*this little list was inspired by christa, jen b. and jen l. who do this for me day in and day out…much love.

What do you need when all is falling apart in your parenting world? or it’s just been a shitty day with lots of mistakes and love/care attempts?