honesty · parenting · relationships

The Fine Balance

12.11.18.jpgSometimes—no, always—it’s difficult to know in a relationship when to zip your lip and when to speak up.

While I’ve absolutely become better about not venting all my crazitude onto J (and what will or will not happen in the future based upon my extrapolation of the present), there are truly times when it feels important to share some of those thoughts (or requests, or needs).

Some of finding this balance has meant sharing those thoughts earlier, so they don’t become a towering inferno of resentment that destroys my faith in the relationship.

Some of finding this balance has meant letting him have whatever experience he’s having without my trying to change it.

I am … not skilled at this yet.  It’s still very tough for me to negotiate where the line is between “my stuff” and “our stuff,” but it does feel further along the path than it did.

It’s impossible to think about your own potential parenthood without also thinking about how you grew up.  Indeed, I think most of us attempt to have a redactive experience with our own children, to “do it better.”

Yet even if we can’t “do it better,” perhaps we can avoid some of the same egregious pit-falls.  But to do that, you must communicate if and when you see them, especially if they feel like blind spots, or sore spots, to your partner.  You–er, I–must say, “Hey, I see this reaction as part of a pattern, and while I’m able to handle the fallout of it (for the most part), a child is defenseless against those reactions and actions.”

This is not a chiding or judgment that the other person’s behavior is “wrong” (really!), but it is an invitation to say, “Before there are tiny humans in the mix, can you reach out for help to soften or release some of this particular type of reactivity?”

We are not the first people in the world to talk about having children.  We are not the first to experience heightened feelings of doubt.  But where there is dread, because we’re not taking proper care of ourselves or reaching out for the proper support, then that negative pall will shadow what can be (at least in many moments!) a wonderful, inviting, and blossoming experience.

I know that I carry baggage of my own, that certain behaviors in others trigger a ptsd-style reaction.  And that’s my own to work on.  But, where the balance line of relationships is concerned, it is also my work to speak up and say, “This is not okay,” to model to our children, to take out on them, or to blame them for.

We are the grown-ups, and we must act like them, doing what grown-ups do: assess the problem or situation, find the appropriate tools to handle them, and ask for help if we don’t even know where to start.

 

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finance · learning · parenting

The Road More Travelled.

12.3.18.jpgOn Friday, I went to the San Anselmo library to find this book I’ve been itching for: The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money.  I’d taken a photo of the cover over 2 years ago when I was working in a school and they hosted a book fair.  (In fact, I took many photos of the parenting section, as there’s little difference sometimes between parenting and teaching.)  And, as I begin to gel my ideas and intention around a blog uniting parenting, finance, and spiritual principles, I wanted to get some inspiration.

I knew that I didn’t have to start from scratch, that there are resources out there—and I’ve fallen down a mini-rabbit hole with a blog site about living frugally, below your means, and retiring early, as part of the “FIRE” (financially independent, retired early) movement!  But, it took me a little while to re-discover the title, as when you’re looking up “money and kids,” you get a lot of results!

This is encouraging.  It seems that part of the backlash of the financial collapse is: How do we help this not happen to our children?  I’m grateful people are asking this question, and are also offering some answers.

As I was cooking dinner yesterday (producing amazing ratatouille from the kitchn website), I was listening to the podcast, “Make me Smart.”  The other day, it was “Conversations from the Corner Office” (you can tell I have a thing for Kai Ryssdal from “Marketplace” on NPR!!).

I’ve been listening to Marketplace for several years, eons before I knew what the numbers meant, before I owned a stock, before I understood why at all I was listening.

I suppose the answer is, because I wanted financial literacy!

I still do.

And one of my intentions in wanting to absorb information on finance, parenting, and values, is that I want to learn to live better in that realm.  And once I learn it, I want to share it.

There are roads that are paved before us; let’s not bushwhack just to say we did.

 

finance · goals · parenting

Next steps.

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Yes, that’s me, during a 2015 modeling shoot.  Guess I was prescient! 😉

As J and I were driving into SF on Saturday, up and over the hills from the Marina to the Mission, I had a brainwave.

We were continuing the discussion (begun many moons ago) about kids, their time and financial impact on our lives, and the well-worn difference between what I anticipate it will be like and what he will.

When I tell him that I’ve done the research and kids cost x amount a year, he laughs and says, “Where? In Des Moines?!”  So I said that I would do some research on it, see what financially savvy mommy blogs there might be.

And that’s when it struck me: I’ve been aiming to transfer my blog to some kind of regular magazine column, and to preferably make some kind of money off this writing I’ve been doing for over the 10,000 hours they say it takes for a person to become an expert.  But, aside from the general tenor of the writing I do here, what would be my hook?

I paused in my speech, and said, I think I just had a lightbulb moment.

What if I started a blog about learning and becoming and refining what it takes to be a financially sound parent?

If we learn best by doing, wouldn’t it be great if I researched what information was out there, and coalesced my learning into my own writing?

So, I began to search the web.  When I type in “financially savvy mommy,” I get a lot of results.  I also found an article that listed the 25 “best” finance & parenting blogs and began diving into those.

What I saw was what I’d kinda hoped: Most of them suck.

Or rather: many were 404 not found anymore, or were about how to clip coupons and crochet a hairshirt, or were just clippings from other websites.

Very few (in my limited research so far) had what it was I’m looking for… which is great, because it means a vacuum and niche exists.

Combine the vision-, goals-, and values-based living I have and want to strengthen with the financial acumen I’m learning and also want to strengthen, and then aim that in the direction of planning for, raising, and thriving as a family — with a little irreverence and humor thrown in?

Well, that’s a blog I want to read.  So I better get to writing. ❤

 

awareness · connection · fear · growth · love · parenting · risk · self-derision · self-love · vulnerability

parental advice

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Brene Brown talks a lot in her book Daring Greatly about parenting, about how to “dare greatly” in
parenting, which often means allowing yourself to feel, with all uncertainty and unpredictability, the full extent of your love. She talks about
the split-second after noticing her full love for her children the flood of constricting
and panicking thoughts about loss and impermanence and a terrible desire to control. To allow herself to
notice and accept her love so deeply, she’s also acutely aware of how tenuous
life is, and how she cannot protect her offspring from the world.
In the moment of greatest love is the moment of greatest
vulnerability.
She talks about trying to withstand and stand in that moment
of love as long as possible without giving in to the fear of the things we
cannot control.
The kinds of thoughts that enter immediately after hearing,
“You got the role.” God, I hope I don’t fuck it up. Or after “I love you.” Don’t betray me. Or “You’re a great friend.” Am
I doing enough?
Moments of connection are severed by fear when we insulate back inside ourselves around the thought: How can I control this?
We can’t.
In every effort we put forth to expand ourselves, we risk.
In every effort we make to control, we risk those
relationships that have brought us joy, including the one with ourselves. See:
I’ve gained some muscle working out, I better make sure I get to the gym even
more.
I hiked for an hour this week, I really should do that three times a
week.
I loved that novel I read, I should really be reading something
“worthwhile.”
Brown has written that we siphon off the top layer of risk and
innovation and spontaneity when we attach our interpretation of our efforts to
how they’ll be received – I believe this includes the efforts and risks we make
that are private, like those above: How are they received by ourselves?
Are the efforts we put toward joy, spontaneity, pushing our
own envelope supported internally, or hampered by voices of not good enough?
Sometimes both. Sometimes it depends on the minute of the
day.
I can experience the duplicity of knowing my acting is up to
par for this show, but my singing is not.
What I cannot hold is the self-derision that follows that
awareness.
As always, action is the antidote to anxiety and worry.
Voice lessons, music drills. Learning, learning learning.
This is a challenge. A challenge to show up authentically,
even if I don’t like or approve of what that sounds like at the moment. There is
vulnerability in showing up, but if, as happens frequently, I step on my own
efforts and try to hide the greatest risks, I won’t learn, I won’t grow, nor will I have any fun.
There’s a self-reparenting that is happening for me right now.
A re-training. In fact, several days this week, as I’ve sat up out of
bed, voices already chiding me for being sick and not being able to sing, for
not being as good as the others actors – I’ve literally had to stop myself and
insert a new voice, saying aloud – Yes, Moll, I know, and you’re working on it.
You’re doing the best you know how right now, and you are enough.
There is risk in allowing myself the “lenience” of
self-approval. There is the risk of abandoning control and constriction and self-flagellation. There is the risk that things won’t turn out “how I want,” how I want things to be, how
I want myself to be – Can’t you be better at something you’ve never done
before, the voice chides incessantly.
But I want a different reality. A different parenting. I
want to be able to look at myself and my efforts fully, with the full ache of
unknowing and the full pride of risk-taking.
I want to begin modeling this completely uncertain,
vulnerable, pulsating, spark-of-life parental love for myself, because I have
hope that one day I’ll need to employ it with children of my own.
And you can’t give to others what you can’t give yourself.