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The potential is exciting, right?
Instead of getting caught up with the latest parenting techniques, we just need to focus on what we want for our children and strive to become those things ourselves.
It’s also scary! Are you with me?!
If this is all true, then whenever I’m not my best self in front of my daughter, it could be having a bigger impact on her than I had even thought.
And, whenever I ignore my self-care and personal growth, I’m losing crucial opportunities to support her in developing her own. Well, @#*!
What if I could change the course of my daughter’s life by changing myself?
I better do something about this! I vow to make big changes from this moment forth!
I wake up early and do yoga to center myself.
Every word I speak to my daughter is with kindness and presence.
I’m infinitely patient, allowing her energy and my intuition to guide my choices.
After a day or so, (sometimes an hour, sometimes a minute), I’m back to my old habits.
I wake up just in time to get her to school without being late.
I snap at her when she is ‘too emotional’ about something that isn’t a big deal.
I rush her along when she’s telling me a story about her friends because ‘it’s time’ for something more important.
I stay up late, first making sure I’m getting everything together for tomorrow, trying to overcome my guilt for not reaching my mom goals and end up counting watching some tv as my daily self-care for one too many days in a row.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day I’ll be the mom my daughter deserves!
The problem with the perspective of ‘tomorrow is the day’ is that it sets you up for failure.
Every. Single. Time.
In my personal and professional experience, it’s not possible to start from where you are and grow to your ideal, evolved state all at once.
Whenever I personally try to make too many changes at once, it backfires and my self-esteem drops way down. My motivation also goes right along with it.
When we put too much pressure on carrying out some impractical, perfect version of ourselves, it also actually does our daughters a detriment.
If they see us working so hard to be perfect, going against the natural flow, it sends the message that we really should try to be perfect, even though it’s impossible.
We need to take a different approach.
‘One of the most important qualities of a practice is whether it is effectively integrated into our daily lives.’ – Shiva Rea
In the midst of the activity of life, one of the most important qualities of a practice are whether you can realistically weave it into what you’re already doing.
You need to have access to practices that you can do in a couple minutes, sometimes a couple breaths.
You need to have ways to inspire yourself quickly and powerfully.
You need an accessible toolkit of practices that support the full spectrum of your life…whether you need to activate your inner strength to create boundaries and teach your daughter to speak her mind, or you need to connect with your inner peace to bring more presence and teach her to balance her emotions.
You need to take small, consistent steps.
Aren’t these practices good for anyone to do? Yes they are. I recommend you use the following practices all throughout your parenting life, and whether or not you have girls, boys, or whatever your children identify to be.
Yet, the tween years are unique for moms and girls.
The tween years aren’t only a turbulent time for girls, but those all the changes can be really tough on moms too.
Recent studies have shown that the years around adolescence are some of the most difficult for moms.
There are more complex issues to deal with, girls can pull away from their mothers at this time and, mood swings can be intense and very hard not to take personally.
“This is a time of psychological metamorphosis for both mother and child.” – Suniya Luthar
Daily personal growth practices support moms of tween girls in these important ways:
Here’s a list of practices that you can use throughout your daily life to build your confidence, mindfulness and awareness.
They’ll also help you become a more calm, happy mom — even if you don’t have any time.
Choose intuitively and based on the energy of your day.
Affirmations are short, potent statements that support you in clearly identifying what you believe and what you want to manifest in your life.
Positive affirmations can be used to build self-esteem and decrease negative self-talk. You can repeat these affirmations to yourself or out loud whenever you need to revisit your inner truth. You can also write them out and/or look in the mirror while you’re stating them to enhance the benefits.
1. All of my efforts count.
2. I have everything inside to be the best mother I can be.
3. I don’t need to know everything to be a good mom.
4. I follow my intuition.
5. I celebrate my victories.
6. I am allowed to make mistakes.
7. I am always learning.
8. I am doing the best I can.
9. I share my true self with my daughter.
10. I listen to my daughter when she shares her true self.
11. I practice listening without judgment when my daughter talks.
12. I give my daughter space to explore her inner world.
13. I give myself space to explore my inner world.
14. I am allowed to be myself.
15. I am allowed to be proud of myself.
16. I am present.
17. I am creative.
18. I let go of my worries.
19. I forgive myself for my mistakes.
20. I go with the flow.
21. I am strong.
22. I am confident.
23. I am fierce.
24. I am grateful.
25. I am worthy.
26. I am kind.
27. I am grateful.
28. I am worthy.
29. I love and accept myself.
30. I don’t need to be perfect to be a good mom.
31. I am a lightkeeper.
For all breathing exercises, sit or stand with your neck and spine long, shoulders relaxed. Take a few deep breaths in and out to feel how your breath naturally rises and falls before beginning each exercise. If you feel lightheaded or dizzy, resume a natural breathing pattern.
32. CALMING- Counting Breath
Inhale through your nose and count to four. Hold your breath in for a count of four. Exhale through your mouth and count to eight.
33. GROUNDING- Heart Connection Breath
Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart. Take a long, deep breath in through your nose, feeling your hand rise as your belly fills with air. Exhale through your mouth and let out a big sigh.
34. FOCUSING- Ocean Breath (Ujayyi)
Constrict the back of your throat slightly so your breath makes an ocean sound. Inhale and exhale long, deep breaths through your nose. Allow the sound of your breath drown out your thoughts.
35. BALANCING- Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)
Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale slowly and deeply through the left nostril. Close your left nostril with your ring finger and with both nostrils held closed, hold your inhale for a brief pause. Then, open your right nostril and exhale slowly through your right side, pausing briefly at the end of the exhale. Keep your left nostril closed and inhale through the right side slowly, holding both nostrils closed for a brief pause at the end of your inhale. Open your left nostril and exhales slowly through your left side, pausing briefly at the end. Repeat for 3-8 cycles.
36. ENERGIZING- Bellows Breath (Bhakstrika)
Take an inhale and exhale forcefully through your nose. Continue to inhale and exhale forcefully, breathing from your diaphragm. Keep your head, neck, shoulders and chest still as your belly moves in and out. Start with a round of 8 breaths and work up to 30 cycles.
37. EMPOWERING- Lion’s Breath
Take a deep inhale through the nose. Then, open your mouth and eyes wide and stick your tongue out. Exhale the breath slowly out through your mouth, allowing it to pass over the back of your throat, as you make a ‘ha!’ sound.
38. Grounding Exercise
Connect yourself with the present moment and calm anxiety with this exercise. You can do this with your eyes closed or while you’re in the midst of an activity, like waiting at a red light or taking a walk. (this one can be especially good if you’re feeling high anxiety or panic)
39. Body Scan
Notice the physical sensations in your body to help discover where emotions are held. Use your breathing to help release tension. The goal is to be aware, to notice and allow what is, without pressure for a certain outcome.
Begin by getting a sense of your whole body. Use the mantra, ‘I am safe the way things are right now.’ Bring your attention to the crown of your head and notice what sensations you feel. Move to your forehead, your face, your shoulders, down your arms, through your fingertips, down the front of your body, your spine, feel your belly soften, let your breath rise and fall as you take your awareness down your thighs, calves, ankles, feet and toes.
40. Mindfulness Meditation
Find a comfortable seat in a place where you can practice quietly for 5-10 minutes. Set a timer for 5 minutes to begin and work up to 10 minutes or longer, with no tension around how long it takes to progress.
Feel your bottom rooted to the earth, your spine long, heart open, shoulders relaxed. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath, noticing how it naturally rises and falls. Lengthen and deepen your breaths, noticing the sounds and sensations.
When thoughts come to mind, witness them without judgment, imagining a cloud passing by your vision, taking the thought with it and return to your breath. Continue until the timer rings or you feel ready to end.
Find someplace quiet, or use headphones with calming music to create a sense of solitude. Close your eyes and imagine a peaceful, serene scene. Envision the details of everything around you— what you see, hear, smell, touch and taste. Inhale and exhale deeply, connecting with the feelings of calm and relaxation that the imagery brings up. Continue for a couple of minutes. When you’re ready, open your eyes and take a deep exhale out of your mouth.
Use 3-10 long, deep breaths with these short meditations to support balancing and enhancing your energy in the midst of the activity of life.
Place your hands over your heart and bow your head to your heart. Repeat the Hawaiian forgiveness mantra, ‘I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.’
43. Heart Fire
Bring one hand to your heart and the other to your belly, bowing your head to your heart. Feel your belly rise and fall with your breath. Feel the connection of your heart and power centers, uniting your ability to be soft and strong at once.
Place your hands in prayer position and rest the tops of your thumbs in between your eyebrows at your third eye. Bow your head towards your heart. Close your eyes and repeat the mantra, ‘I listen to my inner compass. My intuition knows the way.’
Place both hands over your heart and massage gently in a circular motion. Close your eyes and repeat the mantra, ‘I love and accept myself.’
Inhale and open your arms out wide, accepting love from the world. Exhale and bring all that loving energy into your heart. Inhale and open your arms out wide, extending love to your family and friends. Exhale and bring all their loving energy into your heart. Inhale and open your arms out wide, extending love to everyone in the world, even those who are difficult to love. Exhale and bring loving energy into your heart.
Choose a feeling you want to bring into your life and one you want to release. Use positive affirmations with your breath to inhale what you want to invite in and exhale what you want to release. For example, ‘I am inhaling confidence. I am exhaling doubt.’
** (I learned the term ‘micro-meditation’ from my root yoga teacher, Shiva Rea.)
You’ll find two main categories of self-care ideas that I’ve selected to list here. One, are mindset shifts that don’t require outside time or money, such as practicing gratitude. Two, are pairs of ideas on opposite ends of a spectrum, such as ‘make plans‘ and ‘cancel plans‘. I’ve done this to highlight how important it is to pay attention to how you’re feeling and how you want to feel when you make your choice, because it can shift each day.
48. Love yourself
50. Write a letter to someone
51. Call an old friend
52. Sit in the sunshine
53. Sit in the moonlight
54. Spend time with your kids
55. Get a babysitter
56. Take a road trip
57. Sit on your couch
58. Make plans with friends
59. Cancel plans and stay home
60. Wear pajamas all day
61. Try on fun clothes
62. Learn something new
63. Do nothing
64. Cook a healthy meal
65. Bake cookies
66. Wake up early
67. Wake up late
68. Take a nap
69. Listen to your intuition
70. Practice gratitude
71. Forgive someone
72. Forgive yourself
73. Don’t judge yourself
74. Say YES
75. Say NO
76. End a toxic relationship
77. Stop saying ‘should’
78. Surrender to what is
79. Let go of expectations
80. Let go of perfectionism
81. Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself? – Tao te Ching
82. Instead of waiting to see if you measure up, start letting everyone else know they don’t have to. – Melissa Camara Wilkins (via Life on Purpose Movement)
83. May I practice with what I’m given rather than wish for something else. – Katrina Kenison (via Life on Purpose Movement)
84. The hurrier I go, the behinder I get. – White Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland
85. You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it is better to listen to what it has to say. – Paul Coelho
86. Almost everything will work again if you unplug it, including you. -Anne Lamott
87. You teach your kids how to live life by the way you live yours. – Unknown
88. The most profound thing we have to offer our children is our own healing. – Anne Lamott
89. Beauty is simply reality seen with the eyes of love. – Evelyn Underhill
90. Don’t let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace. – Dalai Lama
91. Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives. – Louise Hay
92. Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light. – Theodore Roethke
93. The things that make us different. Those are our superpowers. – Lena Waithe
94. Little girls with dreams become women with vision. – Unknown
95. As for my girls, I’ll raise them to think they breathe fire. – Jessica Kirkland
96. I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you. Truly, deeply, seeing you. – Brene Brown
97. A mother who radiates self-love and self-acceptance actually vaccinates her daughter against low self-esteem. – Naomi Wolf
98. You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf. – Jon Kabat-Zinn
99. I am determined to practice deep listening. I am determined to practice loving speech. – Thich Nhat Hanh
100. Let your heart be your compass. – Unknown
101. In the end, I’m the only one who can give my children a happy mother who loves life. – Janene Wolsey Baadsgaard
102. If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. – Buddha
103. Whatever you would have your children become, strive to exhibit in your own lives and conversation. – Lydia H. Sigourney
104. Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay. – Dalai Lama
105. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first. – Unknown
106. Most of the things you worry about today won’t seem like such a big deal in the future. – Kate from Picklebums
107. What is done in love is done well. – Vincent Van Gogh
108. If we want our children to love and accept themselves for who they are, our job is to love and accept who we are. – Brene Brown
I’m thrilled to share this new offering with you! The Lightkeeper Sessions is a new online course that helps you gain the tools, awareness and confidence you need to protect your daughter’s self-esteem and keep your relationship strong as she grows up.
I’ve worked with moms and girls for over 15 years, and I’ve fought hard to make big changes in my own personal growth.
This course distills all my years of study and experience in girls’ and women’s development, counseling, education, yoga, mindfulness, creative expression and personal growth into an accessible, transformational practice for YOU.
Throughout this course, you will…