The job of raising my kids has likely been one of the biggest catalysts of my own personal growth. I’m interested in learning a lot about parenting and child development, not so I can be the perfect mom and get everything right, but so I can have some sense of a steadiness and sturdiness in what I’m co-creating in this thing called family.
When I met today’s guest, Carrie Contey, a decade ago, it was the first time I was introduced to this idea that kids can be raised with intention, by design. Intentional family living just wasn’t part of the cultural dialogue when I was being raised, and we certainly didn’t have parenting coaches, which is eventually what Carrie became to Marc and I in 2008.
Parenting isn’t easy. Just when we think we’ve got one stage mastered, our child develops and grows to a new stage with a new set of challenges for us to rise to and adapt with. And todays parent, I can speak for myself for sure, is pulled in a million different directions, both professionally and personally. Many guests of this podcast refer to the world as speeding up. I feel it, too.
I can’t tell you how many parents of older or grown children have said to me: “Enjoy it. It goes so fast.” They say this wistfully, almost mournfully, like they wish they could go back and do it all again in slow motion.
So, I guess that’s what I’m trying to do when I work with Carrie, take her workshops and have her on this podcast. I’m trying to raise my kids in slow motion.
1. We all know we have hot buttons but in the moment it’s hard to stop our knee jerk reaction to something that makes us agitated. But our angry is actually a clue about something that needs to be addressed inside US not, necessarily in the behavior of our child. That doesn’t mean we let our child get away with everything. On the contrary. It means that we learn to manage our emotions and steady ourselves so we can respond to our child’s behavior with intention and present moment awareness. The work is to start asking, “what are my hot buttons and why are they there?”
2. I love Carrie’s concept of “steer your year,” as if we can navigate life rather just be blown around in the storm. This requires us to be in the driver’s seat. It requires us to turn auto-pilot off.
3. Sometimes intentional parenting starts with something as simple as asking, “How’s my life feeling? Do I have joy?” Tune into yourself. When you learn to be tuned into you it’s easier to tune into the other people in your life.
4. Carrie’s position on how each family is raised is that there is no right or wrong, just what works for each family. This process starts with taking a look and asking: what works for my family? How do we want to be around technology? What’s our stand on chores, money, food, social time and extra-curricular activities? What do we believe? As Carrie says, this is all very grey. There’s no prescription for the perfect family. Each one has to explore what works best for them and then let go of having to defend it to anyone else.
5. Learn to narrate your life out loud to your kids. Let them hear your inner dialogue and see that you don’t always have it figured out or under control. Show your vulnerability. Invite their ideas and feedback.
6. There are seasons in family life. There will be times when we as parents feel like we’ve hit our strides and life feels filled with ease and lightness. And then something shifts and someone grows and then it’s topsy turvy again. This is how it goes. We can choose to embrace the ride.
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A big thanks to Carrie for coming back again and being this week’s guest.
This is Carrie’s second time on the 60 Mindful Minutes podcast. She was actually my very first guest back in 2017. If you get a chance to listen to that interview, please do. It’s filled with gold. You can access that first episode here.
Until next time,