Posts Tagged ‘peace’

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 10.12.24 AM‘Twas the night before Christmas,
When all through the house
A mother was pacing
Her heart filled with doubts.

The stockings hung empty,
Filled with despair
And she wished that St. Nicholas
Her burden could share.

The children were nestled
All snug in their beds
While innocence, hopes,
And dreams filled their heads.

As Mama gazed in
With the moonlight so pale
At those sweet little creatures
She felt she had failed.

For in spite of her efforts
Cash had been tight
And the space ‘neath the tree
Would be empty tonight.

She pondered the goodness
Of her boys and her girl
Did she deserve to be “Mom”
Without giving them the world?

She looked at the cupboards
Full as she could keep
And tried to be grateful
They had a warm place to sleep.

But try as she might–
Knowing things could be worse–
Her heart throbbed with sadness
Her soul filled with hurt.

Though she felt so alone
In her feelings of woe
Many of us relate
Though we don’t let it show.

In a world full of ‘shoulds’
Others’ lives seem complete
When you don’t measure up
When you try to compete.

When the world seems to say
You don’t have or you lack
When you feel like you can’t
Get the weight off your back.

In the eyes of your child
For each boy and each girl
There is no disappointment
For you are their world.

So amid all the hurt
Through the guilt and the grief
In the love of your child
You will find some relief.

Don’t buy into the hype
It isn’t the stuff
All they need is your love,
You are enough.

Keighty Brigman is terrible at crafting, throwing birthday parties, and making sure there isn’t food on her face. Allegedly, her four children manage to love her anyway.



“You need to eat your ice cream before you go play”

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Recently I stopped at Starbucks with my 3 kids to get myself a cup of coffee. There was not a drive-through at this particular Starbucks (I will admit I never fully understood or appreciated the drive-through concept before becoming a mom. Now I find myself wishing all kinds of places had drive-throughs). The lack of drive-through meant dragging my 3 kids into the store with me which usually isn’t much fun. However on this particular day I decided the hot, sweet cup of coffee would totally be worth it. In fact I decided I would order two cups of coffee; one for myself and one for a friend we were meeting at the park after this “quick” coffee stop.

I was holding 22 month old Isaiah when it was my turn to order. He kept repeating the word “Hot! Hot! Hot!” while pointing to the cups. I knew exactly what he meant. I decided the best course of action was to expidite the transaction, get back into the car, distract him with something (probably a snack), and move on to our next destination. However the cashier wanted to be “helpful” so she says to me, “Does he want a cup?’

I replied, “No, that’s okay. He’s fine.” Of course he’s still loudly saying “Hot! Hot! Hot!” while pointing to the cups.

“Are you sure? I don’t mind. He can have a cup”, she presses.

I decline again wishing she would drop the whole cup thing and just let me pay. “Hot! Hot! Hot!” he continues.

I know she’s thinking she’s being helpful and probably wondering why in the world I won’t just let him just have a cup? According to her he clearly wants a cup…and so she gives him one. For a moment he stops the incessant, high pitched “Hot! Hot! Hot!” and the cashier is momentarily satisfied with her ability to remedy the situation. However the peace lasts literally for a second once he realizes there is nothing actually IN the cup. Now he’s mad. The “Hot! Hot! Hot!” goes from tolerable, background jabber into a full-blown meltdown. Cries of “Hot! Hot! Hot!” are now accompanied with huge, sobbing tears.

During this whole exchange I am also trying to keep my other two boys from touching everything, playing tag in the store, and so forth. Then they notice their little brother is holding a cup.

“What did Isaiah get?” “Can we have something?” “I want something too!”. They are jumping around me all excitedly.

I explain, “It’s just water guys.”

“We want a cup of water too!”

“I have your water bottles in the car”.

“Hot! Hot! Hot! Hot!”

I just want to get out of there as fast as possible. Back in the car. Where they are all contained in their carseats. Where I have access to my bag of tricks; snacks, drinks, music, books, heck a piece of gum…whatever can help restore calm.

Shuffling us all across the parking lot, loading everyone back into the car, with Isaiah screaming and thrashing about in my arms all while balancing two hot cups of coffee was less than pleasant to say the least. Getting Isaiah buckled into his carseat was even less fun. I figured it was best to make the cup disappear since it wasn’t actually what he wanted. But when I took it, he got even more mad. I gave him the cup back, closed the van door. And took a deep breath. I took my time walking around to the driver’s side door, enjoying the brief silence.

Shortly after I started driving, Isaiah drops his cup. When you are nearly two years old and already in a delicate emotional state, dropping a cup while contained in a carseat is a major crisis. At least it appeared to be based on his reaction.

Oh, that cursed cup!

After a 10 minute drive full of lots of unhappy noises, we arrive at the park….ahhhh! I am so happy to see the colorful climbing structure. I am really looking forward to drinking my cup of coffee, chatting with my friend, and watching the kids happily play.

When I hand my friend her drink, I explain to her the scenario that happened at the store. We discuss how things often look very different from the outside view of strangers. See in the cashier’s mind my son wanted a cup and the easy solution was to give him one. However what he actually wanted was hot chocolate. He had recently had some from Starbucks and apparently really, really liked it. Now on some days, I may say “yes” to a request for hot chocolate. However on this particular day I didn’t want the kids to have hot chocolate. One, it’s really expensive. But more importantly we were going to an event later that day where there was sure to be a lot of sugar around and so I didn’t want them to have sugar that morning.

My friend shared a related story with me that occurred at her daughter’s preschool. They were at a holiday function where ice cream was being served. One little boy was sitting at a table with his mommy and asking to go play. The mom was saying to him “you need to eat your ice cream before you go play”. My friend thought this seemed a bit odd…in fact she personally would have gladly chucked her own daughter’s enormous bowl of ice cream if she wanted to play instead. However this mom was adamant her son finish his ice cream…or at least take a few more bites. Now this would have appeared to make more sense if it were a huge bowl of broccoli that the boy was protesting, but ice cream?!? My friend was puzzled. I would have been too had I witnessed this exchange.

A few weeks later my friend discovered that the boy protesting his ice cream has significant feeding issues and getting him to eat anything was a constant struggle. In fact that was one of the primary reasons he was in the developmental preschool….to work on goals related to eating.

This story highlighted something important for me: That we never really know what other moms are dealing with. Moms love their children dearly and often have their child’s best interest in mind…even when on the surface it doesn’t make any sense to us. Like the cup in the coffee shop. Or the bowl of ice cream.

It’s all together too easy to judge a mom’s actions or reaction to her child, when we actually don’t have all the facts. Let’s forgo judgement and instead assume that each mom is reacting to her child out of a place of genuine love and to the best of her ability in the moment. Let’s put our own egos aside and accept that we don’t have the magical solution for other moms…If she would just say yes. If she would just be more gentle. If she would just be more firm. If she would just provide boundaries. If she would just be more patient. If she would just…fill in the blank. I admit I am guilty of this for sure!

Keeping the ice cream story in the back of my mind, I aim to look at other moms’ interactions with their children with an openly compassionate heart…and a soft, empathetic smile on my face to convey that I get it: This mothering gig can be hard sometimes… but I trust you know what your child needs right now…and sometimes that is a big bowl of ice cream!


3 Easy Ways to Harness Inner Peace

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Let’s be honest…motherhood is hard work! Caring for small children is enough to completely frazzle even the most calm and collected spirits. As mothers it is important for us to develop strategies to nurture ourselves while we meet the continual demands of our children. The following 3 tips are easy and quick activities you can infuse throughout the day that will help you feel more grounded and centered.

1. Take your pulse – I actually mean to literally take your pulse. Put two fingertips on your wrist or on your neck and allow yourself to feel the rhythmic pulsation of your heart beating. You may even close your eyes and count the beats. Taking your own pulse helps you to re-connect with your spirit and feel at peace in the moment.

2. Breath Awareness – There are several different ways to practice breath awareness. What does it mean to practice breath awareness? It is simply being aware of your own pattern of breathing and  focusing entirely on your breathing. As moms our minds are often bombarded by a running to-do list. We also spend a great deal of mental energy wondering if we are mothering effectively and challenging ourselves to parent “better”. Breath awareness is an opportunity to let go of all that and just breathe. I have developed a habit of practicing breath awareness when I am putting my children to sleep. This used to be a time when I would lay beside them impatiently waiting for them to drift asleep so I could get started on my “to-do” list. My anxiousness would grow as each minute ticked by and they were not yet asleep. Meanwhile my “to-do” list would continue to grow even longer in my head. I finally realized the nervous energy I emulated likely prolonged their bedtime slumber. By practicing breath awareness I not only help myself approach the night feeling more calm, I also help create a more peaceful sleep environment for my children. Furthermore I ultimately approach my “to-do” list with a great deal more clarity and efficiency after 10 minutes of breath awareness.

3. Be Mindful – Not to be confused with being mind-full where your mind is full of thoughts regarding past and future events. Rather mindfulness is when we are completely present in the moment. When we are fully aware of our surroundings and allow our senses to be fully engaged, we feel more relaxed and at ease. Just as there are many ways to practice breathe awareness there are also various ways to practice mindfulness. One simple place to start being mindful is while eating. As moms we are so accustom to shoving a handful of food in our mouths here and there throughout the day to meet our hunger needs that the thought of actually sitting down to enjoy a meal is kind of a fantasy. However enjoying food can be a great way to practice mindfulness and bring a sense of peace. You can start with something as simple as peeling an orange. As you peel it, allow yourself to be immersed in the sensations of such a mundane and routine activity. You will develop a new appreciation for a simple task that you’ve probably completed a ton of times before but never paused to actually experience it. Young children are masters of mindfulness so an easy way to deepen your practice is by observing and engaging with them!

What do you do to help you stay calm and collected during those hectic periods of motherhood? Would love to hear your tricks for maintaining a peaceful spirit and energy in your home?