This is a guest post by Betsy Henry of Zen Mama.
“Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them.”
Richard L. Evans
Value. I’ve been contemplating this word lately. There are many definitions of the word “value”. Some have to do with money. Some have to do with purchasing power or social mores. My favorite is the definition is the one that relates to people: “to think highly of; esteem”. The word value comes from the French word: valoir – be worth.
I asked my husband, “What does value mean to you?” and he said, “Receiving goods and services for exactly what it’s worth.” When you value a person, they “receive” your feelings for them and it makes them feel their “worth”. When you value a person, you appreciate them. Value is unconditional love. We have a wonderful opportunity to value our children as parents. Yet, often we make our kids feel unworthy. By becoming a Zen Mama, you can value your kids and become closer to them!
What is a Zen Mama? She is a devoted mother who has tried to stop worrying, who has let go of the attachment of an outcome and in doing so has become closer to her children.
How do you stop worrying? Well, you don’t! You just change how you worry. You change your attitude. You don’t worry about the small stuff. You don’t worry out loud. (Nothing turns off a child more than too much worrying. It tells them you don’t accept or trust them as they are.) Sometimes you worry about what others think. Our culture puts a lot of pressure on mothers. Here’s some things you can stop worrying about:
• If your baby is still using a pacifier.
• When preschooler chooses his own clothes and he’s wearing plaid with stripes.
• If your elementary student doesn’t always do well in spelling.
• When you’re middle schooler’s pants are riding too low.
• If you sophomore in high school can’t decide where to go to college.
You may have real worries like speech problems, learning disabilities, illness or abuse problems. Seek professional help instead of worrying. Solving your problems or working towards solving them will make your worry seem more manageable.
How do you let go? This is difficult! You’re so attached to your worry. It’s like a crazy making friend. You know you have to let go, yet your brain keeps thinking about the worry. Thinking makes it so. So the first thing you need to do is to pretend that you’ve let go. As Wayne Dyer says, “Change your thoughts, change your life.” Eventually your brain will believe your new thoughts, then finally you’ll see changes. Letting go of attachments and outcomes is a freeing thing.
How do you become closer to your kids? When you’re not worrying that their life is a mess, you stop criticizing and being mad at them. Slowly they feel that you’re trusting them and valuing them. Your children will open up and want to be around you. It’s amazing and it does work.
By the way, being a Zen Mama doesn’t mean you have no limits. It doesn’t mean you don’t care. It means you care but you’ve stopped being controlling. You’re not as attached to the outcome. It means setting limits with calmness, not anger and trust, not worry.
Hope this clears up the Zen Mama definition a little! Try being a little more Zen! You’ll be happier and so will your kids. They will value you and you, in turn, will find yourself valuing them a lot more, too.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
Betsy Henry is author of HOW TO BE A ZEN MAMA and the ZEN MAMA’S BOOK OF QUOTES. She lives in Denver Colorado with her husband and three sons. Please come read her blog at http://zen-mama.com/.