In parent-child class, I’m not going to tell you “how to” parent, as if I see myself as an expert. Instead, I share stories about my struggles with parenting because we’re all trying to figure it out, and we’re in this together.
For example, more than 15 years ago when I was pregnant, on bed rest with my first child, I read too many parenting books. I practiced hours of meditations and visualizations to support natural birth. I attended parenting workshops. I really wanted to know what I was doing.
After my son was born, this vigilance (and certainty that I was ill-equipped for the honor of being his mother) continued. One bleary-eyed night, I even Googled GREEN POOP in a panic because my baby had exactly this in his diaper. (There’s a term for this: “Poogle-ing.”)
I trusted a website more than my own intuition.
It’s hard to feel our own wisdom at 3:00 AM, or anytime when we feel stretched, strapped, doing our best (parenting, working, keeping house, driving our kids to and from, making ends meet, striving to stay present, patient, joyful…) often feeling like our best is not enough.
My mother, born in 1935, has never believed she is not enough, not once, not a day in her life. I was born in 1970 and my experience has been very different than hers. The passing down of wisdom from generation to generation has been replaced by the science of parenting. Studies, podcasts, blogs, volumes of “How To Do This or That” (sleep, eat, discipline, etc.) abound, with more information than one could digest in a lifetime.
I think we all do this – we search outside of ourselves for answers on how to meet the needs of our children. Yes, there are a lot of wonderful resources out there… However, I’ve come to believe this: the deepest knowing actually lies in each and every one of us.
Mama I’m here to tell you:
YOU ARE ENOUGH. You are more than Enough.
I’m also here to tell you that you need your friends. I remember pushing a stroller down the sidewalks of Glenwood Springs to get some fresh air, and feeling so alone – as I rarely saw anyone else doing the same. It was during this time that I first sought professional emotional support. I eventually gathered a motley crew of parents who were in the same boat. We started getting together weekly with our children. They became a lifeline to sanity for me.
This taught me Lesson Two: Parents are not meant to raise children in isolation.
The teen parents at YMHS could have taught me this had I known them at that time. They are being held by the community, parenting together with others their age, and supported by teachers and administrators who understand what they are going through.
Teachers can help facilitate conversations that lead to building connections. Friendship takes time, and it happens more readily when we can share honestly about ourselves and our lives with our children. I will often start a classroom discussion with a story about my beloved, somewhat smelly, sometimes gross, occasionally sarcastic teenage sons. Once we get past the illusion that our kids are perfect, it’s a whole lot easier to laugh and talk and be real.
It’s easier to relax and share when everyone is working on something, like handwork or a craft, rather than looking at each other, staring across a table. At YMHS, we have made our own books of wisdom and gratitude and Mothers Day flower crowns.
Lesson Three: If we take care of ourselves, then we will be in better shape to weather the weather.
We do this two ways: outwardly and inwardly. Adequate sleep, nourishing food, exercise, and time in nature all fall into the first category. We’ve all heard the metaphor about parents putting on their oxygen mask first. The trick is having the energy to do so. This is where inward work helps. Inner care takes building muscles in daily practices of mindfulness, kindness towards self, quietude, gratitude, and as Eckard Tolle wrote: “Be the ever-alert guardian of your inner space.” We must listen to our inner dialogue and pay attention to those deep recesses.
What does this look like in a parent-child classroom? I try to bring activities that parents can take home with them. Stretching and breathing are good ways to start, as are uplifting or soothing songs. Lighting a candle can remind us that this time together is special. We share tea and a simple snack.
We talk about how we can choose to start each day. No matter what, we have the power to decide how we will get out of bed. I often wake up knowing there will be challenges. My fifteen-year-old will most likely not want to go to school for the umpteenth day in a row – and at 5’, 11” tall, he is too big for me to put in a car seat! My thirteen-year-old may still be in an adolescent funk. My husband works long hours and I’ll need to navigate the day without his calming presence.
I take time with a heart mediation that came from my mentor and friend Sharifa Oppenheimer (which you can find at www.Mountain-Parent.com). I end this by naming one specific thing for which I am grateful. I then walk into my quiet bathroom. I feel the warm floor beneath my feet. I smile intentionally into my eyes in the mirror.
I take a deep breath, bringing my consciousness into my body and resting it in my heart, and I say to myself:
“You are enough, Mama.
you are more than enough.”
Back to School Essays
Share this postWe asked and they answered. Read thought-provoking, sentimental and pretty darn cute responses from 70 student essays.
Afterschool & Anytime Enrichment Activities
Share this postFind the latest information about afterschool and enrichment activities for kids.
Locally Sourced Suppertime
Share this postAfter coronavirus closures, our Locally Sourced Suppertime scene = service with a smile even while masked
Net-Zero Dream Home
Share this postDreams come in all sizes. Step inside Cindy Suplizio and Peter Mueller’s 1500 square-foot net-zero dream home.
Meet Beekeeper Paul Limbach
Share this postA second generation pioneer of high-altitude beekeeping in Western Colorado.
Roaring Fork High School Rams Football
Share this postSeason punted to Spring semester due to COVID
Valley Settlement Little Bus Preschool
Share this postLearning to ROLL WITH IT while facing COVID-19 school closures.
Lincoln Creek Road
Share this postExplore a less-trafficked area up Independence Pass – Lincoln Creek Road.
Lake Powell Planning Guide
Share this postPart 1: Packing list, weather conditions and more advice for camping at Lake Powell with kids.
Boating Lake Powell
Share this postPart 2: Teenagers and parents find unexpected connection on a boat.
Lake Powell Car Camping
Share this postPart 3: Car Camping Lake Powell is not impossible or crazy. However, it requires planning and expert advice.
Parenting During Turmoil
Share this postAn interview with art therapist Helena Hurrell
MP’s Diversity Booklist
Share this postSummer Reading 2020
Share this postUp-cycle an empty pet food bag for this easy project.
Roaring Fork Nature Parks
Share this postA “Wild at Heart” map of nearby places to discover (or rediscover) with your child.
Mothers Day Tribute
Share this postThree local women who exemplify Julia Ward Howe’s Proclamation of Peace.
Share this postA tragic fact of nature? Or way to find your wings?
Good Sports: Lacrosse
Share this postWith the ROARING FORK LACROSSE CLUB, everyone is included and “it’s just fun.”
Helping Hands: Lucky Day Animal Rescue
Share this postThis foster-based rescue group helps connect pets with their forever families.
MP Trail Map: Winter Hut Trips
Share this postA family-friendly guide to planning an adventure to one of Colorado’s backcountry huts.
Writing By Hand
Share this postWhat can parents do to help their children learn this life skill?
Share this postA mother redefines HEALTHY after her daughter’s Leukodystrophy diagnosis
DIY: Upcycled Owl
Share this postSpread your wings to make this cuddly stuffed owl designed by Handmakery’s Ami Maes.
Aspen Snowmass Nordic Trail System
Share this postMP Trail Map: A guide to Roaring Fork Valley cross-country ski trails.
Share this postMeet local eco-chocolate maker Mark Burrows.
Helping Hands: Roaring Fork Valley Kids Who Care
Share this postAct Locally: A student-led effort to save Sea Turtles and Rainforests.
Good Sports: Challenge Aspen
Share this postQ&A with Special Olympics and NASTAR ski racer Tanner Jadwin
Nighttime Family Staycation
Share this postWintertime fun after dark with the kids.
DIY: Spa Day
Share this postMake your own bath time bliss at home.
The McBride Internship: Kenya
Share this postRoaring Fork Valley students visit Kenya’s Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.
Good Sports: Ski Racing
Share this postFor this mother and her daughters, skiing is among their earliest memories.
Share this postGiving the best present of all: Ourselves
Helping Hands: LIFT-UP
Share this postCan you feed your family breakfast, lunch, and dinner for $4 per person per day?
Helping Hands: The Farm Collaborative
Share this postFarm-to-Table meets Food Insecurity
Q&A: Honeybee Play
Share this postQ&A with the teenage creators of a new original musical
Helping Hands: Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklórico
Share this postAn award-winning after school dance program that’s about more than dancing. It’s a cultural bridge.
Getting Into College
Share this postMaking sense of college admission statistics
Good Sports: BMX Biking
Share this postCrown Mountain Park’s bike racing facility has expanded into a world-class race course.
Harvest Road Trip
Share this postDrive Highway 133 from Carbondale to Hotchkiss and make new friends at our nearby farms.
Helping Hands: Way of Compassion Bike Project
Share this postOne man’s trash is, indeed, another man’s treasure.
MP Trail Map: Mount Elbert
Share this postYour child’s first fourteener can also be Colorado’s highest peak.
Good Sports: Sailing
Share this postAspen Rec Department’s Don Sheeley Sailing School
Find Yourself in the Lost Forest
Share this postDiscover Aspen Skiing Company’s Lost Forest adventure park.
DIY: Skateboard Swing
Share this postTurn a discarded skateboard into a big backyard hit.
MORE to FIND in the LOST FOREST
Share this postLots to do in the Aspen Snowmass Lost Forest
DIY: Portraits of Your Children
Share this postHow to capture magical frame-worthy photos
Helping Hands: Colorado Animal Rescue
Share this postC.A.R.E. can help you figure out what kind of adoptable pet is right for you and your household.
Good Sports: Baseball
Share this postA Glenwood Springs High School graduate and college baseball recruit shares what he learned at the ballpark.
Homelife Recipes: Backyard Burgers
Share this postQ&A with Jerilyn Nieslanik about how to avoided the dreaded hockey puck burger
MP Trail Map: Hartman Rocks
Share this postHigh desert mountain biking between Crested Butte and Gunnison
Citizens of the World
Share this postRoaring Fork High School students become world travelers through an all-inclusive club
Where to find Wildlife
Share this postLearn about the untamed creatures you might encounter in our mountain forests and meadows.
The Art of Being ENOUGH
Share this postA Motherhood Manifesto
Yampah Mountain High School’s Teen Parent Program
Share this postA campus in Glenwood Springs where each student is met exactly how they are.
LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Roaring Fork Valley Schools
Share this postA community-wide PRIDE parade + other other Valley-wide efforts to welcome everyone.
Good Sports: Soccer
Share this postReflections from an Aspen HIgh School midfielder and member of an elite all-valley women’s team.
MP Trail Map: Navajo Rocks
Share this postA family-friendly mountain biking destination near Moab, Utah
Helping Hands: Mountain Valley Developmental Services Greenhouse
Share this postA nonprofit gardening center where developmentally disabled adults work (and bloom).
Homelife Recipes: Passover Seder
Share this postRabbi Emily Segal of Aspen Jewish Congregation reflects on this sacred meal (and shares her recipe for Matzah crack)
Good Sports: Black Belt
Share this postA RFHS student and Rising Crane Training Center Cuong Nhu black belt shares her accomplishment.
MP’s Cover Artists: Lily and Elana Royer
Share this postMeet the mother-daughter creative team behind Lilybart
DIY: Chinese New Year Dragon Puppet
Share this postStep-By-Step instructions for making a fun puppet at home.