Category Archives: Uncategorized

World’s Best Mom

How I believe anyone can be the “Best Mom”

We had grandma Gigi in town this past week.  As attachment parents, having someone around that you know loves your kids the same way you do is kinda like getting a break.  Marin and I have never tried the sitter thing, not because we think it’s wrong or bad, we just have some minor trust and control issues 😉

Watching my mom play with the kids however, made me realize how amazing of a parent she truly was and is still.  Her patience, openness, and 100% devotion to the moment with the girls, were nothing short of inspiring.

I grew up under the fortunate circumstance of having a stay at home mother who wanted nothing more in life than to be just that.  Her purpose, motivation, and joy was to nurture her boys.  Only now can I fully appreciate the pure love she unthinkingly gave to me and my brother.

I don’t want to put down modern society, culture, or way of life, but I will emphasize how incredibly powerful an effect her love has had on my life, and how valuable I feel that kind of love is to the world, especially now.  You see, she gave me more than just time with her loving attention, more than motivation with her supportive belief, and more than simple health with her nurturing. What I received, learned, was ingrained with through her mothering was a belief that life is good!  Situations could be rough, but life could be fun! People might lie, steal, and cheat, but they couldn’t take away my belief that love was more valuable than all the rest.

Her actions made me feel secure, a truly valuable quality.  With security, one can approach life openly with understanding, think and act independently of others’ beliefs, and love freely.  Simply put, one can live without fear and that is Living! Can you imagine a world raised with that mindset?

My mom fulfilled what every mother wants for her children,and I believe every mom can.  We may not all have the time she had with her boys, but giving the way she gave, with whatever time you do have, is enough to show any child the truth about life.  It’s Goooood.

Think about it…

Brett

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Programmed for Positivity

As far as I know, there’s no organism on this world that pops outta the womb, shell, or earth and says, “Forget it, I’m done”, and rolls over to whatever fate finds it first.  Why then, with that seemingly prewired hopeful outlook, do we have such a hard time feeling positive?

Though it’s hard to argue the thought that we are all pre disposed to see the up side to things, somehow our experience often feels bleak.  Our wrinkly, grey thinkers do what thinkers do best and come up with numerous possible catastrophes bound to take place at any moment.

Creativity, a magnificent tool that brought us out of our caves, had a dark brother that likes to get carried away with late night stories around the recently discovered camp fires.  So despite our instinctual love for life, there exists also a healthy, or perhaps not so healthy, imagination that begs us to be weary.

In a world ever more connected and strangely new all at once, the modern imagination has an arsenal unparalleled by any generation that has come before.  Media can be both a help and a hindrance, as nothing spreads like bad news (something I challenge you to stop encouraging).  Even the social environment we live in often markets fear to us in a ploy to make us feel a need for the next new product.

So You have a choice to make. Feed the fire for the spooky story teller in your head and on your screen, OR find the inner spark of positivity that all life is built on. If you choose the latter, here’s a few things I’ve seen that are helpful:

 Reduce negative input – You bring about what you think about. Don’t believe me? Try thinking about how bad people drive before getting in your car next and note what happens. Better yet, try the opposite. By actively reducing negative input from news or your social interactions, your mind will have less fuel to create wild fires of fear in your head, and hence, your perception as well.

Plug in to positivity – Whether it’s music, happy news feeds, or feel good social groups, get involved with those good vibrations and watch them refurbish your perspective of life.

Practice gratitude – Some say write a list in the morning, others reflect on all they appreciate in the evenings, I say do it whenever you want, can, or just feel like.  Make it your spare moment activity.  Practice makes perfect, and having a grateful life is no exception.  It’s also one of the best ways to guarantee a positive life for you and those affected by you (everyone around you).

If all else fails, or you find yourself in a slump, as Dr. Seuss wisely says you’re bound to, remember this:  The world might be full of dangers, tragedies, and slumps, but an ever growing population of people still choose to get out of bed each day and make the most of it.  And guess what? You are one of them, so appreciate that!

Thank you for making my life that much more abundant with your presence, thoughts, and feelings,

Brett

P.S.  If you found this helpful or fun, please share it with someone you feel could benefit or enjoy it too.

Being a Supportive Partner

Allowing your partner to be:  No one will discover who they are if someone is always telling them who they should be. 

This has been one of the biggest lessons Marin and I have had the opportunity to learn. Thank goodness it’s over… It is over right? Oddly enough, when Marin rolled over last night and thanked me for my participation in it, I was surprised to realize that the integration of the simple aspects of this approach had all but taken the reigns in my perception. At least I think it has.

A few short years ago, my attitude towards Marin was slightly skeptical at best.  Arguably she had more dramatic “flaws” back then ;-)…. regardless though, I wouldn’t let her get away with anything.  That’s actually how I felt.  She would get in one of her “moods” and I felt obligated to inform her that she was acting like an absolute twit.  Arguments would ensue over why she was or wasn’t, who’s fault it was, and how I didn’t approach her correctly.

A long arduous road was set out on then by two weary travelers from a culture long since driven numb by judgement and levels.  The road was anything but smooth.

The first lesson she taught me was: listen.  This is soon to be proven by scientists as an ability altogether unnatural to a man’s natural instincts. Until that report comes out though, it might be smart for you fellas to be all ears (as much as possible) to your female counterpart’s seemingly circular, out loud thinking.  What I found is, the more she knows I’m listening, the more she talks on without end…. initially anyways, after which, the time decreases dramatically for her to feel like she has been heard.  Allowing people that space goes a long way towards them realizing for themselves the real source of their frustrations or upset.

Quite possibly the hardest idea to get over is that whatever they say, it’s not personal!  Even when they exclaim, “You are a complete slob!”  Sounds fairly pointed, I know, but what they are really trying to say is, “I don’t like living in a messy house, and I am tired of picking up after others.”  See? nothing to do with you, they’re just expressing their wants.  Oddly enough, they don’t often see the difference in this language either, or even realize that the second option is what they are really upset about.

So this can be a two way street: you realizing they don’t mean you, and them realizing they don’t mean you.  If you’re listening, and catch the finger pointing, you can relax and realize what they are really saying without becoming defensively enraged yourself.

When the kettle simmers down a bit you can proudly re-word their concerns in a less personal way.  Generally speaking, the simple idea that you understand their distress glazes over the fact that you left yourself out of the cause.  Peoples perceptions are their own, allowing someone to have their own point of view without diving in to defend yours, gives them the opportunity to see the reality behind their own emotions.

Lastly, leave the tool box in the shed.  You cannot give her your perception of her problem, unless of course she’s asking you calmly for it (which could be a trap mind you).
Kahlil Gilbran put it perfectly in his book “The Prophet”, when he said, “The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space, but he cannot give you his understanding. The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it.  And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither.  For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man.
So unless you are rashly brave, or extremely foolish, give the person space to find their own conclusions.  I know how tempting it can be to want to address the issue on the spot, “Nothing a little duct tape can’t patch up“, but unless you are planning on using it to strap them to a chair and do your own cooking for the rest of your life, I suggest you weather the storm as graciously as possible.  Remember, without the rain, the fruit of your crop withers in the sun.  Lookie there, I can talk like a prophet too.

Bottom line gang: Giving a wife, child, or friend space to feel out their own story, empowers them to write their own way out of it, learning the lessons that are the reward of every problem in life that we face.

Thank you for your thoughts and stories, they teach me daily.

Brett

Be Respectful, Don’t Spoil

If you follow our <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/marin8d&#8221; target=”_blank”>YouTube Channel</a> we often talk about parenting that doesn’t require spanking, punishment or threats. We don’t approach whining or throwing fits as bad behavior that need suppressing, but rather an opportunity to validate our child’s feelings so they can move forward and learn how to deal with life’s hardships. Many of our followers ask how this parenting approach can not only be done, but result in a cooperative and unspoiled child.

The Process of Validation:
I myself struggled with the concept when initially incorporating it into our parenting habits. It goes against how I was raised and what society has told me would only breed a spoiled and difficult child. My perception changed when the results of our determination came to fruition.

During the summer we started going to the pool after which we’d come home and shower. Love (our toddler) did not like this one bit. She put up a huge fuss about it. Why would she want to get wet again when she’s already been in the pool and gotten out?

The first day she rejected the shower. She didn’t want to take her swim suit off and she didn’t want to go near the bathroom. Instead of “forcing her” by picking her up and putting her in the tub, I followed her around and validated her feelings. She was whining the whole time. I would genuinely listen then confirm my understanding by saying things like, “You didn’t want to take a shower because you are already dry?“…”Did you have something else that you were planning on doing instead of taking a shower?”… “Did you not care to get wet again?”

I continue to validate her in this way without imposing any negative labels or emotions on her, almost in an asking kind of way. Eventually and amazingly, she responds. I’ll say, “Did you not want to shower?” and she’ll say, “Yes.” Or “Were you done being wet today?” and she’ll confirm, “Done“. Once she stops whining and starts responding, I know she feels like I understand her.

It’s important to really exude the energy that you want to understand, so they know you are aware and acknowledge their conflict, and are not only trying to manipulate them into your way.

Once she’s been validated I start to explain to her why its my preference that she showers, “I know it’s not very appealing to shower right now, but it’s important to me that you do because the chlorine on your skin is harmful if not rinsed off.” I continue, although it seems like she doesn’t understand. “It’s just something we do, shower after swimming.”

There is no fear (if you don’t…) or “fixing” (lets just do it real quick) nor bribing (I’ll get you candy if you do) involved. Just explaining why it’s important to me. This all took less than 10 minutes…

Before I knew it she grabbed her bath toys, threw them in the tub, pulled off her swim suit and got in on her own. The next day I had to do the same process for less than 5 minutes and we’ve never had any fuss since then. She now automatically goes to the tub every time we return home from the pool.

Kids feel energy more than we give them credit for. Just like if you were to have a problem and wanted to vent, you want your friend to tell you, “I understand, that must be difficult.” Instead of, “Well, just get over it.” or “You know what you should do…

We all need to feel validated. Once we do, it’s easy to feel cared for and open up to understanding and validating that other person’s point of view in return, even if it doesn’t coincide with your perspective.

Often this approach seems inefficient because we live such busy lives… Who has the time to follow their 18 month around explaining things that they don’t seem to understand? What I have found is that it only takes a couple times of genuine validation and then the “issue” is resolved without any more fuss, stress or manipulation. It’s been well worth the effort instead of having to fight about it EVERY time, resulting in a negative, uncooperative experience for both you and your child.

Validation becomes easier for both parent and child with practice. Eventually our daughter just knew when she wasn’t going to get her way. She’d whine about something once, as if she were on the verge of a full blown tantrum and all we’d have to ask is, “You really didn’t want to leave did you?” To which she’d respond, “Leave“, as she willingly allowed us to strap her into the stroller. We’d validate her, “I see. It was a lot of fun playing here, wasn’t it? We have to eat lunch though, so we’re going home for now.” Usually she’d confirm her understanding by repeating the words, “I see” or “home“.

Some last words on validation:
Try to change the perception of a disgruntled child being a spoiled child. With your loving guidance, they grow and learn to accept negative emotions and circumstances, learning how to deal with them and express them in a healthy manner, rather than suppressing them until the pot eventually boils over.  Remember that your child is new to this world and their understanding of it is completely different from you. Try to reassess your expectations of him and continue to persist with patience and acceptance as he goes through stages of testing, resisting, expressing, learning, growing and flourishing.

Lastly, if validation doesn’t seem to work, check yourself. Sometimes there are underlying issues that need to be solved when on the surface it simply looks like an unhappy, bratty child. Other times a child is not given enough autonomy. Often it is something the parents overlook or are not consistent with.

An example of this is our two year old’s extreme whining. No matter how much we validate, her whining persists. First, it’s important to remember that whining is not a bad thing, but when it appears her whining about spilled food isn’t halted after some validation and cleaning, there must be an underlying frustration. What we found is that she had subtly tried to tell us the food had spilled, among many other things that went unheard. Whining was the only way to get our attention and though we validated her upset, we still asked her to use her words to let us know. How frustrating must that feel for her when she attempted to let us know, but we were the ones not paying attention?

She may not talk, but she certainly understands when we don’t understand. Work together with your child as a team. We have found when there is no ranking, “I’m the boss cause I’m the parent“, there is no power struggle, only caring and teamwork left to make it through.

Say Okay to Life

Life comes at you hard and fast sometimes.  Often it’s tough to not take a defensive stance towards the constant borage of moment to moment life.  When you get jaded by the impossibility of saying no to life, and you really don’t feel like saying yes, remember there is always another option.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at my life and said, “Why? I don’t want this, I didn’t ask for this, and nothing can make me like it!”  Doesn’t stop it from being true, and since there’s no rule saying I have to like it, there’s only one other route.  Be OK with it.

The baby is screaming, the dog just pissed on the floor, and the two year old is in emotional turmoil over lunch options. Now I can’t instantly make everything right, and I certainly don’t like the predicament, but if I breath and focus, I can find acceptance for it.

“Great! Brett’s telling me it’s ok to roll over and let life happen.  What a load off!” Well not exactly, but I am suggesting you remove the strain by refraining from fighting what is.

Faced with a life or death situation, some people might freeze, but I think most find acceptance and optional escape routes rather quickly. Even in sports, the coach doesn’t say to the team, “Alright, just sit down for the next play, we’re finished.” He says, “Ok we’re down nine points with ten seconds on the clock.  We’re going to foul the hell out em, make faces while they shank all their free throws and sink three full court shots.  Let’s go!”  Irrational optimism aside, situations like these demand immediate acceptance, and are hence approached with clarity and little to no resistance. Bringing this sober matter-a-fact attitude to everyday struggles can dramatically reduce the “drama” associated with the problems we would otherwise want to resist.

Accepting life as it is lends the quickest assistance to living your day like you want. This is not a forfeit of action, merely a mindset of allowing that leads to more living and less worrying. Try it out, and if you have any thoughts on the matter, pipe up and share with the community.  Thanks gang,

Brett

 

Spank Me

Before now, I haven’t wanted to touch this subject with anything short of a yard stick. I feel it is time though, and so I will say thank you in advance for your openminded consumption of this work. 

Seth has just been caught writing on the walls for the second time today after being told the first time that it is never ok to do so. His mom, a loving parent, takes him over to “The Chair” and calmly tells him that he disobeyed her rules and has to be spanked. Seth protests, fearful of what’s to come. His mom persists though, perhaps because of religious beliefs or following her own childhood experience of parenting. A swat on bare cheeks and some tears later, what reasoning do you think Seth is left with?

“I’ve done something wrong, and bigger, stronger, Mom has hit me for it. Fault equals physical punishment or pain. Might is right. Hitting is a solution towards others disobeying my wants.

Which of these possible understandings do you think is productive for little Seth? I am personally familiar with the argument that physical punishment is a solution in the legal system, though in the form of retainment and or death. I’ve also heard someone justify it by explaining the pain could be more severe if they didn’t follow my instructions.

I will go ahead and say that I know plenty of fine people who were raised by the hand. I don’t believe it is a ruining factor, but certainly an unnecessary one brought on by cultural pressures of time and social obligations. If there was another way, one that risked nothing but time for showing love, would you try it? For my wife and I, the answer is simple. The reward of secure, love promoting individuals, sharing a life with us is just one priceless benefit.

We’ve found that kids understand much more than we tend to give them credit for. They yearn to fit into the family group, and very much feel when they don’t. With this in mind we try very hard to approach our two year old with respect, showing displeasure not for her, but for the undesirable action. Through words, not pain, we relate to her the best we can why we disliked what was done. The better part of the world works this way, not by swatting one another.

Why then would I want to show my children anything different, when what I want most for them is to find understanding for how cooperation peacefully works in the world? I want them to experience first hand how respect breeds benefits for all, not just some. How else can we lead but through example?

As parents we know all too well if we do something, our kids will repeat it.  It merely makes sense to me, not to teach that course of action.

You guys know I love an open conversation, so let me know how you feel and thanks for hanging out.

Brett

Hello Change!

It’s been 2 years since millions of people watched the birth of our first child, Love, on YouTube. Through those two years we’ve been blessed with a curious, supportive, wonderful community, we’ve traveled to NZ & Australia to meet a handful of subscribers, we’ve shared the second birth of our child, have grown tremendously as people, and have learned so much about ourselves and the world.

This journey started with inspiration to share and before we decided to walk the path we made a commitment that we would only continue to share what we were inspired to and what we felt would bring value to the world. Our passions in life are ever changing and growing and YouTube has been through many including fitness, healthy eating, non-toxic body & home care, traveling, parenting & minimalism, to name a few. Through our journey, we’ve been gifted with the thoughts and wisdoms from many others who have shared their journey with us, as well as the ability to pass on our knowledge of what makes our lives meaningful and how we’ve learned to feel good.

We feel it’s time that our YouTube channel is no longer about us and our lives, but rather a place you can come to access tools, ideas and support on how to live yours more freely, more meaningfully. We want to inspire you to take action and live, not necessarily come back and watch us live. This is the calling we feel in our hearts and have been excited to share with you.

I know this is disappointing news for some, as you’ve all grown to watch us nearly daily on YouTube. But the truth is, we don’t watch YouTube videos and we wouldn’t subscribe to our own channel, so in essence we’re selling a product we don’t implement in our lives, nor recommend to our closest friends and family.

It is not our calling  or motivation to be entertainers, nor to grow our children in the spotlight of entertainment (though it’s how this all sort of evolved). There are so many better vloggers out there… What’s in our hearts is to share deeply meaningful, life changing value for those who could use it as such.

So with that, we will see you twice a week on YouTube with some heavy set tools and inspirations that have changed our experience into a life worth loving and living, as well as on our blogs weekly.
For those who were just interested in the entertainment from the vlogs, we want to thank you so much for all your support thus far and have no hard feelings should you choose to unsubscribe.

Love to you all,
Marin, Brett & Family