Holding space for our kids in anxious times.

I’ve written here before about the onus of healthy eating falling to moms.  About moms feeling guilty.  As things shift in larger culture, moms are telling me that they feel more “on the hook” than ever, and I feel it too.

Our grown up anxieties are spilling over onto our kids, and these days I don’t know how we’d ever completely exempt them from adult worries.  Instead:  twitter-128 I urge us to get our coping skills in place; feeling the feelings and making space for our kids to do the same.

I was on Facebook live recently, talking about holding space for our kids and I’d love you to check it out here.

Please don’t get distracted by the water I splashed on my shirt.  Snort.  #LetMomOffTheHook


My background is in cultural studies and women’s studies, and I have spent a lifetime tending to women’s changing roles in culture.  Join me as I focus in on helping moms, particularly us moms of sensory kids. Come on over to AngelaLTodd on Facebook and follow along.


We need to be tougher on kids. Really?

preemie onesie

Click this image to purchase this onesie from Creative and Catchy.

mothers at beach

Click this image to purchase this greeting card from Reif Snyder Fine Art.

A first-time mom to a wee preemie, I was scared.  Hovering.  Defending. That was a great skill for the nearly 4 months he was in hospital, but he did come home.  Then I got confused.  I was just as vigilant. Historically, I was not “a kid person” — small family, not a babysitter, and for some years sported a lapel pin that said “non-breeder” haha.

Then he came.  The best surprise, my biggest challenge.  I turned to my elders with minute-to-minute questions.

“You’ve got to be tough on him to make him a man; slap his hand; bite him back; don’t give in or he’ll be a brat.”

Their answers pained me.  I’m a lover not a fighter, and could not work up that opposition to my wee fledgling. Between helicoptering and slapping, there is an ocean…

Imagine parents holding little kids at the ocean. That kid is hearing the roar, feeling the water, freezing their toes, getting pushed by the waves, wide eyed and squealing.  That parent is watching, excited, proud, and ready to sling that kid to the hip when they reach up.  That seems about right to me.

You are my sunshine

Click this image to purchase it from CavernaLava.

Alissa Marquess’s recent blog post over on Creative With Kids about folks saying we need to be tougher on kids, Is This What Causes So Many Kids To Be Brats?, led me to understand that not wanting to raise a brat is really based in anger, animosity and an imagined future. And opposition.

“Once we start name calling by thinking of our child as a brat we’ve stepped away from our role as a leader and instead we’re parenting based on fear. “

I believe that we don’t need to be in opposition to our kids, we don’t have to see them as little enemies… though that witching hour right before bedtime is a real test!  Fear and opposition take the fun out of parenting.  Rules can put some of that fun back.  Yep, rules.

List the top three family squabbles.  Make one rule about each.  Write that down, done.  The only thing left to do is point to the written rule!  Well, it’s not that easy, I know.  But I’m finding that talking about the problem with my elementary kids and offering them two or three possibilities for The Rule (one very very strict) usually gets us on the same page.  So if they agree to it, the rule can’t be disputed later.  Consistency is key, and they’ll stop questioning the rules if you don’t back down three or four times in a row.  Don’t crack!  Don’t even let them see you THINK about cracking!  Haha, give it a try and come share your success over on Facebook.

Curious Not Furious

Years ago a girlfriend taught me the phrase “curious not furious.”  I didn’t need that phrase. Yet!  But it stuck with me and I am glad!


Curious Not Furious – Funnermother.com


Curious Not Furious – Funnermother.com

She said it helped her catch herself dealing with her very busy very curious son.  The idea was that looking under manhole covers, taking things apart, and climbing up to see things were all ways her son was exploring, experimenting, and she wanted to try to share his curiosity rather than reacting in all the ways that busy moms do — you know, when your kid finds a way to pull off a manhole cover.  I have tried out the phrase — more than once!  And this time I took pictures.


Curious Not Furious – Funnermother.com

Thing 2 loves bead ironing, and we were painstakingly picking colors (me) and putting those tiny beads on their grid to make a design that we would iron so it’d stick together. She’s very curious AND she’s all about input — craves lots and lots of sensory input.  So we were feeling them, talking about how one is hard, but a bowlful are actually soft and nice.  We put our hands in the big container and imagined we were small ad could climb in there. Then I got coffee.


Curious not Furious – Funnermother.com

When I returned she was standing, with that big container poised over her head.  Ready to pour.  I had a visceral reaction of horror.  But we had the whole day ahead of us, and ‘curious not furious’ popped up to take over.  I smiled and said “I don’t mind as long as you clean up after.”  “Uh, really?”  “Sure, as long as you sweep up the beads.”

She did it.

It didn’t last as long as she wanted, but she got to feel them, hear them pinging off the floor, and watch them bounce into every blessed nook and cranny.


Curious Not Furious – Funnermother.com

Clean-up was more than either of us expected.  With lots of coaxing (some of it very stern!) and in the end help from mom we got it cleaned up.  I was very proud of myself!  Until she did it again the minute we gave up cleaning!  Ha ha.

Try ‘curious not furious’ and see what you and your kid can learn.

Other posts on sensory play include: Here, Feel This Fruit