Why I love teaching Hypnobabies
I love Hypnobabies. I also love *teaching* Hypnobabies more all the time. There are many reasons - some obvious and directly related to birth and Hypnobabies, and others less obvious and indirect - but all my lovin' stems from the positive impact teaching Hypnobabies is having on my life.
I'll begin with the obvious. I love birth. I definitely identify with the term "birth-junky". I also love helping women and men have positive expectations and beliefs about birth - something I believe is sorely needed in our culture. I love keeping in touch with my students, hearing their stories, and of course seeing all the cute baby pictures! It is just so much fun - there is nothing more miraculous than new life.
I also love teaching Hypnobabies from a teaching persepctive. As a former teacher there are just SO many things I love about this program. Probably the biggest positive for me is that I don't have to do ANY planning. You heard me right - the program is complete; I just have to make sure to get all the information to my students. I love this aspect because I know how much time and effort planning is as a former high school science teacher. Now that I am teaching my fifth series the class is really starting to flow as I become more and more familiar with the material. I expect that it will only get easier the longer I teach. The program is so packed with information that I am *still* learning from it even after doing the home study myself, going through the training, preparing for each class (which means I skim through it every time) and teaching it 4-5 times already!
This leads me to another HUGE thing I love about teaching Hypnobabies, and that would be Hypnobabies headquarters - aka Kerry Tuschoff, founder and President, Carole Thorpe, Vice President, and everyone else at Headquarters that works so hard to make things run smoothly for all of the instructors and students. I have been impressed since my first phone interview with Carole. I was kind of "Star-struck" speaking with her because I had just been ravaging, I mean reading, her website. She was the first person I ever heard use the aforementioned term "birth junkie", and I immediately was like, wow - that's what I am! Kerry and Carole personally train all of the Hypnobabies instructors which means we all know and have a relationship with them. I think this is a great strength of Hypnobabies. Plus we all know how hard they work to keep Hypnobabies up-to-date and they are always working to improve the program. The resources and support they have built up for instructors in the form of Yahoo groups, Facebook, twitter, email and phone are amazing and they also *personally* respond to many concerns that instructors and students have. They also receive questions, information and suggestions from instructors as they maintain Hypbobabies. They have high expectations for us as instructors and we are expected to keep up the standards they set for us. So far I have understood the "why"of every expectation which makes it easy for me to honor my contract with Hypnobabies in all ways. If you haven't surmised this already, I have a huge amount of respect for Kerry and Carole and love the family-feel of Hypnobabies that they create.
So now for some of the less obvious, more peripheral things I love about teaching Hypnobabies. First I love the structure it's been adding to our week/weekend. I've never been so productive on Saturday mornings! The basement and bathroom need to be cleaned for my class every week. Some people don't view this as a positive of teaching in their homes, but I do. I love that I am keeping up with at least one space in our home. Also the kids love playing in the basement and we set up Gerry's trains down there. So once a week we pick everything up and have a fresh start. This means clean, vaccuumed floor and new, fun track set-ups. It also means they run around in circles like wild little people when it is cleared. We also have to have the main level floor at least respectably cleaned and swept up because my students walk through to get to the basement stairs.
This is my first regular work that separates me from the kids since Marisol was born. It is really nice for me to have half a day involved with something that I love. The kids are less thrilled about it (Gerry comes up to me and gives me a "stop-sign" hand and says, "Mommy, NO TEACH!" I am lucky to be so loved!), but they are doing really well overall. Mike is extremely helpful and supportive too. He helps me manage almost everything I do for teaching - including mailings, cleaning, grocery shopping every week both for our family and for class snacks, and of course being with the kiddos while I teach. He is awesome! Teaching would be so much more stressful without his help and support.
Finally, I love the flexibility of teaching Hypnobabies. It is what I make of it. If it ever gets to be too much for our family - me, my kids, or Mike - I can take a break for as long as I need to. So far teaching 1 class on the weekend seems to be working for everyone. But I know that if anything changes I just don't schedule classes for a while and can start back up when we are ready for it. As the kids get older I can do more too.
So there you have it. A few reasons why I love my new teaching gig. It is my favorite so far - better than full-time public school, and better than tutoring. It is a topic I love and a great program, it is flexible, and for now, it feels like a great fit for our family.
EDIT: So in the one week since I wrote this post I have already thought of more reasons that I love teaching Hypnobabies! I know I mentioned my students - but I want to specifically mention how amazing these people are! I just love meeting, sharing, and learning with all these interesting people.
Today, after my class I walked to Mike's office to meet him and the kids. Gerry kept calling me on my phone. The walk takes almost 1/2 an hour - and you know what? My barely 2 1/2 year old boy kept me on the phone for most of the walk! It was so sweet! He really was talking to me and understanding everything I said. He told me about his trains and how fast they go and we discussed how I couldn't find the umbrella so I was getting wet. Then when I arrived he and Marisol were so happy to see me. It is a wonderful feeling so be so loved!
Mike has helped me finish my first official newsletter and it will go in the mail this week. It looks so pretty! So yeah, I love Hypnobabies. It keeps on making my life better.
This is the perfect image for this post. Found it on Facebook and not sure how to credit it, so here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=318153091563208&set=a.263757173669467.72378.263751677003350&&theater
Listen to your kids. Some people are naturally good at listening while others have to work harder at it. It may not be easy to do at first but it will get easier and it *is* worth it.
I find it ironic that before babies are verbal there are times (when they are crying inconsolably for instance!) that we wish they could just talk to us - tell us what they are feeling and thinking, what they need etc. But almost as soon as they are verbal, children are faced with being negated in words and actions. A few examples that quickly come to mind are telling them what, when and how much television or media they can watch, telling them what they can or can't eat and when, oh and where too, telling them that it is bedtime and they *are* tired, when they need to go home, when they need to leave the house and of course, the most ironic in terms of listening - telling them which words are ok and not ok to use.
What? They are finally able to tell us, with words no less, what they want and need and now we decide is the time to tell them that they are wrong, that they don't know what is best of them, and of course, that we know better.
The older my kids and I get the more I realize that the more I learn the less I "know". My best stratgey lately for dealing with conflict, distress, and general meltdowns, is to wait - stop, take some deep breaths - and actually do almost nothing. (Of course I stop anyone from hurting themselves or others). I suppose this is actually a form of listening. Often I will repeat what Gerry or Marisol is saying so they know I hear them. If I'm not sure what to say or do I might tell them that too. I may ask for input. Sometimes they have an idea. Sometimes some brilliant distraction or idea strikes me and I help us all move through the moment. But more often than not the moment just passes on its own.
Of course, children will only feel understood and listened to if they are able to make their own choices and feel that they have some control over their lives. This means after listening the next logical step is to work together to decide what comes next. I'm not saying that kids get their way all the time or that adults' needs become secondary. I am saying that it is often very possible to come up with solutions that help everyone get their needs met and the more we practice partnership, creative thinking, and really listening to each other, the easier it gets. I also believe that adults have (or more accurately, *should have*) a greater capacity to be flexible by getting their needs met in different ways, and/or waiting for things which means from the outside it may *look* like the child is "always getting their way". However, children learn a few really important things when adults in their lives adopt these beliefs and act accordingly. They learn that the adults care enough about them to listen and act based on what the child is saying, and they are also seeing in action flexible, compassionate role models. Because communication is open they also learn what the needs are of the other person, and as the child matures they are more able to take others' needs into account (Note that there is not a set age when this ability magically appears!) For myself, I am continually learning ways to meet both my childrens' and my own needs in a way that builds our relationship. Of course I am very lucky to be home with them full time which offers me a lot of flexibility in terms of time and scheduling.
I've always been a good talker and I always *thought* I was a good listener. But I'm realizing that I have a lot of room for improvement in this area. My kids are helping me a lot. :-) They want to be heard! And they should. I feel that generally children are not listened to in our current culture. But children are people, worthy of respect and a huge part of that is listening to them. I hope that in the near future this won't be such a radical idea.
When I was a teacher I was almost always counting down the days - to the weekend, to the next vacation, to the summer - you get the idea. Mike would comment what a horrible way it was to live. But to me it seemed normal. It was what all the teachers I knew did! Besides, it wasn't that I didn't like teaching (or at least that's what I told myself). Teaching had it's moments; I loved all my teacher friends; and, it was definitely gratifying connecting with students and knowing that some really loved me too. But still, that was my normal state - an almost permanent state of waiting and expectation for the next great, fun thing - and it definitely wasn't the present moment!
When my daughter was born I just felt so free. I just stared at her and thought, "All I have to do for at least the next year (or more) is take care of her" (Little did I know what this really would mean!) But it was an amazing, wonderful feeling for me and I really embraced it. I liked to joke with people that instead of dealing with other people's "screwed up kids" I would screw up my own. haha.
It's officially been 5 1/2 years since Marisol was born and we have since added a little brother too, Gerry. We have all been through various developmental phases in that time (yes we, the parents too!) And one thing that I have worked on a lot and continue to get better at is really, truly living in the present moment. Right now. It's not a continuous improvement - there are set backs and periods of time when I don't do it so well, then there are the days and times that really flow and it is amazing! But I definitely know that I am living the life that I want to live, and that is huge (and I know how lucky I am to be doing this too!)
So when one of my best friends posted this link on Facebook I felt the need to examine my reaction further and share. The post is well written and I totally see why it would resonate with so many moms - she is being honest, she has specific examples from her every day life that we can all relate to, and I love the idea of the Kairos moments. But for me the overall message did not resonate and I'm going to try and explain here why.
I'm not saying that I always embrace every moment of parenthood - for example when both kids are screaming and crying - but I am slowly getting to a place where I can embrace it all. And I think that by breaking time into the Kairos and Chronos and labeling them as such you will often get stuck more often in the Chronos (as I was when I was a teacher! - why do weekends and vacations always go by so much faster?) What was interesting to me about this mom's Kairos moments, is that the Chronos time was suspended for a brief time, and transformed into a Kairos moment, by the power of her thoughts. That is the underlying theme in the Hypnobabies classes that I teach - our minds are powerful, what we dwell on is what we will create in our life, and of course - we are the ones in control of our thoughts. Once you accept these ideas it becomes clear that we are the ones who must choose - choose our thoughts and actions and what we focus on. It's up to us to make the Kairos moments more common. I really think that is possible. It is about being mindful, being present, being aware of our own thought processes and beliefs. And slowly I'm getting there. Like I said, getting to a place where this becomes the norm is not a fast or easy process. (I was tempted to say it was hard work, but it's not really work as much as it is effort or being aware - which isn't easy when it's not a habit). Of course I have days where I can't wait for my husband to get home from work, or when I have to breathe deeply while my kids fight over a toy, or weeks when I feel so ready for another "vacation" (for me - a visit with family) but if I shift my focus and my thoughts I am getting better at getting back to a place that feels good not only for me, but my whole family.
When those little old ladies tell us to soak up every moment it does sound like rather hackneyed and trite advice - and of course they are looking back through rose-colored glasses. But stereotypes and cliches exist because they are often true. We *do* need to soak it up as much as we can because it *does* go by very quickly. That is why we feel nostalgic when we look back at pictures of our babies that feel like they were taken yesterday, and that it feels bitter-sweet when our children do something new for the first time.
Of course this is all my point of view based on my experiences. One idea that I am totally embracing as we keep our kids home instead of sending them to school, is that each person creates meaning for themselves. So I know that for many the perspective given on Momastery's blog will ring truer to them than the ideas I've presented. She said herself that people have commented to her that she is being "negative" and then there are other people that just think she is being "real" or "honest". We assign our own meaning and feeling to words and experience, that is part of the beauty and diversity of humans and life.
I saw this quote on Facebook today too:
I see the space around my thought and the circumstances of my life - and choose an empowering meaning.
I am not defined by the events of my life, but by the meaning I choose to give them.
I give the events of my life an empowering and loving meaning.
- The Daily Love
This is what I'm trying to say rather clumsily. I would rather choose to love each moment for what it is, even when it's not picture perfect or makes me uncomfortable. I no longer am looking forward to tomorrow or next week. I'm sitting here, a little bit sick, with a tired, naked two year old, and a strong, self aware five year old, and I'm loving it. I guess I'm not Seizing the Day, I'm Seizing the Moment, one at a time.
So I do believe I have mentioned before how much I love Tara Wager, aka The Organic Sister. I joined her "tribe" for monthly calls and she also started an online Sisterhood Tribe. One idea she shared recently is that of choosing a word at the New Year to focus on for the upcoming year. I have never really taken "resolutions" too seriously but this idea struck a chord with me.
Peace is an obvious choice - it has been a focal point for me for a long time now - since before I had children and was teaching. But I don't think I need to focus on it more - it is the word for my *LIFE* not just one year. ;-) Plus I have really noticed how just because I want to be peaceful, the desire and the word alone are not always enough to help me actually achieve it. At first I liked the idea of the word "gratitude". I stole it from Tara - she focused on gratitude in 2011 and in her words, it rocked her world. And I know that when I am in a place of feeling grateful for all of the blessings in my life, especially the people, then everything else flows. But then the idea of "Action" also grabbed me. I have been in such of place of reading, researching, soul-searching for a while now and I am being pulled towards putting it all into action. Less thinking and more doing! From these two words I came up with this:
Gratitude + Action = Embrace
It makes sense to me. (I love how something can symbolize something to me that might mean something different or nothing at all to someone else!) Well here's how I got there - the idea of being grateful and the idea of movement and action... well, if you put those together you get an embrace. I think of embracing my loved ones, especially my husband and kids. And Embrace feels so positive to me. Whenever I am struggling or having a bad day I am noticing it is because I am resisting something instead of accepting it. Ever since I read Byron Katie's "Loving What Is" I often think the phrase "love what is" if I am struggling. I want to embrace reality, my reality. If my kids are melting down, instead of detaching or reacting, I want to embrace them in my love and compassion. If plans don't go the way I wanted or expected I will embrace what actually is happening and make my decisions based on the new circumstances.
Let me tell you, it has already been powerful and 2012 is barely a week in! There have already been a couple of times when I just breath really deeply and think my word to myself. And it feels wonderful. And Peaceful.
Maybe you would like to try a word too... let one come to you, try it on, and don't be afraid to change it if a better ones pops into your mind!
Happy New Year!
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.