Inner Peace and the Wisdom of the Pause :: what I learned from French parenting

This week has been a strange week.

Mid week I had a sort of seizure of sadness that had such a tug I really couldn’t resist it. You see, about two weeks ago I quit drinking caffeine.

Caffeine and I have had a rocky relationship. It’s clearly not good for me and I don’t mean the kind of not-good where I know I shouldn’t have it because of some research study or health guru’s proclamation.

No, it’s the kind of thing where within hours of ingesting the stuff a slew of symptoms emerge from slumber and pain starts taking over my body…. but oh, the hit I get from caffeine! The stuff-that-I-don’t-want-to-do that I CAN DO is amazing when caffeine is in my life! How will I live without it?

See, I am a driveling mess without it!

Ok so there’s more….

Along with quitting caffeine and grappling with the possible economic ramifications of the government shut-down I have been reading the book, Bringing Up Bébé.

It’s all about how French parenting differs from American parenting. It is provocative, insightful and funny. You see, the French are more laid back and less guilt-ridden on the whole. Ya, I am baffled by their mass adoption of epidurals and formula, but I am also intrigued by the freedom they allow their children and themselves to explore their dreams and realities.

Here is an example that really struck me, The Pause.

The Pause is the practice of taking at least a moment to really listen to and observe a child before rushing in to help, comfort, discipline or otherwise intervene or interrupt a child’s work.

You see, French parents tend to wait before heading in and they give their kids lots of space to explore and awaken on their own. When they go to the park with their kids they don’t hover and comment, help or really even watch their kids.

Instead they tend to hang out with other adults on the periphery and only intervene if necessary.

They just do not do the play-with-their-kids thing.

Now The Pause has many ramifications including more continuous sleep patterns and increased resilience in children, but it also has an incredible affect on mothers. French mothers do tend to have less guilt which means they have more inner peace. It’s a simple calculation really:

[Tweet “Motherhood (aka life) – Guilt = Inner Peace.”]

Yup, a whole culture of women who choose epidurals and bottle feeding over the intensity of birth and the connection of breastfeeding are also some of the most poised and relaxed women in the world. Instead of reacting, they respond and only when needed.

What does this have to do with my caffeine habit?

We live in a culture that really could be characterized as anti-Pause. We are so busy all the time that we no longer know how to take a moment, wait for inspiration and only act if it actually comes.

So, in the last couple weeks since quitting caffeine, I have been overcome by a flood of emotion that has gotten back logged from never taking pause, or at least not enough pause.

Imagine… What if you were able to recover the pause and stop rushing and interrupting your children, but also to find greater pause (and peace) in everything.

What if you spent a whole hour eating lunch?

Or taking a bath, or chit chatting with your partner, or (like the French) making love?

What if we all paused before inserting ourselves into every frickin’ thing?

I know it can be really hard to slow down, and you also know that the rewards are immense.

This week, I am going to pause before:

  1. nagging my sweetie
  2. eating my meals
  3. opening my computer

How ’bout you?

By | 2016-05-15T01:39:30+00:00 September 28th, 2013|Touch the Earth Birth|0 Comments

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