This week my baby boy turns 7 months old! He’s our first-born and my husband and I are absolutely over the moon with being his parents. Like lots of first time parents we are soaking in all the “firsts” and really enjoying the ride into parenthood. I’m so excited to be learning so much about the Conscious Parenthood movement at this time in Axl’s life. He’s barely a millisecond old and Chris and I are getting to practice what we’re learning as we go and as he grows.
In the Parent Coaching program this week, we’re being asked to practice compassionate listening; listening intently and without judgment while refraining from interrupting and comparing. One of the fascinating parts about engaging with an infant is the intense level of non-verbal communication that occurs between him and us. We, of course, enjoy chattering away at him, but his language is currently non-existent. It’s really amazing to me how in such a short amount of time we’ve learned to read his cues and how good we’ve become at interpreting his wants and needs based solely on his body language and intonations. Thankfully, he has a sweet and relaxed disposition so his moodiness is usually fairly easy to determine. At this stage in the game I’d say I feel really confident of my ability to listen to Axl with my whole self and really intuit what he’s needing, wanting and feeling.
I think this is one of the perks of applying the Conscious Parenting method on a newborn; my feminine intuition and motherly instincts are on hyper-mode and make ‘listening’ and responding to my child somewhat automatic. What I do notice, though, is that when I am feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or tired it becomes much harder to want to interpret his cues as effectively and my desire to listen to him is totally challenged. So, I’m already starting to see how taking care of myself and attending to my own needs and wants is important in creating a healthy space for offering my compassionate listening skills.
But Axl is maybe a little bit too easy of a practice audience just now;) His chubby cheeks and sweet smiles just make it impossible to want to do anything other than give him my full attention. Where I definitely feel the practice this week is with the adults in my life. What happens when I try to listen compassionately to my family for instance?
What I’m initially noticing is how dang selfish I am in my listening. As I ‘watch’ myself listening in a conversation I catch myself comparing the other person’s sharing with my own preconceptions….dun-duh-dun-duh, Judgment. Yikes, I really am a judgmental bitch. This is good to know, being that I’d like to be a compassionate coach and all. The other thing that I notice is how quickly I want the other person to be finished talking. As if I have somewhere better to be and can only spend a certain amount of time with them (which is almost never the case, my time is not that structured.)
So, as I end the first week of this program and being honest with my self-reflection I can honestly say that my compassionate listening needs some work. It’s easy for me to listen compassionately to my mute son who is nothing but cuddles and bliss, but I am far more judgmental and impatient with the more verbal and expressive people in my life. Again…good to know. And I guess at the beginning of a program that’s all about self-acceptance and nurturing that’s probably a pretty good place to be; acknowledging where there is plenty of room for growth and where I would eventually like to see myself thr