Monday, February 02, 2009

Mom to Mom: Naomi Aldort

"We don't water a flower if it blooms,
we water it so it will bloom" - Naomi Aldort

Have you ever read a book that resonates with you in such a way that once you start marking your favorite passages, you realize that you've marked nearly the whole book? Well, that's what happened when I read Naomi Aldort's book. It's February and time for a new Mom to Mom interview and I am so very honored to introduce, Naomi...



Mom:
Naomi Aldort, PhD *Author disclaimed PhD as print error
Of:
Yonatan (22), Lennon (19), Oliver (15)
Where: Washington
Site:
Naomi Aldort


1. In what ways has becoming a mother changed you?


Motherhood brought me the greatest joy of being alive: The joy of getting outside of the self and focusing on someone else’s life. We always hear that giving is the greatest joy but I didn't really get it until I was a mother. It almost seemed like, until motherhood, we are disillusioned. We devote ourselves to ourselves thinking that life is about making me happy and giving to me, me, me. Motherhood is focusing on another; what a relief. It is so much more fulfilling and expanding.

I was already counseling parents even before I had children which made my arrival to mothering also useful for many more mothers and children. The assistance and counseling I offer mothers often helps them to stop looking for time for themselves and find fulfillment and rest in time with their child/ren.

We tend to believe that once we reach adulthood, we have arrived. Motherhood taught me that I never arrived and never will. I think true arrival is realizing that there is no where to go and this moment is all and is love. This is not particular to being an older mother, but I believe that my maturity at age 37, when my first son, Yonatan, was born, helped me to embrace the moment with unsurpassable joy.

My three children were born when I was 37, 41 and 44. Their current ages are: Yonatan 22, Lennon 18 and Oliver 15. You can find their information on my site and links to the sites of the two musicians.

2. What is one piece of advice you would like to share about mothering?

It would take a whole book to give a piece of advice, since I am also a professional. So I will be blunt and direct: Read my book, Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves and listen to the CDs on my site.

If I had to say something helpful in a couple of paragraphs, I would say listen to no one but your baby/child and to your own inner wisdom. We run into problems when we get confused by voices outside of ourselves, “she should sleep by herself; he should listen to me; he should get out of diapers; she should have manners; she should be kind to the baby, he should study... etc. Your child knows best.

Stay tuned and you will know how to read your child and respond from your own natural wisdom. If your wisdom is cluttered by anxiety from your own childhood, raise yourself alongside your child. Many of the mothers who call me for guidance and counseling focus on self-realization and inner peace. This gives the child a focused, clear, peaceful and wise mother.

Every stage in a child’s life is there for a purpose. We don’t send tubes of air into the mother belly to give the infant breathing lessons. When the time is right, the baby comes out and can breath. Same with walking and talking and then all other developmental stages. We don’t have to pull children into the next stage but to enjoy how they evolve in their own time and way.

In other words, mothers, follow your heart. Sleep with your babies and children, respond with love and affection, hold and help as much as they need and don’t seek the approval of relatives and friends through your children. There are many real life stories in my book to make this point clear and powerful.

As for behavior: Every mother would happily give up ever scolding, punishing or threatening if she only knew how to ensure that her toddler/child/teen would thrive and act responsibly without such painful measures. This is completely possible and prevalent in other cultures. A child behaves best when content, self-assured and feeling worthy and loved. She does her best not because she fears you, but because she wants to, of her own free will.

I can’t hold back saying: If you have a baby, hold her in your arms, breastfeed by request and sleep with her. Such a baby will develop optimally, feeling right about herself and learn, “to get what I want I do not need to cry or scream first.” Because, her littlest cues will be responded to and she will get in the habit of gentle communication from day one.

One last thing: Food is directly connected to behavior and emotional well being (as well as physical.) Avoid processed foods, sugar, colors and other toxins as well as vaccination. If you still believe that vaccinations work and do no harm, reconsider and study both sides with an open eye for marketing drive. If you already vaccinated your child, no need for guilt; learn to provide food that cleans the body of toxins.

In summary: Trust only you and your child. Stay authentic. Don’t make decisions based on pressure from the minds of others. You know to read your child and your child knows best. And, enjoy. If you don’t enjoy, question your direction and your authenticity. It is the greatest pleasure on earth to nurture a child into being.


3. How do you orchestrate your roles as mother, counselor, author.

When my children were young I was a mother first and only worked if they didn’t need me. I wouldn’t miss being with the children for anything. There is no career in the world that would take me away from the joy of being with my children. This is why writing my book took over five years. I wrote some articles, and counseled a few parents per week on the phone. I was always available to my children.

I was not child centered, but child lead. So if I had to counsel on a given day, I would spend time with each child first, make sure no one is hungry, needy, I made sure there was ready food, and, if the youngest wanted to be with me, I would choose with him a pile of books, blocks or puzzles and he would play quietly by my side. This was true with two, three and four year old, whoever was the youngest.

My children were content. I respected them, so they respected me. They never interrupted me unless the need was urgent. They knew their needs will be met.

If I was writing and a child came to me for attention, I would promptly interrupt, make a loving eye contact with the child and show my delight in seeing him (which was authentic.) I would then say, “I would love to ... (whatever he wanted me to do with him) and tell him that I am finishing the thought, or paragraph and will be with him. If he was a toddler I would just finish the sentence. An older child can wait a few minutes. I also did read or copy edited while being present with the children. I used to sit outside watching the kids in the sandbox while editing my writing. If they spoke to me, “mom look...” I looked and responded fully, often dropping my editing work.

As I write this article, my 18-year-old has just asked to talk to me and I noticed that I still drop everything to be with him. I delight in hearing what he has to say and being with him.

4. Your book, "Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves" is changing the way people view children and challenges us all to be our best and most authentic selves. What inspired you to write this book?

Wanting to give parents the joy I had and have and helping children to grow to their fullest power and potential. When I see parents struggling and I can save them the agony, I want to reach out and help. The best way to help the most parents and children is through a book. It is like seeing someone struggling to survive in the desert when knowing that around the corner there is fertile green land. I love parents and children and see my mission to bring connection and joy into their lives.

In addition, I want to bring peace to humanity. Peace starts in parent child relationships and reproduced from there.

5. What moves you, inspires you, fills your well?

I am moved to the depth of my soul by my three children. I am moved by parents and children around the world who I know through private phone sessions, phone classes and workshops. When parents take what they learn and bring peace, power and joy to their homes, I am grateful and delighted. I love counseling because of the amazing parents and children I meet whose lives are transformed. The courage and beauty I encounter leaves me with nothing but awe and gratitude.

Listening to my children and sharing in their interests is one of my greatest joys and through them, the love of classical music, good films and philosophy talks about enlightenment, human nature, science, the nature of reality and what we think of as “I am” and as “thought.”

This moment of answering these questions is another example of what nurtures me.
Thank you for the opportunity to share with mothers who start later in life.

*Most Alive Monday will resume next week.

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posted by Wendy at 5:45 AM

7 Comments:

Blogger Julie said...

What a great interview, Wendy!I was looking for some books like this online just the other day. I saw this on and bookmarked it but was torn between a few. I think I may go back and get it now. I love everything Noami had to say. Lately I have strayed away from this style of parenting, getting lost in my own "things" and it has really affected the girls behavior, which was why I was looking for new books to read, needing abit of a "refresher course". I'm so glad you posted this.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Jill said...

Thank you Wenday and Naomi!!!
I 've read her book, and watched some of her video clips on the website which were great. It is always good to refresh my mind on these things. =)

1:33 PM  
Blogger taimarie said...

Thank you so much for this interview. It was really timely for me. I need to read this book I think.

11:05 PM  
Anonymous pixie said...

what a beautiful interview! i can't wait to get my hands on this book. thank you for another mama who "gets" kids, and treats them as sacred individuals.

btw, i orchestrate my "rolls" with a little light but firm kneading...

;)

xoxo p

2:14 AM  
Blogger a person said...

Aldort has disclaimed the Ph.D. which is noted in the byline of this article.

I think that Aldort shares some valuable messages about being mindful and child-led in parenting, but I'm surprised that this interview contains no questions about Aldort's background and why she is considered a parenting expert. Any comments on this?

Amazon has amended the description of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves to note, "The Ph.D. by the author's name in this book is an error. Naomi Aldort has no degree in psychology. Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves is a parenting self-help book with ideas developed by the author based on her own studies and experience. The error will be corrected in future printinngs of the book."

In fact, some find her advice to be contradictory to the body of accepted work in western developmental psychology, but no such awareness of the radical nature of Aldort's ideas is even hinted at in this article. More information can be found at http://mdcsurvivors.blogspot.com/2011/07/pay-no-attention-to-man-behind-that_11.html

12:40 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Dear "a person",
Thank you for this informative comment. To answer your question:

"I'm surprised that this interview contains no questions about Aldort's background and why she is considered a parenting expert. Any comments on this?"

Yes, I do have a few comments on this, thank you for asking. I read her book in 2009, 3 yrs after it was originally published. I had no reason to doubt her credentials and I enjoyed her book immensely so I decided to contact her for a lighthearted interview.

Please note, this is my diary, as stated at the top of the sidebar. I am not an investigative reporter. I have no desire to investigate Ms. Aldort.

I would also like to address your statement:

In fact, some find her advice to be contradictory to the body of accepted work in western development psychology, but no such awareness of the radical nature of Aldort's ideas is even hinted at in this article.

Again, this interview was not intended to be investigative journalism. I was interviewing the author of a parenting book that I greatly enjoyed. As with any parenting book, one harvests ideas that resonates with one's self and is applicable to one's family values - contradictory to western practice or otherwise.

I enjoyed her book.

5:30 PM  
Blogger a person said...

Thank you so much for your considerate response to my questions. Your interview with Naomi Aldort was linked to at another site of interviews, and I admit I did not review the rest of your public blog before I left my comment.

I also resonated with parts of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves, deeply. But unlike those who are secure in cultivating an eclectic parenting style with a strong awareness of what is most appropriate and healthy for their own family, it seemed to me that Aldort was urging all parents to follow her advice completely. The multiple references to her as a psychologist and doctor only confused the issue for me, as I see it has for some other readers as well.

I sincerely appreciate you sharing your thoughts on the matter.

5:58 PM  

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