Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mom to Mom (& Giveaway): Kris Laroche

"All you need is love, love, love is all you need" - Lennon/McCartney

I was given the opportunity to sample a wonderful and meaningful game called, Feeleez. It's a game that teaches children to recognize the feelings of others as well as help them to express their own feelings. Feeleez was created by three parents who recognize the importance of meaningful play. Feeleez is printed with soy based ink on recycled cardboard. Satch enjoyed the game quite a bit, as did I and it has become a family favorite. You will have a chance to win one of these games at the end of this post. I wanted to talk to one of the creators about this lovely game and so it is with great pleasure that introduce, Kris Laroche...

Mom: Kris Laroche
Of: Elliot (4), Sascha (1)
Where: Montana
Site: Natural Parenting Center & Feeleez
Blog: Natural Parenting Center Blog & Talk Feeleez

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

You mean besides becoming totally addicted to chocolate after dinner? (I tell myself I “need” the energy to get through the wild evening hours, but really, I just love it!) Motherhood has changed me, indeed. I remember many days after my first baby was born, holding him and crying, lying on the floor on my back in the middle of the day, and crying, rocking him at night and crying, just so moved by this profound and ordinary and magical experience.

-I have a radically different relationship with my body, more accepting and in awe of it, including (though not always adoringly) the soft and squishy parts.

-I know what matters to me. It pretty much all boils down to love. Loving them, loving me, being love.

-my desire to strip away all of my old “crap”

-emotional baggage from my childhood, old conditioning and habits that are limiting

-is FIERCE because I do not want to pass any of this onto these human beings entrusted to me.

-my calling, the work that I now do, has been born out of becoming a mother. It fulfills me and moves me all of the time.

-it has made my relationship with my partner harder, in many ways, and it has also given me the motivation to stay planted in it and keep nurturing it.

2. What message would you like to share with other mothers?

To let yourself be transformed by this. It is the great opportunity of our lives to become who we are meant to be. Surround yourself with people who inspire you to love yourself and your children unconditionally.

3. How do you orchestrate your passions as Mother, Parenting Coach, Business Woman?

I try to keep each role categorized. During the day is mother. I try not to get on the computer and to give myself and my energy to our day together (my kids are still young but we are life learners-no schooling-so this will continue to be how our days flow). Then at night, I go for it with this work. For now, I’m not doing any one-on-one coaching because I don’t want to have any kind of schedule or time commitment. I love following the flow. Instead I’m writing the blog as a way of giving away the coaching and my partner with NPC Nathan takes on clients for coaching for us.

4. What inspired you to create the Natural Parenting Center?

I want children and parents to get what they need to thrive, which is the single most profound change we can make for our world, as well. I want parenting practices around the world to reflect what we now know about what children need for optimal growth and development-attachment, connection, bonding, unconditional love, respect. I want parents to receive the information, the support, the community they need to enjoy their life with their children and to realize their full potential. I feel sad about many choices I made with my first baby. I didn’t trust my instincts or fully follow my heart. Now I am surrounded by the kind of information, support and inspiration (much of which comes from my dear friends Nathan, Natalie, Kelli and Gabe who are a huge part of NPC) that enables me to parent intelligently and humanely. I want that for everyone who desires it.

5. What inspired you to create the Feeleez game?

Feeleez grew out of a conversation. Nathan and Natalie and I spent many days with our kids talking about raising children, the state of the world, and the connection between the two. We kept returning to the idea of empathy. Then we wondered about tools to help our own kids develop empathy, towards themselves and others, sothe idea of Feeleez was born. Natalie drew the pictures and we all grew the business. We have remained steadfast in our commitment to keep parenting as our priority and have never used childcare to get things done. It has made for some pretty fun and crazy adventures (piling packages to take to Fed Ex in with kids and bikes and snacks for the day. Feeleez is a dream business. We feel so grateful to be part of something this magical.

6. What are some practical things that parents can do to make the most profound impact in the lives of their children?

Be with them-as much as possible and then more. Create a mindset of gratitude about this so that you enjoy it. Connect with others-in person and online-to give you the empathy and support that you need because parenting with unconditional love is a radical act in our world today. Stop using any kind of reward (bribe, treats, gold stars). Stop using any kind of punishment (including, especially time outs) Stop evaluating in any way (“that was good”, “you are smart”) Accept all feelings and be empathic (listening is more important than understanding why they are feeling or doing what they are doing) Heal your own emotional wounds so that you can be present for your children (all triggers are about you, not about them) Be kind to your child. This does not mean ‘permissive’. You will say no, but an attitude of kindness and respect towards this capable, beautiful, sensitive being is essential. See every behavior as an attempt to meet a need (stop believing all the stories in your mind that are based on fear, judgment, “shoulds”) and seek to meet the need behind the behavior. Be kind and gentle with yourself. You are learning all the time. You are a capable, beautiful, sensitive being, too.

7. Have you experienced judgment or disapproval by parents who are more traditional in their parenting approach? How do you handle this situation?

Oh boy oh boy. My experience? I’ve stopped hanging out with people over stuff like this. I find it so uncomfortable, for me and my children, that I decided it wasn’t worth it. Taking a non-traditional approach to parenting is really choosing a way of life. You make this commitment to your children and yourself, and then it is so important and helpful to seek out people who are making the same commitment. I think that things will circle around and these people may be in my life again in the future, but for now, I surround myself by inspiring people. There is so much within myself that I am changing because of the way that I was raised that I find I’m usually not strong enough (or just don’t want to put my energy into it) to hang out with people who parent really differently. I find it painful to see children treated that way. I am judged for how I parent, to be sure. Sometimes it bothers me, but mostly because I want everyone to at least have all the information which is so not readily available to the mainstream, so that they can at least be making conscious choices!

8. Lastly, what moves you, grounds you, fills your well?

Oh…many things. Knitting and sewing things for my family while I listen to something inspiring or funny late at night is wonderful. Running and yoga, though very very rare these days, feel soooo good to me. Connecting with other awakening and awakened beings. Writing the blog. Eating chocolate and drinking tea. Reading beautiful blogs like this one!! And more than anything, dropping my mental struggle and letting myself fall deeply into what is unfolding right in front of my face. That’s the best of all.

*If you would like a chance to win a Feeleez game, simply leave a comment by Thursday October 22nd. The winners will be picked by Random Generator and announced on Monday October 26th. Please note that if you leave an anonymous comment, I have no way to reach you if you win.

In other news, tomorrow I'll be celebrating my 46th ride around the sun! Have a good weekend. See you Monday!

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posted by Wendy at 5:06 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!!!!!!! Have a great day - and I have seen this game before and thought how awesome it looks!

7:50 AM  
Blogger Claudia said...

These look a wonderful way to teach "Emotional Intelligence." Thank you so much for sharing them with us. And Happy Birthday to you!!!

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Renuka said...

Happy Birthday to you dear friend. You alway put such nice things and inspire me to buy them an dteach them to my boy too. I really have to thank you for the Lori Lite book, they are really loved by us.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know I know Kris, and the game, and thus do not enter me to win, except here's my entry in your own sweepstakes, the one in which you are the grand prize winner: Happy birthday Wendy. All my favorite people are just like you.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Jill said...

Thanks again Wendy, and Kris, for a wonderful thoughtful interview and resource. Happy Birthday Wendy!

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy birthday! What a great game. Kids can get so frustrated when they don't know how to express their feelings.

10:22 PM  
Anonymous ilpearla said...'s my b-day too. BTW date on draw must be off? Thanks for the giveaway. I think this would be a very interesting way to introduce some emotions to children. Your blog inspires me to be a better parent. Thanks for that too.

11:40 PM  
Blogger tanya904 said...

Sign me up please this looks like an enjoyable game Thanks

5:32 PM  
Blogger Rebecca N. said...

Happy Birthday to you!!! Thanks for this wonderful giveaway! My son would both benefit from and enjoy playing this game. Please accept my entry :)

imsosweepy { at } gmail { dot } com

11:24 PM  
Blogger Ivy said...

Kris is a voice I need to hear. I may not always agree with everything she says, but I need her voice to balance out all the others in my head. Thank you for the interview with her. And I would love a chance to win the game.

Oh, and Happy Birthday, mine is today. :-)

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the chance to win!

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Gillian said...

Looks like a great game. Thanks for the chance to win!

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for a truly inspirational blog. email:

9:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ive been following the natural parenting blog and have been curious about the game. It was nice to be introduced to your blog and to find out more about Kris. Thanks, Amanda - since I, of course, can't remember my password!

9:48 PM  
Blogger ommom said...

I just found your blog...beautiful and i connect with many of your posts. I love Kris's blog as well and found her about 4 months ago. Was just going to order Feeleez...but a shot at a win is always fun.
Keep it up and I am adding you to my reader!

10:30 PM  
Blogger Krista said...

Thanks for offering this, and happy birthday! We have the same birthday!!
Hope you enjoyed your day :)

12:53 AM  
Blogger teachdgs said...

What an inspiring interview! It is hard to only have friends who parent just like you, but is so important. Thanks for the giveaway!

2:07 PM  
Blogger Christie said...

This game has been on my list for a while. I've really enjoyed reading these blogs.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Shelley said...

Another great interview. I was a babysitter for a mom who became one of my parenting mentors/ models, and the transparently unconditional nature of her love was the piece that made the biggest impression on me.

I also resonate with the thought that its important to make space in your life for others who are on a similar journey. Finding other families to connect with is worse than dating, I sometimes joke, because not only do the kids have to get along, but the parents need to share some common values as well.

(C'mon, Random Generator!)


3:39 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

I'm sure we'd enjoy this game.

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Gemma said...

Gorgeous! I'm so deeply glad and grateful that there are people like this in the world. It gives me courage.

5:55 PM  
Blogger sibabe64 said...

Happy B'day to you......This sounds like a cool game to have. I know some adults who could learn a thing or 2 from this game as well. Sometimes I find kids are better to reason with at times than an irrational adult....hahah

7:06 PM  
Anonymous SamW said...

Looks like a really nice and well thought game.

12:09 PM  

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