As a treat to all you wonderful readers, I have interviewed Margaret Jarvinen Author of the book thats close to my parent heart “Through Our Children’s Eyes”
Her attitude towards parenting is refreshing and completely positive as is her book. I love how she shares her creative process behind the creation of this beautiful book.
Zeenat-What sparked the thought of writing your own book?Why this particular topic?
Margaret-I am a stay at home mum to two children; Jacob is five and Emma is three years of age. About twelve months ago I realised I was resenting my duties as a stay-at-home mum. I have struggled with motherhood and felt more of a failure than at any other time in my life. In the past I rarely experienced joy with my children or family.
I knew my negativity would be passed on to my children—which made me feel more shame, guilt and sadness. I was stuck in a rut and I didn’t know how to transform myself. I could not identify what brought me happiness, so I decided to find out what was important to children and what they liked best about their parents. I thought that if I could read a book on children’s perceptions on what they liked best about their mum and dad I would be able to implement their views into my family life. I believed that if I knew I was giving my children happy and joyous experiences, then I would be happier and experience more joy, too.
I searched for such a book—something that was light, fun and uplifting—but found nothing. There was nothing that contained children’s words on how they perceived their parents. There were books on the funny things children say, their perception on worldly matters and many books written by adults on what is important to children. But I didn’t want to read any more professional views or psychological theories or techniques on how to raise my children.
So, I decided to create this book. I wrote it for myself, as well as for other parents, as I believed it would help us become happier. I also wanted to create something that was fun and light-hearted yet carried a purposeful message.
When I first started this journey, I had no idea that I would be completely transformed and healed when the book was completed. This book has proven to be a blessing to me as it has enlightened me on the subject of joy. I have travelled a journey that has allowed me to grow and nurture joy within myself and my family, and I sincerely hope that this book will help in bringing more joy into other parents’ and children’s lives. The lessons that I have learned are a gift that I wish to share.
Zeenat-While writing your book, what was the most challenging part?
Margaret-The most challenging part for me was to believe in my idea and trust that what I was creating was purposeful, unique and of value to others. I had never shared with people that I did not enjoy my children and was ‘drowning’ in my negativity, but I believed that if I struggled to enjoy my children then other parents must be struggling, too. My hope was that through this book I would be able to help other parents whilst also helping myself.
The most challenging part for me was to believe that I could do this and that I had something important to share with the world. I had to trust that my message was worthy of being printed and that I was being guided and supported by the universe in this project.
I also had to trust that it was alright to show my inner feelings and beliefs to the world without inhibition.
I had a constant fear that people would laugh at me and believe my book is silly. But I knew I had to find the courage to believe in myself and listen to spirit. So I decided not to succumb to this fear—as I knew it was not real—and at each step I just felt the fear and did it anyway. Each time I was rejected and/or a different outcome occurred to what I was expecting, more windows and doors opened—better pathways were shown to me.
I was learning trust—trust in life, trust in the process and trust in myself.
I was also challenged with my own definition of success. I realised that my personal unhappiness was caused by my not knowing my own internal compass—my own bench mark to how I defined success. I came to understand that I that I would never be happy if I compared myself and everything I did to someone or something else. I knew that such external factors and my own fears would prevent me from finding joy and peace; this was one of the hardest things for me to understand. But once I did, I knew that if I did not complete this book I would live with regret.
When I was gripped with fear and nothing would work, I learned that when in this space I had to walk away—whether for one day or several weeks. When I was calm within myself again, I then would work quickly and opportunities would arise. I had to accept that I had no control over this—I could not switch off the fear and switch on the connectiveness. I just had to wait and trust, knowing that the right time would reveal itself.
Zeenat-Do you have a message for the readers of your book?
Margaret-Children are innately positive and joyous. I want to help my children to stay connected to this innate ability―which we all have and to not lose it as I believe we adults often do. As adults we lose our intrinsic joy and it is replaced with extrinsic motivators. For example, When I complete that university degree I will be respected; When I marry I will be happy; When I …. But through seeing life through my children’s eyes I have discovered that joy is not obtained through external avenues. Children just want to spend quality time with Mum and Dad and their family; that is their main source of joy. Their main interest is not having things, new toys or going on expensive excursions.
So, my desire through the implementation of this book is to not only demonstrate that the joy which comes from within is one of the highest forms of emotions we can experience, but it is also a clear guide to parents and children towards experiencing such joy.
This book encourages parents to ask their own children what they like best about mum and dad and what their favourite activities are. This provides information for parents to create more joyous experiences into their family life. Parents can choose an activity that their child likes best, and in that moment of sharing together joy will be experienced as a connection between parent and child is all that exists.
This works very well for me when the kids and I are having ‘one of those days’. Instead of becoming frustrated, I choose to do one of their favourite activities with them. This allows me to take a breath and stop feeling frustration, and the kids stop whinging and misbehaving as their attention has been redirected onto something they love to do. It is a win-win situation!
During challenging days, parents can flick through this book and be reminded that our children just want to be loved by us and be with us. When I have such days and read the children’s quotes, my anger and frustration decreases and helps me to move forward – I don’t get stuck in that negative emotion. Other people have told me that they also love hearing and reading the children’s quotes. So, in my own search to experience more joy I have in turn given people joy.
I have learnt that when I experience joy I also feel love, forgiveness, humility, contentment and peace. However, for example if I only feel humility I do not necessarily feel forgiveness, and if I am only feeling contentment I am not necessarily feeling joy.
I have found that if I can approach my day positively and create joyous moments with my family I am helping myself, my husband and my children to be more balanced, at peace and loving. It only takes one person in the family to consciously decide to be more joyous and over time other family members will mirror this behaviour back to you.
In summary, my main message is that we can experience joy in the family if we change our perceptions and see through the children’s eyes. It is there that we learn that true joy comes from within, and without it, no other external goals we achieve in life will deeply satisfy us. I know it is possible to achieve, because I have done it. Through this book, as parents we can claim back our joy in our relationship with ourselves and in turn our children may stay connected to their internal joy as adults.
MARGARET JARVINEN is a wife and mother of two small children. Before she became a mother Margaret was an adult educator and worked in the social welfare sector. She has an Associate Degree in Vocational Education and Training. Since having her children Margaret has become more aware of the importance of enjoying and living in the moment. Her hope is that when parents have challenging days this book will inspire and uplift them and bring joy back into daily life.
Margaret is donating 25% from the profits of sales to the ACT for Kids Charity.
You can purchase this wonderful book by visiting Through Our Children’s Eyes!
What are YOUR thoughts on this interview? Do you have a few positive parenting tips to share? Please share your wisdom in the comments below and please show Margaret your support by sharing this interview in facebook, twitter & by visiting her website.
STAY TUNED- On Friday(april 15th) I will be talking about “detatchment and attachment” from the heart and soul perspective!
With Immense Love & Gratitude,
Counseling Psychologist/Spiritual Counselor