The holidays can be a stressful time of year.
You can make it better by creating a routine that gets you and the kids up and going. Daniel Sherwin of DadSolo.com shared the following withs us.
Here are some tips for creating an energizing start to your day:
Additional Holiday Morning Routine Resources:
Now that you know how to energize your mornings, you’ll be ready to take on holiday planning. Pull out the warm slippers and Grandma’s favorite recipes and go for it. You’ve got it covered.
I recently attended a parent education class called, "Ages and Stages," and wanted to share something I learned.
Sharon Lee, the Student Support Coordinator at my daughters' school, shared a piece of parenting advice that can best be described as parenting semantics. This really resonated with me, because estrogen runs rampant in my household, and sometimes my agenda and that of my three daughters don't always align.
Imagine this: I've rushed home from work and somehow managed to get dinner on the table, and I call out, "Girls - dinner's ready!" They immediately yell out to me, "Not now! I'm finishing my drawing!" I already feel tired, but now I'm irritated and feeling rather unappreciated and want to scream out, "Get your asses down here for dinner." Have I ever done this? No, but I have shouted back, "Dinner, NOW!" Now imagine the alternate response to the exact same scenario: I calmly walk over to my girls as they're finishing said drawing and turn this into a teachable moment. Girls, could you try this instead, "Mom, MAY I finish my drawing first? I'm almost done." Now to that I would've said, "Of course girls, but keep in mind that dinner's getting cold."
Teaching my girls to speak politely and simply ask permission will pay off during the teen years, for sure. Fast-forward to when my daughter has turned 16 and is taking the car out with her friends. I say to her, "Have fun, but be home by 10." If I continue along the path of the first scenario, my daughter is likely to say, "But I have to drop Audrey and Joshua off first." Instead, I can make the effort now, teach my girls proper semantics, and hope she'll respond with, "Would it be okay if I'm a few minutes late? I have to drop Audrey and Joshua off after the party."
Parenting is all about the little things isn't it?
* Thank you Caroline, for the beautiful photo of me and the girls!
I have a friend who is a talented writer, and every time I talk to her, I learn something new. The other day, we were talking and she asked me if I'd ever heard the phrase, "kill your darlings." Apparently, it's a phrase used by journalists, who often have a great idea for a piece or a fabulous opening that may turn out to be tangential or simply not a good fit. Instead of being married to said idea or concept, journalists are taught to "kill their darlings" - don’t use it, and get over it.
I began to think that I, as a parent, sometimes need to "kill my darlings." Don't get me wrong, I know my children can drive me crazy at times, but that's not what I mean. I know I'm not alone when I say that I do my best to be the perfect mother and my husband, the ultimate father. To that end, we tend to hold onto these notions of what ideal parenting looks like. We get distraught over missed naps, feel guilty about unhealthy meals, struggle to maintain discipline, etc. We get so much advice, read so many parenting tips, and witness other seemingly perfect children and do everything in our power to parent that way. BUT sometimes what's right for one family or what we hope to do and achieve as parents is simply not a good fit. Moving forward, I have vowed to "kill my darlings" and get over it. I hope you will consider the same. I'm thinking [and hoping] that it is going to make parenting a LOT less stressful.
The Pastor who married my husband and me required us to take a premarital class before saying, "I do." The class served to enlighten us doe-eyed lovebirds about the realities of marriage. He wasn't kidding - marriage is great, but it really is a lot of work. The class covered common "issues" like money and family, but one topic that was emphasized during this crash-course in marriage was appreciation. Life gets so busy at times that it's easy to forget to appreciate [and express that appreciation for] one another.
Yesterday was Father's Day, and I had nothing but a deep appreciation for my husband and father of our three amazing girls. I know that Father's Day was yesterday, but this week [and always], I want my husband to know:
For those of you in a relationship, remember to appreciate and also feel appreciated! Mark, I appreciate you - more than I show and say
I'm not one to share every video I come across on Facebook or even find much enjoyment in all the "viral" videos my dear husband likes to show me, but today I came across a video that really spoke to me. Although it's essentially a cheesy Dove commercial, Real Beauty, has an amazing message.
As I mentioned in my "Eczema" post several weeks ago, I have been struggling with trying to heal my out-of-control eczema. Things have taken a turn for the worse recently, and it's been quite debilitating and frustrating. However, seeing this video today reminded me to stay strong and tell myself, "You are more beautiful than you think [and feel]".
On a larger scale, it was a good reminder to instill a positive self-image in my three children. How one accomplishes that, I have no idea, but I have to believe it starts simply with love. Love your little ones for the individuals they are, and express love in every little thing you do. To see the Real Beauty video, click here.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! As a parent, there's so much I'm thankful for, but I feel compelled to dedicate this blog post to thanking our dentist for giving us a copy of Thumbingo.
When I was a child, I was a serious thumb-sucker. I must've sucked my thumb till I was seven-years-old. My mother finally broke the habit by dousing my thumb in a bitter concoction that was housed in a little, black vial. Although, this quickly broke the habit, I ended up having braces for 3 years in my teens and my right thumb is still a bit misshapen.
I now have 2 daughters who both began sucking their thumb at 3-months-old. My husband and I used to say that their thumbs were a god-send, because they would soothe themselves to sleep so easily. At my older daughter's 4-year-old dental check-up, however, the dentist recommended I break the habit soon and handed me a Thumbingo chart and some stickers. Of course, I waited 11 more months after that visit, and a month before she turned five, I brought out the Thumbingo.
I honestly had very low expectations that this would actually work. The dentist told me that it's imperative I choose a "Bonus Prize" that is extraordinary. I talked it over with my daughter and we agreed that on "Free" days she would get ice cream, and the "Bonus Prize" would be a visit to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and a day spent at Disneyland.
Every night that she was able to fall asleep without sucking her thumb, she woke up and put a sticker on her Thumbingo chart. We went a few days without having a single sticker on the board, but then something clicked and she was so motivated by the stickers and prizes that she broke the habit within a week. It was a very pleasant way of breaking a habit, and we had a blast at Disneyland last week!
I have to say that I'm not sure this will work for my younger daughter, but perhaps with time and maturity? Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I, for one, am looking forward to spending quality time with my loved ones.
Now that my older daughter is nearing 5 and my younger daughter is 3, people keep asking me whether I want to have more children. I honestly don't know. As an only child, I always dreamed of having a large family, but as an entrepreneur, I feel as if I'm raising 2 girls and a newborn again. It's incredible how much of one's time, energy, money, resources, and just plain self running a business requires.
When I watch my daughters play with one another and laugh uncontrollably, it melts my heart. What a special bond siblings have and how amazing to experience childhood alongside a sibling. As I mentioned earlier, I am an only child, because my mother had an ectopic pregnancy after having me and could not conceive after that. Although I never had siblings, I don't remember feeling lonely as a child.
One thing an older, and much wiser, friend told Mark and me after we got married was, "there's never a right time to have children." You will never have enough money, enough time and energy, a large enough house, etc. Once you become a parent, you become a survivor and figure it all out.
Anyway, I've been genuinely torn about whether I'm "ready" or truly wanting to have another child, but 4 weeks ago, I found out I was pregnant. Without getting into the details, we were genuinely puzzled by this "miracle." It took a full week for me to get over the shock, but we feel very blessed in so many ways.
Mark and I are looking forward to experiencing life as a family of 5! As soon as we learned we were expecting, Mark turned to me and said, "now you will have so much to blog about!" I just have to leave it at that . . .
My daughters' preschool has a vegetable/fruit garden that the children water and maintain. The teachers encourage the kids to pick the fruit and the leaves and try it all. The first time I saw my daughter walk by the garden, tear off a piece of swiss chard, and eat it, I was horrified. The germaphobe in me wanted to bat it out of her hand and wash it first. BUT I resisted, because I realized how amazing it is that she is open to trying these incredibly healthy greens. I have zero time/energy to maintain a vegetable garden, but I wish I did, because it is so amazing to see children take so much pride in growing vegetables, harvesting them, and eating them. What better way to spark a child's interest in food, than by having them grow it themselves?
A good friend of mine shared this easy recipe with me over the weekend, and I cannot wait to make it. I just have to get to the grocery store . . . Kale is one of those vegetables that I don't remember eating until I was in college. My girls, however, seem to enjoy it. I've made them kale chips, and they love it. I've made kale soup, and they gobble it up. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for this one. Who doesn't like fried rice?
I was talking to a good friend of mine who said she "lost it" one afternoon and told her 4-year-old to "shut up." Before I became a parent myself, I may have judged her or thought, "how could she?" BUT after having children, I now know that parenting can bring out the best and worst in us. As a mom, I have my glory days when everything seems to fall into place, I have a smile on my face, the kids are happy and well-rested, and I feel like super mom. Then there are those days where I'm throwing random food into their lunch bags as we run out the door, piles of dirty laundry are strewn about the house, and all I hear is whining. How many of you agree with me when I say that parenting has redefined the notion of being pushed to the limit?
I have to admit, I am a bit of a control freak, and I'm pretty certain that's why I had such a hard time adjusting to motherhood in the beginning. Sleep deprivation coupled with uncertainty and the unknown was not a good combo for me. All these things became stressors and when I am stressed, my body responds with an eczema flare up.
One time my eczema was so bad, and I was so sick of treating it with steroid creams that I resorted to seeing a hypnotist. I can't say that it did much for me, but one exercise she suggested that I want to revisit and practice with my daughters is keeping a gratitude journal. The hypnotherapist gave me a small notebook and pen to keep by my bed and every night, before going to bed, I would jot down 3 things I was grateful for. The thinking behind this simple exercise is that you go to sleep with positive thoughts in your mind. How great would it be to do this with our children? As rough as some days can be, what better way to end the day than by being grateful and teaching our children that there is so much to be grateful for each and every day!
When we are in the throes of manufacturing lollacups, I spend quite a bit of time in the car, driving to and from our factories. One day, I was listening to a "marketplace" segment on NPR that was fascinating. The discussion was about, "Why more athletes are choosing to sport eyewear." I really have no interest in this particular topic, but the whole discussion really spoke to me.
Apparently the NBA star, Lebron James, wears non-prescription eyeglasses, and Harvard economist Roland Fryer explains the reason as a 'two-audience signaling mechanism.' As Fryer puts it, "These guys are saying to one audience, 'Hey I'm here, I'm an athlete.' To the other one, 'Look at my glasses, look at the way I'm dressed, look at the way I carry myself -- I can promote your product.'"
This idea of a signaling mechanism intrigued me. Prof. Roland Fryer went on to talk about one of his colleagues who admitted to dying his hair gray to be taken more seriously by his students.
I began to wonder if I have any signaling mechanisms? By blow-drying my hair and putting on makeup before a playdate, am I signaling to other moms that I have my life together? On the rare occasion that I'm dressed up and wearing heels and stop into Target to pick up a prescription with my 2 kids in tow, do people perceive that I am waltzing through parenthood and making time to primp?
The scenarios kept running through my head, until I realized that oftentimes, I do what I do because I truly do want to be "that person." When I walk into a business meeting, serious but smiling and dressed to the nines in 4-inch heels, I really do want those people to think I am fully capable of achieving and doing it well.
One thing I cannot live without is under-eye concealer. I feel like it instantly makes me look and feel well-rested. I am, by no means, well-rested, but I really do wish I were and for now, to signal to others that I have had a good night's sleep is fine by me. Maybe I'm not really understanding the gist of the radio segment I was so affected by, but perhaps "signaling mechanisms" are the best form of motivation. Perhaps one day I will make sleep a priority. To begin with, I will try "signaling" to my children that I am in full control of each and every situation, and perhaps, they will buy it!