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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Volunteer or Controlling Mom?

October 18, 2011 4 comments

I volunteer in my son’s second grade classroom every other Monday morning.  I think it is important to be present in my son’s education.  I appreciate the opportunity to witness what he is learning, and how is learning, in order to be consistent at home.  Our teachers have the critical task of educating our future leaders and I want to support them in their efforts.

All of the above is true…

But let’s get real…

I want to observe my son’s classmates to determine who are appropriate play dates!  As I help the teachers, I envision each of the kids coming over… 

If I see this in class…

I envision this…

or this…

 

If I experience this,

I imagine, I will have a playdate that goes like this…

Parenting is tough, I want to keep my son from having friends like…

At least not until he’s old enough for me to enjoy the trouble with him!

What ways do you weed out the Eddie Haskells and Dennis the Menaces?

Imagine a messier life?

September 15, 2011 11 comments

Imagine you were given the gift of four days to tune out all other distractions and focus on your passions, your hopes and dreams.

Suppose you were supported by a group of strangers who are now dear friends.  These people helped identify roadblocks to your dreams AND ways to bust through them.

Picture sitting in a beach community being encouraged to chase your dreams and live your life on your terms and by your personal priority list. 

Between the sounds of seagulls and waves crashing you hear people saying ‘go for it’, ‘you can do it’ and ‘you deserve it’.

No, I did not have a wonderful dream, sustain a head injury or consume too many cocktails at book club.  (That was all the week before! 😉

Last weekend, I lived this experience.  I spent four days in Santa Barbara, attending the Life Launch program I told you about.  This program gave to me what I hope to give to others; a sense that you’re not alone, that people are in your corner, that anything is possible.  It focused on the good in each person and supported each person’s life journey.  I was reminded this weekend that everyone is slightly off-balance; that we all have fears and obstacles, but with the right support, we can do great things.  This weekend was a prelude to a coaching certification I hope to obtain, when the time in my life is right. 

That time for that certification maybe now, if I can figure out how to juggle work, family and an intense 8 months program that requires 10-12 hours per week.  Stop laughing!  Or at least bring it down to a giggle.  I know, ‘where I am going to find the time’?  If I do this, will I miss more soccer practices, ballet or my own yoga classes?  Will my husband forget that I even knew how to cook dinner? (Hmm… this might be a benefit).  Will I completely disappear from this blog  – I have already been delinquent as of late.  Will people think I am selfish for adding something else that is about me?  Will the mold in my showers run rampant?  Will I start to wear dirty clothes and stop washing my hair?  Okay, I already don’t wash my hair that often… Life would certainly get messier.    But maybe a messier life is a fuller life.  Maybe, messy is good.  You can’t argue with the fact that an empty room may be clean, but is empty, whereas a messy room is full of living; mementos of life’s adventures.  (Do you think my husband will buy any of this?)

These are all questions I have to answer, but my gut is telling me to give it a shot.  I have a little more research to do and I’ll keep you posted.  But I’ll make you a promise, I may have less time to blog, but I’ll try to post the messy pictures! 😉

Twas The First Day of School

August 10, 2011 6 comments
T’was the first day of school and all through the home
The kids were ready; teeth brushed and hair combed
 
When the alarm clocks when off, I was prepared for the worst
I pictured cranky, slow-moving kids who might possibly burst
 
But they wore the clothes they laid out and ate breakfast with haste
The consumed what I served, no meals went to waste
 
I planned to arrive early, but secretly just hoped not to be late
So when I yelled put your shoes on, to my surprise, they were great!
 
They stood by the door, shoes on, ready to go.
It was me who was lagging, I had to look good, you know.
 
Dear son’s now a second-grader, so he played it cool
Little diva has one more year til she attends brother’s “big school”
 
We stepped on to campus with 25 minutes to spare
There was time for “how was your summer? and “did you cut your hair”?
 
We said hi to his former teachers and all our of our friends
On mornings like this you’re glad summer does end.
 
Dear son loves his new teachers and had a great day
He set up his desk, did some math and lots of play
 
With school in we have routine and need not invent so much fun,
But that also means now, I am again, on the run.
 
With school comes homework – both his and mine
Then there is soccer practice, dinner and early bedtime
 
So while I’d love to tell you more about the great day that we had
I must pull dinner out of the oven, and be on time to practice, being late is normal looks bad.
 

I’m a Bad Mommy

May 31, 2011 2 comments

Or, at a minimum, I am hanging out with 4 Bad Mommies today, as a guest blogger.  Although, I’ll tell you a secret: they’re not bad mommies.  They’re honest, funny and definitely worth a visit.

Come over and check out Why I Am Glad School is Almost Out!

Window Shopping for Purpose and Passion

May 26, 2011 7 comments

I have been a little MIA here lately.  I have written many posts… in my head.  Trust me, I have some brilliant thoughts at 3:00 am that I never put to paper (or keyboard) the next morning.  So what have I been doing instead of blogging?  Why am I up thinking at 3:00 am? 

I have been shopping.  Well, window shopping actually.

I have put a lot of energy into window shopping for my purpose and passion.

I am a happy person.  I love my life and feel blessed with the things in it.  I have a wonderful husband, two adorable children, a stable and rewarding career… but…

…I feel like I am wearing a shirt I love that doesn’t fit quite right.

…I feel like I am meant to do something else, something more in line with my passions and strengths.

…I feel like my happy life could be happier.

I feel like I am searching for my “purpose”.  Yes, I am a mother and wife, those things are paramount.  But when I take away relationship titles, who am I?  

Is this just a career search? I don’t think so, but I could be wrong.  I have a career, but does it speak to who I am?  I am not sure.  Does it capitalize on my strengths?  Not all of them.  The time we spend working is significant, shouldn’t it or couldn’t it represent us?

In search of quieting the questions in my head,  I have invested more time in my work while researching new careers.  I have been trying to gauge how much I love my job and if it is the right one.  I have been searching for the ideal job that fits multi-faceted me.

Then something great happened, a chance conversation.  A wise friend, who I respect very much, recently shared with me that he is trying to figure out what is next for him after he wraps up his current corporate gig.  He explained he might put more effort into a few small companies he runs, he might do philanthropic work, or he might do something totally different.  It sounded like he might dabble in several things.

As I reflected on our conversation, it hit me that I was trying to get all of my passion and purpose in a few places.  I realized that I have more than one purpose and I need to figure out how to prioritize them, not combine them.  I am the queen of multi-tasking, but you can’t multi-task life.  I think life is meant to be enjoyed and lived in separate streams.  Career, motherhood, charity work, friendships, hobbies – they are each deserving of their own time.  And I deserve to enjoy each of them without distraction (on the ideal days – don’t get literal with a woman with young children).

The other important thing I am figuring out is that I need to focus on the details and let go of the big picture.  No, I didn’t write that backwards.  I would like to better appreciate the happiness and passion I already have instead of trying to connect them to one purpose in life.  I read a quote by MeiMei Fox that I love:

The key to happiness is not enjoying every single moment of every day. That’s an unrealistic expectation that sets you up for disappointment. The key is to celebrate every tiny but glorious, extraordinary and surprising experience you have.  She goes on to provide the critical reminder that:

“When something miraculous takes place — and by miraculous, I mean any of the seemingly small yet phenomenal events that unfold all the time, from your child laughing in your arms, to your best friend calling in tears to tell you her mother has cancer — stop. Put down your smart phone. Watch. Listen. Taste. Touch. Show up.”

I sometimes often forget to stop and show up.  I over multi-task, I miss the passion, the purpose that already exists.  So I am still window shopping from time to time, but I am trying to spend more time just experiencing.

The restless feeling hasn’t completely left me, but now I interpret it as excitement and anticipation for the many blessings that I will experience in the moments, days, months and years ahead.  My personal challenge is taking them one moment at a time.

Do you feel like you know your purpose?  Do you experience life?  Do you show up?

There Is Nothing Wrong with the Shirt!

May 16, 2011 12 comments

I had just finished getting dressed.  I was feeling good, because although I have gained a few pounds from business trips, vacation and Lent being over, I could still button my shorts. Some may say I set the bar low, but when you like food as much as I do, hoping for shorts that button is sometimes aggressive.

My son walked in and said, “Mommy, what’s on your shirt”?  I looked at my shirt thinking there might be a stain or a hole, but saw nothing.

“Honey, where, what are you talking about?”

He drags his cute little hand across my mid section – you know, the gut area, and says, “This, what is this?”

Oh.

Shorts buttoning doesn’t guarantee there will be no “leakage” – why can chubby boobs falling out of tops be cute, but muffin top is not?  When is muffin top coming into style?!  And although, I will usually be my own worst critic, the muffin top was not bad (on this day, in these shorts, with this shirt).

“Honey, that is mommy’s tummy pushing against the waistband of her shorts.  As you get older it is harder to have a flat stomach (my son has an 8-pack)”.

My son giggles a little, “Why is it harder to have a flat stomach”?

“Well, honey because grown-ups don’t have as much time to play and get exercise.  You ride bikes, swim and play outside all day.  You get plenty of exercise.  Mommy has to try to make time in her day for exercise.”

Here’s the part I didn’t say out loud:

See if I wasn’t working full-time, I would have more time to exercise too.  And if I wasn’t your typical stressed mother of young children, I wouldn’t need wine and cocktails and chocolate. 

Actually, that’s a lie.  If I wasn’t working full-time, I would have more wine and cocktails and would still find things to do besides exercise, like read, write and take naps.

Back to the conversation.

“So if you get enough exercise, your shirt doesn’t look like that?”

Now here’s the part where I should be that great mom, that thinks about promoting healthy body image and fitness over appearance.  But I was on an emotional roller coaster.  Starting on that high of my shorts buttoned, then slammed down to “What is that?”.

I dug deep, looking for the good mommy who makes this a positive lesson…

“Honey, let’s stop talking about Mommy’s fat and get going”.

Yep, that was all I could muster.

I’ll try harder next time. 

And I’ll eat healthier.  And drink less.  And work out more.

Or just buy bigger shorts.

Disney DEFCON

The National Enquirer reported that I was the first person ever to actually fall off the face of the Earth.  While it may have felt like that, it wasn’t entirely true (just like most articles in the National Enquirer).

It is true that I have not logged into my blog dashboard in several weeks – the last few blogs I posted we’re on an automatic timer, similar to all the lights in my mental and real house.

I have spent the last three weeks on business trips and vacation.  I am not even sure my bed at home feels like my “real” bed yet. 

But I am back – did you get a chill? It’s okay to lie to me ya know.

There are so many stories I want to share with you.  I wrote so many posts in my head, but never took notes on them, so they are as forgotten as my exercise routine.  Here’s one that really seems to want to be written, because it has been rattling around in my mind (that was the tin pinging sound you heard) for days:

DEFCON is the Defense Readiness Condition used by the Armed Forces.  After spending a week in Disneyland with my kids, I felt it was my civic duty to share the following:

Disney DEFCON

5 – Lowest state of readiness.  You haven’t told the kids you’re going to Disneyland.  Life is peaceful.

4 – Increased intelligence and strengthened security measures.  The kids know they are going to Disneyland.  Care must be taken to ensure that they do not injure themselves when bouncing off the walls.  You also now have the opportunity to throw the entirely empty threat of cancelling the trip if they do not behave on the long car ride.  Good luck with that…

3 – Increase in force readiness above that required for normal readiness. You need a strategy for crowds, lines, food and the endless toy displays.  Here’s mine:

  • Crowds – The best defense is a good offense.  I started the week trying to avoid small children and other strollers.  After losing every toenail I own, I treated navigating Disneyland, during Spring Break, like a full contact, extreme sport.  Show no mercy.
  • Lines – Don’t be the sweet mom that stops to let the kids climb on sculptures, take pictures and play on slides.  Stick to the mission – rides!  Get them in early, then go back and take pictures with characters, play on the fake cars, ride the carousel and watch the shows while everyone else is standing in hour-long lines in the beating sun.
  • Food – Decide up front – are you a militant mom or a mom looking for a little peace?  I just wanted a little peace so I bought popcorn, churros and ice cream.  I also bought some food for my kids.
  • Toys – I decided before I left that each kid would get one toy/souvenir, period.  I even brought their tiaras and light sabers from home so I wouldn’t get hit up for those.  Before you second guess me, I did stick to the one souvenir rule, sort of.  They each got one thing – but each thing was bigger than I had planned.  I admit I am a sucker for a $65 Cinderella costume and since they didn’t have one in my size, I bought it for my daughter.  With my son, I had a rare opportunity to trump my husband and spontaneously buy a Lego for my son while my husband was getting the car.  I am usually the mean mom and it felt amazing to play the role of Disney Dad! 

2 – Further increase in force readiness, but less than maximum readiness.  DEFCON 2 hit on day 2 days 1, 2 and 3 for us. Be prepared for a scene, but take solace in the fact that your child’s screams will be drowned out by Disney music (I swear they have speakers as close as trash cans), the sound of the rides and 5,000 other screaming children.

1 – War is imminent. Proceed directly to California Adventure where they serve alcohol.

We hit DEFCON 1 on our final day in the park.  We still had planned to spend a few more hours there.  We went to California Adventure, drank two beers and left the park.  A full nuclear response was narrowly avoided.

Tell me a funny story from one of your family vacations.  And by funny, I mean one where I don’t look like the only crazy mom!

45 is the New Toddler

April 13, 2011 8 comments

There are endless effects of having children.  But did you know they make you younger?

Think about how your life changes when you have kids:

  • You are more prone to eating grilled cheese, quesadillas and macaroni and cheese
  • You have the frequent urge to burst into tears
  • You know the words to every kid song
  • You don’t think twice about being in public with a stained shirt
  • You get excited when Disney releases another movie from the vault
  • Your language goes from biker chick to “gosh darn” and “bust my buffers”

My dear friend made me aware of this phenomenon when she sent me the following text:

Cat just clawed the crap out of me.  I’m wearing a Scooby-Doo bandage and brushing my teeth with kid toothpaste.  45 is the new toddler.

Her one defining adult behavior?  She is drowning her sorrows in hot chocolate and Bailey’s!

Cheers to getting younger!

The Fountain of Youth

Thank You to My Parenting Village

April 8, 2011 13 comments

When it comes to parenting, they (whoever ‘they’ are) say “it takes a village”.  I whole-heartedly believe this is true.  As a working-mom, I rely on my village to make it all happen.  Carpools, playdates, meal swaps – my village works together to make sure our kids are dropped off, picked up, fed, have presents for parties and uniforms for games.

But not just working parents need the village.  Stay-at-home moms and dads need the village too.  They need a break from their precious darlings or they need back-up when they have four kids playing two sports each with games in different parts of the state.  Bottom line, all parents need a village.

What’s amazing about my village is how efficient it is, how seamlessly our villagers work to ensure the best for every child.  The other day, my son was standing in front of the school waiting to be picked up.  In the mere minutes that he waited, two of my friends checked to see if he had a ride.  They talked to the mother picking him up to make sure he was taken care of.  My son was not crying, he did not look distressed, but my friends in my village know the routine and they saw him in front a minute past when he normally is out there.  They made sure he was accounted for.

Having a village full of aware, considerate friends is more valuable than a job, a pay check or any other material thing.  My village watches out for my kids, shares tips and advice and picks me up on the low days we all have as parents.  We celebrate as a village too.  Lost teeth, passing the big test, learning to ride a bike; we rejoice as a village, thus making every celebration more monumental for our children.  The village, and the people of my village are amazing, unique and keep me balanced.

Thank you to my wonderful village, you make my heart full and my worries less.

What do you want to thank your village for?

My Son Has Hallmark Beat

March 31, 2011 11 comments

Yesterday was my birthday.  When my husband woke up at 6:30 am to make me breakfast (I am a lucky girl), he found my six-year old son already awake, working hard on this:

It read:

Dear mom, the hole family loves you, but the best part about you is eavin you loves yourself.  You ceap M and I rilly safe in this house and we all love you, nomter what.”

“Happy Birthday MOM!”

“MOM you are a star.”

I love everything about this card, especially:

  • The spontaneity, he did this on his own, without suggestion.  He couldn’t sleep because he was excited to write it
  • The fact that he values loving yourself.  If I helped instilled that in him, I am thrilled.
  • At an age where we discuss strangers, bad guys and monsters under the bed, he feels safe in his home.
  • The statement, ‘I love you no matter what’ has stuck with him.  I tell him this after I have to discipline him.  It warms my heart that he heard me.

My son loves to write.  He writes stories and illustrates them on his own.  I love that he has a passion for writing. 

I am humbled and touched that he so beautifully captured what I am trying to teach him.  Knowing that my parenting efforts are reaching him is the best birthday present I could receive.

What’s the best birthday present you have received?