Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Practicing Detachment

I love boundaries.  I used to think that I had good boundaries.  I stuck up for myself and I confronted issues I had with people.  Then, I started martial arts and I quickly started realizing that I sucked at setting boundaries!  One of the biggest things I learned in my training was how to set boundaries in a more effective way (usually before the problem even happens).  Of course, this takes a lot of practice but is so much more effective!
One thing that I've realized is that I often use sarcasm or give unsolicited advice.  This has caused me a lot of problems with relatives and loved ones.  When someone is telling me about a problem, I have started asking myself if they are asking me for advice or just venting.  Often, they are just wanting someone to listen and they are looking for support.  Most of the time, they can figure out the problem on their own and don't need me at all (hmmm....imagine that!?) 
Here's an example. 
Let's say I have a teenage daughter that is hanging out with some friends that I don't think are good for her.  She begins to tell me about some of the things they are doing that aren't particularly healthy.  If I begin to tell her what she should say then I am robbing her from being able to process the situation on her own.  Instead, if I ask her what she thinks she should do about the situation then I am preparing her to better handle difficult situations on her own and not depend on me. 
As difficult as this is for the parent, it's essential for kids to begin to figure things out on their own and gain the self esteem they need to feel good about the decisions they make (and have someone encouraging them).  In addition, this will make it easier for her to come and talk to me next time without feeling judged.  This is true not only for communicating with teenagers but for adults as well.

What I have learned recently is that I need to practice these kinds of conversations with many people in my life.  I often put myself in situations where I am giving unsolicited advice without even realizing it.  I am learning to stop myself and simply listen.  If people come to me with the same type of problems that they put themselves in again and again, I am starting to limit my interactions with them.  I am not cutting the relationship off but I am detaching with love and giving them the freedom to grow (if they choose!).  For example, limiting conversations to once a week or once every 2 weeks can be a good thing for everyone involved when someone is in a unhealthy situation.

I truly believe that using these boundaries has helped make my relationships with other people more authentic and much more pleasant (just ask my husband!)  Also, I have learned that focusing on my own goals and priorities instead of others has made me a happier and healthier mom and individual.

Do you have other ideas/ways that help you set healthy boundaries with your loved ones?  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Saving Gas Money

1.  Staycation or vacation close to home this summer.
2.  Bike riding to destinations close by can be a great way to get our family to exercise (and save money at the same time).
3.  Consider taking the train or using a smaller car whenever possible.
4.  Use a website like gas (which is also available for the Droid users) to find the lowest gas price near you or download an app like SmartFuel.
5.  Sit down and look at your budget to see other ways you can save money.  Make it fun and challenge yourselves to see who can save the most money.  Cutting out coffee shops, cutting coupons, and calling cable companies for their latest deal are the most popular ways to save cash fast.

Did you see us on channel 10 NBC?!/on-air/as-seen-on/Interview-with-the-Mommy-Blogger/114168369

Cleanliness Gone Too Far?

I tell my daughter all the time that if she wants her toys to be good to her, she has to be good to them.  I believe this to be true.  A clean house is a good thing.  Keeping things organized and clean is a great habit to teach our kids and allows them to be able to use their toys for a long time.  Also, if things are organized than we know where the toys are, what needs to be tossed, rotated, or most importantly what we should enjoy!  But if our BIGGEST concern is cleanliness than we might be accidentally sending our children a message that they are not important.
I know for me personally, it's easy to focus on putting things away, organizing, or cleaning the bathroom.  It's tangible, I can see the results, and it sparkles!!!  It's something I have complete control over....but the real question is, is it really a problem if the bathroom sink has some toothpaste on it or is it more important to get on the floor and spend quality time with my child playing that matching game for the millionth time? If I stay awake til midnight cleaning the kitchen floor or organizing the basement, I may be short tempered and impatient with my child in the morning (perhaps sending mixed messages to my family about what it most important to me).  If I'm cleaning out the fridge instead of going to bed with my husband at night, am I accidentally making him feel unimportant or unappreciated?

If you find yourself obsessing over a clean house, maybe it's time to shift your focus toward taking pride in how much time your spending with the children and let go of the household checklist a little.  The results of spending quality time with the children (or husband) may not be as obvious as that perfectly organized playroom but the impact is a greater one!  Your child will feel that they are more important than the pieces of cracker in the corner of the living room floor or how organized the tupperware drawer looks.  The outcome may not shine like the windows in the front of your house but the quality time spent with you husband or child may be a lasting memory that they will hold onto for years to come.   

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Helping Children Through Divorce

There's no getting around it...divorce is very challenging, especially when children are involved.  But many well rounded, happy, and successful people evolve from a broken family. SO, how is it done? I found a great article from offers some great ideas and tools for parents who are trying to make divorce as easy as possible on their children.  Many parents struggle with trying to keep their differences with their spouses separate from their relationship with their children.

Recently, many celebrities are appearing to be "happily divorced" and appear to make the best of the situation.  What can these celebrities teach us?  Well, we know they think twice before talking badly about each other in public (no trash tweeting) and they manage to find the things that they like about each other and make the best of those attributes.  Courtney Cox and David Arquette work together on the set and off the set as a team. Are they perfect? No, of course not! Divorce is not easy and everyone makes mistakes but from what it looks like, they know how to work together despite their divorce.

Are you a step mother in a blended family? Dating or marrying someone who has been divorced and has children can be very challenging as well.  Here are some websites that may help you with some of your challenges..

Friday, February 10, 2012

Top 5 Habits of Happy Mothers

1.  Working part time outside the house (yes, it's a fact...the happiest mothers work park time)
2.  Setting aside time for yourself every week (or every day)
3.  Being willing to be a "good enough mom"
4.  Being able to divide your time effectively without multitasking constantly (Face are human and can't do 10 things at one time! There are times when complete focus is essential in order to be successful!)
5.  Being able to communicate your needs effectively and delegate tasks to others

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Creating a Family Business Plan

One of Hollywood’s biggest couples, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, has appeared to survive the stress of Hollywood. We think our lives are stressful, but how do they manage along with two huge careers and a whole lot of media attention?

Oprah recently interviewed this amazing couple and they revealed some interesting ideas about how they view the family unit. First of all, they have designed a family business plan. I am a huge fan of goals and plans so this definitely sparked my attention. They decided that they need a plan to “facilitate and encourage the individuality of their children.” What a great idea!! They also mentioned that they expect their children to find their own way to add to the family group, neighborhood, and humanity.

As a person who has ADD, I definitely think staying on a plan is helpful to stay focused on your priorities. If having a respectful, happy family is a priority than it makes perfect sense to have a plan so everyone is on the same page and knows their role and expectations.

So, how do Will and Jada keep the spark alive in their relationship? Check out this clip I have a hard time understanding how Jada Pinkett Smith has to work at being attractive to her spouse (considering she is so freakin’ beautiful!) but I’m sure every couple has challenges in this area at times in their relationship. It’s nice to know I’m not alone at having to work at keeping my sex life alive sometimes! But I believe that keeping your love alive as a couple, keeps the family alive as a whole.
Finally, the Smiths’ allowed their young daughter to shave the sides of her hair and shave a star design into it. Hmmm…If my daughter asked me if she could do that, how would I respond? That’s a tough one! Well, I would not be excited about it for sure, but isn’t it my job to encourage her to be proud of who she is, make her think she is beautiful no matter what, and encourage her to be creative? Will explained, “Your children can have as much ‘freedom’ as they can handle, then if they make a mistake you have to pull back those freedoms. Not necessarily in punishments, but revoke some freedoms.”

It’s a struggle to pick your battles when your children want something that you don’t especially like, but isn’t it our job to encourage individuality? After hearing the Smith’s perspective, I will think again when my daughter asks me for something I think is absolutely ridiculous.

I find this Hollywood couple to be such an inspiration to the everyday family. Although we look at them like they ‘have it made’, I am convinced that living in the spotlight has tremendous challenges. Although, every family has their problems, I really admire their motivation, devotion, and respect for one another and feel we can all learn from their ideas….I know I have!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Nate Berkus Show!

I took a trip to NYC to see a taping of the Nate Berkus Show with some of my girlfriends! It was such a fun day and a great escape from my adorable kiddos!