Friday, May 31, 2013

Top 10 Reasons Why Parenting is Better than Flossing

1.  Going to the county fair and watching my daughter's eyes light up with pure joy is like reliving my childhood...only better.
2.  I no longer have to carry a purse when going to the mall, I can just lean on the stroller.
3.  I get kisses anytime I want.
4.  I always have wipes and band aids at any given moment.
5.  I will always have someone to teach me the latest technology and how to use my phone/computer as I get old.
6.  I can possess super hero powers by simply braving storms and using anti monster spray.
7.  No time to have a pity party.  Feeling sorry for myself is often cut short by screams of "Mom, I need something to drink!"
8.  Living with integrity is a must.  I am constantly held accountable for my actions by little voices saying, "Mommy, why did you do that?"
9. I can chow down a meal faster than anyone has ever witnessed and clean a house in record time.  I'm pretty sure I could be on in the Guiness book or world records.
10. I could be having the worst day ever and feel like my life is ending and one little smile or "I wuv you Mommy" from my daughter makes everything better.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Teaching Children Problem Solving Skills

Why is it that some people just seem to be born with better problem solving skills than others?  Sometimes it even seems like some kids are born happy (while other kids aren't!)  I would even venture to say that I was one of the kids that may not have been born "happy".  Maybe I wasn't born with the built in problem solving skills needed to be successful in life? I don't know! But I know that I experience a lot of frustration, anger, and felt misunderstood often.  For me, it's taken a lot of time and patience to learn how to handle things effectively to be successful in todays world.  It's an evolving process but I'm definitely not alone!  I'd say about half of all people are like me! It always seems like there's one in every family (not sure why that is!) that struggles more with problem solving and always seems to "overreact".  Understanding that some kids need more help with problem solving than other kids can really help create a healthier environment for your child and allow them to feel empowered and loved.  These are the kids that when they can't figure things out then they often feel inadequate (ex. these children often say, "I'm stupid!") and we can help them by giving them tools and setting boundaries in order to handle challenging situations effectively.  Here are a few ways that can help your child (and even help you as well!)

1.  Negotiation.  When a child wants a toy that another child has, he may yell because he doesn't know how to handle the situation.  Try getting down on your child's level and tell him you can tell he is frustrated because he wants a toy, then help him find a toy that he may be able to offer the other child in exchange for what he wants.  Of course, this doesn't work all the time but you are teaching the art of negotiation- a tool they will use for a lifetime!

2.  Find a new path.  I once heard a great story about a group of guys who were trying to figure out how to move a huge rock and finally decided to dig around it and let it move into the ground.  This is a great lesson for thinking outside the box and being creative to find a solution.  If your child is getting frustrated with his homework, ask him if he has utilized his resources (in an age appropriate way).  Sometimes, he can find someone to help him, or maybe even take a 5 minute break to regroup.  It may be helpful to have a little pile of index cards with reminders in case they need help....this is a step in allowing him to problem solve on his own without asking you every time.

3.  Acceptance.  What happens when you can't get what you want?  Acceptance seems like an easy answer but it takes some time to process for some children.  Think about a time when you wanted something so badly and couldn't have it.  How did you feel in the moment?  It can be confusing and frustrating.  Avoid saying things like "Relax!" (because they probably would relax if they knew how) or "It's not the end of the world" (because to them it does seem like the end of the world and they aren't sure how to handle their frustrations).  Try reminding your child of a time when they didn't get what they wanted and everything still worked out (ex. "Remember when you wanted to go fishing and it didn't turn out to be what you thought?  We later joked about the fishing trip and you didn't feel sad anymore, right?"

4.  Humor - Cracking a joke when your child is feeling angry may not help the situation because they will feel that you are not taking them seriously. However, using a little humor to distract a child can often help dissipate a frustrating situation (if you do it the right way).  Here's how...when a child is having a challenging day, try having them stand up and turn around with you and say, "Let's turn things around!" This activity still lets them know that you understand they are frustrated but makes them smile and maybe even laugh!

5.  Set a good example - What happens when you get lost or someone cuts you off on the highway?  Try using some of the above tools to handle these situations without loosing your cool.  Remember, your children are always watching and learning from you!

Managing Stressful Situations

Life often hands us challenging circumstances.  Sometimes, I get so tired of all the cliche know..."this too shall pass", "follow your intuition", and "everything happens for a reason" Although I know that all these sayings may be true, it's often frustrating to when I really just feel sorry for myself and be mad-at least for a day or two.
Recently, life has been challenging for me-I'm going through a divorce and now I've been diagnosed with Lyme disease.  Sometimes I feel like I'm those moles on the whack a mole game you see on the board walk.  You know, the game where the moles keep trying to come up and someone whacks them back down.  I keep trying to keep my head above water and life keeps pushing me back down.  How do you get ahead when you can't see two feet in front of you I often wonder? Why is God giving me these challenges all at the same time? 
One thing that often helps me in the moment is something that comes from the AA 12 Step Program called H.A.L.T (hungry, angry lonely, tired).  Isn't it ironic that as mothers we constantly rule these things out when our children are having a difficult time but forget to assess ourselves when we are struggling?  Often times, when we meet our basic primal needs such as food, sleep, and love, we are able to step outside the stressful situation and see the big picture  (which of course is always something manageable!) 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Attention Humble Moms!

Another Mother's Day is going to come and go and millions of mothers out there are going to let it pass without REALLY thinking about their value!  It's almost expected that mother's say, "Oh, I'M not a great mom!" or "Oh, I don't really do THAT much!" but the truth is accepting praise isn't a bad thing!  Usually, Moms think about all the mistakes we make instead of remembering that we created a human being! After all....we BIRTHED a  PERSON!!! In addition, we are raising them! We make sure they are safe, cared for, use manners, are kind to others, go to school, put on their seat belts, brush their teeth and on and on....yet we underestimate all that we do!!  Here's the thing that so many women don't's not egotistical or selfish to acknowledge your accomplishments (f you go door to door holding up a sign it might be a little different) but accepting gratitude and being proud of your accomplishments is important and necessary! So, this Mother's Day, I challenge all you humble moms out there to take a minute to acknowledge all your hard work and allow someone to make you breakfast in bed without feeling guilty!!

Friday, May 3, 2013


I found myself tired the other day. You know the 'can't see straight, anxiety provoking, can't get out of bed, dragging yourself around and feeling like a robot' kind of tired.  I was so tired that I was literally getting dizzy. 
I started thinking about how I spent my day today.  I started the day by making butterfly shaped pancakes for my daughters then went on my day like usual trying to be the best mom I can be with picnics, crafts, reading, etc.  I want my kids to have a good childhood and be happy with fond memories so I like to do as many things as possible....but sometimes I drive myself CRAZY!
Then I started thinking about Mother's Day and it occurred to me....I'm just a Mom.  I don't need to be teaching letters all the time while reading books...that's what she has a teacher for.  I don't need to be googling every little ailment, that's what doctors are for...and I don't need to be entertaining her all the time...that's why God gave her an imagination.
These days we can thank Pinterest for all the ways that we can create the perfect life and the perfect child by giving elaborate birthday parties, doing the cutest crafts, and of course knowing every discipline strategy to get your child to behave perfectly.  But the truth is that I am just a mom and they are just kids.  The truth is putting all the stress on myself only makes my children's childhood more stressful (the exact opposite of what I want to do!).  The most important thing is to love my daughters, take care of them, listen to them, be respectful, truthful, and give them lots of hugs and kisses.  Does it really have to be that difficult? I don't think so!
Well, today I'm going to retire the superhero cape and simply be a mom....a loving, honest, and fun mom that's not stressing about doing everything perfect.....just a Mom.