In between overdoing it

Contrary to what some writers and sports analyst think being the smallest and youngest does not guarantee failure in a persons athletic career. Lessons are learned by team sports which go far beyond physicality, follow a child through their entire life and set them up for success.

My son is super active and in constant motion. We figured sports would help put that energy to use. We really didn’t give that much thought to the myriad of lessons learned through team sports. As we approach the end of the season I am reflecting on the amazing change and growth that team sports has brought in my child.

My son actually began with T-Ball and had an instant love for the sport. He took to it easy and made friends quickly. However, he is literally the youngest…I mean the absolute youngest player in the entire league. Due to when the division cut offs fall and when his birthday is. Much like school, in sports he is the youngest one out there.

Age is nothing but a number

If you have ready Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers, ” then you might have thought, much like myself, that having the youngest smallest child in sports would be to set him up for failure in life.  According to NY Magazine, one of Mr. Gladwell’s points is “…an initial advantage attributable to age gets turned into a more profound advantage over time.” This theory has become known as the Relative Age Effect and in my view is  bull.

Me and my husband initially considered theory for a long time and actually thought about holding my son back in school to ensure he was bigger, stronger and more mature when he began. However, intellectually he was ready and decided we would be doing his a disservice by holding him back.

When we signed him up for T-Ball, this idea came back to haunt me. Would he be the smallest? What if he is picked on? What if he struggle? How it effect his emotionally and scar him for life? Ok I probably was a bit over dramatic. But aside from the scarring him for life part all of that has happened and it is not a bad thing.

Season one and two

My son was the smallest. In being smaller and younger he did not have the motor coordination, at first, that the other players did. I watched in agony as he would miss ball after ball. However, my agony was not his. He was having a blast. He loved his coaches and they loved him as well. My son was learning what it was like to be part of a team and how to support your teammates.

More importantly he was learning resiliency. How to keep trying even if you might not get the results you want the first time. Each practice he tried his best. Never gave up and enjoyed every minute. By the end of the first year he was actually hitting the ball!

Season three

The second year brought new challenges. The size different between my son and the other kids were much more apparent. Likewise the skill level difference between him and other kids varied greatly. He fell somewhere in the middle, with older, bigger kids having more skill and motor control then he had. To my surprise there were older kids that were similar in stature to him struggled throughout the season.

Also, due to the cut off he was no longer in T-Ball. He was moved up (too soon in my opinion) to Coach Pitch. My son was scared he wouldn’t be able to do it and almost choose not the play. However, after meeting the coaches and other kids he wanted to try.

Sometimes he went game after game without a hit. Without a play or so much as touching the ball. There were a few times I turned to mush as he cried that he wanted to give up. The difference is he didn’t. He asked me and his Dad to practice with him more. (which we did.) He started to pay better attention during practice. With hands on his knees he was “baseball ready,” instead of throwing his mitt around the outfield.

While it was heartbreaking to see him leave the batter’s box dejected and sad, there was a lesson in this as well. It was a lesson about playing with Heart. Heart, Will, Determination, Fortitude, Resilience, call it what you will. It is what winning teams are made from.

You can see it time and time again when the underdog, underestimated teams blowing away their opponents. The 1980 US Hockey team, the 2004 Red Sox, and most recently the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs.  In most cases it is not purely, skill, strength or physical prowess that does the job. It is Heart and that is what my son was learning.

His abilities to field, hit and pay attention long enough to get through an inning were finally starting to come on line. By the end of the season he was hitting pretty regularly and had a good grasp of the game. Plus, he understood what it felt like to overcome a struggle.

Season Four

This past season was yet another lesson. Most of his teammate were almost a full 2 years older then he is. Many were now in travel ball league. This meant they had skills far beyond my son. I mean these kids were turning double plays! He had just learned how to hit. However, what surprised me was the social struggle. It seemed like none of the kids knew where they fit with each other. The age and skills varied so greatly. The older kids were not very nice. With the idea they were better players they acted like jerks to the younger kids.

My son, who pretty much gets along with everyone,  had a really hard time with this. It was the first time he was encountering bigger kids who were being bullies. He doesn’t really find them in school because of the anti-bullying efforts, but here on the ball field they still exist. I had a big issue with this and was ready to pull him out of the league.

However my husband stopped me. He reminded me that he NEEDS to learn how to deal with them. IF he doesn’t learn these lessons now he will have a harder time in life when he encounters bullies in the real world.  Boy was it tough to watch these kids but I knew he was right. he had to learn to stick up for himself. If things got bad I could step in. But as painfully hard as it was I had to let him fight his own battle. Uggg!

He was right, my son did learn how to stand up for himself. The effort in overcoming his fear also brought with it a new confidence in his abilities. I watched in amazement as he no only became a solid hitter he actually began to hit it into the outfield. Along with this his fielding also improved. With the encouragement and knowledge of incredible coaches he has grown into a strong player and a respected teammate.

Lessons for life

Being part of a team sport has brought along its challenges but the lessons learned and triumphs have been so worth it. These lessons learned through sports are what will make him a success, not the month he was born and when his birthday falls.  So Mr. Gladwell you are dead wrong that the smaller, younger kids are set up to fail due to age disadvantages that follow them through life.

You didn’t take into account all of the people like coaches, players, friends and family who help to mold them. Mr. Gladwell you also did not consider the many athlete’s who were not the ideal physical specimen, who might not have natural talent but still achieve greatness through hard work, will and determination.

Yes, my son is still the youngest and his is still one of the smallest but like many underestimated people he has Heart and that is what you need to win in the game of life.

 

 

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Why Are Adult Themes In Kids Shows?TV as Teacher

I am not sure how to begin this post. I know the words I am about to write will probably be misinterpreted by some and judged harshly by others but it is the way I feel at this moment. My daughter is 9, my son is 6. Tonight while watching a cartoon they have watched several times before. The story line went in a different direction. The two young characters in the show began talking about how one of the character’s Dad’s were going to have a baby. I thought I misheard it but I hadn’t they said Dad’s, as in 2 fathers.

My daughter promptly changed the channel. My son, not understanding the reference, asked her why she turned the channel. She got upset and left the room. I inquired with my daughter if she understood what they meant by two Dad’s. She said “yes, it meant boy’s liking boy’s…they were gay.” She said the show made was strange. I asked her to explain and she added it wasn’t something that she could explain. Sensing her confusion, I sat her down and tried to probe her further.

When did she first hear about someone who was gay? She said it was in a book or a show somewhere. Since I was unclear how the idea was presented I explained to her gay people are not bad, it is just part of who they are. It is nothing to feel weird about. They are just another form of a family. She seemed to understand the concept of “gay” better when I put it this way.

I recognize for a child who has knowns little to nothing about sexuality yet, the concept of being homosexual can be confusing. Most kids her age are not mature enough to understand what being “gay” means.  That is why I wish TV had not been the vehicle to introduce it.

Sex and violence in a kids movie?

Although the TV show did bring up something I would have addressed with her at some point anyway. I had to wonder why adult themes seem to be seeping into children’s shows? This is not the first time references to sex, sexuality and violence were blatantly broadcast in something made for children. Over Halloween, we attempted to watch the movie “Frankinweenie” and the boy in the movie actually says “sex and violence” within the first 5 minutes.

I know a lot was made about the “gay moment” in Beauty and the Beast but my concern is (from what I hear) the adult themes spread all over the movie. Far more overt then the “gay moment,” there are sexual innuendo and heightened violent scenes. Now I am not saying the makers of the film need to change their movie. By why not change the rating? Movies have gone from PG to PG-13 for less.

Skewing the demographics

Why does Hollywood seem to be hell bent on teaching children about adult themes before they are ready? Over the past year TV and movies have been much more lenient with what is allowed in a PG rating. Children’s channels previously free from overt violence and sexuality, like the Disney channel, are putting out adult like content such as their new show, Andi Mack, in which a teen girl discovers her older sister is actually her mother.

Why is this on a channel watched primarily by 2 to 11 year olds? Wouldn’t a show like this be more appropriate on a channel like Freeform or even Disney XD, which is geared towards teens?

From what I have read the reason for these adult theme children’s shows is the idea that children today are growing up faster and are looking for more “grown-up” storylines.” Sorry, I don’t by it. I think there is a  pressure on kids to grow up too fast and a lot of it comes from Hollywood and the media. These themes are being introduced more frequently in areas previously thought to be “kid-friendly.”

Not ready for prime time

They are coming up in shows and movies well before these kids are full equip, mentally and emotionally to

When I saw this graphic I was shocked. Had no idea something so violent was rated for a 14 year old viewer.

understand concepts like extreme-violence, teen pregnancy and sexual orientation. How could a 5-year-old be asking for shows with more adult theme like teen pregnancy when they don’t understand (and shouldn’t yet) what sex is?

The other prevailing school of thought is, we are only exposing children to something they will learn about anyway? So eventually they will learn about concepts like sexual abuse, drug addiction and murder. Should we be showing those images to a 5-year-old as well?

Some reading this post will think I am being overprotective, restrictive and even a bit of a homophobic. But I have talked to gay and straight parents about this. Many agree it is not so much the topic as the timing it is being introduced. For a teen questioning their sexuality or a 15-year old who is exposed to teen pregnancy, these are appropriate themes for a more mature time of life.

According to Dr. Meg Meeker, pediatrician and author,  “Talking to a child about sex when he is too young can be traumatizing, so parents must use their instincts and best judgement to take the cues and know when to begin talking to their kids about sex, letting them take the lead in their own time.”

TV time became a habit

I will admit this exposure by TV is also something of my own making. Most moms have done what I have. Put on Dora the Explorer for an hour when they were toddlers, so you can take a shower. But that has translated into TV become a daily part of family life.

Although, I am not happy about the adult themes popping up in shows made for young children. Family time is not about watching TV. It is about spending time together. I gave the content control over when I did this and let TV be the teacher. TV’s reference to a gay couple should not have been what prompted a discussion into differing family units and lifestyles. It should have been a more positively framed talk at a more mature, appropriate time.

By sitting them in front of the TV while I was on the computer or doing dishes, I created a habit. My responsibility and duty to preserve their innocence was given to Disney Channels and Cartoon Network producers. Blindly trusting them to keep the content safe and age-appropriate.

It is my job, not TV’s

In truth, they own me nothing. They do not know my kids and what they are ready for. Their goal is to produce shows they think people will watch and advertisers will buy into. It is my job to make sure the content is right for my children.

Still I don’t understand what the big push is to turn children into mini adults.  I know at some point I will have to have “the talk,” with my kids. When we I don’t want them to feel like they can not share their feelings with me because of something they saw on TV.

So for now, I will let my kids stay innocent just a while longer.  Adult life will come soon enough, quicker if Hollywood has their way. And when they are ready, and have questions. My kids can look to me to explain things…instead of learning it from TV.

do you see kindness or rudenessWhat ever happened to basic manners and consideration? I don’t know but it seems like more and more I am encountering people who lack simple manners. Driving to and from work I am floored by the basic arrogance and inconsideration of certain drivers. They not only flout the rules of the road, they think nothing of cutting into the middle of a turning lane and blocking all other traffic.

Lack of curtesy

I am witness to this lack of curtesy displayed in various other places. At the store, where a cashier doesn’t even greet or acknowledge the customer in front of them.  By teens walk into a building and let the door slam in the face of the elderly woman behind them. By customers being so focused on being the first in line they disregard fairness and decency.

And even acquaintances and co-workers passing a rude joke or comment with little to no thought about the other persons feelings. It seems like a general lack of inconsideration is gripping my community. An alarming amount of people seem to be displaying this behavior on a daily basis.

Me, Me, Me

Baring witness to the increase in these acts has been eating away at me. It made me start to question why this behavior was occurring. Are good people still left in the world or is it really all  “me, me me?” When you think  about it who did these people have to learn manners and consideration from?

Government and politicians can not longer engage in civil discourse in a respectful and dignified manner. Woman and young girls are taught crassness and rudeness are somehow cool and make you appear a strong woman. For boys being polite and considerate is considered a sign of weakness and being a mama’s boy.

The media and TV constantly reinforce this behavior as daring, cool and something to be emulated. Maybe it is because a large part of communication is happening online that people are forgetting basic interpersonal skills.

It is ok everyone does it

With the message that rudeness, inconsideration and lack of manner at acceptable behavior why would anyone care to consider others before themselves anymore. Why be concern that leaving your shopping cart in the middle of the grocery store aisle might make it harder for someone else to get by. It makes it easier for your.

Does it really matter if you are speaking loudly into your cellphone in an office where others are working. You should be able to do what you want to right? Who really cares if you take the last seat with no notice of the elderly man who is standing? What difference does it make if we bother saying thank you or your welcome. No one really does that anymore anyway right?

Well I hope I am wrong. Maybe it is just what I am seeing around here. Hopefully, in the little known small towns of America people still know how to treat each others.

Maybe it is not you its me

But maybe that is the point. Could it be all in my perspective? Maybe the moments I notice the bad behavior is when I might not be feeling my best, like at work or sitting in traffic. Because if I think about it, I have seen people be nice as well. I have been witness to  truly kind acts, like my daughter soccer team showing genuine concern after she had an on field bloody nose.

image from funny-pictures.picphotos.net

Or my wonderful neighbors who always let us know when my kids have left their toys out or the dog has wandered off. Then there is my husband who seems to always notice the needs of others in an amazingly intuitive way, giving them the comfort they needs.

Maybe kindness and rudness exist in tandem. In some places and times there may be more or less of each. It could be about what we choose to see just as much as what is really there. If we choose to see the rude, people then they will seem to be all around. But if we make the special effort to notice the kind acts, that might not be so apparent and often go over looked. Then this could be what makes the difference in our personal outlook and our world.

 

3 Ways to feel Renewed this SpringSpring is a time of renewal. A time when in many parts of the U.S we can finally open our windows and let the fresh air in. When I think of spring I think of flowers emerging from the ground, lying in green grass, and a general feeling of clean freshness. Living in South Florida, however, I have had to alter my idea of “spring” as the temperature usually climbs to reach the unbearable summer heat. But this doesn’t usually stop the “feeling” of spring and the need for a freshening up of sorts. Here are 3 ways that you can embrace the Spring feeling no matter what area of the country ( or world) you live.

Spring cleaning

I know it is kind of cliché but it really does go along with the whole I idea of freshening up. Don’t get overwhelmed here. It doesn’t have to be a stressed out whole house scrub down. Take on something small like cleaning out a linen closet. There is nothing like the feeling of getting into a bed with freshly laundered comfy sheets. Invest in some really nice ones that will make your bed into a haven of relaxation.

I cleaned out my jewelry box. This lonely little box has spent several years unopened and neglected. After having a babies who tugged and pulled on jewelry I gave up wearing any for years. This little clean out made realize how many of my pieces were tarnished and outdated. Some were broken or missing a match. But in the processes I discovered the impact jewelry had on adding sentiment and feeling to your wardrobe.

Now I am on the look out to add new pieces and have I actually think of adding jewelry to an outfit when I get dressed in the morning. Something I haven’t thought to do in years. The overall effect just made me feel better and more put together. Just the seemingly insignificant cleaning out my jewelry box made me feel like a new person.

Rest and Renew

Sleep we all need more of it but in the hectic work schedule very few of us consider if we are getting adequate rest. If you don’t get enough sleep your mind suffers. It makes you become forgetful, lack patience and can not think clearly. Likewise, your body suffers. Lack of sleep contributes to weight gain, inability to fight off colds and flu, and poor dietary choices. All of this can lead to bigger problems like hypertension, diabetes, and heart problems.

So the question becomes how do I get enough sleep? For one thing (I am totally guilty of this.) Put down the electronics. Scrolling through Facebook or sending out that last email or texts has been shown to keep us up much later then we should be according to this article in U.S. News.

Also keep a pen and paper by your bedside. If you are having anxiety about a full day tomorrow, writing out your feelings and making a plan might be the answer. Getting your anxieties out of your head and on paper just might be the cathartic process needed to quell your feelings of discomfort and clear your mind.

Connect with Nature

After spending a winter indoors make a special effort for at least a few minutes a day to spend sometime outside. We fill our days with “things to do.” We have a running list of activities, chores and errands that keep us busy but disconnected from our surroundings.  Take a moment to appreciate the cycle of the season and notice the world

around you emerging from winter.

Have a quiet moment outside with your cup of coffee. Go for a short walk on your lunch break. Plan a bike ride with your family. Enjoy the stillness of night sitting on your front steps. Whatever you choose to do find a way to connect with your environment.

Maybe for you this comes in the form of prayer, maybe it is meditation. For me walking outside helps me to feel refreshed and renewed. It clears my head and helps me to process my thoughts.

However you celebrate spring take it all as a sign that something new, warmer, and brighter is on the horizon. Happy Spring!

 

Baseball Wall and Boy's Bedroom Makeover -Part 1So I had this hair brained idea. One day while sitting in my son’s bedroom I started looking around and notice his room has changed little since he was born. Before his birth, my husband had painted our baby boys room a nice light blue. Being a Red Sox fan he also went out and purchase Red Sox Fathead vinyl wall decals. His baby furniture was  his sisters crib and changing table which was still in great condition. Later the table converted into a dresser and he got a  very basic “big boy” bed. As he grew we added a place for his books, an a few more pieces of décor like a shelf for his little league trophy’s.

He is not a baby anymore

However, as I sat in this baby blue room, I realized his room was mostly filled with items he has had since he was an infant. It was as if a 6-yer-old boys belongings were crammed into a toddlers space.   His Lego’s now take up all of the top surface of his dresser. His Star Wars and Ninja Turtle figures are overflowing out of the too small bins in his closet. The room did not really fit him anymore. His twin bed had no footboard or headboard and the changing table/ dresser was fat for this space.

Here came the mommy guilt when I realized in his 6 years of life his  sister had her room done over twice. (Once was because of a leak which caused us to have to replace her flooring.) How could I have been so unfair? He had never even  asked for his room to be redone like his sister had so it just never happened.

That is where my hair brained idea got its start.  I scoured Pinterest with my son by my side and grilled him on which pictures of boy rooms he liked. After a few days a patterned emerged. Thankfully, he was still drawn to a baseball theme, much to his Dad’s delight, so we could reuse the Red Sox images.

The Baseball Wall

I have never done a room redo on this blog and there is a reason. They are hard! Also, I am no design expert. but in perusing the internet I found my inspiration.  I would create a feature wall painted like the stitches of a baseball! My son was equally as excited by this idea.) It was similar to these here.

baseball wall

Image found on pinterest

baseball wall

Image found on pinterest

I was hoping to enlist my friend who has a whole lot more art talent them me, but we could never seem to get together a time.

After many months of putting it off I decided to get started. I painted 3 of the walls a nice leathery tan. Not wanting it to be too deep, since it is a very small room, I aimed for a color somewhere between infield dirt and a wood baseball bat. The painting went very smoothly for this part. However, after 6 years and a very active boy, the prep-work to repair holes and dings felt like it took ages.

It was up to me… with help from the Internet

Next came the hard part. How was I going to make this baseball wall happen? I mean, I am no artist. Could I really pull this off? I had already told my son I was going todo it. Him was excited so I had to at least try.

In my internet search I found a ton of pictures but surprisingly few tutorials about how to paint a baseball on a  wall. How do you get the shading of a roughed up ball? How to make the stitches even? There were some on how to create a template and paint the stitches. This one from gaining mommymentum   ,tippytoesandtantrums.com  and Simply Mom were the most helpful.

A change in direction

The job would be broken down into 3 parts; sketch out the stitches, faux paint the wall, paint the stitches. Sound pretty easy right? Boy was I wrong. Little did I know how in over my head I was Gaining Mommymentum had a great suggestion of using string and a pencil to sketch out the arch for the stiches in each corner. As I was about to get started I asked my son what he thought. Boy, did that go wrong. He stated he wanted the stiches from top to bottom not corner to corner. Like in this picture from the Creative Imperative, which incidentally became my inspiration picture. baseball wall

That literally changed the ball game. How was I got to accomplish that? The guy who did these was an artist and painted some amazing rooms.  I tried free handing it and made a huge pencil mess all over the wall which me and my son had to spend 15 minutes erasing. I tried to alter the string technique but the wall was just to big.

Goggle to the rescue. Searching “how to paint a curved line on a wall,” and found this tutorial from thehippiehomestead. I proceeded to measure out where my curve would start at the top of the wall, where the middle point would be, then where the bottom matching point was. Using thumb tack to mark each, I then stretched a piece of string around the points.

sorry about the ladder I had no where to move it

I could not get the long pieces of tape to curve the way he did, so I finally gave up and went with small pieces of tape to hold the string in place. Then traced the curve out in small increments between the tape pieces along the edge of my string. This worked ok since I wanted my line to be pretty thin anyway.

And we’re blending

Once I was happy with the curve and felt pretty good about myself, I started in on the paint.  Having already done a base white coat after prepping and sanding the wall, I thought this part might be decently easy.  At this point my kids really wanted to help. Since I didn’t really know what I was doing I might as well let them have at it. My plan was to mix 1 part brown paint, 1 part white paint and 2 parts glaze to create a light brownish.

The Creative Imperative post states she basically put it on the wall and blended. Granted she has an artists eye and I do not. But this method appealed to me as it required the least amount of tools and seemed easiest, so I went for it. I let my kids do the bottom and I did the top.

What happened to the wall?

We were all swishing and blending away having a great time. After a while I stepped back to observe. Here is were I get nervous. This was not looking like a roughed up baseball. It was looking like a brown disaster. What was I thinking? My kids were having a blast but I kept thinking about how I was going to fix this?

We stopped to take a break and ran back out to Home Depot and get some small roller brushes. The solution, I decided, would be to cover it with a white glaze mixture. Hopefully, that will knockdown the harsh brush strokes and way too dark brown streaks. By this point my husband popped his head in on his way out to work. I could see from the look on his face he was a bit worried about the brown streaky mess I had created on my son’s wall. He said goodbyes and didn’t mention anything about the paint job.(Which was for the best.)

Now to fix this mess

After our second run to Home Depot, a stop for some dinner ingredients and a short time outside playing catch. I got back to painting feeling much better about the prospect. The white glaze mixture worked out perfectly. It totally toned down the wall and mellowed out the streakiness. To my surprise it actually was looking more like a dirty baseball and less like a lunatic ran around with brown paint. painted wall I was so relieve. It was actually starting to look like the inspiration picture!

Now for the stitches

Then came the hardest part of the painting. The part that took a steady hand. (Which I do not have.) Painting the stitches. I tried to use a small form brush as mentioned in one of the tutorials. I guess I was a little nervous and pushed too hard making a big jagged red mark. The line was uneven, wonky and way too thick in several places. A crooked red streak on a white wall. But tippytoesandtantrums.com said she felt the same about her initial line. (Although I doubt hers was anywhere need as bad as mine.)

I  found a smaller brush with a firmer edge and decided it might work better. The second line was much thinner and less jagged. Although, I had to touch up several spots where I had accidentally gotten red in places, all in all the second curve came out much more to my liking. White paint was my friend and I made that first curve disappear and attempted it another time. Even though it was not perfect it was much better then the first time around.

Use what is around

As mentioned in one of the tutorials I created a template to paint on the “v” stitches.  I used a paint swatch card and cut a simple v into it. For a spacer I found a pack of gum my kids had finished off that was the perfect size.

Starting off lightly at first and it was slow going. Got to tell you this was tedious and I kept getting red paint on everything. But then the magic happened and you could see a baseball emerge from a plan wall. This was the cool part. Once all the laces were drawn in, I went back over them to neaten and darken them up a bit. Then I stood back and stared in amazement. There it was a baseball on my son’s wall…and I, the non-artist, had done it.  Pretty awesome!

Then I looked around the rest of his room littered with painters tape, string,  foam brushes, drop cloths, ninja turtle figures and wondered who was going to clean up this mess. Next month I will post part two of my son’s baseball bedroom makeover where I will talk about his furniture and reveal the finished room.

letting go of something toxic

Letting Go of Something Toxic

This month in the “Taking Care of Me” series we focus on letting go of something that makes us feel bad about ourselves. We say good-by to something toxic. The toxic thing makes us feel icky from the inside out. It drags us down and gives us a terrible outlook and a warped perception of reality. This toxic thing could be anything from a toxic friend we haven’t cut loose, toxic food we know we shouldn’t be eating, or a toxic mindset. This toxic thing might be different for each person.

Part of this month’s journey is about “letting go” as much as it is about “taking care of.” It is kind of ironic that my phase for 2017 is “letting go.” One year of taking care of meThis month I can identify 3 areas where  I have tried to remove toxic things from my life.

Toxic thoughts

I have experienced this mostly at work, but sometimes in my family life. This month tried to honed in on some of the thought patterns that have made me feel like bursting into tears and disgusted with myself at the same time.

In this I discovered one of the areas incubating these thought was coming through gossip. What seemed like friendly work conversation was actually gossip and I was a part of it a lot more then I wanted to be. Gossip does nothing but bring others and yourself down. It is one of the most toxic things in a work environment. Once I recognized how much I was engaging in gossip I was pretty disgusted with myself.

However, it was much harder to remove myself from it in a work environment then expected. Not wanting to come off like I didn’t care or create an enemy I had a hard time navigating around these types of discussions. This “How to avoid gossiping”  from Wikihow.com illustrated some easy ways to deal with gossip which were very helpful for me.

Toxic people

I know we have all heard about toxic relationships but have you ever really looked at how it is defined?

According to healhscopmag.com, “a toxic relationship is a relationship characterized by behaviors on the part of the toxic partner that are emotionally and, not infrequently, physically damaging to their partner…a toxic relationship damages self-esteem and drains energy...A toxic relationship is characterized by insecurity, self-centeredness, dominance, control. We risk our very being by staying in such a relationship. To say a toxic relationship is dysfunctional is, at best, an understatement.”

This seems pretty straight forward right? Who wouldn’t avoid these types of people ? But I don’t think toxic people are as easy to identify, at least not at first. And what if they are say…family members, what then? Is it possible to cut off what makes them toxic without ending the whole relationship? This was something that I had to confront this month. In my case, due to the nature of our relationship, I was unable to disconnect from this person fully. But I began to recognize and distance myself when the toxic behavior began to occur.

Has our relationship changed? Greatly. We will never have the closeness I once believed we did. However, there is still a relationship and now I feel it is on my terms. I no longer end the conversation feeling bad or inadequate.  It was really tough to accept this person is just this way and I can not change them or accept the behavior. But as the weeks went on and I ended conversations when they steered down a toxic path, I felt more in control. So while I can not fully “let go,” of them I can “let go” of the toxic behavior.

Toxic body

Our mental and emotional state are completely effected by our physical state. For many months I have been suffering from colds, the flu and various other illnesses. I felt completely run down and wiped out, needing to rest. But instead I pushed through and developed a sort of anxiety driven insomnia. Likewise, I was not taking the time to workout or eat right. Heck, I hadn’t packed myself a proper lunch since before Christmas! I just didn’t have the time.

All of this came to light this month when I finally had a chance to rest during a family vacation cruise. It was amazing! I had 7 full days of solid sleep. I eat normal food at appropriate times of the day and physically exerted myself again. Likewise, I also had minimal contact with a computer or cell phone. It was eye-opening.

I had no idea how tired and run down I was until I woke up a few days into the cruise feeling better then I had in months. My whole outlook changed. Energy, absent for about a half a year, returned. More importantly, an overall sense of well-being and positivity came back. Since returning from our vacation I recognize I was neglecting my health. This effected my emotional health more then I realized.

Even thought I know the value of proper nutrition and adequate rest, I still let these things get away from me and my mental health, as well as my physical health suffered. This month I was lucky to discover I was cultivating a toxic body. Sometimes our body is telling us what we need, we just have to listen.

Have you let go of something toxic in your life this month? How did it go? Was it difficult or did you find it easier then expected? HOw do you feel know that the toxic thing is gone?

 

CleaningLately when I clean I am trying to get as much done as possible in the shortest amount of time. I never seem to have a decent chunk of time to devote to a deep clean. Because of this state of perpetual rush, I often do not have the less used cleaning supplies on hand such as drain de-clogger, dishwashing cleaner and soap scum remover. I don’t buy these types of products often and because they tend to have harsh chemicals I am reluctant to use them. (I once used way to much shower cleaner and I made myself sick from the smell. )

This has lead me to explore Pinterest and the internet for more natural, quick assemble cleaners with items I might have in the pantry instead of having to run to the store for expensive cleaners. Luckily, it seems almost everything can be cleaned with vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice.

It appears only the method and applications of cleaning differ.  One downside of more natural cleaners is that they don’t usually have the strength of the store bought versions. For that reason I have been on a hunt to find applications and ingredients that will actually work in a busy house of kids and pets.

So far here are the ones that have been working well for me. If you have any natural go-to cleaners or a method that you swear by I would really appreciate if you shared them here.  Would love to here if  natural cleaners are working in your home.

How To Clean Your Dishwasher from Cleanmama.net

Dishwasher cleaner

Homemade Drain De-clogger from onegoodthingbyjillee.com

unclog a sink

Garbage Disposal Cleaner and Refreshers from cleanandscentsible.com

garbage disposal cleaner

How to clean your glass Cooktop from HappyMamaTales.com

DIY Window Cleaner from cuckooforcoupondeals.com

 

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