In between overdoing it

Posts tagged ‘children’

5 Ways to Build a Girls Self Worth

5 Ways to Build a Girls Self WorthGrowing up we all had that one friend who would say they were your bestie but the moment someone “cooler” came along they would drop you like a bad habit. These people would return to you when there was nothing else to do or when no one else was around only to flat leave you all over again. This behavior would play on repeat until you would finally decide you had enough and end the “friendship.” These are known as fair weather friends.

growing up I was not the try of kid who would ever hurt anyone’s feelings. Basically I was a doormat. Letting these fair-weather friends walk all over me. Then one day I decided to put a stop to it. Fast forward to today as I watch this same situation play out with my own children. I watch as the fair-weather friend mistreats my daughter. Invites her over then drops her when another friend can come over instead.

I stand by silently as my daughter cries as this little girl brags to her and puts her down. I sit silently and I wait. I wait for the moment when my daughter will fight back. When she will see here own greatness. I wait until the flurry of words explodes from her so that this girl never messes with her again. I wait but it doesn’t happen. My heart breaks as I see the pain on her face.

Honestly, I wish it could jump in and defend her, protect her from this little evil being hurting my little girl. But I know this is not my fight. She needs to find her own greatness, her own self worth. Something I never learned until far to late.

It will happen one day soon when she has had enough but part of me wonders if I can’t help her more. No, I don’t mean Marching in costumed body parts, wearing pink caps and shouting baseless claims of “resistance.” I mean really teaching a girl her worth. Helping her find her self respect. To stand up to other girls as she will eventually have to stand up to other women and men. Here are 5 ways to build a girls self worth.

Don’t raise her as a “pleaser.

According to Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair, EdD, a clinical psychologist, we should encourage her to stand up for what she needs and wants. “Create opportunities for her to use her voice,”  “Ask ‘What do you want?’ Let her make a choice and then honor that choice.” – from ChildMind.org.

Set an Example

Don’t trash talk other women or yourself. ” …if a mom is gossiping about one of her friends on the phone and the daughter overhears this, that memory is in her brain forever and she will be more inclined to gossip with her friends as she grows up.”- says Lauren Galley, President of Girls Above Society. (Huffington Post)

Get her into Team Sports

According to an article from Kidsealth.org, playing sports builds self-confidence. “Girls involved in athletics feel better about themselves, both physically and socially. It helps to build confidence when you see your skills improving and your goals becoming reality. Other esteem-boosting benefits of sports participation include getting in shape, maintaining a healthy weight, and making new friends,” it says.

Be wise to media images

Some media images such as plus sized models and female athletes can help young girls feel accepted and empowered. But more often then not TV, movies and magazines are flooded with images that stress “ideal beauty” and appearance. As well as the over equalization of women and young girls.

Girls’ confidence frequently drops in the pre-teen years as they begin to base their feelings of self-worth more and more heavily on appearance and weight,” says Media Smarts.ca. It is important to limit exposure to media images and have an open dialogue with your daughter about how the media depicts women.

Tell them their value and you love them no matter what

Our girls need to be told tell have value. We often tell them what they have done wrong but we also need to be praise them.  Let them know that their unique gifts, talents, and abilities have value. They are unique and individual. We love them for the person they are not there appearance or accomplishments.

She needs to know that you’ll love her no matter how her appearance might change or how she dresses or how she might perform at something,” says Dr. Mary Rooney, PhD, a clinical psychologist who specializes in adolescents. Rooney adds “Because even though kids are so reliant on their peers for feedback when they’re in their teens, what her parents think of her matters just as much as it ever did.”- Childmind.org.

 

 

Why Are Adult Themes In Kids Shows?

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 😄, 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.

Baseball Wall and Boy’s Bedroom Makeover -Part 1

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.

5 Things for Parents to Remember on the Sidelines of Youth Sports

5 things for parents to remember on the sidelines of youth sportsPlaying youth sports has so many benefits. It teaches teamwork, leadership, and perseverance among other things. These are skills a child will refer back to their entire life. Becoming involved in sports helps to shape children into amazing adults, productive human beings and incredible role models. Having my children involved in sports teams it is fascinating to watch as they learn new skills, develop leadership and overcome interpersonal challenges.

Once of the most heart warming of sights is seeing my son light up when his coach takes special time with him to congratulate or teach him a new skill. Coaches have such an important role in the life of these beginning athletes. They teach them valuable skills and connect with them in a different way then a parent. [ctt title=”Coaches are role models. They are an important influence in teaching kids how to become good, well-rounded human beings.” tweet=”Coaches are role models. They are an important influence in teaching kids how to become good, well-rounded human beings.” coverup=”EK09j”]

For this reason I have always felt an immediate respect for these types of coaches, especially those who are unpaid volunteers. They give so much of themselves and their time to help make children into a better people. While coaches and the team setting are important, there is one piece of this puzzle than I am leaving out. This is the person who can make or break the childhood sports experience. That is the parent.

I look back on fond memories shared with my dad as he yelled from the sidelines of my soccer game. It was one of the few occasions in our relationship where I felt he truly believed in me and will always be something I cherish . Unfortunately, this is not always be the behavior of parents on the sidelines or youth sports coaches.

Since the inception of youth teams there have always been “those ” parents. You know the one. The one with a secret dream of become an NFL star, or Major Leaguer but never got a chance. These are the ones that do not just believe their 5 year old can be the next Johnny Bench or Magic  Johnson. They are determined to make is happen.

They get a bit overzealous and turn the game from being light-hearted fun into pressure filled warfare. We can all have be this parent from time to time but most of us can pull ourselves back from the edge and leave the coaching to the coach. However, their are some adults who forget these are kids and this is just a game.

It has gotten so bad that most youth leagues now require parents sign a Code of Ethics pledge. The code of ethics is intended to remind parents to well…act like adults. Apparently, it has happened enough times and in enough instances that a signed document is necessary to keep parents in check.

I can say from personal experience I became totally disgusted when a parent coach in my sons little league violated this pledge. He was a coach/player parent/league administrator and for years has used his position to cherry pick his teams. Selecting only the best, most experienced and oldest players to dominate over all others grade schoolers and win the championship each season. He had to secure the coveted plastic, baseball batter atop a metallic blue stand. The underwhelming trophy telling everyone he is a “T-ball Championship Winner.”

These are 6 and 7- year-olds! The dejected look on my son’s face knowing this team was unbeatable, broke my heart. To hear his team members sadly state they were going to loss before the game ever started, was awful. All for what? What skills did this teach any of them. What challenge did it present to the other team? All so a pathetic, broken man could fulfill his dream of little league domination.

In another instance there are the parents who cart there kid all over creation because the have to be part of a “travel” team. They must attend completions and tournaments. Don’t get me wrong if the kid wants to do this it could be a genuine special memory between parent and child. The problem comes in when the need of the parent to relive their glory days outweigh the logic of the situation. Like having your 7-year-old spend summer weekend in another state competing when all they really want to do is be home playing with their friends.

As parents we only want the best for our children. That being said, we all have the potential to be those parents. We just lose sight of why our kids are playing sports in the first place. To have fun. Here are five ways to keep yourself in check as a parent of a young athlete.

Model good sportsmanship

Recognize your child will take their cues from your behavior. If you bad-mouth another team or player they will think this is acceptable behavior and follow suit.

Recognize the team in addition to your child

It is important to not fixate only on the actions of just our child. Recognizing the accomplishments other players in front of your child helps demonstrates leadership and teamwork. Encouraging your child to cheer on and congratulate others will also foster these skills.

Demonstrate Respect

Always speak to other parents, coaches, umpires and referees with respect even when you disagree. Little eyes are watching and little ears are listening. If you are feeling to emotional to restrain yourself. Walk away.

Make sure you are not pressuring your kids to live out your dreams

This is a tough one and it is easy to fall into without noticing. Everyone harbors secret dreams that their 7-year-old child will be the phenome player heading to the big leagues. But sometimes these secret hopes don’t remain secret. Some of the warning signs are being overly critical if you child misses a play or expecting them to play at a level well beyond their age and physicality. If you are buying your kid expensive equipment they never asked for it might be a good idea to examine what emotions you have invested in their sport.

Remember you are the parent, not the player

Be attentive to the needs and emotions as they grow in their sport. Also know when to step back, let them learn and find their own way. Allow them to be a kid who loves to play without the pressure of being the best. Look for chances to encourage and build self esteem. When they make a misstep help them learn to deal with losses and mistakes with grace and dignity. If parents can accept their supporting role, instead of coach or former player, then a lifetime of teachable moments, beautiful memories and valuable skills await.

 

hint with a kick of natural caffeine

Moderating Family Vacations

 

cruiseIf you are like me, you love the idea of family vacations. Then you realize all the work you have to do as the mom and primary planner/packer/ organizer of said vacation. As I am writing this, I’m getting ready to head off on vacation and have a mountain of laundry, packing and cleaning to do before we leave. However, I take comfort in knowing  this time,  I can actually get to relax and be on vacation!

The only vacation where Mom’s get pampered

This vacation we are going on a cruise!  I have found cruises to be truly restful and restorative. Unlike other vacations where meal planning, itinerary and accommodations are still mom’s domain. With a cruise, once you set foot on the ship, you are received of your typical mom duties. There is an entire staff of people who will cook, clean, and do your laundry. For a few days you are relieved of meal planning, activity itinerary, and chauffeur responsibilities. All you have to do is step out of your room and well…nothing, you are already there. Go get dinner, see a show or sit in the sun.

I you are like me and have difficulty getting a babysitter. The child care services for most cruises are available for no additional fee. Trust me, the kids don’t want to leave their “Kid’s Club.” Everything in these areas are designed to cater to and occupy your children, giving you some needed free time. Not in a guilty stealing five minutes to run to the store without the kids sort of way. You are free to do absolutely nothing.

Once this concept hits, you it is life changing. Yes, some cruises, like Disney, can be pricy. However, you are almost guaranteed a great, restful experience and some quality family time with limited distractions. To me these days are worth their weight in gold.wp-1451440231899.jpg

There are a few things to keep in mind when cruising to make your trip as enjoyable as possible.

Don’t be bothered by the motion of the ocean

If you are prone to motion sickness, (like I am when my husband drives) you will want to pack some medication like Dramamine or Bonine. I like Bonine, you only need a half or a quarter of a pill to work effectively and it doesn’t make you as drowsy as Dramamine. Most large ships have powerful stabilizers that will prevent severe rocking. Also your body adjusts after about a day, so you might only need medication for day 1 of your cruise.

Research shore excursions

Depending on your itinerary, there are several shore exclusions to choose from. In some travel destinations going it alone can leave you victim to locals looking to pray on tourists. The cruise approved trips might cost more but they are backed by the cruise line. This also relieves you from the responsibility of having to find a way to get back to the ship after the excursion, which may be a problem if you go it alone.

That being said there are some good options for non-cruise shore excursions. Based of reviews some of these are offered at a lower price and can offer more than those from a cruise line. However, I would caution you to thoroughly research these offerings before booking anything. Likewise, keep in mind the political and economic state of the location where the excursion is offered.

Participate in theme or formal night

I know this adds a lot of extra items to pack but how often do you get the opportunity to dress like a pirate?  If your cruise has a formal night this is a great opportunity to get professional formal pictures. Let’s be honest, who has time to get this done at home? Not only are you creating  a special memory but you get a chance to get all dolled up and maybe even visit the ship spa in preparation!

Disney cruises have a pirate-themed night, and other lines offer Black & White nights or Tropical theme nights. These will vary depending on length, itinerary and cruise line.  If your cruise has a theme night have fun with it. It might seem strange at first to dress up as an adult, but it is a great way to make memories and have some awesome pictures to boot. Take the chance to channel your inner pirate and have fun with it. You won’t be sorry.

Don’t have to stay stuck in your cabin

There are plenty of activities throughout the ship. Plus, you can use it as a learning opportunity for your children. Ask about scheduling a ship tour. Some cruises will offer “a meet the captain” or “tour the bridge” event. It is amazing experience to see what a coordinated effort it takes to make the ship run efficiently.

Don’t feel guilty about the Kids Club

On our first cruise we felt guilty about putting our daughter in the nursery so we can have one dinner as a couple. Don’t. You need a vacation too and on board their babysitter at your disposable. They are specifically trained to care for your children and even if you are at dinner or the spa you are never more then a few decks away. If you have older kids they are in for a treat. There are fun activities and events every hour to keep your kids have a blast. Just don’t be hurt when they ask to go back to the Kids Club the next night.

Remember you don’t have to do anything

This is the only vacation that I know of where you don’t have to do anything if you choose and no one will be disappointed in you. No driving to visit remote relatives, trying to work around other peoples schedule and getting the guilty phone call when you didn’t visit your cousin Jim your last visit.

Take the pressure off yourself, don’t worry about pleasing everyone or seeing everything and just chill. On one of our cruises after having our son I was in such a mommy mode that I kept doing everything for everyone. That was until the wait staff stepped in and cut food up FOR ME! That was my cue to relax and let them handle it.

 

 

 

A Morning in Mommyhood

morning in the mommyhoodI stand in the shower. To be honest I’m hiding in there, letting the hot water run over my face as I stare at the wall.  If I look down I will see the empty shampoo and body wash bottles that have collected in the corner. My eyes will drift over the bottom of the shower door, full of filmy soap scum and in need of a good cleaning. Knowing I don’t have the time to clean it or even stand in here any longer, I have I hurry to wash my hair. 

It is time to get out but I am reluctant to start the day, to leave the warm, comforting water and small space that is my own right now. When I open the door I will see the collection of messes that have accumulated through my bedroom, then through the house. Knowing full well I am all that stands in the way of the messes and complete chaos.

Get some pant on

As I open the top dresser drawer I say a silent pray of hoping there will be a pair of clean underwear left since I only got to the kid’s laundry this week. Yes, thankfully it is shoved at the bottom between bras that no longer fit. Ok, maybe I can manage to get through today. Hey I have underwear so it might not be so bad. There is a knock at my bedroom door. Well, not really a polite non-intrusive knock more like a door swinging open and hitting the wall as my kids and the dogs barrel into the room.

 No… this is supposed to be my sanctuary. Well at least where I can get dressed right? As I stand in a towel, my wet hair dripping dry into all sort of Medusa like snakes. I hope I can at least get a brush through it before I must be pulled away to find this or locate that. But first back to the underpants, as I gather them together I retreat (because really that is what it is I lost this battle) into the bathroom in the hopes of getting some clothing on before I am forced to locate any more items.

image found on Pinterest.com

As I get my undergarments on I realize the toilet paper roll is empty, there is dust on the bathroom shelves and we won’t even get into the look of the toilet. More on my list of stuff to do. Feeling my anxiety rising, I hope I am left alone to get the rest of my clothing together. Then hopefully  flee from all the mess and some of the responsibility I don’t have the time to address right now.

I have nothing to wear

Opening the door, I see for now I am alone. Ceasing the opportunity I move stealthily to the closet and look through my clothes…depression sets in as I realize I have nothing new, nice or well-fitting to wear. What did I expect when I buy all my clothes over the internet. Guessing on what might fit is not the same as what fits. I look longingly to my comfortable yoga pants. The only garment that seems to not judge me. How much I weight. How things in my body have shifted with age and children.

But I don’t get to linger on this long because I realize my hair is almost dry and it is a total mess. Dressing in whatever matching items I can stand to put on my body. Some feeling to lose, others to tight.  Do I have time to run an iron over this? Emerging from the closet (yes where I was hiding again.) I search desperately for one of the 7 brushes somewhere in our home. We have 7 brushes because of the reason you can never find one when you need it. They are never in a logical place where they should be. They are in plastic bags, left in cars, brought to school…etc.. So, we continue to buy them only for them to grow legs and wader off. Like right now…I am left with only a promotional comb from a hair salon missing teeth.

It’s ok I’m the mom. I will make due. Don’t we always? Realizing it is to late to salvage a good hair day, I search for a clip. This  as my children and husband begin Round 2 of the “where is my… have you seen my…?” Q and A. To find the clip I must rummage into the deep dark corners of the vanity and shift out of the way  weeks of accumulated toiletry items, deodorants, colognes, and toothpaste tubes . Realizing this is yet another area I alone will be cleaning I feel more anxiety.

Going to be late for work

Mistakenly glancing at the clock to see I have 4 minutes left before I must be on the road or I will be late for work. Both my children are half clothed. The dog is crying to go out for the third time and I have not packed my lunch or had any breakfast. Oh, and shoes??? What about shoes? Since those are much more difficult to estimate sized of the internet I am down to the few pairs I have scavenged and procured in rushed side trips to the supermarket. They are old and ratty and well… embarrassing but right now they will have to do. The nice ones are from a different era in my life where beauty overruled comfort and practicality. Now I cannot imagine making it through a day at work, then the drive home, then baseball and bed in shoes that hurt.

I slide into my old reliable’s and glance at myself in the mirror. Feeling disgusted and disheveled I vow (again) I will tackle my ailing wardrobe situation, my abominably messy house and my unpolished toenails. (Side note: my husband asked why I never paint my toes anymore…Is he serious? I could totally if you would do one load of laundry ..maybe I could carve out five minutes to paint my nails dear??? -insert imagine of me fluttering my eyes at him.)

Am I a good mom… a good wife?

Realizing this is it. This is all I can reasonably do in the time I have I forgo breakfast, (and pretty much lunch.. Figure I will put some make-up on at stop lights on the way into work. Kissing my kids on the forehead I feel the gut wrenching feeling that I am not a good mom. I should be leaving notes in their lunch boxes telling them how much I love them, should have given them something better than just plain PB & J. Maybe I should have cut it into shapes or something like the “good” mommies do? I don’t have the time and must go to work. My heart hurts knowing I can’t be the mom I want to be or should be. Instead they are stuck with the impatient, always rushing, non-star shaped melon making, frequently yelling, mess that is their mom.

Giving my husband a quick peck on the cheek as I leave I feel the loss of meaningful conversation we rarely get to have without some interruption.  I wonder as he eats his cold cereal, wishing I could make his something better, if I am the wife he through he would have? The way I look now, the person I am. No, I’m not the 20-year-old he fell in love with. In the back of my mind I fear he will get sick of waiting for that 20-year-old to come back from whatever beach vacation she has been on. He will decide to seek out a shiny new model to replace his old yoga pants wearing clunker.

But I’m the Mom

As I glance around my home, the home of two adults, two children and two dogs, I know I should see all of the life that lives here, the love and care. Lately, I only feel anxiety and inadequacies. Today I only see mess to come home too. The one’s that will still be there tomorrow as I lack the time to get to them. My anxiety grows as I recognize here is where I should be. Here is where I am needed. I sigh sadly and recognize there is no way I can do this all. There is no way that I can get these things done. Maid, cook, employee, desirable 20 something, Pinterest mommy, I can’t be all these people.  Somehow, I know I will try to because I love my family and that is what Mom’s do.

 

5 Things To Consider When Getting a Family Pet

5 things to consider when getting a family petAdding a pet to your home is an important decision. One that should not be taken likely or done on a whim. Unfortunately, many families do what I have done and don’t think through the consequences of a pet in their household. We fall in love with an adorable puppy. Take him home only to find out the breed is not quite right for our family environment.

Often people adopt an animal but later have misgivings about the amount of care and time it requires. I have seem people who swing from feeling wildly excited about their new pet. Only to bringing it back to the shelter or pet store because it is not inconvenient for their life style.

When I hear of this it totally burns me up! Pets are not a new toy or novel item to be discarded when it becomes a hassle to care for or the newness has worn off. When you get a pet they become a family member, and an important reasonability to care for and love.

We have all heard the stories of people who decided to by a python only to have it out grow its enclosure and be released into the wild. Down in Florida we have some of these former “pets” completely destroying the ecosystem of the Florida everglades. In our disposable society, it is become far to frequent that family’s adopt a pet and don’t take into consideration if it is the right pet for them before they bring it home.

Speaking from personal experience I watched a loving, sweet dog become intensely fearful and aggressive after it was brought back to the pound. It had spending over a year with it’s prior owner until she no longer had a use for the dog and it became an inconvenience for her. It was absolutely heartbreaking. To me actions like this are selfish, cruel and irresponsible. In our disposable society it is become far to frequent. The idea of having a family pet is wonderful until it is brought home and in need of feeding, care and time. The animal is then returned, discarded or given away like yesterdays news.

In my view this heartbreak could be avoided if families took a little bit of time to examine what pet would be right for them before they head out to the pet store. Here are 5 things to consider when looking for a family pet.

 

How much time do you have?

Do you work crazy hours, long shifts? Do you have to travel frequently? Remember the level of care a pet such as a dog will need. Consider if your schedule will allow you to care for it properly. If you travel frequently and have to board the pet all the time, a dog might not be right for you. Your lifestyle may be better suited for a more independent animal.

How much care can you give your pet?

After having children I was not able to give my pets the care I wanted to. I no longer had the time and ability to devote to the care of my animals. Not in the way I did before having children. Things like picking up the yard and brushing them weekly were no longer activities I could fit into an over packed schedule of caring for children and working full-time.  Be honest as to what you are able to devote to the care of a pet. You have to consider you might no longer have the time to purse other things in exchange for the care of your pet. If you can not see yourself doing this a pet may not be the right choice for you right now.

What type or breed of animal a good fit for you?

After 101 Dalmatians came out, many families were enamored with Dalmatian puppies. They were in for a rude dalmationawakening. They soon discovered Dalmatians are high energy and get restless when left alone for too long. (Like when you are at work or your kids are at school.) These types of puppies while cute might not the best fit for busy families. Consider the disposition and traits of the animal. Do a little research before you adopt your pet so that your home and family will be a good fit for you and for your new animal. You can take this Animal Plant Pet Picker quiz to help you get started in finding the fight pet for you.

How big will your pet grow?

How much space you have and how large the animal will grow to be makes a big difference in what type of pet you decide on. If you get a mastiff puppy but live in a small apartment with no yard. There are going to be some lifestyle adjustments the family will need to make. If you get a pet that is high energy having a backyard might be a necessity. It might be prudent to consider how much space your pet will need to have a happy, healthy life. ? This is something that happens frequently with snakes, and lizards.snake

“That beautiful 20-inch baby Burmese python may fit well in a 5 or 10-gallon aquarium style tank when you first bring it home from the pet store, but within 5 months it is likely to reach 5 feet, and it has the potential to grow to 18 feet at maturity. Keeping an 18-foot snake is obviously a very different proposition than you bargained for when you left the store cheerfully toting your aquarium and thinking that was all that you were ever going to need. Buying that snake only to have to find a new home for it before it reaches maturity is unfair both to you and to the animal,”-Peteducation.com

What changes in family environment might affect your pet?

Take into consideration what your future might bring to the life of this pet. Are you planning to move in a few years? Do you planning on another baby? Are there other animals in the home? Different types of animals react differently to these environmental changes. Some better then others. Some pets might be more sensitive to simple changes such as a new feeding time or seasonal weather patterns. (like summer thunderstorms.) If you have an idea what changes are in store for your family environment it would be helpful in selecting a pet that can adapt to these changes.

Pets are life changing in the most wonderful way. They can provide the love and companionship that can fill in an empty space in your family. Pets can give that unconditional love and affection making your household complete. Adopting a pet is a responsibility.  You owe it to yourself and the animal to take the time to ensure you can provide the love and care it needs.

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