In between overdoing it

Posts tagged ‘feelings’

Summer to Remember

summer-learningWe are coming the end of another school year. This time of year is bittersweet to me. I look forward to the summer, the less hectic pace and the opportunity to spend more uninterrupted time with my children. At the same time I am also a bit melancholy over the passing of another school year and the ever present march forward.

My daughter is entering 5th grade next year. In public school down south that means the last year of elementary school. With middle school looming I (as well as other mothers facing the same circumstance) am filled with fear and trepidation. My fear is founded in what my little girl will be facing. How “advanced” are these middle schooners? Will my innocent child fall prey to some all knowing 8th grader?

I remember middle school for myself. It was a really troubling, emotional time. Leaving childhood behind and embracing hormones, teens, boys and the need for popularity and acceptance. I know that very soon I will be left behind for friends at school. And I get it that is just the way of things, I did it to my parents who did it to their parents and so on. It is a right of passage. But even with I am still emotional about her growing up.

All those people who said how fast the time goes when you have children weren’t kidding. It flew by and as I sit here typing this I watch as another year come to a close. Even though I am saddened at the idea of my cuddly funny, sweet babies moving closer to adulthood. What ultimately gets me is that I know they are only mine for a short time. The time feels much shorter now then it did when they were in diapers.

In the end it is about watching them grew. Seeing them have new experiences and transform into the people they are meant to become. As I have mentioned before part of that scares me but that is the leap we take when having children. We know at some point while holding that baby in our arms we will have to release them into the world.

Part of why we hold on the past is because we know what has already happened but we do not know what will be. I think as fearful as I am about the future I am also hopeful. For some of us, like my sister-in-laws and their children, they come back to you. Not as the child that left you but as the friend you never knew you needed or that they would become.

The future hold so much possibility for my children. I will just have to sit back and enjoy the journey. As for now I plan on making this summer and each one to follow as fun, funny and memorable as we can make it.

 

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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.

 

 

A Lesson in Heart: Why the Relative Age Effect is Wrong

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.

 

 

Do you see Kindness or Rudeness?

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.

 

Year of Taking Care of Me – Month 3

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?

 

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

Everyone can learn from Lent

Lessons from LentIf you see a bit of dirt of the foreheads of some people this week, the black mark is not dirt it is Ash. March 1 was Ash Wednesday. If you are Catholic it is the start of the Lenten season, which signifies the 40 days of preparation before Easter.

Why do I mention Ash Wednesday? There is an interesting part of Lent begining on this day. It the ritual of “giving up” something for Lent. Since this blog is not really about religion or faith why do I bring up Ash Wednesday?

The reason I mention this is because even if you are not Catholic, this is idea is something everyone can learn from. It is a little like New Year’s in that it is a defining moment when you can make positive change in your life. By choosing something to give up, you can focus on removing an unhealthy habit. What you give up can not be something easy either. It has to be something that makes a significant impact on your life and daily habits. Also, Lent is a reminder to acknowledge all that we have and, for me, I think of the sacrifices others have made for me.LentCloud

The major thought shift that occurs during Lent is from doing something for an internal narcissistic reason like looking better, or achieving more money. To give up something to signify the sacrifice of something greater then our self.

I think that is where non-Catholics can get on board. It’s about looking towards something greater then our self. By giving up something hard to do for someone or something outside of yourself, you feel a more intense need to achieve that goal or break that habit.

For example, giving up smoking in honor of your grandmother that died of cancer, eating 5 vegetables a day to model healthy eating for your children. Save a portion of your paycheck to donate in support the troops. When you compare the minor things we give up to the monumental sacrifices made by others. It feels like the least we can do in honor of them. By giving up something difficult, it is in that challenge to we honor a loved one, an event or a sacrifice greater then ourselves.

 

 

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