In between overdoing it

Posts tagged ‘growing up’

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.



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

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, 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 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.”-



The Death of the America Mall

Photo from

Growing up I remember spending weekend days meeting friends at the local Mall. There we would shop for music at Sam Goody,  try on clothes at Jean Nicole, Benetton, and Contempo Casuals. Then we would grab a bite to eat at such food court greats as Orange Julius and Sbarro’s. As a teen the Mall held endless hours of entertainment. You could met “exotic” people from as far away as two town’s over, flirt with cute boys and hang out with friends.

Growing up the Mall became my home away from home. It started off as just a fun place to go but when I needed a part-time job the mall because my employer. Since I already knew where every store was (like any teen in the 80’s) I found the perfect job at the Mall information desk. This would not be the only job I held at the Mall however, I also work for a shoe stores, and various clothing stores.

Want to take a survey?

But the one Mall job will always hold a special place in my heart was Quick Test (a Mall Market Research Company.)

Quick Test

Quick Test was still there when I went to visit in 2015.

This was my first real job after having a paper route. The whole idea was you would approach shoppers and try to get them to take part in a market research survey. Sometimes this was a lot harder then it appeared.

During this time I met the most amazing people. My boss, Marianne was like the mother figure I desperately needed. There was the cool, tough, older girl I secretly wished I could be like. The smart kids I always looked up to. As well as the rotating group of teens from other schools who became great friends. Together share long, contemplative talks, or just plain silliness while we  desperately tried to convince people to take a survey.

My Mall Family

The supervisors and co-workers where more then just friends they became like a family. Come to think of it, the entire Mall staff became like a family to me. The maintenance guys, the retail store clerks, and the security staff  became an integral part of my coming of age. All during high school I felt like the Malls version of “Norm” from Cheers. I would go into the Mall and knew everyone working there and they knew me.

image found on Pinterest

Friends came to visit me whenever they went shopping. So much of my high school life and growing up revolved around the time I spent at the Mall. It was more than just a place to shop and gather it became like a home.

Having such a history invested in the Mall, it saddens me to recognize the slow agonizing death of a place that held so many memories, life lessons and experiences of my youth. It was not hard to see the writing on the food court wall after the news following this holiday season.

Many major retailers are unable to compete with the convenience, value and infinite availability of products that online seller’s have. Historic chains like Macy’s, Sear’s and J.C. Penny’s are closing stores and preparing for what will most likely be their final days.

In the same respect, foot traffic at Mall’s all over America have fallen to all time low’s. These shopping spaces have to complete not only with online retailer but also big box stores that now offer everything from food the clothes to housewares in one easy location.

Bye Mall

Likewise, kids no longer need the Mall to met people. They met virtually, online. They can spend hours Facebook messaging, commenting and texting instead of meeting up for shopping or a pretzel from Auntie Ann’s. The dynamic of teen relationships has changed and so to has the relationship to the Mall. The place that defined teen life in the 80’s and early 90’s is all but a non-entity to today’s youth. Thus the Mall is being phased out. It is dying and with it the anchor stores we have grown up with.

The landscape of teen life and the American consumer is changing. The town square was replace by Downtown’s, which eventually became the mega Mall. It is sad to see the Mall’s go. I grew up at there, learned about work, relationships and myself.

My kids and today’s youth will have to learn those things in a new venue, I guess. Don’t know what the future holds for the Mall but I don’t think it is total down for the count. It will probably be reinvented in some form in the future.  Everything old becomes new again at some point. Who knows maybe we will return to the 1950’s malt shops, drive-in’s and bowling ally’s as the next generation of meeting places.

What do you think will replace the Mall? What are your favorite Mall memories? Please comment and share them. Would love to hear

If you want to jog your memory and have a good laugh take a look at Michael Galinsky: Malls Across America photo book. Also check out some really cool vintage pictures of your local Mall at



Memories are Life’s Compass


Memories are Life’s Compass

By Trish Russell

How do you create memories in the midst of life’s mayhem?

It’s easy. Seriously. I promise. I’ll give you my secret after I share WHY doing this will be of value. Don’t worry, I’m not going to say anything like, “Re-prioritize, unplug” all the advice we are ALREADY bombarded with daily.

First, why make memories? I mean really, pause and make memories? Because that’s what our kids will remember about us. That memories we build with our little ones are their life compass. Did we read to them? Were we interested in the stores they shared? They will recall the emotions wrapped around the images in their brain.

Still not convinced?

When the kids grow up and move away I hear that will happen one day.” I will be very sad and feel a gaping hole where my heart used to be. I will need a coping mechanism. I see the writing on the wall and don’t want to be consumed by depression and sadness that comes from missing them everyday. Therefore, I want a way to continue connecting with my kiddo’s, even when they become grown-ups and fly the nest.

So, for the plan…the answer…the KEY to memories.

Pick ONE thing. Pick a normal, everyday part of life YOU love and invite your people into it. Yes, creating lasting memories that will transcend time and space is that simple.

What does this look like? First, answer one of the following question:

Do you have a hobby that captivates your heart?

Are you a movie fanatic?

Is music a gift of yours?

Identify one part of your daily or weekly routine that brings life to YOUR soul then include your family members in it. Ask their opinions on a project or what to watch. Honor their ideas.

For me this area of life is cooking and baking. I love being in the kitchen. I find my center, peach and joy there. ince this is m ONE place in the house, I like it a certain way. In order to back and cook with my 4 year-old. I need to let go of that control and embrace themes.

For my husband, I continually ask what meals he enjoys and rotate them on the menu. We have an eat-in kitchen. That kitchen area has become a visiting place for me to connect to other mom’s and friends. My most sacred kitchen space is where I share activities that I can include my loved ones in.

This is not always easy. Some days I become frustrated because it is MY place and activities. Those moments are normal and if you acknowledge those feelings will arise they diffuse so much quicker and you can move on to making memories.

The other neat part about inviting those you love into your favorite space or activity is they will want to bring you along in their adventures too. Sharing life with family is complicated, beautiful and hopefully full of the unexpected.

Need some ideas to get started, meal times are the easiest ones for me

Banana split Sunday

Pizza & movie Friday

Chili & Games Saturday

To see more about Trish Check out her Facebook Group Our Modern Village


The Mall, Memories and Rain


Yesterday was another travel day. We drove through the remainder of upstate NY. To arrive in Long Island. All in all not as bad as I expected. Once I arrived to visit my sister a strange thing started to occur. I realized  the areas that were once familiar to me had changed, not like a new paint color change. Like a full on unrecognizable to me, change. It was as if everything I knew growing up was gone.

I know some of this is related to the destruction of super storm Sandy which caused a massive rebuild, but some of it is just the passage of time. It has been almost 10 years since I have been here. I am 40 now the last time I was here I had no children and had just turned 30.

Since it was pouring rain and windy we drove past my old house. No, really we drove right past it. It looked nothing like I remembered. As a matter of fact, the whole block, looked nothing at all like I remembered. The trees, the elementary school totally different. All the houses were bigger, pushed out farther to the street. Don’t get  me wrong they were beautiful, but my block no longer felt like my block. It just felt weird.

We also took a drive over to the mall I spent my teen years working at. It was renamed and redone into a shadow of its former self. It was nice but it’s as if some had come along and wiped away my memories from there walls. The only thing that remained was Quick Test, where I had my first real job giving surveys to unsuspecting shoppers.


It was a strange day for me full of memories, discomfort and rain. I’m glad we are here but a little sad I guess. This is what they mean in you can’t go home again. I think this is what I was afraid of, this is what I didn’t want to face. If I stayed away it all remained the same in my head. In my head my house looks as it always did, the Mall never changed and my Dad is still alive. But that’s just it isn’t it. Change has happened whether I like it or not. I’m a mom now, with a house and life of my own and all that I’m looking at here…they are just memories. Time for me to go make new ones.

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