Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bittersweet sick days

Winter is definitely here. Ok, I admit that I have a lot of nerve considering the weather in Southern California "winter weather", but for this native Californian, it's cold! Frost on my car window and temperatures in the 30's in the morning qualifies as cold to me! Ok, so with the cold weather come colds and flu. My youngest daughter has been home with a dreadful cough for three days now.

She's not that sick, just sounds terrible. She's not demanding much of my nursing skills (lucky for her), she's just enjoying staying home and being in pj's all day!

There is a bittersweet aspect to her being sick, I'm ashamed to say. Cancelling all of my appointments, delaying my errands, even being in denial of the fact that Hanukkah starts in two days, gives me a much needed opportunity to take care of some business that would never have made it to the top of my priority list.

The point I'm trying to make is that I would never wish for my kids to be sick, but there is a silver lining to this cloud and that is: time together (we are both sitting on my bed together with laptops on our laps), quieting the chaos of daily life and getting some of those nagging "to do's" done.

Ahhh...I think I'll have another cup of coffee!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Laughing! Laughing! Laughing!

I never underestimate the important of laughter in every day. Sometimes I take myself and my life too seriously. A little levity is just what I need. My favorite thing is to crack up with my kids. When we see something funny, watch a funny TV show (America's Funniest Videos is one of our favorites!) or just share a funny moment from our day...that's the greatest! The best thing is when we look at something ordinary and every day and give it a funny spin.

I challenge you to laugh with your kids more often! Make a point of laughing together at least twice daily. Even if you just read a joke book together. Laughter is the best medicine!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Potty Training

I have received so many inquiries lately about potty training, I thought I would blog about it briefly. Potty training can be one of the most frustrating experiences or one of the easiest. You, the parents get to choose. Truly, if you just leave it alone and provide the space and opportunity, most kids will simply do it on their own. They may need your support, but the less emotional investment you have, the smoother it is likely to go.

If your child thinks he can please or displease you by using or not using the potty, you begin to add layer upon layer on top of the challenge that potty training already presents. The fewer the layers, the easier and smoother the transition is likely to be.

Here are a few thoughts to ponder that might make the whole process easier to tolerate:
1. All kids are physically capable of going on the potty long before they are emotionally capable of the responsiblity of staying clean and dry.
2. Kids are often scared of the prospect of dropping a part of their body (it came out of them, therefore, it is a part of them) into a bowl of water and flushing it away. It's a big and very scary concept when you don't have the broader perspective of an adult.
3. Because of the enormity of the developmental leap that goes with being potty trained, kids are watching us for cues to see how they are doing. We can let them know that it's great when they do it, but with very little pomp and circumstance. Don't start screaming, dancing and calling the grandparents. Give them a high five and ask them if they are proud of themselves!

Good luck and happy toileting!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Reflecting on Softball Season

Today is my daughter's team party marking the end of the softball season. It's bittersweet, really. It was a great season, but all good things must come to an end. There is a sense of relief not to have to get to the game, remember the snack shack schedule, etc... There is also a sense of loss. The excitement of the ups and downs of watching the games, the comraderie that has developed between the parents in the stands, and the sweet friendships that have developed between the girls.

I can't help but think about all of the amazing gifts that came from this softball season. We have met several families that I feel so blessed to call my new friends. My daughter's face lights up as she talks about an amazing play or an unexpected moment in a game. Sometimes, she still talks about a game several weeks ago. I know she really loves this sport! She has truly learned the meaning of the phrase, "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game." I'm grateful to my husband, the coach, because when he talks to the girls after the game he doesn't say anything about the win or the loss; he asks the girls, "Did you have fun?" That's what it's all about!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Going on retreat

I'm going to a conference and will be gone for 3 days - by myself! I look forward to the education, connecting with colleagues, and getting my continuing education hours, but I'm most excited about getting away by myself. I feel guilty that I'm leaving my family. I'll miss my daughter's softball game and I'll miss being with them all.

The preparation for getting away is a huge undertaking in itself. Making sure everyone knows what time is what, how she'll get there and what to take with them. Not to mention, the dog's specific eating and medicine regimen after a recent illness. There are so many people (and dog) to worry about!

I need to get away and I'll take my guilt with me, but I'll also have time to workout, watch TV in the evenings and go to sleep early...which never happens at home!

I've decided to have a good time and hope that the house isn't a complete disaster when I get home! I highly recommend that other moms do it, too!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Trusting the Process

For those of you who have read my Balanced Parenting Newsletter, you know what this is going to be about. As a parent, it is very challenging for me to resist the temptation to control things, especially my kids. The older I get and the older they get, the more I'm learning that I really have no control over them, nor should I.

Yes, I should maintain control of the authority in our home, along with my husband. That's how we help our kids feel safe knowing that we are taking care of the important things. But controlling my kids' behavior, that's a whole other topic.

I won't be able to follow them around all of their lives telling them what they "should" or "shouldn't" do. They have to figure it out for themselves and I have to remember that their behavior is NOT a reflection of me, nor is it a measurement of my parenting ability. My kids are their own people - people I adore, by the way - and they should make their own decisions. I won't always agree with them, but I must honor them and trust that, in the end, they are making the right choices for themselves in the long run.

When our kids are little, it may mean letting go of caring if our kids' socks match. As they get older, we may need to sit back and watch as our child befriends a kid we don't care for much. Ultimately, (as I'm learning currently) we can't choose our kids' colleges for them. They have to live with their choices, so they have to make the choices themselves. (Yes, I'm keeping my mouth shut as much as possible - and it's so hard!)

Let me know how you have quieted yourself and allowed your kids the space to do the right thing. Did they step up? How was it for you?

Looking forward to hearing from you and wishing you balance,


Monday, March 30, 2009

Where has the time gone?

I'm feeling rather nostalgic today as I prepare to go visit two colleges this week with my oldest daughter, Lauren. Where did the time go? Isn't she still in preschool? Who is this young woman living in my house? In my mind, I'm still the mother of little ones. I struggle to wrap my brain around the fact that my daughter is planning to go away to college in merely 5 months!! Is she crazy? Doesn't she still need me? What if she gets sick? What if she's scared? In my mind, I'm still her Mommy and she's still my little girl. I guess I'll have to shift that picture in the coming months.

To those of you whose kids are still little, squeeze them a little extra today...instead of getting angry quickly, cherish the cuteness of their little rebellion, stop what you're doing more often and just watch them play; just listen to them as they chatter away to themselves or sing the little songs that are stuck in their heads. ...and be sure not to blink! Before you know it, you'll be checking out colleges, too!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Parenting and your Marriage

I'm headed right now to go do a speaking engagement on the importance of taking care of your marriage while raising your kids. I always talk about how you must take care of yourself first and then bring your best self to your marriage. Then, you'll be able to have a happy and fulfilling relationship which will enable you to bring not only a happy YOU, but also a happy couple to the job of parenting. Then, it all falls into place. That and a few parenting tools, and voila! you have a happy family!

Take some time today to give to your relationship. It's not too late. It's never too little. Be kind, be giving and have fun! You'll be glad you did!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Just what I needed to hear...

Do you ever find that whatever you needed happens to appear just when you needed it?

I have been contemplating writing a book, as you may know. Actually more than contemplating, I've been whittling away at writing. I do a little here and a little there, but I have had some roadblocks that keep me stuck. I realize that the stuckness is really based upon my fears and feelings of inadequacy. (I hope that everyone reading this has experienced that feeling, too, so I don't feel completely terrible about myself!)

Today, I decided to attend a teleseminar on writing in the hopes that I would get some inspiration and hear the words of wisdom that would make my book magically written before my eyes. Ok, that didn't happen. But I did hear exactly what I needed to hear.

I heard that no one can write my book but me because my passion for the subject will shine through better in my own voice than in anyone else's. I needed to hear that because I was trying in my head to pass the buck and get someone else to do it for me.

I also heard that it's ok to get stuck sometimes. Take a break and come back to it. It will look fresher and clearer in the light of another day or another hour. That told me that I'm not the only one struggling through the process. Whew! Just the support I needed to plug through.

So, from my experience, I hope I can inspire you to see the serendipity in your day and to listen to the messages you really need to hear today. They are there...they might be whispering, but they are there. Just listen.

Back to the book, now!

Friday, January 23, 2009

New Beginnings

Well, it's a new year - 2009. We have a new President and there is hope for new beginnings throughout the United States and even the world. I love that there seems to be hope in our country because these are tough economic times and to know that there is hope in the air, tells me that people are inherently optimistic.

That inspires me! I believe that hope and optimism are great tools in dealing with this crazy thing called life. Some people would call me "Pollyanna" or "idealistic", but to me having hope is actually a creative process. Where there is hope, there is possibility. When times are tough, it might be easy to give up, but to have hope means taking action and not giving up when things look bleak. The only failure is giving up, so when I see hope, I know that failure isn't an option.

Today, I'm motivated to inspire hope in my kids so that, no matter what, they are never willing to give up on their efforts or their dreams.

Take the opportunity to make 2009 a year of hope, inspiration and never giving up. Amazing things can happen!