A Free-Range Helicopter Parent

Pot of Sweet Peas

Recently on Nightline, there was a story about Free Range Parenting. Now, if you are anything like me, who had never heard of this term, then you’re probably saying, “What the heck is Free Range Parenting!? When I think of free range, I think of chickens”. But Free Range Parenting is exactly that same concept.

 Free Range Parents allow their children to roam freely outdoors without adult supervision.

In the Nightline segment this freedom was given to child who was six years old allowed to travel for over a mile with her 10 year old brother . The thinking behind this practice is that it fosters a sense of independence and encourages children to problem solve, thus building self-esteem.

This parenting style is looked at as being the polar opposite of another parenting style known as Helicopter Parenting.

A Helicopter Parent is on who hovers over their child constantly, watching their every move. Helicopter Parents are overly-involved in every experience that their child has from their successes to their failures.

After watching this news segment, I began to reflect upon my own parenting style. What kind of parent am I exactly? Both of my boys who are now 12 and 9 have traveled together through the streets without adult supervision. They have been given permission to go to the store without my husband or I being present starting as young as 8 years old. But I don’t know if that would make me a Free Range Parent. Each time they were about to go on these small journeys by themselves, I was always the one with my nails digging in the furniture and my heart leaping out of my chest. And it was always my hubby saying “They have to experience these things or they will never learn”. So maybe I’m just married to a Free Range Parent. But every time he says it, I know he’s right. As someone who studied child development, I know that there is something to creating these experiences for young children. In school I learned all about the great psychologist Erik Erikson who became well known for his pyschosocial stages of development in children, with one of those stages being Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt which begins in children as young as 18 months. Children who are given a sense of autonomy gain a sense of confidence, while children on the opposite end feel a sense of shame for their shortcomings and they doubt their ability to succeed at tasks.

So I know that letting my boys travel by themselves is just another one of those things that they have to experience if they are to gain more self-confidence.

So is it so bad if I follow them down the block hiding behind bushes so they never see me following them to the store and back? So what if I get the number to the store beforehand and call to make sure my child reached the destination and left so I could begin timing when they will walk back in the house. And so what, I have beads of sweat running down my neck when my 12 year confidently asks, “Mom, can I go to the store? I need a snack”. What matters is that I don’t show them the panic inside. What matters is that I teach them the dangers that are out their and give them guidance on how to avoid those situations from carefully crossing the street to not speaking to that creepy person on the corner. If I show them my fear, they too will be fearful and fear has never made anyone productive in life.
You see, we are raising children who have to be in school without us and they have to navigate around the school yard and cafeteria without us. And they have to take tests without us and they have to encounter bullies without us. And through all these experiences they will have to make quick decisions without us. I don’t want to give them a false sense of security that makes them think that T and I will always be right there by their sides through all their experiences. Sure, once they are back reunited with us, we will talk about their day and give advice on how to handle some of the things they face. We will even question how they handled a specific situation; and not to judge them on their choices but to gauge their thought process. But at the end of the day, though it makes me sad to say, my children will not be with me forever and they won’t be little forever either. Eleanor Roosevelt said it best when she said, “We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot”. I need my children to feel strong, confident and courageous.

So am I Free Range Parent? I don’t know. Mentally I know it’s the right thing for building character and a sense of responsibility. Emotionally, I’m scared out of my mind because, hey, I watch the news everyday. So how would I classify my parent parenting style? Well, simply put, I have the mind of Free Range Parent with the heart of Helicopter Mom. And there’s nothing wrong with that!

Share with me: What kind of parent are you? What kind of parent would you like to be? What kind of parent were you raised by?

The Mom Folder

Mom Folder

The idea of a “Mom Folder” was definitely not one that I came up with, so I can’t take the credit. The concept was passed down to me from a fellow coworker and mom, but once I learned about it, I took it and ran with it. And now I pass it down to you 🙂

If you have school aged children then you know what it’s like to get a ton of paperwork sent home constantly!

There’s always a permission slip to be signed, or a new movement from the Parent Committee that we should be so interested in or a school function coming up.  I mean really, like something that must be reviewed every…single…night! Who is photocopying all these papers at schools?Sheesh! Either way, because of all the papers, there are always lots of deadlines. In the evening when the boys are doing their homework and simultaneously shoving documents in my face, telling me what I have to look over, the Mom Folder has been very instrumental in helping me not lose my mind  the papers. My Mom Folder has a pocket on each side; one is labeled “To Be Reviewed” and the other is labeled “Reviewed/ To Be Filed Away”. Once the children are in bed, I can take a look at all things and figure out how I need to deal with each document. My folder has also been helpful for organizing my bills, and housing little to-do notes that I jot down throughout the day. It travels with me to work which allows for me to switch hats and get into mommy mode for a moment during my lunch break. As I cross things off of my to do list, make very necessary phone calls, and shift papers from one side of the folder to the next, I feel productive and pretty darn proud. And that, my friends, is another way that I try to get a handle on this beautiful thing called motherhood.

Share with me: How do you organize all of the paperwork that comes with the territory of being a parent?

To Spank or Not to Spank

Pot of Sweet Peas

“It’s time to start popping her hands” a family member said to me as they watched my one-year old, Bean, walking around touching everything she could reach. My response, which is my go-to response when I don’t agree with a suggestion, was to stay completely silent. But in mind, an entire monologue was beginning to form.

Why, I thought, should I begin popping her hands because she is exploring a world she has never seen? Why should I begin to physically inflict pain on her or just “shock her slightly” because her curiosity is at an all time high? Then I began to think about the reasons that parents “pop, spank, hit, beat” their children. The reasons that I was at the receiving end of a spanking when I was a child, the reasons why my own children have gotten popped, and the reasons why I have seen other children be hit by their parents.

What internal feeling triggered that response? Was there an internal feeling at all or was it all impulse?

(And before we move on, I must clarify that I am not talking about hitting and leaving a mark. I’m not talking about anything that’s equivalent to a story on the channel 11 news. Those situations have a category of their own and I’m not going to go there right now). But moving on….

I have spoken to many parents and it’s very interesting to hear the different reasons that parents use to justify the implementation of spanking. The reasons span from “to show my child that I am in charge”, “because my child made me upset”, “to teach my child a lesson”, “to make sure my child listens”, “because I got hit as a child and I turned out great” and my favorite, “ain’t nobody got time for all that talking!” There are many reasons that people have for this parenting method and while I don’t judge anyone’s decision, I do have to play devil’s advocate for a second when I ask, “what’s the message that a parent is conveying when they spank their child?” When you pop your child out of anger, does it say that when you are feeling angry, you can inflict pain? When you hit to show dominance, does it convey the message that a child should stay in a submissive state? When a parent hits to make a child listen, is that showing the most effective way of “speaking”? And when you do it because it was how you were raised, what is it saying for our ability to evolve? I am definitely not saying that spanking is wrong and I’m also not saying that it’s right. As I said before, there is no judgement attached. But as an educator, I’ve always found it interesting that I could control a classroom of 18- 4 year olds who I am in charge of for 8 hours a day and I never ever think to lay a hand on them. And believe me they are not always compliant. So I have always struggled with the justification of hitting my own children who I’ve been responsible for  since conception.

As an African-American mother the concept of spanking my children seems to be something that is suppose to be hard-wired into my DNA. It’s “Spare the rod, spoil the child”, right?

I’ve been in the presence of family members who have looked at me like I should turn in my “black card” when I did not opt to hit my children for wrongdoing. And they look at me as if to say “poor, naive Serene. You’ll be sorry you didn’t pop his behind”.
Sure, I know that popping would get the trick done real quick. After all, it is much more time consuming for me to tell my one-year old that the stove is “hot” with a stern voice as I move her away. It does take more time to have a conversation with my pre-teen about the expectations of greatness that we have for him, because we know his full potential, although his grades for the marking period are sub par. And when my 9 year old yells, “I hate you” to his older brother mid-argument, instead of me slapping him in the mouth for using such a horrible word, it is definitely more time consuming to explain to him the true meaning of the word “hate” and teach him other words that he could use to express how his “pain in the butt” brother is making him feel at that moment.
I know all of these things take up more time, but isn’t that what parenting is? Teaching your child acceptable behavior? Teaching them about the dangers in life and why to avoid them? Teaching them why they should strive for greatness and teaching them how to effectively express themselves so that they are understood?
Does a spanking achieve these goals? I am not sure. We are still in the process of raising our children and can’t yet determine if our parenting methods will result in “perfect children” or totally mess them up as adults. I guess that’s also what parenting is all about. Giving it your all, adjusting and readjusting your parenting methods in the hopes that your children will turn out to the best adults that they can be.

Talk to you soon,

Serene

Share with me: What message do you think spanking sends? Can that same message be sent in another way?

How Are You Really Feeling?

Pot of Sweet Peas

I love my kids! Let me just start by saying that,so once you read on, you don’t think otherwise.

So with that out of the way, let me just ask: is it wrong for me to tell me children to “Please get out of my room”?, is it mean for me to say, “Hey, I would love to hear your (very long) story but I’m just so tired right now?”, or am I a bad mom for occasionally wishing that I could change my name from “mom” to something that they can’t pronounce so easily? Well, let me answer that for you. No, it’s not wrong, No, I’m not mean and No, I’m definitely not a bad mom. I know these things now, but if a mom would have asked me those same questions a few years ago I would have given her the side-eye all the while dailing the number for Child Services. So what has changed my mind? Reality and an inability to lie (most of the time) to my children about how I am really feeling.
When I was a child, I never knew how my mom did it. How’d she raise us as a single parent, work full-time, put herself through nursing school and never ever grow tired? She came from a school of thought where you “never let them see you sweat” and she didn’t let us see it, AT ALL! My brother and I never knew how our mom was feeling unless she was in pain and couldn’t hide it. It was like living with Robo-Mom. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining. There are definite benefits to having a Super-Mom. My mom was and still is the strongest role model that I have.
But imagine how I felt being a mom of two at the time, raising my children in a two parent household, going to school, working full-time, but actually being tired some days. There were days where I would come home and want nothing more than to climb in bed and cover my head. I rarely did it, but I did feel like it often.

What the heck was wrong with me? Had I not inherited the “Invincible” gene?

After having our third child, I realized that while it would be nice to have the “Super” title, what’s even nicer is to be honest with myself and my children. And the honest truth is I’m human. I get tired, I have headaches, and I even cry. I don’t mind letting my children see me sweat cause guess what, people sweat! As a matter of fact, people sweat when they are working hard. I want my children to know that parenting is hard work. Working a full time job is hard work, and being an adult is hard work. They are all things that I love about my life but they ain’t easy. I want my children to see that things don’t just come so easy.
So do I just sit there whining to my children about the struggles in life? No, of course not. At this stage in their lives they don’t need to know all the hardships that come with being a grown-up. Some things they will have to discover on their own once their time comes. But when they hit a bump in life, I need for them to be able to acknowledge the bump, patch it up and keep moving. When they are feeling tired I want them to be able to say “hey, I’m tired. I need rest” and then they actually rest. I need for them to recognize when they need their own personal space to recharge their batteries. I want them to cry if they need to, but then wipe their tears and push through to victory. And the only way they are going to be able to know that all of these feelings are okay is if they see it at home. Genuine feelings, genuine emotions, genuine perseverance.
Our strength is not defined by our ability to carry the weight of the world. It is defined by our ability to live life to is fullest despite the weight of the world.

Talk to you soon,
Serene

Share with me: Do you think parents should share their feelings and emotions with their children? Why or why not? 

Boxes, Doors, and Windows

Pot of Sweet Peas

On Sunday, I worked in my basement, attempting to once again unpack boxes that came from the old apartment over a year ago. It seems as if the boxes multiply over the week because I could have sworn there were not this many boxes when I was down there last weekend. As I pulled out items that I knew were garbage-bound, I looked around and suddenly became overwhelmed. It was my goal to have the “My Sweetpea and Me” program up and running by September 2014 but now as I looked around, and it dawned on me that it was way past September 2014, the thought that this may not happen any time soon washed over me. Then I looked to left of me. Was that a leak in the wall? Yep, it sure was.

I stood up,throwing an item of clothing that neither of my boys can fit anymore back into the box, placed my hands on my hips and just looked around.
I’m not at all the kind of person who gives up easily or backs down when faced with adversities but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how this was going to come to pass. Then I began thinking about the supplies that I would need to make this vision come to pass. Chairs, a rug for children to sit on, play equipment, shelving units. The list seemed to go on and on and as it grew, so did my discouragement. All I could do was look to the heavens and ask “How?” Feeling a bit defeated, I decided to just leave the basement and focus my attention on something else.
The next day while at work, I was sitting at my desk half present mentally. All of sudden I get a phone call on my personal phone. The voice was a familiar one that I had not heard in about a year. It was a former teacher that I use to supervise who was also a friend and mentor to me. For the sake of confidentiality, let’s call her Robin. Robin was someone who I really grew to admire for her sound advice and insight into oh so many things. After our time of working together, she went on to build her own early childhood program. She and I lost touch for a bit so while I was happy to hear her voice, I couldn’t understand what would warrant a call from her. Funny enough, just like my mom, Robin also calls me “sweet pea”, and what she was about to say to me was so pivotal to my present day journey. “Hello there”, she says and we begin our small talk, “I am calling because the school (name not needed) is not working out and me and my partners are going our separate ways. We have a ton of supplies, and I was wondering if you had a need for them?” Now, I know she said some other things after that, but my dropped jaw must have also hindered my hearing. When I came back around, in disbelief, I asked her, “what kinds of supplies are you getting rid of?” She began her list, “a rug, some chairs, some dramatic play furniture that includes a practically new kitchen set, some toys, some blocks and some other things that you are free to just look through. Take what you want and toss what you don’t need” she said. At that moment, I became so overwhelmed with emotion. It did not matter that I was I work. I wept like a small child and became so filled with thankfulness. Needless to say, I thanked Robin over and over again and explained to her what I had been going through mentally. She told me that she was glad that she could help and we made plans for me to retrieve the items.
After I hung up with her I took a moment to reflect and I had to kick myself for ever doubting for a moment. What I am finding out is that with a little bit of faith, a lot of prayer, a bunch a perseverance and an ultimate goal, ALL things are possible. This situation, amongst others was another reminder that this vision that I have can and will happen. I have to just continue to move forward. Every door that looks closed is not necessarily so, and every closed window may not stay shut forever.

Talk to you soon,
serene

Share with me: What’s your ultimate dream?

All’s Fair in Love and Basketball

Pot of Sweet Peas

“You are off the team!” I shouted through clenched teeth. That was the last thing I said before he walked out the door. Well, technically the last thing I said was “I love you” because you should never depart from a loved one without saying you love them. But right before that, “You are off the team!”, was what I said to my 12 year old son “Papi” as he raced out of the door 15 minutes late. Although he had gotten up on time, the flow of the morning routine came to a screeching halt when Papi remembered that he had an assignment that was due in class that morning. And although he had done the assignment, he had not printed it out yet nor did he know where his USB was located In order to print out the assignment. But the icing on the cake was that this was a Monday morning so he had all weekend to ensure that his work was printed and ready to go. But no, that’s not how that went down AT ALL.

As I stood there watching him trying to place blame on everyone else for why he would not have his work turned in, I could no longer contain my disappointment, and so it erupted in five words, “You-Are-Off-The-Team!”

And in that instant the look in his eyes told me that I had just ruined his entire world. My son, the self-declared future NBA player who eats, sleeps, breathes basketball was beyond through with me. But in the interest of time, I ushered him out of the house, told him I loved him and closed the door behind him.
And then I cried.

But only for a minute. You see, I didn’t want to pull him off the team but it had to be done. For 4 months I watched as Papi religiously practiced jump shots, lay-ups, and drills. I listened as he told me the stats on all the latest NBA players, and I swelled with pride as he suited up in uniform and walked onto the court, game after game, to do what I think he is amazing at doing. But for those same 4 months I also watched as he is presented sub-par homework to his teachers, I listened as he gave me excuse after excuse as to why he accidentally left in his homework assignment in his school locker, and I hung my head in disappointment as his teachers explained to my hubby and I that Papi was more than capable but just not willing to apply himself. So yes, I did cry. But only for a minute, because while I don’t want to rob him of his happiness, I also have been charged with the responsibility of being his parent. And as his parent, one of my jobs is to prepare him for life, while of course, nurturing all of the things that I see inside of him. I also have to help him understand the concept of priorities.
I’ve never played college basketball a day in my life, but I have heard that in college, if you don’t stay on top of your grades, then you don’t play ball. Now, I don’t know how true that is (I’m sure I could easily research that), but I am going to go with that concept and consider myself to be one of his “coaches” (his dad being the other, of course). He didn’t produce the grades so I had to bench him. Not forever, but until he puts forth the same effort academically as he does in the area of sports.
And I am happy to report that all of this took place over a month ago and already the change in Papi’s work habits have changed drastically. He wants to get back on that team so he is doing what I knew he could do all along. He’s still not happy with me at all and he tells me every chance he gets. But hey, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

So do I regret my decision to pull him off the team?? Heck no!
“You are off the team!” Yup that’s right, I said it. But let’s not forget that I also said “I love you” and I truly do, cause if it were not for love, I would not have done what I had to do.

Talk to you soon-Serene

Share with me: Can you recall a time that you as a parent OR when your own parent had to go to what seemed like “drastic measures” to teach a lesson. Do you think it was worth it?

The Perfect Gift

Pot of Sweet Peas

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This saying is especially true for my 8 year old son, Munch. On any given day, he could be found near the recycling bin in our home, searching for what I thought was trash but he thinks otherwise. In his 8 years, he has created a bird house, a variety of picture frames, a collection of pretend weapons including ninja stars and bow and arrows, a few original board games, and some pretty awesome mazes filled with booby traps for any unsuspecting Lego figurine.
His inventions usually begin with him protesting that we not throw out the empty milk carton, oatmeal container, or whatever he catches us using the last of. Most times we honor his request, but there are times , I’ll admit, when we are adamantly against him hoarding garbage (come on, our home is but so big!) Anyhow, once he gets his hands on the desired recyclable, he begins his quest for other items to aid in his creativity: “do we have any tape?, do you know where i can find string?, do we have a stapler?, do we have something about this tall and this wide that can fit in this space?”. He becomes a man on a mission.
So this Christmas, I decided that one of his gifts would be dedicated to the inventor in him. I found a hardware storage box in Target equipped with partitions for all kinds of nifty small doo-dads. The box itself was only 7 bucks (my kind of gift!). Once I arrived home, I searched through our stationery/ junk drawers in the basement and was able to find tape, string, screws, glue sticks, and a few other odds and ends that he usually incorporates in his inventions.
What I ended up with up is a cool utility box that contains many of the things that he would need for his next creation.
Utility box: $7.00
The contents of the box: 15 steps down to the basement
The look on his face when he opened the gift on Christmas morning: priceless.

Now, that’s a great Christmas gift.

Talk to you soon-Serene

Share with me: Describe the most thoughtful gift that you’ve ever received or the most thoughtful gift someone has ever given you.

 

Oh Well!!

Pot of Sweet Peas

This world is full of standards.  The New Oxford Dictionary defines standards as “A level of quality or attainment”.

There are standards for how one should conduct themselves at their place of business. These are listed in one’s job description. There are standards for what a child should be doing by a certain age. Depending on the setting these can be called milestones, benchmarks, or if you work in a New York City public school, Common Core Standards.  There are even standards for how much you should eat as per the suggested serving size on any given food item.  The list goes on.  And then there are unwritten standards that we place upon ourselves in our daily lives. My house must look a certain way, my children must be in a certain amount of activities, I have to look a certain way, or wear a particular type or brand of clothing, or this is the bar that I’ve set for my spouse or the person that I am dating.  All of these standards.

Now before I go on, I don’t want anyone to think that I am “Anti-Standards”, if there is such a word. After all, I do recognize that “If you ‘stand’ for nothing you will fall for anything”, which to me,  can mean that if you don’t set a level of expectations, then anything goes, which also means you may end up with no job, a house full of children that have no goals and aspirations, and a spouse or partner who just does whatever because there’s never been a conversation about expectations.  Those type of standards are not quite the issue I’m having at this particular time.  The standards that I’m having a problem with are the standards that we set for ourselves, that we almost kill ourselves and hurt others to achieve. The standards that make us feel intense pressure and threaten to crumble our worlds if they are not reached. The standards that make us feel like we are complete failures or not worthy of our titles if somehow we drop the ball.  The standards that we punish ourselves for not achieving by depriving ourselves of sleep, hanging out with friends, and spending quality time with our mates all because we didn’t finish doing something that has no impact on anyone or anything whether it is achieved or not.

And where do these standards come from? Well, I can’t answer that for anyone but myself.  For me, they come from outside influences that sneak into my thoughts and whisper things like, “you don’t know how to ‘keep house’ if you go to sleep with dishes in the sink”, “your children won’t be well-rounded if you don’t put them in piano, soccer, pottery, karate, and Spanish lessons all while making sure they are on the path to the honor roll in school”, and the best one that knocks any ounce of self esteem that you have post-pregnancy is the voice that says “you have to hurry and get back to your pre-pregnancy weight quickly and it doesn’t matter that you just got home from the delivery room two weeks ago.

These are the standards that I am sick of!  These are the standards that cause me to miss out on the real things that matter cause I am so busy trying to achieve a 48 hour job in 24 hours all the while complaining that there are not enough hours in the day!! These are the standards that create tension because hey, do you know how hard it was to rub every grass stain out of your football jersey to prepare it for your game tomorrow!! NO ONE NOTICES ANYTHING AROUND HERE!

So today I’m making a stand of my own.  Today I am setting a new Standard for myself and it’s called “OH WELL!!!”

Under the OH WELL standard I will set a goal, I will attempt to achieve that goal and just when I feel like the attainment of that goal is going to almost kill me or at least exhaust me and drain me of all strength and energy I am going to say OH WELL!! I am going to be satisfied with knowing that I gave it my all. I’m going to realize that I am only one person and I can’t do it all.  I am going to understand that I operate under a higher power but I, myself AM NOT that higher power.  I am going to sleep when my body needs it, I’m going to postpone some extracurricular activities for my children when I feel like we are coming and going as if our home had a revolving door.  And I am going to leave a cup or two (or three) in the sink over night and trust that the dishwashing liquid will still be there in the morning.

And when that little voice comes around to say “Hey, that’s not what you are suppose to do!!”, I’m going to stand up tall (as tall as someone 4’11” can be), I’m going to place my hands on my hips, squint my eyes and shout “OH WELL!!! You are not the boss of me!”

Talk to you soon – Serene

Share with me: What are some standards that you aim to achieve on a daily basis?

Shifting Gears

Pot of Sweet Peas

Currently my family and I are partial owners of a two family home that we share with my mother.  I know that some of you read that first line and thought “she must be crazy. That’s a recipe for disaster”.  Trust me, I see where it definitely could be, but I also see the bigger picture and it’s a beautiful one (if you tilt your head to the side and maybe squint a little).  No, but really, for me the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.  For one, our boys get to grow up in a multigenerational home where they can see their grandma everyday.  Not to mention, when families put their resources together the results can be quite advantageous for all parties involved. And lastly, my hubby was all about creating this merger, and let me tell you, if your husband agrees to living that close to his in-laws, then that is definitely something special.

So after 10 years of marriage and living in an apartment with just our family, we decided that a family home was the way to go.  Thus far, the experience has been very enjoyable and interesting for the most part but it has also been very eye opening for me as it relates to my thoughts about parenting.

Now that I live so closely to my own mother what I have realized is that there is a shift in the relationship between a parent and child once that child is no longer a child. It’s a shift that my own mother is slowly beginning to realize and one that I hope that I can recognize and adapt to once to my children become adults.
When your children are little, it is the responsibility of a parent to pour all the skills, morals, values and lessons into your child(ren) so that they may be able to thrive in the world as they grow and live a purposeful adult life.  You teach them things that nurture the social, emotional,cognitive, physical, and spiritual aspects of their development. You give them all the tools you think they will need.
Once your child becomes an adult and especially once they become a parent, the role of a “parent” looks a bit different.  A parent who believes that they have given their child all the necessary skills should also feel confident enough to let go and allow their now adult-child to put all those life skills into action.
This realization can be somewhat difficult as it can be hard to come to terms with the fact that your little one is not so little after all. And I’m sure it is equally difficult to see your adult-child struggle, or fall while trying to figure things out on their own.  However, it is a very necessary step.
Always stepping in when your child is in the middle of a situation runs a risk of creating a dependent being who can’t fend for themselves or even more detrimental to the parent child relationship it can create a combative adult who is always try to defend their title as a grown-up.
I realize that I still have little ones who need me for a lot and even that is becoming less and less with my middle schooler. I truly don’t know what it will feel like for me once my boys don’t need me as much. I don’t know if I will become a “helicopter’ mom or if I will be willing to let them go.  I hope it’s the latter as I know that this is what will benefit them most.  Well, I guess it’s a good thing that I blog and record moments like this.  Perhaps once my boys are older and I seem to forget to let go I can look back at my own words and remember that it’s time to cut the apron strings (or at least snip them a bit).

Talk to you soon – Serene

Share with me: What ways do you encourage your children to be more independent? And in what ways are you resisting the need to let go?

 

A Healthy Balance

Pot of Sweet Peas

As a mom it’s very easy to have a one track mind and I’m definitely not referring to sex cause let’s face it, usually when you have little ones running around, sex is the last thing that you can focus on.  But, back to the topic at hand. As a mom it’s really easy to become so absorbed in the daily “have to’s” that you develop a tunnel vision and can only see the things you have to do. I have to pull out dinner for tonight.  I have to cook dinner for tonight. I have to sign trip permission slips.  I have to make sure these bills are paid. I have to wash laundry so that clothes are ready for basketball practice.  And the list goes on…and on.

Too often this chant becomes so embedded in us that we forget one of the important “have to’s”, which is ” I have to find a healthy balance or I just may lose my mind!!”.

For me, that realization didn’t occur until child number 3.  Prior to her arrival, I tried to be superwoman and as a result I suffered from panic attacks and overall mommy burn out. But now I have come to realize that Mommys are people too (who knew!!?) and with that comes a need for a balancing act. So what are the keys to a healthy balance? I’m glad you asked:

Here are my top five absolute necessary keys to being a healthy and happy mommy.

  1. Spiritual health: For me this is key. Without the strength from my higher power, I don’t have the patience, determination, and sometimes the will to do any of the other much needed things.
  2. Mental health: Every now and then I have to assess the situation at hand and come to a conclusion of whether I want to tackle it or leave it be. This applies to many things from dealing with a loved one to dealing with a load of laundry. Every situation does not have to be handled by me at that exact moment.  Knowing that AND accepting it is great for the mind.
  3. Physical health: Every morning I wake up 45 minutes before anyone else in the house. For those 45 minutes I take out the time JUST FOR ME!! I spend 20 minutes doing a workout focusing on whatever area of my body that I want to for that day.  Then the last 20/25 minutes is spent getting dressed and primping in the mirror. (Physical health is as much about looking good as it is feeling good).  For those 45 minutes, it actually feels like pre-children days. Then 6 o’clock hits and mommy duties call.  Back to reality!
  4. Social/emotional health: Once I became a mom I quickly learned why it’s great to have a best friend. Someone you can vent to, cry with and have an adult conversation with. Having children will make you forget that you have a well developed vocabulary. Thank God for friends.
  5. Cognitive health:

It’s so very important for me to be a student forever. In this world there is always something new to learn and there is always room for growth. I challenge myself often to learn something new. Right now I am in the process of trying to perfect my Spanish. I can speak the language but I aspire to read and write it. Lucky for me… There’s an app for that!!

Stay healthy moms, your babies depend on you. – Serene

Share with me: What do you do for your healthy balancing act?