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Are kids growing up too fast?

images-39 At age 5 your kid has a cell phone. She also had her own bedroom complete with a TV and a computer with high-speed Internet access. By the time she is a young teen, she makes regular salon visits and has a hair do that makes her look much older than she is. By 15, she pretty much has it all. A few years after school, she droppes a bombshell asking for permission to get married.

We want our kids to have good things in life. Just as we limit sweets in our children’s diets, we also need to set healthy limits in other areas. We can do this by creating appropriate stages and boundaries.

Creating appropriate stages means putting age limitations on behaviors that rush our kids out of childhood — such as wearing makeup, enjoying Internet use, having a cell phone and getting a job. By delaying these activities until an appropriate age, we use them as rites of passage that mark a healthy progress toward adulthood.

As we set up stages and boundaries, we give our children something to look forward to. We also help them see that maturity is a process, not something that automatically happens when they turn 18.

There are no set rules for determining the ages when kids should be allowed to have or do certain things. Each family and each child is different. But as you think about stages for your kids, ask yourself some questions:

What is the reason for letting my child have or do this? For instance, why would a six year old need a phone? For basic communication or to impress her peers?

Is my child ready for this responsibility? If my son isn’t mature enough to avoid using a cell phone during class, then I’m doing him a disservice by giving him one. Sometimes we even put our kids at risk by letting them have privileges too early. One mom was horrified to learn that her daughter had been giving out too much personal information on social media which led to her kidnapping.

Am I ready for this responsibility? Parenting is tough enough without giving yourself extra work. When we let our children enter a new stage, we have the added job of helping them handle the new privilege responsibly. Letting a child have a phone in his room, for instance, may mean monitoring to make sure he’s not chatting with friends when he should be doing homework.

Will jumping too soon to a particular life stage send unintended messages to my child about self-image or materialism? Will letting a daughter get too many beauty treatments too young make her think her appearance is the most important thing in life? Will letting a boy have too many electronic toys too young set him up for always having to buy the latest gadget?

When your child reaches a new stage, enthusiastically help him or her enter it. When he’s old enough for a mountain bike, help him select one. When she’s old enough to shave her legs, pick out gel and razors together and show her how to do it. When your son is ready for a job, help him research the market. Use life stages not only as signposts of growing up but also as avenues to teach them how to take responsibility of their life.

GroveHere are very actionable ways to get your groove back after baby:

Address Stress. If you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, lighten the load and address the source of the stress before you do anything else. Whether it’s work, a personal conflict, too many things on your to-do list, or too many demands on your time from family or friends, you need to pinpoint the reason and take action. With the help of a friend, coach or counselor who can give you perspective and feedback, let some things go or find ways to delegate. Very few things in life are worth the physical and emotional toll of chronic stress.

Remember What Fun Is.  Fun is underrated and it is an essential element of a strong mojo. Right now think about the times in your life when you really had fun. Go over the events in your head and mentally re-live these fun and happy times. Think of some of these activities that you might want to enjoy again. Then pick a couple and go do them!

Get Physical. Hopefully some of the fun activities you like are physical activities. Without putting the pressure on yourself to start an exercise routine think of some ways you can get physical and really enjoy it.  Play tennis or basketball. Go dancing with a group of crazy friends. Drive to the mountains and take a hike. Get up from your chair and skip around the room or do some jumping jacks. Just get moving and enjoy it.

Treat yourself to a fun new outfit. For a while after having a baby, you may struggled to figure out how to dress yourself again and be stylish with the new requirements surrounding your new lifestyle as a mama. A lot of your wardrobe changes to become more practical, but treating yourself to a fun, non-mom-centric outfit every now and again can help you feel like “you”

Change the subject. Talking about your child non-stop is an easy trap to fall into, and while it is good to surround yourself with friends and family that you can share with and get encouragement from, you should make a conscious effort to change the subject every now and then. Not only will it be a nice change of pace for those around you, but it will force you to reconnect with other important things in your life.

Take An Electronic Sabbatical. It’s so easy to plop in front of the television or computer when you are feeling low. Once you are in that chair, it is so hard to get back up.  For a few days at least, turn off the tv and computer so that you are forced to do something. Have a conversation with your spouse or children. Clear clutter or organize something. Go buy some flowers and arrange them.  Read something inspirational or motivating. Do something, anything, that is positive, productive and joyful. No more sitting and zoning out.

Be Fabulous. When you are in a crowd of people, look around you. Most people are not model perfect. In fact, most people have many physical imperfections. Even so-called perfect people tend to focus on their flaws. So forget about comparisons, and make the very best of what you have. Be fabulous! Take care of yourself. Get a great hairdo, put on some make-up, wear clothes that make you feel happy and attractive. Highlight the beauty inside of you by reflecting self confidence on the outside.

Hang Out With The Best. During this time that you are getting your groove back, spend time with people whose mojo cup is full. Be with people who motivate you, uplift you, want the best for you, and who are just fun to be around. If there are people in your life who drain you or make you uncomfortable, this is the time to put them on hold until you reclaim your mojo. Don’t isolate yourself. Go out with fun people and have some fun.

Do Something Adventurous. Shake your life up a bit. Do something that is totally out of character or unexpected. Book a trip to an interesting, exciting destination. Go whitewater rafting. Tell someone you care about how you really feel. Be spontaneous. Do something that you’ve always wanted to do.

Love Your Body. When we lose our life’s mojo, we can mistreat our bodies with too much alcohol, fatty/sugary foods, or medications. It’s impossible to get your groove back when your body is sedated with yucky stuff. Treat your body with loving kindness. Eat foods like lots of veggies, fruits and lean meats and less processed, high fat bad-for-you foods.

Train Your Brain. When you are down, your mind likes to take over with negative thoughts, worry, and over-thinking. You have to treat your unruly mind the way you would a puppy or small child. Every time it spirals off into negative thinking, redirect your memories to positive thinking or thoughts,reasons to be grateful or anything pleasant. You will have to do this many times until your mind knows you mean business. Before long, it will be natural for you to redirect negative thinking patterns.

 

 

Life is Beautiful

Life is beautifulHow often do you catch yourself complaining, criticizing and  judging those who are maybe a bit different than you are?

 

I guess this is what it means to be human, and even though it may seem easier to react than to respond, to judge and criticise than to accept, love and tolerate the differences between us and the fact that things don’t always happen the way we would like them to happen, it surely isn’t a wise thing to do and it won’t make us any happier.

I know we’re all so busy and it can be challenging at times to be good to one another and to stop looking for flaws, but with little discipline, we could easily go from being bitter to better, from being unkind to kind, from being judgemental to being tolerant and loving. We are all in this together, and if one wins, we all do.  

Life is a gift, so let’s just appreciate it, love and enjoy it.

Life Is A Gift

“Today before you think of saying an unkind word–
think of someone who can’t speak.

Before you complain about the taste of your food–
think of someone who has nothing to eat.

Before you complain about your husband or wife–
think of someone who is crying out to God for a companion.

Today before you complain about life–
think of someone who went too early to heaven.

Before you complain about your children–
think of someone who desires children but they’re barren.

Before you argue about your dirty house, someone didn’t clean or sweep–
think of the people who are living in the streets.

Before whining about the distance you drive–
think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.

And when you are tired and complain about your job–
think of the unemployed, the disabled and those who wished they had your job.

But before you think of pointing the finger or condemning another–
remember that not one of us are without sin and we all answer to one maker.

And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down–
put a smile on your face and thank God you’re alive and still around.

Life is a gift – Live it, Enjoy it, Celebrate it, and Fulfill it.

Life is short. Live well and don’t stress too much. Love people as they are and let go of the need to change them.

family mealsShared family meals are more likely to be nutritious and kids who eat regularly with their families are less likely to snack on unhealthy foods and more likely to eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Beyond health and nutrition, family meals provide a valuable opportunity to reconnect. This becomes even more important as kids get older.

To plan more family meals, look over the calendar to choose a time when everyone can be there.

Figure out which obstacles are getting in the way of more family meals — busy schedules, no supplies in the house, no time to cook. Then work around to making it happen. For instance, figure out a way to get groceries purchased for a family meal. Or if time to cook is the problem, try doing some prep work on weekends or even completely preparing a dish ahead of time and putting it in the freezer.

Once you have all your supplies on hand, involve the kids in preparations. Help from younger kids can mean a little extra work, but it’s often worth it. Simple tasks such as putting plates on the table, tossing the salad, pouring a beverage, folding the napkins, or being a “taster” are appropriate jobs for preschoolers and school-age kids.

Older kids may be able to pitch in even more, such as getting ingredients, washing produce, mixing and stirring, and serving. If you have teens around, consider assigning them a night to cook, with you as the helper.

If kids help out, set a good example by saying please and thanks for their help. Being upbeat and pleasant as you prepare the meal can rub off on your kids. If you’re grumbling about the task at hand, chances are they will too. But if the atmosphere is right, you’re showing them how the family can work together and enjoy the fruits of its labor.

Even if you’re thinking of all you must accomplish after dinner’s done (doing dishes, making lunches, etc.), try not to focus on that during dinner. Make your time at the table pleasant and a chance for everyone to decompress from the day and enjoy being together as a family.

They may be starving, but have your kids wait until everyone is seated before digging in. Create a moment of calm before the meal begins, so the cook can shift gears. It also presents a chance to say grace, thank the cook, wish everyone a good meal, or to raise a glass of milk and toast each other. You’re setting the mood and modeling good manners and patience.

Family meals are a good time to teach civilized behavior that kids also can use at restaurants and others’ houses, so establish rules about staying seated, passing items instead of grabbing them, putting napkins on laps, and not talking with your mouth full.

You can gently remind when they break the rules, but try to keep tension and discipline at a minimum during mealtime. The focus should remain on making your kids feel loved, connected, and part of the family.

Keep the interactions positive and let the conversation flow. Ask your kids about their days and tell them about yours. Give everyone a chance to talk and enjoy the meal.

 

Feeling Overwhealmed?

overwhealmedBeing overwhelmed is part habit, part addiction and the rest simply not knowing how to do things differently. There are few things you can do to overcome overwhelm starting right now.

Stay Present
The reason life is overwhelming sometimes is because we are always thinking about the million things that have to get done by tonight and not focusing on the one important thing you are doing right now. You can deliberately slow down that feeling by staying completely present.
You will see your productivity soar by concentrating all of your energy in one place.

Find the ‘Yes’ In Your ‘No’
For every no you say, you are actually saying yes to countless other things.
For example, when you say “no” to another late night at work, what are you actually saying yes to is time with your family, Time for healthier food or exercise or more sleep. Your new assignment is to find the yes’s and not focus on the no’s. It will be almost impossible to see them as a negative once you do this.

Find Your Prime Time
Part of why we stumble and stall is because we try to force ourselves to get things done when we want to do them, not when we’ll be most effective. While not every task can be flexible, there are many things you can flip the clock on.
Evaluate your schedule and determine if juggling some of your work activities from morning to afternoon makes a difference. You may find your prime time for everything from making the kids’ lunches, paying bills and more can add magical hours to your day.

Tap the fear out!
Much of overwhelm is actually fear. Fear we won’t get it all done. Fear we won’t be perfect. The list goes on and on. Tapping on pressure points on the body can offer a similar effect to needles in acupuncture. Tapping opens up the energy flow where it might be blocked causing fear or other negative symptoms.

Take a Break
While this seems counter intuitive when you are overwhelmed, a distraction from chaos will allow you to re-center yourself enough to handle things better than you could before. Even a 45 second break of focusing on something relaxing will often do the trick. Take a breather, get out of your head space, take a walk or stretch, then try again. You might be surprised about the positive effect this can have on your ability to focus on the task at hand!

Take some time off.

A fuPTOll life can leave little time for reflection, hanging out with friends, or just being “off.” People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed

Personal Time Off is time where you are not a daughter, sister, mother, neighbor, employer, employee etc.

You are just you.

You don’t have to worry about work, where the kids are, dinner, shopping, or any other family responsibilities. You are free to do what you want.

A renown inspiration writer Stephen Covey refers to Personal Time Off as time we spend renewing ourselves. Covey says that, “Without this renewal, the body becomes weak, the mind mechanical, the emotions raw, the spirit insensitive, and the person selfish.”

Schedule it

Sounds easy enough, but life gets complicated managing full time work and full time family.

Put your Personal Time Off on the calendar. By doing so, you make it a real thing, and it becomes less likely that it will be sidelined for something “more important.”

Be flexible and rigid

If you can schedule Personal Time Off at the same time each week, then all the better.

Because your calendar can get rather full, flexibility in scheduling becomes a necessity.

Skipping it once makes it easier to skip again. Sometimes things happens and life gets in the way.

If it happens to you, don’t beat yourself up. Just get it back on the schedule.

Take enough time

The goal is to spend enough time away to let your shoulders drop.

Don’t rush that dinner with your friend, or your time reading in the library. Take as much time as you can to renew yourself.

If possible, don’t go home first

If you take your Personal Time Off during the week, try not to go home first.

Once you get home it’s hard to get back out again. The idea of going out after you get home can be too tiring on many days. Once you get home you just want to take off your shoes and do home stuff. Essentially, it’s much easier to stay out than to go out.

Do what you want to do, not what you have to do

Remember, Personal Time Off is about your time to do what you want to do, not what you have to do. This is not time to catch up on email, or go to the salon or clean up. It is about relaxation. Grab a friend and have some lunch in a restaurant. Work can wait until tomorrow.

 

There is nothing selfish about taking time off for yourself. If your goal is to be a great mother, a wonderful partner, a rock star at work, and a real friend then you need time off. Everyone does.

“Activity and rest are two vital aspects of life. To find a balance in them is a skill in itself. Wisdom is knowing when to have rest, when to have activity, and how much of each to have. Finding them in each other – activity in rest and rest in activity – is the ultimate freedom.” ~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

So, why not take your Personal Time Off  this week? I’m sure you’ve earned it!

You can dream again

Dream What if you are a beautiful, amazing woman who once had great    dreams, dreams about how your life would look like; you dreamed about making a career and a name for yourself. You wanted to gain the respect and admiration of your friends and family. You wanted to travel all around the world, to see beautiful places and meet great new people. You dreamed about being a successful woman. BUT you got babies and stopped dreaming and you gave up all your hopes and dreams in order to raise your beautiful children.
We are all here because that’s exactly where we should be and if you are unhappy, you feel lost and empty then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours.

You could be unhappy because you have chosen to put your dreams on the side to raise a beautiful family, to take care of your wonderful children, but that doesn’t mean you can no longer make your dreams come true. There might be some family drama if you choose to do that, for they were used to you always being there, always taking care of them, always fulfilling their needs and desires, but now it’s time to fulfill your needs because if you don’t, if you don’t listen to what your heart is trying to tell you, you will be feeling like there is something missing in your life.
If you go after you dreams it doesn’t mean you are going to abandon your family, but rather that you are going to help them become more responsible, you are helping them to spread their wings and fly, all by themselves. Parenting is not about having your children lean on you, but rather making the leaning unnecessary.

What is that you still dream about? Are you willing to do what it takes in order to make those dreams come true? Are you willing to stop complaining and start taking some action in that direction? Are you willing to take action and get your life moving in a new direction? It’s only up to you. Nobody can help you if you don’t want to be helped and if you don’t help yourself first.

Take a pen and on a piece of paper write down how your life would look like if all your dreams would come true and notice what emotions are triggered in you.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Maya Angelou