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parenting

Parenting

Mom Guilt: Yeah, I’m Over It. (mostly)

Guilt is a universal feeling though it rears its ugly head in different ways, using different strategies for each person. We must all learn to tackle this beast in our own way and find the strategies that work for us.

I have been working hard to be reasonable, rational, and really honest with myself as I attack the ridiculous guilt that creeps up on me.

Yes. Ridiculous. Some guilt is just plain ridiculous.

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Uncategorized

Connect with Your Kids: March Activities

March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.  It’s the perfect month to have some fun with your kids both inside and outside.

Take some time this month to have some fun and connect as a family.  To make it a bit easier for you, I’ve compiled a list of ways you can make some family memories this month, including a FREE printable of conversations starters for your family!

A list of fun activities and ideas to connect with your kids this month: March. Continue Reading

Parenting

Tackling your Mommy Guilt: A Few Strategies

The weekend came and went with a whirlwind of activity.  Much like it often does.

Book club and movie night with my daughters on Friday night.  Hustling and driving three kids around to sports on Saturday in addition to shopping, errands, and clothing returns.  My husband and I also began work on a small porch makeover.  Sunday arrived and we attended church and then grabbed some bagels with the kids before I spent the rest of the afternoon organizing my desk, paying bills, planning our school week, and working more on the porch project.

And despite all that we did and all that I accomplished and all of the fun we had, I still felt guilty on Sunday night.  I hadn’t done enough.  I hadn’t been enough.

Mommy guilt.  Guilt over my never-ending failure to do all things in all categories perfectly. Continue Reading

Homelife, letters to my kids, Parenting, tweens and teens

An Open Letter to my Kids about Texting

I wrote this letter over 2 years ago, in January of 2014 on the brink of my oldest daughter’s purchase of her first iPod.  I wanted to record a few of my hopes and thoughts about the “world of texting” that I knew we were about to navigate.

Two years later, it is interesting to note that my priorities and hopes for our journey have not changed though I am much more comfortable with this modern form of communication.  We took the plunge and have navigated all sorts of forms of texting and social media these last 2 years.  Without a doubt, these forms of communication have enhanced relationships within our family and have created positive impacts on my kids relationship with the world around them and their friends outside of our home.   It hasn’t always been easy or straight forward to know what to do, but we keep working on it together.

I think I will read them this letter tomorrow and see how they think we have done with our priorities.

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Dear Children,

You are growing up so quickly and I have no doubt that I will blink and you will be teenagers, navigating the world of text.

Twitter.  Facebook.  Email.  Blogs.  SnapChat.  Instagram. Text Messaging.

And everything else “they” come up with in the next few years.

Instant text will be a significant method of communication and somehow I have to help you navigate this world of text.   Admittedly, aspects of this frighten me.

Because text is dead.  It lacks tone and emotion.  There isn’t body language or facial expression.  Yet, it is a primary method of communicating these days.

And let me teach you right now that cute little emoticons at the end of very nasty words don’t make them friendly, funny, or nice.

Seriously.  Remember that!

And remember that whether you like it or not, your text reflects YOU.

Yes.  Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, and all of these cute ways to share and communicate are reflections of YOU.  They are not the entire you, but they reflect your values, likes, choices, and life.  And they often are avenues to communicate with folks who may not really KNOW you.

And once you put something “out there”, you can’t take it back.  Sometimes there are serious consequences to your writing in worldwide text.  We must guard what we communicate and that is tough in the world of instant “sharing”.

So we will practice.  And we will mess up.  Together. 

Yes.  I, too, have learned some lessons in this area.

And while text might be a handy form of  communication, it is not the primary form I want you to have!

I want you to learn to value the company in front of you without hopping on a smart phone to see what other folks are up to.  And to know you are worth face to face conversation that disconnects from everyone else around.

That means we don’t have to answer texts instantly.  Truly.  I don’t.  You don’t.  It is OK to wait for an appropriate moment.

And I am strongly suggesting you don’t have a second date one day with someone who seems more interested in their phone than in you.

I hope we remember that being present in a moment is more important than sharing a picture of that moment.

I don’t care how many likes the picture might get.  It doesn’t matter how many likes you get if you find yourself constantly distracted from your own life.

It is my hope that we always make time to turn off the phones, close the laptops, stow away the tablets and declare a space and time that is not shared with anyone who isn’t present.  A time where we ignore the bings and the beeps and the buzzes of those who might steal our moments as we work together to protect them.

I hope to teach you that sometimes you should pick up a phone and talk.   Your inner circle of family and friends should laugh with you and cry with you absent of emoticons.   You can hear stress in a person’s voice that you can’t hear in their email.  Issues sometimes need to be resolved in a manner that requires voice or face to face contact.  Hurts can be healed more effectively with a conversation and a hug then with a smiley face text.

Other times, text will be the fastest, easiest, and most efficient form of communication.  Use it.

But always remember that real relationships aren’t usually fast, easy or efficient. They take time, energy, and effort.

They are always worth it.

Parenting, Uncategorized

Silencing Shame and Embracing Good Enough

I looked at the clock.  One hour was left until we had to head out the door to the orthodontist.  The appointment would be a fast one, a simple retainer check.

“Tricia, go grab your retainer,” I called to my daughter, certain she could just grab it from her nightstand. Last night I remembered to ask her if she knew where her retainer was and she had confirmed that she did.  I was prepared for this appointment.

Until suddenly, I wasn’t prepared.

She called downstairs, “Mom.  I can’t find my retainer.”

We need to silence the voices of shame and embrace that we are good enough! Continue Reading

Flashback Friday, Homelife, Parenting, preschoolers, tweens and teens

Flashback Friday: Embracing YES

Below is a post from September of 2008 on my former blog.  I love peering back at the mom I was at that time.  I had a 5, 4, and 1 year old and was continually shaping and re-forming my parenting practices.  MUCH has changed over time, but this one practice hasn’t.  I confess that I am still a #yesmom.  In fact, this is the scene I found in my basement yesterday…yes, you can play in the cabinets

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And now to the flashback post from 2008:

I try not to fight battles with my children unless it is necessary. I remind myself to say YES more often than I say NO. Even when I just feel like saying no because their idea is about to create more work for me…

Mom, can Dad turn on the sprinkler for us?

Girls, you’d have to get bathing suits on.

We’ll wear our clothes, mom. Can we?

(Now I’d rather avoid the work of wet clothing, but I remind myself to say yes…)

OK girls. Go ahead. I’ll get some towels to put by the door.

Mom, can we have umbrellas?

Sure guys.

After putting the towels by the door, I went outside to watch. And then I grabbed the camera. It was a memory in the making…


Yes, T (age 4) is in her Easter Dress. But she is one happy clam. Just check her out on the sidebar. [not present on this repost]  That photo was taken on this day and she is having a ball!


Boy did D (age 18 months at the time) have a ball…



And he was NOT going to be left out of the umbrella fun.




Something about those sprinklers that go back and forth is just fun.

And I am reminded that many times the best memories are often made because Mom said, “Yes”.

Homelife, Parenting, tweens and teens

The Gift of Freedom, Part I

Every year, starting at age 10, we celebrate our childrens’ birthdays by giving them the gift of a “Freedom”. The first part of their gift is a gushing letter from us letting them know how proud we are of them and what wonderful people that they are.  In the letter we list all of the amazing ways we have seen them mature over the year.  Then we reveal their new freedom and why we think they are ready for it.

Freedoms could include:  Freedom of music;  Freedom of money;  Freedom of your bedroom;  Freedom of driving (age 16);  Freedom of food;  Freedom of hair;  Freedom of clothing;  Freedom of bedtime/curfew…(stay tuned for full details in Part II)  The list gets longer as we keep brainstorming more!

We decided to make the first freedom, given at age 10, a standard freedom that EVERYONE would receive at this age.  This would be the FIRST time our children would receive a nice/expensive object to call their own.  They would make the rules about its use and they would take on full responsibility for its care.  We would be completely hands off.

This freedom didn’t have a great name, but it has slowly been dubbed, “The Freedom of Things”.

This means that we don’t give them nice/expensive objects as their own before they are 10.  We have a FAMILY iPad, computer, video camera, and camera that they can use.  But we reserve the right of ownership of these devices for children over 10.  It is one of those privileges of growing up!

We kicked off the “Freedom to take care of a nice object” at K’s birthday.  Here she is turning 10, reading the letter that we wrote her.

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Then we presented her with her gift:  a brand new digital camera.  This was a HUGE deal!

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We told her that it was hers to take care of.  It is the FIRST gift that we told her that she didn’t have to share with anyone AND we recommended that she not let anyone use it who couldn’t afford to replace it.  (Yes, I have borrowed it for trips before)  We also suggested that she order a case for it with her money, and she immediately did that!

It has been almost 2 years since K earned this freedom/responsibility.  Her camera is still working well for her.  She keeps it charged and takes it on trips.  She continued to be responsible in this area, so we bought her a kindle for Christmas in 2013.

Our second 10 year old was just as excited, even though she was pretty sure that she knew what was coming…

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While the 10 year old freedom is “carved in stone”, the others aren’t.  This means that is a fun guessing games as birthdays approach, “I wonder what freedom I will get!”

It is our desire is that we are communicating respect for each of our children as individuals and instilling joy and excitement about this decade of “growing up”.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more information on the Freedoms we have on our list!