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Welcome April!

Wow! Here it is April already.
I hate the cliché “Time Flies,”  But March just whizzed past.

My big milestone happened early in the month.  I hit 100 posts!

It gave me a great time to reflect and see where I’ve been, where I am going and where I still am….in the trenches!

My only two other big posts for the month are a perfect example of how in the trenches I still am.  My kids have been sick…a ton.  And I’m always exhausted because no matter what kind of sleepers you have (I like to think I have great sleepers), as moms, I don’t think we will ever get a full night sleep again.

But in true “it takes a village” fashion,  I was honored to have so many awesome experts here at Bump Life to guest post and pick up the posting slack!

We started off the month with Jessica Edelen giving us her words of wisdom on how to pick a preschool for your little ones.  The good news is Brady finally got into a preschool for next fall and this article helped me see how important it is, as a parent, to trust your gut sometimes.

The guys over at Prepare Us helped me check one thing of  my never ending to do list, get prepared for an earthquake!   Their ready to go packs are amazing and they gave us some awesome tips on how to make sure You are Prepared for a Disaster.

Sharon Lincoln, CPCC, inspired us to do a little spring cleaning in our brains with Spring Cleaning: Letting Go of Old Thoughts

Chalita Photikoe, L.Ac., gave us some solid, straight forward advice an how to get pregnant with Tips for Trying to Conceive

Wordless Wednesdays have become a favorite of mine and I got to a few this past month.  Images are so important in our lives these days, but I love how an image can make me think and reflect on my life and my kids a little more. (click on the images below to read more)

So here we are in April!  I am up early, while the rest of the house is still asleep.  I am looking forward to the month ahead.  I have a lot of great posts coming up, and more awesome guest posters.  I’m going to try posting a few recipes I have tried and get back to some of my favorite lists and answering some of your questions.  So stay tuned!

Have anyone you think might like to join us this month?  Forward this post over to them or have them join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bumplife

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Why is it so easy to be so hard on ourselves??

I was spending time with a very good girl friend of mine yesterday.

She was lamenting about her daughter still not sleeping thought the night. She had tried various methods from the no-cry solution to full cry it out, and her daughter is still not getting the hang of settling herself to sleep. She and her husband are exhausted

“I feel like I must have done something wrong, but I don’t know what it is or what to do.” She worried

As she said this, she settled into the couch with her daughter to breastfeed, and my heart sank just a little bit.  Our babies are the same age, but I had given up on breastfeeding a few months ago after I just wasn’t producing enough to meet her needs.  I am bummed that I did not make it to a year and feel guilty that I couldn’t.

While I was feeling bad about my ability to feed my daughter, my friend asked about her sleeping.

“Is Rylan, sleeping?”

Well…I thought.  Yes.  She started doing 8 hours stretched of sleep at 7 weeks old and was sleeping through the night at about 4 months (6:30-6:30). She had never even really needed sleep training; she just sort of figured it out.

We had used the cry it out method with my son and he had the hang of it  in 3 nights and has been a great sleeper ever since.

SO, I have good sleepers.

She continued, “I don’t hear other people talking about this, I must be the only one who kids don’t sleep”

“But,” I reminded her, “she is a great breastfeeder!”

“True” she replied, somewhat dismissively.

And that is exactly it!  It is so easy to focus on the challenging parts of parenting while sweeping the things that came easier aside, thinking they are easy for everyone.

In fact, as I started to write this blog post, I thought…haven’t I written this before??

This having kids thing, that bonds us together, can also feel really isolating.  It is so easy to feel like you are the only parent in the world to go through whatever you are currently going through.

I challenge us ALL to take a few minutes and think of the part of parenting that have gone well for us.

  1. Your child is overall healthy
  2. Easy pregnancy
  3. Uncomplicated delivery
  4. No problems getting your baby to latch
  5. Abundant milk supply?
  6. Your baby took a bottle with ease
  7. Your baby is generally happy and not fussy
  8. Your kids are great sleepers at night
  9. Your kids are great nappers
  10. Your kids transitions to childcare easily
  11. Your baby liked solid foods when you introduced them
  12. Your baby has met developmentally appropriate milestones
  13. Potty training was relatively easy
  14. Your child rarely through a full blown temper tantrum
  15. Your child is sweet and funny and silly

For me, I can say YES! to 10 of these for my older son and 11 for  my daughter (we haven’t gotten to all of them with her).  So those are pretty good odds!! I think I am going to write, “my kids are good sleepers” on my hand…

Take a few minutes write now and write out a parenting mantra for your self.

MY KIDS ARE REALLY GOOD AT_________________

Or

IM A REALLY GOOD PARENT BECAUSE______________

Any time you start to feel unsure of yourself, read that mantra.

And call a friend, because, I promise, you are not the only one going through what you are going through.

I have been following the ladies of Hot Sweaty Mamas on facebook for a while and I love what they have to say about being a busy mom and fit mom at the same time.

This is something I have been struggling with personally since my second child was born.  Even thought I know everything there is to know about postnatal fitness, I have been struggling with, how do I find the time, energy and motivation to put that knowledge into practice. And I know I can’t be the only mom out there that feels this way, right?

So, when the ladies from Hot Sweaty Mamas asked for help promoting their book; Hot Sweaty Mamas; Five Secrets to Life as a Fit Mom, I was all in!  I was excited for personal reasons, as well as for my readers.

Stay tuned for this Thursday, November 17 when Laurie Lethert Kocanda (one half of hot sweaty mamas) will be guest posting here on a topic near and dear to my heart- Goodbye, Mother Guilt: The secret to staying committed is letting go.

They also, generously, sent me two copies of their book; one for me to read and one for me to GIVE AWAY to you!!!

Let me tell you a few things that I am SUPER excited about in this book.

  1. Right out of the gate on page 3, they have fitness tips from real moms, like the mom who jumps up and down like a frog (complete with ribbits) in front of her baby’s highchair, baby entertainment and a workout!
  2. The chapters are short, with great headlines, bullet points and sidebars; its easy to read, even with kids around
  3. It is filled with great tips and quotes like; “Be as good to your body as you are to your children” (I am writing that one down!)
  4. They touch on EVERYTHING we are going through as busy moms.  This is not a “how to get your body back” book.  This is a realistic look at your life and how you can fit in your health into your everyday world. Here are some of my favorite topics from the book

*Taking inventory of your priorities

*How to find time with four time tricks for fit mom

*How to rethink the fuel you feed your body an dhow to prepare it fast

*How to gain support from those around you and what to do when you don’t get the support you need

*Exercise strategies for infants and toddlers in tow

But my favorite parts of the whole book, come at the very end.

  • A 28 day challenge– I love challenges like this.  A week-by-week guide to get your healthy mojo back.
  • A priority inventory exercise– A great guide to make sure your values translate into priorities and making your priorities guide your day.

What to check some out for yourself?  Here is an excerpt from the book.

From Chapter 3: Making Room for Family and Fitness

And be sure to check back on Thursday for Laurie’s guest post and your chance to win your own copy of the book!

 

**My integrity as a blogger is important to me. Although I was given 2 copies of the book by the publishers, I am not being paid for my involvement and all opinions are my own** 

Is it the candy or the costume that is causing him to ‘blast off?’

At family birthday dinner a few months ago, my then-toddler excitedly shoveled spoonful after spoonful of colored frosting directly off the birthday cake into his mouth.  As the rainbow of colors smeared across his face, my father-in-law whipped out his video camera and everyone else laughed and snapped pictures.  The only child at the dinner table, all eyes were on him.

Once Brady realized he had everyone’s undivided attention he jumped from the table and sang the “happy cake” song (his version of happy birthday) when his crowd erupted in applauds, he began to run, literally, in circles around my in-laws living room.

My mother-in-law laughed and said, “well, there goes that sugar kicking in!”

But I wondered, was it actually the sugar, or was he just hamming up the undivided attention he was getting?

A quick google search confirmed my suspicion.  Although generations of parents have blamed their child’s banshee-like behavior on too much sugar, scientific research says otherwise.  In no less than 20 clinical, double-blind research studies, sugar was found to have no affect on children’s behavior or their ability to concentrate.  In fact, the evidence is so conclusive; experts say the link is a “non-issue” in the science world.

So what does cause kids to climb the walls after a dose of the sweet stuff?

Chances are it’s actually the situation in which sugary snacks are served that causes the amped up behavior.  For kids, excitement breeds more excitement.  Most parents wisely limit the amount of sugar their kids eat, so when they are in a situation where they get that piece of candy…the thrill of the special circumstance leads to the excited behavior.  So it is most likely not the birthday cake that is sending your child into a frenzy, but the excitement of the birthday festivities and the 10 other 5 year-olds that is so stimulating.

Also, parents’ perceived expectations of behavior really come into play as well.  In one study, two groups of moms were told their child either received a sugar drink or a non-sugar drink, in reality all the children received the non-sugar drink.  Moms who thought their kids had the sugar, rated their child’s behavior as more hyperactive.

Now of course, there are plenty of reasons not to skip the peas all together in favor of jelly beans.  High sugar foods often replace more nutritious choices in the diet and high sugar intake is linked to obesity and tooth decay.  But, this Halloween when your little ghouls and goblins are bouncing out of their costumes, it probably has more to do with the costumes than the candy.

Becoming more healthy, 1 step at a time (Larkspur stairs)

At every meal, I try to make sure my son has a plethora of fruits, veggies, organic meats and whole grains.

But, up until a week ago, I found myself subsisting on caffeine, luna bars and candy corn. And that’s with a framed degree that reads “NUTRITION.”

Like I said a week ago, sometimes it’s the cobbler’s children who have no shoes.

Why, as mothers, do we take such good care of those around us, but put ourselves at the bottom of the list?

I think for most of us, it comes down to time and mommy-brain bandwidth.  While trying to balance work and motherhood, a pastry at Peet’s at 5am seems to be the easiest breakfast.  If I have an hour free to workout, I usually realize I need to run to the grocery store instead.  By the time I get both kids fed and down for naps, its often 2pm and triscuts and the couch seem like the only choice for lunch.  And after the frantic bedtime routine, dessert with my husband can turn into a nightly treat.  I can’t be the only one, right??

Last Monday, with the help of my friend Selena Moffitt, I started my own “Green Smoothie Challenge.”  My goal was to start my day with a better breakfast, but I found it was the catapult I needed to make some other changes.

Here’s what I noticed;

  • Each smoothie is between 3-4 servings of fruits and veggies that I was not getting before.
  • Although I did not cut out my morning coffee (that was not a main goal for me), I did not have a second afternoon coffee all week.  I just never felt I needed it.
  • I slept better (Probably because of the lack of caffeine in the afternoon)
  • I made better choice at lunch and added more veggies to our family dinners.  (I was just more inspired to ‘keep it up’)
  • I practiced what I preach to my personal training clients and got in a few short workouts, when I otherwise would have thought I didn’t have time.  (3 times up and down those super steep stairs in Larkspur, 20 minutes and I was DONE)
  •  I was more conscious about my sweet treats. I didn’t cut out sugar, but thought about my choices, made the portion size smaller and made sure I really stopped to enjoy the treat.
  • I took more time in the evenings to plan my day.  Not only my food, but everything.  This left me feeling more in control and not quite so frantic.
  • I felt my mood and my attitude were better
  • I liked that my son saw me taking better care of myself

Another favorite quote of mine is “slow and steady wins the race.”  I feel that I took the first small steps to improving my health this week without feeling deprived or frustrated or guilty.  I just made better choices more often.

As a mom, I try to always make good choices for my kids.  But I really want to embrace the idea that making better choices for MYSELF is ultimately the best choice I can make for my children.

So join me!  This week, what is one “better” choice you can make?  Maybe for you it is getting to bed 30 minutes earlier, or spending a little less time on facebook, or getting out for a walk in your neighborhood, or reconnecting with an old friend.

Try it out, I was amazed the trickle down affect one change had.

Want to read all the Green Smoothie Challenge Posts?

Green Smoothie Challenge- Week 1- Garden Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie Challenge- Week 2- Radiate with RED

Green Smoothie Challenge- Week 3- Fruits of Autumn 

Green Smoothie Challenge -Week 4- 2! Herbs and Dessert

Parenthood is this weird club.  LOTS of people have kids, lots of our friends have kids, our family members have kids, the neighbors have kids, and yet, sometimes we can feel really alone.   This having kids thing, that bonds us together, can also feel really isolating.  It is so easy to feel like you are the only parent in the world to go through whatever you are currently going through.
 

I often feel I am the only one who hasn’t figured it out yet (what ever it is at the moment).  Then I talk to a girlfriend, and she doesn’t have it figured out either.  So we decide that WE are the only ones who haven’t got a clue, but everyone else must be in control.  Then I meet a new mom, and she is completely overwhelmed and can’t believe I can find the time to write a blog, but I assure her that I don’t know what I am doing either. So now there are at least three people on the what-the-heck-are-we-doing team.
 

So what’s going on?  As mothers, (and fathers too I am sure), are we not talking to each other about the hard parts of parenting?  Or are we not listening when others do talk about it?  Or, and this is the case for me, are we not applying the same compassion for ourselves that we do for our fellow mothers.
 

I find in so easy to reassure my girlfriends that they are doing a fantastic job parenting and that whatever they are worried about is completely normal and they don’t need to stress about it.  But then I stress about ‘it’ with my own kids.
 

Parenting is also fleeting.  That huge challenge you thought you could never overcome, is now yesterday’s notch in the baby book and now you are on to the next big challenge that you REALLY think you are never going to overcome.  Getting your infant to take a bottle…awful, until she does and then it was easy compared to getting her to sleep through the night.  You think your child will never poop on the potty, and then he does and you can go on to worry if he’ll get into the preschool who’s wait list you’ve been on since he was 6 months old.
 

Recently, I read a friend’s blog completely devoted to the trials and tribulations of getting her teen sons into college…I am sure she longs for the easy days of potty training and growth chart check-ins.
 

It is really hard not to compare yourself, your kids, your marriage, your car, or your parenting skills to the people next door.   I think it is human nature to think everyone else has it easier or is doing a better job than you are. The proverbial grass is greener.
 

But that mom leaving the grocery store with her adorably well behaved kids and her perfectly sculpted post-baby body….she has it figured out, right??
 

Probably not.

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About Bump Life

Bump Life is a place to support moms and families across all aspects of our lives. A place for tips, expert advice, parenting resources and entertainment. A great place to come for information, support or just a break from our crazy lives. From fitness to finance, from diaper bags to diaper duty, for everything bump, babies and beyond, you'll find it all here at BUMP Life!
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