So How’s That Marathon Training Going?

Funny that I haven’t written about running since I wrote about qualifying for Boston. That was last October. Forever ago in raising kid years. And yet running is such a huge part of what I do and honestly who I am. I feel like I’m becoming 12 years old again. Do tweens blog? Not really. Do they instead do YouTube, text, Instagram, and SnapChat? Um, yeah. They write and watch and read and see in short snippets of time. Ain’t nobody got time to read a blog post. Unless it’s in list form of course.  So my running is being documented on Instagram mostly. With a few Facebook posts thrown in because that’s what old people do. I can take a few pictures, write a few lines, tag a few hashtags and move on with my day.

 

Weird.

marathon-training-for-moms

Because only a year ago I wrote about running a lot. My journey of running marathons again – first just to finish, then to improve, and finally to qualify for Boston.

 

But then what?

 

That’s why I’ve taken to Instagram instead of my blog to talk about my training.

 

But with another marathon less than three weeks away, I needed to put more words to it. Also, it’s taper time so my head is a mess. Also my shoulders are wrinkly.

marathon-training

Marathon training for Grandma’s(again) is both great and weird and tiring and normal and what I do now. Only two years ago I was rediscovering the 20 mile training run – with my music plan, my routes, my hydration, my fuel, my time. Now I know all of that stuff. This time around it’s more how can I run faster, further, and get stronger. How do I keep myself from injury. How do I manage my run and still get my daughters to dance and gymnastics on time?  How does training feel as I continue to age(dammit) and how much harder do I have to work to maintain or gain speed. And why don’t my toned legs make my face a little less wrinkly.

marathon-taper

So this time around – this training cycle is good. My long runs are faster than ever. My short runs are even better. My daughter has made me run some speed work(I’ve never done speed work before) with her since she ran track this Spring. Our new neighborhood is ALL HILLS so I think that is adding to my overall strength and fitness. Now all I need is some favorable weather in Duluth – and I think a PR to beat my 3:48 is clearly doable. I’d love to run a sub-3:40 marathon – and maybe the sun and moon and stars will align that day so I can do just that.

 

22 years ago when I first started running I never thought I’d have this kind of speed. I’ve always been more tortoise than hare. But at 46 years old I’ve learned that the human body is an amazing thing. But the work is hard and long..so it’s a good thing that I love it. And damn, if Harriette can still run marathons at 92 years old - well I figure my marathon training career is really just beginning.

training-grandmas-marathon

I have two more marathons on the books for the next calendar year – Twin Cities again in October and Boston in April. I never know what will come after that or in-between – but I do know that I plan to run until I can no longer run. There’s something hard-to-explain sweet that continues to happen between me and the quiet, empty roads in the pre-dawn hours that I never want to end.

 

So don’t think I’m not running because I don’t post about here. Just know that I’m sharing my thoughts quickly like the tweens do so I can save my time for more important matters like binge watching Game Of Thrones or obsessing over a new pair of running shoes.

garmin-running-gps-watch

(No, I didn’t burn that many calories – I just can’t figure out how to change my weight from 325….)

OH and one more thing to share – Jed and the girls bought me an actual, live(okay not live) GPS fancy Garmin watch as they do believe I am the only person who runs marathons and trains without one. So now I can really see my splits and “stuff” and all the fancy stuff that GPS watches do. I was so excited about it until I tried it out for the first time and could not see the fancy splits and “stuff” because I don’t run with my readers on. Damn you 46 – sometimes you are a real pain.

 

 

 

Share

Parenting By Improvisation #GoodandHonest #Motts

This is a sponsored post by The Motherhood and Mott’s and their Good & Honest Campaign.

 

My own mother thinks that I’ve lost my mind. Ask my dad, and he’ll agree with her. I never thought we would be one of “those” families that spends every free moment that we have…well, not being free at all. During the school day I’m running errands for my kids – picking up equipment, forms, ingredients for baked goods and snacks, and then after school I’m driving them absolutely everywhere.

 

Last Saturday I spent exactly seven hours and 19 minutes in my car driving three kids here and there and everywhere. My car has become a giant receptacle of dirty clothes, uniforms, school work, snack wrappers, grocery bags, instruments, ballet shoes, and books that I read while I sit and wait and catch my breath.

honest-parenting

So my parents think that I’ve lost my mind for letting such a schedule happen. For having a to-do list a mile long written on small pieces of paper in my mess of a purse. For not saying no, you cannot run track this year.

 

Yet somehow – in this chaos of a life, this mess of a car, the mixed up brain that forgets so many things – well, we’re happy. Yes, we are happy between school pick-up and ballet drop-off, and that vocal concert, and the practicing of piano, and the track meet, and the dance recital, and the volunteering at the school AGAIN for eight hours this week.

 

And like everything from this childhood that I am witnessing – it will not last. In six years one will leave for college..and then another two years later..and in 12 years…gone. I can dedicate these 12 years to this. To this busy that middle school and high school brings. A different busy from six years ago when it was pushing someone on a swing and cleaning up breakfast dishes and wiping butts. At least this new busy gives me minutes here and there to read a book while I sit in a car, or check Facebook, or leave a kid at home while I run the others somewhere, or allow me to stop for groceries by myself sometimes.

 

And I don’t feel like my kids are running my life by all of us now choosing to be this busy. In someways we love it. And honestly, I think a busy kid has less downtime to get into trouble. Trust me – I know this from my own experience. So I can either embrace and maybe laugh at the crazy that we call our life, I can complain about it, or I can stop it if I feel that it’s wrong. But it’s not. It feels just so crazy right, right now.

 

What our new and crazy schedule has also taught me is to just let things go and improvise. We used to sit at the table together almost every night for dinner. Now, dinner is mainly on the go and I need to just click away and ignore all of the posts and research about how dinner together as a family most nights is so important. We did that for 12 years…so now it’s time for picnics in the car or on the dance studio lobby floor. And I’m calling it still pretty darn good as we are still together and hey, no dishes!

 

It feels good to just focus on what feels right for our family as we create our own memories and schedules and know that with balancing life, we are really just doing the best we can.

motts-good-honest

I love that Mott’s is giving all of us parents a break with their new Good & Honest Campaign. And can I just say that Mott’s Snack & Go Applesauce packets have been a lifesaver for easy and healthy snacks on the run for us!

Let’s be honest. Moms and dads work hard to be the best parents they can be. But they’re not afraid to admit that everything doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes we have to fudge it a little bit and just go with the flow. Even if that means straying a bit from the Parenting 101 Manual.

Spending quality time with kids is important, whether it’s doing homework, working on a fun project, reading or simply laughing at things that no one else could possibly understand. These are the very moments that create long-lasting memories, but sometimes in the balance of life, we falter and recognize that we can’t always be perfect.

The Good and Honest campaign is truly meant to uplift parents and acknowledge we improvise along the way. We celebrate and support those who are doing the best they can every day for their kids.

Now I’d love to here about your Good & Honest parenting moments - do you cut bedtime stories short by leaving out a few words…only pretend to listen to your child practice the piano…’forget’ to pack a lunch just to save some time in the morning? Fess up!

 

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Mott’s and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own. 
Share

Mom Mishaps – Things I Forget #SisterhoodUnite

Disclosure: “I’m a Sisterhood of Motherhood Blog Partner, but all opinions are my own. Please see below for additional disclosure.”

My child was the one with bare feet during ballet class this past Saturday. The other girls had pink sheer tights and perfect shoes with bows, while mine had bare legs and feet because I forgot her ballet shoes. It wasn’t the first time I forgot. Nor the last. I can make that promise.

forgetful-parent

My child has also been the one eating the cheese sandwich for lunch because I forgot to send lunch money or pack her lunch.

 

My child has also been the one without the class snack when I’ve forgotten it was our snack day. Instead the teacher had to give snack from the cabinet. The cabinet that I fill for her when I remember. But of course I remember this when it’s not our snack day.

 

My child has been the one sitting outside of dance..forever waiting for me. And finally going back inside to call me to find out why I’m not there to pick her up. It’s because I forgot to pick her up. More than once I’ve jumped in my car – without shoes, maybe pants, without my purse, maybe my glasses, and rushed to pick up a forgotten child.

 

My child has been the one to almost miss field trips because of forgotten permission slips.

 

My child has gone without a yearbook because I missed the deadline to order(thank you, school for ordering extra for mothers like me).

 

My child has turned in empty reading logs because I forgot to fill them out.

 

When I started making the list of what I’ve forgotten for my children, I teetered between laughter and tears. I know some of what I’ve forgotten is so minor that they forgot and forgave within minutes. But some of these incidents will either hurt their hearts a bit longer or give them fuel for stories to share with their children. Hopefully stories that will make them laugh one day. Please let them laugh about it one day.

 

I want to sit with other moms and hear what they’ve forgotten, or how often they forget something. I know I forget little things almost daily. But big things are forgotten more often than I like to admit. I hope as parents we can give ourselves a little grace each day as our faults, mistakes, and things that we forgot or had to let go pile up, as parenting is messy and disorganized even on the best of days.

 

And while yes, you may forget snack day and maybe forget to pick up your child, and sure forget to pack the soccer shoes – it doesn’t mean you forget the more important things like that first morning hug, a smile from across the room, or an evening snuggle before fed.

 

Kids are smart enough to know what’s really important. And trust me, it’s not the snack you remembered for them in first grade.

 

By writing this, I’m giving myself some grace and I’m going to stop kicking myself for the forgotten shoes on Saturday.

 

What have you forgotten this week? Come on – spill it!

*****

sisterhood-of-motherhood-feature

Similac believes it’s time to embrace mothers who choose to embrace motherhood. Time to put down the fingers and the subtle suggestions. Because no two of us are the same, but we’re all in this together. The sisterhood has only one rule. Nourish each other the same way we nourish our children. And, just like the sister who’s got your back, we’re there to help you get through the first few days and months of motherhood with confidence — and zero judgment. The way it should be.

 

I would love for you to visit Similac’s new Sisterhood Of Motherhood site, learn more on Facebook.

 

Similac partnered with bloggers such as me for its Sisterhood of Motherhood Program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. Similac believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their words, Similac’s policies align with the WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission(FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.
Share

Give Your Kids A Cool Summer Adventure! #BrainChase

This post is sponsored by The Motherhood and Brain Chase.

 

We are deep in our summer planning right now. Camp sign-ups start in February, Sport Sign-ups now, we are talking seriously about our road-trip, and family has started calling to find out when it’s a good time to visit. Yet with our new home I also just kind of feel like canceling everything and enjoying a new adventure in our backyard. There’s something so simple and beautiful about kids just outside from dawn until dusk, riding bikes, running between houses, and meeting new friends. I love when my kids have their own adventures during the freedom of summer.

 

Yet no matter how free we make our summer, or how scheduled we make our camp, family, and travel commitments – we always make time to read and keep up on some school work during the summer. Typically we head to the bookstore and buy some fun workbooks, but as our kids have gotten older they typically enjoy learning online with cool games and apps. Studies show that by the end of summer, students perform on average one to two months behind where they left off in the spring – so it just makes sense to keep up on some sort of school work to prevent that summer brain drain.

 

So I think we’ve found the coolest thing to get us sharp, have fun, go on an adventure, and do something as a family this summer. Basically we are throwing those workbooks in the recycling and seeing the world from our own dining room table.

brain-chase

We are going on a Brain Chase. Brain Chase is a 5-week online summer learning challenge disguised as a HUGE global treasure hunt for 2nd through 8th graders. Each summer, a golden mechanical treasure will be buried somewhere on earth – and it will contain the key to a safety deposit box holding a $10,000 college scholarship fund. Participants who complete an hour of online summer learning activities each day will unlock secret animated webisodes that hold the clues to the treasure’s whereabouts. Pinpoint the treasure’s location first, and you’ll be the one on a plane to dig it up!!

 

Ummm… BURIED TREASURE! A $10,000 SCHOLARSHIP! THE OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME TO FLY SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD TO DIG IT UP! A FAMILY ADVENTURE TO REMEMBER FOREVER!

 

YES PLEASE!

summer-learning-adventure

Brain Chase starts on June 22, 2015 and continues with 5 weeks of structured challenges on reading and math websites, weekly writing exercises, and exclusive access to an original animated adventure series loaded with hidden puzzles and clues. You and your children participate in a massive global treasure hunt for the big prize of a lifetime!

 

Each week the adventurers have 4 tasks to complete – a reading task, a writing entry, math points, and a bonus challenge(typically 4-5 hours of total weekly work). When they are done, they unlock the next webisode which contains hidden pictures, numbers, and riddles to help them guess the treasure’s location! The webisodes are so cool as they travel around the world exposing your kids to even more cool adventures!  And don’t worry if you are going on your own adventure or to camp during this time – as Brain Chase allows you to make-up your work at anytime during the 5 weeks!

 

Brain Chase is fun with action-packed animations, mysterious packages in the mail, and the hunt for buried treasure that turn learning into an adventure. It’s FLEXIBLE. You’ll do the challenge when you want, where you want, and at your own pace. And it’s CUSTOMIZED. You get to work at your own level.

 

Then every 24 hours, your adventurer can log in to enter their guess of the treasure’s location. The first adventurer to guess the location travels with their family to dig up the buried treasure.

 

The Sunstone of Cortes is just waiting for you!

 

I think my kids have already watched that video about one hundred times.

 

And if you need more inspiration, just watch the winners from Summer 2014!!

 

All you need to do now is sign-up and let the countdown begin to your own summer adventure. If you register before April 15th, your cost is only $149(additional discounts for siblings), and get an ADDITIONAL 15% off with code SELLABITMUM15.

 

And let your summer adventures begin!

 

Sponsored by The Motherhood and Brain Chase. All words and opinions are my own.

 

Share

Twenty Six Minutes

Subterranean

 

Located or living underground.

 

Mediterraneus(Latin)

 

Enclosed or nearly enclosed by land.

 

Esther calls out 20 more vocabulary words from the backseat, getting 20 more responses from Eloise in the front. Astrid sings FourFiveSeconds the whole time. The whole time being ThirteenMinutes and 6 miles that the four of us are in the car in the morning.

 

I wonder if Astrid had quite a bender over the weekend that she was repenting about. But I don’t recall anything more than a maybe a little extra root beer in her float on Friday and a late night family viewing of The Hobbit on Saturday. So I just smile and sing along with her because damn it’s a soulful tune. And also because Paul McCartney. And Rihanna. And that other gentleman who is so damn talented..but still. And I pause once again to be grateful that Raffi’s music has not graced our car since 2006.

photo 1-1

Esther and Eloise finish the vocabulary words and now sing with us. Esther does air guitar and Eloise drums a beat on the dash.

 

I want to cry with happiness for these ThirteenMinutes each morning. And the ThirteenMinutes coming this afternoon.

 

The TwentySixMinutes that I was dreading when we moved. Our move meant moving out of the bus zone and into the land of driving the kids to school. TwentySixMinutes that I used for showering or working or for silence and for me. A compromise of mine for this move. I dreaded losing this time of mine. I dreaded being in the car more. I dreaded the environmental impact.

 

But instead I gained TwentySixMinutes with my kids. Sometimes the morning ride is filled with spelling words and plans for the day. Sometimes the radio is just turned up all the way and we sing and laugh. Sometimes we are tired and cranky and silent but together. Sometimes there’s a fight about the wrong shoes or forgetting a book. But always it’s us.

driving-carpool

The afternoon ride home is talking about their days. Homework that’s due. What’s for dinner. Sometimes long talks. Sometimes long tired silences. But they are here. With me. Together. TwentySixMinutes for us.

 

This extra time with my kids without interruptions possible is a gift I did not expect. Surprises will never cease in parenting. And I’m going to take any extra moment that I can with them. No regrets. No benders. No repenting. No dreading.

 

Our TwentySixMinutes together.

 

Because it’s #1 on our carpool playlist right now.

 

Share

28 Days Of Play

Today I’m feeling like a parenting failure. Not just today, but it’s my overriding theme this winter. We are busy, there aren’t enough hours in the day, and frankly by 7pm all I want to do is sit in a chair under a big blanket and watch mindless TV as I can’t even keep my eyes open long enough to read a book or write something.

 

My kids at nearly bedtime(if we are not running to dance or music or voice or gymnastics or to a school function) are milling around me. One is doing homework(or maybe Facetiming with a friend), one is reading while petting the cats on her lap, and one is either dancing around me or coloring. They’ve gotten used to me lately not being completely in the moment with them.

28-days-of-play

I sit heavy with guilt as I want to engage and be present, but it feels hard and exhausting. I try to remind myself that this is short-lived – our moving houses, our busy. But it feels like forever.

 

I try to make myself feel better and think about the dance party we had a few days ago, or the game of Beat The Parents that we played. Or when we all zip-lined on Friday night and played hide and go seek together. Play doesn’t have to be Candy Land. Play can be a walk around the block together, right?

 

After 12 years of parenting, I know that I am not my child’s playmate – I’m their mom. But sometimes(especially now) I wish I could just lighten up a bit and be more fun. Instead I make lists of things that aren’t done – Christmas thank you notes, dishes, laundry, cleaning the litter box, grocery shopping.

 

That is not a game.

 

I was honored to be asked by Rachel of You Plus 2 Parenting to write an essay about play as part of her 28 Days Of Play series during the month of February.

28days_header_cal_2015-1024x384

It opened my eyes to how I play with my kids – and how it’s easier now that they are older, but still at times awkward for me. And reading the other essays this month from other parents has given me more to think about as I try to be present in my kids’ lives – and maybe playing make believe doesn’t have to be part of that to define being fun.

 

My essay is live today – and I’d love for you to hop over and read it and share. And maybe challenge me a game to cribbage next time we are together.

(comments closed here)

Share

5 Lessons My Tween Has Taught Me About Social Media

“Mom, don’t take that picture!” she yells as she covers her head with her blanket. The morning is cool, dark and quiet, and her stern tone changes this serene moment immediately. But it was too late for her, as I had already snapped a picture of the scene. “I hope you didn’t take that!” she continues “And if you did, don’t post it on Instagram or Facebook!”

 

I’m hurt and surprised by her harsh words, yet at the same time I get what she means and why she said them.

Posted with permission

Posted with permission

What I saw, as I looked over my coffee and across the room, was a beautiful scene of father and daughter together working on her algebra homework. I saw a family moment to freeze in time – a time to remember when she was in middle school and needed some help on a few equations. I wanted to remember these early mornings of school and homework and “tweendom” that will fade into just another blip of one of the ages of childhood.

 

Yet what she saw was only herself – with early morning bedhead, and wearing old pajamas. She saw her sleepy eyes and her dad’s messed up hair. She saw herself sitting too closely to her dad while during the day she likes to give off that teenage vibe that she happily keeps her parents at a comfortable distance of coolness and independence. She wants to let people know that she typically brushes her hair and wears skinny jeans.

 

I get that.

 

I recently untagged myself from a photo that a friend posted on Facebook. He messaged me asking why I untagged myself, as what he saw was a photo full of happy memories with an old group of friends from nearly 30 years ago. What I saw was me, an 18 year old who was horribly unhappy and unhealthy on the inside, and has spent years trying to delete any pictures that were taken from that time. His tagging me brought that girl front and center and I could not hit delete, delete, delete fast enough.

 

So I get that what I view as a beautiful family moment, she can view as a moment of ugly morning hair. And a few years ago, as her mother I would’ve posted it without her knowledge or opinion. A few years ago she was not on social media. I’m also pretty sure almost every “Mommy Blogger” has at one time or another written a post about what is “our” story versus what is “their” story as our children have gotten older. Because while posting pictures of your toddler playing in the mud is all fun games, well posting pictures of your tween with her friends is off limits.

 

But this really has nothing to do with what is my story of motherhood versus their story of being my child. This has to do with how I now feel a new responsibility for what I share because my daughter is now on social media.

 

After begging for an Instagram account for over ONE MILLION YEARS(her account of the situation, it was actually just a few months), because EVERYONE in the whole world is on Instagram besides her, I opened an account for her on her 12th birthday. Honestly, I’m still not comfortable with the whole thing even though our parental controls are probably better than Target’s IT firewalls, but we decided this would be an easy way for her to enjoy her first steps into social media under our careful watch before the crap really hits the fan and her access explodes as she gets older. Believe me, I want to move my family to a yurt in Siberia when I think about Snapchat, cyber bullying, and hell even Tinder.

 

What I did not expect from letting her have an Instagram account though, was that she would teach me a lesson or two about my own social media behavior.

 

This is what my daughter being on social media has taught me about living life online…

1. Think before you post. What goes online stays online. You are leaving a permanent record out there for everyone to see and Google. Is this a post or picture that you want to remember forever? Having my daughter on social media has made me really stop before I post anywhere and the responsibility that it truly holds.

 

2. It’s not just about you. Sure, you loved the picture, but is it something that will hurt your friend or a family member? Ask permission. While yes, I own the stories about my motherhood – they are not mine alone. I now take time to discuss posts and pictures with my kids and if they don’t like something – I don’t post it or talk about it. Mutual respect belongs front and center both on and off social media.

 

3.  Know who your friends are. My personal Facebook page has become a ‘mess’ of people. A few years back I started friending anyone who requested to be my friend if we had a few mutual friends in common. But now, I really wonder who most of these people are. As I now have to approve who follows my daughter’s Instagram account – it’s really made me go back into my accounts and make a stronger line between what I post personally and what I want to keep on my professional pages, and I’m cleaning up my accounts.

 

4. Post because it’s important to you, not because of “Like Currency.” We all get caught up in how “viral” a post or picture goes. Admit it, you do. You might be 45 years old but having 50 likes on a Facebook post sure feels better than having two. Sometimes we never leave the angst and emotional turmoil of puberty, amiright? So having this exact discussion with my daughter – telling her to post pictures she loves on Instagram because she loves them, not because they will be popular, has helped me with what I share and how I don’t need to waste so much time finding the right filter so people will like my picture more. I’ve always found that the posts and pictures that resonate the most are the ones that tell my truth anyway. The rest doesn’t matter.

 

5. Put your phone down. Does every moment really need to be captured? Live in the moment. When my daughter first joined Instagram, she was on her phone ALL THE TIME. And I saw myself in her. Was I really doing this too? Was the picture I just took more important than the moment that I just spent with my kids. Sure, social media is fun and exciting, but the person sitting right in front of me is even more important. Don’t let social media manage your time. Manage your time on social media. This has been one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from watching my own daughter start her own journey online.

 

Just like everything with parenting – we all learn together as we go and they grow. She will make mistakes just like we will make mistakes, but watching her explore social media over the past two months has taught me a lot as a parent as I reflect on my own behavior online. Sometimes I watch her with great delight as she improves her photography skills, but then I go into her “friend approval” list and cringe over the people who have found her account.

 

Parenting – it’s wonder mixed with a healthy amount of worry. Yet currently as we dip our toes into the shallow end of the social media pool – it’s honestly worry mixed with a healthy amount of wonder.

 

Share

Blurred Lines

I can no longer work on my laptop without wearing my readers. My cheaters. My stupid glasses that allow me to see things close-up. The glasses that make me feel like I should wear purple sweaters and red hats and have friends named Phyllis. I now play the game of putting my glasses on and off and on and off and on and off – and figuring out where to put them when I’m not wearing them – on my head, in my pocket, on the table, tucked in the neck hole of my top – somewhere close by because after I look up and remove them so I can see far again(albeit with 300 strength contact lenses) and talk to you, I then need to look again to my laptop or paper or phone and put my glasses back on.

 

But where are they? Did I put them in my purse, my shirt, the drawer, the bedside table, on my head, or HORROR – on some beaded chain around my neck. I have friends that now have bifocals. Not parents – not grandparents – not aunts or uncles…but friends that wear bifocals. I’ve laughed at them and their aging ways.

 

Until now. Now I face being closer to 50 than 40, have more friends over 50 than under 40, and feel so far removed from having babies in my house that I felt uncomfortable in the restaurant bathroom last week when a young mom was changing her son’s diaper. “People still do that?” I thought. Because you see, we do forget what it’s like to have little ones at home and what it takes to care for them and what needs to be done for them. We do. It just felt like more than three years ago when that was me in the bathroom changing a diaper. Now I spend more time dealing with my own accidents when I pee myself while laughing or sneezing. I even wonder if I would need my readers to change a diaper at this point.

 

And I was an “old” mother – still with an infant when I was 41. How can I feel already so detached from having babies at home. Maybe it’s because I can no longer keep track of my glasses, let alone a potential toddler on the loose or remembering to pack diapers and wipes. At the same time.

 

My only solace to my aging woes – besides the fact that most of my friends are older than I am for a reason – is that my husband is aging right along with me. After pulling the readers off my face nightly while I read, to use for himself, he finally broke down and bought his own glasses a few months ago. As someone who has never had glasses – this was a new adventure for him – a new fashion statement, a new thing to research, a new thing to be excitement about. Whereas glasses for me are something I’ve worried about for nearly thirty years and consider them more “have to” than “fun to.”

reading-glasses

And damn if this old man didn’t get hotter when he put his readers on. (Okay, maybe his growing man-bun helped a bit too). So this made me mad because guys always “win” at these things – this aging gracefully and all of that crap. They don’t worry about their graying hair, their stray hairs, their aging eyes, and they don’t they fill their medicine cabinets full of the latest wrinkle creams.  Where I now notice the friends who’ve had Botox and worry whether my latest hair color matches my original color so people don’t take notice. I don’t consider aging to be a measure of hotness or not, but I do see the measurement changing. Maybe that’s why our eyes go bad and readers are required to see any details. Maybe we are suppose to lose them in our purses, pockets, tables, and drawers so we can see the big picture and the beauty in the distance..and forget about those little imperfections that just blur into a beautiful face when we put our glasses down.

 

Share

Will I Do Yoga Again

I’m a self-proclaimed yoga hater. Okay, maybe hater is a bit harsh, so let’s just say that yoga is no longer my jam. I mean I don’t hate you for doing and loving yoga, as many of my dearest friends are instructors and extraordinary women who live and die by the yoga sword. In fact 13 years ago I started towards my yoga instructor certification and took a trip to India which inspired me to continue with my training. I was one of them – the yoga people. I practiced yoga in a studio at least four times per week, a few times per week at home, and I even…wait for it…meditated. Hell I was mindful before mindful was in. Now when I hear the word mindful I want to shove some kale up someone’s ass and ask them if they are experiencing mindfulness right at that moment. In fact my rage is surfacing as I type that word on my page. Like it’s the biggest judging word of our generation. Like if you aren’t being mindful, than you’re just an asshole. I want to invent a new nomenclature for those of us who feel we are mindful without having to tell everyone that we are being mindful. Because it’s not like we are the mindful-less. We are just so damn zen that we don’t have to even explain how fucking okay we are. And that we can enjoy eating a carrot just because we like carrots and  do not need to think about how we are mindfully eating the damn carrot. Like if I eat it while standing at my kitchen counter I am enjoying it less than I would be sitting lotus in my living room eating the same damn carrot. Bugs Bunny doesn’t give a crap about this. Bug Bunny ate carrots while standing up, was never mindful, and he has lived a very long life.

 

Maybe if I had continued doing yoga – my zen-ness would be more enlightened and lighter if you will.  Maybe I wouldn’t have rage. Maybe I would eat more carrots. Maybe I could shove my legs into lotus. Maybe I would eat allthecarrots. Maybe I wouldn’t be thinking about shoving kale up your mindful ass.

 

I still remember walking out of my last yoga class in Holland. I was eight months pregnant, moving home to the US, and moving onto a new life as a mother. In the three years that followed I tried a few local yoga classes, but nothing stuck. I felt awkward and self-conscious at each place and nothing felt like home to me. Yet I assume yoga must still be part of my soul because I think about it nearly every single day. I visit websites and look at schedules, touch mats as I pass them by in a store, and watch with envy as people exit a yoga class. I listen to friends tell me about the latest classes they are taking. I stalk people on Facebook as they become instructors. And I follow way too many people on instagram who do yoga. Unless they start using the word “mindful.” I unfollow those mindful people quickly and feel more zen than a good yoga sculpt class could ever make me feel.

yoga

I know I’m feeling the draw towards yoga again because I have this new thing called “time” on my hands now that all of the little children are at school all day. And sure, I could fill it with more work, or more volunteering at school, or more binge watching on Netflix. But yoga(non-mindful) yoga is calling my name. But I stress – will I buy the wrong mat, will I buy the wrong clothes, will my body not bend and hold like it used to, will people make fun of my wrinkly knees, will I pass gas. Maybe more than once? Because a mother can and will make everything stressful – including the thought of starting yoga again. Sometimes I have this vision of me entering my first class in so many years and being all like “Okay, Motherfuckers, let’s get mindful and shit!” And then the uptight mindful ones hate me forever, but my true blue new friends give me high-fives and martinis after class. But I know myself, and I know I’ll be the one hiding in the back of the class just hoping that I don’t pass gas and pausing with envy at the people with the nice mats and better clothes.

 

If I ever actually make it to a yoga class. Because right now I’m just checking online schedules while I eat chocolate and watch season six of the Gilmore Girls.

 

We shall see what 2015 brings.

 

I will report back. But I’m telling you right now that I am walking out the first time that someone says “mindful.” I’d like instead to make that into a drinking game. I would have to stay off the internet though as I’d always be too drunk to leave my house. Good excuse to skip yoga I guess.

 

Share

She’s Just A Child

This post has been sitting in my draft folder for over a month. I’ve written it. I’ve deleted it. I’ve written it again. I’ve edited it. I’ve cried. I’ve yelled. I’ve been sad. I’ve been protective. I’ve been angry. I’ve tried to forget that I even started this post.

 

After I let it sit again – and by “it” I mean the encounter as well as my heart, I almost decided just to walk away and let this go. But I think that maybe it’s something that people should hear.

 

So I’m hitting publish right now. And I’m vowing not to walk away from this issue and be silent. I’m doing this for our daughters.

******

Dear Mom At The Gap,

 

She noticed you too. She did. My daughter did. My child. She heard you. She heard every word that you said. She saw the look on your face as you said it. And you hurt her.

 

And instead of being excited about a new jacket that I offered to buy for her for her birthday, she told me that she didn’t want it and asked if she could just wait for me outside of the store while I finished with my return. I asked to go with her, but she told me to just stay in the store and finish as she was fine.

 

I watched her through the store window. Her head down as she sat holding hands with her little sister. I kept my eyes closely on her as I stood in line. Wanting to be near her and explain what just happened. Because she’s a child. A child.

 

I thought about grabbing the jacket she loved again and buying it for her anyway as a surprise. But would it always remind her of what she heard. What you said.

 

Let me tell you a little bit about my child. My child that I’ve known for nearly 12 years. The child that you hurt – with your 10 second observation and shaming words.

 

My beautiful child was born a preemie. Weeks early in an emergency delivery, she was born tiny yet perfect in every single way to me. Her limbs were thin – without time in the womb to develop the beautiful baby-squish we all expect. She instead was angular, fragile, and fine. And even as she grew as a toddler and into grade school, her frame was always slight with beautiful and almost magical wispy limbs. Yet she grew tall.

 

You don’t have to look much further than her dad or to me to see where her body structure came from – we both have thinner frames, small bones if you will, and are tall.

 

My child is an incredible student. She’s grades ahead in math, was reading at a tenth grade level by first grade, and always finishes in the top during the school spelling bee. She also loves music and is a gifted pianist though you would never know as she only plays for herself(or for us if she thinks we aren’t listening).

skinny-shame

My child cares deeply for others – watching her sisters, insisting on taking turns, never going first, and volunteering on the school community service club.

 

My child is quiet and doesn’t like to be the center of attention. She encourages others to take the spotlight and is an incredible cheerleader.

 

And my child is a beautiful dancer. She’s been taking dance for nearly eight years at a studio that embraces all children who truly love the sport.

 

Yet sometimes my child comes home from dance sad. Because she feels different. Looks different. She’s turning 12 soon – hormones raging, middle school angst starting, uncertain about life as she starts to define who she is, what she loves, etc. You remember the time of uncertainty, right? Sometimes she comes home from dance in tears because her legs look different or she can’t make them do what she should be able to do. Her legs are so long and thin that they truly do not come together. Do not touch. Do not work in many ballet positions. She is frustrated, yet doesn’t give up.

 

And I have those talks with her that all mothers do – that she’s beautiful and perfect and brilliant just the way she is. That her body is just the way it’s suppose to be. I tell her stories about my own adolescence and my thin legs, and about her grandmother getting teased in middle school when she was told it looked like she was “walking on toothpicks.” We giggle at how absurd life can be. And for awhile she forgets that she feels she looks different or “wrong” compared to others.

 

You see, my child is 11 -almost 12, with no signs of puberty anywhere except for the fact that she’s grown about seven inches in the past year while barely gaining an ounce of weight. She’s become almost as tall as I am – yet with the waist of a five year old, no fat cells to speak off, no hips, no breasts, and no other indication that she’s becoming a woman soon.

 

And I can give you the benefit of the doubt with your statement that perhaps because of her height – that you mistook her for someone maybe 16 or 17 – but that doesn’t excuse what you said. What you thought. What she heard.

 

Because she is not you. She is not even me. She is an individual who deserves better. To not be “skinny shamed” if you must when you said to your daughter “My god, look at how skinny that girl is – she’s obviously sick and anorexic and needs help.”

 

You have no right to judge another person. A child. How dare you decide you have the right to shame anyone because of their body or mind or by how they look. Why as a society do we continue to belittle and judge other women because of their looks and their shapes. Why do we continue to feed this industry that is intent on making us all want to be perfect – whatever that means. And as mothers, I expect better of all of us.

 

So my daughter, my child, fled the store with her baby sister to get away from you, when just moments ago she was happy and looking in the mirror at her reflection – wearing a jacket that she fell in love with. She’s gotten so tall this year that she can now wear ladies tops, and this was our first trip into a store to try something on in that department. She’s had a hard year – growing tall so quickly – do you remember that weird stage when clothing didn’t fit right. Everything was either too short or too long or too small or too big – that year or so as you transitioned from girls department to juniors? Yeah, that’s where she is. And this is happening while she already feels somewhat uncomfortable with her thin legs and height. It’s a hard road to travel with these pre-adolescent girls. How we find these moments of joy between the moments of uncertainty. And you, you just made it a little tougher for her.

 

After my child walked out of the store, I approached you and told you that I heard you and that SHE heard you and that you had no right to do that my child nor to your child. I told you that my daughter was 11 – and about the inches she’s grown, and the puberty not starting. But I shouldn’t have to do all of that explaining, because you should never body shame a child, or anyone. And you kind of apologized with a quick “I had no idea she was not a teen.” – but I need you to know that it’s no excuse. I need you to know that when I walked out of the store and took my child in my arms and talked about what happened, and that she’s incredible, and I explained what anorexic means – that even though she smiled when I suggested a Starbucks so we could just move-on with her day – that this encounter will most likely stick in her mind forever. You still remember things like this from middle school, right?

 

Somehow dammit – as mothers we need to stop the vicious circle of judging and shaming – and start figuring out how to better send messages of health and self-acceptance and love. And I know that’s hard to do – with increased societal pressures and plastic surgery Groupons in our inbox daily. But I truly believe it can be done and if we all just take a simple first step as mothers and women and just stop being so damn hard on one another.

 

Tracy

 

Share

I’m A Work At Home Mom

Work At Home Mother’s Log – Day 10

 

I find it fitting that I’m typing this at 2:30pm – barely an hour before the older girls get home from school, and the youngest one home sick today – feverish and now napping next to me on the couch. How delightfully lazy she’s made day 10 for me. Day 10 of being home alone.

 

My youngest started full-day kindergarten 10 days ago. This day that we mothers at home think about – dream about – worry about – fret about – cry about – celebrate about.

 

As a work-at-home mother, this day meant that I could change my schedule for the better.

work-at-home-mom

When I made the switch from working outside the home, to working at home – I promised myself to never hire a sitter. Ever. And if you think I’m kidding, I’m not. We’ve never had a sitter at home during the day, nor  had daycare – so scheduling work is at times – impossible. So I did what I could do – rising at 3:30am to work for a few hours and work-out before the kids were up, working during naps, working after the kids were in bed, working during that short hour or two during preschool.

 

Basically for the eight years that I’ve worked from home, I’ve worked with the assumption of interruption. From phone calls, to meetings, to reports, to work deadlines – I start/stop with the assumption that I will get interrupted every single time. So I would take work in small nibble-sized pieces – things I could finish in 30 seconds or five minutes, or I would hide in a closet or bathroom, or get my kids to stare at the TV for as long as possible. And yes, like many parents I’ve been on the most important phone call of my career while wiping a butt, or fixing a snack, or kissing a boo-boo, or emailing another parent to schedule a play-date.

 

But this is the life I wanted for the last eight years and I’m beyond grateful to be able to work from home, be the primary caregiver for my children, to save money on care, to make a good income, and to have this amazing flexibility. No matter how crazy almost every single day has been. No matter the few deadlines that I’ve missed, and no matter my lack of some of the projects and writing I’ve been able to take-on as I just could not do it all.

 

So 10 days ago everything changed.

 

Astrid started full-day kindergarten and my days from 8:30-3pm are free.

 

Free.

 

Child-free.

 

To work, to work-out, to run.

 

I had these huge plans for this month – how I would write, how I would finish some projects, how I would catch-up on my 1200 emails, how I would cook – maybe even organic.

 

But my brain will have none of it. After not being able to sit by myself in the quiet to do anything for more than minutes at a time – I find it nearly impossible to sit in my quiet office and really do work for hours. Or write for more than 20 minutes. Or to realize that I do not need to run anymore at 4am – that I could run at 9am and get better sleep.

mother-runner

I’ve become the most unproductive person in the world – just staring at the clock and waiting for interruptions that never come. Well – besides my work at home husband telling me that now we can also have sex at noon. BECAUSE WE CAN! Seriously, he needs an office job.

 

And I know I’ll get the hang of this – and figure out how to be productive on this new schedule that will last for the next 13 years or more. I have to.

 

But today I’m savoring my sick companion – home today and giving me a complete excuse to do nothing but rub her feet, kiss her head, and take a few naps, and let the work wait until Monday – when I will try this work at home without kids thing again.

 

Share

On Being 12

She surprises me with her hug from behind. Her arms around me and her head resting on my shoulder. She touches my hair slightly and whispers “I love you, Mom.” I pat her head awkwardly. I admit this freely. I’m not sure how to touch my daughter. My daughter who turns 12 today.

IMG_5747

I’m sitting on the dining room chair and she comes over and puts her bottom next to mine and pushes me over to make room for her. She’s touching me – leg to leg – and her head rests on my arm. She puts her hand on mine. I move away shocked almost. Not sure again how to touch her. What does she want? What is she doing?

 

The bus is coming. We’ve been at the bus stop now together for nearly seven years. It’s always the same. The bus turns the corner and comes towards our stop. Eloise walks away from me quickly – without a goodbye or a hug or kiss. I yell out “Have a good day, Mo! Love you!” But she never responds. Esther leans into me with a large hug and kiss like we may never see each other again. I watch the bus as it pulls away. Esther waves and blows kisses. Eloise is talking to friends – and never looks out the window.

IMG_5758

You might be reading this shocked. Appalled. Confused. I’m her mother. Her mother of all of her months, her weeks, her days, her minutes, her seconds, her every moment…how could I not know what do to when she touches me.

IMG_5752

But you see, I’ve respected her wishes, her body language, her distance from touch for her whole life. She was not a cuddly baby. Preferring to sleep in her swing or bouncy seat. To cry it out in her crib than to rock for hours. We bounced her and rocked her and held her for days it seems when she was colicky – but typically she only stopped crying when she was put down and was able to be alone. She was sensitive to touch, she didn’t love to be kissed, and when her baby sister was born – she loved her, but never showered her with affection. While other toddlers were “huggy” and “lovey” – she stood at the wall hoping that no one noticed her. She wasn’t much of a hand holder and tucking her into bed at night was with a quick kiss on the head. Many times, and for years, I tried to push for more. But she politely moved away from me. Until one day I just stopped trying out of respect.

 

Her affection was shown through sly smiles and kind deeds.

 

And for 12 years I’ve respected her space. And my place on the edge of it.

 

Waiting. Hoping.

 

So the past few months have startled me. Her touching me. Her seeking me out. Her telling me she loves me in return. Her wanting me to spend more time with her when I tell her good night. Inviting me to sit on her bed. My leg near her arm touching through the layer of blankets. She talks and I move a hair away from her eyes and she doesn’t stop me. Her want to share more books – and for us to sit so close on the couch as we talk. I find my body almost melting into her now as I feel I’ve waited so long to really get to know her. Yet I don’t want to ask her why.

 

So I project like mothers do. And if I had to guess I think she’s realizing that she needs something from me. That she’s not going to be a girl much longer and sees herself as becoming more like “me” and less like “them” – her sisters. Other children. And maybe, just maybe – getting closer to me will be the key and answers she needs for what’s happening. What it’s like. Or maybe she’s scared. Changes coming. Information overload. And she’s finally reaching for me. Like a baby needing comfort. And a mother finally able to do something emotionally useful.

IMG_5762

And I’m drinking it in like the finest French wine because what if it won’t last. I have no way to know this. To know all of the answers. To know everything or really anything about her. And I respect this woman-child too much to ask. So I just sit and enjoy each moment she will give me.

 

I think that’s what I love the most about parenthood – children are so beautifully unique and individual. They are not me or him. They are them. I can’t project me at 12 or you at 12. I can only just stand back from her or lean forward to hold her as she allows and marvel at how incredible 12 is for her.

 

How at times I see her and still see that curious toddler or that shy girl in kindergarten. But then see someone who at a glance is 17. Her future.

 

How she’s nearly my 5’7″ height and yet I don’t think has even started growing. And how maybe this new affection is because she wants to borrow my scarves and sweaters.

 

How she will never own enough books, and how I used to monitor her reading but now I could never keep up. She brings books to me that she knows I’ll enjoy.

 

How no one will ever have a heart as big as hers.

Mom, it's cold

Mom, it’s cold

How she’s brilliant at math. LIKE CRAZY brilliant high school math at 11 crazy brilliant at it. And how when I offer to help her with her homework she rolls her eyes at me because she knows I can’t figure out a slope to save my life.

 

How she’s a beautiful dancer.

 

And plays the piano so well I weep.

Desktop2

How she cares for her friends.

 

And sisters.

 

And keeps up on current events and likes to discuss the wrongs in the world.

IMG_5749-001

But celebrates the rights.

 

How she is organized and neat and finds my chaos exhausting.

 

How she wants and earns more independence yet is a homebody at heart.

 

How she is forgiving for everything.

IMG_5734

And wakes up each day with a smile.

 

How she loves to play with dolls.

 

Yet she begs for an instagram account and giggles as she texts her friends.

 

How she thinks boys are still pretty gross and stinky.

IMG_5735

How she makes me smile every single time she walks into a room.

 

Whether she leans in for a hug or not.

 

How today she is 12.

IMG_5754

And she teaches me how to be a better mom to her every single day.

 

And how I’ll never feel like I’ve thanked her enough for being just her – in any which way she wants to be.

IMG_5719

Share

Full Day Kindergarten

Two days.

 

Two days until it starts.

 

13 years of full school days.

full-day-kindergarten

We’ve had a good run.

 

I’ve had a child home with me most days for 12 years.

 

Until Monday.

 

Monday she starts full day kindergarten.

 

And my days are quiet from 8:30-3:30.

 

No more weekday trips to the zoo. The library. The coffee shop. The grocery store.

 

Together.

 

She’s ready.

 

I think I am too.

 

But I’m scared.

 

And so is she.

 

I’m not sure whether to celebrate.

 

Or mourn.

 

Or do a bit of both.

 

12 years of littles at home no more.

Share

On Broadway

I watched Esther in a play today. Her first non-classroom-at-school kind of play. For years I’ve tried to convince her to do theater. She’s a good singer, a great dancer, has a face that lights up a room, and expressions to match. Her most amazing attribute though is her ability to quickly and completely memorize ANYTHING immediately. She’s one of those people that you meet once and she immediately knows your name and probably your sister’s name, and where you were born. I wouldn’t put it past her if she actually knows that names of all of the 1500 students in her school.

 

But she has resisted my efforts to gently push her into theater. She’s shy at heart. And an introvert. And one who hates being in the spotlight, and honestly has some serious doubts on her abilities.

on-broadway

So she very reluctantly tried theater this Fall. I even gave her an out. Typically once my kids sign up for something – I have a “no quitting” rule and they must fulfill the sessions that we’ve signed up for. Even if it means crying on the sidelines for five weeks(BEEN THERE!). But I told her that she could quit if she really felt uncomfortable.

 

But we didn’t have to worry about that, because theater has turned into one of her favorite things. And today she said that she has realized that she really likes acting and wants to do more.

photo-102

I’m so proud of her for stepping way out of her comfort zone. And for finding something she loves.

 

And maybe one day she’ll love seeing her name in lights and know that sometimes it’s okay to own the spotlight now and then.

 

What’s something that you would love to do but are afraid to try?

 

Share

Their Stories

There was a toddler who has having a FIT at the restaurant tonight. So loud that even kids noticed it happening. I could see that Eloise kept glancing over at the screaming girl as the parents tried to stop the madness with any means possible.

 

To distract Eloise I said “I’ll always remember the day that you turned six weeks old and decided to start screaming. We were out to dinner as you were such a sweet newborn that going out was never a problem – and then BOOM right after the salad you started screaming and didn’t stop for about four months. I was MORTIFIED in that restaurant – tried to nurse you – my milk going everywhere, tried to rock you, dance with you, burb you, EVERYTHING. But you screamed and screamed and screamed. We left with food uneaten and drinks full. I went home and cried louder than you were crying. And then we didn’t go out to dinner again until you were about one. And you’ve been quiet ever since. I think you got it all out of you early.”

Halloween 2011

Halloween 2011

We laughed. Eloise’s eyes even smiled. Who doesn’t love a story about you.

 

“Did I ever cry in a restaurant Mom?” Esther asked.

 

“Never.” I replied truthfully. “You never cried ever. You just sat and ate and slept and got all fat like a Shar Pei puppy. You were the happiest baby and toddler.”

 

“But you, Astrid. You cried for the first two years and weren’t fit for public consumption for quite some time.” We all laughed together as the older girls remembered how Astrid would scream as a baby.

 

“Do you think that girl’s mom will tell her about the time she cried in the restaurant someday?” Esther asked me quietly.

 

“Oh I am sure -and maybe she’ll save it for a time that she needs some proof that no one is perfect. Or maybe to embarrass her in front of her prom date. But yes, I bet she’ll share.”  I replied.

 

“So how do you remember all of these times, Mom?” Eloise asked.

 

“Oh, you have no idea the details I remember from your lives. Such tiny details and moments that you truly don’t even believe were a moment. But as a mother, we do. We savor them all – the good and the bad – and they all belong right here in our heart. Even the times we didn’t think we’d make it until the end of the day. They’re all here.” I smiled as I told them the dear truths that they too may hold one day.

Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014

“That’s a lot to remember. I can’t believe that moms do that for us.” Said Esther.

 

“It’s truly our most important job. You need to know your stories. And someday I will have told them all to you.”

 

Share

On Getting The Behavior You Want…

It was the day after I returned from Haiti. I was tired and the morning routine that I had basically created for our family seemed foreign and off. So I sat at the table drinking coffee in the morning darkness of this cool Fall Minnesota day. Astrid sat across the dining room table from me. She was writing “words” and scribbles on a piece of paper. Next to each “sentence” were two boxes and above the row of boxes she wrote the words “yes” and “no.”

 

“Whatcha doing?” I asked quietly.

 

“I’m making a quiz for you to take this morning.” She said with her eyes and hands still busy with her task.

 

“A quiz? That should be interesting.” I responded with a bit of a giggle.

 

“You need to take this seriously.” She said as she looked up at me with sad eyes. “Okay, I’m done. So let’s start. You need to answer yes or no to the following questions.”

astrid-parenting

She began..”Will you snuggle with me before school today, yes or no?”

 

“Yes – of course I will.” I replied. She made a little check mark in the “yes” box next to that question. And she continued on with questions that I easily said yes to. “Will you make me a special breakfast, will you help me make my bed, will you do your special piggies in my hair, will you pick me up from school, will we eat lunch together, will you bring me to dance tonight, will you be there for dinner, will you help me shower and brush my teeth, will you read me a story, will you help me with homework, will you tuck me in bed, and maybe will you snuggle in bed with me for a few minutes?” Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes…and easy quiz went on.

 

But then came the last question. And Astrid paused for a moment before she asked me. I wondered if she was considering just skipping that one, or that maybe she didn’t like what the answer would be so it was hard for her to even voice it.

 

“Will you promise to never leave me again, Mama.” She asked in almost a whisper as she looked up at me with her messy morning hair that covered her eyes.

 

Silence.

 

“I can’t say yes to that, Love.” I said. Wondering if I sounded too brutal and firm and mean, having just returned from two weeks away. Wondering if it would be better to just lie and say that of course I’d never leave her again.

 

But I can’t do that to my children. A lie and a promise I’d have to break would be more devastating than teaching them the resilience of knowing the truth. And that sad things will happen to all of us. And just because I’m gone for a few weeks doesn’t mean that I don’t love her or think of her or carry her in my heart. Loving and missing someone so much that it hurts is part of the human experience. And it’s okay to be sad.

 

“I’ll have to leave you sometimes, Astrid. You know that. Just like sometimes you and your sisters leave me – for school and for friends and for camp. But it doesn’t mean we are not still a family even though we are not together. I love you no matter where I am and I will always be ‘here'( I point to our hearts) for you. But yes, sometimes mommy leaves. But I come back.” I say this as I stand and go to pick her up, but she pushes me away and tells me that she needs to be alone for a minute.

 

And I respect that. It’s hard to understand something that you don’t like without the benefit of experience or age.

 

Parenting is hard and beautiful, and having pieces of your heart running around on the outside of your body causes emotions that one cannot describe unless you experience it. And I think we all start with a goal to parent somewhere between telling kids to “suck it up” and “let me do everything for you” as we find our comfortable boundaries.

 

In our home we’ve set expectations for our kids very high, we’ve set clear boundaries, we have clear follow-through on rules, and we live as a family with a mutual respect for all. I think this clear path from the beginnings of our parenting journey 12 years ago has made life very easy for us. We have “good” kids that are good to others and we’ve never had to break up a sibling fight, give a punishment or time-out, or any other typical kid ‘infraction’ you can think of. Maybe we’re lucky and our kids have very even temperaments or maybe we did some things right, or maybe a little bit of both.

 

And we’ve done this without any parenting books. I’ll admit I’m not a fan – but also have never felt the need to seek advice. And when my dear friend Dr. G first asked if I would read her effective parenting book, I at first thought “Nah, I really don’t need that.” But I’m glad I told her to send it over anyway.

 

Because her book is more like a fun and practical conversation with her over coffee. She doesn’t come off in a way that “she knows your children best” – her theory is that WE all know OUR own children best and are the experts of our own family..and then lays the groundwork for raising smart, respectful, and resilient kids. I found myself nodding over and over again as I read each section as Deborah and I agree so much on the basics for getting good behavior. Because we need to all remember – we aren’t raising children, we are raising adults that we want to hang-out with, and that are productive and socially aware and giving and respectful…so we are giving them the skills they need to then raise the next generation.

 

Dr. G focuses on three main points – Respect, Responsibility, and Resilience. I love this so much – because THIS is how our family lives each day. With mutural respect for each other and our world, with everyone pulling their weight and giving, and with honesty and tools to be resilient because not everything is going to go your way and that bad things happen….and that’s okay.

 

Reading her book brought a smile on my face as I thought about the conversation with Astrid last week. That I know she’s resilient enough to know the truth that mommy will have to leave her again and again. And that she will be okay. Even if it means it might take her awhile to give me that hug to let me know that she gets why I have to go.

******

Dr. G’s book “Get The Behavior You Want, Without Being The Parent You Hate” is available to purchase now. And truly – I cannot recommend it enough. Great tips for living with the “3 R’s” for all ages. I know I’ll be referencing this book more as we hit the teen years!

dr-g-book

You can also follow Dr. G on Twitter and Facebook and on her website  and on her YouTube channel for daily awesome parenting tips.

******

I was not paid for this review and all words, opinions, and parenting wins and failures are truly my own. xo

 

 

 

Share