Archive | Parenting

5 Mantras for Mamas

We all have those moments, right? Our child talks back, or hits someone (maybe us). We fumble our coffee cup and it crashes to the floor, spraying that precious liquid everywhere. The cat throws up in the middle of the kitchen and then we step in it. Our child whines, “I’m bored,” or “Can I watch TV?” for the 11 millionth time since breakfast.

In those moments, it is so easy to lose it. It is those moments that cause me to yell, stomp, make threats. Those are the ones that crack me.

But when I catch myself just before the cracking happens and use a mama mantra to center myself, I can unwind myself and make a better choice of response. One I won’t regret in the next instant.

Sometimes we all need a reset button. Use these mama mantras for when you are struggling with a situation and need to calm down and focus.

How do I do that? First, I take a breath. Taking a breath always helps. Second, I find a mantra that will take me out of the moment and into a calmer place. Once I’m in that calmer place, I can choose how I want to respond, not just respond without thinking.

What’s a mantra?

Originally from spiritual traditions, a mantra is a series of words or sounds intended to align the practitioner with the divine.…

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One small moment of connection

When I want to connect with my child, one small moment can make all the difference. :: www.nurturedmama.netI want to remember that small moment last night when I rose above my frustration, exhaustion and distraction and said to her, “What will help? What will help you hear me? Because I’m feeling really frustrated right now.”

“You can say, ‘I love you, Stella,’” she said.

I know that won’t help the real problem, which is that it is the end of that hard year for our family, and I’ve been sick so much that I’ve lost some authority and she’s practicing being almost 5 by choosing to ignore me sometimes just to see what will happen. The real problem is that I’m tired and my attention is on healing and finding the threads of my life again. My attention is mostly not on the subtle nuances of parenting this small person who is learning to be independent. My attention is needed so many other places, so I’ve been letting it drift away from her until there’s a battle to fight, and then I come in stomping and laying down the law. I set consequences for failing to pick up the pink and green Legos from the living room floor at bedtime, or all of the tiny cut up pieces of paper strewn across the dining room table so we can sit down and have a meal as a family, because we missed so many meals together when I was laid up on the couch during chemo and this is important to me.…

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I Know A Mama

I know a mama who is all of us. :: www.nurturedmama.net

I know a mama who felt complete when she became a mother, even though she thought she felt complete before.

I know a mama who feels lost in her life at home with small children after she gave up her career to be there.

I know a mama who tries every day to be the kind of woman she hopes her daughter will grow up to be and every night that mama lays awake detailing all the ways she failed.

I know a mama who pays for childcare just to get some time alone.

I know a mama who can’t afford childcare, who is launching a small business while her children build Lego spaceships around her feet and watch more TV than she wants to admit.

I know a mama who thinks she’s too tired for sex every night, until he kisses her like that and changes her mind.

I know a mama who hasn’t had sex since before her toddler was born and is relieved that he’s stopped asking.

I know a mama who stands in the world a warrior, who is raising two wild boys with her heart wide open. Those boys will be lucky to find partners who will parent their own children that way, and those partners will be lucky to be loved by those boys who were taught to love with their hearts wide open.…

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What Will I Remember?

What will I remember from these years, this moment? The hard or the beautiful? Will I remember it when I need it most? :: www.nurturedmama.net

I wonder what I’ll remember? Will it be simply that the Spring time change is something I loathe with a particular passion? Will I remember why?

Will I remember how she stuck her fingers in her ears and scowled at me from her car seat while we were driving home from the pleasant two hours at Hakone Gardens, a break from the otherwise angry day we had spent together so far? “I don’t want to hear this music. It hurts my ears.”

Will I remember how I said, “Suck it up, I’m tired of all the things you don’t like today,” and then turned the music up a little louder to drown my frustration?

Will I remember how I realized I didn’t really like that music either, but hell no I was not going to turn it off after putting my foot down about it and I made us both listen to the whole album?

Or will I remember the moment in her room that night, after I turned off the iPhone with the playlist she’d borrowed from her dad, which music that was decidedly not sleepy music and she screamed and kicked at me and I used that low voice I’ve only used a handful of times in my life and never to her to say, “Stay.…

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The Real Problem With Pink Legos

Pink Legos are controversial. Are they bad for girls, or good for them? Are they insulting and limiting, or a great invitation to STEM-related play? I have an opinion about the problem with pink Legos, and it might not be quite what you'd guess...

My daughter turned four at the beginning of February. She’s interested in building things, pretend play, super heroes, and animals. Between those interests and the twin gift-giving holidays of her birthday and Christmas, my partner and I have had a lot of conversations about pink Legos in the last couple of months.

We try to be a household with a wide expression of the gender continuum. Although he works in an office and I stay home to be with our daughter and prepare our food, we pretty evenly divide everything else. He wears his hair long and I wear mine short. We both use the power tools, we both work on the cars, we both know how to sew and how to draw. We encourage our daughter to try everything, climb everything, say what she means, express her feelings and follow her interests into whatever subjects she’s curious about.

So even though our daughter’s favorite color is purple, buying the box of Legos that came in pink and purple still gave me pause.

You can read the rest of this post on Bluegrass Redhead, where I’m filling in while Sarah is on maternity leave this week. I’d love to hear what you think about Legos for boys and girls!

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Pro Parenting Moves

Five skills  to practice to be a pro parent :: www.nurturedmama.net

This month, listening to all the talk about the World Cup games, I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between a pro soccer player and someone who just plays soccer.

A professional, by definition, gets paid, but let’s set that definition aside for the moment.

Pros have focus. They spend time improving their skills through practice, being coached, and getting mentoring. They also have certain things they do differently than players. Let’s call them pro moves. These are the skills that set them apart from someone who plays in their local community league. It might be a particular style or strength of kick. It might be a honed sense for knowing where the open shot is. It might be a kick that almost always tricks the goalie.

It occurred to me that some parents have these kinds of pro moves. These parents are the ones who tend to look less harried, less frustrated, more relaxed and happy. I started wondering what could be considered a pro parenting move and why more of us should practice them.

 

Here are five that I came up with:

Listen Hard

I live with a child who talks.…

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You Are Already Supermom

You Are Already Supermom :: nurturedmama.netOn those days when you are struggling, second-guessing yourself, not being the supermom you want to be, I want you to remember these five things.

1. You grew a baby in your body. Or you opened your heart and arms to one. Either way, you offered up your body and heart to this calling.

You Are Already Supermom :: nurturedmama.net2. You give up sleep, the best bites on your plate, the immediate pursuit of your personal dreams, and (more than) half of your pillow.
You Are Already Supermom :: nurturedmama.net3. When you reach the end of your rope you find more rope.

You Are Already Supermom :: nurturedmama.net4. You kiss boo boos, wipe bottoms and clean up vomit. You pick up toys, wear silly hats, and do all the voices for their favorite books.

You Are Already Supermom :: nurturedmama.net5. You make sure they know they are loved, even when they are throwing tantrums, talking back, being surly teenagers, and otherwise acting unlovable.

You don’t have to try to be a supermom. You already are.

You already are.

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Soul-Fed Mama: There Will Be Hard Days

My monthly post on Modern Alternative Pregnancy is live this week. I’m sharing a story there that I haven’t yet talked about in this space. Read it here.

There Will Be Hard Days, part of the Soul-Fed Mama series on www.nurturedmama.net

Last week was a full on-onslaught of toddler tantrums in this house.  I was away for a solo trip for the preceding weekend, so we started with an expected level of neediness and slid downhill from there.

She also gave up naps this month. This transition has been hard for both of us.

I don’t know what to do with her all afternoon without down time, and she doesn’t know how to deal with life when she is tired, but not tired enough to sleep. She was afraid I was going to leave again, and I was wishing I could.

The crescendo was on Wednesday. I picked her up from daycare and she melted down before we even left the property. I was planning to take her to a tumbling class, but I had an hour to kill. I thought we could pick up her glasses that had been repaired, because the shop was near her class, but the 2-block walk triggered another meltdown when she refused to hold my hand crossing a busy street and I had to scoop her up and carry her.…

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Soul-Fed Mama: 3 Ways To Be A More Playful Mama

3 Ways To Be A More Playful Mama, from the Soul-Fed Mama series | www.nurturedmama.netI don’t think of myself as a particularly playful person. I don’t like to feel silly, I tend toward serious, and I often have a running list of things I need to do, which makes taking time to play seem counter-productive.

But living with a small child has taught me quite a bit about the value of play. I watch Bean learning new skills, practicing social interactions, blowing off steam, exercising and connecting with others through play. She doesn’t care when I feel uncomfortable or have other things to do – she wants to play with me anyway. The more often I relax and play with her, the easier it is for me to do it next time.

I’m learning, finally, that it feels good for me to play, too. So now, when she says, “Mama, let’s play a game!” I say, “OK! “what do you want to play?”

Here are three ways to introduce some play into your your life:

 

Start the day with play

I’ve noticed that the way I engage with my daughter first thing in the morning makes a difference in her mood for hours. On the mornings when I’m jealously guarding my coffee time and holding her at arm’s length, things spiral into bad pretty fast.…

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Mama, You Are So Brave

Mama, you are so brave. Brave in everything you do. :: www.nurturedmama.net

photo credit: mcdarius via photopin cc

This week I have been bowled over by the simple bravery it takes to be a mother.

The bravery to drop off your child at a daycare or a school and trust that they will be safe. The bravery to encourage those first tottering steps when you know that falling is inevitable. When you know the walking will take them away from you and eventually into their own separate lives. The bravery to restrain a kicking and screaming toddler in the grocery store checkout line. The bravery to carry life in your belly, not knowing who that person will be or how their life will turn out. The bravery to stay calm when your baby comes to you bleeding, literally or figuratively. The bravery to get up every morning and do it all over again.

This bravery, I think, is far too often unmentioned.

So this week, tell your mama friends you think they are brave, even when they aren’t doing anything extraordinary. And also when they are.

When you see a stranger mama who looks like she needs a kind word, tell her she’s amazing.…

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