Tag Archives | parenting

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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You Are Not A Dumbhead

You are not a dumbhead; how to handle being angry at the universe. :: www.nurturedmama.net

The other day, driving home from the store, Bean announced from the backseat, “Bella* called me a dumbhead.”

I looked up to the mirror sharply to see if she was laughing or hurt about this little bit of information. Bella is her best friend who she goes to daycare with and their friendship has being going through a rocky transition recently. Bean was looking out the side window, holding her water bottle loosely balanced on her thigh. Definitely hurt.

I bit down my initial mama bear response and tried to keep my voice even. “Why do you think she called you that?”

“We were fighting. She was wanted the toy and I wouldn’t let go.”

“That’s not a nice thing to call somebody, even when you are mad at them. How did it make you feel when she called you that?”

“Mad. I yelled at her.”

Poor Bella. My girl has a big voice. She’s yelled in my face a few times and it is kind of scary.

Sometimes I envy Bean being 3 and not having all the social filters for her emotions in place yet. On one hand, it makes being blindsided by your best friend calling you a mean name really painful.…

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Not Good Enough: How to set a realistic standard

Do you lay awake at night and think about the things you failed at each day? Do you wonder if you are Good Enough – a good enough parent, a good enough partner, a good enough employee?

I used to run this list every single night before I fell asleep. What I did wrong. What I didn’t do at all. Where I tried, but did badly. Where I didn’t have enough time or energy to even try. For me, the place I always judged my self to be not Good Enough was in my parenting. In my own judgement, I was never kind enough, patient enough, present enough. No matter what kind of day we’d had, it was never good enough for my internal judge to allow me to see myself as a good mother.

This is a crippling way to live. I’d wake every morning, not filled with excitement about what I could accomplish each day, but cringing with anxiety about all the new ways I would let down my daughter and myself. I had lost track of my ability to acknowledge the things I was doing well, and only saw the ways I was failing.

Not Good Enough - Set a realistic standard :: www.nurturedmama.net

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How To Be More Patient Right Now

Need some patience - now? How to Be More Patient :: nurturedmamablog.net

Something I’ve been asked over and over again is “How are you so patient?”

And here’s my secret: I’m really not. I get frustrated all the time. I’ve just taught myself not to react so fast when my patience is being stretched. I’m not so patient. I’m just not so volatile.

But here’s the thing: Actively practicing having conscious reactions to my frustrations has, over time, given me more patience. Having more patience is so valuable when you live with small children! They say patience is a virtue, but I believe it is a skill we all have access to.

If you want to be more patient – or at least seem more patient – here are the five steps I use to manage my responses in moments of impatience and frustration.

Identify your triggers.

Knowing what makes you impatient is the first step. Think about the last time you felt your impatience or anger rising. What had just happened? What events, people, or phrases set you off?

It might help to just notice for a week, without trying to change anything.…

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Soul-Fed Mama: Make Eye Contact To Make Heart Contact

14-make eye contactWhen I was first getting to know the man who is now my partner in life and parenting, one of the things that I found incredibly attractive about him was his habit of looking into my eyes when I was talking. Whatever we happened to be talking about, whether it was trivial or tender, I felt so deeply heard by him.

It was so different from previous relationships where I often felt that we were speaking two different languages and never quite meeting in the middle. And it wasn’t a gimmick, as my jaded heart tried to convince me. He was really listening. He’d mention details of stories I’d told him weeks earlier or draw connections between things I’d shared at different times. He also quickly learned to identify my mood far more accurately than anyone else in my life.

All because he looked me in the eye every time he talked to me. That seemingly little thing was the catalyst to such a deep connection between our hearts.

It is no wonder that eye contact between men and woman is discouraged in cultures where modesty is the rule. It is intimate to look into someone’s eyes. In Asia, it is even considered rude to make eye contact with someone who is a superior – a teacher or a boss, or someone you don’t know well.…

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Have It Your Way: 5 Tips On How To Ask For Help And Get It

Have It Your Way: 5 Tips On How To Ask For Help And Get It

photo credit: Josep Ma. Rosell via photopin cc

Do you have knowing how to ask for help? I have struggled with this for a long time. But I learned something recently that has helped and I want to share it with you.

Several weeks ago I reached a point when I started to dread bedtime by early afternoon every day. Nap times had become difficult and I was spending an hour or more each day trying to coax Bean to sleep. Then I’d race around the house doing chores while she never slept long enough. She’d be cheerful and agreeable for an hour or so after waking, but invariably everything fell apart again right about the time I started dinner.

On one particularly bad night, she pulled at me and whined all through dinner preparations, refused to eat the meal, and then dallied and fought her pajamas and toothbrush. By the time I turned off the light I was already exhausted and angry. But then she simply would not settle. I tried rocking her, nursing her, singing to her. I tried laying her in her crib and refusing to interact with her. I brought her crackers and a cup of milk.…

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What I Learned About Parenting From Joy of Cooking

Recently I hosted my book group for dinner. For the meal I planned to make grilled vegetable sandwiches, German potato salad, and serving sliced watermelon, strawberries and nectarines for dessert.

While my daughter napped that afternoon, I prepped for dinner: I sliced the vegetables, made the herbed mayo for the sandwiches, started the watermelon chilling, and started the mice en place  for the potato salad.

I had searched Pinterest for a recipe for this version of potato salad that I love, but don’t make often enough to create from memory, but the versions I found there were just too…fancy. One had pimientos, one used prosciutto instead of bacon. I wanted the simple version I remember from the potlucks of my childhood, so I went analog and pulled my old battered Joy of Cooking from my shelf. It has the classic recipe: bacon, celery, onion, dill pickles and a vinegary dressing.

While I minced the onions I pondered the struggle I had that day getting my daughter down for her nap. She had been whining all morning, and driving home from our shopping excursion, where she behaved much more badly than is normal for her, she was yawning and rubbing her eyes.…

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My daughter will only know same-sex marriage as normal

Welcome to the July 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning About Diversity

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how they teach their children to embrace and respect the variety of people and cultures that surround us. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Santa Cruz Pride Parade La Cage Auz Folles dancers blog post title

On the morning of June 28 I woke up early and reached for my phone to catch up on social media before I started my day. The first eight posts in my Facebook feed celebrated the new gay marriage ruling. I switched over to the CNN app to confirm: The Supreme Court had just released two rulings, the first declaring DOMA unconstitutional and the second overruled Proposition 8 in California, which made gay marriage legal again here where I live.

I shifted in bed to gaze at my still-sleeping two-year old daughter and wondered: Will she grow up in a world, finally, where families made up of two mommies or two daddies is accepted as normal? Will she be largely unaware of the discrimination I experienced in my own life before she was born?…

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5 Secrets of an Introverted Mother

introverted mother

photo credit: moriza via photopin cc

I almost flunked 4th grade.  I was in an independent study program and I couldn’t focus enough to get my work done. The students ranged from 4th to 7th grade in my class, and we sat in one large open room. It was noisy at best but most often a overwhelming onslaught to my introverted self.

Fortunately, my teacher was observant and creative. She suggested giving me credit for “daydreaming,” which we agreed would mean drawing and free writing. I could do those tasks outside of the classroom at the library, in the quiet study room that was normally reserved for older students, or in our building’s back patio while other classes were in session and it was quiet.

I didn’t know the term “introverted” back then, and likely my teacher didn’t either. Still, she recognized I needed quiet alone time to function and perform the tasks expected of me. She offered space for that and got me back on track. She also sewed the seeds the self-care practices I have been depending on ever since.

I have been thinking of the quiet of that back patio daydreaming time often recently.  My little one is starting to talk in earnest, which means that she is now talking ALL THE TIME.…

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8 Tips For Surviving Short-Term Solo Parenting

surviving solo parenting

photo credit: 4nitsirk via photopin cc

My partner has a tradition of taking his son on a spring break trip from long before I arrived in their lives. Each year they go someplace adventurous and inappropriate for a small child, so Bean and I stay home. When Bean was 3 months old they went to a remote village up the Amazon river in Peru. Last year they went to Madagascar. This year they extended the trip a couple of extra days and climbed Mount Roraima in Venezuela.

Each year that week alone surprises me in some way.  The first year I was just surprised that we both survived. The second year I was surprised at my own confidence as a parent – how far I had come in a year! This year my surprise was how all-consuming the task of parenting a toddler on my own really was.

Solo parenting is not single parenting. When I’m solo parenting, I’m individually keeping up a life (and household) that usually contains four people, three of whom are grown. We have a good-sized house with a good-sized yard.  We have a social life, pets, responsibilities. Most importantly, we have two involved parents who trade off in-home and out-of-home responsibilities.…

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