Tags Posts tagged with "parenting"

parenting

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“They’re going to lead me to an early death!”

“They’re giving me gray hairs!”

Raise your hand if you’ve either thought or said these sentences out loud when it comes to raising kids. It’s a running “joke” among moms that our kids are going to kill us one of these days because of the stress they put us through, because parenting is NOT easy!

 

Rewarding? Yes.

Would we trade it for the world? No way!

Parenting can be a physical and emotional roller coaster for sure, but did you know that some research is showing that giving birth and raising children may actually age our cells prematurely? Yay.

Researchers analyzed information from 1,556 U.S. women ages 20 to 44 who took part in a national survey from 1999 to 2002. The study involved these women giving blood samples.

Researchers were interested in examining the women’s genetic material inside their cells, namely telomeres. These are “caps” on the end of chromosomes that prevent chromosomes from damage.

Telomeres naturally shorten as people age, but the structures don’t shorten at the same rate in every person. The longer a person’s telomeres are, the more times their cells could hypothetically still divide, research has shown. Thus, telomeres are considered a marker of biological age — that is, the age of a person’s cells, rather than the individual’s chronological age.”

The study showed that women who had given birth had telomeres that were on average, 4% shorter than women who had never given birth. The results suggest that a “history of live birth may be associated with shorter telomeres,” the researchers wrote in their abstract, which was presented this week at the meeting of the American Public HealthAssociation in Denver. [9 Uncommon Conditions That Pregnancy May Bring]

Further research needs to be done to prove why telomeres in mother’s seem to be shorter, but the standing hypothesis for now is that having children increases stress levels, and high stress in humans is linked to shorter telomeres.

So there you have it. We’re doomed! Or, you can take the study with a giant grain of salt… because we all know many many mothers who lived well into their 80’s and 90’s, and even past 100! In my opinion, it’s all about perception. We can choose to dwell on being stressed all the time and view motherhood as a never ending chore, or we can focus on the amazing blessing that our children are, and choose happiness. I for one choose the latter! Motherhood is one of the greatest opportunities I will ever take part in, and I am happy to give up the length of my telomeres for it.

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I think as moms we all have this idea of how “the talk” will go, or how we will handle sensitive questions that our children throw at us… but the moment almost never goes as planned, because usually the moment is totally unpredictable and happens when we least expect it!! Such was the case when my 9-year-old son asked me about periods last week.

 

 

 

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I honestly wasn’t ready for this talk with him! I have two teenage daughters who I literally sat down when they were 8 or 9 and very carefully explained everything to them. I planned for it. I bought books and everything! Maybe it was easier for me because they were girls? I was a girl, so I felt like I could relate to them! But when my SON came to me one evening while I was working and told me my 17-year-old daughter told him “girls have something happen to them every month that hurts and makes them grouchy”, I kind of went into panic mode.  This is how the conversation went:

My son: “I want to know EVERYTHING, mom”

Me: “Are you… sure?” (Kid, this is your escape. Run for the hills!)

Son: “Yes. Everything.”

Me: Deep breath and silent prayers…”Uhh, ok”

“Well, as you know, girls and boys have different body parts, right?”

Son: “Yeah! I have a penis!!”

Me: “Right…well, girls have other parts that help them carry a baby inside their body.”

Son: “Like, their stomach right? I have a stomach too.”

Me: “No, babies don’t grow inside stomachs. They grow inside a ladies uterus, which is like a pouch down here” (motions where it is)

Son: “Ohhh, like a sack?! I have one of those too!”

Me: (heaven help me) “Well, actually this is on the inside of a woman’s body, down here (motions to where it is) And every month it gets ready in case a baby starts growing there. It gets really soft and comfortable and pillowy, the perfect place for a baby!”

At this point my son is completely intrigued. He looks as if someone just handed him 10 packs of Pokeman cards. And I’m patting myself on the back because I’m totally rocking this talk! Everything is going so smoothly…

I continue: “So, if a lady doesn’t get pregnant that month (please don’t ask me how she gets pregnant or I’ll poke my eyes out) her body gets rid of the old stuff in her uterus and it starts all over again”

My son: “Cool, ok, so how does she get rid of the old stuff?”

Me: “Well, that’s a period! It comes out as blood and stuff, from her vagina. She bleeds.”

My son’s expression instantly changes from intrigue to horror (I caught the moment with a photo. See below)

 

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Me: (nervous laugh) Yep, so that’s a period. Aren’t bodies amazing?!! And sometimes it hurts and sometimes it makes girls a little grouchy. And that’s why we buy lots of pads and tampons around here…

Son: “Oh my gosh!” (makes connection) “the pads and tampons catch the BLOOD?!!”

He looks equally disgusted and mesmerized at the same time.

Me: “Well, yes. But even though women don’t like getting their periods, they are very grateful that their bodies can grow babies. Women’s bodies are beautiful and sacred and special.”

Son: “Well, that’s for sure”

This is where I felt like I might cry a little…

Me: “So, how are you feeling about this??”

Son: “Well, I actually feel really grateful that I am a boy right now. And I have something I would like to say to the girls…”

I wasn’t expecting what happened next.

He ran upstairs, found his sisters, and very sincerely and seriously said “Girls, I AM SO SORRY! I am so sorry you have to have periods every month for like 3 or 5 days, and I understand why sometimes you don’t want to talk to me.”

They giggled and laughed, but he was super serious about it, and it was slightly adorable.

Our talk may have been a little awkward, a little unpredictable, and a little messy, but we survived, and it went ok. I don’t know that there is a “right” way to have these talks, because every child and every parent is different. I think the important thing is to know that they will happen so prepare yourself as much as possible! And be sincere about it when they do happen. Talk to your child on their level, using ideas that they can understand and relate to.

The best part is watching my son revel in this new found information. He has a little more confidence now, like he’s discovered a hidden level on a video game. It’s cute, and he’s totally diggin’ it. I also love that it taught him compassion and respect.

And now this mama can breathe for a while…until he wants to know EVERYTHING about how babies are made…

goyag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you’re like most moms, you’ve either already seen the new movie out called “Mean Moms”, or you’ve probably seen the trailers. It’s about a group of moms who have had enough with the demands of motherhood and decide to “go on strike” and become a little bit rebellious in the process. Not something we haven’t all thought of at one time or another, right? Because being a mom is hard work, and sometimes a very thankless job. Most of us don’t want to be the “mean mom” though, at least the kind that’s abusive, neglectful and belittling. We’re not talking about that kind of “mean”, obviously. But studies are showing that moms can definitely “up” the discipline factor, and in fact, being a little more “mean” with our kids can actually help them be more successful in life.

Which is great news, because this morning, my kids and I were in a rush to drop the three of them off to school when this conversation happened.

“Did you girls pack a lunch?” Nope.  

“Do you have lunch money?” Nope. We ran out and forgot to tell you.

Now, the nice mom in me quickly flirted with the idea of running home to get them some cash, or something to take for lunch, but then I thought nope. They are perfectly capable teenage girls, who need to learn to take responsibility for themselves, so today they will have no lunch, and tomorrow they will be better prepared because they’ll remember the discomfort of being hungry!

Sometimes it’s hard making those kinds of decisions, because it’s our natural instinct to take care of our kids and keep them comfortable and happy. But sometimes I have to remind myself that I am not raising children, I am raising adults. One day (and too soon for my liking) these kids of mine are going to be out in the world taking care of themselves, and hopefully being good people in the process. Coddling them, and doing things for them that they are capable of doing themselves won’t help them become the responsible adults they need to be.

One study done by the University of Essex showed that girls who have mothers who “nag” them, (or in other words regularly “remind” them of things they can be doing better) were more likely to go to college, get better-paying jobs, and avoid teen pregnancy than those with mothers who were more relaxed.

The study, led by researcher Ericka Rascon-Ramirez, followed the lives of over 15,000 girls between the ages of 13 and 14 from 2004 to 2010. Researchers found that high parental expectations played a role in some of the girls’ major life choices.

The study also found that even when it seems our children are not listening (which never happens, of course) our words and “persistent encouragement” do seep into their brains, and cause them to think twice when faced with important life decisions.

So keep nagging, moms! We can be loving and kind, but also unleash our “mean streak” once in a while, that not only shows our children we mean business, but that we have high expectations of them not because we’re unrealistic, but because we know how awesome they are!!

Are you a “mean mom”? We’d love to hear from you!

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Summers can be chaotic and busy with the kids home from school, and by the end of it most moms are pretty ready for them to go back.  However, every time that first day of school rolls around,  I am hit with that little twinge of sadness that we don’t get to share those long days together anymore! I really do love my kids, and I miss them when they go back to school. (I think most moms do, right??) So, sometimes I have to give myself a pep talk and remind myself of the things that I am “really” missing *insert sarcastic voice* about Summer…

 

Disclaimer: I know there are perfect moms out there who manage a strict schedule during the Summer, who have children who do all their chores, and who have wonderful manners. I am not a perfect mom, and my kids are not perfect. I try. They try. The examples below are memories of some of the harder days of Summer…

 

The Noise

Oh, how I miss that noise! The constant bickering, the constant pleas of “I’m bored!” and “I’m hungry” (5 minutes after lunch). The chasing each other around the house, and then the subsequent never ending screams of torture because they just ran into a wall. The cheers from the basement during particularly riveting sessions of Minecraft. The teenagers competing over music selections in the car. Yep, I miss that. So much.

My grocery bill

I don’t know about you, but I really miss those thoughts of considering taking out a second mortgage on the house to feed my three kids during the summer. Oh my word!  They all develop chronic hollow legs, and complain about starvation almost every waking moment of the day. Never do I ever spend as much on groceries during the year as I do those few months my kids are out of school.  Totally miss that strain on my budget!

The messes

Tripping over flips flops 187 times a day is my favorite. Wet bathing suits, wet towels, milk left out on the counter, juice stains on the couch (despite no juice on the couch rules), double the laundry because my kids insisted on wearing a minimum of 5 outfits a day in the summer time. Crumbs EVERYWHERE from the 10 snacks a day they stole from the kitchen. Yep, I totally miss getting after them all day long about cleaning up their messes and then doing it myself anyway…because, motherhood.

Being interrupted

I still have to work from home during the Summer, so I really miss trying to focus while being interrupted every 5 minutes to drive one kid here or there, to chase a dog down the street because a kid let it out (again), or to stop another argument while I am on the phone. I miss hearing “mom!!” every 45 seconds while I am in the bathroom too. Those are my favorite moments of Summer.

Having random kids in my house

Most of my kids “play dates” are planned, but I will never get used to extra kids running around my house, drinking my juice boxes and terrorizing my pets. It’s even more loud, more food gets eaten, someone almost always ends up crying and going home early, and something is always left behind which becomes an emergency to their parent.

“Omg, Chris left his broken Happy Meal toy from 3 years ago at your house, when can we come back to get it?!!”

I am trying to teach my kids that friendships are overrated, but they’re having none of it.  Sigh…

And so, despite missing my kids while they’re back at school, there are definitely some parts of Summer I won’t particularly miss! That is, until they’re off to College one day, and every single horrifying memory of Summer vacation magically turns sweet…

What do you “miss” about Summer time, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

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We live in a society that is plagued with debt, with 2015 statistics showing that the average family in America has $132,086 in debt, with $15,310 of it on credit cards.  Some debts are unavoidable for most, like mortgages and car loans, but we have definitely become a country with a “want it, need it now” mentality, and it’s showing. Many families are starting to realize the dangers and pitfalls associated with debt and managing to sacrifice, save, and be diligent with finances to become debt free. It’s always smart to become as self sufficient as possible, and it’s a lesson we can teach our children from a young age. Teaching them now can save them years of becoming a slave to debt in the future. Here are some important lessons we can teach our children now to help them become money wise.

 

It’s ok to wait to buy something you want

Saving up to buy something seems to be a lost art these days. With credit cards at our finger tips we buy what we want, when we want it, with little thought and whether or not we have the money. We are living on borrowed money, and it’s not a wise lesson to teach our children. Patience is a valuable virtue!

Next time your child has to wait in line for their turn on the swing, or a ride, or an ice cream cone…be sure to remind them that sometimes we have to be patient and wait for things we really want. And then when the experience is over ask them “wasn’t that worth waiting for?!” Most likely they will say yes. This is so important for raising children who don’t feel entitled…

From a young age, my children have had to earn money from simple household chores in order to save up for toys or experiences they wanted. This can be taught from as young as three-years-old. Children are always stating their wish lists, which I try not to blow off because I think it’s important to have goals and dreams, and we can nurture those goals and dreams in our kids by encouraging them to work for them. If there’s a specific toy your child would really love to have, make a chart showing how much it costs, and how they can earn that money. Maybe they can earn $1/day by pulling weeds or helping out with household chores. You decide on the jobs, but more importantly keep marking their progress on the chart. Help them to see that hard work and patience pays off!

 

Making choices on how to spend money

My daughter will be 18 next year, and I am realizing how very quickly these formative years pass by and questioning ALL THE TIME if I have taught her everything she needs to know to be on her own soon. She recently started her first “real” job this past year, and although that first paycheck was super tempting for her to spend on clothes and make up…she was (to my surprise) very wise about saving some, spending some, and giving some away.

These are three important lessons to teach from a young age.  Give each child three jars marked “Save. Spend. Share.” and whenever your child earns money or gets birthday money,  teach them how to divide up their money appropriately between the jars. Teaching children that earning money isn’t just for spending, but also for saving and sharing are important life lessons, and will serve them well as they get older.

 

Managing a budgeting and credit cards

As children grow older they should be well versed in budgeting before they leave the house for their college years. This is something I wish schools would help teach, but it falls on parents shoulders to make sure they understand the phrase “living within your means”… Planning the monthly family budget with your teens present can help them visually understand what is coming in, what goes out and how much is left. Teach them that credit is important to build for future purchases like a home or a car, but to build it responsibly. If they abuse their credit cards by paying them late, or racking them up, it can have devastating consequences on their future financial security. They should only have a credit card if they can pay it off monthly. Also be sure their first credit card is low interest and has a manageable balance.

 

 

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If you drop-off or pick-up your child from school each day, you can relate to what I am about to say. It’s what nightmares are made of. Legit scary. While schools do their best to maintain an orderly car drop-off system (ours is called “Kiss-and-go”)… it only works if parents follow the rules, and let me tell you, I have seen more rule breakers in the drop-off line at school than at a WWF championship match, and unfortunately some parents act like they’re in one.  I have seen parents yell, scream, threaten, beep, flip-off and even get out of their cars in anger during drop-off or pick-up. The sad part is, it’s usually in front of their children, and others.

Their excuse might be that they’re in a hurry or they’re late…umm, pretty sure we ALL had chaotic mornings, and that we ALL have to be somewhere on time, and that we are ALL here to drop off our kids. How about let’s stop putting our needs above others and work together to make sure the drop-off lane is a safe and civil place to be?

In a recent study by British insurance company Allianz, over 1,000 parents were monitored for their levels of the stress hormone Cortisol, during their morning school drop-off routine. The study found that levels peaked just before leaving the house, so by the time parents actually reach the school they are already super stressed out! 25% of parents that participated also mentioned that school drop-off stress even sets their mood for the entire day!

We can do better! There are some simple rules we should all be following to ensure less stress during school drop-off/pick-up…

1. Put the cell phone down for a few minutes

Checking your email or text messages is a distraction, and although it’s tempting to do when you’ve stopped for a moment, it only takes a second for the car in front of you to move ahead. I’ve been guilty of this myself a couple times and I always feel stupid for holding up the line. Just put the phone down for the few minutes you’re in line. Besides, kids are darting in and out of cars everywhere, and you want to be completely alert at all times while in a school zone.

P.S. the drop-off lane is also not where you put on your mascara…

2. Don’t get out of your car!

Don’t get out of your car to wave to your child, or to straighten their coat, or to say hi to your girlfriend in the car behind you. You’re slowing down the line. Stay in your car, and when the car in front of you moves, you move.

3. Don’t cut in line

If you see a gap open up 10 cars in front of you because someone is on their phone or distracted and hasn’t moved up yet….don’t pull out, speed up and swerve into the spot. Not only is this super dangerous, it’s a super jerk move! We are all waiting our turn. No one else’s time is more important than another’s but everyone’s safety is!

4. Leave the PDA at home

A quick kiss or hug or high five is fine, but if your son or daughter isn’t ready to get out of the car, is having a bad morning, is throwing a tantrum, or needs extra attention…it’s best to park your car elsewhere and walk him/her to class. Don’t hold up the whole line because your child needs 5 hugs and 5 minutes of encouragement that morning. I’m not being insensitive, it’s just that there’s a time and a place for parenting, and it’s not the drop-off line!

5. Stay patient

This. We are adults. We can do this! We can drop off our kids at school without losing our cool, driving like maniacs and throwing evil death stares at one another. Take a deep breath…it will be ok. Be an example to your children. Things don’t always go the way we would like them to, but we control our own emotions, and we can teach them to handle stressful situations with dignity and grace.

Do you have any crazy car pool experiences, or any tips on how to handle the chaos? We’d love to hear them!!

 

 

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It’s back to school season, and for kids that means long school days, after school activities and homework. Throw in ballet classes, soccer practice, church activities, family responsibilities and music lessons and the enriching life many parents are trying to give their children can actually turn detrimental to their well being and mental health.

 

 

Overscheduling kids has become an epidemic of sorts, and has been gaining more attention from educators, doctors, and child psychologists over the past few decades. Overscheduling children leads to the same stress-related health and psychological problems that overworked adults experience, and it’s starting younger and younger. Studies have found that the majority of kids who are overscheduled tend to have parents from an educated, higher income bracket—and interesting enough, they tend to be girls.

The key is balance. Obviously we want our children to be productive, and many parents are trying to avoid having “lazy” children who are glued to the phone or the TV…but there are two extremes and middle ground is where we want to be. Kids need downtime too, and they need to be bored sometimes. This allows them to use their imaginations and find things to do on their own. When their whole life is scheduled out, it leaves little room for reflection and relaxation, and both are critical when they are busy growing a body!

Here are some signs your child may be overscheduled.

You never see them bored

If you think back on the last week, and the mental picture of your child is homework, appointments, meetings, lessons and rushing here and there, it might be time to reasess their schedule. Every child needs downtime. They need time to relax and unwind, process their thoughts and reflect on their day.  It’s crucial for their well being and development.

Your child turns into a grumpy old man

Is your child complaining of aches and pains and headaches regularly? Are they always tired? Are they irritable with family members, and tend to be more grouchy than happy? These are typical physical symptoms that can arise when a child’s life is out of whack, or they are overworked. Revisit their schedule, make sure they are getting to bed at a decent hour, and make sure they have quiet time each night before bed.

Your child loses interest in their favorite things

If your child starts to become apathetic to things they once loved, it’s time to take notice. When things that were fun to them aren’t fun anymore, and they don’t really care about their favorite foods, people, music, passtimes, etc…and if their schedule is very busy, it’s usually because they are too tired to care. These can also be symptoms of depression, however before making assumptions, it’s important to question if it’s just an overscheduled calendar.

Your child’s grades are dropping

School should be a child’s number one priority. They are a student before anything else. If a child’s grades are dropping it can a be a symptom of overscheduling. If your child is having to wake up early to finish homework from the night before because their evening was too full of activities, something needs to get cut. Too many extracurricular activities can zap the energy a child needs to be a good student.

You live in your car more than your house

If you’re having more conversations in the car than within the walls of your own home, this can definitely be a sign you’re overscheduled. If you are shuttling your kids back and forth to various activities all the time, this can mean your schedules are dominating family time.

Your child is losing friends

Friends come and go, and that’s normal, but if your once very social child is becoming isolated because they are missing out on birthday parties or outings with close friends, this is a warning sign. Children need friends and time to have unstructured play and downtime. It’s crucial for their social development, and if their best friend is not around anymore because your child doesn’t have time for them, it’s time to re-evaluate their schedule.

You no longer eat regular meals together

If you are so busy that you’re regularly grabbing dinner on the go, not eating together, or your child is continually skipping out on dinner to finish homework or get to practice, you are an overscheduled family. There are studies showing the benefits of having family dinner on a regular basis, and it’s something more families should be doing. Read our article “5 Reasons to Eat Family Dinner Together”.

You’re too tired to do it all

Are you constanly complaining to friends and family how tired you are because of all the things you have to do? Do you wear your “busyness” as a badge? Do you dread all the activities and playing the role of never ending Taxi driver? If you yourself are one tired mama because of an overscheduled schedule, imagine how your kids feel. If you are drained, chances are your children are too. It may be time reasses your priorities and question if it’s all worth it.

Remember, it’s all about balance! Maybe choose one extracurrcular activity for your child each year instead of juggling three. Make sure you are having regular family meals together, that your child is getting enough sleep and has enough time to productively manage their homework load. With a little mindful scheduling you can find the healthy amount of activities for your family and your child.

 

 

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Ok, moms. Let’s get real. Kids pick their noses. Some don’t (although I don’t know what planet those ones live on). But most have and will at some point during their childhood, and for some it becomes a nasty habit that needs intervention.

 

 

 

 

 

Because let’s be honest, we don’t want our kids to become that guy at the red light digging for gold while someone secretly takes a picture and posts it on Instagram…

 

 

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So first, let’s tackle why kids pick their nose.  Well, its natural and normal behavior. Kids are all about exploring their bodies, and sticking their fingers into holes, and when they get a physical reward like *cough* …a booger, it just motivates them to continue the habit! Some children produce more mucus than others due to allergies, or just because they’re lucky… so it’s natural for their fingers to wander to their nose because it’s uncomfortable for them.  If allergies are the issue, maybe medication can relieve some of the symptoms. If it’s not allergies, here are some handy dandy tips to help tackle the nose picking habit.

Distraction

This works best with younger kids. Just make sure they always have something in their hands. A toy, a book, a snack…anything they can hold onto that will keep them from putting their fingers in their nose.

Enforce manners

As your child gets older, make sure they understand that they should use a tissue when dealing with nose mucus. Always have tissues available (in your car, purse, and around the home) so that when you see your child picking their nose, you can quickly hand them a tissue and explain, we use this not our fingers. Also teach them how to properly blow their nose…if it starts running out of control,  they are more than likely going to be constanly picking and rubbing at it.

Stick a band aid on it

Typically just wrapping a band aid around their index finger will make their finger too large to comfortably fit inside their nostril.

Keep nails neatly trimmed

Long nails just enable the situation….keeping nails neatly trimmed will make it harder to “dig” around in their nose.

Use a secret word or symbol

Some children honestly aren’t aware of their nose picking habit, even after you’ve brought it to their attention several times. Instead of embarrassing your child when you see them do it, simply choose a word to say that means “please stop”….keep it light and silly like “Bazooka!” or “Pikachu”. When you say it, it will remind them to stop what they’re doing, and also teaches them self awareness.

Hand washing

Most kids do not like to wash their hands repeatedly. Teach them that mucus often carries germs, and if they are going to pick their nose, they will have to wash their hands every single time they do it. Most likely your child will give up the habit if they are being made to wash their hands umpteen times a day!

Following these tips and regularly enforcing proper hygiene and good manners will more than likely be enough to keep nose picking at bay! Good luck mamas, it’s a crazy world out there!!

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Most of us are aware of the phrase “the Winter Blues”, but the Summer Blues can be just as real for some moms, and it’s important to not only recognize this potential slump, but to actively find ways to beat it! Sometimes we have grand and lofty expectations of what Summer should be with our family. We envision schedules and day trips, an organized home and backyard BBQs with friends…but sometimes life happens, and we can feel overwhelmed. We can feel like we’ve let down our family, and ourselves. Unexpected trials and challenges often pop up, and those visions we had quickly fade away and we can be left feeling down. For some moms it can become a very real struggle, but there are ways to overcome these feelings when we recognize them. Melody Jensen recently shared four ways that we can beat the Summer blues with Good Things Utah, and they are very helpful tips!

 

 

1. Flip on the gratitude switch

Think of it as turning on a light switch. Suddenly things that weren’t visible in the dark, become visible again. Sometimes we need to actively be aware of the blessings we do have when things aren’t going as planned. Simple things like being able to feed your children, or drive a car instead of public transportation. Having electricity and a roof over our heads! We often take these conveniences for granted, but many people don’t have them and taking stock of the things that are right in our world, can often help us feel more uplifted.

2. Get your health checked

Sometimes moms just feel “off”. You may not be functioning very well, or you’re just more tired than usual and not feeling yourself. It’s important to get checked out by your doctor when you’re feeling this way. You could have a vitamin deficiency you’re not aware of, or a hormone imbalance, or your thyroid can be off.  These issues can absolutely cause us to feel down and depressed. We often think of our children and family before taking care of ourselves, but we have to feel our best in order to give our families our best! So make sure your health is in check.

3. One a day!

We all know about one a day vitamins, but there is another thing we should be adding to our lives once a day, especially when we are feeling down and depressed. When the blues hit us, we are often caught in a cycle of dwelling on our own problems and we can become consumed with ourselves and our situation. Actively commit to do something kind for someone else once a day.  This can be as simple as a genuine compliment, or leaving a small gift/note on a friend’s porch.  When we focus on other’s more instead of ourselves, our own burdens become lighter.

4. Express Yourself

Melody shares that she recently had a friend who was struggling and tragically committed suicide. She not only her took her own life, but she took her children’s as well. It’s so very important not to bottle up our feelings and struggle in silence. If you are depressed, overwhelmed, and in a very dark place, share those feelings with your loved ones, your friends, or your doctor. You don’t have to struggle alone. There is help. There is hope.

Melody Jensen is also the host of Momscast, which is a great podcast for moms intended to build a sense of community and lift us up! Moms from all over the world share their stories of trials and triumphs and the every day adventures of being a mom. Be sure to check it out! You can visit her Facebook page for more info.

Watch her interview with Good Things Utah for more helpful insights on how to beat the Summer Blues!

 

 

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I have to admit, I have a love/hate relationship with Summer break. For me it means my schedule with my three kids slows down a bit, which is a welcome respite! But for them, the “slowing down” part isn’t quite as exciting. My kids love to be busy and entertained (as I believe most children do), which is why most parents stress about Summer camps, trips and activities the entire Summer.  We try to keep our kids as busy as possible, most likely in an attempt to ward off the dreaded words…”I’m bored!” Because let’s be honest…that phrase is UP there on the cringe list!!

 

 

It turns out we may need to grow a thicker skin as parents and allow our kids to be bored once in a while. Not only does being bored motivate them to use their creativity and naturally seek out what interests them, it’s actually a developmental milestone that psychologists say is beneficial.

“Your role as a parent is to prepare children to take their place in society. Being an adult means occupying yourself and filling up your leisure time in a way that will make you happy,” says Lyn Fry, a child psychologist in London with a focus on education. “If parents spend all their time filling up their child’s spare time, then the child’s never going to learn to do this for themselves.”

Boredom actually teaches children to be self reliant, which is an important skill to learn as they grow older.

Psychoanalyst Adam Phillips wrote that the “capacity to be bored can be a developmental achievement for the child. Boredom is a chance to contemplate life, rather than rushing through it, he said in his book On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored: Psychoanalytic Essays on the Unexamined Life. “It is one of the most oppressive demands of adults that the child should be interested, rather than take time to find what interests him. Boredom is integral to the process of taking one’s time,” explained Phillips.

Keeping a child busy all the time can be expensive and tiresome, and it should not be the parents responsible to be “entertainer”, however, kids can use a little guidance when it comes to occupying themselves.

A good idea is to sit down with your child at the beginning of Summer and write down a “bucket list” of activities.  Some may be simple such as going for a bike ride, reading a book, collecting insects or playing a game of Monopoly, and others may be a little more elaborate like putting on a play, going on a scavenger hunt or taking a trip to the lake with them.  This list will now be a great reference for your child when they come to you saying “I’m bored”. Simply encourage them to choose something from the Summer Fun list…and if by chance they are stubborn and say they don’t want to do any of them (which never happens, right?) let them sit in their boredom until they figure out what to do! Chances are they will, because boredom eventually leads to creativity.  Which is why it’s beneficial!

Bottom line is, if your child is “bored” this Summer – don’t worry. You are doing something right! They will learn to become more self reliant and creative in the process. We need to retrain our brains into understanding that boredom is a natural part of growing up, and refrain from trying to jump in to save the day all the time. Your kids will thank you as they grow older!