SuperMom or SuperFreak?

April 14, 2011

As I get older, I forget a lot–birthdays, phone numbers, field trip notices, you name it, I’ve lost it in that grey matter somewhere. But the things that stay with me are little random bits…moments,  little sayings that mean a lot, memories that I want to last forever, great life tips that I have filed away… I want to share one of those random bits with you.

Once upon a time… I was a childless (child-free?), newly-married, busy career gal. Oh, the sun was always shining, I always got at least eight hours of sleep a night, I knew everything about what kind of parents my husband and  I would be.  I was sitting having breakfast with one of my mentors and she said something that seemed so wrong (and has proven so right) to my “oh-that-will-never-be-me” sensibilities that it stuck with me to this day, almost ten years later.

“You will be lucky if your husband does 15% of the child-rearing no matter how progressive you think your relationship is.”

Wow.

Secretly in my mind I filed it away, certain that in a few  years I would sit here again with my good friend to tell her that I had beaten the odds – that my husband is so amazing, loves kids so much and will be so incredibly involved that it will easily be 50-50..maybe 60-40 but at least a heck of a lot more even.

Whoops.

Hey look, it’s not that he doesn’t try – he says he would LOVE to be more involved, but my kids just want me! He says he would trade anything to be the one they want when they fall, the one they want to put them to bed. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job as Mom, but some days, it does feel like a job (a never-ending, patience-sucking, tongue-biting job!). Yikes, am I admitting out loud, or in print, at least,  that I don’t always want to be the one to put them to bed, to be the one they run to? Some days yes.

Here’s the thing… I love being a mom and I love my kids (more than they’ll ever know until they have kids of their own–as I remind them once and a while—yes, I am turning into my mother) but some days I am tired and I would love to sit and watch the news for an hour while HE puts the kids to bed.  “Hey honey, I would love to do it, but they NEVER ask me. They want you,” he reminds me from his prone position on the couch.

Whoa.

Am I really that gullible? That guilt-ridden?  Has he has suckered me?  Or have I suckered myself?  Who cares if they only ask for me? They ask for a lot of things and I never (ok, ok, rarely) give in to them and yet here I am exhausted after a long day (I mean dog-, feet-swollen, eyes-rolling-to-the-back-of-my-head tired) — bathing, reading, cuddling, granting the requests for just one more hug, kiss, stuffy, drink, blanket..gaah!! I look to my loving life-partner. He shrugs, settles in for another glass of wine, and with sad eyes tells me again that he would love it  IF ONLY THEY WOULD LET HIM DO IT ??!!!!

Grr.

Gullible? Guilty? Or just a victim of Super Mom Syndrome?

15% of the child-rearing.  I don’t question it so much anymore. I live it. My hubby and I do split out other chores so that I don’t feel overwhelmed…but the child-rearing, no matter if I work outside or inside the home is pretty much my gig.

Some days I just want to throw my hands in the air and SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAM. I don’t always want to do it, but will I feel guilty if I force my husband to do it?? Since when do I not insist on equal parenting? Since when does my husband roll over when my kids ask for something??

Who am I kidding? The day that I decide to insist my husband put the kids to bed it will be all that I want to do and I will likely sulk all night or be so guilt-ridden that I won’t even enjoy my bottomless glass of CabSauv!

Does anyone else strive to be SuperMom? Or am I just a SuperFreak? I can almost feel the pendulum swinging on a daily basis!!!

Have you figured out the balance of how NOT to resent your never-ending Mom duties?

I think I am SuperMom AND Super Freak.

Who are you?

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Read this great post now, from @pigtailp

March 8, 2011

Read this great post now, from @pigtailpals: “How to Celebrate International Women’s Day from Your Comfortable..Home”…http://ow.ly/4am7Y

Join us at our Biagirl Holiday Event for Big Sisters!

November 25, 2010

Biagirl is proud to present our first Biagirl Who Cares Event.

In support of the Vancouver charity Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland, Biagirl invites you and your girls to come and show your creative holiday spirit!

We are going to create a craft to take home with us and we are also going to make craft kits to donate to the upcoming Big Sister/Little Sister Winterfest celebration.

As Moms and Mentors, we are always looking for ways to remind our girls to be thankful for what we have and to teach them that there are many ways to give to those in need. And what better way than spending time together on a simple craft and then providing the means for other children to do the same?

This Biagirl Who Cares Event will let you spend quality time with your girls crafting for a great cause!

Details :

Date:   Saturday December 4th, 2010

Time:   3pm to 5pm

Place:              Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church

2465 Crown St. (@ West 10th Ave) Vancouver, BC

Cost: $15 per person

Register at www.biagirl.com today!

We will spend 2 hours together creating our own craft, enjoying some holiday goodies and making craft kits for distribution at the Big Sisters’ Winterfest celebration.

There are still a few spots left – we hope to see you there!

Happy Holidays to you and your families.

Kelly & Dhana

Want to protect your child, yet don’t w

November 9, 2010

Want to protect your child, yet don’t want to ban Internet use?Here is a great guide to privacy settings for your teen! http://ow.ly/373Tn

Healthy Body Image: parents have to walk the walk

September 23, 2010

Great article from radicalparenting.com

This guest post is by Chuck Runyon, CEO of Anytime Fitness, sponsor of the Coalition of Angry Kids campaign to help parents be healthier role models.

As long as it’s a healthy baby, that’s all that matters.

This is a common phrase uttered by expectant parents when responding to the question, “Are you hoping for a boy or girl?”

 

But what happens after that couple is blessed with a healthy baby? Do we keep that child healthy, or do we begin feeding them a lifelong diet of sugar, processed foods, fat, sodium, fast food, and unbalanced meals?

As parents, we strive to instill positive habits, values, and education in our children that will fortify them throughout their life. But do we instill an understanding of the food they eat? Do we encourage regular physical activity and other healthy habits?

In many aspects of their lives, we challenge our children and assist them with projects—in the hope that their accomplishments breed self-confidence and a positive self-esteem, both of which are critical to living a more fulfilling life. Yet, having a poor body image and being overweight siphon self-confidence and self-esteem at an alarming rate.

We fiercely protect our kids from strangers, inappropriate images, words, viruses, and any negative external forces that could endanger them. Yet, the biggest threat to our children may reside within our own homes—in the kitchen cabinets and refrigerator and in the unhealthy habits we portray on a daily basis.

On June 10, 2010, the American Heart Association reported the following on overweight children:

Today, about one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1963. With good reason, childhood obesity is now the No. 1 health concern among parents in the United States, topping drug abuse and smoking.

 

[…]

 

“Because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.”

It’s easy to blame society, the government, or the food industry for this problem. It’s easier—and cheaper—to eat unhealthy, processed foods. Along those lines, wouldn’t it be easier to let our kids set their own bed times and roll out of bed whenever they want? How about letting them decide if they should attend school or complete their homework? We’d never model behaviors that would encourage those actions—because we know our kids are observing us. Ultimately, our kids will eat what we eat. They will be active if we are active. It starts and ends with us.

So think back to that initial hope, “As long as it’s healthy.” When it comes to healthy children, it’s like everything else in life. If you want something, you have to work at it.

Women: our own worst enemies?

September 10, 2010

Back to School…what does it mean to you?

To me – it makes my heart race just thinking of all the “re-programming” my family and I have to do! Back to bed times, back to homework, back to total insanity.

To some little “grade TWOers” as they proudly call themselves now, it can mean something much, much scarier. A kind of scary that is arguably not age appropriate – not fear of academics and school work, but fear of trying to fit in, trying not to get picked on, trying to not be alone at recess and lunch…
 
Like many other women now in their 30s and 40s, I grew up and now work in a male-dominated world: first, the competitive sports world and now, the corporate world.  For me, surprisingly, the toughest part about fitting in with both these worlds has not been the boys and men, but the girls and women.
 
 Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad, but let’s call it out LOUD – WE GIRLS AND WOMEN CAN BE OUR OWN WORST ENEMIES!  In worlds where we are the minority, time and time again, we shove each other down further and further and for what? To protect our own fragile position? Or is it to protect our own fragile sense of self?

I’ve been on both sides of this, and it’s not pretty. We feel this territorial instinct, a kind of kill or be killed mentality.  Except we kill softly, not overtly.  With the catty comments, the sideways looks, the hushed conversations…we turn into MEAN GIRLS!
 
This primal instinct is something I am taking ownership of for two reasons: because I want to help women bring each other UP in this world, and because I am afraid. I am afraid for my daughter and for my daughter’s peers who are so savvy at such a young age. I want to show them that we don’t have to be mean girls and we can succeed together – all of us.
 
And so, a challenge for me, for you – I challenge every woman out there – go OUT OF YOUR WAY to be kind and open to someone new, whether she is the new mom in the schoolyard or the new associate at your office. If she is beautiful – be happy for her.  If she is smart – be happy for her. Do you know how you can do this?? The only way you can do this is if you LOVE YOURSELF…if you have ‘SELF LOVE’ you can beat off the insecurity, the jealousy, the meanness because you are happy inside your own skin.

Let’s bring women together and work together to teach our younger generation of girls how to bring each other UP – not push each other down.

Madonna had it right – You’ve got to Express Yourself

August 13, 2010

My husband’s father died in 2007, five weeks after being admitted to the hospital for stomach pain that turned out to be a very aggressive form of lymphoma. My father died a year ago from cardiac arrest, sitting on the couch at home, with my mother in the next room. In both cases, we struggled with our grief and how to address that grief with our kids, now aged 7, 5, and 3.

Read on for a terrific case for expressing those sometimes hard-to-express feelings,  from one of our favorite writers–another excellent post, via anniefox.com.

 Before we were parents we had parents. People who showed us what it took to be a mom and a dad.

I woke up one morning when I was 5 and heard my mother sobbing behind the door of her room, my father comforting her. My brothers told me that Grandpa had died. A while later, Mom emerged, hair freshly brushed, lipstick bright red. She cheerfully asked what I wanted for breakfast. I wasn’t hungry, I was confused. I wanted to ask about Grandpa, but Mom’s tight smile warned me not to say anything that might upset her. While I pushed a piece of French toast around my plate I had a realization–an absolute epiphany: To be a grown-up means that you have to hide your sadness!

When I was 15 my father died suddenly of a heart attack. His passing left a huge hole in my heart, but instead of grieving I did what I thought grown-ups do, I suppressed my sadness.

Fast-forward 25 years. I’m in the dentist’s chair getting a replacement for an old childhood filling. The doctor pauses in the procedure, gently rests a hand on my head and asks how I’m doing. At his touch a tidal wave of sadness overwhelms me and I start weeping. For the next 48 hours I’m emotionally numb and clueless about what the hell is happening.

David helped me realize that the dentist’s touch had reminded me of my father, who often tousled my hair. With that revelation, the floodgates burst… finally I was able to grieve for my dad. And through my expression of loss I released myself from feelings which held me hostage for decades.

That day I learned about the power of unexpressed emotions. They don’t actually ever go away. Instead, they work like a mild acid, slowly eroding your insides, boring holes in your emotional foundation, creating gaps in your ability to connect with others. I decided not to ever bury feelings that need to be expressed. I vowed to teach my children, through my own example, to express their emotions in healthy ways.

I got my chance soon enough. During most of 1994 my mom was dying of Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Every day I drove an hour each way to visit her. During endless games of Scrabble we finally found the words to communicate with an intimacy we’d never shared before. I am eternally grateful for those last 10 months we had together… grace-filled and excruciatingly painful as they were.

After spending the day with Mom I’d arrive home each night to my own family, scared, stressed, worn down and so raw. I offered no one a lipstick smile. Instead, I trusted that our daughter and son (then ages 15 and 9) would know how to respond to a person in need. And they did. Their backrubs, cups of tea and loving words of encouragement got me through that endless year. I don’t know how I’d have coped if not for David and our sweet kids. If I’d chosen to play the game of “Everything’s fine, honey” I’d have betrayed myself and robbed my children of an opportunity to learn what it means to be a real human being. By sharing the truth of my emotional experience I gave them the chance to exercise their compassion (toward me and their grandmother) and to grow beautifully toward adulthood.

For years we’re on the receiving end of our parents’ choices, observing closely everything they do. As little children we accept that they knew best about what we need. As teens we wonder if they’ve got a clue about who we were or how to parent. After all that watching and evaluating and on the job training with kids of our own, at this point, what could we possibly not know about being a parent?

We know it all, right?

Back-to-School Basics – great advice on

August 11, 2010

Back-to-School Basics – great advice on How to Bully-Proof your Child. http://ow.ly/2nRfU

Time for Parents to Step Up and Tech Up

August 5, 2010

Ready for back-to-school? Your kids have the gear, but do they have the cyber-smarts? Do you? Here is a great post from Radical Parenting on how we can help our kids with the very real trend of cyberbullying. Get involved when your kids are young and stay connected as they grow!

The Internet age has led to a different kind of teen bullying called Cyberbullying.  A website’s prefix “www” stands for World Wide Web but users should also understand that it means the “Whole World is Watching.” Every online message or post is retrievable regardless of the “delete” or “trash” buttons. Once you hit “send” it’s out there for the world to see.

Cyberbullying is defined as using electronic communication to harass or bully someone.  This can be done by e-mail, voicemail, text or Instant Messages, blogs and social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube and MySpace.

Most teenagers are skilled users of all things digital.  Their parents, on the other hand, fall behind when it comes to evolving technologies.  My recent book, “Teen Cyberbullying Investigated” (Free Spirit Publishing 2010) addresses real cases of teenagers in trouble over their online and cell phone activities.  Many teens across the country have received consequences at school for their harassment of classmates, teachers and administrators.  Suspensions and expulsions have been imposed for harmful messages or sexual content.  Some teens have been charged with crimes while others have been sued along with their parents for their online harassment.  The purpose in writing TCI is to educate teens about the unintended consequences of irresponsible communications. Teens often learn from the experiences of their peers.  The message to teens is to “Think B4 U Click.”

There is also a message to every parent.  Like everything in a teen’s life, home life is key to becoming a respectful, compassionate adult.  Parents can prepare their son or daughter early on to recognize the dangers of the Internet and avoid becoming a victim of cyberbullying or a perpetrator.  It is never too early to discuss etiquette and ethics with your child.  As you know, you can buy toy computers and cell phones for children as young as three years old.  That’s when lessons should begin about appropriate use.

Trust between a parent and child is vital to protecting your kids online.  A child needs to understand that he or she can go to you if they receive a cruel message.  Many teens resist telling their parents when they are targeted by a cyberbully.  They are afraid you will take the computer or cell phone away.  Although shutting the computer down or confiscating the cell phone is a natural response by many parents, the fact that, in many ways, this is their lifeline and a significant part of their social lives can’t be ignored.  Instead of being prohibitive, we need to become proactive regarding the use of electronic communications.

Many of us lag behind our teens when it comes to cyberspace.  Their digital skills improve everyday while ours remain stagnant or creep along at a snail’s pace.  In order to monitor their online activities we need to “tech-up” and become computer literate.  It’s impossible to monitor your child’s Internet usage unless you’re able to navigate the Web.

When your kids are young get online with them and learn together. Know their passwords and online friends.  Instruct them about privacy and the danger in giving out personal information.  If your child is on Facebook or any social networking site, open your own account [it’s free] and make a friend request to your child. This shouldn’t be a problem if trust and respect exists between you.

Much like drinking and driving contracts* signed between parents and their teenagers, the same can be done regarding the Internet.  Your child should understand that they can go to you anytime without fear of being cut off from their friends online or by phone.  Too many teens turn to their friends or remain silent when bullying starts.  Bullycide is a tragic and avoidable phenomenon.  Teens who take their lives out of fear, frustration and loneliness need a place to turn.  It should be you who can step in and protect them.  No parent should lose a child on account of the digital antics of a few.  Our children must and can be protected in this new age.  It’s up to the adults in their lives to step up and tech-up.

 

*See the “Stop Cyberbullying Pledge” on www.wiredsafety.org

In addition to the Wired Safety website, take a look at www.netsmartz.org for  safety tips, free Internet safety resources, and videos of real life stories told by teens who have been victims of Internet exploitation.

Thomas A. Jacobs, creator and moderator of Askthejudge.info

Use the TV as a babysitter? Oh never, officer.

July 13, 2010

Gotta get dinner made, kids are underfoot, what to do, what to do? Read on for alternatives to the boob tube, from babycenter.com. I have tried a few and guess what? They work! I am a bit leery of the bubble project, though.

While it’s tempting to use the TV as a babysitter — especially before dinner, when you need to be in the kitchen — you shouldn’t get into the habit: Research shows that too much TV-watching can actually restrict your child’s imaginative and cognitive abilities. The answer? Bring your child into the kitchen with you. You have plenty of “ingredients” for fun inside cupboards. Here are some suggestions from experts to help keep the TV off while you cook up dinner (or breakfast or lunch) and fun together.

Tap into the power of pretend play Try initiating a make-believe game with your child, suggests Jerome L. Singer, co-director of the Family Television Research and Consultation Center at Yale University. Not only will pretend play give your child ample opportunity to practice using his imagination, says Singer, but research shows that kids who play make-believe tend to be happier than other kids. For example, pretend you’re at your child’s favorite restaurant. Outfit your child with an apron and help him set up a table and chairs for his stuffed animals. Or, pretend you’re going on a picnic. Set out a blanket with a picnic basket and ask your child what kinds of food he would pack.

Homespun place mats You’ll be amazed at how quickly your child will choose an art project over the tube when you present him with the choice, Kenworthy says. Try setting up a craft table with glue, markers, construction paper, scissors, beans, and various types of uncooked pasta and dried beans. Your child can create colorful place mats for family members and decorate the borders with the beans and pasta.

Cook up a story. Tell each other stories, suggests Kathy Kenworthy, who teaches preschool at the Broadway Children’s School in Oakland, California. Try using kitchen items for inspiration. For example, the pasta you are about to dump into the boiling water can represent scuba divers on a daring mission. Encourage your child to add to the tale or start one of his own. “Telling stories is terrific for children’s language development,” Kenworthy says. Not only does telling stories help children organize their thoughts and learn new vocabulary, but communicating with you boosts their self-esteem, she explains. Tip: Your child will love hearing about a main character that greatly resembles him.

The chef’s assistant. Why should you and your partner do all the work — or have all the fun, as your child may see it? Have your child help you cook. While you don’t want your child to use sharp knives or cook over flames, he can do plenty of things to help you get dinner on the table. Ask your child to toss the salad, find ingredients for you, set the table, or husk the corn, suggests Marilyn Segal, dean emeritus at the Family and School Center at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Children feel very grown up when they’re given a job to do,” she says. To help your older child see a task as fun instead of as a chore, make a game out of it. For example, challenge your child to find ingredients or set the table in less than three minutes.

Experiment cakes. Give your child the opportunity to do some creative cooking of his own, Kenworthy suggests. To start this activity, set out a large mixing bowl and ask your child what he would like to make. Let him pick out the ingredients but encourage him to choose items he’s likely to need, such as flour and eggs.

When you’re ready to cook the family dinner, place your child’s experiment cake in the oven. (Look up what your child intended to make in a cookbook to estimate the temperature and cooking time.) When the experiment cake is done, let your child taste it. The cake might taste horrible, but the activity will teach your child some basic cooking skills and help him feel comfortable in the kitchen. “The process is more important than the product,” says Kenworthy.

Nifty napkin holders. If your child likes art projects, sit him at the table with pipe cleaners, beads, and old buttons, Kenworthy suggests. These objects can generate a lot of different creations, including napkin holders. To create napkin holders, string beads or buttons on a pipe cleaner and tie the ends together to form a circle. Encourage your children to string the beads in a pattern, Kenworthy says. Note: Pipe cleaners have sharp ends, so fold the edges over before giving them to your child; remember that large beads and buttons can be a choking hazard for children 4 and under.

Magnificent menus. Tired of sweating over a hot stove only to hear your child declare he doesn’t like what you’ve prepared? Have him help you plan the menu for the week. To save yourself from a diet of Oreos and ice cream, challenge your child to pick nutritious meals. You may want to talk to him about the food pyramid and the benefits of each food group. Warn him about any family members who are allergic to certain foods or refuse to eat them. If your child is too young to write the menu down, suggest that he illustrate it. By the time he’s done, dinner should be ready.

Playful pizza. Buy readymade pizza dough and give your child a bowl of tomato sauce to smear on the crust. Then let him decorate it with pieces of grated cheese, pepperoni, olives, slices of tomato and pepper, and anything else you’d like on the pizza. After you’ve cooked the pizza, point out how the ingredients look different (mushrooms shrink, cheese melts, colors deepen) after they’ve been cooked.

Bubble delight. Creating bubbles is a great learning activity for kids. Set up a basin of water with a little dish soap, Kenworthy suggests. Drinking straws, rubber bands, and strawberry baskets can all be used to blow bubbles. Your child can experiment by using the different objects to create bubbles of different sizes. Be warned that while your child is mastering the art of bubble creation, you may end up with a lot of water on the floor.

Kitchen science. Your kitchen is full of ingredients that your child can use to learn basic scientific principles. For example, try this experiment: All you need is a celery stalk that still has leaves, water, and a few drops of food dye. Have your child put the celery stalk in a cup of colored water and ask what he thinks will happen. In about three hours the plant will absorb the water and the stalk and leaves will change color.

Or, give your child a large magnet and let him search the kitchen for objects he thinks will stick to the magnet. He’ll notice that the magnet sticks only to certain items, which will give you a chance to explain how magnets work. (Magnets are attracted to other items with magnetic properties such as things made of iron or steel.)