Monthly Archives: April 2016

How expectations can ruin moms mood

We always expect something to happen, but the big trap for moms is that they have special, long term expectations from their kids. Even moms who fiercely deny this, still have some future picture of how their kids should look like in X years.

Is it OK if your son becomes a clown?

 

This is the biggest trap, since you, as a mom, are waiting for “dividends” from the investment you are doing now. But both “investment” and “dividends” are terms you should forget about and here is why.

  • Replace “investment” by “living the day”. You bring children into the world because you love the process children, because you enjoy seeing them grow as they are, because motherhood brings you immediate reward. If it doesn’t and you are more concentrated on the future rather than on today, than you are on the wrong track. Because probably nothing of what you expect will actually happen in the future, at least not the way you see it or at the time you expect it to happen. Kids grow to be free people and make their own mistakes So you better forget the words: investment, sleepless nights, no life (“I’ve had no life for so many years growing you, now I expect you to…” ) and similar self-destructing terms. Having said that, of course we should invest in kids’ education etc. It’s just that the word “investment” shouldn’t be taken in the wrong sense of expecting something from it.

Monkey family

  • Forget dividends. Year ago, people used to make kids for this obvious reason: someone had to take care of the elderly parents, and the more children a family had, the better chance of survival insurance they had. Whether there was a family business or some field to dig, whatever – kids were born for a clear purpose and their life was more or less predicted from the start.

Now it’s different. Kids are independent creatures

and it’s good if they can maintain themselves (not to speak about helping elderly parents). I know families that help their 30-year old offspring to finish the university (not like the university homework, you know. I mean financial help).

Of course you can disagree and say “this will not happen to me, my kids will probably support me, or at least, be my friends when they grow big and I grow old”. But, my friend, it’s a big question and if you bet on this and bring kids solely for guaranteeing yourself happy old days then your old days may really suck you might be very disappointed.

My own position is balance – keep your thoughts and expectations on a low-medium level if you can’t make them go away, but remember, that these are your projections of the future, which do not necessarily have to fit with reality. As a mom, one of my key goals is to maintain my own independent, interesting and fulfilled life that will feed me also in the future. Feed – means not only financially, but emotionally. I don’t know about your experience, but my experience shows that the less sickly engaged parents are in lives of their grown up kids, the healthier their mutual relationship is.

mom style

Moms and style: can mom wear anything she wants?

Hear a joke: a mommy, who usually wears jeans, wears a skirt for the first time in a long time. Her 5-year-old son is looking at her in astonishment and says: “What? So you are a girl, mom?”

Is it too much?

As a mom, I feel high responsibility for the way I look, walk, talk etc., because there are two pairs of curious eyes watching me. I would like to be a role model for my daughter, and, therefore, I try to look gentle, feminine and stylish. On the other hand, when I need to make circles in the air taking the kids from school to music, from kindergarten to physiotherapy, then grab an ice-cream on the way, then make some quick grocery shopping I end up looking like… a stylish horse.

When you are a young and attractive girl, looking cool is not a big thing. You are irresistible and reckless, your schedule is concentrated around yourself and, therefore, wearing skirts, heels and leather jackets is more than natural.

But when you are 30+, with kids, debts and a flood of useless thoughts, finding your style is a huge challenge. In your head, you are a princess, but in reality you are the princess’s horse.

The princess horse

From my own experience, there are two main things that bring you closer to the princess and a bit farther from the horse.

  • Lose weight unless you belong to the rare category of people who are completely content with that number. Mothers with lower weight usually look younger from far away, even when wearing inexpensive clothes. If you like the way you look, and don’t want to lose a pound, look at advice number 2:
  • Skirts, dresses and heels. Yes, they are not as comfortable as your favorite jeans, and you don’t have to wear 10 cm heels and mini skirt when picking up your child from the kindergarten (the teachers will not necessarily appreciate it). Yet keep a few comfy dresses (that make YOU look very good) and mid-high heel elegant shoes for walks in the park with the kids (even if there is playground with sand. What is the worst thing that can happen? Some sand is good for your shoes).

Of course these advice won’t work if you don’t care that much how you look, if you adore yourself the way you are and don’t want to change a thing. But most of us, mothers-women, do look for a change, especially when our kids reach the age when they express their thoughts about the way things and people around them look like. For me, the biggest motivation for losing weight and keeping myself in shape is my daughter, who still thinks I am not in shape. At least, there is a mini-purpose in life.

Coffee – an energy shot or meditation? Why morning coffee is bad for you.

Don’t get me wrong. I love coffee, and I used to be a coffee addict some time ago. I didn’t stop with it completely but I have substantially reduced the amount of coffee (and all the accompanied sweets) that I used to consume after understanding why it is actually bad for me.

So here are a few points that made me realize that using coffee for refreshment is one big illusion.

First, morning coffee became a routine, a habit, something I do just because I am used to it, even when I don’t really need to be refreshed (on weekends, on holidays, on days when I don’t need to get up early). There is nothing worse than doing something unhealthy just because you are used to it.

Second, coffee usually comes with friends. I don’t mean humans. Coffee’s best friends are: sugar, cookies, muffins, truffles, brownies, candies, ice-cream … you name it. I drink coffee without sugar (proud of myself) but compensate it with sweets (oh, shame on me). Eventually, by doing some easy math, I concluded that coffee makes me gain weight. Too bad.

Third, one cup of home-made cappuccino or latte doesn’t have the slightest effect on my thinking and acting abilities, therefore, I actually need two-three cups to feel something moving in my nerve system brain. Two-three cups of coffee is not that much, you say, but add the sweets, and you get a pretty little lady with some pretty extra weight.

But what really made me change my mind regarding coffee is, that I found that its effect is much more short-term compared to breathing exercises, a bit of stretching, two glasses of cool water. The more naturally you use your energy resources and take them out of your sleepy self, the better and the longer these resources serve you.

What some people say on that –

  • But I love coffee!

So? I loved coffee more than anything in the morning. And I managed to quit. Once you understand that caffeine simply borrows your energy (and whatever is borrowed you have to give back at some point) you may change your mind and replace it, at least, with tea.

  • I can’t open my eyes and start doing anything without coffee!

Sorry, I don’t buy it. Yes, your first week or two will seem empty and endless without the usual cup of brown liquid, but it’s all a matter of habit and understanding why you are doing what you are doing.

  • I just can’t live without coffee.

Ok, make a deal with yourself – one cup of coffee twice a week, in the middle of the day (use tea in the morning instead). You will gradually get used to the idea that coffee is no longer your morning partner.

As a mother, I totally relate to the morning fatigue, crazy sleeping hours, lack of relaxation and the strong desire to compensate myself with something sweet and refreshing at the same time.

But there is no magic – the energy you derive from yourself by using caffeine is taken “in advance”, it is borrowed by you from your own body. And the price I used to pay was double fatigue later on.

Now I use coffee only in extreme situations when I know I need to be super alert. Another occasion to have a small cup of coffee is when you want to meditate over it, enjoy every sip, use coffee not as a quick shot, but as a rare pleasurable delicacy.

The do’s and the don’t’s of an outdoor activity – how to save mom’s energy

The most challenging thing for lazy moms like me during outdoor activities with kids is not to collapse and die. Really. I get exhausted so fast, no matter how much water I consume, no matter what. It’s not a health problem; I suspect it’s some sort of low level of energy or maybe lack of exercise (we will reach that point in later posts).

But no matter what type of personality you are (introvert or extrovert, sleeping beauty or energizer), if you have kids and family the outdoor activities are a must-have part on your to-do list, and you’d better like it.

lazy mom

So if you are an energizer, this article might bore you. But if you are an underground mole who works nights, who appreciates her time alone, who likes to cook, knit, meditate and does manicure at home (to avoid excessive socialization and save time and money on other things), then this piece might be very helpful.

What do I always do and what do I never do before, during and after any outdoor activity.

The three ALWAYS-DOs:

  • Always prepare ahead thinking about every smallest detail. Forget spontaneity. Plan everything as much as possible: weather, location, plan of activities company (not to take kids’ friends without parents at the last moment, it will add stress).
  • Always get enough sleep the night before. If you are planning a busy Sunday morning in the pool, park, zoo or wherever give up your Saturday night romantic event and forget about working on your freelance projects through Saturday night.
  • Always prepare all the bags in advance. Food, water, equipment, whatever else you are planning to take with you to make it an exhausting unforgettable family day should be accurately piled near the entrance or in the refrigerator (you can leave the bike out of the refrigerator).

The two NEVER-DOs:

  • Never grab-n-go: as said above – planning is rewarding. Once you plan ahead you are more organized, feel more confident, calm and positive that everything will be ok. (Ok, let me put a disclaimer: it’s an illusion, you can’t really plan everything, not with kids, but you can at least try and make it as near to the utopia as possoutdoor familyible).
  • Never procrastinate. What I mean by this is, that some families cannot kick themselves through the doorway on time, always get dragged by silly obstacles that keep them at home for at least another hour. (I know one such family in person, they are nice people but not when it comes to spending time together. I hate them never go out with them). I’m not talking about families with newborns, with seven kids or and so on. I’m talking about parents who are like “oops, I forgot my phone, so what that we are in the middle of the way, let’s turn around”. Or “what time is it? Almost noon and we should have been there two hour ago? It’s ok, nobody is waiting for us. Oh, ARE they already waiting for us?”

I’m sure we all can find at least one person in our phone contact list who behaves like the world can wait can never ever do ANYTHING on time. Ouch.

The worst enemy of quality time with our children

What distracts, disturbs and annoys both children and their mom during quality-time-together?

You adore your children (especially after 21.00) and you love talking about them, boasting a bit, imagining what they will be like in x years and so on. But how about spending some real quality time with the little monsters on a regular basis? Not once in a while but regularly. Twice a week? Okay, once a week. Doesn’t sound like very often, but not many moms can afford even this.

We are too busy doing things that are not really worth it. I can name 3 time-stealers, that I wish I would not do:

  • Too much of smartphone (an animal you cannot turn off completely, but can only mute and put face down).
  • An ocean of thoughts (or the nonstop problem-solving mechanism that never shuts up).
  • Other members of your family that keep talking to you no matter what.

That pretty much says it, doesn’t it? I hate myself for this sometimes. Not to say I am fully addicted to checking emails, news and writing down ideas but quite so, in a way.

phone face down

Quality time with your children means that, first of all, you put the dreaded thing away. Muted. Ignored. Face down.

Now, what does quality time mean? Anything that sounds like fun:

  • Puzzles, board games (chess, checkers, cards, monopoly)
  • Activity games (hide-n-seek, run, splash in a pool, play ball)
  • Conversations (with older kids), storytelling, reading together.

No matter what quality time means for you and your kids, one tip will guarantee it’s really quality time and not another “V” on your duty list.

TIP: Enjoy it now and here.

  • Don’t let your thoughts wander (about work, cooking, plans). TRY to let them flow in the direction of your game (meditation is a big thing. This is sort of guided meditation, will talk about it later).
  • Don’t even glimpse on any monitor of any kind (unless your quality time involves playing video games).
  • Don’t get involved in conversations with your husband, friend, mother or whoever. Dig into being with your little one and brush everything else away (hint: it requires awareness and responsibility in our mega-distracting world).

mom and daughter1What you will get as a result is a happy child who feels rewarded for spending so many hours without you. You also get a happy mom (yourself), who feels proud for getting together with her little one. These valuable moments together are priceless and will be remembered later, based on my experience. Kids also become much more open in these private “mom-n-me” moments, so expect to learn something about your child, you would otherwise, not learn (secret sharing, telling you what was in school beyond the “standard” report and so on). I’m telling from personal experience only, as my child shares a lot of “forbidden” info when relaxed, when I’m not stealing a glimpse on my phone and when no one else is around.