Monthly Archives: January 2017

life scenario

Breathing techniques for tired moms

The overwhelming, hectic and messy day routine brings mom to hell an unbalanced state. All she wants is to drop down somewhere (bed is the best option but other options such as carpets, armchairs and sofas fit as well). Here is where simple breathing techniques can save the mom’s world.

Imagine this: a mom is surrounded by her dearest little ones. Each kid is in a different mood producing appropriate sounds: loud, demanding, complaining, even crying. Mom’s task: to remain calm, solve the problem, remain calm. Repeat, if necessary.

I’ve learned to catch this tiny moment when “remain calm” mantra stops working and turns into “get wild”. It starts somewhere in the chest, around the 4th chakrah. The breath does not flow as easily as it should. And from here, there are only a few steps to the “wild” state.

Here are three simple breathing techniques I use to retain the balanced mood and prevent anger and frustration to take over.

breathing techniques

 

 

Breath 4-6 – when you are alone

Count till 4 while you breath in. Count till 6 while you breath out. The rule is simple: inhales are always shorter than exhales, even if you choose different numbers. The technique is good for quiet moments with yourself, but not for moments of acute stress. One important thing to remember is to stop for a second between the inhale and the exhale. This is the short moment when no breathing is taking place – this little suspension, the peak, the ultimate point between the ups and downs. As a part of the meditation, stop for a moment and recognize you are there. Relive this turning point when the inhale is already behind and the exhale has not started yet.

Do extra short exhales – for acute stress

breathing techniques

It is a yoga practice, which I like to use when I feel I’m approaching a totally wrong place. In moments of darkest despair and crazy fatigue it is the best thing after chocolate. The inhales take only fractions of seconds. The exhales are also super short and they require the belly to work hard. During this technique stomach works the most, releasing the negativity through the out-coming air.

Breath normally but consciously – for every situation

Watching the flow of air all the way up and down is a great relaxation practice before fatigue has reached its extreme point. When I am not in the mood to count 4-6, the best thing is just to allow the breath to make its natural way in and out. The most important here, is to watch this natural flow of air, keeping thoughts-of-the-day out if your mind.

It’s amazing, how many things can be achieved by simple breathing exercises, if practiced regularly. In the worst moments, it’s good to remember, that breathing is the most essential part of human existence. While it is possible to survive without food or water for a while, oxygen is an invisible companion following us in every life situation, good or bad. A totally basic thought, true. For me, however, these basic things are like beams of light in a dark attic.

open with my child

To be open with my child

I wish I could be as open with my child as possible. However, there are certain topics mom doesn’t need to share with her growing kids. Is is possible to build trust without revealing everything?

How open does a mom have to be when it comes to her personal life?

So, your daughter wants to know how things work in this life and she doesn’t mean electricity or space. It’s more about: relationships, love/hate, soups, children, mice and dirty socks.

As a mom, I know I have to be open, honest and authentic. I feel extremely proud, that she chose me as her primary source of information. I try to do everything to make sure she will not regret it. But on the other hand, how open does a mom have to be when it comes to questioning about her personal life?

What if mom does not want to tell everything? She can:

  • hide, by giving abstract meaningless answers or change the subject in a delicate way.
  • be honest and say: I prefer to keep this to myself. Everyone has the right to keep secrets period.

Naturally, as an honest and straightforward mom I’m choosing the second option. It took me time to get there, though. It did not seem so obviously right at first. “What’s the problem to be open with my child”, I asked myself. Here is the thing: there is no problem to pour your soul out as long as you feel comfortable about the possible consequences. The feeling of complacency is the indicator that things are going right. Once a mom has this uneasy feeling, this little “stop” sign that lightens up, that is the time to stop.

Does it actually mean a mom does not trust her kids?

Trust is one of the most important things, and the most vulnerable ones, too. It’s so hard to build and so easy to ruin.

Once mom keeps secrets from her children in an open way, it may convey a wrong message: “kid, I don’t trust you”.

Is it so, I’m asking myself? Can mom always be 100% sure her little one will keep the secret to themselves? And what happens if not?

These are tough questions with no ready answers. 

So here is bunch of reasons why being open with my child does not mean telling absolutely everything.

  • The desire to avoid accidental leak of information (friends, relatives, social networks).
  • The desire to avoid later discussion on the painful topic.
  • Shame of sorts (yes, once moms were young, brave and stupid reckless).
  • The fear of misunderstanding, misinterpretation (we are talking about age of 10 and up. People of the new generation might have a totally different view on a seemingly “obvious” situation their mom has been to).

Plus, this inexplicable factor of uneasiness to talk about a certain subject when it comes to personal life. (Why? Because).

Altogether – the conclusion is – if mom doesn’t want to share she does not have to. Just like her growing kids don’t necessarily have to share everything (and they won’t, take my word).

third child

How not to spoil the third child?

This article is for parents whose children outnumber them by 1. Or, in other words, parents with three growing heirs. Turning the third child into mama’s boy or papa’s girl is easier than it may seem. No matter how busy and tired the parents are, unfortunately, they still find options to spoil the youngest offspring – their third child.

When number three comes into the world it changes the family life in its unique manner. The first child crushes mom’s familiar world into pieces of happiness, fear and other mixed emotions. The second child brings in this feeling of “now we are a big family”. A different mixture of emotions and, in a combination with the first one, a lot more pressure overall. The third child, however, comes into a calm laguna called experience. Mom and Dad are a team of Special Forces. Neither sleepless nights nor the hectic routines are able to really spoil the day. The big question is now, how to manage the entire team? How to stay afloat with the older kids’ activities, homework, conversations?

Depending on the age differences, older kids can help or become an unbearable burden. Either way, the third child has the highest chances among the other kids in the family to become the infantile little mama’s boy or girl.

I see two ways to prevent that from happening:

It’s not only between the mom and the third child

The new little creature draws a ton of attention (not sure attention is measured in tons but proportionally to its weight, the amount of noise the baby creates around itself is huge).

Remember, that the older kids are still kids . If they are under the age of 15 they are still young children (even if they pretend to be the coolest and most independent creatures on earth). They watch their mom doing all sort of things.

It’s not about what I say to them (how much she loves them etc.) but more about what I do: the mimics and expression on my face, the gestures of my hands or in one word – body language.

What is the constant thought that helps me balance the hugs-and-kisses between all the kids? The idea, that they are still very young and might be jealous. The idea, that this jealousy might reduce their appreciation of the new creature and life itself.

My solution: I let them, the older kids, do the hugs-kisses work. Sing, talk, change diapers, put to sleep, feed – they can do it all. I only let them. My role in this scenario, is to watch and supervise.

Spend enough time with the older kids

Yes, I know it sounds like sci-fi, and it’s quite impossible to keep on with the same routine in the first months after birth.  The phrase “getting back to normal” sounds awkward to me, so I won’t use it here. Instead let’s say, that after some time life is settled into some new form of normal. It happens naturally, but still requires mom’s attention.

Whatever relates to the kids’ education, homework and intellectual activities should be continued just the way it was. Not only after-school activities. Habits, that used to take place before the birth of the third child: book-reading, word games, creative time. The “educational” life of the older kids should stay pretty much the same. If, before, it used to be natural (we sit and read together, no one is disturbing), now, it’s a task to complete:

  • catch the quiet moments,
  • put on hold all other business,
  • organize the older kids,
  • ignore the desire to fall into the bed and die fatigue and
  • just do it.

Sit all together and read some book, as before. Take out colored paper and cut shapes, as before. You get the idea. The older kids should not feel unnatural freedom in this sense, and the little one will slowly get used to the fact that she, sometimes, may enjoy the freedom – meaning, not eliciting the attention of the entire family after a single squeak.

This is the healthy balance that creates healthy dynamics. It teaches the teens, the toddlers and the newborns how things are run in the house. Mom’s attention and energy are precious assets that must not be wasted. This is what kids should be taught from the very beginning, in a loving and caring way of course. This is what the author of this post is trying to master.

What is the best present for a modern child?

Here’s a riddle: where hides the best present for the modern child who has nearly everything? To put it short: my children don’t enjoy the sweet small gifts for the new year that I put into their socks at night. They show signs of disappointment if it’s not some shiny model of a trophy tank or a mermaid who solves double integrals. They show almost no interest if it’s a simple thing like a set of color markers or stickers for room decoration – something I would enjoy tremendously in my childhood.

Spoiled? Maybe. But I believe it’s more of a trend, that has to do with the growing addiction to the digital devices: smartphones, tablets and so forth.

Every time a problem pops up, I like to analyze, look for reasons and come up with a smart and elegant solution and feel very smart. But this time I admit – I only see the phenomena but no way to get rid of it.

Children of the digital age – my children, in particular, obviously have different set of priorities than I used to have in my childhood around 30 years ago. I’m more than OK with the digital age but yet – I still read thick paper books, appreciate moments of total silence boredom? and make sure I do not become too addicted to the smartphone. But how come, that my little people have lost a great part of appreciation of material things called toys?

This is a cry into the void. Yet, I have come up with observations and ways to turn the old-fashioned toys into best presents.

Listen to your child – she will tell you everything

Children often tell us directly what kind of presents they wish for. It’s parents, who systematically choose to ignore or forget. Busy, tired, distracted – there are many reasons why moms don’t hear the messages that are poured directly into their ears.

I make a conscious effort to hear them. I struggle to create a space somewhere between the nerve cells of my brain, sort and store the most important information. It ranges between casual after-school conversations to serious evening talks about global social issues. It’s about getting used to being there when your child talks. (Even if that means answering with an “uh-huh” because you are too tired to stir the muscles of your jaws). Then you both may find yourselves in a better place of mutual understanding.

Ask them

Yes, the element of surprise will disappear. However, asking a direct question will save the guess work and will ensure you give them something they genuinely crave for. By the way, it often happens that kids forget they had told you what they had told you, so the element of surprise might reappear if you wait long enough.

Surprising or not – the conclusion:

Despite the said above, once the digital devices are put away for a while, a magic thing happens – my children become children again: creatures happy from just being there at home with their mom and dad. They jump on sofas, mold with play-dough, stand on their heads and write stories (on paper). Plush dogs and cats become best presents again. My straightforward conclusion: it’s us, parents, who allow children to hang an endless amount of time with the devices, because it’s us, parents, who crave for the quiet hours moments. Which means, that it’s all up to the mom – how long can she last (work, rest) without her kids being fixed on the monitor?