Kids can be really trying. They may be adorable and yes, we love them with all our hearts and minds and souls, but that doesn’t mean we are always patient with them and understanding. The years may go by fast but the days are often long, tiring, and bedtime cannot come soon enough. Something I have been having to remind myself of lately is that my kids are worth being patient for. They are worth talking nicer to. They are worth listening to even when I do not want to listen. They are little but they are people and have thoughts and feeling and desires and ideas and they want to share them and be understood and be responded to, even when we feel it’s something silly or small or common sense.
When the kids are breaking a rule that I have been reminding them of all day long, it can become a huge struggle to be patient. But they are worth doing it for and your kids are too. When our kids are older, we don’t want their memory of us to be red faced and yelling about standing on the couch (for the 500th time) or of us yelling at them for a sibling fight that they were actually the victim of and not the initiator. Our kids deserve to be heard and loved on, even when we have had rough days. They deserve to be talked to like equals and reminded of the rules in love and kindness, and not with impatience and aggression. Even when our intentions are good and for their safety, if it comes out of our mouths in anger, the lesson of love is lost on our children.
When we talk our kids down and let ourselves snap, we are bullying our own children. We are taking advantage of our size and authority over them and using it against them. When we angrily grab them and move them to a place where they are less likely to get hurt- in our minds we are getting them to safety, but they see the aggression and all they are taught is that we can be rough and get physical to those smaller than us who do things we don’t like.
We are all human and it can be extremely difficult to get through a day without getting at all impatient and exasperated, but our kids are worth the effort. They are worth reminding ourselves that they need to be treated equally. They are not trying to upset us. They are not trying to mistreat the house, hurt their sibling (well, we hope not!), or put themselves in danger. They are just playing the way they play and being who they are meant to be at these young ages. As parents, there are better, nicer ways to remind our kids of the rules. There are more loving ways to move them to safety. If your tone and presence is impatient and frustrated, the message you are sending your child is one of impatience and frustration.
Remember, these little people may seem little right now but they will grow to be adults soon enough. What kind of adults are we trying to raise? I know I hope to raise adults who are kind, loving and patient. Adults who respect others and sympathize with others feelings. Adults with empathy and compassion. Adults with healthy coping mechanisms and aren’t easily brought to anger. In order to do that, I need to be the kind of adult to them I want them to become, because we are the biggest influence in their lives.
It takes work to change. It takes work, and thought, and purpose and intention to direct our actions when our emotions and exhaustion is getting the best of us. Our children are worth it, though. Knowing we made their day a little better. That they were yelled at less, laughed more, and had better lifelong examples of kindness instilled in them is worth it.
Welcome to the January 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Recovering from the Holidays This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about how their families get back to normal after the holidays are over.
Our Holiday Season has come to a close but some of the bad habits that came with it have not. After eating to our hearts delight and keeping way more candy, chocolates, and all around carb and sugar filled foods in the house, my family has that sweet tooth habit to kick. Us adults know this and prepare for it. We make New Years resolutions (and might even still be sticking to them!) but our kids need a new start just as much. All my girls need are 1-2 days of heightened amounts of junk to forget that we are a healthy family. The good food strikes begin and the expectations for sweets are high. So here are some ways to help your littles kick their sweet toothers.
1- Get it out of Reach
Hide it, put it in a closet, or even just throw it away! The junk needs to be away from their reach and their vision. They can’t know where it is or see you snacking on it either. The goal is to get it out of sight, out of mind. If you throw it away, though, don’t do it in their view or in a way that will torment them. Remember, the goal is just to get the temptation out of the house, not to punish our children.
2- Stock up on Healthy Snacks
Fill your house with apples, bananas, grapes, berries, carrots, celery, peanut butter (or almond butter or whatever you use), raisins, unsalted nuts, sunflower seeds… hey, you can even keep some goldfish in the house (at least there are no dyes in them) as an “after some fruits and veggies” snack! You want to give them options. Yes, the junk is gone but their choices are not. They still have a wide range of great options from sweet to salty for every mood. They may decline their options a few times but just hold out and eventually, they will find one of their options favorable.
3- Do Not cave in
Your children will not starve themselves. I know what it is like to start doing the math of how much they weigh, vs how tall they are, vs how much they run in the day and KNOW there is no way they have much spare to live off of. Still, they won’t starve themselves. The starving kids in those Africa commercials never turn their noses up at that muck stew they are being served. That is because they are hungry! Your child wont get anywhere near as hungry as one of those kids before deciding to settle for a healthy option. If they are able to hold out and say they won’t eat any of those options, guess what? They are not that hungry.
4- Don’t Stress about it
Do you know what happens when you freak out or get anxious about your child eating healthy foods? They connect healthy foods to anxiety mentally. If you are yelling or getting upset over them eating (or not eating) their healthy foods, then they are probably getting stressed about those healthy foods too. Just seeing them on their plate could likely start giving them an uneasy feeling in the pit of their stomachs. Stay relaxed! If they eat, fantastic! If they don’t, try to stay calm and mellow and rational. After all, we are trying to raise children who grow to be adults that love eating and living healthy. If salads and veggies give them anxiety as adults and reminds them of mommy stomping around her kitchen in a huff, they probably won’t want much to do with those healthy foods even as adults.
So good luck and have fun. Maybe let your child pick out their own healthy option from the grocery store to get them pumped about the snack they picked out themselves. Eat healthy too and talk up how much you love your healthy foods. Have fun and find delight in filling your home back up with vibrant, delicious foods.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 14 with all the carnival links.)
- Pinterest Inspiration for Easier Winter Holidays Shannon, writing at Natural Parents Network, shares inspiration for having more relaxed winter holidays from their Handmade Holidays Pinterest board.
- Seven Recipes for Beans – Post Holiday Cleaning — Destany at They Are All of Me shares her favorite bean recipes that she hopes will help her body recover from overindulging her sweet tooth during the holidays.
- The Recovery in the Change — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen made changes in her life and attitude throughout 2012 and was pleasantly surprised at how those changes impacted her holiday recovery!
- Could this question change your life for ever? — To get your new year off on the right footing, Mrs Green of Little Green Blog is challenging us all to love ourselves with commitment and discipline. She asks you to focus on a simple question which might just bring you back in balance…
- Holiday Recovery — Meegs at A New Day talks about how the holidays can be overwhelming for a toddler, and how she’s helping her 3 year old recover.
- 5 Ways to Detox After the Holidays — Brittany at The Pistachio Project gives a few ways to help you detox and get back on track after the holiday season has passed.
- 3 Simple Ways to Establishing Rhythm After the Holidays or Any Time — Sheila at A Living Family shares 3 simple ways to reestablish a rhythm of connection and calm in your family after holidays, visitors, travel or any time.
- Gemstones For Holiday Hangoverss — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama delves into the power of gemstones as an often overlooked means of dealing with the holiday letdown.
- Getting back to Healthy — Bess at A Warrior Mom talks about the struggle of getting young ones back to eating healthy after several days to weeks of getting more candy and sweets than normal for the holidays and gives some suggestions on how to get them back to eating healthy in the new year.
- Post Christmas Juice Feast — Sam at Love Parenting explains why she has created a new tradition of juice feasting, and how she includes her toddler when detoxing.
- The Java Monkey On My Back — Christy at Eco Journey in the Burbs realizes it is time to kick her cup of Joe habit as a first step toward detoxing.
- Minimalist Holidays — Jorje of Momma Jorje doesn’t find much need for recovery after her minimalist version of the holidays.
- Do something for you — Lauren at Hobo Mama urges you to find a silly and indulgent reward of me-time — and she has hers.
- do we recover? — Kenna at Million Tiny Things wonders what recovery really means in the context of the tragedies of this past holiday season.
- 37 Easy Ways to Save Money — Shannon at GrowingSlower is sharing these money-saving tips to help get your budget back on track after the holidays.
- A Two Year Old’s Resolutions — That Mama Gretchen is putting the holidays behind her with a spin on traditional resolutions — New Year’s goals for her two-year-old! Sound crazy? Read on for an explanation!
- How to Find Balance after the Holidays — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells her favorite ways to start a new year with hope and calmness.
- Fresh Awakening — For Luschka at Diary of a First Child, the new year has coincided with a return to restful nights. With sleep, she’s found new directions in life, but while she can’t make too many changes to her life right now, she’s inspired and excited about the future.
- Learning to slow down after a busy Festive Season — Stoneageparent describes the joys and lows of this year’s festive season, as well as her New Year’s resolutions.
- Detoxing’ Your Toddler After the Holidays — Does your family suffer side effects from the holidays? Join Christine from African Babies Don’t Cry to learn how she detoxed herself and her toddler off the treats and festivities of the season.
- Scheduling is OK! — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep explores the possibilities of the — SCHEDULE!!
- Holiday-Free but not Stress-Free — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot takes it easy after moving with her husband and new babies to Scotland.
- A Vacation from the World — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children retreats with her family at the end of every year in order to recuperate and enjoy one another.
- On the Road to Recovery — Dionna at Code Name: Mama isn’t just recovering from the holidays, she’s recovering from a lifestyle.
- We Never Left the Grind — Erika Gebhardt compares a typical day pre-holidays and post-holidays.
- Remembering and Recovering from the Holidays (One day at a time) — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM is recovering from holidays slowly–taking one day at a time–while trying to remember all the sweet moments that passed too quickly.
- 5 a Day — To get back on track Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy needed a simple system to help her family learn new values.
- Holiday Detox & Healing: Bieler Broth — Megan at The Boho Mama shares her secret for a gentle, whole-foods-based post-holiday detox: Bieler Broth!
- I’m Mama Not Supermom — After a year filled with changes Angela at EarthMamas World has to remind herself that she does not have to be supermom while recovering from the holiday chaos.
The end of 2012 deserves a post! I have not even had the blog up for a full month and I’m pretty stinking proud of it. My top day so far, I had 1808 views in one day! That means you guys are pretty awesome for sharing and finding my post worth reading. Thank you!
Today I am thinking about this past year. We moved into a townhouse, still under our same horribly difficult landlord but at least it fits us all, I had my incredible drug-free VBAC with Grace, Ariel turned 2 and Eve turned 4. My mom lost her home from the hurricane, Sandy, and is living with us until her home is restored, I’ve completely changed the way we eat this year (been “flexitarians” for 7 months now), Ive lost 30 Lbs so far, and I’ve started this blog. Ive also gained some friends, lost some friends, have made more decisions on who I am, who I want to be, and what I care about and what I do not care about. I’m still shaping up. I’m still making mistakes. I’m still changing and growing as a human. I’m still evaluating and reevaluating. I’m still figuring things out on how to be a mom and how to raise kids in a Christian home in our modern day.
In the new year, I want to keep changing and growing as a person. I want to become fairer and more merciful and loving. I want to become wiser and less self conscious. I want to be bold and strong. I want to keep getting healthier. I want to spend more one on one time with each of my kids and go on more dates with my husband. I want to get more involved in our church and start really using what God has given me to bless. And I really really want the Fiscal Cliff stuff to not swallow us alive. haha
Have a great New Years everyone!
I normally walk on eggshells with this subject. After all, I haven’t always been on this side of the debate and I know there is a process to cleansing your own brain from cultural misconceptions and lies and swallowing that big red pill of truth. But lets get blunt.
I understand most people and can relate to where they are at when it comes to circumcision. After all, had my oldest been a boy, she would have been amongst the circumcised and I’d be among the moms wishing I had known better then. I know what it’s like to be in support of circumcision and to believe it is a good thing.
But let me ask you something.
If you are a mom who has had a home birth, or even fought for a super natural hospital birth– Why is it you can see that your body is meant to birth naturally and births best when not interfered with, but you cannot see that your sons body is meant to be kept the way it is at birth and functions best when left alone?
If you don’t vaccinate or do an alternative vaccine schedule– why is it you are willing to see that immune systems are strong when built naturally and that messing with your child’s body can have serious consequences- but you can’t accept that cutting off part of your sons penis is effecting his body’s health and can have serious consequences?
If you are a Christian and believe that God made us in his image– Why do you think you should circumcise your son when God created him with a foreskin and the New Testament tells us that circumcision is worthless?
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If you are Jewish or a Jew turned Christian- and a doctor is performing the circumcision, Why are you not having a real Jewish circumcision if it’s for religious reason? You do know that a medical circumcision does not meet all the requirements for the religious ritual done at a Bris, right?
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If you are a mother against circumcision and leaving it up to the dad– Why aren’t you fighting for your son? Why do you not just put your foot down? Marriage is 50/50 these days and if anyone, including my husband, tried to let a knife cut any one of my kids- Id flip my lid. It would not happen.
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I know that there is a process to learning. There is a process to adjusting to a new understanding. There is a process to having your eyes opened to the fact that circumcised penis’s are not “normal penises” but intact penis’s are normal. When parents who have opened the door to being educated, Parents who do question cultural norms and doctors and grandparents and do research for themselves decide to circumcise- I question. And my heart aches for you too. That you are so so close to being ok with natural and comfortable with how our bodies were created to be. I feel for you because I am so sure you will some day look and see a mom-mistake. Maybe today you don’t see it. Maybe today your tail feathers have been ruffled and you’ve been thrown into defense mode about how your sons body is yours to what you want with. You’re the mom and how dare I. I feel positive, though, someone as open to truth and learning as you are will someday regret that you didnt trust his body to be perfect. That you, his mom, felt he needed cosmetic surgery to be complete. That you, his mom, felt you owned him and had the right to make such permanent alterations to your sons body. Your son who will grow to be a man. A man who was raised by a smart, open mom, who will teach him to question life and research and , as a result, may regret the choice you made over his body for the rest of his life. Because you are a good mom. You want what is best. And though the rest of moms are good, well desiring moms too- they are so far from the truth on this issue that they will have that excuse to ease their hurt one day if they come to regret their sons circumcisions. But you were so close. You were so knowing. You were so “there”. My heart hurts for you moms.
I learned something the hard way this year. If you remember my post on our Familys stance on Santa– I think I need to work out my method in how we live this out with my kids while they are young. Too young to not scream “Santa’s not real!” at everyone and anyone. Because that is what my beautiful 4 year old did to anyone and everyone who asked her anything about Christmas at my Dads Christmas Eve bash. Including when my Dad asked her what she thought she was going to get for Christmas.
Eve and I had talked in length this week how lots of families believe in Santa and that it hurts their hearts if we tell them Santa is not real. That when others ask us about Santa, we should just answer as if Santa is real. Her big blue innocent eyes agreed and she told me she understood. My conclusion at the end of all of this is a secret this big is just way too big for a 4 year old to keep inside. She was like a bubble waiting to burst with the news, Like a Megaphone with a huge announcement- ready to blare. We got looks and round eyes and shocked faces and comments about how this broke their hearts that she knew this. Me explaining our family stance and how I grew up the same way and still loved Christmas and did not feel the least bit robbed of the magical experience didn’t ease people at all that I could tell.
While I continue to stand 100% on my belief that I don’t want to follow the tradition of lieing to my kids each year and I have no desire to tell them a man (and his creepy elf on a shelf) is watching them and will sneak in their house to leave gifts if they are good- I am thinking that I need to sensor *how* we talk to them until they are old enough to really understand that they cannot shout the news out to all their friends. And relatives. And strangers in stores. Until then maybe I should just not respond to comments and questions on Santa. Not encourage belief in the real man but not say anything about his realness either way. After all, by next year Eve may very well not even remember this year and Ariel definitely won’t remember. So, I’m deciding to walk a more careful line until my kids can handle not screaming Santa is not real from the roof tops.
And to those of you who I saw this week and my daughter told your child this news… I’m sorry. Tell them she is nuts. 😉
Today I was reading an article my friend posted on Facebook from a few months back where a 14yr old was given $40,000 worth of cosmetic surgery (ears pinned back, nose job and chin reshaped) because of bullying. I found this horrific and a shame, since the bullying will probably just continue in other ways since kids just find other reasons to bully- like bullying a 14yr old peer for having had cosmetic surgery. Also, though, the lesson the mother just taught her daughter, that beauty is more important than being you and having other peoples approval of how you look is worth any cost. When I saw the before and after photo’s of the article all I could think was, “This girl had not even grown into her face yet. I bet she would grow to be a gorgeous looking girl either way!”. I then had to challenge my own thought because does it even matter if she grew to be gorgeous? Why should it matter so much and who decides what it means to be pretty anyway!?
When I looked up the definition of pretty, I found it is not even that great to be pretty. Attractive in a delicate way? Well, I don’t want to be delicate. I’m a woman, not a rose. Oh, and I love the emphasis on not being attractive enough to be beautiful either. So, maybe pretty should be an insult?
“Oh honey, you are just so pretty!”
“Pretty? Pretty!? You mean I’m not beautiful! That’s it, I’m off to go eat a container of ice cream and call around looking for plastic surgeon recommendations! After all, I’m a liberated woman, damn it, and If I choose to be beautiful then that is my free chose!”
Of course, as they always are, my kids are in the back of my mind with all of this too. How do I raise my three daughters to be confident women with so much up against them? Even their own mom fails regularly in this department. While I emphasize health, my goal is partly attractiveness for motivation to lose weight. What kind of example is that to my girls? And when I tell them how much I love their hair, or eyes, or skinny minny belly buttons- is that sending them a message that their looks are priority, when there are so many other defining factors that I feel are more important to focus on?
I read one paragraph of this article that hit me hard and really turned my focus to my own kids. “As my friend writer Jaclyn Friedman once said to me, the problem isn’t that girls don’t know their worth—it’s that they absolutely do know their value in society. Young women know exactly how ugly the culture believes them to be. So when we teach girls to simply “love themselves”, we’re implicitly telling them to accept the world as it is. We’re saying that being beautiful is something worth having when we should be telling them a culture that demands as much is toxic.”
What do I need to do to help shift this focus? I’m a big follower of the Pigtail Pals blog and facebook page but I still feel a bit of loss and confusion in how to direct my words and actions to give my girls the best chance possible to overcome the over emphasis put on (young and older) women’s looks. I know it starts with challenging my own world views and that the more I strip the illusion of pretty from my own eyes- the more I can positively shape my girls view.
I remember a few years back my friend, who is an RN nurse, was telling me about how she went into a 4th grade classroom to talk about good health and do basic wellness checks with them. This included having each kid privately weighed. When it came time for kids to get in line to be weighed (the kids lined up in the classroom and waited for there turn there, while the scale was set up in the hall), nearly every girl in the room moaned with dread. When it came to weighing the children, the girls were just as horrified by being weighed as they were in the classroom. Even girls who barely touched 40 lbs covered their eyes and told her they didn’t even want to know. While I am sure they are are doing exactly as they have seen their mothers do in doctors offices and their own bathroom scales, I was amazed at how early this idea of weight being a negative factor in who one is sets in. I do not want my daughters feeling horror around a scale. If they need to be weighed, I want them to bounce on, bounce off and go back to doing more interesting things that affect their 10yr old lives more, like climbing trees or riding their bikes, with no thought or care for what that scale even said. It should not define them. It should not affect their day or their feelings.
Do you know what I think is pleasing and appealing to my senses? A child having fun, unaware and oblivious of a world that judges us on the outside. Teens of all body types, all kinda of noses, all kinds of ears and chins- laughing and being proud of who they are because they rock. Do you know what I find unattractive? A child or teenager thinking they should look and dress in a way that is “sexually alluring”. Yuck! How unnecessary is it for our kids to think that is how they should look? What happened to “confidence is attractive” concept because I much prefer the definition of attractive to be someone who is confident. Confident that they are rocking their unique to them features. Confident that their laughter brightens up a room or that they are intelligent enough to awe anyone they want. Confident that they are kids and they rule. Because lets face it, Kids rule!
Despite how many advertisements and commercials I have to see of photoshopped women, I do not want our society to decide what I think is attractive. I certainly do not want it deciding what any of my daughter’s self esteems should be. I pray to God that my daughters will be too busy loving who they are and goofing around with their friends to be thinking about plastic surgery when they are 14. I hope to God that by the time they are teens we are seeing more and more of a healthy balance of women types on TV and in magazines and that we put some standards on advertisers for how much editing they can do.
Please know, this is not an anti-skinny message. There a many naturally skinny women in the world and they are awesome. Just like there are many naturally curvy women and many naturally in the middle of those two types. We are all women. We are all fantastic and none of us should be having to work and think about pretty or attractive like we all probably do. JSPhotography is doing an incredible body image project where she is photographing all kinds of women and let me tell you, it’s awesome and empowering and fascinating! I love looking through her photos and seeing what brave woman stood up in front of her camera this week. But it still brings me back to this thought. Why does it matter if we are pretty? Why is our self esteem so tied into this concept of attractiveness? Why can’t we be more focused on our intelligence, bravery, sense of humor, achievements?
And then I see my oldest daughter gravitating the one naked (where do their clothes go?) barbie and I wonder how it is effecting her. I hope, like so many say, that they are meaningless toys and that with enough positive talk and influence that they are just harmless play things but I cannot convince myself that there is any truth in that. When even the toy isles (maybe even more so than any other part of a store) is saturated with messages about body image and portraying so much “attractiveness” that only comes in one or two bodies- I just cannot be made to believe that it is all harmless play.
I know I’m at a start of a long journey. A Journey to clear and fix my own mind. A journey to setting good examples, using good words, portraying healthy self esteem for my daughters to see. A journey of figuring out toys and what we want to expose our daughter to and what we want to allow but filter and what is crossing the line (Bratz and Monster High… are crossing the line!). I don’t want my children’s lives to be filled with sexualized toys and ideas. I want them to have fun and not worry. I want them to be healthy and happy. I want them to have role model parents who love life and love good health and love themselves without worry of what others think because we know who we are without others validations.