The Mystery of Parenting Unraveled

The Mystery of Parenting Unraveled…

Mastery of life is not a precondition to becoming a parent. We assume the responsibility of teaching someone else how to do what we have not yet figured out. We teach, even as we learn through and with our children.

Source: Abby’s Road: The 1st rule of parenting is there are no rules – The Forecaster

parentingOften as parents and even as grandparents we literally muddle through the challenges of raising children and grandchildren

Why?

Because aren’t we all a work in progress…always learning new things and new ways of becoming better versions of ourselves?

So why do we have so many rules and tips on parenting floating around the web?

It is always helpful to have lists and guides in the form of rules and tips when we are insecure. Raising a child is one of those skills which can make even the best of child experts unsure of themselves and their skills.

Remembering there really are no hard and fast rules to raising a child is a place to start when you first bring your little helpless baby home. Preparing is helpful to keep your own sanity intact but so is listening to your gut.

Being present in your child’s life is unspeakably important as is teaching them kindness and empathy.

But knowing that every child and parent dyad is unique and respecting differences will help you sustain yourselves as you parent over the years to come.

 

Weekend Pics from Parenting in the Loop

Weekend Pics from Parenting in the Loop

Saturday mornings are usually busy ones, for that matter so are Sundays but they are are a welcome change from the weekdays because work is not part of the schedule.

How does you weekend look?

Do you give yourself a chance to relax?

It is so important for your over all well being that you do take time out.

What do you do to unwind from the busy week?

I used to like to shop when I had a free weekend day… browsing stores and checking out new fashion, make-up etc was a way for me to relax. That is really a luxury that I now do once in awhile during a free weekday. Most of my shopping is done online these days. I love my virtual friends whose sites curate fashion, tech, books, and must-haves of all sorts. I find they all help me save time when it comes to shopping and researching the best buys.

I am sure you know the saying “if it is too good to be true then it is not true”. That is what I think about when I read any advertisement. Babble has found some parenting items that although too good to be true are really truly great items. Check them out. Which one is your favorite? I like more than one!

bottle-top-adapator

But my point is, I am fully behind parenting products and technologies that improve our lives, help protect our children, or frankly, just give me a few minutes of peace and quiet. Which is why I’m really looking forward to incorporating a few of these too-good-to-be true parenting products into my motherhood game.

DNA tests for diets? A Keurig for formula? Car seat alerts to your phone? The future of parenting has arrived.

Source: 12 Parenting Products That Seem Too Good to Be True | Babble

This is an election year and it is a difficult one with the primaries coming up this week. I found this book fascinating and helpful at the same time. Is it time for Hillary or not and why not? Check out my sponsored book review of “Love Her Love Her Not The Hillary Paradox”.

weekend reading

How do you feel about the former First Lady’s bid for the Presidency? Do you want to know what other women think and feel about her candidacy?

If you do then Love Her, Love Her Not – The Hillary Paradox edited by Joanne Cronrath Bamberger is the book for you.

Source: Hillary…The Woman… The Mom…The President

To most of you it is no surprise that I love being a grandmother. I do not have a “secret life”. My priorities are fixed in this order God, Family, Work.

Do you have a secret life? How do you feel about ‘babysitting’ and childcare? I would love to hear from you.

The Secret Lives of Modern Grandmothers

Chicago is going to be warmish this weekend…40’s. I know…it is all relative. In LA that would be freezing but here we think and actually feel warm.

No matter what your weather, take time to enjoy the view!

TGIF-Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading:

Weekend Light

Sunshine

 

Spring Break has come to Chicago. As we approach this holiday weekend of Easter and Passover, family time takes over. Many of us will be enjoying food, and visits with relatives and friends as we celebrate and relax and spend some “quality time” with each other.

………………………………………

Parenting and boundaries…do you embarrass your kids or do you shame them on Facebook or even in your blog? As parents, we probably should learn some boundaries when it comes to “talking” to or about each other on social media.

 

We as parents do terrible things to our teens all the time. Our fashion humiliates them, we hold their hands in public or try to kiss them goodbye in front of friends. These are hurtful actions to our teens who are sometimes awkwardly maneuvering into adulthood while trying on different hats. Sometimes it’s slow and plodding, sometimes it’s at breakneck speed but always it is a path they are attempting to make for themselves and though we’re invited along for parts of the ride it’s appropriate for us parents to stand back a little and let them explore their worlds.

I love cooking but on any given day it can be a challenge putting dinner on the table. As a young parent, I definitely had more energy to accomplish this task, but as a grandparent it has become difficult with maintaining weight management and making healthy choices for three generations in the meal planning. I really related to this new mom, who wanted to have  home made dinners but cooking was no longer a relaxing time for her in the kitchen.

 

This became a habitual meditation — imagining my pre-baby dinner routine every time I sat down to feed my baby. Cooking had been my relaxation habit for years, the chop-chop-chopping of onions and the swirl of oil in a pan my fragrant, rhythmic ritual for slowing down after a hectic day. I loved it, and the memory of it calmed me when I needed to be patient with my fussy eater.

“Quantitiy vs. Quality Time” is always a parenting discussion. Do you use weekend time as quality, quantity time?

 

As an exhausted parent who doesn’t get enough time to work out, who hasn’t seen a grown-up movie for months, and who wishes that date night were an actual night rather than an idea, I understand why so many of us might seize on studies suggesting that we should take more time for ourselves. Perhaps we should. But we should do so without relying on misleading research. Far better that we make our parenting choices informed by the broader set of more reliable studies, which Ms. Kalil summarized for me as suggesting “that when parents spend high-quality time with their children, their children are more likely to succeed.”

Of course, you can’t have those transcendent moments unless you’re together — to some small extent, quantity begets quality. And that’s where this research should come back to reassure parents. We are spending time with our children, particularly when you look, not at one bad day, but at a week, a month, a year, an entire childhood spent together. When we are questioning ourselves, we tend to look not at the cumulative sum of our time, but at what we fear we’ve missed. We don’t need to spend every minute with our children, or every minute engaged in intense togetherness. The time we spend apart (sleeping, working, studying, building blocks, playing sports, staring into space) brings something to our interactions, too. It’s time to look at our family calendars as half full, not half empty.

Hoping that you all have a restful, enjoyable weekend!

My Weekly Review

Weekly Review

week in review

Each week, so many interesting reads come across my feed that I want to share. It is truly impossibly difficult to sometimes choose which ones to include here.

Right now, my day in brief review so far, I am in the midst of doing laundry and there are six minutes left in the last cycle so, here I am blogging.

I have managed to complete some morning chores, making beds, straightening up, grocery shopping and dish doing along with some phone calls while driving.

This week, the news has been horrible particularly the last 24 hours. A commercial jet blown out of the air without warning is a horrendous tragedy for the world and especially for the family and friends of those killed while simply flying from Amsterdam to Malaysia.

Washing machine has stopped…gotta go…temporarily No iron shirts in the dryer.

How do you answer your grandchildren and children’s questions about things they are hearing on television concerning various tragic stories and serious world events. The Mother Company offers some suggestions:

 

Many of us keep the news away from our young children, though those with family and friends directly affected by tragic events don’t have that luxury.   None of us want our children to live in fear, but we know they need to be prepared and have some understanding of how the world works.

 

Are we experiencing a modern parenting crisis? A British nanny believes that we are and she suggests 5 reasons for the cause of this crisis.

I generally am quite an optimistic person. I tend to believe that everything will work out for the best unless the evidence is overwhelmingly to the contrary, and anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not prone to drama. That’s why when I say that modern parenting is in serious trouble — crisis, even — I hope you’ll listen, and listen carefully. I’ve worked with children and their parents across two continents and two decades, and what I’ve seen in recent years alarms me. Here are the greatest problems, as I see them:

 

Wrinkle Guard is warning me…gotta get those shirts out and on hangers.

 

After reading Emma Jenner’s 5 Causes of the Modern Parenting Crisis, I wrote a response on Today’s Grandmum over at ChicagoNow

The parent-child relationship is so much more complicated than it looks. The five reasons that the British nanny discusses are just part of what goes into raising children.

5 Reasons Modern-Day Parenting Is in Crisis | Today’s Grandmum.

 

These are my top three selections for review this week.

There are many more fascinating family, parenting, kids, and food articles to name just a few topics that I enjoy. It seems I cannot get enough time to read all of them

I hope that you get a chance to click on at least one review, if not all and you enjoy reading them.

What are some topics that you love to read about on the internet?

Each week, I will try and select some good articles that relate to parenting, kids and various other topics.

Look for “My Weekly Review” each Friday!

 

Listening to your Children

listening“Are you listening to me”?

Since I returned to Chicago two weeks ago it has been frigid, with a mixture of snow and ice…

I cannot remember when the cold has been this bad for so long…it seems like many years since I made sure I had a blanket and supplies in my car just in case it was needed!

At least, I no longer have a diesel engine car which would freeze and just refuse to go anywhere in the cold.

During the past few weeks, I have taken a hiatus. With all the cold I was beginning to think my brain has frozen along with my keyboard…

A few days ago, I came across an important piece about active listening

There just doesn’t seem to be anything more important than actually listening to our children and grandchildren to help them develop empathy, feel validated and remain willing to talk to us.

As a social worker and nurse, listening skills were paramount while caring for others… listening both with my ears and my eyes. Body language can also tell you how a person really feels and whether their words are contradicted by their bodies.

When I was growing up in the 50’s…there was a mantra…”children should be seen and not heard”.

I was never quite sure what was actually meant by this statement. What I do know, is that as the youngest member of my family, I always made myself known.

Over the years, it seems this saying has disappeared and to that I would say, “good riddance”!

Children speak to us in so many ways…through solo play with their toys, through our interactions with them, through body language and through behavior such as crying and tantrums.

Listening to your child with your undivided attention can derail a tantrum…really!

Making sure you understand what he is trying to tell you with his actions and his words is a very powerful tool…it actually shows your child that you care about how he is feeling.

I know, I feel so appreciative of someone, who really listens to me and is not trying to formulate a response while I am talking.

Children appreciate real listening as well and will continue to seek you out as they get older if you are a good listener when they are young.

So…try active listening…it is not easy. Beforehand, you may have to step back and center yourself rather than scream out loud as you step forward with open ears, eyes and arms.

listening with hugs

Related article:

Active listening improves communication in the parent child relationship.

 

What Real Power Looks Like

mother holding child

A beautiful letter…written by a mom, who realizes what “real” power means. I could not say it better than she has.

Please use the link to read her entire post it is lovely.

 

Dear Daughter,

I hold you close. Lithe little toddler body squirming against me as you try and settle. Small human child. One day you will be big and tall and strong. A grown woman, not the little girl I hold now in my arms as you try to relax and sleep. Not the little kid whose body is frantic to move and bursting with energy that even a whole day of play can’t consume.

I see many things in you.

via Being a Powerful Parent and Raising You With Empathy | Nurshable.

Baby Hip Health, Baby Carriers, – The Perfect Parent- Ireland Forever…Weekend Reading

Summer Sailing

Summer Sailing

Did you ever wonder how to be the perfect parent?… it is not possible as this mom writes with humor. I am sure you will be able to relate to some of her “5 Easy Steps” no matter how young or old your kids are.

 

How To Be a Perfect Parent in 5 Easy Steps… or Probably Never

I don’t dole out much parenting advice as a rule, largely because I have an almost 18-month-old and spend most of my days feeling like a complete and utter fraud and failure.

 

 

I love seeing so many babies being “worn” by their parents in carriers. Closeness is very important to infants and young children. However, babies should be worn properly, just as they should be positioned in their car seats properly.

Because infants are still developing their hips are and knees are at risk for damage in front facing baby carriers…

Education Statement: The IHDI recommends healthy hip positioning for all babies to encourage normal hip development. Within the womb, a baby spends a long time tucked in the fetal position, in which both hips and knees are bent or flexed.

 

St. Patrick’s Day is over but I love Ireland and was thrilled to find a list of some great Irish blogs.

Some days, I long for the warmth of a peat fire accompanied by a cup of Irish tea and a delicious scone with cream and jam along with good conversation. My husband and I have visited Ireland several times, it is like going home for me where as the Irish say…”there are no strangers just friends you have not met yet.”

Get a slice of Irish life through these amazing personal blogs.

With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, I’ve been searching for the best Irish blog. I want to know what life is like in Ireland, the secret ingredient in Irish recipes, and the best kid-friendly places to visit. What better way than to find out first hand?

Have a great weekend…thanks for reading.

Weekend Reading…

Comfort Food

This week there was a very sad and shocking incident on a plane….it involved a child and a racial slur in addition to a slap across the face…unbelievable??? not really…. when you read the account below about how it is to travel as a “minority”.

 

Recently I got into a Twitter conversation with a friend who lives on the West Coast of the United States and is planning a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend.

 

While I was hit by the headline of this article, I am not sure that I agree with it but what I know for sure is that there definitely is too much information out there for parents. Some of the information is just opinion and other is factual while some internet conversations among moms on various sites are full of personal attacks about parenting styles including breast or bottle feeding.

What do you think?

 

In part, my mother is right: moms of my generation are more neurotic than moms of her generation. According to Ann Hulbert, the author of “Raising America: Experts, Parents and a Century of Advice About Children,”  “with every generation (over the past century at least), parenting norms have become more obsessive and anxiety inducing.” On the web, there are more outlets for parenting expertise than ever before, and the proliferation of doctors, midwives and lay folks telling you the “right” way to parent is profoundly anxiety producing.

Recently, I have been watching Mario Batali and admiring his cooking skills. I guess my favorite cuisine is Italian so I share his taste buds for the foods of Italy.

Here is what sounds like a delicious recipe for “gnocchi” and squash with a kick of heat.

Teaching your kid to fight…would you do this?

Yesterday, I witnessed a very disturbing scene in an urban playground.

It was a beautiful fall afternoon in Chicago, at a playground nestled among the skyscrapers near Millennium park.

Our extended family was there with the youngest among them, a 2 year old little boy and 4 year old little girl. Both, fortunately, remained oblivious to the inappropriate activity encouraged by the parents and nanny of two seemingly unrelated boys.

The young boys seemed to be around 7 or 8 years old…one was several inches shorter than the other but they were evenly built….they were “duking it out” in the middle of the playground.

At first the other “parents” yelled at them to “cut it out” and “stop”, but the boys seemed intent on throwing punches and kicks to the body and groin paying no attention to the bystanders.

I watched somewhat in horror…especially when I noticed one boy’s parents watching and encouraging their son in this activity. They were not phased by any of the other parents’ comments.

I realized the taller boy was there with a nanny and toddler sister when he ran to his sister’s stroller to grab his sword out of its sheath. The nanny quickly took it away but sent him back into the “ring”. This was probably the only appropriate adult behaviour that I witnessed.

Finally…I could not contain myself as I watched this scene unfold and I approached the dad…

“Do you speak English?”…I asked.

He mumbled…that he did. I then told him, that what he was doing was inappropriate and that other children in the playground should not be made to witness this…his response was …”then don”t watch”…I then said that we could not help but witness the fighting, and this was a “playground” where we teach our children not to fight.

At that point, I walked away and approached the nanny, who was also just watching from another vantage point…I essentially told her the same thing and said that it was shameful of her to encourage this activity.

The nanny gathered the boy fighter and little girl and quickly left the playground…then other couple hung around watching their son play nicely with some other kids on the playground equipment .

I am still processing this scene and wondering if what I did really mattered…no other parents stood up to this man…did this mean that they were not appalled or was it urban apathy and “don’t get involved” that was playing in their heads?

I will never know for sure…but what I do know is that I basically stood alone facing this dad…speaking my mind…and I would probably do it over again.

What would you have done if you witnessed an activity like this at a playground?

I felt like I was watching a “dog fight”…and I had a flashback of an episode of “Law and Order SVU” where a child died of a ruptured spleen under suspicious conditions.

It was later found that the young boy was encouraged to fight by his dad and there were other dads, who brought their boys to a group at night in a park and set them free to fight…it was a disgusting show… but now I realize it seems that it is all too real.