Posted in Family, Health

Getting Back to Nature

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back again after spending a rainy morning working on my WIP. It was a good weekend for working on it because it is definitely cooler outside. Although, I did get my six-mile run in. That felt awesome. When I was done that is. 😊

 

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          Today, I’d like to talk about getting back to nature. We have become the indoor generation. For a clearer picture of this check out this post here.

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          In my opinion, we’ve become a nation of strivers, trying to be uber-efficient so we can accomplish more each day. We’ve become unbalanced, putting work and accomplishment ahead of our health. So, we try to squeeze exercise and self-care into tiny increments. I know I’m guilty of this, but I’m not the only one.

To be fair, we’ve got a lot on our table, with kids, work, and writing, it’s hard to find the time. But find the time, we must or as the old adage says, “if you don’t make time for your health, you’ll be making time for your illness.” I know this is one hundred percent true.

So, I’ve had to set priorities for what’s important to me. I’ve been forced to pay attention to my health. So, I’m making exercise and getting back into nature a priority. I feel better when I exercise and getting out into nature is a great stress reliever that doesn’t cost any money. Win-win.

I try to run on the treadmill in the morning at least a couple of times a week. I find I have more energy throughout the work day when I run. The frequency of these morning runs will increase as soon as the snow flies, and I can’t get outside on the weekends. But enough about that. I want to talk about getting out into nature and relieving stress.  Did you know that walking through the woods is good for you? It’s true. Check out this post on the benefits of  Forest Bathing.

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                We need to reconnect with nature and be part of the circle of life again. We’ve become disconnected and believe we have risen above that need, but we haven’t. We’re destroying our planet with our quest for money and status. Why has this striving become more important than our health and our families?

That question can only be answered individually. I don’t think we were meant to compete so much that it affects our health, both mentally and physically. I know there’s only so many jobs out there and we must compete for them, but it shouldn’t be to the detriment of your health. Let’s take a step back and slow down. Spend more time with your family, and less time striving. Is all that striving really getting you anywhere? Or are you a hamster on a wheel because you’ve forgotten how to take care of yourself?

 

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          Sorry, I digress, I got caught up in the moment. I was supposed to be talking about getting back out into nature. Back on track, folks. 😉

Walking among the trees is good for our health and it relieves stress, so does walking barefoot. Do you remember going barefoot as a kid? Remember how happy and carefree we were? I think part of that happiness was because we were receiving anti-oxidants and reducing inflammation while we were running around barefoot. The practice is called “earthing” now, and it has been scientifically proven to be good for you.

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          So, if you can spend more time in nature, do it. It’s good for you and try to get your family out there, too. What are your thoughts? Do you feel getting out into nature is beneficial? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Parenting, raising kids, Teen

Mentors are Gold for your Kids

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of work and writing. I’m seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, let’s home it’s not an optical illusion. 😉

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But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about being or finding mentors for our kids. I can make suggestions to them until I’m blue in the face and they won’t be motivated to try my suggestion, but if another adult whom they respect makes the same suggestion. Bingo. They’re all for it. I don’t feel bad about this. The reason this happens is because I’m their mom and I love them no matter what, so I’m always going to see the good in them, but another adult who notices a spark… well then it must be true, right?

I stumbled on this concept last year when the tennis coach asked my youngest to join the team. He had never expressed an interest in tennis, but just the fact the coach asked him to join was a huge factor. His father and I had been trying to get him to join a team because he’s very athletic, but every sport we suggested he didn’t want to participate in it. He joined the tennis team and enjoyed it so much that he’s planning on doing it again this year.

 

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So, when a friend complained to me about how her son was nominated for the National Honors Society at his school and he didn’t want to do it because he had to do thirty hours of community service, I decided to test my theory. I suggested to her  she have one of his teachers encourage him to join. She did and now her son is taking the steps necessary to join the National Honors Society.

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Teachers your kids respect are gold. If you can have them help you with your child, do it. The teens years are tumultuous to say the least and I’m not ashamed to say that our teens need all the help they can get. So, don’t underestimate the influence teachers have over your kids. It doesn’t take much. Just a suggestion or a request from one of them is all it takes. Teachers do make a lasting impression on our kids. There’s no doubt about that.

 

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However, it doesn’t have to be a teacher, it could be a coach, a scout leader, or a favorite uncle or aunt. It takes a village to raise your kids and finding them a mentor who believes in them is a great place to start.

How about you? Do you have any ideas that will help parents through the teen years? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you! I need all the help I can get! 😉

 

 

Posted in Family, Parenting, raising kids

Stay at Home versus a Working Mom

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Sorry, I haven’t blogged in a while. Life sure has been busy. 😊  Next week is back to school for my kiddos and I’m just as bummed about it as they are. Summer was way too short this year. At the end of July, we had a great vacation up north. I love that area and it was awesome to get away and relax, and I got a lot of vacation writing done. I love that!

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However, enough about that. Today, I’d like to reflect on the difference between being a stay at home mom and a working mom. Both are hard work and stressful, but I believe being a stay at home mom is harder. Why? There are many reasons.

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I’ve found that since I’ve been back to work, I feel better about myself. Delving deeper, I realize I’m getting many more positive affirmations from my co-workers and my boss than I did when I was a stay at home mom, but it’s not only that. It’s nice to have co-workers to chat with. Being a stay at home mom is isolating and it’s rare to get any acknowledgement of the hard work you do. I loved being home with my kids, but there were times when it would’ve been nice to have another adult to talk to.

Another reason being a stay at home mom is harder is because you’re not bringing home a pay check. There’s the guilt of not helping provide for the family, but I feel I made the right choice even if it was sometimes a struggle. I have a great relationship with my kids, and I wanted them to learn the value of relationships and how they’re more important than money or possessions. I hope I accomplished that. That being said, I do enjoy bringing home a paycheck again. I’d forgotten what that little piece of independence felt like and boy is it sweet.

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Also, I get a break from my job. I get to go home after eight hours and hang with my family. A stay at home mom never gets a vacation. Even when she goes on vacation, she’s usually taking her family with her. She is on twenty-four/seven for at least the first five years of her child’s life.  Once they start school, she gets a little bit of a break and believe me she deserves it.

There are usually no positive affirmations either. No one says thanks Mom for cleaning the kitchen three times a day, or for picking up the toys in the living room three times a day. Stay at home moms tend to forget to take care of themselves. They put their needs last. So, it’s no wonder that sometimes they get a little depressed.

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I remember those years. I was exhausted the entire time, but oh the memories…it was definitely worth it.  So, when I look back would I do it all again, even though there were days of loneliness and major exhaustion? Absolutely.

I miss my kids every day when I’m at work. I want to hear about their day the moment they get home from school, but I also want to send them to college, so they don’t have debts to pay off when they’re done. A compromise must be made, and this is the time to do it. They’re enjoying their independence and pulling away from Mom. This is to be expected, however, I want them to stay my little boys just a little longer.

They still tell me things and when I’m late coming home, they wonder where I’m at and that’s nice, but I miss those baby hugs and the way my oldest used to play with my hair when I fed him his bottle or read him a story. I miss how my youngest was so rambunctious and quick to learn. I remember that moment when he started reading by himself and how we would sit and read an entire book (chapter book) in one sitting, because he wanted to impress me. I remember how proud he was of himself and how proud of him I was.

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I was there for all of it. I’m so excited to see the men they will become. They are such great kids. I know life is going to throw them some curve balls. I hope I’ve taught them to be resilient and strong during those times, and I hope I’ve given them enough good memories so when tough times come, they’ll remember those hardships are temporary and good times will be back once they weather the storm.

In conclusion, staying home is the harder of the two. So, if you are a stay at home mom, it’s important for you to take care of yourself and make sure your spouse understands your needs. He needs to give you some accolades and support when you’re having one of those days. Also, you need to take time away from the kids and get adult time. It’s essential to your mental health, but you probably already know that. 😉

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post, do you agree with me? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Parenting, Teen

Developing Emotional Intelligence

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I have to apologize, I’ve been neglecting my blog because I’ve been focusing on getting my story together. It’s getting there and I’m loving it. So, sorry, but I’m not sorry. 😊

 

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Today, I’d like to talk about family time. It’s so important in today’s busy world. When did we become such a busy society? We’re always doing instead of taking moments to enjoy each other and our family members. My kids are growing up way too fast. It’s driving me crazy how fast they’re growing up. I’m trying to slow it down, but I can’t. It’s like a runaway freight train. So, I try to plan family nights and we try to eat our evening meals together. We also try to have one evening of family time where we watch a movie together or play cards.

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We were playing hearts last night and the boys were laughing because they were making sure I got all the hearts and the Queen of Spades. All the hearts except for a couple, so I couldn’t shoot the moon, but I digress. Anyway they were ganging up on me because that’s their way of saying they love me. 😉

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Out of the blue, my oldest says, “Look at her face. She’s getting mad.”

I wasn’t mad, but I wasn’t happy either and he picked up on that and the boys stopped teasing me. I still lost, but that’s beside the point.

I was happy to hear my son pick up on my frustration. I don’t like being ganged up on, and he could tell. This is an important lesson, and I’m glad my kids are learning it. They are developing their emotional intelligent.

Emotional intelligence is so important in life. Our teens need to be able to gauge when their spouse, or boss, or a co-worker are upset with them. All the screen time kids get takes away from their ability to pick up on social cues. So, we as parents have to provide them emotional intelligence lessons and I feel that last night was a good one. Even if I did lose. 😉

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I’m trying to give them as many teachable moments as I can because they are going to run into adversity and unfairness in the world. I hope I’m giving them the tools they’ll need to persevere and overcome it. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How about you? How are you helping your kids develop their emotional intelligence? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, raising kids

Protecting your Kids from Predators with Friendly Faces

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of kids, work, and laundry. I’m waiting for summer to begin. We’ve had cold temperatures and rain through most of May after a horrendous winter, so I’m ready for some hot weather. How about you?

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But enough about the weather, today I’d like to talk about a scary statistic. According to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, approximately 800,000 children are reported missing each year. That’s 2000 children a day.

 

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This is upsetting. The world is such a dangerous place right now. My hubby used to give me grief for being over-protective, but how can you not be? When pedophiles become troop leaders, teachers, and coaches, how can we be anything but over-protective?

For example, look at what happened at Seton-Keough High school in Baltimore Maryland. The headmaster of the school, Father Maskell, and his group of priests and police officers were abusing the students. Reports were ignored. This abuse has been documented in other Catholic churches as well. The church chose to move these pedophiles from one parish to the next, protecting the abusers. This abuse had been going on for years. We can’t even trust priests. (For more information about the abuse at Seton-Keough high school, check out the Netflix documentary “The Keepers.” It’s very well done.)

 

So, how do you protect your kids? In my research, I’ve found that these pedophiles are smart and manipulative. They prey on kids whose parents are stressed out and can’t be as involved as they’d like to be. The more involved you are with your kids the more likely the pedophile will leave your child alone. They prey on kids who come from one parent homes or there’s alcoholism or drug abuse in the family. They find the needy kids. The ones who need a role model in their lives.

 

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One sign that your child is being groomed by one of these sick individuals is they’re getting special attention from them. The abuser may be buying them gifts or taking them out to dinner. If this is happening, you need to step in and take control of the situation.  This person is being “nice” for a reason, and it’s not a good one.

It’s sad when you can’t even trust a person for being nice to your child, isn’t it? So, the best thing you can do is to be involved with your kids. The better relationship you have with them, the less likely a pedophile will be able to get their claws into them.

The same goes for abusers who kidnap kids to violate and then discard. These people watch and learn your child’s schedule and when they find them in a vulnerable position, they snatch them up. That’s why I’m with my kids at the bus stop. It’s usually dark because they have to be at school so early in the morning, but it’s also not well lit. I wouldn’t let my kids stand out there by themselves, waiting for the bus on such a lonely road.

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Let’s change this horrible statistic by protecting our kids the best way we can. Thanks for reading my post, I kind of picked a frightening subject to write about. Sorry about that. I’ll write something a little lighter next week.

Do you have any ideas on what we can do to change this statistic? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Health

Dealing with Toxic People

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I hope you had a wonderful Easter and you were able to spend it with family and friends. I’m back today and I’m talking about dealing with toxic people. Sometimes you work with them, sometimes they’re in one of your social circles, and sometimes they’re in your family.

They’re hard to deal with because you have to constantly keep re-establishing your boundaries because they keep trying to push past them and take control. They view you as a means to their ends and that’s it. Unfortunately.

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The only way to deal with these kinds of people is to firmly establish boundaries and not let them past. They will continue to try and when you’ve had enough, they’ll retreat, but they won’t apologize or change their behavior. Instead, they’ll wait until enough time has passed and then they’ll try again. Don’t fall into this trap. When you recognize the pattern, try to get out of it as fast as you can.

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It’s unfortunate when the toxic person is in your family because you can’t avoid them at family functions and they can make life miserable for you during that event but stay strong. They’ll eventually get the message, and when you don’t respond to their manipulations, they’ll get frustrated and leave you alone. Hopefully.

I’ve found avoidance is the best way to deal with these people. They have no clue they’re unhealthy. Self-awareness isn’t their strong suit, and they have no clue how they affect other people. They don’t care. They’re only trying to achieve their goal, and their goal is manipulating  you to do what they want.

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When you get trapped around these people, though, remember they’re the unhealthy ones and don’t let them past your boundary. Stay strong. It might be exhausting, but you can do it. If you do find they’re wearing you out. Leave. That’s what I do. When I’m tired of putting up with their bad behavior, I go home, and you can too.

What other ways do you deal with toxic people? Leave a message, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Personal, raising kids

Gratitude in the New Year

 

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Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. It’s the New Year and I’m excited for what 2019 has in store for me. I have some stories I need to finish and I’m hoping this year is the year for me to do that.

However, I don’t want to talk about that today. I thought today, I would talk about gratitude. There’s a meme floating around Facebook and it states, if you list three things you’re grateful for every day, you’ll become happy.  Let’s face it, we’re all looking for happiness and it’s so elusive. Hidden behind the mundane routine of our everyday lives. It’s hard to find in the morning traffic jam and the bills we have to pay to keep a roof over our heads, but it’s there.

 

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If you’re smart. You’ll look for it in the simple things, like making your kids their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or getting up at the butt crack of dawn to make sure they make it to the bus stop on time. That’s truly where happiness lies.

I know you’re questioning my logic. After all, crawling out of a warm bed and throwing your coat on over your pajamas to go out in the freezing cold doesn’t sound like much fun. It isn’t, but the fact my kids rely on me to do this every morning makes me happy. We chat for a few minutes as we wait for the bus and they tell me things they don’t mention at the dinner table. I know it doesn’t sound magical, but it is. It is to me. They’re growing up so fast and these moments are becoming fewer and fewer as they develop friendships and become more independent.

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I’m grateful for those moments. I’m also grateful for the moments when we’re together and they give me grief. They enjoy picking on me. I tell them that’s their way of showing me they love me. They deny it, but I know it’s true.

I’m also grateful for those times when we’re up north and night falls. I stand on the dock, taking in the moon and stars, and my family wanders out to take in the night sky with me. I love those moments, especially because my youngest is interested in the stars and our solar system. We chat for a few minutes about them and take in the wonder of the heavens. We connect in a world where most connections are digital, and it’s such an awesome feeling to connect even if it’s only for a few minutes. Sometimes that’s all you need.

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Wow. I’ve listed three things I’m grateful for and you know what? I do feel happier. That meme wasn’t lying.  I’m going to try this for twenty one days and see if it’s permanent. How about you? What are you grateful for? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!