Category Archives: Parenting

SelfLove365, Year 2, Day 52: dem Mom Skillz

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I may not do these things all the time (OK, I know I don’t, and I know I preface this way because I’m a perfectionist and wish I could do these things all the time, but feel bad that I don’t), but these are my mom skills that are working, most of the time:

  1. Patience. Yeah, I’m having particular trouble ignoring the times that I am not patient, but if I’m really honest, I’d say that these moments are few and far between these days – it’s easier now that they aren’t toddlers.
  2. Mean what I say, and follow through. I’m pretty good at this one, perhaps because I’m stubborn. Haha!
  3. Listening. My goal is to always listen and thoroughly, with eye contact, with presence, to my children – in a way that they feel heard. It doesn’t always happen, and I’m particularly hard on myself when it doesn’t. Sometimes I’m distracted, or busy, or both. But still, it’s my goal. Constantly.
  4. Quality time. This is directly related to #3.
  5. Hugs. Lots of them. Again, I’m not perfect at this. I want to give them more hugs than I do. Although sometimes, I give more kisses than my son appears to want (he wipes them off). Like Charlotte Diamond sings, “four hugs a day, that’s the minimum”.
  6. Open, candid, honest. I have spoken to my children about sex and puberty and related topics, with candor and openness, since they could speak. I feel strongly that knowledge is power and particularly in this area, I want them to have a sense of strength, power and wisdom when it comes to their bodies and their sex lives.
  7. Teaching responsiblity. My children have been doing chores for many years now – age appropriate things that I resented doing when I was asked as a teenager to start doing for the first time. They are learning what it takes to keep a house in order, learning how to work together, and sometimes they even enjoy themselves. I’ve even heard these words spoken:  “cleaning toilets is fun!” and “cleaning mirrors is my favourite chore”.
  8. Setting examples. The best way I know how to do this is by taking care of my own needs. I go dancing once a week, and have been for the past ten years. I go away on holiday without the children, and take naps or quiet time as needed. I express my anger in healthy ways.

Prints! and parenting… and procrastination.

It’s been over year since I had the idea of making printed reproductions of my paintings. It took me months to research the place to do get it done, another few months to get it done, and another few months to actually tell you about it.

My “To Do” list is so long, that very little actually gets done. After painting (which takes most of my time), there is not much time in my day left for the other things I would like to do. I can accept this. I am a mother of three children, so my time is split between household responsibilities, and my artistic career. I am not willing to put in the night hours, working after my children are in bed – that would make me insane (after making me tired, cranky, and probably sick). My evenings are usually filled with dancing or class meetings, or spending time with my hubby. Sometimes I wonder if I just don’t take myself seriously enough, but mostly, I feel like I have a good balance. So, when I am wondering why I am not in galleries yet, or why I am not selling more paintings yet, or why there isn’t a greater demand for my work yet, I remind myself that I get what I put into this process, and this is as much as I am willing to put in right now.

Rarely do I remember to look back to pre-2009, but I should. I can remind myself of how far I have come. Before 2009, I knew I wanted to be an artist. No wait, I knew I was an artist, but I was so good at procrastinating, and kept putting off creating. There was something really scary about starting on the path of becoming an artist. Scarier than a blank canvas, scarier than the blank page – this was a blank path, and I was so scared to take that first step.

I’m so glad I did.

(just do it)

My prints are available in my Etsy shop. I still have one more to list – it might take me another few weeks to do that (ha!).

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Adolescent Snowflake

Ever since my daughters were little, I would try to picture what our lives would be like sometime down the road, at different ages and stages. This is pretty much impossible to do, though, isn’t it? What do we have to go on other than our children’s temperaments, and what other people tell us it will be like? I have noticed that I focus more on the latter, and I think this is a misguided way of anticipating the future. It’s even possible that by assuming my experience will be like what I have seen other people go through (or worse, on t.v. or movies), I may duplicate that experience. Does that make sense? For example, it’s widely assumed that teenagers are a royal pain in the ass – that it is just a stage parents hope to get through. We expect that it will be difficult because we have seen countless examples of it in entertainment, and we are just led to believe it. If we expect this, isn’t it more likely to be our experience of our own children? Why not enter the stage (and all stages) with an open mind, or even expecting that it will be a breeze? Is this just naive?

It’s just like the “terrible twos”; I expected that stage to be difficult, because many people said it would be (and it’s kind of implied by “terrible”). But really, once I understood that children at this stage have tantrums for a good reason (tired, hungry, getting sick), it was probably easier to get through them and enjoy the amazing things about that stage. Or maybe I am just blissfully forgetful because my kids are older now. In any case, my goal is to enjoy my children at all stages. They are growing so quickly, it’s blowing my mind. I still have my old diaries from my teen years, just in case I need some perspective!

Resolutions

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Every day I make resolutions, and every day I don’t keep them.
1. Drink more water.
2. Take all my vitamins.
3. Be more present, more often.
4. Really listen to everything my kids say.
5. Go to bed as soon as I feel tired.

I am reading “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, and she keeps a checklist do things to do everyday. That seems like a set-up for failure, but hey, I can’t fail much worse than I am now, right?

This is a short post because I am away from home and posting from a WordPress app instead of my computer. It is a bit awkward.

Being Present

All day long, I’ve been thinking about what it takes to really be present.

How much of the time am I truly present?

When my kids say, “Mom, look!” do I actually stop and really see what they are doing?

When I am driving, am I really paying attention to what is happening around me, or am I focused more on the thoughts running through my head?

Am I noticing the flavours and textures of the foods I eat? Do I savour my bites? Do I notice what it is like to chew my food? When I am full, or approaching fullness, do I notice, or do I just keep eating?

When my body has a message for me (like “I’m thirsty” or “I’m tired!”) am I aware of it? Further, do I act accordingly, or submit to the will of my mind instead?

Do I treat “being present” as just another thing that needs to be achieved (perfectly), or do I allow myself to be fully human, and simply notice that this moment presents me with another opportunity to be present?

Everyday Gratitude

I was listening to a parenting podcast today and the topic was how to make gratitude a habit for children. The women spoke about gratitude being a skill that children need to learn, mostly by watching their parents modelling it! I hadn’t really thought about that before, but it sure makes sense. They also spoke about how the more we experience gratitude in our lives, the happier we are. How true!

To this end, I am going to write down things I’m grateful for (I kept a gratitude journal for about a year, over 4 years ago – it’s been awhile!), and start a dinner-table-“What I am grateful for”-thing.

Today, I am grateful for: my health, my family, abundance, the sun shining today, and spring.

The sweetest boy.

There is nothing quite like being a parent of a 5 year old boy. Of course, I could say that about any age (in my experience) or about my girls, too. Maybe it’s because he is going to be in school full time as of September, but right now, I am really appreciating this stage. We have fun together, laugh together, and play a ton of games together (I am still amazed by his capacity to learn and play adult strategic games, like Caylus, Carcasonne, Allhambra, etc – keeps me interested, anyway!!). I hear, “Can we play a game?” about 5 times a day, usually right after we have just finished, of course!

Today we had fun with the special effects on the Photo Booth app on the computer. Lots of fun!