Another Mother’s Day Perspective

inspired by a sunriseThis has been on my mind for the past few days with all the Mothers’ Day posts…

It’s great that many get excited over the day, but I just wanted to acknowledge that for some, this day brings up a lot of conflicted emotions…

If you:
-lost a mother
-are estranged from your mother
-have a toxic relationship with your mother
-never had a mother
-have had issues trying to become a mother or are a grieving mother

…or for any other reason, just aren’t feeling very celebratory towards Sunday…

I understand.
It’s okay.

From one woman to another, you never know if some girl in your neighborhood looks up to you and is inspired by you. Or you may mean something to someone else and you have no idea… even if nobody gets you a card, flowers, or takes you out for a meal.

So to all those ladies out there who would rather have this Sunday come and go, I honor you today.

-Kisses XxXx

Dr. Laura of Aha! Parenting- A Kindred Spirit

happy family, mulitcultural

Last night, I attended a parenting seminar organized by our school district.  The focus was on handling sibling conflict.

As soon as I learned about the event, I knew right away that I wanted to be there- not because my children fight (I’m very happy to say my 10 and 3 year old are very loving to each other!), but because I wanted to see if a prominent expert in the field of parenting and I are on the same page.

I was given a handout upon entering the auditorium outlining some of the speaker’s finer points.  Right way, I knew I’d be in for a very affirming evening; THREE of my 4 Verbs of Love were on the sheet!

Psychologist, author, coach and speaker Dr. Laura Markham presented a wealth of information regarding ways to approach your children in a manner that is kind, rather than combative.

I can’t possibly get into all the details on this post, but I must have looked like a bobble head all night because I was nodding my head in agreement almost constantly.

Not only were we on the same page; I took about a page of my own notes — my own Aha! moments, if you will — that I plan to make as future posts, linking back to her site every time.

But for now, I leave you with the way to purchase her two books.

Make it your #153Promise to create a trauma-free parenting (my tagline) environment by picking up a copies of her Peaceful Parenting series today.  You and your children will be happier for it!

Kisses! XxXx

Mad Poets Society Tonight!

pen feather quill poetryA former student and I have a big event tonight!  To say I’m nervous is an understatement!

I signed up for this gig back in October when I attended our local poetry series and jumped at the chance to be the featured poet this month- both the month that my book is SUPPOSED to be out (was hoping it’d be physically here by now!) AND national poetry month!

So… I plan to have a sign up sheet to capture people’s contact information and make it a contest to get a personally autographed copy of “One Million Kisses,” as soon as it gets back from the printers.

That way, I can blast them all when they are available for purchase.

I’m really wondering how many people will show up… My English department head read last time I attended, and there was a room full of students doing it for extra credit…  I invited all my friends and followers on social media, and I know a few former professors of mine plan on attending…  No pressure whatsoever, huh?

I plan to be my own inner parent to get me through this… words of encouragement like, “You got this!  People want to like you!  Trust yourself!”

I’ll be sure to post tomorrow, telling you all how it went.

Make it your #153Promise to be the inner voice to yourself that you want playing in your own children’s head!

-Kisses XxXx!

 

Family at the Y: Part Two

lobby conversation

I was back at the YMCA for our Saturday routine.  My son loves to play at the child center, and I love to do my writing.  Win-Win!  This is what I wrote during that time:

I just sat down at the lobby and settled into my usual chair with my laptop, and whom do I see?  That same family — from last week’s”Open Letter” post — minus the mother.

The same girl who was having a huge meltdown is sitting on the floor, coloring like a normal kid.  Her brother, who was adding to the torment last week, is on his tablet.  Her father is still introverted, engrossed on his phone.  And my heart is pounding.

She just headed off to dance class, so it’s just the dad and brother.  I’m tempted to ask him if he was hear last week…  Just a friendly question to start a conversation.  See what he says….

(Ten minutes later…)

I did it!  I reached out to him and we had a nice conversation.  I asked him if he was here last week.  At first, he acted like he couldn’t remember.  So I explained that his kids look familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it… Was it from the Y?  School?  Town?  We started chatting about what brings us here… my daughter’s gymnastics, etc…  He said they come every week.  Then his son wanted to go to Starbucks, so we talked about the different flavors… how white chocolate is an oxymoron to me.  He laughed.  It was nice. They went to get the kid his designer Starbucks beverage.

But then it occurred to me… if he comes here every week, why did he act like he couldn’t recall last week?  In my own mind, I concluded that it was due to embarrassment from the display last Saturday.

(Update…)

They came back and we chatted until his daughter came back.  We talked about everything under the sun: caffeine addiction; my tinnitus; how our kids got their names… and of course, my book!  ; )

I managed to work “One Mllion Kisses” and my 153Promise trauma-free parenting movement into the conversation because he said how he and his wife went out last night.  I mentioned how I had plans to see a speaker tonight… It’s a teacher/coach who speaks about his experiences (a future post this week) and I was going for research purposes regarding my promotions strategy.  That’s when I saw it happen…

Once I began pitching my vision and mission statements, he almost cried.  He said how difficult it is to raise kids, despite the fact that we love them.  How the idea of a support group would be great.

His daughter came back from dance; I got my son from the play center; I gave the father my card; and we planned to see each other next week.

So here I am, Monday morning, turning this play-by-play into a post, and I’m filled with a bunch of reactions twisting in my mind:

  • I’m so glad I approached him with kindness
  • If my tactic were different, I wonder how he would have reacted
  • This exchange could give credence to my theory that he’s been abused by her as well
  • Interesting how the children were fine… not in her presence
  • I’m encouraged by his reaction to my goals- maybe I can make a difference instead of preaching to the choir
  • The L.O.V.E. approach works with my target audience, too!
  • I wonder if he went home and shared our conversation with his wife
  • Who’s going to be there next week?  What will happen?

It just goes to show that you never know what is possible… Make it your #153Promise to be positive, be courageous, and be open to amazing things that can happen… and to see the amazing in the small moments.

-Kisses! XxXx

 

 

A Sally Field Moment!

trophy cupRight now, you like me!!!  Said a very young Sally Field at the Academy Awards.  And now, I get to say the same thing, because Barefoot Momma just nominated me for a Liebster Award!  And I gladly accept and will do my duty:

  1. What is you most embarrassing moment?  So many, I think I repressed most of them.  But one of my most blushing teaching moments was when I told a student to, “Either spit or swallow!” when I caught him chewing gum.
  2. What is one of your favorite quotes?  Again, so many.  But my current mantra is, “Silence is the voice of complicity.”  It keeps me speaking out against the mistreatment of children.
  3. What is your favorite season, and why?  Autumn, without a doubt.  The colors of the leaves, the crisp air, apples, pumpkins, the sunsets, Halloween, harvest.. I could go on and on.
  4. If you could learn anything, what would it be? Jazz piano!!!  I sign jazz standards, and I always wanted to accompany myself.
  5. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?  I’m doing it right now: Being a good mother, wife, teacher and writer… while having a balanced lifestyle and staying sober.  So far, so good, praise God!
  6. What is something you learned in the last week/month/or year?  Right now, I’m learning how to use social media to promote my book, “One Million Kisses: The Promise of 153” that’s due out later this month.  It’s a HUGE learning curve, from publisher to shelf, to into people’s homes!
  7. The best part of waking up is…?  Knowing you have one more chance to do something great!
  8. What is your favorite outdoor activity?  Running!  Unfortunately, the weather’s been stubborn, and my energy’s been down… but I’m hopeful both will improve soon!
  9. What chore do you absolutely hate?  I’m not crazy about ANY of them… I’d love to be in a position to afford a cleaning service one day… but I’d have to say laundry; it just never seems to end.
  10. If you could paint any scenery you’ve seen before, what would you paint?  Paris!  I’ve been there 4 or 5 times, but the last time I was there was a loooong time ago.  I’d love to be able to go back and have the luxury of time to paint all day and have that as a memory to take back home.

Hope that didn’t bore you too much!

Without further ado, here are MY nominations, in no particular order:

MyGirlMyWorld

MOMtessoriLife

ChesterCountyRamblings

ManvsMommy

AutisticBeekeeper

GlitterInTheAshes

McKinley’sMilestones

ThrivingUnderPressure

NavyaK

Supaflymom

And my questions for you all are:

  1. Why did you start your blog?
  2. Favorite writer?
  3. Favorite movie?
  4. Favorite song?
  5. Favorite food?
  6. “I want to be famous for…”
  7. Most vivid childhood memory?
  8. Pet peeve?
  9. Biggest fear?
  10. Biggest regret?

Thank again, Barefoot Momma, and best of luck to all ten bloggers!

-Kisses! XxXx

Be a Positive Parenting Example: A Lesson from Dr. Phil

Dr Phil
Dr. Phil

I only have a few guilty pleasures anymore; one of them is watching Dr. Phil as I do cardio at the Y after a full day of teaching.

Today’s show got me very involved- so much that I almost had to stop exercising because I was starting to cry.

It involved a whole family.  The parents were married for 13 years and had three children- two girls (15 and 9) and an 8 year old boy.  The parents’ marriage was in a shambles.  The father had been away on the road for several years and felt out of place upon his return.  He used his size as an intimidation factor with the younger children and had pretty much checked out as a husband.  The mother appeared to have a sense of entitlement and seemed to aggravate the situation.  Both parents favored the younger opposite sex child while leaving the older sister out in the cold.

It should come as no surprise that the children were suffering immensely- the younger ones were acting out at everyone, while the older was isolating in her room just to find peace.

The first half of the show was spent getting to know just how dysfunctional the family was.  Yelling parents, violent kids, and an older sibling caught in the middle.  But once Dr. Phil had the couple look each other in the eyes and tearfully express their desire to make things right, there seemed to be hope.

Then the 15 year old came out.  She explained how she felt the burden of trying to keep the family together.  Through all of this, she still manages to get good grades and learn several languages (Spanish, Russian, Finnish, Chinese and Japanese, to name a few).  Dr. Phil had her close her eyes and imagine talking to a girl who’s taking on the role of peacemaker to her family and blaming herself for failing to solve all the problems.  This is when it hit me.  [Click here to watch the video.]  This is what she says:

“You should watch to see what NOT to do when you are married and have a family.  That way, you won’t make that mistake.  And your family can thrive in the future, even if, right now, it’s falling apart.”

This young lady is so wise beyond her years.  But what really got me emotional was that she received more L.O.V.E. from Dr. Phil in 3 minutes than she’s ever had from her parents over the past several years.

What’s also chilling to me is that this family was not an off-the-charts scenario.  I’m sure many people would be able to identify with some of their own family’s behavior.

This teenager is the exact reason I started #153Promise.  I want to reach out to parents everywhere so they can become aware of their actions and make sure they are practicing trauma-free parenting.  No child should be using their mom and dad as examples of what NOT to do later on in life.

I applaud her insight and maturity to realize that she wants to leave a better legacy for her children than what she’s been given in her life.

Make it your #153Promise to be a positive example for your children.

 

Be Their Universe…

Universe, Person, Silhouette, Star, Joy

You know the saying that if you put something out there into the universe, it will come back to you???  Well, I spoke on the phone to my publisher again last night.  I know, right???  (I will update the results of the conversation in tomorrow’s post.)

It’s all coming together… I can feel it…

Continue reading “Be Their Universe…”

What You Kept Hearing as a Kid…

Close-Up, Communication, Deaf, EarPositive or not, what your parents said to you over and over when you were growing up has a lasting effect.

It becomes a mantra –consciously or otherwise — and will manifest in your own parenting if not acknowledged.

A little memory exercise to recall what you heard as a kid might create some awareness in what you say to your own children.

The ones I heard were:

  • Stop crying, or I’ll give you something to cry about
  • Either put it away, or chuck it away
  • JENNIFER!!! (usually from another room, just before the you-know-what hit the fan)
  • If you hate me so much, then just divorce me (said by Mom to Dad after his criticism)
  • Jerk
  • Candy Ass
  • Lazy
  • You’ll never get into college and will wind up homeless

and then, the most confusing:

  • I love you/I’m sorry

I make it my #153Promise ever day to not belittle my children and/or send them mixed messages.  I love them.  I appreciate them.  I value them.  Love should not bring shame, fear or guilt.

Saint, Meditation, Yoga, Meditating

Please make it your #153Promise to examine the messages you send to you children.  Ask them what they hear you say a lot.  Make it during a calm time.  Make them feel safe with their response.

It may just open your eyes… and ears.

-Kisses! XxXx

My Stats for Today…

I woke up as a usually do.  Made my decaf, checked my email, Facebook, etc…

Then got ready to write my morning post, and I find THIS when I looked at my stats: Stats 2.24.16

I don’t know if you can zoom in on your screen, but that’s 92 view so far this morning!  But what’s curious is that there were only 8 visitors.  Plus, it’s only 6 am upon writing this post and ALL of the views are from the U.S.

What’s going on??? Who’s been tapping my site?  Should I be thrilled?  Creeped out??  Looking under my car before I get in to go to work???

I DID go to a great discussion on stress last night and I gave my card to the lecturer… (The content of last night will be the topic of all my posts next week.)  Maybe he checked it out early this morning?  Maybe I have a stalker.  Maybe both- since 8 people did see the site.

But now, ironically, I’m stressed out a little bit.

And I also got a call last night from my publisher, but he didn’t leave a message…  I know my book is supposed to go to the printers any day now.

I suppose the only thing is to wait and see.

 

A Traumatic Statistic: Prevalence of PTSD

Fear, Woman, Crack, Notch, Furrow

Did you know that a whopping 70% of the general public will experience a traumatic event, and of those who do, 20% go on to develop PTSD?

Children lack the proper coping mechanisms, so they are particularly vulnerable.

War is not the only way to get PTSD.  Other traumatic events can include:

  • a serious injury or illness
  • a death
  • a car accident
  • a significant life change, like a divorce or move
  • abuse or bullying
  • dysfunction in the home, like yelling or addiction
  • a disaster like a fire
  • a crime
  • either first-hand experience of the events above or even witnessing them second-hand

The key to not developing PTSD in the first place is to get immediate aftercare.  But if that did not happen, it’s not too late to seek treatment for your child months or even years afterward.

Some of the symptoms of PTSD, according to the Mayo Clinic and WebMD re:

  • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Not enjoying activities usually enjoyed
  • Avoiding certain situations
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Bad dreams
  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Panic attacks
  • Headaches, stomach aches, muscle pain without specific injury

For students, these may also manifest as lowered grades or discipline problems at school.

Candle, Rose, Tealight, Quiet

Every child deserves to feel at peace and safe in their environment.  You never know if something they experienced may have been recorded as a trauma in their brain and they need professional help to learn how to re-regulate their emotions.

If your child starts to begin to display any of the signs above, or if they or your family has experienced any of the major events listed above,  please make the #153Promise to contact their guidance counselor and share your concerns.

They may need validation from someone who understands what they are going through.

-KissesXxXx