Category Archives: Motherhood

Creating a Family Cohesive Environment for your Tot

While attending church, we have always gone to the building that allows children to attend with their parents, instead of opting for weekly childcare. When the church recently added a building for high schoolers to participate in a church service with their peers, that felt off to me.  Isn’t attending church a family event to do together, not separate?  Unless they are homeschooled, children are at daycare or school with peers, up to 5 days a week.  Why would a 6th day at church be an additional option or offering?  I’m definitely not the only one that feels this way, because I do see some small tots to high schoolers with their parents during the service.
 
Recently I was led to a very intriguing book titled, Hold on to your Kids by Gabor Mate’.  This book provides profound information on the reasons that children are most often choosing to bond to peer groups, rather than parents, as early as 8 years of age. The book also cites the detrimental outcomes of children’s confidence, emotional development and even vocabulary by having an allegiance to their peers.  The dramatic increase in peer bonding is a fairly recent occurrence in society.
 
To get a flavor of the in depth information in Gabor Mate’s book, listen to this eye opening talk on the basis of peer group orientation.  It is a topic typically brought up by parents who are disgruntled and exasperated, yet regretfully accept that their children avoid communication with them and only want to be with their friends.   The link below and his book give perspective on a behavior that is believed to be “normal” for children, but in reality it is not normal, nor is it optimal for child development.  
 

Disney Dilemma

As parents we do our best to protect our tots from traumatic media, whether in print, in person or on the computer.  These days more parents are choosing to have no television in their home to be more productive, read, enjoy more time outside, and focus on what contributes to connecting as a family. Blip news glimpses are flashed on yahoo when going into email, so it is easy to stay somewhat “in the know”.
A recent source of incongruence has been the masses of parents that are excited expose their children to Disneyland and Disney movies.  Most any adult can clearly recall the common thread theme of most of the traditional movies…an orphaned child, whose parents are killed, then adopted by a cruel step family member or is completely on their own to fend for themselves.  Just think of Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Little Mermaid, Lion King and Saving Nemo….you get the picture. Watching these movies, in essence with the same message with different characters, can contribute to impact an impressionable child’s belief system and even cause fear of something similar happening to them or their parents.  One of my dear friends grown son’s confessed he was afraid most of childhood that he would become an orphan, because of the traumatic Disney movies he watched as a child.
Now if the main character is a girl, they have to be beautiful to be rescued by a prince charming in order to have happiness or live Happily Ever After.  These movies impact young girls. First they want to dress up like the princess and after watching different movies with the same theme several times, the “save yourself by marrying a Handsome Prince” message is successfully planted.   By the time these girls are young adolescents they could be subconsciously keeping an eye out for the Handsome Prince to ensure their life is happy or perhaps to off to run if life isn’t always smooth in the home.
Parents likely don’t want to share such messages with their Little One, but it cleverly happens through the Disney movies, books, costumes, and theme park.  The use of media, print and a live experience with the same characters results in very effective brainwashing.  Why are these types of dark trauma filled movies marketed to young children?  As for an amusement park to call itself “The Happiest Place on Earth” that is built on heavy tragedies within the famous stories, feels very contradictory.  As adults we all know that no person or thing is going to make us eternally happy. “Happily Ever After” resides in our hearts and our children benefit from knowing the truth.

The Mom Escape

Where do we find our escape from the craziness of motherhood? How do we not give all ourselves to our child where it becomes unhealthy for us? I am on a quest to find these answers.

I am a mother who owned her own business, moved to England, had a baby and moved back to the US and stayed home with my child. When I arrived back to the US, I had sold my business, had no family near me and my friends at that time were all single with no children. It was one lonely and hard path for me. What I did have was a beautiful baby boy, whom I focused my attention. Then my son starts growing up and not so needy, but I am still giving my all to him. I was about to go nuts…what happened to that woman on the go and in love with life? That was my question to myself and still my question.

Now my son is in Nursery School and I have the mornings to do what I need, I use this time to conduct business, write blogs, film and “trying” to get back into the swing of entrepreneurship again.

Being in the inquiry of what is missing, some solutions came up. One is my workouts. Usually a ritual of working out has been in my life and now has disappeared. As humans, a workout is important for vitality. Getting that blood flowing will do anyone some good.

Another thing I am missing are my friends. Just finding the space to go out and be with the “women” is a healthy outlet. I find it important to be with your friends, it brings a mental health and community. As humans, we must have community.

To start with just those two things can make the world of difference. On this path of finding the healthy medium of Motherhood and sense of self is a journey. If anyone has their own journey of finding self, I would love to interview you. Please share as other Mother’s experience do matter and we all can learn from each other.

Music Together: A Most Special Experience to Share with Your Little One

About five years ago, I met my dear friend Dorothy at a conference in Calgary, Canada. She is a Music Together teacher in New Jersey.  Music Together is Music Together is an internationally recognized program that is a beyond words incredible for baby or toddler or young child and their parent (or Grandma or Nanny). The class teaches babies and little children the language of music, from rhythm to tonal patterns and much more. Much in the same way as children learn to speak by being immersed in the language of their culture from the time they are born, so do babies and toddlers learn the language of music by being immersed in the musical learning environment of the Music Together classroom experience which includes tonal and rhythm patterns as the basic building blocks of music among so much more.

When my daughter was about 18 months, Dorothy reminded me that there is an amazing Music Together teacher in my area.  Her name is Judy Woodson and she teaches in Irvine!! When it worked out for my schedule, we enrolled. We have been doing Music Together for almost two years, every Thursday morning for 45 minutes. During class the adults role model by singing and moving to the music. At first the little ones typically watch whats going on in class and then either at home and/or at class, as soon as the music starts to play, baby shows a definite connection to the music through movement!  When I play the CD at home, my tot imitates the unique movements and hand gestures used for the different songs in class. She also adds in her own unique dance moves. I just watch in awe as she is completely in HER joyful musical moment of expression having the best time.  I’ve spontaneously sung the songs at times to ease Little One, make the car ride interactive and introduce a new word or concept. The songs are fun and relate to life. One night I started singing a song on the CD called “Great Big Stars” and pointed to the starry sky and began singing along. Now in the evening she points and says, “stars”.  I shared the star experience with Dorothy and she mentioned how Music Together and these songs will be always special to Isabella and me, similar to a very fond memory that occured as a certain song was playing in the background.  She also told me how musical development and appreciation is similar to language use…starting early and consistency is key. I hope you check out Music Together in your area and post your experience.

Classes in Orange County and Palm Desert, California (Judy Woodson): http://www.southcoastmusictogether.com/

Classes in New Jersey (Dorothy Sikora): http://www.joyofmusic.info/

Main Website: http://www.musictogether.com/

The Baby Talk Dilemma

Ever since having a child, have you noticed an interest in magnifying your choice of words?  It can be so tempting to bequeath the societal and generational “baby words” or expressions and at the same time feel obsessive making the effort to refrain from them.  When my tot was nearly 6 months, a chiropractor friend highly recommended that I check into the books and courses developed by The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, in Pennsylvania.  I reviewed their website and watched the posted YouTube videos of Glenn Doman, the Founder of IAHP.  It was brought to my attention that I could speak to my child with specific and useful words, rather than patronizing infantile language used by adults when in communication with children.

Expressions including:
“Do you have an ‘owie’?”
“Put that down! That’s ‘yucky’.”
“Ewww….that’s ‘icky’!”
“Look at the bow wow.”
are the types of phrases that would be considered laughable and patronizing if used in communication with another adult.  Yet, I vividly recall them being used in my childhood and I still hear overhear such talk being used wherever children are present.  Before you know it,  a child will soon imitate and refer to things as “owey” ,”ewww”, “yucky”, “icky”, etc., etc., until they realize the truth.  They will quickly observe that adults don’t talk this way to each other and that adults only talk this way only to children.  Children realize they are being patronized.  If you were learning a foreign language, it’s doubtful you would first want to be taught baby words, animal sounds and incomplete sentences, before you learned correct and proper vocabulary and sentence structure.

Even if a baby isn’t yet talking, we all know the brain grows the fastest before 5 years of age and they absorb everything. So, teaching a child these types of general phrases and names will eventually compromises effective communication. Secondly, using these types of phrases and words may seem cute or the most effective way to communicate to a non-verbal or newly verbal child, but all it does is disregard their magnificence and demonstrates a parents lack of confidence in a child’s ability to pronounce and understand words such as train (choo choo) or cat (meow meow). Doesn’t it seem that this type of adult initiated conversation does anything but support or guide a child’s ability to learn, practice, express and accurately understand a vast vocabulary, not to mention create a baby talk habit for the parent?

Here are some options to consider:
– Instead of saying, “Oooh, you have an owie!”
Option: “You have an abrasion or contusion or etc.”
(This one has the most importance. If a child isn’t feeling well and he knows is “owie”, he won’t know how to convey he has an ache, cramp, or contusion.)
– Instead of saying, “That’s icky!” Option: “That may have bacteria or pathogens.  Touching that could result in a stomachache.”
– Instead of saying, “Ewww, don’t eat the food you dropped on the dirty ground!  Yucky!!!!”
Option: “Do you see the dirt on the sidewalk?  Please put the food that fell on the sidewalk into trash can.”
– Instead of saying:  “Your face is so dirty!  What a messy eater!”
Option: You have some avocado on your chin. Here is your napkin.
– Instead of saying:  “Oh, look at the bow wow! What a nice doggie.”
Option: “There is a Golden Retriever (or St. Bernard, Chihuahua, etc.)!” He is really running fast.”
– Instead of saying, “More num-num?”
Option: “Would you like more soup?”
– Instead of saying, “Here’s your ba-ba.”
Option: “Here is your bottle.”

Also, when noticing the overuse and repetition of words and phrases such as, “Would you like to help?”,  how about switching to “Would you like to assist?”, and then on to “Would you like to support?”, etc?  This is fun and definitely keeps the mommy brain in creative mode.  The trusty thesaurus can come in handy again, since tots absolutely love learning and find new words attention grabbing, amusing and interesting.

Passion for Living

Tina and Angela speak on what is driving them to educate Mother’s everywhere on alternative progressive ways of parenting.   View us on YouTube.

Raising Children in Today’s Society

Was reading this blog from another mother the other day and she was reminiscing on her childhood and how wonderful it was.  She was wondering what happened to our children and parents of today? I have a different point of view.  Mom’s and Dad’s of today, it is not the time to listen to people slandering us for our methods of raising our children but learn, manage what we have and enhance our lives with kindness and respect to our children.

In this blog I read, she was reminding about the days where we played outside until or even after dark and we made friends organically.  Then she goes on to say that our mother’s today have our children stuck in front of the TV and in the house.  I would like to point out to everyone that times have certainly changed from the days of old.  From all the child abductions and scarey things that happen to our children, parents today are doing the best for their kids.  So our “playdates” works best for us in today’s world of fear.  Our children can also make friends in school organically.

Then we have this thing called “new technology,” such as those darn video games and super animated cartoon shows.  It is the progression of technology and how do we as parents refrain our kids from participating?  Just do not have it in the house.  Do not create the demand for them and introduce something new to your children.  And for god’s sake spend some time with them.  It is up to us to take responsibility and teach our children differently.  Have them do creative play.  Developing their creative side of the brain enhances their ability to learn as opposed to memorize, problem solve, and their need for “things” diminish as they will be creative in using the materials they already have such as sticks, old toys and stuff laying around the house or outside.  Sounds like Entrepreneurship.

How about the days where kids did not have to wear seat belts and be strapped in?  Well guess what folks, we voted for this seat belt law and to top it off, accidents are accidents and we are unable to predict them so I would actually choose to put my child in a seat belt.

How about when you use to put your finger in the electrical socket and you would get a bit of a shock?  Yes parents get those plugs to put into the sockets, they are doing it out of safety for their children.  My son plays with the sockets and wants to put things in them but at the end of the day, he doesn’t get shocked.  He was just curious.  We really do not want our children around the electrical sockets good reasons and you are the parent to teach them lovingly that playing with electrical sockets are not safe.

This blog also mentions that back in the “good ole days” her parents cooked home cooked meals in the pan and saying that today’s parents go for take out, fast food and quick microwaved meals.  Yes, agreed that the fast and quick meal are all junk food, especially microwaved meals.  For fair play to parents today, we have created a society of getting “it” now and quick service.  Our demands today are a lot higher as both women and men work and by the time the kids get settled and home, it is off to practice of some sort and by the time the whole family actually gets together it’s 8pm or even later and now its time for bed.  The lifestyles today creates a demand for getting food fast and now.  Sitting down to a meal, depending on the family’s lifestyle and what works for them, is optimal.  If you are a parent who is passionate for the family to sitting down to a meal, schedule it and make it happen.  When my Mom grew up, they all had their meals together at the table but guess who cooked it with her Mom and Dad both working?  The Nanny cooked, cleaned and did the shopping!  Back then in the 60’s was the new trend for women to start working and to maintain the family traditions of sitting down to a meal it took something for them to do this, otherwise hire someone to do it.

What really makes me cringe a bit while I was reading this Mom’s blog is she mentions that parents were not afraid to discipline their kids, meaning spank them.  Today there have been many studies that show spanking to discipline is not the answer.  The results to that type of discipline create adults who think it is okay to disrespect others and their relationships are based on fear and violence.

I don’t know about you but judgement will always be in our society.  Heck, without judgement how are we able to enhance ourselves and our families.  We have many types of families these days and parenting styles.  There are you attachment parents where you believe the children are to be raised by you and your child as an infant is attached to your body.  Love that.  The other group of parents are the raw or vegan parents where your children are fed lots of vegetables and supplements based on your value system of not putting toxic foods in your children’s body.  Another group are your organic and holistic parents where you put only live in organic and have certain beliefs about who God is.  I love that too.  Then there are parents who hold the traditions of your family and add value for your kids to hold a tradition.  That is lovely.  Whatever category you fit in or none of the above the outcome is all the same for all of us….we want our children to be happy and successful children and adults.  We do gravitate to our group but that means the like people attract the like and we just created community.

My point is that things have changed in our world today.  If we reminiscence in the past and not focus on our children in the present, there is no responsibility.  If we want those days back it is our duty to create that as a community.  Technology getting in the way? Just don’t buy or participate in it.  If you have a community or neighborhood that feels safe to you then allow your kids to go out and make friends.  Playdates are the way today plus we get to meet other fantastic people when we all connect on our new technologies such as Facebook and Meetup.  Heck, I live in a tiny neighborhood with two other homes and guess what there is no one my son can go out and meet, I need the playdates for my son.  If we want changes then it is up to us to create the revolution of that change.  Just be careful what you vote for if you do not find it of value.

You are not alone out there Mom’s and Dad’s.