Go Ahead and Roll Her in Glitter

Go ahead and roll her glitter.

Wait. What? Did I just utter those words? Why yes. Yes I did.

It happened a few weeks ago. Ella, my six-year-old, was at a birthday party at a place called, “Little Diva’s Day Spa.” I know. I know. A nightmare turned into reality. I remember anxiety setting in as I read the invitation –

Join us for little Susie’s 6th Birthday Party! Manicures! Eye make-up! A little girl’s dream!

My first thoughts were – Oh crap! Here we go. All the little girls doing “little girly” things like getting their nails painted and putting on fancy white (wedding) dresses. Getting their make-up done (UGH!) and being all diva-princessy was enough to make me gag. Twice. Okay maybe THREE times.

Blech! Are we not in the 21st century? I did not have a daughter so that I could put a tiara on her head, a tutu around her waist, and roll her in some periwinkle glitter glue. She is going to be a doctor, gosh damn it!

I remember back when I was pregnant with Ella, we had decided not to find out her gender because we –

#1. Wanted to be surprised the day of her birth and…

#2. We did not want to be bombarded with a bunch of pink, “girly” things.

Fast forward six years and here I am standing proudly alongside my glitterfied Ella in the middle of a beauty salon! What the hell happened?

Well, life happened. Ella has grown into the most creative and beautiful little girl. She loves soccer and gymnastics. She loves painting, coloring, and building trains with her brother. She enjoys going on hikes and nature hunts. She makes mud pies and swims. She wears blue and green and orange and pink. Polka dots, stripes, and ribbons. She dons baseball caps and plays football with her friends. She likes her riding boots, roller skates, and jumping in rain puddles. Dolls, trucks, airplanes, and Legos. Helping in the garden. Picking herbs, picking weeds, and planting veggies. Climbing trees and doing somersaults with her best friends. Playing computer games and writing stories. And…

She LOVES glitter. She loved having her nails painted. (They were painted cute little peek-a-boo penguins by the way!) She loved playing dress-up and had a great time at her friend’s birthday party at yep you guessed it, “Little Diva’s Day Spa.” She twirled and played together beautifully with her friends. She giggled and sang and enjoyed every second.

What defines her is not one GLITTERFIED (I like that word) moment at a salon or a pink stroller or a pink hat, but the whole kit-n-caboodle. The whole lot of choices that we make for ourselves and our kids. The guidance we show our children and the balance we instill along the way.

If I hope to teach my daughter one thing about being a woman it would be:

Feminism to me means having a choice. Not only the freedom to like what I want and to be what I want BUT more importantly to understand how my choices collectively impact others. To choose positive empowerment. To work hard and respect others and the decisions they’ve made in their own lives. To be treated fairly and equally and to reciprocate those ideas. To live in a society where no one is pressured to be like anyone else. And to be okay with it all.

Except when it comes to glitter.

We can all use a little glitter.

15 Things Moms Can Agree On (Hopefully) (Well, Maybe?)

In light of the election that took place last Tuesday and a country divided, I was inspired by a post from treehugger.com which highlighted 26 Things We Can All Agree On. I began contemplating the subject of motherhood with its diverse outlooks, beliefs, and countless ways we’ve amassed to raise our children. Aside from our individualities, are there any fundamental, concrete principles that all mothers can agree on? I hope so! Let’s face it, we all have an opinion, but at the end of the day what binds us is we all answer to that word, “Mom.” Or Mommy or Mama or Mom Mom Mom Mom Mom! or Madre or Mamacita or Ma or…well you catch my drift.

Spit-up, throw-up, early mornings, late nights. Infants, toddlers, teenagers. Just when we think we have it all figured out, motherhood throws us another damn curve ball. Well at least she keeps us on our toes. I for one am up for the challenge. You?

15 Things All Moms Can Agree On (Hopefully) (Well, Maybe?):

1. Motherhood is tough. This ongoing journey of ups and downs and winding roads is ever-changing and ever-challenging. Motherhood is an enormous task which reaps enormous rewards.

2. LOVE is all you need. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. I. LOVE. YOU. Tell them. Show them. Repeatedly. Again and Again and Again.

3. Mistakes are inevitable. They happen. More often than not. Let’s recognize the ones we’ve made and look to a future of not repeating them.

4. Every child is different. But wait a minute, my first baby slept through night no problem. Uh huh. Doesn’t mean a thing. The sooner we realize that not all kids are the same, the better off we’ll be. Agree?

5. Mom Guilt. We all have it. We all recognize it. We all need to get over it and stop putting so much undue stress and pressure on ourselves. What’s the deal with us doing that anyways? Oh right, mom guilt.

6. Children are our teachers. There is so much we can discover about ourselves from our children. We just need to take the time slow down and learn the lessons. Patience, tolerance, spirit, hope, passion, honesty, excitement, acceptance…

7. Time goes by too fast. Days are long, but the years are short. A first-born will soon be taking a first step. Savor every moment. Yes, even that moment when the baby is crying incessantly and the toddler is yanking on your leg telling you that she just flushed your keys down the potty. Okay well not every moment.

8. Self-confidence – We need it, desperately. It’s right there inside you. Find it. NOW.

9. Mother’s change the world. We are raising future generations. This requires no further explanation. 

10. We are all in this together. Although we are highly diverse in appearance and culture, our instincts at the core virtually remain the same. To teach, to nurture, to bring up compassionate, hard-working, intelligent, healthy, responsible human beings that contribute something positive to society. Not too much to ask for, right? If you’re doubt, please refer to #8.

11. A Step-by-Step Guide to Motherhood DOES NOT exist. In motherhood we learn from that thing called EXPERIENCE.

12. We CAN NOT please everyone. Not even going to try to.

13. Sleep is a necessity. For mom. For dad. For kids. For sanity.

14. Taking a [hot/cold] shower may equate to a week-long vacation. I was going to attribute this one to new moms especially, but I think all mothers can agree that five minutes in the shower has the ability to renew and recharge us – even if we have ‘mommy brain’ and think we can hear someone calling our name the entire time.

15. Balance is something we all strive for. On the outside. On the inside. Within our family, within our friendships, within our careers, within ourselves.

“Motherhood brings as much joy as ever…Nothing else ever will make you as happy or as sad, as proud or as tired, for nothing is quite as hard as helping a person develop her (his) own individuality especially while you struggle to keep your own.” – Marguerite Kelly and Elia Parsons

Have more to add? Please do so below! ♥

5 Mommy Stress Busters

Let’s face it, as moms we are always on the go, go, go. From laundry to diapers and car pools to dinner. We are everything to everybody. We are the master chef, boo-boo kisser, healer, driver, doctor, baker, comforter, lover, finger painter, book reader, game player, fort builder, the list goes on and on. Oh, did I forget to mention dog walker and pooper-scooperer?

It’s inevitable that every one of us will have to face and address the stresses of motherhood at some point and time. Often we may feel as though we are drowning in a sea of dirty dishes, messy bedrooms, and Hello Kitty Band Aids. To survive as a mother, it turns out there are probably a million things we can wish for to make life easier for ourselves (cue – housekeeper, personal cook, and nanny). But to combat stress and help bring balance to our day, I’ve counted five important ways:

1. Breathe In.  Take a couple of deep breaths throughout the day particularly when feeling overwhelmed. Practice releasing them slowly and evenly. This will help calm our anger or frustration and teach our children that how we handle a situation almost always stems from how we react to the situation. Very often as mothers, we tend to overreact to even the smallest of things. Starting now, let’s rely on those few breaths to help us focus on what’s going on in front of us.

2. Let Go. Yes, there are things around us that drive us bananas on daily basis (or an hourly basis?) Let’s try to let those things go. After all, is it really necessary to skyrocket our cortisol levels just because Elmo is singing the same damn song over and over again and we think our ears are going to bleed? No. Well, maybe.

3. Eat Well. What we feed our bodies determines our physical and emotional health. It also determines how we respond to our surroundings. We all know that a proper diet is essential to our own body’s nourishment. Why would we not want to advocate for that? I can’t think of any reason not to.

4. Move. Let’s make a pact that we will do something physical for ourselves every day. Even if it’s only for 10 minutes. I’m not just talking about going up and down and up and down the stairs at home (unless we repeat that about a bazillion times in a day, oh wait we already do!). I’m asking every single one of us to get our butts outside or to the gym or to the garage or basement or living room. And once we get there? MOVE IT! S-H-A-K-E it! Go! Take that quick run or do some hiking with the family. Practice yoga in the backyard or ask a friend to join you for a circuit training session. The point being – Movement is Life.

5. Love. Oh love. Love. Love. Love: Give it. Take it. Make it. Feel it. Need it. Nurture it. Keep it. Let it go. REPEAT.

Cue Cards for Life — a review

This has been a much-needed reading week for me! I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of Christina Steinorth’s new book, “Cue Cards for Life – Gentle Reminders for Better Relationships” and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The last few months have exhausted me.  The early mornings and long days with the kids have left me a bit short-tempered, disconnected, and dare I say – moody. With summer drawing to a close and the kiddos heading off to school, I needed some simple reminders for improving my relationships with my husband, my children, my parents, and my friends.

Let’s face it, we have become a nation of non-communicators who ironically enough communicate all day long via text, Twitter, Facebook, and email. Sometimes it seems as though we put more effort into our electronics or what we’re eating for dinner than we do into our real person-to-person relationships. Are we lacking the skills needed to nurture and grow in our own lives?

As a private practice psychotherapist, Christina knows first hand that healthy relationships are imperative for a successful and happy life. She also knows that communication may be the most essential part of developing, building, and maintaining prosperous marriages, friendships, and parent/child relationships. Drawing from her expertise and experiences, Christina developed user-friendly guidelines or ‘cue cards’ which serve to invoke a wakefulness within us. A gentle push to help us begin tackling our unique relationships with others more compassionately and efficiently.

Christina portrays beautifully and simplistically her intent to help us first think through our situations and then react appropriately. She introduces us to the basic building blocks of communication and goes on to divide her book up into easy to navigate sections including: Cue Cards for Love Relationships, Engagements, Weddings, Babies, In-laws & All Things Family, Cue Cards for Parents with Teens, Cue Cards for Mending Bridges, Cue Cards for Interacting with Aging Parents, Cue Cards in the Workplace, and Cue Cards for Friends, Parties & Social Events.

Our lives and our relationships are constantly evolving, changing, growing. It is up to us to bring forth the effort needed to endure these changes. Ultimately, the relationships able to withstand the tests of time are usually the ones we have consciously committed to. The power and potential of acquiring good relationship -building skills relies heavily on our ability to understand our perceived feelings and thoughts. Sometimes we need a little help and guidance along the way. “Cue Cards for Life” helps to point us in the right direction.

To pre-order your copy of “Cue Cards for Life – Gentle Reminders for Better Relationships” – click here. To learn more about a lovely friend and woman on a mission, Christina Steinorth – click here.