- I have 3 small children. I found 2 is my limit but I’ll keep the third.
- I’m a little funny. Unless, of course, you have a sense of humor. In that case, I’m not funny at all.
- I speak a few words and phrases in Albanian. The term “speak” I use loosely as no real Albanians can understand me.
- I was born in the Midwest. Raised in the South. Educated in the East. Now I have found my way back to the Middle.
- I really love my mother-in-law but she doesn’t always understand me. Refer back to #3.
- I trained in classical ballet for my entire childhood. All that remains are a few broken pointe shoes and a love of classical music. Guess what you do at 12 years old doesn’t always determine the rest of your life.
- I hate flying. I would rather give birth naturally. I have given birth naturally. I still prefer it over flying.
- I LOVE to travel, which is made difficult by #7. I fly anyway. I’m done giving birth.
- I know how to moon walk. True story. Give me a pair of socks and some nice hardwood floors.
- I don’t give my mom enough credit. She is fearless, determined and optimistic at all costs. She has learned from life’s lessons. She has broken her back and broken her head. I hope to one day learn to be as fearless as her without breaking my head, of course.
- My husband is the person I trust most in this world.
- I judge people for being judgmental. Go figure.
- The women in my life astonish me with their generosity, support, intelligence and humor. I don’t understand the phrase, “Women are catty.”
- Being a stay-at-home mother is more challenging than I ever dreamed. I am not always up for the challenge.
- Sometimes I peruse the dessert section of Whole Foods and pretend I’m on vacation in a quaint European bakery. No joke! Sad. I know.
- I have a fondness for Coolio. I spent my junior year singing, “Gangstas in Paradise,” as I drove my country back roads to school. I’m neither a gangsta nor was I living in paradise.
Children, parents, everyone and anyone can have a day that just isn’t working out as planned. It is part of life. We all say and do things we regret. I know I do. If you read Suit Up! Parenting Can Be an Emotional Battle then you know I am not lying! I know as a mother there can be multiple times in one day when I want to push the start-over button. Unfortunately, there have been too many times when I have made a snarky remark to my husband or children or yelled when I had absolutely no intention of yelling and I just wanted to be rescued from my situation. So if I feel this way as an adult, I can only imagine how are little ones must feel. Good thing there is one question that always reframes my day and the day of my children.
Can we start over?
Go, go, go! The American lifestyle beckons us to move. Move quickly, move constantly. Don’t stop and think. Life is calling us. Go!
Maybe try something different. Stop right here, right now. Breathe in and breathe out and take a moment to contemplate how you are living your life.
Do you ever find yourself studying pictures of people? I could get lost for hours thinking about individuals in old photographs. Did they think like me? Were they happy with their family? Was life everything they wanted it to be? I don’t think I have ever looked at a photograph of a material object and had it pull at my heartstrings. No, things don’t really make my soul sing. I am sure that is true of most people.
Secrets isolate your children. Secrets harm your children. I was a year out of college and living in Boston when I got my first “real” job working for an agency that housed teenagers, who were aging out of the foster care system. During my first training session, I listened to a grandmother who told her story of working with children who had suffered sexual and physical abuse. Over time, these children became adults and the adults remained silent; living and breathing in their abuse without ever sharing a word. Afraid if they told their “secret” they or their family members could be harmed or torn apart, at the very least, by their truth.
I feel sad. The words may be difficult for your little one to find. They will be impossible to speak if you do not give your child a feeling language. Learning to address their emotions, whether happy or sad, is vital to your child’s developmental growth.
I hesitated writing this article. The topic is truly subjective in nature. For obvious reasons, there is a great deal of weight to the question of whether or not someone should seek help for their family. If I am correct in my thinking and you are grappling with the answer then my thought is you already have your answer. Chances are you have been debating for months or even years before clicking on the title of this headline. So, I ask you. What is holding you back from making the next step?
I know I am stating the obvious. Parenting has exhilarating highs and bone crushing lows. And just when you think you might have a clue as to what you are doing; reality takes one look at you and gives a nice, big, bellowing laugh.
I am a morning person. I wake up most mornings around 5:30 am feeling energized and excited about the day. I happily make my way down the stairs and start to make my obligatory cup of hot green tea. I envision how the day is going to play out as I gather the food for breakfast. I think to myself, “today is going to be the day I nail this parenting thing!” I start to heat the oven and prepare my favorite meal of the day. I can’t wait to eat! “Really, today is going to be awesome,” I am telling myself. And then my children wake up.
I am sitting here on my couch eating my daughter’s leftover chocolate birthday cake pondering where to start with my blog. You are right; “leftover” does imply that this is, in fact, day two of the aforementioned cake. As I devour each layer covered in butter cream, I realize I should start in the simplest of places…start with the truth. And so it goes, here is my truth. I am eating chocolate cake (Thank you, Whole Foods!) while brainstorming ideas on healthy eating for the sake of children’s mental health.
The beginning of any step towards self-improvement begins with the truth; always the truth. There is no magic wand or magic pill for that matter. There is no shiny secret key that will unlock the door to stellar mental health for yourself or your family. We all have a choice in which path to take. So choose your path with great intention and start one step at a time and don’t forget to bring along your truth.