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After having 2 kids, and interviewing countless mamas, I have figured out the method to successful parenting. This method works with 100% success when implement as soon as possible. Ideally, to guarantee parenting bliss, you will embrace this method the moment you discover you’re expecting.
The secret to the being a successful, happy, semi-sane parent is this: Find what works for you, then do it without apology. Yep...it’s that simple. And when someone “shoulds” you, resist the urge to defend your choice, and respond with a gracious “Thanks, but this is what works for us.” Don't buy the lie that only one of you can be right, because here’s the secret, there is a beautiful and freeing magic in the word AND. There is enough room for all of it. All of the opinions, methods, studies; they all have a place. Much of modern parenting is all or nothing. If you’re not a babywearing, breastfeeding, organic buying mama, you’re basically killing your kids. To be fair, I do all those things AND sometimes I don’t, because being extreme in any style of parenting leaves little room for the new. You follow this person/ doctor/ blogger/ method/ group/ idea, and that’s it. Except that’s not IT. There is a whole world of AND out there:
You can babywear AND use a stroller, breastfeed AND use formula, sleep train AND co-sleep, stay at home AND work, use holistic remedies AND vaccinate, cloth diaper AND use disposables, let the baby set their schedule AND then follow it, attachment parent AND send them to school, buy organic AND make the occasional box of Kraft mac & cheese, encourage them to not be bound by stereotypes AND buy gender specific stuff, make excuses for their behavior AND support the teacher/adult, cook only vegetarian meals AND order your kid Chic-fil-a, sleep through night AND sometimes wake 3 times, care for your kid's privacy AND post on social media, call your daughter a “Princess” AND teach her not to be one, avoid yelling AND sometimes lose it...mostly over potty training, encourage independent play AND let them watch movies, read articles AND ask a doctor, ban ingredients from your house AND show grace when a well-meaning outsider gives it to them, be strict AND spontaneous, give love AND set boundaries, hold them close AND let them go...
The most authentic thing you can be as a parent is yourself. The best example you can set for your child is to embrace personal quirks and weirdness while allowing others to be quirky and weird too. The most important thing you can share is the courage to be YOU, without apology or aggression, in a world of extreme views. Speaking louder doesn’t mean you’re speaking righter. So put the book down, disconnect from those journals, fearlessly post the picture of your kid that you would prefer your “friends” didn’t see, and embrace your parenting. Differences are glorious, and no matter how different we all are we are the same because we are all just learning as we go. When you discover what works for you and your family, own it. You are a parent to your kids AND you’re good at it.
Like many of our crafts, this "magic hair" was inspired by a movie. After watching Tangled, Hadley decided she wanted some "magic hair" too. While she ate lunch, I went on a scavenger hunt around my house to find all the right materials. This is the best part of Quick Crafts, decluttering in the process! While the final product isn't exactly Disney perfect, she had a blast making it. This could easily be done with a white shirt and some snowflakes for the Frozen fan in your family. Or maybe a red shirt and some seashells! Black shirt and some forrest creatures...the possibilities are endless!
Step One: Gather
Find materials and obtain permission from hubby to cut shirt ;)
Get creative, and try not be too literal. Always remember, your goal is to have a little creative fun with your kiddo, not to brag on Pinterest (although I imagine that doing both is pretty awesome).
What I Gathered:
Step Two: Segment
Cut off sleeves, and cut shirt into 3 segments. There will actually be 6 "strips" but you will gather them into 3.
*Note: I went a little too high with the cuts. I would recommend cutting to the middle of the arm holes.
Step Three: Braid!
Seems pretty easy, but I had to redo it about 3 times.
I just tied the ends and wrapped them into the braid.
Double check the size on your little's head. I noticed my cutting error, and had to glue some gaps shut :)
Step Four: Flourish
Let your little decorate their hearts out. This ended up being a great way for Hadley to practice her lacing skills. I had to help with the flowers a little...but other than that, she was able to do it all by herself.
Although she refuses to wear it, she has carried around all weekend. Maybe one day I will get a shot of her actually wearing her wig :)
When I made the commitment to be a WAHM I envisioned daily crafts, and library trips. I would spend a whole year getting the hang of being at home before having a second child...ah, the ego of trying to plan life.
I found out I was pregnant with my second literally the DAY my WAHM journey officially started. Between a painful pregnancy, and having a newborn, the crafting supplies have been collecting dust the past year. Part of the reason we never craft is because the prep work is so intimidating. Between buying materials and setting everything up, crafting seemed overwhelming. So, taking a cue from people cook with what is on hand, I am going to craft with what is on hand. No pressure, no expectations for things to be perfect, just grabbing a few supplies and making memories.
Today's craft was inspired by the bright flowers in "The Book of Life." As my mini ate her snack, I looked around for supplies. This part was fun...kinda like a scavenger hunt! I knew my time was limited, so I had to think fast.
So these are pretty darn easy.
Having fun and fostering creativity doesn't have to be stressful. Be on the lookout for more quick crafts! Inspiration is everywhere!
I am not a diet girl; I am especially not detox girl. I haven't dieted since college, and I have never, ever attempted a detox (outside of the time I lost 5lbs. in 5 days because I only ate tomatoes and watermelon, but that was just because I purchased a lot of tomatoes and watermelon at the farmer's market. The weight loss was am unintended side effect). With a history of food issues, doing anything extreme with diet and/or exercise can lead me down a dangerous path. When I found myself stuck postnatally, I began searching for something, anything, to help get me back on track in a safe, chemical free way. looking over the @alohamoment 21-day real food detox, I was impressed. I had been using their Daily Good Greens for a while, so I trusted their quality. While I wasn't overly excited about following diet "rules", I liked that the plan wasn't about weight loss or achieving a "beach body," it was about getting healthy and clean. The 21-day detox was the way I SHOULD be eating. No tricks. No ingredients that make you pee or poop. No appetite suppressants. No calorie restrictions. No insane workouts. Simply eating right. I knew I was holding on to the extra baby weight because I had fallen into bad; bad, bad, BAD eating habits. With a newborn and a threenager, I had replaced sleep with sugar, and caffeine, and meals with all day grazing, ummm, snacking. I learned 3 important things during the detox while losing 7lbs and 10 inches (even while on a vaycay!). So here they are...the 3 things this reluctant detoxer learned.
1. Dairy = Puffer Fish! This breaks my heart to even write because I love cheese...I REALLY love cheese. And even though I had my suspicions about it's effect on my body, I clung to the belief I needed lots of dairy to supplement my protein intake. The detox made it clear that dairy not only makes me bloat horribly, but it also makes feel more emotional. I noticed this when I took a minor cheat during my vaycay and enjoyed some homemade spinach dip. I felt so off emotionally the next two days, not the mention the visible puff that took over my irritated body. I also found it harder to resist junk food after partaking. It's like my junk taste buds got temporally reactivated. Gross! While I'm bummed I cheated at all, what that little cheat showed me was crazy! I don't think I would have noticed it quite as acutely if I hadn't been detoxing. Will I cut out diary completely, probably not, will I cut back drastically...YES! Almond milk is my new BFF, and my little sidekick loves it too! And, most importantly, I actually don't crave cheese like I did before.
2. Eating Real Begets Eating Real. The first day of the detox was the worse. I wanted chocolate and french fries and pizza. Once I started eating real food for a few days, I could no longer stomach the thought of a lot of the junk I ate prior. All the foods at my family vaycay that were once my favorite, didn't even call to me as they once did. My taste buds actually changed in only 21 days! I don't feel deprived because I don't crave the junk any longer. I had the realization that when I eat junk, I crave junk; when I eat real, I crave real. It really has always been that simple. How could I not have noticed this sooner? This isn't a diet; it is eating in a way that keeps my body at it's best. Ironically, with my coffee IV removed and sugar snacks cut out, I found I had much more energy for things like playing with kids, going on adventures, nightly bike riding and, of course, YOGA.
3. I'm a Shake Girl! I NEVER ever thought I'd say that! I love making my daily Aloha protein shakes. They make me feel so good, and leave me feeling light. In the past, shakes have left me heavy and sluggish. After my Aloha moment, I feel full, but not stuffed. I've never had a problem with getting protein in past, but now I'm convinced my vegetarian body needed a little protein boost because I feel 100 times more awesome. Aloha's plant based protein is the bomb. The shake actually tastes good by itself...which is rare in protein shakes, and it mixes with anything! No chalky underflavor. My favorite smoothie is vanilla almond. I mix vanilla powder with almond milk, almond butter, chia seeds, cinnamon, and a little water...delicious.
I am so thankful that Aloha helped me break the junk cycle, and get a real jump start on my post-natal weight loss! I am glad I went out on a limb and gave their detox a try as this type of things is completely out of my character. The Aloha 21 day Real Food Detox has been life-changing and eye-opening! in 21 days, the way I eat as been altered for the better. But don't take my word for it...try it for yourself and clean up your internal act today :) Use code NamaMama and get 20% off your first yummy order.
I did something today that scared me. I attended a Paddle Board Yoga Class. Thinking about the class made the light in me terrified. I could fee; myself going a little dark. Was a scared of falling in the lake? No. Was I sacred of looking like a goofball? Absolutely not. Was I scared to go in front of a ton of people (and cameras) and have my 2 month postpartum body on display? Ding, ding, ding. I weigh more right now than I ever have outside of pregnancy, and while my logical side knows it's ok, normal, and HEALTHY, my eating disorder side creeps in a says it's not. That's the tricky thing about something like an eating disorder, it never really goes away. It's a forever battle. And while having the courage to attend a yoga class may not seem like a hug deal, it was for me. I had to make the choice to not give in to the darkness. I had to ignore the critic in my head, the comments for others, and my own expectations. I made the choice to enjoy life, where I am, AS I AM. And guess what? I had a blast! I also surprised myself. I was much stronger than I thought. Nicole from Pink Lotus Yoga Center ran a super fun and accessible class. She gave lots of options and created an atmosphere that fostered playfulness. I worked my edge in nearly every pose. I while I did fall in, I went down proudly.
I am so thankful that I have found yoga and the supportive family that comes with the practice. If you haven't done something outside your comfort zone in a while, I urge you to get to it! Go now! Be uncomfortable and shine anyway :)
I love Valentine's Day. I always have. Picking out the prefect Valentine for each classmate...dropping subtle hints to your crush while making it clear to other guys they fall in the "friend zone." What's funny is, that as much as get pumped about this holiday, I have never had a bad Valentine's Day despite my romantic status, nor can I recall one that was exceptionally romantic. So why do I love Valentine's Day? Simple; I love love. And I really love celebrating love! As I cuddled my little dude while watching my daughter and husband play I was reminded of the expansive quality of love. This ability to love more without loving less is something we should invite into our lives everyday.
When in Doubt, Love More- No, this is not advice for stalkers. It seems that the people we love are often the ones we get most frustrated with. It's easy to get angry..."why don't they make time for me?", "why are they so hard on me?", "why are they acting weird?"...but it's not so easy to recognize that it takes two to tango. If we really want to fix a hurt relationship we need to throw a little love on it. Maybe the relationship has run it's course, but it probably hasn't. Focus on the love, especially if the relationship is coming to an end. Sometimes people grow in different directions, and that's fine. Just because things go bad shouldn't mean the love disappears; it just changes. I have sadness and regrets over how relationships have ended, but I truly have love for each of these people. Love for being in my life, love for helping me grow, love for the happiness they brought me. There is no reason not to love them...the heart has room, and often the ones who leave are the ones who need love the most.
To Love is Enough- There is so much focus on being loved. Sadly, being loved will not guarantee happiness. True happiness lies in giving love. This is a lesson I learned from motherhood. Here is this little baby that does give me any confirmation that he feels any love for me, but that's OK, because giving him love is enough for me. I love the shit out of my kids! One day my daughter Hadley will a be a teenager, and she may even say that she hates me. And while that moment will hurt, my heart will not break because I love her. If she loves me back, that is just bonus. My love for her will not change. It seems we often view love in terms of an even exchange, but our job is not to get love, it is to give it. Plain and simple. We are here on this earth to give love...and that is enough.
Love Yourself- If we expect to have enough love to give, we need our own emotional well to be full. That means taking care of ourselves, and our emotions. It sometimes means letting go of what it is we need to release. Recently I had to release some hurt. I didn't realize how much hurt I was carrying around, and it affected my interactions with virtually everyone. Self-love would have meant being honest about the level of hurt I felt rather than burying it deep. Acting like I was fine was a lie to my heart. I wasn't fine, and as time went by I took things personally that probably weren't. Had I confronted the hurt, I could have more easily left it in the past rather than have it hurt me over and over. Self-love is not just about naps, massages, and eating right, it is about being honest with our feelings so that we can truly work through them. When our heart is in a healthy, open place we can help create love.
When You Look for Love, You Find Love- It is crazy how much love we can find around us if we merely look. Love is a powerful force, and it infuses everything. The person who held the door for me while I wrangled my three year old...they were showing love. The genuine smile from a yoga student after a class...that's love. The beauty of a sunset...love again. And the more love we find, the more love we get. Seeing love will allow our hearts to be open to all love the universe has to offer. Love creates more love! Love Actually nailed this idea in the opening sequence:
Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport.
General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that.
It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's
always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends,
old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the
people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it,
I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around.
The trick to this is to release expectations. If we look for love based on our expectations of what we should receive, then we will be constantly disappointed.
Open yours eyes to the bits of love that surround you everyday. Celebrate the Valentine's Day in everything, and you will find you have more cause for celebration.
Mama. Wifey. Yogi. Vegetarian. Artist. Teacher. Exploring mama-hood with a light heart and easy laugh.