Saturday, March 5

where do I fit?

Lets chat for a moment about what our American culture defines as the "super mom", One that does all!! I would like to share my perspective and what I have learned from my mistake and how I redefined my role and remembered who I was before children.

First lets talk about this idea of the self sacrificing-do-it-all mom and how it can be detrimental to fight against this unrealistic ideal. When women find they will be welcoming a baby into the world, we start to envision what this new role will look like. Its not the same for everyone, but the one thing that does remain the same for every mother is how to balance the woman she was before to who she will be after her children.

My personal situation is the perfect example. Before kids I studied graphic design with a BFA at university. I have always identified myself as an artist. I loved to paint, go out to eat gourmet food, go to art museums, drink coffee at cafes, travel, and go out to see music shows. I cared about my appearance and loved to shop vintage and thrift stores for fashion and home treasures. My favorite pass time was to get lost in a bookstore for the afternoon. My career was as a head designer at a printing company with a decent income and my own Roth IRA.

Now that I have children I can only name two of those things as identifiers or near the middle /low of my priority list. What happened?! How could what defined me before be a small shadow of who I am now? Well in American culture we take all of that "selfish" time and throw it out the window. Part of this is absolutely an important part of having a new baby. Babies have a fourth trimester outside of the womb for the first 100 days. Their breathing and body temperature is dependent on their mothers closeness. But, once this time is over many of us continue to give 100% to our babies/13 year old. Now this is dicey territory to navigate. Of course we give our helpless bundles of love all that they need, but my argument is that its a scale that over time gives back in small increments our former selves that so many other cultures of mothers practice.

Why do we stay stuck in give, give, give? Its trivial but does have some biological reasoning but most of it I argue is the load of "Mom Guilt" we inflict on ourselves and judge onto other women. Its a badge of honor for some mothers to be the all to everyone, but behind this impossibly perfect appearance of doing it all we forget who we are. This serves no one especially our cohorts in this parenting gig. Our love relationships dial to zero and kids become the space between. This is surely a recipe for disaster with our children and our spouses.

What happens when the lovely broad leaves the nest? Having solely depended on our role as mothers to dictate every decision we make we are left wondering what to do. So many marriages won't even make it to this pressure cooker point and will have fizzled within the first four to six years after children. If it does survive many couples will appear as strangers in a strange land with a whole lot of figuring out to do and some serious therapy lessons.

But there is a different path as I mentioned before! Its not all doom and gloom!! Having recently discovered the mothering manifesto of french women I will give you a different option. Its just not the french but many European family's define the mothering role with a much more functional attitude and culture. Both parents give themselves over the first 100 days to bond and become a family. This time then comes to an end and over time the mother regains her self and does not get lost in babeland and our babies do not replace our husbands. Its very unappealing to put a baby/child in a position of such power to be dictating choices for the mother and family in France. The mother eventually continues a life apart from her child to give a fresh breath to all of her loved ones. Its a balancing act but one that gives a healthier dynamic to each relationship.

Friday, March 4

Lets catch up- homeschool

So, as time as gone on I have home schooled little B for First Grade but now he is full time at a Waldorf inspired charter school here in Northern California. However I did really enjoy that time homeschooling but he really needed to be in a classroom for 2nd and now 3rd grade. I am homeschooling Little F with the same curriculum for 1st grade but waiting for a spot at the same school.  Age seven is such a special time and children really seem to do well staying a little closer to home as they transition developmentally into the second stage of childhood development. Biologically they have cellularly regenerated, which is a big stage unto itself.
With the first stage of development being directed by will  ages 0-7 now 7-14 is the big Feelings development.

"After age seven, a child’s world expands beyond the self, and with this expansion, they develop a great subtlety of feeling. Gannon explains that children’s feelings dominate their world in this stage as they move between joy and sadness and learn to manage these different emotions within the greater, more expansive world now open to them. 
The healthy feeling life of the child is supported by providing a context of beauty for all things, from simple movements to complex ideas. By appealing to their natural imaginative capacities, children can be encouraged to use these active feelings to connect to learning as a process.
It is at this time that children are ready for academic instruction, as long as it continues to appeal to social and physical realms and, even more so, the realm of feeling. This is why Waldorf grade school lessons are taught through engaging stories of trial and triumph. Children who sympathize and relate to a story in these years are moved to carry the information and process it in a deep and meaningful way that persists as they grow into a more conceptual and thinking way of being."
I realize now after learning this information that I was unaware of this development but it certainly played a huge role in the events that brought me to home school. This was our move to Alaska time frame and uprooting and experiencing life with uncertainty was a result. I wish that I had been informed on this stage and could understand and support in a more comprehensive way. I don't regret this precious time with the Little's but feel very ready to see them on their way to independence and feeling sure of themselves and safe to make choices with guidance. Also that its OK to feel sadness and as Brene Brown says in her latest book Rising Strong, its how we pick ourselves up and continue and learn from our challenges that matter most!

Thursday, February 11

Lost in time...

Were did the time go....I just updated the about me section on the boys ages, it was shocking to see 3 & 5. They are now 7 & 9!!!! Wow it seems like yesterday I was doing life with littles and now they are school aged and independent little men. My poor little blog got lost in the dust of time. I really really miss this space as a journal and photo chronicle of our life. I look back and love reading the post from the early years. I miss the connection to other moms and creatives in the great big blogesphere. I'm taking my blog off of the dusty shelve and trying to re-engage with all of you again. It gets harder as the kids get older but I'm facing some serious lifestyle shifts and new personal choices with the boys that come from their independence and peer influence. I wan to communicate the struggles and the joys of children that are not so happy in photographs anymore. Come back with me on this journey and for the love of Pete give me some advice!!

Wednesday, March 12

Rainbow Breathing Exercise and Worksheet


I wanted to create an easy introduction to mindful breathing for children that have minds that wonder or bore easy with meditation. This exercise may take practice with an adult depending on age but once breathing and reading size is mastered it can be laminated and tucked away for easy access in a classroom at home or school. Instead of busy work it can be implemented as a transition tool for students that have finish their work and are waiting for Mom or teacher to prompt the next lesson.
The exercise is about 2-3 minutes once through but can be repeated as needed. Please use and spread these as mindful resource tools.

Monday, March 10

mindful bites-GF & Vegan

We can't seem to live without these energizing mind bites lately. As soon as I make them they disappear! The ch- cha- chia adds in some superfood power and not to mention the flax packs a good supply of plant based Omega 3.

Mindful Bites

1 cup almond butter
2 cups GF oats
1 heaping tablespoon chia
1/2 cup ground flax
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tablespoons maple syrup-grade B

1 cup dried fruit or chocolate chips

Add all the ingredients together in a bowl and then its time to use your hands to mix it all together. Whenever a recipe calls for hand mixing I always visualize positive energy leaving my hands and absorbing into the food-just a little extra love and Reiki!
Once everything is incorporated make one large ball and refrigerate for 15-25 minutes to help soften the oats. After refrigerated simply roll separate bites about 1 inch diameter and store in the fridge.

Mindful homeschool activity sheet and download


I am sharing another free worksheet for teaching mindfulness to children. This one is very simple and appropriate for young minds. Please use and share!

Friday, March 7

mindful music worksheet & download


As part of our homeschool curriculum I have the boys listen to various types of music and then work on our music visual worksheet. Some of the most interesting and creative things come out of these lessons. The art work and feelings that are evoked are wonderful to see.