By Cheryl Goodman of A Few Goodmans
Just a few weeks ago, I had a handful of moments where I was beyond overwhelmed. While it may be part postpartum, I knew it has got to be something else. I know because I have been in this space before far too many times. You know, the one where we try to do it all.
This time around, I know there is no such thing. If such is the case, how do we then get some things done?
I stumbled upon Jessica Turner’s The Fringe Hours last month and what a timely blessing it was. I was reminded of what I can do to take care of me when I find myself in this old familiar space of wrestling with balance.
Here are ways I am able to restore balance in my days:
1. I rally my village for support
It is a gift to learn how to ask and receive help. As I self-professed DIY-er, this is something that is still taking me time to learn. I am fortunate to have a husband that helps out equally with both household and child-rearing duties. I am also blessed to have extended family and friends who I know I can count on when a breather is in order. When a neighbor offers to drop off a meal when I am sleep deprived to make one, I gladly accept. If your village includes house help or nanny, by all means, delegate some of the work without the guilt. We can all recognize that on some days that we do not accomplish not very much, it is okay to ask and accept help.
2. Complete tasks according to priority
My family is the priority in this season of my life. For you it may be work, or school or combination of sorts. The bulk of my time is spent caring for my husband, two preschoolers and a newborn. When confronted with the daily decision of what needs to be done today, I go back to where my priorities lie. Everything that I complete first relates to my family, all else come second. When I keep this in check, I avoid spreading myself too thin with other things that come my way.
3. Say yes and also say no
While it is quite tempting to say yes to everything that comes across my plate, recognizing my priorities (see above) makes it easier for me to know when to say yes and when to say no. Given such, I say no to duties in mommy clubs but yes to playdates with friends. I say yes to nature walks with my little ones. I say yes to book reads during nap times. I say no to excessive time online. I say no to things that take me away for what truly matters to my heart and I say yes to things that re-energizes me so I can fulfill what God has tasked me to do.
4. Find “me time” and make it blissful
Everyone is given the same 24 hours in a day. It is all upto us how we are going to spend it. After spending some time reflecting on how much time I unknowingly waste, I become more intentional with how I spend my days. I search for pockets of time in the day and spend it on me.
I prepare what I will need to make for the family breakfast early so I have extra time for a warm, luxurious, quiet bath. I lessen my time scrolling endlessly on social media and spend more time reading and going outside for walks. Identify your time wasters and turn those pockets of time into your joy givers.
So, take some time for yourself, get the massage you told yourself you will get (regardless of whatever season you are in your life). Give yourself permission to rest, renew, and to really slow down.
“You can’t do everything, so don’t fall into the trap of trying. Instead, find the moments in each aspect of your life that invigorate you, and imbalance your life towards those.” Marcus Buckingham
Let’s encourage each other! I would love to hear how are you planning to use your fringe hours?
Ton and I were pretty, er, sharp shooters planning both my pregnancies. Haha! There were no problems with how to make babies, we just didn’t want a lot of kids. That is cool with us.
Through the years, people have asked us, “When will Vito have a brother or sister?” and we’d always wonder why he had to have one. Was baby-making a competition? Was I obligated to produce a sibling for my son? The same questions as those in this article in Babble.com, baffled me.
Krista came five years after Vito came into our lives, so we can finally answer that question, “Do you want more kids?” with a “yes.” Usually at this point, people stop asking the question, but there will likely be others who’ll ask “Don’t you want a third? A fourth?” And at this point, my answer has been “No.” I mean, if a third pregnancy happens, then well and good. We’ll be thrilled!
But right now, I’m calling it “done” at two kids. And whatever happens, I don’t think my husband and I should be judged if we don’t want anymore after Krista. I used to think I loved kids and wanted to have an entire brood, until I had one child to raise. I realized that I deeply love MY kids (and my gorgeous nephews and nieces), but I’m not a “kid” person. Those years working in a preschool didn’t make me one either, nor did seven years of tutoring grade schoolers or a lifetime of service in the youth ministry of our church group.
I’m a “I love my kids” type of person, but I don’t like all kids in general.
It’s hard enough to raise one kid right; what more the two kids I have now? Of course I believe God will give me the grace to be a mother to as many kids as He will allow me to have, but spirituality aside, I’d like to think I have been given all that I can manage!
This article came about after I’d read some pretty good parenting articles this week. You may want to visit them:
Please Don’t Ask Us About Siblings (Babble.com)
Children who spend time with their fathers have a high IQ
Strong Is the New Pretty (Today.com)
10 Commandments for Raising Strong Daughters
By Cheryl Goodman of Not Just Yum
What does it mean to raise a mighty girl and how do you raise one to be such?
Mighty girls are strong, powerful, and competent. They know who they are, what they love and what they are good at. They can make positive choices that reflects who they truly are. They can speak for themselves. Mighty girls are confident and are not limited by obstacles. Mighty girls recognize when self-doubt creeps in and knows how to navigate through these feelings to choose their true selves.
“Girls do not have to be relegated to the role of sidekick or damsel in distress; they can be the leaders, the heroes, the champions that save the day, find the cure, and go on the adventure.” – A Mighty Girl
Here are some of ways to help you raise your daughters into mighty girls.
Allow her a voice and a choice.
Allow your daughter a chance to choose and own her choice. Within reasonable limits, let her choose her clothes she wants to wear. Let her have a say on what activities she wants to be involved in and how many. Give her a chance to change her mind if things don’t work out. Childhood is the time to try different things and to find out what she does and doesn’t like. Allowing her to make decisions about her life this early will allow her the confidence to be responsible for the life choices she will make later on in her life.
Encourage her to pursue what she loves and to “show up”.
Whether it is dance, soccer or math camp, encourage your daughter to be 100% involved. It is naturally hard to stay committed and be good at something you don’t particularly feel passionate about. Instead of having her participate in every kind of activity available, have her pursue what she loves and want to be good at. Developing skills and competency as she grows up will boost her self-esteem and allow her the confidence to keep on growing and learning.
Allow her to problem solve instead of problem fixing for her.
When one of my daughters come to me with a situation, I often find myself wanting to just fix it for them. It is the easier road and we can get on with our day. However, by doing so, I just rob them of the skill to develop the strategies to deal with a situation. See, the true test of learning is when she is able to make wise choices even when you are not looking.
So the next time she comes to you with a situation, instead of fixing, walk the situation with her. Ask her for ways she can best address it and the possible outcomes with each choice. Allow her to decide her course of action within reasonable limits. By doing so, you allow her to be responsible for her actions and decisions.
Model the mighty by being a mighty mom (or dad!).
Just as they have always said, it starts from home. Over time, our way of thinking becomes their way of thinking. How we are as individuals says a lot more than our words. If you want your daughter to grow up confident, she will best learn it by the confidence she sees in you. She will see how you are in situations and the life choices you make. You may think she is not paying attention but she is and she will revert back to these moments when she finds herself confronted by a similar circumstance. So, identify your values that you want her emulate and model by choosing well.
Here is a list of resources worth checking out to help you raise your Mighty Girl.
- A Mighty Girl is great resource you may want to check out for lists of books, movies, tv shows that provide a positive representation of strong women.
- GoldieBlox is a toy company out to show the world that girls deserve more choices than dolls and princesses.
- Budding Stem and Princess Awesome are kickstarter campaigns that provide clothing options for girls. Instead of the typical clothing lines found in the market, they are making clothes for young girls who aspire to explore the universe or dig for dinosaurs.
Let’s encourage each other! What other ways can you think of that can help raise our daughters to be strong and confident girls? We would love to hear your ideas. Please share below:
By Maricel Mendoza of A Sweet Cottage
I believe in having individual dates not only with our husbands but also with each of our children. I am guilty of not being able to do this often as we always go out as a family. Having one on one time with our kids is very important as this is the time that we can talk about things in their lives that they are not comfortable sharing with the whole family. This is most needed by our daughters. You know: girl bonding!
As mothers we are ideally our daughter’s guide, confidante and friend. They will be going through things in their lives that only we, as mothers can help them through. I have a daughter entering her teens and I am really bracing myself with the issues that will be coming our way. My prayer is that God will use me as a mother, mightily in her life. That I will be a good example to her, and that like a shepherd, can guide her in the paths that she will take.
On that note, here are some meaningful dates that we can have with our daughters. Taking them out and bonding with them can never start too early! Let us enjoy this Women’s Month by training up our daughters to be great, confident and love-filled women!
I want to share 5 Meaningful Date ideas that we can do with our daughters, and at the same time bond and be able to talk to them about the important things in life that we would want them to learn. It will be more meaningful than just merely spending time with them, because we will use these dates to teach them values that will guide and mold them. I hope that you will find something here that you will do and enjoy with your beloved daughter.
The Salon Date
Who doesn’t like a trip to the salon? To beautify, relax and have me time?! But we can turn this activity into a “we time”! My friends who do not have daughters, always says that how they wish they had one to share a day at the salon with. On the other hand, moms who are blessed with daughters, sometimes forget that they were given a girl friend to have fun with and raise!
What to do: Make an appointment for you and your daughter with your favorite salon, and have a hair cut or hair treatment. You can also have foot spa or any other service that you and your daughter will enjoy.
What to talk about: Take this time to talk to your daughter about PHYSICAL BEAUTY. This date is a great opportunity to teach your child about beauty, inside and out.
Teachable moment: While looking in the mirror of the salon, ask your daughter what she likes about herself physically. Most probably, like most tweens or teens they would answer you with a negative comment like “ my nose is too big”, “ I have funny looking eyebrows”, “my thighs are humongous!”. Tell them that it’s your turn to tell them what you find beautiful in them. Tell them the beautiful aspects that you see in her face and body. Let her know how special she is or how her eyes sparkle when she smiles. Build her confidence and her body image. Tell her that she is special and unique. Talk to her about how beauty on the outside is just secondary to the beauty that comes from within.
Bible verse about beauty: “You should clothe yourselves with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” – 1 Peter 3:4
The Shopping Date
Hit the mall with your date! But tell her also that you will just give her a certain budget to buy a piece of clothing. Tell her that you also have a budget to buy something for yourself. The fun part is that you will choose clothes for her and she will choose something for you! This will open both your eyes to each other’s sense of style, and will surely give both of you loads of laughter!
What to do: Set a reasonable budget for both of you. Choose a mall where both of you will be able to find something that you like (and can fit!).
What to talk about: Dressing appropriately and contentment. Talk about how a person dresses tells a lot about a person. Talk about modesty and the importance of it in the way we dress. As you give her the budget for the shopping day, talk to her about being a contented and shopping within your means.
Teachable moment: As you choose clothes for her, explain to her why you chose that outfit. Tell her that it’s within the budget, it’s pretty and most especially it’s appropriate for her age. As for her choosing an outfit for you, that is mostly for the comic relief of it! Hehe! Try on whatever she wants you to try on! Laugh together!
Bible verse about beauty and budget: “I desire…that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.“ – 1 Timothy 2:8-10
A Quiet Tea Time
Now it’s time to talk…
What to do: Choose a quiet and nice place to have snacks and tea/hot choco with your date. Get yourselves seated at a corner or at a place that is far from the other customer’s earshot.
What to talk about: Love. Express to your daughter how special she is to you. How much you love her and how you would give your life for her. Talk about the love of God for her. Ask her about her opinions about relationships. Listen to her stories.
Teachable moment: I want to share with you what I learned from church about loving and getting into a relationship – “Get in in a relationship only if you are ready to marry.” Talk to her about choosing the right person and waiting for the right time. Talk about boy-girl relationships and waiting for the right person, and the right time to go into a relationship. Talk about waiting on God to give you THE ONE, and while waiting, keeping yourself pure. Scary!
Bible verse about waiting on God: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11
Visit the Grandparents
For this date, visit your parents with your daughter.
What to do: Call ahead and tell your parents that you will drop in for a visit. Buy food to bring for lolo and lola.
What to talk about: On the way to your parents house, talk to your daughter about your childhood. Incidents where you failed to obey your parents and how each episode ended up. Talk about the importance of obeying the parents and how the heart of parents is always for the good of the child. Talk about the consequences of disobedience.
When you get to lolo and lola’s house, ask your parents to tell stories as when you where small — how you were as a child, as a teenager and as a young adult. Ask them about the rules they had for you and why they made those rules. Ask them that as a parent to another parent, what they can advice you on how you can bring up your kids.
Teachable moment: On your way home, process the conversations you had with the grandparents. Talk about the importance of obedience and honoring the parents and how this will guide her through life. Talk about your love and respect for your own parents and how you will never be who you are and where you are without them. Talk about how parents are not perfect and that at times commit mistakes too, but that they always deserve the children’s love and respect, no matter what.
Bible verse about obedience to parents: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. – Ephesians 6:1
Now it’s your Turn.
What to do: Think of a MEANINGFUL DATE that you can have with your daughter. Share what you think is a great date and what lesson can be taught in that date. Looking forward to your thoughts and sharing! Get your calendars out and set a date for one of these date ideas with your daughter! Have fun!
By Tina Rodriguez of Truly Rich Mom
“Mama, I like this — eating together with the T.V. off!” one of my children happily said during one evening. “Yeah, me, too, Ma!” another child chimed in. “This is fun!”
We were all seated together at our tiny dining table, which was given to us—”pre-loved”—by a generous tito and friend from the Catholic community for which we had worked fulltime. I remember we didn’t have anything fancy on the menu for that night (I think we were even having leftovers!) but just the fact that we were all together—eating and chatting about our day, with no distractions—definitely made a difference.
You see, prior to that fateful night, my husband (whom I love dearly and pray for every single day, thank you very much! 🙂 ) and I had fallen into the habit of watching the evening news on T.V. — which usually coincided with dinnertime with the kids. (Yes, even if we knew that it wasn’t the best thing to do.)
We didn’t think that it was such a big deal, though, since we rarely watched T.V. during the day anyway. However, the impact it had on our kids made us rethink our nightly news-watching habit, and I’m proud to say that we’ve stuck to our “no screen time, no gadgets” rule during mealtimes as much as possible since then. (With the occasional “lapses” — during which our kids remind us of the rules! Ha, ha!)
Why is family dinnertime so important anyway? Is it really that much of a big deal, so much that we need to be intentional about it?
Research shows that the answer to the latter question is a resounding YES.
To quote Anne Fishel, an associate clinical professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School:
“For starters, researchers found that for young children, dinnertime conversation boosts vocabulary even more than being read aloud to.
For school-age youngsters, regular mealtime is an even more powerful predictor of high achievement scores than time spent in school, doing homework, playing sports or doing art.
Children who eat regular family dinners also consume more fruits, vegetables, vitamins and micronutrients, as well as fewer fried foods and soft drinks.
In addition, a stack of studies link regular family dinners with lowering a host of high risk teenage behaviors parents fear: smoking, binge drinking, marijuana use, violence, school problems, eating disorders and sexual activity.”
The list of benefits of having distraction-free family meals goes on, and you can read about them here, here and here, for starters.
I remember a post I wrote for Philstar.com, around four years ago. It was about the importance of family mealtimes, inspired by a campaign for National FaMEALy Day. Although it was connected to a brand that our family no longer uses, it still speaks of great reasons for eating together as a family. You can see some of those reasons in this video.
Of course, the key to a fruitful family dinnertime is being 100% present. Which means no gadgets, screens, and other distractions. (Challenging, I know, but we can do this!)
It’s also important that we engage with our kids and maintain the dining table as a “conflict-free” zone. Let’s try to reserve our parental
criticisms corrections for another time and place (to be done in a gentle, loving manner, of course! I know, easier said than done, right?! Again, we can do this!)
I must confess that even if I work at home, and homeschool our children, I am not as intentional about being “all there” for them as I should be. I can be distracted during mealtimes (or any other time, for that matter) or, worse, downright grouchy, wishing that everyone would just be done eating so I can clear the table and wash the dishes, plus do whatever else needs to be done before calling it in for the day! (Unless my husband gets to the dishes first, which he usually tries to do, bless him! 😉 )
So I know… I know how tough it can be — especially if you don’t work at home, and don’t homeschool, and your family’s routine is so much more complicated than ours is! Still, having regular, meaningful interactions with each family member should be something we all strive for, yes?
In today’s fast-paced world, where, ironically, social media can make us more anti-social, let’s try to give our families the gift of time, and take a break from our gadgets and other distractions. Let us heed the words of Pope Francis:
“…we squander our God-given gifts by tinkering with gadgets… we turn in on ourselves. We forget to remain focused on the things that really matter.”
Family dinnertime, family game nights, family “field trips,” family read-aloud time… however we go about it, let’s do this for our families. After all, the people in our family are—and should be—the most important people in our lives. Let us focus on them, on “the things that really matter.”
Is family dinnertime a “sacred” thing in your home? How do you spend meaningful time together as a family? Let’s share with one another in the comments!