“When people ask me what I do, I always say I am a mother first.”--Jacqueline Jackson
Need a break? Of course you do! Put the "mom appliance" on pause and practice a little self-care with these affordable mini-breaks to energize your mind, body, and soul well beyond last month's Mother's Day.
1) Dream Steam: Put your smart phone in an empty mug to amplify the sound and head for the bathroom. Find the Reggae station on Pandora, or your favorite music streaming site, grab some (preferably tropical) body wash and take a shower or bath. Mini vacation. You're welcome.
Even Better: Get the house to yourself so you won't be wondering if the kids tired of watching Caillou and suddenly learned how to turn on the stove top while you were soaking.
2) Paint Alleviate: Buy an inexpensive canvas, some acrylic paints and a few paintbrushes from your local craft or art supply store. Tell the kids it's time for everyone to play in their room for 30 minutes, then find a place you can set up your creative space. It doesn't matter what you paint, or if this happens to be your first painting ever. Putting color to canvas can free some pent-up emotions that need to make an exit.
Even Better: Find a nail and a hammer. When the paint dries, you can hang your original art, which will remind you that you are more than a milk producing, toilet cleaning machine.
3) Brain Gain: The Lumosity app (or website), with games like Pinball Recall and Color Match, are designed to help you find a bit more focus and think a mite more clearly. Three brain games in under ten minutes, and you'll feel like a champion when you beat your previous best score. Another personal favorite app - Fit Brains by Rosetta Stone. According to Dr. Paul Nussbaum of Fit Brains, engaging in brain health activities regularly can "balance your mood and help reduce stress and anxiety that can cloud thinking or even damage the brain."
Even Better: Combine this activity with a bag of chocolate chips (okay maybe not a bag, but a handful), just because you can.
4) Endorphin Morphin': Yes, all the research is TRUE. Along with physical benefits of increased strength and fitness, exercise releases wonderful chemicals called endorphins. These are your body's own personal opiates, and they can lessen anxiety and depression, improve your sleep, and reduce your perception of pain and stress. Even if you can't get to the gym, I challenge you to do something every day. Jumping jacks while the kids are getting dressed. Lunges down the hallway while they're brushing their teeth. You Tube or Comcast fitness videos are available all day. Try one BEFORE you check Facebook during naptime!
Even Better: Get to the gym, or take a brisk walk outside.
Heather Doran, free lance writer.
Just in time for Valentines here is a little something to put a little smile on your face. Adults recently posed the question “What does love mean” to a group of children aged between 4-8 years old and below are their wonderfully creative, wise, inventive and innocent answers.
Please share which ones are your favorite!
“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.” Rebecca – age 8
“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.” Billy – age 4
“Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.” Mary Ann – age 4
“I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.” Lauren – age 4
“When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.” Karen – age 7
“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it’s gross.” Mark – age 6
“Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.” Danny – age 7
“Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss.” Emily – age 8
“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” Bobby – age 7
“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.” Nikka – age 6
“There are two kinds of love. Our love. God’s love. But God makes both kinds of them.” Jenny – age 8
“Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.” Noelle – age 7
“Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.” Tommy – age 6
“During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore.” Cindy – age 8
“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” Karl – age 5
“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.” Chrissy – age 6
“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.” Terri – age 4
“My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.” Clare – age 6
“Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.” Elaine -age 5
“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.”Chris – age 7
“You really shouldn't say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.” Jessica – age 8
“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”
by Heather Doran
Halloween became a much more interesting holiday once I had a baby. I was really looking forward to dressing up my daughter, and online the costume choices were limitless - bunnies, sunflowers, a teeny Princess Leia - but the prices were limiting. I couldn't understand paying that amount of money for something she would wear once, and fit into for 5 seconds. (And no, this logic did not apply to my wedding dress, in case you were wondering).
Granted, looking back, my choice for that first costume wasn't the most conventional. Some might even say it bordered on sacrilege. I just thought "Hey, I bet I can make something for less than a dollar!" I'm not the crafty type. My sewing ability remains at the "re-attach a button" level. But what I lack in skill, I like to think I make up in resourcefulness. So, a few days before the big costume party, I took an existing cream-colored sleep sack and a diaper, added 39 cents of yellow felt with double stick tape, and there it was: Baby Pope.
It was not a political statement, a religious statement, or a feminist statement. It was a costume. It was pretend. And Avery stood out among the adorable baby animals at the Halloween party. She really stood out. A lion, a koala, a tiger...the Pope? What was I thinking? My pride of having created something unique was replaced with a fear of having gone overboard. Oh no! She doesn't fit in! Will they not include her in their future applesauce and cracker soirees? Should I have dressed her as a kitten?
Now she's three-and-a-half, and she's been an animal every single day for at least a year. "Mama, I'm a puppy, I'm a cat, I'm a red-ruffed LEEEMUR!!" She can be an animal for many Halloweens to come. Baby Pope may have come from sleep-deprived new mama madness, but it was pretty fun (and inexpensive!) to figure out what I could do with what I already had.
What are your favorite Halloween costume memories?
I have often wondered what is happening in the brains of young children. How do they learn so much in such a short period of time? I am in awe of the constant state of growth and development through which children are going. Their brains have vast abilities far beyond the adult brain, but this also means they are far more susceptible to consequences of negative life experiences. I found this video and thought "what a great resource to keep reminding ourselves how sensitive we need to be to children's development". Please take a look and share it with others.