New Foods

We’re now on the backside of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. It’s something that I think a lot of people I know struggle with from time to time and I thought it pertinent to mention. Also of importance is this great post I read over the weekend:

I was looking at my calendar the other day and planning out meals through the end of March and into April. I like to rotate things, especially our staples: Mexican food, something grilled, something seafood, something pasta, and breakfast for dinner. We usually eat something from each category each week because I try to bring a balance of what my kids will already eat to exposing them to a little something new and also a dash of what I WANT from time to time. Continue reading “New Foods”

TOLT – Who Is This Mythical Superwoman?

I haven’t done a TOLT in awhile and I thank Amanda for continuing to host these great round-ups of talented bloggers! I’m writing this post in advance because of the week I’m having. What kind of week is that? It’s a birthday week for my oldest who is officially 6 as this posts! I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting lately on what it means to be the kind of mom who stays at home, works part time, is a fitness professional, etc, etc. All of the roles I play. I’ve written about roles before and you’re more than welcome to read those posts here:

TAG: ROLES

Instead of bragging about all of the things that I can accomplish this week; today I’m going to play a game: What I thought it would be like vs. What it’s really like.

Stay-At-Home-Mom

What I thought it would be like: Soooo much time to get everything done and lots of time for myself. My children would play and interact with me and life would be bliss.

What it’s really like: Nothing gets done on the schedule I expected. When all I had was my one infant son I could easily clean our small apartment, walk the dog, and make dinner for my husband and I sometime before midnight while also breastfeeding, doing laundry, etc. But now, with two headed in two different directions and with the stay-at-home part dwindling little by little each year, I don’t know how things will ever get truly finished or caught up. Some of this is my natural ability to procrastinate and some of it is that we expect too much of any one person in our household. The kids don’t always play when you need them to, they want your attention when it’s least convenient, there needs to be time for you alone, you and your husband, you and your friends (not just during play dates) etc.

Working From Home

What I thought it would be like: Nap times are the perfect time to sit down at the computer and magically get it all done in about 2 hours….right? And I would get so many job offers because of my ability to work so thoroughly and quickly.

What it’s really like: Sometimes nap time doesn’t happen and Word World has to babysit for a few minutes while I review a course, type an email, post grades, etc. I used to teach online courses and my students would complain about the amount of work I gave them….as if I didn’t understand what it was like to work, have a family, have a life, and do schoolwork……who do you think is grading all of your assignments people? And developing them? And answering your emails/texts/phone calls when you have questions/complaints/computer errors?

Working Outside of the Home

What I thought it would be like: Total sadness and missing my babies at every waking moment. They would cry without me and no one would take care of them as well as I could. Something bad would happen at every moment and I would be riddled with the guilt of being away from them.

What it’s really like: Well, part of that is true for me. I do feel guilty and sad when I miss things that I enjoy with them, like tucking them in at night and reading to them. I do not think that anyone feeds them as well as I do and I’m sure they watch way too much tv when I’m not with them. However, there’s a flip side to that. I actually get to be grown up me when I’m at work. There are people who see me as me and as a professional in the field that I have worked in for so long, gone to school for, and care so deeply about the standard of! There are moments of bliss when I’m meditating and imparting wisdom to others. There are moments of bliss when I’m learning from others.

Being a Fitness Professional and a Mom

What I thought it would be like: Because I have all of the knowledge, I would be incredibly fit throughout my pregnancy. I would feed my babies all organic and homemade food. We would do Mommy & Me yoga together from Day 1. I would jog with them in the jogging stroller and win races and still have a beautiful two piece swimwear body….forever…..with no softness or stretchmarks or signs of aging…..EVER!

What it’s really like: I don’t know how the women who meet that ideal do it, but I know I ate Taco Bell more than once with each of my pregnancies. I napped a lot during the first one and gave up running during the first trimester when I thought I would throw up and have a migraine headache from listening to my mp3 player while I ran. I did exercise and teach until he was born and I did make him baby food (most of the time) and I did start back to jogging with him as soon as I was cleared to. What didn’t happen was my stomach never returned and was even more destroyed with the second child (see here) and we did Family Yoga with the big one, but the little one hates it. I do have two very active kids and I have pushed them in the stroller, pulled them behind my bike, and encouraged them to help me with my workouts as much as humanly possible. I lost a lot of weight each time due to breastfeeding, and currently weigh in around 140lbs (more than before each of them), but I’m okay with that (see here). Having “all of the knowledge” means squat in the middle of labor and cravings and tired mornings when your baby cried and nursed all night while teething. It means nothing when it means not putting yourself first in other ways.

I guess this is the one area in which blogging has helped me to realize, it’s okay to not be perfect….

I mean, Who is this mythical Superwoman of a Mom anyway?!

20170126_072420

Meditation Monday #26 – Reflections on Parenting

I plan to meditate on something else as well this afternoon, but lately I’ve been reflecting on my parenting and being the parent I want to be. I have made mistakes already along the way; I think we all have and all do at some point. So, I have two choices:

  1. Keep going and flying by the seat of my pants as I have been doing lately….or
  2. Go back to what was working when things were good

I’m sure you can guess which option seems more appealing to me at the moment. This is kind of like a pro’s/con’s list when it comes to changing your yoga/fitness/lifestyle routine in any sense. What’s easiest? Usually the answer to that is to stay the course we’re currently on. What’s best? That one is a little harder to answer.

For me, what’s best is to go back and re-institute the parenting techniques that were working for me when I had the best relationship with my children. Right now there’s a lot of fear of time-out and having things taken away and of other “punishments” in our house. Fear is not the place that I want to live from and I don’t want my children to live from a place of fear either.

Some people have told me that children are not little people and I’ve wrestled with this idea a lot over the years…..what is it that they’re truly lacking that doesn’t make them as “human” as adults? When doe we develop it? And lately I’ve been watching a documentary series on Netflix called The Beginning of Life: The Series. Image result for the beginning of life the seriesIt’s six different episodes and each one breaks down a different element of the young human child (including loss of childhood due to other circumstances). In watching this series there are a wide variety of experts in the field of child development who are interviewed; including teachers in Montessori schools. My oldest son currently attends a Montessori school and he went to a Montessori preschool last year that my youngest will attend this fall. So, I started thinking about Montessori and all the other things that were being presented in this series and a light-bulb came on for me. It was an AHA! moment…..enlightenment in yoga.

At my son’s school he treats his teacher’s with respect and they do the same. He is taught how to express his emotions and thoughts verbally. He is taught to talk it out when things are not going his way. At home he is a much different person and it is a much different environment. At home, recently, respect has been demanded and consequences many. This is not how it always was and now I see more defiance in his attitude toward me. I see him physically getting upset and jumping up and down when I let the shark music take over and I refuse to listen to him. We are in a struggle for power when truly, if I were to respect him I would have the power I feel I need. He would cooperate if I would listen and show him he is heard. I used to do that…..

When my son was first learning how to speak I did not demand that it was perfect. I helped and I listened and I tried to communicate with him in many ways so as to understand what he wanted and needed. I think we forget that part of parenting once language is developed, as children become more and more self-sufficient. But, I need to remind myself of all of the ways in which his self is still developing, his brain is still developing, his happiness is still developing. At almost 6 he is not self-sufficient and he has needs for love and attention and to explore his world just as he did at 6 months. He still needs protection and patience.

So, be it wrong or right, I plan to turn back to my old way of parenting….of talking….of showing respect and patience for a journey that is nowhere near complete. It will be hard to break these habits, but anything worth doing is worth doing right. We all have our struggles in life and currently mine is understanding how to be a better parent to my children. As I meditate, I cultivate patience and understanding of who I am, how I am, what I want out of this life with them….what I want out of life for them…

If you’re looking for some good books to read on this subject, check out my post here

Meditation Monday #8: Relations

and other books by the same authors!

Have you checked in lately on your parenting?

Do you think that children are little people or not?

What is your meditation for this week?

Limited Choices and Holiday Eating

My son’s school sent out this article that I think you all should read. At the bottom I have some thoughts related to the article and the upcoming holiday season and specifically eating during the holiday season.  This article is super applicable if you have children, work with children, interact regularly with children, or know adults that are like children….Enjoy!

LIMITED CHOICES

By Chip DeLorenzo, M.Ed.

One of the first classroom management tools that many of us learned, to redirect or set limits with children, is limited choices. This month, I’d like to explore this topic in some detail. I have found that the term limited choice is used frequently among Montessori educators, but just as often, it is used without an understanding of the principles behind the discipline tool that make it a respectful and effective way to interact with children and set clear and appropriate boundaries. Without an understanding of the principles, a discipline tool simply becomes a technique. Techniques fail because they are focused on the adult and the adult’s priorities, rather than on the child. The child becomes an object rather than the subject when the adult tries to employ a discipline tool as a technique. Let’s first explore the principle behind limited choices. Using limited choices is a respectful way to set limits with children while honoring their right and capability to make appropriate choices for themselves, while respecting others. Limited choices let the child know that they are part of plan, but that there are limits that are developmentally appropriate and respectful to everyone involved. Next, let’s explore what a limited choice is. A limited choice is simply a decision, given to a child by an adult, between two or more alternatives. The alternatives should be developmentally appropriate, reasonable, respectful and acceptable to the child, the adult and for the situation. Some examples of appropriate, respectful and acceptable limited choices: “You may eat the lunch your mother packed you, or you may make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for yourself. You choose.” “You may put away your yogurt first, or your cracker first. Which one do you choose?” “You may scoop the beans off the floor with your hands, or with a whisk broom and dustpan. What would you like to use?” “You may finish your math now, or after you eat snack. You choose?” “Would you like to bring him the Peace Rose, or put this on the class meeting agenda?” “You may write a report on any of the fundamental needs of the Ancient Romans. Please make your decision by tomorrow before lunch.” “You have four overdue assignments. You’re welcome to do them after school while I’m preparing my lessons, come in early and work on them in morning care, or bring them home for the weekend. Which would you prefer?” Adults, without realizing it, can find themselves in power struggles with students when they misunderstand the principles behind limited choices. This happens when an adult gives a student choices that are not developmentally appropriate, reasonable, respectful or acceptable to the child, the adult or the situation. Here are some examples: “You may put your lunch away or go sit in the office.” (This is a threat, and not acceptable to the child.) “You may come inside with the group, or stay on the playground by yourself.” (This is also a threat, and most likely an empty one that the adult cannot follow through with. It is not acceptable to the adult or the situation.) “You may put your lunch away, or leave it on the floor to be stepped on.” (This is not acceptable or respectful to the situation and the community.) “Would you like to do your math now, or during recess.” (This may not be respectful or acceptable to the adult who has other responsibilities after school, and not respectful to the student who needs time outside.) “You may write a research report on anything that interests you.” (This choice is most likely too broad for the student, and therefore not developmentally appropriate. Some children may choose topics that are not acceptable to the adults, or the situation, and this will lead to rejection of the idea later by the adult. It’s not a choice in the end.) Limited choices for younger children will be more concrete and limited, based on their developmental readiness. As students get older their choices will, appropriately, be broader. For instance, an adolescent may be given a much wider range of time to complete an agreed upon project, because they hopefully have developed the executive functioning to allow them to manage their time, make choices and experience the consequences (positive and negative) of those choices. Sometimes, children will push back, with a response to a limited choice, like, “I don’t what to do either of those.” If this occurs, we can simply respond with a statement like this, “That’s not one of the choices,” and then just remain silent, warm and present! If the child persists, just remaining silent and waiting for them to respond, without reacting, sends a powerful message: I care. I trust you to follow through with your responsibilities, and I will do the same. Until next time…
********************************************************************

Each year we head into this time known as the HOLIDAY SEASON and everyone panics about food. I hear so many people go on diets, start restricting, and demonizing foods because of the holidays and the massive amount of comfort foods/sweets that go along with this time of year. I say, forget the stress! This time of year is about celebration and if you celebrate with food, so be it.

How does this apply to the document above?

Well, since we don’t want to go crazy and eat until we’re stuffed, but also don’t want to give ourselves a million rules about eating so that we feel so restricted and set up for failure (you know you’ll eat the pie no matter what…). What if we gave ourselves limited and appropriate decisions?

I’ve written a lot about Mindful Eating in the past and I think that this approach goes along with Limited Decisions. So, let’s look at it this way:

I am eating Thanksgiving dinner and I’ve tried a little of everything…but I’m still hungry and I’m really digging the mashed potatoes and, yet, we haven’t hit dessert time yet. What limited decisions could I give myself?

Inappropriate decision making would say:

I have to stop eating all together because I’m trying to be good this year and I really shouldn’t have eaten as much as I did already.

or

I can wait and eat pie, but tomorrow I will have to hit the gym for at least an hour of cardio in order to make up for it and I definitely have to skip lunch.

Limited decision making with Mindful Eating tactics might say:

My two choices are that I eat the mashed potatoes because they are good and then maybe have dessert later when I am hungry again

or

I choose to wait for dessert because that’s what I really want anyway

or

I am here to celebrate and enjoy this moment, so I will have a small helping of more mashed potatoes and then a small piece of pie, enjoying the best of both worlds without feeling guilty, overly full, or caring what others think.

I think the whole thing about limited decisions is to give yourself appropriate choices. Choices that feed your body, your soul, your preferences, and the moment you choose to be in while being aware of the forces guiding the decision making process. I’m not choosing to wear “Thanksgiving Day Pants” and stuff myself to the max, but I’m also not denying myself the enjoyment of celebration and the good taste of food!

 

How do you eat on Thanksgiving and during the holiday season?

5 Yamas Friday #4 – A Difficult Week

I am writing this post very late on a Friday night, in my hotel room in Columbia ,  MD , on my phone. My computer is having WiFi connectivity issues at the hotel and it’s just one more thing this week that has put me out of sync with my life.

I don’t know if it’s the strep throat recovery? I don’t know if it is traveling two weekends in a row? I don’t know if it is the time change? I do know that part of it is the fact that I’ve only run once this week. I do know that part of it has been this election coming to a head. And I do know that yoga has helped me again this week to be a better and stronger person.

I have tried my hardest with the Yamas this week than I have at any point in my life. I have considered others and avoided the protests that are taking a turn from peaceful to violent. I have chosen my words wisely so as to be both truthful and nonharming. I have been respectful of the values of others around me so as not to steal away their rights of expression , their right to their own beliefs, their right to choose. And I have worked hard to let go of anxiety, sadness ,  regret, and fear.

The world is going to be what it is going to be and I have no control over Internet connections, the seasons, and other people. I do have the ability to be the best me that I can be, perpetuate the values that are important to me by raising my children to be open minded and caring individuals , and to practice respect for those around me while working for a better tomorrow . Each moment is here and gone….I am contented to be able to be in it.

What have you done with the Yamas this week?

Tears and Fears – The Greatest Test of Santosha

I had originally intended to write a post about Santosha this week and my meditational practice with this Niyama from the Gates book. The idea of Santosha practice has since taken on new meaning to me. I am going to be honest, I wanted very much for much of this election season to vote for Hillary Clinton. I also very much wanted to be neutral when discussing the candidates with my children (most specifically my oldest who is almost 6). I wanted to make sure that while I instill my values in my children…..values that respect others and embrace a world in which each person has a say and a place…..but I also want to respect the fact that my children deserve the right to make their own decisions; that they should be well informed; that all discussions should not be one sided “because I’m the parent”. Many people will disagree with this philosophy and that’s okay in my book. My children are too young to make all of their own decisions, but they know what they believe is right….most children do.

My oldest son goes to a Montessori school where he is taught to make his own decisions and to respect others. He chooses who to be friends with and what work to do. He has his own interests (mostly dinosaurs right now) outside of those of myself and my husband. He is his own person and he has opinions about what’s been said on TV regarding candidates at all levels. Yesterday I told him that this morning, when he awoke, that we would know who our next president would be. He told me very bluntly that he hoped it would be Hillary Clinton. I was a little shocked by this as he wouldn’t let me vote for her when we went last week. It was my vote, but I felt good about sharing it with him. We voted for Jill Stein. I regret that decision to some degree because a vote for a third part candidate is a vote against both major party candidates. That is also the reason that I voted third party; to express my disapproval.

I wasn’t happy about the image that Hillary Clinton had portrayed in her campaign. She had the chance to be honest and up front about the email situation. She had the chance to take the high road and to not sling mud. She has so many amazing qualities as a politician, an activist, and as a woman. I was just disappointed that she didn’t hold true to those and disregard the rest. Dear Hillary, people will forgive you if you’re upfront and honest. I told my son that she had been caught in a lie. I also told him that Donald Trump was a successful business man who employed many people and cared deeply for his family. I tried to present both sides of all candidates the best I could.

His reasoning for wanting Clinton to win…..my son has lied before and been caught, but he’s a good person and his parents and friends know that. He made a wrong choice, but he was forgiven by those who believed that he could do the right thing. His reasoning for not wanting Trump to win…..my son believes that everyone deserves a chance to come to this country, that families shouldn’t be separated, and that women are as good as men. He worried that my boss would believe Trump’s stance on wives at work and take away my job. He worried that other people couldn’t find a safe place in this country. He worried that the guy who seemed the meanest would get to tell us all what to do.

My almost six year old doesn’t understand all that goes into being president or how our full government system works. What he does understand is that “his candidate” lost. He almost cried this morning when he found out. I hate that for him.

What does all of this have to do with yoga and Santosha? Santosha is the practice of contentment. In one of the recent meditations it states a quote by Judith Lassater:

We can easily practice santosa in the beautiful moments and joyous experiences of our lives. But Patanjali asks us to be equally willing to embrace the difficult moments.

Donald Trump will be our 45th President in this country. I have a choice as to how I will live my life in response to this news. I almost cried, myself, when I heard the news. I have fears for what this means for my country, my family, my children. I also know that in order to live a Yoga Life I must accept that this is the way things are and to move forward as such. To find contentment where I can and to work toward a better tomorrow.

http://www.nbcnews.com/widget/video-embed/804768835868

Please click on the link above to watch Hillary Clinton’s very brave concession speech. She exemplifies the greatest test of Santosha and I admire her for it.

Can you find contentment in the hard times?

How did the results of this election make you feel?

Struggling to Balance Alone

This is an unusual post for me, but something that touches on the patience that is cultivated through yoga and also of being a parent. My oldest started Kindergarten this year and since that time I am struggling with my youngest to teach him some independence of play. I don’t know why this is such a struggle this year as Ike was in Preschool twice a week last year, but it is. I find myself constantly needing to entertain the little guy and if I don’t he lays around on the floor with his lovey looking sad and pathetic.

This is what I see if I say,
This is what I see if I say, “Play by yourself for a few minutes.”

It got me thinking today (and this was not my original post plan for the day) about what it means to be independent in life, your practice, your beliefs, and the patience that you need to have with yourself for exactly that. And also that I need to call out to other parents to ask…..how do you teach a 3yo to play alone?! Continue reading “Struggling to Balance Alone”

Throwback TOLT – Thinking About Thursdays

I started this blog in January 2014 and had not yet found Running With Spoons or the TOLT, but somehow I posted this little gem titled almost the same thing. I think it was around this time that I was reading Commitness to Fitness and Charlotte was also linking up with Amanda and yet I had no idea. So you can click here to read the original if you like:

Thinking About Thursday

Or enjoy this little snippet from the post:

Random Mom Thoughts
Don’t you hate that moment when you’re changing a diaper and it looks like peanut butter is in there and then you feel some left over crunchy peanut butter between your teeth from the lunch you just ate? Yeah, that just happened to me this afternoon and I think I’ll be taking pbj sandwiches out of the lunch rotation for a few extra days.

Either way, have a great Thursday and take a moment to look back at your old writing to see how it’s changed!

pigeonPS: Yoga practice today will be some much needed pigeon pose. Look for some more info on pigeon pose in Mini Movie Monday #4 or check out these two other posts of mine:

On The Road Again

Taking Inventory

 

What was your first TOLT?

Days 3-6: Aparigraha

For Saturday-Monday of the long holiday weekend I chose to turn back to the Gates book and spend some time in meditation for my 30 Days of Yoga challenge. I gave myself at least 5 minutes each day to reflect upon the ideas at hand and I picked up where I left off the last time I attempted to finish this book. I was in the section of the book still on the Yamas and Aparigraha or the precept of non-hoarding. I’ve written about this concept many times and about the idea of letting go in yoga before. It’s one of the main things I preach about in practice. Be here. Be present. Let Go…..

However, this weekend I felt a little deeper. Continue reading “Days 3-6: Aparigraha”

Scaling Back

I’ve been away from the blog for yet another week of trying to make decisions and get through the day. I feel this ever looming presence of a need to reflect and take inventory that keeps me from moving forward as I’d like to. So, to combat that heavy feeling, I’ve decided to scale back on a lot of my goals. The best part of this decision is that it makes me feel confident in what I can achieve and not like I’ve hit yet another set back.

This new frame of mind allows me a little more freedom in my life….. Continue reading “Scaling Back”