Today, I Won’t Be Perfect/Ugly/Wrinkled. I Will Just Be.

by Lisa Douglas

Today, I’m not going to see the gray hair, or the wrinkles. I will see the smile my children put there, and the green eyes I share with them.

Today, I’m not going to pay attention to the dangling skin under my bicep, left from weight changes over the years. I will see the stronger arm that holds my children close.

Today, I’m not going to pay attention to the deflated stomach, with wrinkled, hanging skin. I’m will see the stomach that birthed my many children, and remember how hard I worked to protect them inside me while pregnant.

You don’t have to be perfect, Lisa. (Maybe if I say it enough times, I’ll actually believe it?)

I suppose all I truly want is to be a better me. The best me. The one who sees her reflection and likes what she sees, and not just a myriad of flaws staring back at her. The one who will work out for the goodness of it, not for the vanity.

The one who doesn’t worry as much over the little things, even if it makes her a better planner. I want to spend more time in the moment, and less time preparing for the moment. (Does that make sense?)

And, most of all, stop seeing only the negative in the reflection. Especially since there is so much positive.

Today, I’m not going to begrudge the toast crumbs or the plops of apple juice left on the counter as failing at cleaning.

Today, I won’t fret over the dropped ice cube that forms a puddle on the floor (that gets noticed by my suddenly frigidly wet toes), or the grit of the spilled coffee grounds sprinkled accidentally alongside the garbage can when preparing my much-needed coffee.

Today, I will react, but inhale more, form my thoughts first, before I raise my voice or become angry.

Today, I will resist the everyday frustrations, and embrace my kids a little more, for longer, and tighter. I’m going to squeeze my babies until they yell at me to stop, but only because I am so grateful.

Today, I will work hard to do my best to implement these, because today is the beginning of the rest of forever, and I oh-so-very-badly want to succeed at this whole wife and mother-to-many thing.

For me. For them. For us.

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Help in Raising a More Caring, Compassionate and Grateful Child

by Lisa Douglas

I believe in things happening for a reason. That said, after the time I’ve had lately, I have no doubt in my mind I was meant to find a December issue of Parenting magazine sitting on my bathroom sink. I picked it up. One of the featured articles was 5 Ways to Raise a Grateful Child. I picked it up, brought it downstairs, and earmarked the article on page 90 for later.

Amazingly enough, searching for this article online, to share with you to write this post, I found three other articles, Raising a Kid Who Cares, Raising a Compassionate Child, and Raising a Child Who’s Thankful (Not Spoiled), which are not only related to the previous article, but related to my current situation as well.

Everything indeed happens for a reason. I was asking for help and insight, and I received some in an unexpected but welcomed way. I believe I was meant to share my experiences with you, and you, in turn, were meant to share your similar experiences with me, and we were meant to find and read these articles and work together to support each other and help one another, don’t you think?So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to share what I’ve read and am planning to apply to my own situation, in case you were one of the many who replied you were going through the very same thing.

Remind yourself to model grateful behavior. When your cookie-muncher goes silent, go ahead and say the necessary “Thank you so much!” for him. (At least until he gets older and can be counted on to follow your cues.) In your own everyday interactions, always offer warm thank-yous and praise to grocery store clerks, gas-station attendants, waiters, teachers — anyone who’s helpful to you or him. You may think your child isn’t paying attention to those small moments, but he actually is. – From 5 Ways to Raise a Grateful Child

Oh boy! I must admit, I don’t think I’m doing such a spectacular job with thanking strangers and people I encounter. I know I’m gun-shy when thanking someone for a compliment, flustered that someone offered one to me (and I’m working on that). But it never crossed my mind that my children were learning whether to be thankful from whether or not I thanked others, and now I feel foolish for not having realized that, sooner. I thank my children all the time for when they do things for me, or help me in some way, but I guess they need to witness me saying it to others, too. I will work more diligently on this.

Expose your {child} to people from all walks of life. “We often try to shield our children from those who are less fortunate, but it’s important that kids know how lucky they are,” says Dale McGowan, a father of three in Atlanta and coauthor of Parenting Beyond Belief. So the next time you see a homeless person, pass a shelter, or read a story in the news about a needy family, he suggests, ask questions — “Where do you think that man sleeps?” or “Can you imagine what it would be like not to have a home?” — that get your kids to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. (At the same time, assure them that your family will always have a place to call home.) You’ll be surprised — and pleased — at how often kids are moved to want to help. From 5 Ways to Raise a Grateful Child

Fascinating idea here, isn’t it? I’m one of those parents who wants to bubble up our home to repel any evil or wrongdoing, or sadness. But perhaps maybe, in my wanting everything to be “A-OK” I’m preventing them from experiencing life through others shoes (or lack thereof) to make them more appreciative of their own, even if they aren’t the coolest or most expensive.

Around 9 or so, kids can really appreciate compassion for its own sake: It feels good to be good to others. But don’t forget that the praise for being kind that worked so well with your toddler will still make a difference. Maybe even a bigger one. There’s a lot of pressure that goes along with being a preteen, and it’ll help him to be reminded that the things he does and says are valuable. – From Raising a Kid Who Cares

I really like this idea of positive reinforcement. I’m going to make a bigger deal out of the things they do to help, in hopes that, the more I make out of the good they do, the more they want to be praised, and not admonished for not doing it.

 ..with so much hatred and turmoil in the world today, it seems more important than ever to raise kids who can understand and be kind to other people. Teaching this doesn’t mean lectures or visits to soup kitchens. It’s part of day-to-day life: how you answer your child’s questions, how you solve conflict at the park, how you nudge his or her growing capacity to understand and think about other people.Temperament of course plays a role  — some kids are naturally more tuned in to other people’s feelings and difficulties, while others are a bit oblivious. Either way, you have influence in fostering your child’s ability to empathize. – From Raising a Compassionate Child

I think I’ve found a huge issue here. I’m almost positive this is *the* issue in our home – how we talk to one another – one I’ve often addressed. I am positive that with the older children cranky with the younger children, and then cranky, stressed parents not 100% listening to cranky children, that we’ve lost a synergy in our home. Absolutely, without a doubt, going to stop this from happening and ensure everyone has a voice and is talked to properly.

 Expect more. When it comes to your child’s responsibility to be caring and compassionate, set your standards high. Don’t let teasing or bullying go unaddressed. At 7 and 8, kids are starting to be able to see the world from another person’s perspective.In a complicated and troubled world, it’s easy to feel that nothing we do will make a difference. This can lead to compassion burnout  — for us and for our kids. The key is to start small.- From Raising a Compassionate Child

While I do not tolerate bullying of any kind, I do want to reinforce this more often, and I will set my standards higher for how I wish for them to behave, especially with each other.

I learned a great deal from these articles, giving me a direction and course of action for where to go with the kids right now. Some of you shared with me that you’re going through the same issues as I am. I hope these articles help you, too. And, if you’ve found other articles that have helped, would you mind sharing them with me in the comment section?

Many thanks to the wonderful articles provided by Parenting.com on this subject. Here’s to having more compassionate, caring and happier children (and mommies)!


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New Year’s “Improvements”

by Lisa Douglas

Happy New Year!!

I hate the stigma that comes with the term “resolutions” when paired with the New Year. It’s like it’s doomed to fail automatically just being referred to by the mere word. I like to think of mine as “improvements.”

Traditionally, people reflect upon the year’s past and make “improvements” for the new one. I, like many, often do the same. It’s been said that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” and in the spirit of always wanting to always improve for the better, and to teach my children to learn from their (many) mistakes, the “improvements” I choose to make are ones I don’t take lightly nor are ones I intend to break.

1. Take a chill pill, mom. There isn’t anything more difficult than dealing with six kids, busy schedules, writing deadlines and military craziness than when attempting to do it all when I’m batsh!t crazy. I’m gonna stop and take a breath once in a while, especially when I’m feeling particularly stabby.

2. Go easy on yourself, Lisa. I’m my own worst critic, and for 2011, I’m going to work really hard at not beating myself up all the time.

3. Get fit, not necessarily lose weight. My body is kind-of at a standstill with “weight loss,” and I’m beginning to think that maybe, just maybe, I can’t lose anything more. Instead of focusing so dang hard at “the number” on the scale, maybe I’m just going to focus on the fitness of my body instead, and get into the best, kickass shape I’ve ever been in. Screw the scale!

4. Roll with the punches and embrace the change, yo. 2011 will be a year of big changes – in June we move to San Antonio and uproot our life military-style once more. Having just gotten back from visiting San Antonio to scope it out (and get excited yet intimidated at the same time), I can tell already that we’re going to be lost for the entire first year we live there, and I’m going to do my best to not freak out about all the changes happening, even if they are for the better, I’m a colossal pain-in-the-ass when it comes to embracing the change or going out of my comfort zone.

5.  Learn the freakin’ camera, Lisa. This is it – 2011 is gonna be the year I finally learn how to use my Nikon DSLR properly and stop auto-shooting all the time. I really want to stop guessing and taking less-than-great pictures with my awesome camera simply because I don’t know any better. I obviously do know better, because I have a better camera than before, but now I need to suck it up and learn it. My husband also bought me Photoshop for Christmas, and so, I need to get on that. STAT.

Get ready! 2011 is the year for opportunity. 2009 and 2010 were huge for opportunities for me, with writing, blogging, and social media. My husband, too, has had some amazing things happen to him here. I foresee more things on the horizon for both me and my family this year, and I’m beyond excited at what this will bring.

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Teenagers and The Internet = Trouble

by Lisa Douglas

Nobody said child-rearing was ever easy, but nobody forewarned me about how hard it was going to be to be the “bad guy” either; the really bad, awful, evil villainous Nemesis of Doom to the point that she’d hate me with the fires of 1000 deaths plagued upon my coffee.

Given I work on this here internet everyday, you’d think I’d be able to amply convey to my daughter about safety online, complete with demonstrations and such, and she’d understand what is and isn’t allowed, and all would be well in the world.

Haha! DING-DONG WRONG, bucko. Leave it to me to think it’d be that easy.

Everything we’ve asked her to do she went against, and did anyway. “Don’t give out your cell phone number on the internet..” she did it. “Don’t give out your real name on the internet…” she did it. “Don’t tell people where you really live…” she did it.

You know, I can understand toddlers going for the candy they were told not to eat before dinner, toddlers have no concept of time when we say “ten minutes ’til dinner’s ready,” they’re hungry now. I can understand elementary-school-aged children getting in trouble for wanting to extend their video-game or outside time “five more minutes” when we asked them to come downstairs ten-minutes ago. But when we give explicit rules regarding safety and the internet with our teenager, one who wants to take on more adult responsibilities and be more “grown-up,” and then she doesn’t follow through and does everything we’ve asked her not to do, what the crap, man? Which is it? Do you want to act like an adult, or rebel against what mom and dad want like a toddler?

Lately I feel as though the harder I try to get her to understand the safety and  quicksand, immobilized by my problem and the harder I work to free myself, the harder it sinks me back into it.

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Mac vs PC: What’s the Difference?

by Lisa Douglas

I am not the most tech-savviest person to ever walk the planet, but I can tell you I know enough to know that 100% of Mac users are thrilled with their purchases. I can’t say the same about PC users. After realizing I was blowing through more memory and processor speed than my laptop could handle, I caved and went with a Macbook Pro.

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