Commentary

Helping Your Kids Find Fitness

Celia HuddartMy husband and I own a gym. Our daughter, Celia, has been hanging out there for years. Sometimes she worked out, sometimes she didn’t. But she was around it, watching all sorts of people work hard, in all sorts of ways.

We never pushed it one way or another. If anything, I  tried to steer her away from taking fitness too seriously, what with the constant messaging to teenage girls that they should be slim and sexy and….  We just let her hang out there. When she felt like giving it a shot, we simply let her.

Last weekend, she won a Silver Medal at the USA Weightlifting Youth Nationals. I was the last person who expected that, and I sure as hell didn’t push for it. [Read More…]

How To Create A Summer (& Lifestyle) Of Grand Adventures Without Grand Expense

Sara and Ocean on a camel

 

“Oh NO!!!” screeched the single mom with a tribe of five (that’s me). “It’s summertime again, and my kids will be home bored and hungry for 2 ½ months. We will be driving one another crazy, and my workload is fuller than ever, and, and, and…”

Sound familiar? This is how my summer started, like many before. In my summer article last year, I was asking readers to help give me ideas or suggestions, so that I could make it through! This year, I decided to take the bull by the horns.

What do I mean by that?  I decided to be as pro-active as possible – a lifestyle choice of mine – but this time, I applied it to my tribe’s summer home, and reached out to find adventures and activities for all of them. [Read More…]

It Must Be Me (Living With Parental Self-Doubt)

Project Bond's confrontationDo you ever feel like it shouldn’t be this hard? Like it’s not normal to face the challenges, aggression, opposition, and tears every day?

Do you sometimes feel like it must be you?

There are reasons for this.

Our kids’ behavior is very personal.  Their actions don’t happen lightheartedly or in an attempt to achieve a particular, short-term outcome.  Intense emotions, often from past experiences, are driving their more challenging behaviors.  We sense this intensity, especially when it’s directed at us.  Sometimes, the anger, shame, or sadness is projected onto you – the parent, the closest person to them, the safety net. [Read More…]

By |July 29th, 2015|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

(Navigating the Waters of) Getting Your Kid’s First Passport

passportGetting a passport for your children makes Putin, Castro, Kim Song Il and Dentists seem like a walk in the park, a day at the beach or anything that could actually be called pleasant.

Our first experience with a passport for our son, five years ago, had both my wife and me dancing with apoplexy.  We went to the post office, where, after waiting for 20 minutes with no information, we were told we had to make an appointment three months later. Pity the poor postmaster that day.

My son’s head snapped back and forth Grand Slam style as first my wife and then I worked him over.  Didn’t help, but we felt better and we visited the postmaster in recovery.

[Read More…]

Gender Roles in Stepfamilies: How Traditional Thinking Sets You Up to Fail

stepfamilies and gender rolesNo matter where you fall on the feminist continuum, there is no denying traditional gender roles exist. We all know them. Men go to work and are breadwinners. Women stay at home and are caretakers.

What you may not know is that these types of gender roles wreak havoc on stepfamilies. They also set stepmothers up to fail. And, believe it or not, we all have a role to play in setting the trap.

Your Partner’s Role

Following divorce, separation or death, children and their dads transition and adjust to living together on their own. Many times this can mean a father taking on tasks that he didn’t previously do – like picking his children up from school or organizing play dates.

Most children find that they enjoy this time with their dad. In fact, Sarah Allen PhD, and Kerry Daly, PhD, found in their research study titled “The Effects of Father Involvement,” that both children and fathers do better when dads are actively involved in their children’s lives. [Read More…]

Just Before Two Years/Six Months/Five Days and a Handful of Hours – Ago

hollywoodWhat do I do here, in Hollywood, with the V-Word? Backstory: (Before Kid) I remember scores of parents everywhere talking about their children. Sorry, that’s a lie. I don’t remember scores of parents saying anything. That would have required caring about what parents were saying, and I remember a decade or two, maybe four or so, when I didn’t much care what they said.

Apart from that, I do recall them asking things in plangent tones like, “‘What are we teaching our children about the world?” and other sayings that felt a good deal like whining at the time.

Back then – about two years, six months, five days and a handful of hours  (that is, before Sophie was born) – I could not have cared less about what we were teaching our children. Especially, about the V-Word. No, get your minds out of the bedrooms. I meant Violence. It’s no big deal, right? Especially since it’s everywhere? [Read More…]

Feeling Very Mortal – The Tale Of a Weekend Warrior

Lydia and her bikeSprawled in the middle of the road, my son kneeling beside me, I asked, “Why are you home from college?” Not sure if I had said this out loud or merely thought it, I watched his face for signs of understanding.  It hurt to keep my eyes open.  But in those short seconds I saw the fright in his eyes.

“Mom, I graduated two years ago. I’m home for the 4th of July. Remember?”

Fuzzy- headed and aching in every joint, I replayed what might have happened. How strange not to be in charge. It was a reversal to be on the receiving end of my son’s concern.  He had never seen me in such a weakened state. I prided myself on being invincible, at least in his eyes.   [Read More…]

Addressing (My) Parenthood Guilt

Lynn Reilly and kidsParent’s guilt.  I’m not even sure when it officially begins, but it could be as early as when first looking into your child’s eyes and knowing that life will never be the same.  That moment when imagining what it was going to be like to hold the responsibility of caring for someone else.  The “shoulds” begin almost immediately with the thought of how we want things to be.

I “should” be with my child as much as humanly possible.

I “should” give them every opportunity to be independent yet fully set them up to depend on me for just about everything.

I “should” let go of all my personal needs and become Super Human to make sure my child gets whatever they need both physically and emotionally.

Something like that.

[Read More…]

Creating Warriors

Cindy Weaver joyI move through the world as a warrior now – stronger and more courageous than I ever knew possible, but also deeply wounded.

Sometimes, I stop and address my wounds. Other times, I have to keep moving or I know I will die.  A warrior has to be strong, courageous and brave in the face of deep challenge.  A warrior does not know how it’s going to play out, but pushes forward in the face of uncertainty.

The warrior hurts but continues to fight in order to get to a better place.  The alternative to not being a warrior is to be consumed by the challenge.

Today, I received a picture from my daughter, Hope, taking a bath in the river, pouring water over her head.  As the frigid water splashed over hair, her head was thrown back, her face shining with exuberant joy.  One can only understand the depth of this joy by seeing the journey that she has faced, the rugged terrain traversed. [Read More…]

Kids Can Be Cruel, But Parents Can Be Worse

words hurtMy son has always loved to run and race. I remember when he was about three. We were at a park and he walked up to two kids about six years old and asked them if they wanted to race.  They said no.

I could see the crestfallen look upon his face. He walked up to me and said, “No one wants to play with me, Daddy.” My heart sank.

I said that I would play with him and began  racing him around the small playground. I was saddened by the older kids’ response. However, these children weren’t mean at all, just dismissive of a little boy they deemed too young. Nonetheless, to see your child looking so sad and rejected at the age of 3 is very difficult to witness.

What I didn’t realize was this was only the beginning. [Read More…]

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