USA: Meditating With My Terrible Two

USA: Meditating With My Terrible Two

 

unnamedWhen meditation became the big thing last year, just like yoga in the 1970s, my editor at Taiwan’s Commonwealth Parenting Magazine wanted me to write a piece about meditating with children. So I interviewed Jeff Zlotnik of Meditation Initiative for this assignment. He told me that kids can begin to practice meditation at the age of five, starting with a two minute session.

“Seriously? Does that really work?”

“Yes.” He then explained to me, while scientific evidence shows that human brains benefit from meditation sessions longer than 40 minutes, it is almost impossible to ask a 5-year-old to sit and meditate for that long. A two minute session is appropriate for a 5-year-old, and “even a short session like that helps relief stress and calm kids down.” (more…)

To-Wen Tseng

Former TV reporter turned freelance journalist, children's book writer in wee hours, nursing mom by passion. To-wen blogs at I'd rather be breastfeeding. She can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

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NETHERLANDS:  Goals

NETHERLANDS: Goals

goalsLong term goals versus short term goals.

(You have probably scrolled up and down to see if you’re at the right place. Yes you are. Continue to read.)

Short term goals are goals that you want to achieve instantaneously. There is immediate result and you benefit directly.

Long term goals are goals that you want to achieve in the future.
It will take you a while to achieve these goals and you have to be patient and persistent to achieve your goal.

Bear with me now…This is going to make sense, I promise.

Example. You are hungry.
Short term goal: I want to eat something.
Long term goal: I want to maintain my gorgeous figure. (ahem…Just go with me on this one…)

If you focus on your short term goal, anything will do: a snickers bar, ice cream, donuts, anything.
But if you bring in the long term goal, you will need to think about how you are going to achieve your long term goal, while keeping in mind your short term goal.

In other words:
how am I going to still my hunger without ruining my fantastic figure.

Got it? Simple, right?

So, why am I talking about goals?
Because they relate to parenting.

Parenting is a job where you constantly have to remember that it is about the long term goals.
But the present is so in our face, that sometimes we forget and go with the short term goals and eventually pay the price.

Example: You’re in the supermarket with your child.
Your child is tired cranky, difficult.
But you have to do this.
We all know that this is a scenario for a possible disaster.
And we all know how easy it is, to give the child some candy or a cookie and get the job done.
(I’ve done it, you’ve done it, I’m guessing we all have.)

But what is the long term goal here?
You want to be able to do your groceries in peace and quiet.
And possibly have a great time doing it, maybe even some skipping and singing.

Too far fetched? Okay, let’s back up..

How do you achieve that long term goal?

By NOT giving the candy.

By planning and repeating rules, by making sure your child is fed and well rested,
whenever you enter the supermarket.
By praising your child for good behavior,
by making sure you build up the amount of time you spend at the supermarket.

How do you achieve that long term goal?
By investing.

This is what I do all day, it is hard.

It requires an enormous amount of energy.
Sometimes I have to be patient, because I am somewhere in between the process of achieving my long term goal
and I just cannot see the end of it. Sometimes I’m tempted to go for the short term goal.

You want me to give your ten teddy bears, little blankets and little beds for the night?
And you want me to make sure they are all in the right bed with the right blanket,
and you change your mind about it every second? Sure kid. If I get to crash on the couch and you finally go to sleep after that.
Sure, I’ll do it.

But then I ask myself this question:
Do I really want to spend my evenings running around, taking care of dolls and teddy bears
and every other stuff that you seem to come up with just around bedtime?
Or do I want bedtime to be quiet and peaceful and efficient.
And I realize, that I want the latter.

So I take a deep breath, and choose the battle.
On my last nerves, desperate to choose the couch instead.
I explain to my hysterical screaming child that it is bedtime, not playing time.
She will lie down now and Mommy will go downstairs.
She screams, she cries, she stomps her feet. I go up and down the stairs four or five times.
She won’t calm down. I cuddle, but I don’t give in.
Finally she goes to sleep.
I throw myself on the couch, tired, discouraged.

Next night:

“Mommy I want the big bear and the little bear and my giraffe, and…”

“You can pick two stuffed animals and then you will go to sleep. It’s sleepy time, not playtime.”

She screams. I kiss and cuddle her and walk away.

Before I reach the couch it is quiet. Really quiet.
I sneak upstairs to see what she’s doing.
She’s fast asleep with three stuffed animals..

I am well on my way to reaching my long term goal.

Does any of this sound familiar? What are your long term (parenting) goals?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our writer in The Netherlands, Mirjam.

The picture used in this post is credited to the author.

Mirjam

Mirjam was born in warm, sunny Surinam, but raised in the cold, rainy Netherlands. She´s the mom of three rambunctious beauties and has been married for over a decade to the love of her life. Every day she´s challenged by combining the best and worst of two cultures at home. In what little time she has left, she enjoys being an elementary school teacher. Mirjam has battled and survived three postpartum depressions. She enjoys being a blogger, an amateur photographer, and she loves being creative in many ways. But most of all she loves live and laughter, even though sometimes she is the joke herself. You can find Mirjam at Apples and Roses where she blogs about her battle with depression and finding beauty in the simplest of things. You can also find Mirjam on Twitter.

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TEXAS, USA: The Real Deal

TEXAS, USA: The Real Deal

IMG_6086edI am the first person to admit that I had no clue about adoption before I adopted my son.  I remember when I was growing up, I would tease my brothers that they “were adopted”.  There was a girl in my first grade class who was adopted, but I was always told not to talk about it to her.  I came to think that adoption was something that was a secret, and because it was a secret there might be something wrong with it. (more…)

Meredith (USA)

Meredith finds it difficult to tell anyone where she is from exactly! She grew up in several states, but mainly Illinois. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana which is also where she met her husband. She taught kindergarten for seven years before she adopted her son from Guatemala and then gave birth to her daughter two years leter. She moved to Lagos, Nigeria with her husband and two children in July 2009 for her husband's work. She and her family moved back to the U.S.this summer(August 2012) and are adjusting to life back in the U.S. You can read more about her life in Lagos and her adjustment to being back on her blog: We Found Happiness.

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Saudi Arabia: My House Is A Dungeon?

Saudi Arabia: My House Is A Dungeon?

dungeon“Your house is a dungeon of rules” is what one of my child’s closest friends said to him last week.

That was a unique way of saying something I’ve heard many times before.  “Your house has so many rules!” “Is it true you make them go to sleep at 7 on a weekend?” “Why can’t they play on the iPad during the week?” And “What!!! No coke??”.

Just for the record, my 7 and 10 year old don’t go to sleep at 7 on weekends or on weekdays. They fall sleep anywhere between 8 and 8:30 on weeknights and 9:30-10:00 on weekends. They both wake up at 6:30. Most experts would agree that 10 hours of sleep is healthy and needed. Some might even say that my 7 year old needs more sleep.

Weekdays are screen free unless it’s homework related and yes, it’s true, no coke or any other fizzy drink full of sugar for the kids. I’m not saying they have never had it but it’s not allowed in my house, the “dungeon of rules” house.

Our other house rules include: only healthy unprocessed foods, a blasphemously early dinner time (by Saudi and Arab standards), no eating in front of the TV, limited screen time when they have friends over, no backing out on a commitment (like after school classes, parties or visiting friends), and making eye contact and being polite.

All our house rules feels right to me, like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. So why has a comment made by my son’s 10 year old friend bothered me so much?

I think it’s because I know that the older he gets, the more he will be hearing these kind of comments. Or probably because when I was young, I did live in a dungeon of rules. Unfortunately for my mother, there was no ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ alternatives to the junk others were having.

Growing up, I did feel like my mother imposed too many rules on us.

As an adult, I know I’m a better parent for it. My mother planted the seed of wanting my children to eat well and be healthy in me. She made me realize that children cannot always get what they want, or think they want.

I had a lovely childhood full of freedom and excitement in ways other children never had. For example, I could always choose what I wanted to wear, so I always wore an outfit of a sleeveless top and ruffled skirt that was black with a purple line around the edges. When that was in the wash, I looked like a hobo. We never had a million adults around us all the time just a nanny who didn’t worry about us getting dirty. We explored and imagined and had a whole troop of explorers with us who all had different rules than ours and we survived.

Children now talk more openly to their parents and other adults and I am always amazed at how comfortable they are telling me things I would have never dreamed to say to an adult when I was a child. Maybe that’s the only difference. The fact that I know that our house is called “the dungeon of rules”.

Will my children end up feeling deprived that I don’t let them stay up late? That’s probably the biggest obstacle I have. That, and trying to keep them from eating junk. I can handle being known as the strict mother but can my kids handle being known as the ones with so many rules? (Another gem was when one of their other friends said at dinner “In my house I have no rules! No one says no to me”.)

I am trying something new in my parenting now and it seems to be having a positive effect. I tell them what they’re working towards. They do have rules, but in return for how well behaved, independent and responsible they are (which they really work hard at and achieve brilliantly most days) they get more freedom than any of the kids with ‘no rules’.

I respect them and their opinions. They have the right to say they don’t like a rule and I as a parent have the duty to enforce it. They have choices in their lives and a say in how they want things to go,  as long as they continue to prove they’re responsible enough to make them. I’m toughest when I know they’re doing something that is beneath their ability or their character. I find it hard to stay positive in those situations. I believe in them so much that it’s difficult to see them doing something that’s not a reflection of their ability.

Many mothers have told me I’m expecting too much of my children but I’m so immensely proud of them and what they achieve, how self reliant they are in the environment they’re living it, how they take responsibility for their actions and how they effect others. I believe none of that would have happened had I not expected so much of them.

As for the rules, the basic fact of the matter is that children cannot be healthy, happy and productive if they are sleep deprived, have an unhealthy diet and if they rely on passive entertainment such as iPads and TV’s. So, if it takes a dungeon of rules to make them happy and healthy then I’m making a neon sign and sticking it on the roof!

Do you feel you have too many rules?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Mama B from Saudi Arabia. She can be found writing at her blog, Ya Maamaa.

Photo Credit to Dave Hamster who holds a Creative Commons Attribution license.

Mama B (Saudi Arabia)

Mama B’s a young mother of four beautiful children who leave her speechless in both, good ways and bad. She has been married for 9 years and has lived in London twice in her life. The first time was before marriage (for 4 years) and then again after marriage and kid number 2 (for almost 2 years). She is settled now in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (or as settled as one can be while renovating a house). Mama B loves writing and has been doing it since she could pick up a crayon. Then, for reasons beyond her comprehension, she did not study to become a writer, but instead took graphic design courses. Mama B writes about the challenges of raising children in this world, as it is, who are happy, confident, self reliant and productive without driving them (or herself) insane in the process. Mama B also sheds some light on the life of Saudi, Muslim children but does not claim to be the voice of all mothers or children in Saudi. Just her little "tribe." She has a huge, beautiful, loving family of brothers and sisters that make her feel like she wants to give her kids a huge, loving family of brothers and sisters, but then is snapped out of it by one of her three monkeys screaming “Ya Maamaa” (Ya being the arabic word for ‘hey’). You can find Mama B writing at her blog, Ya Maamaa . She's also on Twitter @YaMaamaa.

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SINGAPORE: Five Simple Ways to Have More Time In Your Day

SINGAPORE: Five Simple Ways to Have More Time In Your Day

timeformumsMoms are probably the busiest people on earth – from household chores, taking care of the kids, to our work, and juggling our other roles as wives, daughters and more.  It’s no wonder many of us find that 24 hours a day is barely enough time.

But if we are to seriously think about it, is it really true that we don’t have enough time?  Or are there, perhaps, changes we can make that will help us save time, create calmness in our lives and to even squeeze in some me-time every day?

One of the areas I’m working on this year is putting in place systems for my home and my work so that I can be more efficient and effective. Here are some things I am doing that I find are helping me to better manage my time and be more productive.

1. Plan in advance

Planning is probably one of the most basic rules of time management, but to be honest, I’ve never been disciplined enough. So this year, I’m making this a priority. This means to plan my days, weeks and even months in advance. Planning gives me clarity and helps me stay focused. (more…)

Ruth

Ruth lives in Singapore, a tiny island 137 kilometres north of the equator. After graduating from university, she worked as a medical social worker for a few years before making a switch to HR and worked in various industries such as retail, banking and manufacturing. In spite of the invaluable skills and experiences she had gained during those years, she never felt truly happy or satisfied. It was only when she embarked on a journey to rediscover her strengths and passion that this part of her life was transformed. Today, Ruth is living her dreams as a writer. Ironically, she loves what she does so much that at one point, she even thought that becoming a mom would hinder her career. Thanks to her husband’s gentle persuasions, she now realises what joy she would have missed out had she not changed her mind. She is now a happy WAHM. Ruth launched MomME Circle, a resource site to support and inspire moms to create a life and business they love. She has a personal blog Mommy Café where she writes about her son's growing up and shares her interests such as food and photography.

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ILLINOIS, USA: Free From Expectations and Recollections

My son recently celebrated his ninth birthday. Like most parents I delighted in giving him a special day and honoring him for the kid he is, the man he’ll become, and (with a feeling just-this-side of sadness) the little guy he once was.

He was once a little guy, it’s true. During the days preceding his birthday thoughts bubbled up from my memory, imprints from the little-guy-days, with a visceral intensity.

There they were: my first contractions, the evening ride downtown to the hospital, the delicate blue knit cap the nurse pulled onto his tiny head. The first feeding, then the first steps, the story of The Three Little Pigs announced in his little-guy-voice. The whole experience displayed in my mind’s eye and my tender heart.

It was my son’s whole experience but from my perspective, filtered through everything we’d shared together and also through the realities that had shaped me as a mom. (more…)

Jill Barth

Jill Barth lives in Illinois with her husband and three kids. She reminds you to breathe. She is a freelance writer and consultant. Also, she is the green content Team Leader and columnist at elephantjournal.com and reads fiction for Delmarva Review. Jill's writing can be found on her blog, Small Things Honored.

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