On Sibling Closeness

Recently, a comment on social media {how do you get your kids to do that?!} left me thinking about the sort of bond that my children share.

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Sure, I thought about a comforting response  – (Lollipops! Bribery!) – but the truth is, when I pull out my phone to capture a bit of the everyday, I’m typically sneaking up on natural settings.  And the incredible cohesiveness that my children share is unlike anything that I have ever known.  Although they have their moments of angst, “I WON”, and “YOUR TOY IS SMELLY!” –  their positive and loving interactions far outnumber the discord.

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We often wake to sounds of their made up stories and games, with characters and words that only exist in their sibling bubble of incredible imaginativeness.  They are determined to complete their little made-up-missions together.  Recently booby-trapping their bedroom and taping handmade Halloween decorations in every corner of our home.

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And on most nights, I have to remove a flashlight and book and send one little back to their own bed.

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When big sister is scolded, little brother typically spits out words about kindness to his mama, while offering toys and hugs to comfort his sister.  They are a quite a team and sometimes, when I look at them, I believe that their souls have been connected for far longer than I can possibly fathom.

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They are natural hand-holders, fierce comrades and loyally loving to one another. And unlike so many transient things in life, their siblinghood will remain a reassuring constant.  They have taught me that their unique bond should never be diminished.  It should be celebrating for the color and beauty and reassurance in love as the ultimate antidote that it undoubtedly is.

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The Importance of Self-Care in Motherhood

Thank you Huggies Little Snugglers and Latina Bloggers Connect for sponsoring this post.  Content and opinions, as always, are my own.

On my bedroom wall, hangs a photo of me lounging on the beach, in Aruba, in my first-pregnancy, full-bellied glory. My children often ask questions about the “me” in the photo – quite fascinated with the idea of mama’s existence prior to them.

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The woman in that photo, wholeheartedly understood the importance of self-care – for her wellbeing and that of the growing baby within.  Emotionally taxing days were counteracted by a reserved spot in my favorite spinning class.  Evening walks with my husband, prenatal yoga, meaningful time with friends and healthy eating were prioritized.

Amidst the daily juggles of motherhood, one of the first things to often go is taking care of ourselves.

I have been there. 

And sometimes, I still have to pull myself out.  When I find myself making promises rooted in “when things slowdown”, I know it’s time to reassess and prioritize.  Because in motherhood, when we invest in our self-care, we allow ourselves to be the best that we can possible be for our loved ones and ourselves.

I’m not speaking of the once in a few months trip to a nail salon.  I’m urging mothers, both seasoned and new to make a daily commitment to self-care. This can be as simple as identifying support-systems to help when a new baby arrives; connecting with friends; meditating; asking for help – or squeezing in rest.  The emphasis is on making time for things that energize, ground and inspire.

In my life, working out has been a sanctuary and is vital to my own emotional and physical wellbeing.  Adequate sleep, connecting with steadfast friends, participating in social good and functioning in a creative capacity are important to me too.  The joy found in sewing and crafting is often absent on the pages of this blog – yet left to be appreciated by me and the recipients of my efforts. I know that I’m better when I give back to myself – even if on some days that means being present in enjoying that morning cup of coffee.

Thinking of mindful and consistent self-care as a lifestyle and not a once-in-a-while thing requires continual effort and evaluation.  It is a process that I am committed to working on and one that I hope you will join me in practicing.

Special thanks to Huggies for sponsoring my writing and for continuing to keep babies dry and comfortable with new and innovative products that just may allow mama a bit more rest.  Request a sample of their New! Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers and Huggies Natural Care Wipes and enter to win your dream registry via  Huggies Little Snugglers Registry Relief.

Cheers to making yourself a priority.

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On Carrying Their Backpacks {Lessons in Motherhood}

I suppose I’d like to think that I was a mom who stepped away from helicoptering.  A mom who calmly asked her son, “where do you think your foot should go?” upon noticing his trepidation at the top of the jungle gym.  Hoping to never rob my kids of the opportunity to learn from risk-taking.  Aiming never to meddle with those budding inner compasses – leading to the profound sense of earned accomplishment in mastering something alone.

I’d like to think that I was a mom who was working on raising up motivated, resilient, self-reliant little people.

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In motherhood, it is incredibly difficult to see our children struggle without wanting in some way, to make things right. The challenge continues when deciphering when to intervene – and then decided what form of life-raft to send along the way.  But this precious life can not be presented as a false reality – and I can not run to mend or cushion all of my children’s struggles. As it is often in the mending that we create more problems for our children.

Last year, when playing after school, my little guy was met with a big branch in his eye. I knew immediately – in the way that only a mother can – that he sustained a true injury.  His trembles and cries lasted the entire walk home, and he was carried in my arms the ten blocks or so, while my husband rushed home to drive him to urgent care.  I was incredibly frustrated that day with my first-grader who repeatedly asked me to carry her backpack.  I was already carrying my 34 pound son, his backpack and my bag.  Didn’t she hear his sobs?  Couldn’t she muster the strength to stop complaining?

As I thought about the situation later that evening, I realized that I never even gave my daughter the chance to wear her backpack.  Instead, I instinctually slid the straps off of both of my children’s backs as soon as they came out of school. Carrying the weight of books and lunch boxes for them – I didn’t even give my actions a second thought.

A lot has changed since that day at the playground.  My son’s corneal abrasion healed up nicely, and the kiddos regularly carry their backpacks. Sometimes they’re too heavy and sometimes I assist – but only when asked.  For the most part, the children don’t even notice the monstrosities strapped to their backs on our daily walks home from school.  And as for me?  I’m actively trying to be cognizant of and change the things that I do for my children that they can, and should be, doing for themselves.

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Even on a Gray Day

We showed up in sweatshirts with just-in-case suits tucked into a bag.  Ignoring our meshed together must-accomplish list on a rainy summer day.  The children were delighted in the water and with their creations in the sand – too enamored in solid play to notice their own chattering teeth.

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We had dinner at the beach with the hum of a live local band.  And remembered that even on a gray day full of commitments – the sea and sand are always good for our souls.

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Joy-Spreading

Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that I’m no longer the mother of a tiny little girl.  This one continues to surprise me with her wisdom and foresight and endless questions.  Questions that leave me constantly searching for answers – so that I can answer her with truths and assure her that she will be forever loved just as she is.  I have adored the shape of six – in its curiosity, playfulness and optimistic eagerness.

photo 1(6)Sweet T-shirt c/o: The Printed Palette

My wish for her is that she always holds onto the unabashed  joy that she so freely spreads.

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On Bravery in Motherhood

Nearly every single day, I watch my children push themselves physically.  Up the scaffolding bars, off the furniture, onto the exterior side of the playground equipment.  Every jump, climb, maneuver and sprint often feel like a new risk – and with every kissed boo-boo is a lesson in mothering.

My children are continuing to learn about bravery.

So am I.  

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I’m still working on suppressing the inner helicopter and instinctively muttering the truly unhelpful “BE CAREFUL!!” – because there’s nothing greater than seeing budding resilience and earned sense of confidence with each accomplishment.  I  hope that my kids are learning that it’s OK to fall and make mistakes.  And it’s OK to not get it on the first few tries.

I’ve learned that if I don’t make a fuss over minor mishaps my children are more inclined to follow suit.  And if I’m prepared with essential first aid items, the return to play is that much quicker.

Summertime has a way of reminding me to beef up my summer-preparedness supply and I’m happy to continue my work with HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® because they understand the importance of offering significant savings on products that should be in every parents’ arsenal.  From sunblock, to Neosporin, tough strips  band-aids and oral health supplies.  HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® has the whole family’s summer-product needs covered with printable coupons, tips, tools and more.  Save more than $45 by visiting http://www.HealthyEssentials.com in June and July.

This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, as always, are my own. 

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