Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gratitude for 2009

Well, it's almost time to say goodbye to 2009. It seems like just a couple of months ago that I was sitting down with my journal and writing down my intentions for this year and here we are, almost done.

I love this time of the year. I love the energy that is almost palpable, as people all around the world, pause to take a look at what the last year has brought to them and for them. I love to revisit my dreams and see what came to pass, what didn't and the surprises in between. I am always amazed about how many wishes manifested in ways that I could have never imagined: amazing people I've met, learning opportunities encountered and the chances to strengthen my personal faith.

One of my favorite things to do is make a list of what I am grateful to from the perspective of the passing year. It sets the tone for how I want to begin the year because I believe very strongly, that gratitude is the prelude to dreams coming true in many ways I can't even understand.

So, here is my list of 15 reasons for abiding gratitude in 2009:

1. My health and that of many of the people I love dearly.

2. The fact that I still get to talk to my parents, even if far away.

3. The support of my amazing husband who doesn't understand my journey half of the time, yet encourages me just the same.

4. The never ending learning in the laboratory of life that I get to have by consciously parenting the  incredible little soul that is our 8 year old daughter!

5. Our new home. A blessing in ways I can't even comprehend.

6. The power of the love and undying support from my friends, my tribe, my peeps.

7. The opportunity to live my life's passion through my work as a parent coach and educator

8. The traveling I got to do this year, connecting with very special family and friends.

9. The trust of so many people that believed that there was a place for The Soulful Parent in this world. 

10. The fact that I not only have access to so many great books, but that I have the ability to read them and learn from them.

11. The convenience of a tool I love for entertaining, educating and relaxing: my trusty i Pod (thank you honey!)

12. The deep reconnection with my dog and my understanding that he's part of the "bigger" plan in my life.

13. The fact that regardless of how you feel about politics, I love living in a country where I don't have to worry about my family finding my body in a ditch because I disagreed with somebody.

14. The daily gifts of birds in my backyard, squirrels on the trees, stars bright as diamonds now that we live a little bit farther away from "civilization"

15. The absolutely humbling fact that there's someone out there other than me, that is reading this!

What are you grateful to 2009 for?

Here's to a successful, abundant, expanding 2010!

Sandra Huber-CEO
Chief Encouraging Officer
The Soulful Parent

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Is your child a quitter?

I know. I personally don't believe it is a good idea to label our children because once we do, we act from that place and our expectations become locked into that label.

I have wondered in the last couple of years, when we have gone from trying Tae-Kwon-Do, ballet, cheer leading, pottery, swimming and piano lessons, if my 8 year-old simply is not able to stick with one activity.

Our last "struggle" came after a week of not practicing the piano because of Christmas. My husband decided our daughter needed to resume her daily practice of 20 minutes to honor her agreement to keep up her skills. I tell you, it would have been easier to extract a tooth from an alligator than it was to convince her of the value of keeping up the practice. She sat in front of the piano, in complete defeat, crying that she didn't know how to "do it". The first thing that went through my mind (and I am glad it stayed there!) was how much I wanted to scream that she was being an ungrateful, little stinker. My husband, with his infinite patience took over immediately once I gave him "the look". He knows that look means "I am done with YOUR child: you need to take over". She continued to whine and protest and eventually did start playing and did an excellent job.

For the next two days we had the same situation: power struggles every single day. After a call to my good friend Susan, I realized that even though this was a great opportunity for our daughter, it was important for me to "let go" of my need for her to appreciate it and to enjoy it. The fact remained, I couldn't make her do it and I wasn't willing to fight about it every single day.

On the way to her piano lessons, I calmly told her she only needed to finish her lessons until the end of January and after that she was free to quit. I told her that as an 8 year old she gets to make some choices and this was one of them: if she didn't want to do piano anymore, I wasn't going to force her.
No sooner had I finish saying that last sentence, when I hear from the back of the car: I AM NOT QUITING! You can't make me quit. I will continue to do my piano lessons because I like them. I don't want to quit. And that's final!

Parenting is an adventure: Most of the time I can appreciate that no matter how many books I've read, how many degrees I have and how many classes I teach/take, there's no substitute for the "hands-on" experience my 8 year-old offers me everyday! You never know how anything you do is truly going to turn out. She's establishing her independence while I am establishing a nice set of gray hair.
How have you taken the "struggle" out of your power struggles? Do you have any stories to share? I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wishing you the best Holiday Season yet!

As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to to the same~~ Marianne Williamson

I want to wish you the best Holiday Season and may your light shine brightly now and all year round!
It's said that even a lone blooming flower, (for example a poinsettia since 'tis the season) uplifts the world. Just imagine how each one of you with the humongous task of raising amazing children uplifts the world. Shining your light at home and in the hearts of those you love!

Let's celebrate. Let's shine!


Sandra Huber-CEO
Chief Encouraging Officer
The Soulful Parent

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What our kids can teach us about the power of forgiveness!

It is hard to tell what our kids know and understand about forgiveness. We ask them to say "I am sorry" to their friends if they hurt them, even if they obviously don't mean it. We show them by example by coming back and apologizing if we don't handle their behavior in the kind and respectful manner we intend to.
Yet, I still wonder what my own child understands about the power of forgiveness.

Marissa: I remember that "Cindy" (her very best friend in the world) made fun of me in front of everybody 3 years ago when we were in Kindergarten

Me: Hmmmm.. you have really good memory. Are you still mad at her for what she did in Kindergarten?

Marissa: Noooo..(now with an annoyed look on her face) I was just telling you a story about my friend Cindy.

Me: But I have heard that story a few times now and I wonder if you have forgiven Cindy for acting like that when you were in Kindergarten.

Marissa: Moooom... of course I have forgiven Cindy.. She's my best friend!

Me: How do you know you have forgiven Cindy?

Marissa: Because when I think of what happened, I remember it in my head not in my heart!

That's the power of true forgiveness as I learned it from an 8 year old. What lessons have you learned about forgiveness??

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Opposites are Necessary!

I don't know about you but I sometimes wonder how to best teach our daughter the qualities we want her to grow into. I came across this poem and felt the reassurance that where she's at at every stage of her development is part of the process and therefore, OK. I can learn to love all aspects of her as I discover the whole of who she's becoming!

If you want your children to be generous

you must first allow them to be selfish

If you want them to be disciplined.

you must first allow them to be spontaneous.

If you want them to be hard-working,

You must first allow them to be lazy.

This is a subtle distinction,

and hard to explain to those who criticize you.

A quality cannot be fully learned

without understanding its opposite

(from The Parent's Tao Te Ching by William Martin)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How to use your energy wisely during the holidays

The older I get the more I realize that my energy really is a form of currency, the same way money is currency: we don't usually have unlimited supplies of either one, especially if we are moms of young children!

So, what does it mean to use our energy resources wisely? If I use the analogy of currency and the use of a bank account, it's clear that we are expected to write checks and use the ATM only if we have put money in the account. Otherwise, we ran intro trouble, right? Many times we are tempted to run on "empty", to go on the red, taking out more than we put in! As moms, we tend to push ourselves, go-go-go and end up feeling depleted. We find ourselves "bouncing" our energy checks!

During the Holiday Season, it seems easier to forget to take a minute, breathe and remember the great opportunity before us for connection and meaning, without overdoing it.

Here are 3 simple ways I have found to help us practice good "energy management":

  1. Practice being comfortable with saying NO more than you say yes, especially for socially events that are not meaningful. If you are doing something out of obligation, scratch it off your list.
  2. Make sure to surround yourself with people who share their vitality and passion for life. Watch out for energy vampires and other unhealthy people who ride the “take, take, take” train!
  3. Nurture yourself in mind, body and spirit: taking good care of yourself will insure you have energy to give to others: get enough sleep, eat healthy foods and limit those calorie-filled, tempting desserts and drinks.

As a mom of a very active 8 year-old, I am aware that these ideas are simple yet not always easy to implement. My suggestion to all of us: baby steps. What a great opportunity to start a new tradition this Holiday Season: taking care of you!

As we approach one of the busiest times of the year for many of us, please take a moment to remember (and practice) The Soulful Parent #1 Manifesto Rule for this time and every time of the year: You can't give from an empty cup!!

Wishing you endless moments of awe and joy! 

Sandra Huber CEO- The Soulful Parent

Chief Encouraging Officer

P.S.: Stay tuned for more details on our FREE teleseminar in January offering you a great opportunity to set your  parenting goals and intentions for 2010!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Have a happy holiday with stress-less tips by Ellen Delap, CPO

To Do... Or Don’t? We all have a full schedule heading into the holidays.  Host a family meeting to decide on the holiday traditions which are most meaningful. Have each member voice their personal favorite.  Combine this list and write it in on a month at a glance calendar. Seeing conflicts on dates or other tasks? Right away decide which is going to take priority and eliminate what won’t work. Post this calendar where your family can see it each day.  Meet weekly during the holiday season to update and keep your kids and spouse up to date. 

Save the Date.
Planning a holiday gathering for family or friends? There are few Friday and Saturday nights in December. Send a quick e-mail to friends, and follow up later with real invitations or by or  Perhaps a Sunday afternoon is an alternative party time?   Start a family tradition with your extended family meeting on the same weekend each year, but not the holiday itself.  Many families enjoy the opportunity of spending Christmas Eve or day on their own.  

Share the fun.  It is more fun to share the holiday experience in sharing the holiday operations.  Create family partnerships with mom/daughter baking, dad/daughter outside light installation, all kids gift wrapping together or any combination of family members with assigned jobs to get tasks accomplished.  Projects are completed with more fun and less stress. 
Collate a Holiday Notebook.
Choose a notebook with holiday theme color, add tabbed dividers with labels for:

  • recipes you make each year
  • gift lists and catalog pages of gift ideas
  • a pocket for receipts
  • printouts of online orders
  • holiday card address list

and perhaps some pictures of each room fully decorated (so you know what goes where each year.)
Now all your holiday ideas and more are together!

Delap” Family Inexpensive Holiday traditions: 

  • Tour your neighborhood after dark and look at the lights
  • Drive through the downtown of your cit and look at the lights
  • Have a puzzle set up on a table throughout the season
  • Make holiday cookies as a family and decorate
  • Read holiday stories, Frosty the Snowman or Polar Express
  • Watch White Christmas, National Lampoon Christmas Vacation, or the TBS or Hallmark channels with all the holiday movies 

Happy organizing and Happy holidays!


Making a difference for others has always been important to Ellen Delap. Ellen has worked in a major volunteer capacity organizing efforts for two charities, Mothers Against Cancer, a fundraising effort for children’s cancer research funds for Texas Children’s Hospital, and Kingwood Women’s Club, a philanthropic women’s group working in the Northeast area of Houston, Texas. Ellen’s passion for organizing, as well as her desire to assist and empower others, led her to create ( in 2000. In May 2007 Ellen earned the highly esteemed and lite title of Certified Professional Organizer (CPO®) through the Board of Certification for Professional Organizers. Ellen has trained with Coach Approach for Professional Organizers™ and is a Certified Family Manager Coach™.

Working along side her clients, Ellen encourages and teaches her clients simple systems and routines leading to personal organizing solutions for home, school, work and life


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Potty Training in December by Brenda Nixon M.A.

December is a crazy month with holiday shopping, parties, visiting relatives, long days, and extra events. Although it’d be nice to have your toddler out of those expensive diapers, December is also a dangerous time to start potty training.
As I travel the country speaking to parents – and childcare providers – I’m often asked about potty training, which I prefer to call toilet teaching. We don't “train” kids like they're seals balancing a ball on their nose. Anyhow, that's just a personal peeve of mine. But they do learn, and boy, are kids fast learners!

If you feel your tot is ready to learn, you may ask “Why not now, Brenda?” Well, first, young children are extremely perceptive. They sense your angst, stress, busyness and crowded schedule. They know when you're uptight and frazzled. With immature skills to express feelings verbally, they act out their awareness of stress. Acting out takes the form of regressive behaviors like sucking the thumb, whining, or infantile behaviors or they become more aggressive through increased tantrums or defiance. If your holidays are crazed like most of us, this isn’t the time to ask your tot to learn a new, complicated skill. Plus it’ll pile more frustration on your plate if you have to take time out to clean up poopy clothes and accidents, or stand in the bathroom waiting on your child to "do something."
Second, children learn to use the potty better when their life – and schedule – is comfortably predictable. Choose a time when your family is most relaxed or you're back to "normal" routine. Some parents skip over Christmas and begin toilet teaching in January or February, thereby avoiding the seasonal excitement.
Your little one must exhibit the signs of readiness so don't jump in too soon. In The Birth to Five Book, p. 94, I reveal some of the signs that your tyke is ready for toilet learning. Space prohibits me from going into detail here. In the book I share, “Somewhere between two and three years of age, most children add toilet learning to their list of achievements. About 82 percent have mastered it by age three. But it is not solely a calendar issue; it is a readiness-to-learn issue.” Remember, that birth order, temperament, gender, parenting style, and even the season all play a role in your child's readiness.

When Sandra asked me to guest blog about toilet teaching, she asked me to share, “What NOT to do.” My number one recommendation – once you've determined your child is ready and you're committed to teaching – is NEVER ask, “You want to go potty?” Dah! Most self-respecting toddlers would rather not interrupt their agenda to sit on that new contraption. You'll most likely hear, “No.” Simply make the statement, “It's time to sit on the potty.”
For toilet teaching success, I encourage you to keep your expectations realistic. For example, expect your tot to sit on the pot, jump up, and say, “I’m done” without producing. At least he/she tried to cooperate. It's better that he/she gets familiar with it by frequent usage. Your goal – besides getting ‘em out of diapers – is to help your child feel safe and comfortable using the potty. Also, expect accidents for a while. As smart as your child is, it takes a while to adjust to the new behavior and routine. And finally, expect daytime success before nighttime achievement. Most tots can understand and cooperate with your teaching during the day but, when they're in deep slumber overnight and their little internal muscles are relaxed, they'll probably eliminate. It's not a will power issue but, a biologic one.

When my children were toddlers I was eager to end the wet and smelly messes, clothing changes, and cost. But I reminded myself that from their point of view, I was communicating a foreign set of behaviors. I tried to be positive and patient once I committed to the task. Likewise, I encourage you to keep in mind your role as “teacher.” Be instructive, understanding, patient, and persistent. Eventually, your child will be out of diapers – probably by next Christmas – and you'll have stories to tell others.

As the former Kansas City FOX TV4 parenting expert, Brenda Nixon ( is the author of the award-winning The Birth to Five Book available at Amazon and bookstores. Recently quoted in Parenting and Good Housekeeping magazines, she is a frequent media guest expert and speaker to parents and childcare professionals. From schools to synagogues, businesses to bookstores, conferences to churches, audiences rave that Brenda "engages, educates, and encourages!" Brenda is also co-author on A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts, and a freelance writer for family publications. In September, Brenda was named "Mom of the Week" by Lifetime Entertainment. She lives in Ohio with her husband and near her two young adult daughters and son. Brenda's internet radio program, The Parent's Plate, debuts January 2010 on
Brenda Nixon, M.A., Building stronger families through parent empowerment

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Today many people are sitting down with the opportunity to say thank you for the blessings of the year. Whether you celebrate the day officially or not, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

I just wanted to tale a moment to send you warm good wishes and to let you know how grateful I am that you have chosen to be a part of my Soulful Parent Community. I appreciate the sharing, the connection and the encouragement we have created in this sacred cyber-space. If you've been around for awhile, a heartfull "thank you" and if you're new, a hearty "welcome to the tribe" to you.


Sandra Huber CEO
Chief Encouraging Officer

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quiet the Mind

Our bodies produce
the bodies of our children
Our noisy minds produce
the fears of our children
But the Tao (God, Life, The Universe) produces
the spirit of our children

Still the body
Quiet the mind
Discover the spirit

From The Parent's Tao Te Ching by William Martin

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I will never do it the way my parents did!

Child: You are the worst mom in the whole entire world!
Mom: If I had ever talked to my parents that way I would have no teeth left!

Have you ever found yourself uttering these words? We are raising our children in a very different world than we were raised. I remember what it felt like to hear the threat of getting “the belt”, so scary that my sisters and I would comply without ever actually seeing the belt. Sometimes, we were “shamed” into submission and humiliated to make us comply with the rules, at home and sometimes even at school.

Today, we are encouraged to listen to our kids and validate their feelings. We are more aware that it is not only about the discipline tools but how they are delivered that shape our kids. The lines between being open and allowing disrespect start to get a little bit blurry.
Do you ever wonder if you are doing it “right” when it comes to raising your own kids? I know deep down inside that I don’t want to parent the exact same way my parents did it. I want to take what I appreciated about their parenting and somehow mix it with this new version of parenting I am learning. But, is it realistic to expect the same instant compliance my parents got out of me, if the method I am using is totally different? It stands to reason that if the method is different the results would be too.

What I know so far is that my child knows without a doubt that she is always good and that her heart is good. That is the nature of who she is. She knows that she sometimes chooses to make poor choices that her dad and I don't approve of but she is ALWAYS intrinsically good. We disapprove of her behavior, not of her as a person. I know so far, she trusts her home as a safe place for her to completely fall apart when she has been holding it together all day at school. Do you ever hear people praise your kids for the way they behave at school and you wonder if they are talking about the same hooligans you see at home?

Don't get me wrong: we have rules in our home and there are natural consequences. My daughter knows how to push our buttons and while she does that, I am reminded that she may be pushing the buttons but she “didn’t install the system”. She knows that her anger is OK with me. It is my responsibility to teach her to use tools to deal with that anger which don't include hurting herself or hurting someone else. It is my job to help her figure out how to navigate those intense emotions and how to find a place for them.

In those moments when her emotions take over and she behaves short of the disturbed the child on the “Exorcist” I sometimes forget and take personal the things she may say in anger. I forget to ask myself; “what is she trying to communicate?”, “is she tired”? “Is she coming down with a cold”? “Is she feeling stressed out?” It all seems to happen so fast.

Have you had the pleasure yet to hear your child say things like “I hate you” or “you are the worst mommy in the world”? It can be a shock to your parenting “ego".In those emotionally charged moments I need to remember that she loves me and that she is a child figuring out the world around her. Yet it still hurts and the words do sting. I have discovered that not “reacting” but instead “responding” to her outburst works well for us. If I remain calm I make sure only one of us is having a melt-down!

Raising children in this new, more open, more balanced way is not easy. It requires a lot more work, patience, and more focus than pulling the “infamous belt” ever would. Do I hear some parents afraid of spoiling their kids or being too soft? Sure. Is this kinder, non-reactive, strength-based approach perfect? Not by a long shot. But I feel privileged for the opportunity to give it a try!

Monday, October 19, 2009

When your 8-year-old is going on 15 !!

It is always ironic to me, how my own experience raising my child always prepares me for my sessions with the parents I coach. Many of these parents have come to me lately for help when they are engaged in power struggles with their children. It has been a topic that has brought many a frustrated parent to question his or her own parenting skills. I had being able to recognize immediately when their children were asserting their own power and attempting to define the boundaries between them and their parents. This time it was my turn to experience that struggle for myself.

A few days ago, my 8-year-old daughter got in the car with me after a day at school. On the way home we talked about what she planned to do with the rest of the afternoon. I was quick to remind her that she was expected to do her homework and chores before she went out to play with our next-door neighbor. I found myself at a loss for words as I heard my daughter say, in no uncertain terms:” I am not doing chores and you can’t make me. “

In the interest of honesty and transparency here, I have to tell you that hearing my own daughter utter those words felt like a personal and professional failure on my part. One of the things that has made my work as a parent coach a powerful experience, has been my ability to relate to the struggles of parents just like me, trying to make the best of every situation while raising, healthy, well adjusted children. I was looking at my daughter through the rear-view mirror while fantasizing: Do I join her in the “hunt” for power or do I wait until we get home and ground her for life?

Fortunately for both of us, patience and calm prevailed that day. I forced myself to take a deep breath. As calmly as I could, I let her know that indeed she was correct: I couldn’t make her do anything. I shared with her that once she became her own person, with her own opinions and her own likes and dislikes, I hadn’t been able to make her do anything: I couldn’t make her eat, I couldn’t make her go to sleep, I couldn’t even make her stop talking without using some sort of illegal restraint! She looked back at me with a sense of triumph and repeated: “That’s right mommy, you can’t make me do anything”.

I could see she was waiting for me to make the next move. I have never been very good at playing poker but this was one of those times when I needed to keep a straight face and not let her see my “hand”. I needed to keep it together and call her “bluff”. I said: “honey, the wonderful thing about being responsible and making our own decisions is that we also get to experience the consequences of our choices. So, since I can’t make you do anything, my job is to guide you to make the best choices, but the choices are still yours to make.

I could almost hear the wheels turning in her head. We discussed her options and their consequences. Her response was immediate and I heard the “you can’t do that. That’s not fair. No, I will not do my chores OR my homework and you can’t’ make me.” I took another deep breath wondering if my approach was all but a failed attempt to remain calm when what I really wanted to do was scream and tell her how she was going to do whatever I darn well told her to do! Anyone else ever been there?

The ride home was silent and thankfully, short. We went in the house and I continued with my routine without saying another word to her. She sat on the couch, cross-legged and defiant. I told her I was going to give her 5 minutes to decide what she wanted to do. When the time was up, she got off the couch and acting as if nothing had happened asked:” How about I do my chores but put on the TV while I do it so I won’t be so bored?” I agreed quickly and she was surprised. I could tell she felt proud of her “negotiating” skills.

I could feel my face starting to cool off and my blood pressure returning to normal. The bottom line was clear: I had given her the choice to do the right thing but also had given some room for her to feel like she had some power and some true choice-making leverage. As tempting as it was in the moment, I realized that mirroring her unwanted behavior instead of modeling a healthier way to behave was setting up a long road of power struggles. We are not even in the teen years yet!!

One thing I know for sure: When it comes to preparing me to work with the parents I support, nothing prepares me better than the everyday challenges of raising a strong-willed 8 year old!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Honesty and your kids

The article below came to me today as I was questioning myself over how much to share with our 8 year-old about recently loosing my job. I was upset, hurt and dissapointed and there were a lot of tears!

In a clear, calm, age-appropriate way, we decided to explain to her what had happened and what that meant for us as a family. We were open and honest and answered all her questions. I have to be honest: I was worried that maybe I had "traumatized" my child in some way and that maybe I should have "shielded" her from the truth. Guilt is never too far from a mom's mind!!!

To my surprise, she was understanding and willing to do her part in our efforts to use our resources even more responsibly. Because we were calm, she was able to be calm too!

Modeling for our kids in developmentally-appropriate ways how to handle stressful situations helps them learn that their emotions are valid, real and important. What a great lesson for all of us!!

Scream Free Parenting Tip of the Day

by Hal Runkel, LMFT

Kids are remarkably perceptive creatures. Even infants pick up on parental cues and follow our lead, regardless of the emotion we emit. If you have something major going on with your career, marriage, finances, health – you name it – your children are picking up on it.

Your best course of action is honesty. Pretending like nothing is wrong does nothing but send mixed signals to your kids. It makes them question their own instincts and judgments – one of the cruelest things you can do to them. When your child approaches you with a tough question – especially one involving a perception they have – be simple, be direct, and be honest. You’ll actually be doing them a tremendous favor!

How have you handled life changing situations with your children? What worked for you?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Where are you parenting from?

One of the most important things I have learned from coaching parents and from my own parenting is to be honest about “where” we are coming from when we parent our children. Parenting from knee-jerk reactions, passed down family mindsets or society's opinions can be limiting, unproductive and stop the flow of creativity. Our parenting opportunity is one that requires us to be conscious about everything we say and do when interacting with our children. As one client told me last night: “conscious parenting is a lot of freaking work!” And you know what? She's absolutely right!

If we manage to calm our own anxieties, acknowledge our own past hurts and recognize our own “buttons” , we will “respond” to our children instead of reacting to them. We have an opportunity to create the space to allow them to be who they came here to be!

Remember: It’s not so much what you are parenting about, but where you are parenting from!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My love affair with play

I was delighted to have made a new friend on Facebook who has an excellent place for young children to play. It’s called Play Matters and she has a location in Seattle

I asked her to be my blog guest and write an article about playing. You'll be seeing the article in the next blog/note I post. You’d think play is a safe topic to talk about both for kids and adults, right?

People that are close to me would say that I am funny, playful, buoyant and curious with a “nothing-is-out-of-limits” attitude. To my amazement (or should I say, amusement?) “stuff” came up for me around the topic of playing. I come to find out that I have a hard time justifying time to play. I guess in a way, I feel guilty about playing.

Here are some of the reasons why I stop myself from playing:

· If I have too much fun sooner or later my luck will change
· I have to “earn” my right to play by getting all my “chores” done first.
· It isn't safe to play – you’ll lose control and something bad might happen
· If I get too silly people won’t respect me and take me seriously

I know logically that all these are all “stories” I have told myself and none of them are the real truth about me or about playing. I figured that we all dream of a life with freedom: freedom to be happy, freedom to explore and freedom to be who we came here to be. As parents, we watch our children doing that and wonder what happen to us.

As I explore my own personal past and relationship with play I remember the way play used to be when I was kid. I remembered that I was only allowed to play freely when my parents and adult family members wanted to have “little ears” out of the way: when they wanted to talk about grown-up stuff. However, I couldn't enjoy much play at other times. Even as a very small child, the idea of play for the sake of play wasn't one I was familiar with: my duties always came first.

I realized last night I have a second chance to learn and enjoy playing. I have a very precocious and active daughter who constantly pulls me into her world and makes it OK for me to find a better relationship with play. When I told her today that I was writing about mommy learning to play again, she looked at me puzzled and asked: “You mean you forgot? How did you forget?”
I guess that is what this blog is about. Figuring out how did I forget and how to reclaim that joy that is play.

How do you find your place in the world of play?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Parenting at the speed of life!

Do you ever feel like your life is a crazy merry-go-round? Does it ever feel like you want it to slow down enough for you to get off? Do you ever feel that the “scenery” is passing you by and you are not getting to enjoy the details?
Well, I am here to tell you, you are not alone. I hear this sentiment time and time again from my friends, my clients and in my own life. I have come to realize that even when things are going the way I want, there still is a lot to do and not enough time to do it!
In the last few weeks, I have enjoyed many surprises and good happenings: the “official” launching of my business, the change of my career focus and entering the process of purchasing a new home. These are all very exciting things and yet, I am finding myself running around trying to make it all work.
Our daughter Marissa is starting to notice that mommy has a lot to do: more than usual. You don’t want to play with me anymore, you are always on the computer! she cried the other night. I became aware that I have not been balancing my career and my parenting in a way that supports the kind of parent I want to be.
So, it’s time to prioritize: my main focus is my family. How do I make sure that I get what I need to get done in a way that satisfies my own needs while satisfying the needs of those who matter to me most?

I have decided to give my daily routines a little more structure yet keeping it flexible. Last night. I decided to designate my time working on my business to coincide with the time after my daughter goes to bed. In order to still enjoy time with my husband, I am limiting my time to 1 hour every night. This allows me to honor the sacred time with my family during dinner, one-on-one time with my daughter before she goes to bed and couple time with my husband before we both go to sleep. I have decided, for example, that Sundays are “linen” days, when I exchange bed sheets and towels around the house. I decided to give up the self-imposed requirement of making a “full course” meal for dinner every night. Instead, I am writing my meal planning on Sunday night to reflect a particular item that my family enjoys every day of the week: Chicken on Mondays, Pork on Tuesdays, Fish on Wednesday, Turkey on Thursdays, etc. Little by little, I am finding not only a structure but a rhythm that works for me and my family. Last night we had sandwiches on paper plates for dinner last night and it was awesome. No fuss, no stress!
I am reminded that flexibility is key. Even though there’s a structure in place there has to be room for changes and adjustments. I remember a saying my grandma used to have that reminds me of the need to slow down, no matter what is happening around us. She used to say: "dress me slowly because I am in a hurry". I have come to learn that when I take a deep breath and go slower I have a lot less “do overs”!

What do YOU do to make sure you keep the balance between career, family and your own personal life?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Be aware of your own hot buttons!

A long time ago, a friend told me about someone who was really getting under my skin,“they may be pushing your buttons, but they didn't install the system!” Powerful words!

The more you know yourself, both what you like and what you don't like, what is important to you and what is not, the better you'll be able to manage your own behavior the next time a "meltdown" is looming.

We can't predict when our children will have one of those “moments” nor can we control them. They are likely to happen when you are exhausted, feeling sick, having a bad day, stuck in traffic or simply not ready to deal with them. You are responsible for your own feelings .The only person we have control over is ourselves!

We have fewer parental regrets when we respond thoughtfully rather than react emotionally.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Easy Recipe for the Week

Rachael Ray’s Lemon Pasta, Johnson Style (courtesy of our good friend Patricia Johnson)

1 pound spaghetti
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 12.5 oz cans chicken breast chunks
Handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup (10 or 12 leaves) fresh basil, very thinly sliced
Grated parmesan/asiago cheese for serving at the table

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop the spaghetti into the pot.
Heat a smaller pot over low heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes. This infuses the oil with the garlic and pepper flavor. Turn off the heat so garlic and flakes don’t burn.

When the oil has infused for a few minutes, add the chicken broth from the canned chicken. Turn on the heat to bring sauce to a bubble.
Drain pasta when it still has a good bite to it, maybe 2/3rds done, and return it to the large pot. Add the sauce, lemon juice and zest, and herbs to the pasta and turn on the heat to low. Stirring frequently, cook until all liquid is absorbed. When just about done, add chicken chunks so they can warm without falling apart.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Where did I go?

For as long as I can remember, I have heard and read about the importance of caring, nurturing and guiding your children. About finding ways to encourage them, support them, educate them. The older I get, and the more independence my daughter demands, the more I realize that it's truly a fine balance between giving them wings and giving them roots.I want both for her!

Many books that I see on the parenting section at most bookstores, focus on how to be a parent, forgetting some times that we are human beings first, who make the choice to become parents. I used to ask myself many times, where did I go? What happened to the “me” that used to have all this free time and all this energy? These days, I have reconciled the fact that I am “me” first and all else later. I am very clear that I am more than any of the roles I play, even when I choose to focus on one or two or even three at any particular time!

If you have ever wondered about your place in this world outside of your role as a parent, you are not alone. It doesn't mean you are a bad parent or that you don't appreciate the gift of parenting. Many of the moms I coach have told me at one point or another, how they feel they have “lost” themselves after having children. If you have been fortunate enough to have people in your life who have supported you in keeping your sanity and your integrity, you know what I mean.

How have you found your way back to that place where you know you are OK, where you can handle being a parent, a partner, a friend, a worker, a sister, a daughter? What has helped you find that balance?

Twitter Moms: The Influential Moms Network

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Do as I say and Do

Wouldn’t you love if your children learned to be self-reliant, to have positive values, to eat healthy food, to value rest and be calm and happy? These are only taught by modeling. Forget the “do as I say not as I do”!! I believe the bottom line when it comes to raising children is that every parent wants to raise children who will eventually become loving, caring adults who are happy and productive in their community. I have never met a parent that said “I want my child to be completely anti-social, a total looser and a pain in the neck”. You wouldn’t be reading this if that was your goal for your parenting!

For many of us, the responsibility to be an example for our children in everything we do can be daunting and flat out intimidating. I remember getting pulled over by a police officer one time, after what seemed to me, like the most stupid infraction ever: driving on the shoulder of this particular road. In my mind, I was thinking, “isn’t there a donut shop around here you should be hanging out at?”.. or “isn’t someone out there committing some crime that you should be after instead of stopping me for this?” As I pulled to the say of the road, I remember that I had an audience: my 4 year old was in the back, watching everything I did. I realized that the way I handle myself would teach her more than anything I could possibly say afterwards. So, I choose to keep my thoughts to myself and act respectfully, as I hope she one day does too.

Have you ever heard your kid screaming in the house and have found yourself screaming at her to stop screaming? Do you realize how silly that is? It is as silly as hitting your child because they hit you.. that will teach them a lesson, right? You are your children's first and greatest teacher and role model!

Remember: Be the person you want your children to be!

Monday, September 7, 2009

FREE Parenting Worshop in Seattle Area

Is Your Child Blossoming or Simply Growing Older?

10 Simple Ideas for Avoiding Common Parenting Pitfalls
Parenting can be really stressful. Our children challenge us and cause us to grow in ways we never imagined before having kids. Sometimes parents set high expectations and are often too hard on themselves when they don’t handle every parenting situation as they would like to.
While there isn’t one parenting technique that will magically work with all children much less all parents, I will share with you tools and strategies to address many of your parenting concerns.

In this FREE introductory seminar we will cover some basic ideas that can help you start taking some positive actions and create the family life experience you want to live!
In this FREE introductory seminar you will learn some basic, simple tools that will help you navigate along the bumpy road of raising children, all the while helping you increase your skills, leaving you feeling better about your parenting skills.

I became a Certified Parent Coach ® because I am deeply passionate about changing the world, one family at a time. I believe that with appropriate tools, encouragement and support, parents can get the help they need to be confident in creating a positive and healthy home environment!

Contact Sandra at to register for this FREE introductory seminar. You have nothing to loose and peace of mind to gain!

Date: Saturday, September 19th, 2009
Time: 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Location: Bothell-King County Regional Library
18215 98th Ave NE, Bothell, WA 98011
Cross Streets: Between NE 182nd St and NE 183rd St in downtown Bothell
For directions visit
or call (425) 486-7811

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Using Humor: parenting should be fun!

In the book “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, Mc Murphy (played on screen by legendary actor Jack Nicholson) says “when you loose your sense of humor, you loose your footing” which is great wisdom when you consider in this movie, he lives in a psychiatric institution!
Humor is one of the best tools you have at hand for those days when your children are in a conspiracy to send you over the edge. Humor and laughter are indeed serious business: Did you know that they can also reduce stress, ease strained relationships, diffuse tension, and even bridge the gap between generations? Given all the benefits of giggling, chuckling, and being silly, why not inject some humor into your family's day-to-day life? A sense of humor will help you when your baby begins to cry for the fifth time tonight... When your 2 year-old has smeared her dirty diaper all over the bedroom wall.. when you have an argumentative five-year old. Or like me, while you're in the middle of a complex parking maneuver at the supermarket, reversing your 4x4 into a space that a shopping cart would find tight while your daughter is giving you the "third degree"!

Every kid has a funny bone. They love to laugh, play, and clown around. Experts say (whoever these experts are!) that humor is a very effective way to get kids to do the things they don’t want to do. When parents use silly songs and the element of surprise, kids will often comply with little fuss. “Humor allows parents to handle a tough circumstance in a different and more constructive manner,” says child physician, Dr. Rene Ramiro.
I believe that laughter can connect us with the present moment, with the here and now. The older I get the more I realize the importance of making laughter a priority and try to find something that makes me laugh at least once a day. When I have had a particularly bad day (no matter what, we've all been there!) where it seems like NOTHING could help, watching some I Love Lucy always does the trick for me.

It's so fun, I tell you. And I feel lighter and more centered and I can honestly say I even feel wiser and more compassionate when I laugh.

A final note: Humor will allow you on the most stressful of days to realize that you've been given your child as an amazing gift to enjoy and cherish.

Remember: Don't be a cynic. Parenting should be fun.

Cultivate Gratitude

There has been a lot of “buzz” in the last few years about the power of gratitude: books are written about it, seminars and classes talk about the importance of being grateful. We even have a day in the year when we are asked to think about what we are grateful for! Researchers are finding that gratitude is a key element of human well-being. They are finding that grateful people are optimistic and energetic and deal better with stress and illness. Gratitude, in short, can make you happier.

For those of you for whom research drives the point home more powerfully, check this out: Seligman, Steen, Park and Peterson (2005) carried out a randomized, placebo-controlled study. They followed participants up 6 months after they had begun carrying out a simple gratitude exercise and found they were happier and less depressed than a control group. In this study, though, participants initially wrote about what they were grateful for every day for a week. If it's possible for even the simplest negative thought to provoke a change in mood (and if you are a parent, you know how TRUE that is), then why not a positive grateful thought as well?

A word of caution here: When I ask you to consider the power of being grateful, I am not asking you to stick your head in the sand and pretend that nothing is happening that needs your attention. "To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great," Robert A. Emmons (Emmons, R.A., & McCullough, M.E. -2004. The psychology of gratitude). "It just means we are aware of our blessings”.

What does gratitude have to do with parenting, you ask? What I know is that when we focus on what we don’t have, we tend to perpetuate the very same thing we don’t want. The negative thoughts that arise when we are concentrated on the way things should be and are not, can rob us from the joy that our children bring us every day. These thoughts are the perennial “blackberry” bushes of our lives (for those of you on the Pacific Northwest, you get the picture, right?) It takes a lot of effort to eliminate them from our garden. Well, it’s the same thing with negative thoughts (and attitudes) about our children’s behaviors, demeanors and intentions. We need to eliminate our routine thinking and labeling of them before we can actually “plant” the seeds of the behaviors we want from them. 

One of the things that I started doing a couple of years ago and found incredibly powerful, was the nightly routine of a gratitude journal. It has evolved nicely into a deeper daily practice that reminds me of how full my life truly is. A good friend of mine gave me a beautiful journal that I decided to use and write 5 things for which I was grateful. It became a profound ritual that brought a sense of closure to every day. Some times, in our quests to be better, or more successful, or more organized, or better moms, parents, spouses, we get stuck in the energy of more, and forget the gifts of now.

I know what some of you may be thinking: this exercise seems so trivial it couldn’t possible be worth doing. I invite you to think about this: Many parents focus on what isn’t working, forgetting to appreciate what is. Today, take a few minutes to appreciate nature. Go for a walk and notice the beauty around you. Whether you focus on the clouds above, a distant mountain range, or the apple tree in your backyard, notice the details. The bottom line is that regardless of whether you record these items on a journal or not, I invite you t spend some time each day to focus on the little things in your life that make each day special. Be aware of what in your personal and family life you are grateful for. Focus on little things in your life that make each day special: A good friend. Your child's toothless grin. A homemade meal. A warm shower. Your child’s picture that looks nothing like the puppy she says it is

Remember: "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." - William Arthur Ward

Thursday, August 20, 2009

How do children spell love? T-I-M-E

I know. This is such a timeless piece of advice, isn't it? Making sure we have some quality time can be difficult. We have so many activities to compete with and when parents have to work outside the home, it calls for some serious creativity. One thing that has helped me is to set more boundaries around my work, so that when I am home, I’m “really all there". I have to confess that there have been days when I am spending time with our daughter coloring, baking or even reading, and my mind is busy thinking and planning what I need to get accomplished as soon as I am “done” with her. That’s not what it is meant by quality time. Quality time really means giving your children your full attention, not all day long or even every day, but during the time you are WITH them. It means being present and having your attention on them, mind and heart.

I can already hear some of you saying: …But how? How do we find time when we have more than one child? How do we find time when we work outside the home? How do I find time when our partner doesn’t help with the housework? How do I find time when I am tired and exhausted? Well, that is one question that comes up time and time again with the parents I coach. I wish I had a magic answer that would fit all the possible reasons why finding time for your children can be a challenge. What I do know is that, once you find a way to incorporate quality time into routines and activities you already do, it becomes much easier and less of a to-do and more of a “ta-daah”! (can you hear the drum rolls?)

What I am suggesting is that you make those 15 minutes at the dinner table count. Maybe when you are ready to do laundry, you can ask your youngest to help you carry some clothes to the washer and you can talk to them about was their favorite thing from that day. Or maybe when you are driving your 10 year-old to a play date you can sing together in the car to a song you know she likes. Maybe you can play “I Spy” in the car on the way to the dentist. Maybe you can sit down and write a short note to grandma to send her your children’s latest art work. With very young children, days of the week can have cool names like Magic Monday, Terrific Tuesday, Wondrous Wednesday--and so on. Pick a Saturday during the year when children can make gifts for each other and celebrate what's special about their sister or brother. Celebrate a butterfly sighting or geese flying south, a fresh snowfall, a field goal, a lost object found, a new haircut, Picture Day at school. Our 3-year-old neighbor Hunter who lives on our cul-de-sac loves how fun it is turning on the vacuum cleaner for his mom, then pushing the button that magically "eats" the cord when he is done. Have a family Valentine's Dinner--lots of red candles, lacy doilies, little white lights wrapped around the room, and heart-shaped food. Even President's Day is an opportunity to come together as a family. You might talk about what makes a good leader, read stories about Washington and Lincoln, and say what each of you would do to make the world a better place if you were president. Think of what you loved doing as a kid and try to build on that.
These are all ways to incorporate “one-on-one” time without having to spend money or carve huge amounts of time for them.

For those of you ready to leap into designating more specific family time, turning off the TV or computer is another way that helps you create that special time. When I was growing up, my family parents were big fans of board games. We spent many a night playing Monopoly and Life, or trying to keep quiet while playing old fashioned Operation. These days, we have new games that my family enjoys and my daughter loves the popular ‘theme” games; Princess Monopoly or Sponge Bog Life. We also like crafting together – just being inventive with the stuff around our house and seeing what we create. I have learned that our daughter and I can always have some quality time doing some scrap booking together, something we both enjoy immensely. My daughter loves to help cook, so we let her drag her stepstool over and work alongside us. The bottom line is that you can make everyday life routines a family-focused activity. One of the things our daughter enjoys most is reading, so I try to spend at least a few minutes a day reading to her and we also make sure we have a family game night  every week. We play the computer games or pull out the UNO cards or get a board game.

Another great opportunity to have time together is to sit together at the table and eat dinner together. Dinnertime conversations (either at our table or at a restaurant) are always a great opportunity to connect, regardless of what’s being served. Get creative: Have an indoor picnic on the floor. Serve banana splits for dinner or pasta for breakfast. Choose a day and announce that you will be having dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner. Serve boxed macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets and fries in the morning and make pancakes or eggs and toast for dinner. You might have dessert before you have dinner and serve the main course afterwards. Kids love this one.

Make time to have fun with your children. It will pay off in a 100 different ways and is worth every minute.

"Your children need your presence far more than your presents."   Jesse Jackson 

The Soulful Parent

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ready, Set, Go Back!

By Jenny Runkel

Whether your little one is headed to kindergarten, college, or somewhere in between, you are facing that time of year again…the time of much rejoicing for parents and much lamenting for children (and most of their teachers).
That’s right, it’s back to school time. Whether your summer is coming to a bittersweet end, or just a “Thank God it’s over” end, it’s time for you to prepare yourself and your family for the familiar grind of academia.

We’ve compiled a few tips and tricks that will help you stay ScreamFree through that process and hopefully beyond it:

1. Back up bedtime. NOW. 

If your family is anything like ours, we’ve been on the go with vacations, summer camps, and family visits. All of those are great, but they tend to be accompanied with late nights, less than structured days, and a lazy summer mentality.

It’s time to get the kids (and you) used to an earlier bedtime and an earlier morning. Word of warning: Don’t do this all at once. Move your kids toward bed – with a familiar routine – about 10 minutes earlier each night and get them up 10 minutes earlier each day, until that fateful day arrives. Their bodies and yours will be adjusted by then and you’ll be able to skip at least some of the back to school blues.

2. Encourage goal setting. 

Even your 1st grader can be taught about setting goals. This is a great activity to do together. Too often, we set goals for our kids without really letting them in on the process. If our job is to raise adults, we should be giving them more and more ownership over their lives each year. Ask them what they are interested in accomplishing this year. Help them think of possible goals and be sure not to dismiss the ones they come up with. Then talk openly together about what it might take to achieve those goals.

3. Get your house ready for the paper tornado. 

I thought that computers were supposed to save trees and eliminate the paper trail altogether, but my kids bring home more each year. If I don’t have a plan in place for what to do with math worksheets and watercolor octopi, I will be buried alive. First, go through last year’s stuff if you haven’t already. Be brutal and only keep things like standardized test scores and written assignments that really show their personality. Aim to reduce whatever you’ve kept to a small stack that you can put in one file folder.

For the incoming flux, get a small hanging file folder box or even an accordion folder that you keep near the place where kids keep their backpacks. Teach them how to sort their incoming mail just like you do your own. Immediately recycle the junk mail, mark down important dates and events on the family calendar (and toss the paper it came in on), and file the completed worksheets, etc…in a folder with their name on it. Go through it together at the end of each grading period and repeat step one.

4. Give them more responsibility. 

I stopped going through backpacks in about 2nd grade when I reached in and felt something squishy that I swear moved. After that, it was their job each afternoon to take out any papers I’m supposed to see, put their emptied lunch boxes by the sink, and hang their bookbags by the back door.

I know this causes great anxiety in some parents. But remember, we’re striving to create adults here – ones that will be doing this all for themselves in a few short years. Teach them how, let them do it, watch them learn (sometimes through failure).

5. Be careful what you say yes to now. 

You are about to be bludgeoned by requests for this activity and that one. You want your children to experience all that life has to offer, which in our society can mean cub scouts, gymnastics, math clubs, church groups, and playdates (and all of this before they even reach elementary school). Doing everything is just a recipe for resentment. Build in some downtime so that your kids can just be kids.

All of these tips are designed to help you keep your cool as your kids’ school schedule cranks up the heat. Your attitude and demeanor at home is every bit as important to their academic and social success as the school they attend and the teachers they have. So, savor the pool a few more times and then get busy getting ready so that you are all prepared for that first day of school.

Hal E. Runkel, LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist and author of the groundbreaking book ScreamFree Parenting: Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool, from Broadway Books and Waterbrook Press. Visit for more information.

The Truth About Self Care

On my last plane trip to New Jersey at the end of June, I was sitting next to a young mom and her precious 5 year-old little girl. As with every flight, instructions given to ensure our safety were posted on the little screen in front of us. The little girl was watching attentively as if this was a Disney movie,while I decided that this time I was really going to pay attention to the safety rules. WIthin a few minutes came the part where the flight attendants talk about what happens in case of a change in the “cabin pressure” . The airplane safety instructions tell you to put on your oxygen masks before placing a mask on your children. The little girl looked at me and then looked at her mom and with the innocence reserved for a child that age, asked her mom “do we have to remember all this”? I couldn’t help but laugh at this precocious little 5 year old and also think about what a great example of Exquisite Self-Care the safety instructions were. I am sure you can relate. We all experience many different “changes in pressure” throughout our days as parents. Finding a way that makes sense to take care of ourselves first, is a healthy practice that we can extend to our daily lives on the ground!

Psychologists now know that parents, who make time for themselves every day, are happier people and more patient parents, who raise happier children. But what exactly are we talking about? At one of our weekly meetings, I asked the group of moms I am coaching, what were the first things that came to their minds when they thought about self-indulgent activities. The list was interesting: massages, pedicures, bottles of fancy wine, bubble baths, trips to the spa, sleeping in late and maid services. These were all great ideas and I was delighted that they could come up with so many. When I asked them how often they actually get a chance to do any of those, their answer was a resounding: NEVER!

As a parent of a very active and engaged 7-year-old myself, I find that self-care tends to slip my mind every now and then if I am not careful. It has taken a long time for me to realize the importance of considering my needs as part of the well-being of my family. I was raised by an amazing woman who felt that the needs of her family ALWAYS came first. The price exacted by living life from this place of self-less martyrdom, was a huge compromise on her mental and physical health and an incredible sense of responsibility for my mother’s happiness.

It seems like an obvious statement to say that when a parent feels relaxed and less stressed, children feel calmer and tend to be more cooperative. Treat yourself to your own personal “down time,” whatever that might be for you. It will help you to better handle the most highly charged of situations with your children and you’ll become a great role model for them in the process.

For some, this “care and feeding of the soul” could be a walk in nature, while for others it will be enjoying a hobby. It could be dancing with your child to their favorite tunes (you get movement for your health in the process), scheduling that mammogram, calling a friend or drinking enough water.

As I continue to explore what self-care and Exquisite Self-Care is all about for me and the moms I work with, it has become clear that in order for many of us to actually “implement” some kind of a routine of taking care of ourselves, it would have to be embedded in what we already do. I got that idea from the way I have decided to add movement into my life: During the school year, I drive home, park my car and walk to get my daughter from school. I can’t give up half way there or even on the way back because we have to go home. During my day, I park my car somewhere and walk to the pharmacy, to the ice cream store or to the doctor’s office. By doing this, I ensure that I get a little bit of exercise through out the day, because I HAVE to get back to my car! The same applies to my daily routine when it comes to being good to myself. The question is no longer whether you have time to be good to yourself, because you already know what the answer is. But what if I asked you, what is it that you are doing already, that with a little creativity, you could turn into opportunities for self care?

Make it your parenting goal to do the things that help you get centered and assist you in being a happier, peaceful parent. What a wonderful thing to model to your children! Wouldn’t you love to set up the stage so that your children will learn the importance of taking care of themselves throughout their lives? Taking the time to nurture yourself is no longer a luxury: it is vital to being an effective parent. When you take the time to take care of yourself first, you then have the energy to assist your children and others. Remember: you can’t give from an empty cup!


Want to know more about self-care and how to be supported in your parenting? Pick up the phone and call Sandra at the Soulful Parent at (425) 345-4752 or e-mail me at for your FREE initial consultation. You will know in a few minutes if parent coaching is right for you. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!