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