Friday, January 29, 2010

Do you have what it takes to turn off that TV???

8 year-old: But moooom.. I proooomised  you that I will give away 3 stuff animals if you just get me this really cute one!
Me:  Sweetheart, you already have at least 10 different puppies and you don't even play with them!
8 year-old:  But this one is soooo much cuter than the other ones! Pleeeease! I would do anything to get this one!(as the pitch on the voice gets higher and whinier!)
Me: The answer still is no. I told you we are not buying another stuff animal for you. We have to be very responsible with our money, you know? It's very important  to make good choices and I am choosing to use our money differently.
8 year-old: You are such a meanie! I wish I was the mommy and I could tell YOU how to spend the money!

From then on, it was sigh after sigh, rolling of the eyes and finally crying. You get the picture, right? I thought to myself: "how old do kids need to be before you can leave them
in the car by themselves?” I took a deep breath and remember Rule#1: Only one of you can be having a meltdown at a time. I took another deep breath: Rule#2: Never forget rule#1.

I decided to be curious instead of angry. She knew I wasn't happy with her response and I let her know that there would be consequences once we got home: No television or playing Wii for today.  I had to seriously wonder, where was this constant need for material stuff coming from? It seemed like every day she was wanting more and more things, regardless of the fact that I continued to make trips to the local thrift store to unload things she no longer uses! Why were we not able to go anywhere without her asking for me to buy something? My husband and I have been really mindful about not getting caught in competing with neighbors and friends and remind each other regularly of all the blessings we have to be thankful for.

Then it finally hit me: I had been allow this impressionable 8-year-old to have unsupervised TV in the last 3 weeks as I spend time in search of a part-time job. I had stopped sitting with her while she watched TV and reminding her how the advertising agencies wanted to make sure to create in her head the idea that she needed all these things she saw in the commercials. I had gotten complacent about my responsibility to guide my child through the maze that is discerning what she needs vs. what she wants when she's bombarded every 7 minutes with the call to shop for something new!

I came across a statistic that says that the average American child is expose to forty thousand advertising messages each year and that corporations spend nearly $15 billion annually to market to kids under 12! Doesn't that blow your mind? Our children are the proverbial "canary" in the coal mine and as I lost my way (temporarily) focusing on the immediate needs, she was there to remind me. It was clear that I had missed the mark this time so I decided that it was time to cut back on the amount of time she spends in front of the TV!

As a family, we also decided to do a gratitude journal: More than going around the table and telling each other what we were grateful for, we each are going to write 5 things EVERY night that we were grateful for. Whenever we are disappointed or feel we don't have all the "bells and whistles" we want, we will take a minute and look at the list. I know.. It sounds so simple yet, it really speaks to refocusing our attention to what really matters: our family and friends!

I invite you to start right now asking your kids what they are grateful for and what makes them happy. I be you it won't be "things". Share Suze Orman's mantra: PEOPLE, MONEY and THEN things!

I'd love to hear how you handle the materialistic impulses of your children! 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

3 Simple Ways To Gracefully say "Thank You"

I was having lunch with a girlfriend the other day: she's by far one of the classiest, most beautiful and interesting women I know. She's funny and she's wise and she doesn't look her 57 years of age, whatever that means these days.

I happened to mention that I loved the color blue she was wearing, a beautiful pashmina wrapped around her upper body. I told her how it made her eyes "stand out". She immediately deflected the compliment and waved her hand while telling me how old the wrap was and how she needed to get a new one.

Why is it, that many of us women, have such a hard time accepting a compliment? Why are we so quick to "poo-pooh" every bit of flattery that we receive? Haven't we earned the right to be praised for our accomplishments even if they seem as mundane as great taste in picking the right color?
I have to admit I used to be one of those women who had a hard time taking a compliment of any kind. One day, years ago,  a very good friend of mine shared how offended she was that I had not accepted her gift: to her, my refusal to accept a well-deserved compliment, felt as if I had returned a present she had picked out especially for me. Right then and there I got it.. and never again ran so quickly to deflect or minimize honest, genuine, loving praise.
I am so grateful for that lesson. Using the following these tips has helped me stay "on track":

1. Acknowledge the kindness of the compliment or praise: If a co-worker admires your beautiful shoes or your new hairstyle, do not dismiss it. Instead, respond with a simple "thank you". That's it, you don't' have to say much more than that.
2. Silence the inner critic: Take a deep breath and shift the negative thinking to a kinder internal dialogue. Your brother-in-law didn't say you were very photogenic because he thinks you look less attractive in real life but simply because you look fabulous on that wedding photo!
3. Be gracious and grateful: Even if it's difficult for you to believe the compliment, recognize that from the point of view of the soul offering you the praise, it was well intentioned and you can be grateful that they decided to share it with you!

Remember, your children are watching you. What a great lesson in confidence for your little ones when mommy can give AND accept a compliment!

P.S.: Can you remember the last time you refused a compliment? Is it easier to accept a compliment from others when it comes to your kids? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this one!

Monday, January 18, 2010


Moms of young children!
You can reclaim the joy of parenting!

·Are you a mom of a young child ages 2 to 12 feeling exhausted and at the end of your rope?
·Do you feel your 3 year-old is running the show and you are learning on the job?
·You want to respond in a better way when your 8 year old pushes your buttons?
      ·Tired of yelling and screaming at your 10 year-old?
If your answer is YES to any of these questions you are not alone!
 Are you ready for a joyful experience in parenting?

Request your copy of my free eBook
The Art of Effective Parenting: 10 Ideas to a more Peaceful, Rewarding and Fun Parenting Experience

Get your free ebook with 10 ideas on how to do just that!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Myth of the Career from Home MOM

It has been over 3 months since I became "God-employed": very blessed, very happy and working harder than ever but without a steady paycheck. If you want to know a little bit about that "infamous" day three months ago that changed everything, click here
Anyway, I have been growing my coaching business and feeling blissful about doing what I love most: supporting moms in the most amazing and challenging jobs of their lives, MOTHERHOOD. It's one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.I have read enough about starting my own business, how to market it, how to use social media, etc. I have taken dozens of seminars and listen to experts talk about the perfect way to improve my business and have the freedom that comes from working from home.

For someone like me, who went from being a Manufacturing Engineer to Motherhood in what seems like a nano-second, I knew deep down inside that my DNA had changed completely once my daughter was born. Showing up in the world in integrity with my calling and my values became my mission. That's part of the reason why I became a parent coach. The journey has been one of many wonderful, inspiring moments and of times when I was sure I didn't have a clue what I was doing. Sound familiar?

Don't get me wrong: I don't want to discourage anyone from pursuing their dreams and following their hearts. I am just realizing how much being a mom mirrors the experience that I am having with my business. Just like in motherhood, no books or seminars or classes, can possible prepare you for the ups and downs that both, moms and moms in business face every day! It's not always the perfect picture that we see in magazines or the ideal situation we read about. It takes work and a lot of work at that!

Would I change the opportunity of raising this amazing soul that is our daughter? Not for all the gold in the world. Is it always easy? Nope. Do I feel like pulling my hair out one minute only to feel like the most blessed human being the next? Absolutely. I guess you can say, I am raising another "child", The Soulful Parent, with just as many tantrums, bad days and emotional, up-lifting moments. Would I change it for a life in the corporate world again? I guess you probably already know the answer to that: ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY not!

Let me ask you something: Do you have any project in your life that feels like giving birth and raising another child? Has parenting taught you anything about how to deal with the challenges of a project like your own business, a non-profit project, or a remodeling job at home? I would love to hear what you have to say!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Mommy, your belly is squishy and jiggly!

Some times I miss snuggling with my now 8-year-old to watch TV or read a book. From the days when she was a baby, we always enjoy cuddling and having reading time together. As she gets older, those times seem more sporadic than I would like them to be, as she takes piano lessons and participates on Girl Scouts or has play dates after school.

Today, for some strange reason, she was willing to stop whatever she was doing and sit to read with me. Out of nowhere, she turned around and poked at my belly: Mommy, you are kind of round. Your belly is squishy and jiggly!

Yikes!! It's a good thing that I am in my early 40's and somehow have lost the need to fit into the size 6 many seem to think it's the ideal size. I am learning to focus on being healthy more than on looking like, I don't know, Kathy Ireland or Kim Kardashian. At home we do our best to not talk about diets or fat but focus more on healthy eating and the need for some physical activity. We also are mindful of not talking about our own bodies in a negative way.

I have to be honest: I was just a little uncomfortable with her comment and not sure how to respond. I didn't want to put “weight” (pun totally intended) on the weight issue, but wonder what was going through her head. I asked her what she thought of my belly being jiggly: she said she thought it was funny! I told her that my jiggly belly was a sign that mommy needed to get moving more to get her belly stronger. What else could I have said? She didn't think about it again and we continued to read comfortably with her head resting on my “jiggly belly”.

I hope that the fact that I have “real” women of all shapes, sizes and colors, women she loves and who love her very much, offsets the “ideal image” she's constantly watching on TV and on advertisements. I can only hope!

Have you ever had your child make a comment about your weight, your shape or your looks that left you speechless?   

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Motherhood = Trial and Error

Do you ever feel like you’re driving on autopilot and your GPS stopped working, so you’re not sure where you’re headed? Yesterday was one of those days for me. I felt that no amount of parenting books or classes or training could have helped me step into my parenting role in an effective way. My back was in serious pain and the Ibuprofen I took didn't help. I had deadlines and work to do and things to do, posts to write, emails to answer.

I had been unpacking boxes and moving things around during the Holiday break. I had also been spending a lot of time writing curriculum for my next Teleseminar, sitting in front of the computer and catching up with emails. Our daughter had started to feel ignored and as any 8 year-old girl she decided to use the technique she has discovered works best when mom is frazzled: guilt!

The dog needed to go out to play and she wanted me to go with her. I explained that I was in the middle of working and couldn't stop. She put her arms on her hips (a common pose these days) and looked me straight in the face and said: You like that computer more than you like me!

What a great opportunity for me, the parent coach, the trained professional to have recognized that her sassiness was a call for one-on-one time more than an act of defiance. Guess what? I failed the test! I turned around and gave her a harsh look and a scolding answer , which guaranteed me the proverbial answer : You are a meanie! as she went crying to her room.

I was sooo mad at her for having the audacity to interrupt my moment of inspiration!

I don't need to tell you that exactly 30 seconds after that thought crossed my mind, I went into full mommy-guilt mode. I apologized to her and at first she didn't accept my apology. I knew I had blown it and my husband had watched it all without saying a word. I don't mind messing up as long as it is in private: that's much easier to do. But I had a witness! I allowed our daughter to have her space to be mad at me and later we ended up making up. That's one of the beautiful things about young children: their innate ability to forgive and move on!

Do you remember a time when you were "less" than your ideal parent? What did you do about it? I sure would love to know!

Is parenting from love effective?

I love this time of the year. I love the opportunity to ride the wave of excitement that is felt all over the world as many of us decide to declare our intentions for the new year. One of my intentions for 2010 is to have a more powerful and meaningful experience as a human being and as a mom.

I shared this particular intention with a good friend of mine who is also decided to have an amazing parenting experience this year. She asked me (as always) a very good question: How do you show your child your love and still parent appropriately?

I believe that being positive in your parenting style does not mean that you don't discipline your children. That's the difference between discipline and punishment. With discipline you still get to teach your kid a valuable lesson, lovingly. You let your child know that you only disapprove of the immediate action but not of him as a person. It allows you to come from love. Punishment on the other hand, only stops the behavior in the moment. Assuming the behavior we are talking about is not life-threating to anyone involved, at the end of the day, punishment doesn't really teach a child much.

I believe that as we focus on the amazing people our kids are (even when they are screaming bloody murder at the grocery store!) the easier it becomes to come from love at those tough times.

My invitation to you is to envision the family you want. What do you want your home to look like? What kind of future do you want? What do you want your relationship with your children to be like? The more you envision and work on designing the desired outcome, the more likely it is to happen.

What are your dreams and goals for this year? What would it take to get there? Let's join together in making this our best year in parenting yet!

Here's to a parenting year pack-full of loving, expanding, enriching experiences!