15 Affirmations Your Child Needs to Hear Today

This post originally appeared on the Knoxville Moms Blog on September 22, 2016. 

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Watching my kids get off the school bus every day is a special treat for me. They bound down the steps like prisoners set free, looking back and giggling as their friends call to them from the windows. Once their big, yellow ride is out of sight, they turn and head toward home, just a few houses down. I have a clear view of their path from my front porch, and I can often discern how their day went by observing their gait. Most days they race each other to the mailbox, or skip along the curb toting a prize they received in class. Other days they leap off that bus, not a care in the world, but as they start toward the house I can see it hit them: I have to tell mom what happened today. The skip slows to a walk and then to a trudge with head hanging low as they confess the bad grade, the poor behavior, the hurtful interaction with a classmate.

With a limited realm of life experience, these simple slip-ups can truly feel like the end of the world to a child, especially if they are repeated. Of course we want our children to be their best selves, but they need to be reassured they are capable of better. I do not suggest children be coddled or go undisciplined. As parents, though, we must recognize that words matter, and if we want our children to realize their potential, we must speak that truth to them.

Here are 15 affirmations your child needs to hear from you:

1. You are a good boy/girl.

2. You belong in this family, and nothing will ever change that.

3. You have an important contribution to make in the world.


To read the full list, check out the original post on Knoxville Moms Blog and encourage a child in your life today!

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Creating a Summer Routine You Can Live With

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Today I am posting on the Knoxville Moms Blog about my ridiculous aversion to organization and how I am trying to overcome that this summer! Click here or on the link below to view the full post!

Congratulations, mamas, you have made it to the end! School is officially out in most of the area, and any stragglers are not far behind. For most families, this is the long-awaited and much-needed reprieve from the relentless routine of early morning wake-ups, late nights of homework and extracurricular activities, and endless obligations for class parties, school plays, etc. etc. etc. After nine months of the same-old, same-old every.single.day, parents and kids alike are ready to ditch the schedule and just relax.

I am among those moms who take relaxing a little bit too far, if that’s possible. If you’re like me, summer mostly consists of 10 weeks of utter chaos as kids stay up late, sleep all morning (or, if you’re a parent of littles, wake up at exactly the same time only exponentially more cranky), and days filled with moanings of “Moooooomm, I’m so bored!” Of course those weeks are speckled with fun-filled days of ridiculous, what-was-I-even-thinking chaos, such as overnight trips, zoo days when it’s 95 degrees and humid, swimming all day and expecting the kids to stay up for a bonfire, and visiting family who expect your children to act like well-mannered humans and not the pack of wild dogs you’re pretty sure you’re raising.

Of course not all of us live in this madness. Yes, there are some moms out there who run a tight ship when their little sailors return to the U.S.S. Homebound each summer. They schedule out their days with crafts, educational activities, play dates, and exciting outings. These are the moms who do science experiments, make their own fruit leather from scratch, and they might even BAKE with their children! (Good gracious, they’re superhuman!) Do a quick search on Pinterest for “summer schedule” and you’ll find them out there, simultaneously ensuring their kid is smarter and more well-rounded than mine and giving me an anxiety attack thinking about all the planning they must do. If you’re one of those moms, hats off to you, my friend, I simply cannot.

Where is the middle ground between these two extremes? Although I typically prefer unstructured play for kids, it is clear that with a new baby in the house (he was born the week before school started last fall) we really need to establish a routine for our family. I am very easily overwhelmed by planning and schedules, so the key for me has been finding a balance to create a summer routine I can live with that still keeps our family on track.

Below I’ve compiled some of the best – and most realistic – ideas I’ve found out there (obviously none of them are original; see the second paragraph about my typical summer) to give structure to your days and actually enjoy this season together.

Check out Knoxville Moms Blog to view the full post, complete with links, portables, and lots of great tips to create a summer routine you can live with!

30 Reasons to Love Being 30

So, this week was my 30th birthday, and while many people dread this birthday tell-tale sign of uncoolness and aging, I’m really embracing this milestone. Being “in my 20’s” has never meant to me what it does to many others in our weirdo culture – prolonged adolescence, drinking, partying, hook-ups, relationships, exploration, etc. etc. – so I’m kind of happy to be joining the “grown-ups” in their 30’s who more or less have their junk together.

Last night my husband and I celebrated this blessed day with our annual steaks at a fancy restaurant (and subsequent crying over the tab). Today I will celebrate BuzzFeed style with the much-heralded 2010’s tradition of creating a list. You will notice that most of these correspond to accepting adulthood no matter what age is on the calendar, but turning 30 makes it pretty hard to deny adult-status, so I’ll include it here anyway. So here you go:

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1. You have mostly figured out what you want in life – whether it’s what you want in a mate or how you like to spend your Friday night – and you’re not embarrassed to admit it.

2. 30-somethings consider wanting to be with the dorky guy or gal who makes you laugh or spending your Friday nights eating Dorito’s and watching Netflix as completely valid life choices. Because seriously, it’s your life.

3. You can wear comfortable shoes all the time and blame it on your corns.

4. You can wear adorable shoes that hurt your feet and claim you’re still too young for corns. Even though, let’s face it, you’re not.

5. You are old enough to know what your body needs and young enough to do something about it. Pregnancy aside, I am healthier and even better looking at 30 than I ever was at 20.

6. Buuuuut if you want to eat a Cinnabon for dinner because it was just one of those days, nobody can stop you. You’re a grown up, darn it!

7. Whether it’s from starting a family of your own or watching your parents age like regular humans, you really appreciate the value of life and TIME. You know well enough not to waste it.

8. People stop giving you strange looks when you admit to having multiple children. Okay, I’m really just hoping on this one. Somehow I think I will always get that look when I tell people I have 4…

9. You stop caring so much about what other people think. I mean really, all the haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate…

Shake it off, girl.

Shake it off, girl.

10. You can make conversation with that random person at the grocery store over the rising cost of eggs and your mutual dreams of owning chickens so you can have all the eggs you want and goshdarnit y’all wouldn’t charge so much for eggs because the world deserves delicious eggs! …and that’s totally not weird. Okay, maybe a little weird, but not AS weird.

11. You know your limitations and are okay saying “no.” Well, not all of us are here yet, but we are learning or at least aware that we need to learn. It’s hard, I know.

12. You take your health seriously, and that means making choices that improve your whole life. Eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep… You could bypass these and get away with it 10 years ago, but at 30, you get your priorities straight.

13. Maybe this is just me, but I have my first wrinkles and I love them. They are “crow’s feet” – or, as my mom always said in a much more positive tone, “smile lines,” – around my eyes, and I love that they show how I love to smile and laugh. Embrace that aging, folks!

14. At the same time, seeing those signs of aging reminds me of #12…. So I wear sunscreen every day, even in winter. At 30, you start recognizing the importance of those little things that make a big difference in the long run!

15. You can get super hype about things that are actually a big deal. Nobody cares about your high score on that video game anymore, but DUDE I JUST GOT A NEW RIDING MOWER AND IT IS LEGIT. Now that’s something to celebrate!

16. You have learned a thing or two and can for the most part take care of yourself without calling your parents. You may even be taking care of other people on your own! Go you!

17. Just because you can survive without calling your parents doesn’t mean you should. Growing up means you appreciate all they did in raising you, and {hopefully} you can even talk to them like a friend. Go call your parents right now and tell them you love them!

18. Having children causes us to rediscover some of the magic of childhood. Whether you have kids to help you or not, growing up means you can accept and admit your love of goofy things without worrying about what others think. You love coloring books? Have at it! Like to play in the mud? Gardening is so en vogue. Dance party all by yourself? That’s what Spotify is for!

19. You grow out of adolescent insecurity and begin to accept yourself for the incredible human being you are. And that’s pretty awesome.

20. You have no idea what teenagers are saying anymore because their ever-changing lingo has left you in the dust. And that’s totally okay.

21. You were lazy enough before to learn the value of hard work and a little elbow grease. That means you take better care of yourself, your home, and your things, and you can truly be proud of your work.

22. You are insanely annoyed by motion gifs that keep playing on repeat after you have already seen them. (See: #19 above) It’s okay to scroll down far enough that it won’t show up on your screen anymore. It’s the only way to stop the madness!

23. You’re not {entirely} afraid of failure. Whether it’s changing jobs or changing your motor oil, you’ve done this – or something like it – before, and you can risk making a mistake for the gratification of doing it right on your own. Hey, this is a process for all of us; if you’re better off now than you were at 20, then you’re doing great.

24. You have friends (or at least people) that you’ve known for 20+ years. You can reference something that happened 20+ years ago. This freaks you out, but it’s cool, because that shows the magnitude of your 30 years of life!

25. You realize that 30 is actually a lot of things to put on a list…

26. You – for the most part – know how to get what you want. Whether that’s going back to school for that dream career, taking care of your body to get in shape, or seeing a counselor to help you through your issues, you can look at a problem and, daunting as it may be, find a solution.

27. You understand the importance of finishing what you start, even when you realize that you probably should have said 15 things instead of 30…

28. You don’t get carded for things anymore. I don’t drink or smoke or go to clubs, so I am not regularly in a situation to be carded. However, a few weeks ago a busy restaurant hostess offered me immediate seating in the bar area if I was over… Yeah right this way.

29. You have at least a couple of things that truly belong to you and you can be proud of. Whether that’s a house, car, nice set of china, or maybe some offspring, you can look at things around you and say, “Hey, at least I still have this.”

30. You appreciate and value a job well done, and you accept your best effort for what it is. Even if that is a list that maybe needed a little stretching to make it all the way home, you accomplished what you set out to do, and that deserves a pat on the back.

Hey, 30 is awesome! You are awesome! Happy Friday, everyone!