Tag Archives: advice

Vocal Microphone

The Voice of Reason

For most of my life I have been one of those people who says what they mean. Sometimes I considered what other people would think or say and sometimes I did not. It was no secret if I did not like you because I was comfortable letting you know that I didn’t. The truth was you didn’t like me either so why pretend? What is interesting about my demeanor is that I was/am a very kind, open and loving person. I just didn’t like to pretend everything was good when it clearly was not. Unfortunately, an “open” policy is not the best or easiest way to get through life.

After my girls were born I started working on making my internal person become more in line with my exterior shell. I no longer say it like I really want too (oh I do in my head), but instead I make calculated decision about what I say, when I say it and to whom. The “new” me is due to many hours in counseling and the help of some amazing books in addition due to maturity thanks to growing older. I have had to process some ugly things from my past and getting rid of those skeletons has really helped mellow me out.

With my husband I tend to be the voice of reason. I’ll offer him some advice and he’ll be quiet. He will often admit that my perspective or advice is sound, but that he will choose not to follow it. The other night I told him he had a choice, you can do this or you can do that. He admitted that he knew he had a choice. I’m making progress on him, but don’t let him know that. The other day he actually repeated something I said to his father. It was all I could do not to point out that it was the same advice I had given him, nah, better to let him think he came up with them all on his own.

Right now I do not feel like the voice of reason because I am very upset about something and I ranted to my husband; something I have not done in months. He laughed when I noted that I know better than to rant and to let the matter upset me. Yet, he is upset about the same thing too so he thinks my rant is on point and totally funny.

I have an idealistic expectation to always be the voice of reason. I feel like I should not let anything bother me. As we all know, that would be unrealistic because we are all way too emotionally to reason through everything. Truly for the past 6 -12 months have been able to process and let go of issues that might have otherwise upset me. So I ask myself, why does this issue bother me so much? Why can’t I just let it go? We’ll the truth is, I can. I just have to choose to do so.

We all have a choice. I wish other people could see they have choices too. Not everyone wants to accept or embrace the choices in front of them. Staying in victim mode or continuing the conflict does not give you real power, only perceived power. If only they knew the real power is in the choice to let go, they would be so much happier. And I feel better now too since I have made the decision to move on and not let this issue bother me any more.

by Kelly Damron

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Finding The Time For Myself

image of Star Wars stormtroopers in front of the Wheel Of Fortune boardThere are two columns for this site floating around in my head: one assigned by my brilliant technical editor and one that’s about a parenting issue I am currently having. Neither one is written. They are both just in my head.

Why haven’t I written them? Time.

So, this post will be short but it will be in ernest. How do other bloggers, moms and dads, find the time to themselves to get their own thoughts together. It seems that, for me, my family wants and needs (and expects) my time and attention 24/7. My children need my attention every minute of every day. If I try to sit down and concentrate on a task for myself, I rarely get very far into it before someone needs something which only Mommy can do. When the kids finally go to sleep, my husband would like to spend some time with me (which I would like as well).

That leaves my sleep time.

Which is why I am up now, before the rest of the house is awake, trying to type up something quickly here to save in the GNMParents queue and give myself a backup in case the two columns I need to write don’t happen on time.

I love my family dearly. They are my reason for waking up in the morning. I don’t ever resent them, in spite of my plea in this article. I just wish that I could find a way to better force everyone to allow me to have time to finish a task here or there that is just for me. Something that could be completed without having to give up sleep to make it so.

I know that there are some brilliant multitaskers and writers here on the blog. I have read some of your advice here, and here and here. I’d love to get some of your expert advice as I try to continue to count myself among your ranks. I would be forever grateful.

by Rocket Science Mom

Photo graciously provided by Brandon Christopher Warren, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Sometimes They Hear You

Every once in a while, I learn that my kids really do listen to the things I tell them. One such time came about this weekend with a story my sister shared about her most recent time with my kids.

A couple weeks back, my sister came over to watch the kids for me. I had a meeting to attend at my son’s school and my husband was out of town (again). My kids love their Aunt and they had a fantastic time. They spent the evening drawing pictures and watching cartoons.

My sister related a story about the drawing portion of the evening. My daughter asked her to draw her a picture. When asked what she would like her to draw, my daughter suggested a drawing of her.

I must interject that if I weren’t a Rocket Scientist, I’d have become an artist. I love to draw and paint and have taken many classes in my spare time to improve my craft. It is one of my greatest joys, that my children have taken after me and are both budding artists in their own right. Knowing artists as I do, and being sensitive to the creative spirit in myself, I know that you only improve through practice. Sometimes you go through a lot of paper until you reach a drawing you like. I spend a lot of gentle time with my two artists in training. I try to teach them to be patient with their art and with themselves as they get frustrated when something they are creating doesn’t look the way they want it to.

When asked to do a portrait, my sister cautioned my daughter that she’s not that good at drawing people. My daughter responded as follows: “That’s ok. Everyone is different. Look at my drawing. Yours will be different but it will still be good. We all do things differently and that’s good.”

When my sister related this to me, I cried. Not only had my daughter heard me, but she believed enough to offer the same council to one of her favorite people in the whole world.

Sometimes when you think they don’t hear you, they surprise you with just how well they actually did.

by Rocket Science Mom

Photo graciously provided by loomingy1, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Leaving Babies to Cry It Out Can Be Dangerous

the cover of Penelope Leach’s Your Baby And ChildWhen I first became a Mum, the book which most helped me was Penelope Leach’s “Your Baby And Child”. My mum had a battered copy in her bookshelf, which I read and read and lent to friends and read. Then, I bought the newer version, which was more modern but still wonderful. In fact, I think I had two copies, which have been lent out until I no longer know where they are.

This week in the London “Times”, Psychologist, Mother and Writer Penelope Leach is at it again. “I actually do know what it’s like to be woken up 14 times a night… And I have a very strong sense that the way to deal with that is not for the parent to impose adult desires on the baby, but to try and integrate baby and adult.”

Leach is concerned about the modern idea of letting babies ‘Cry It Out’. Cortisol, the ‘Stress Hormone’, is released (of course) in high quantities when a baby “experiences acute and continuing distress”. High quantities of cortisol can harm brain development. So, if you ignore an infant and leave it to cry itself to sleep night after night, the stress involved affects the development of its immature brain.

Of course, crying in itself is not a terrible thing! You and I know that we can feel so much better after a good cry. I have often held my sons while they cried out some woe or frustration, and they feel better too. But there is such a difference, as I’m sure you can see, between a baby’s frustrated or tired cry in the arms of a loved one and the lonely, frightened cries in the darkness of a baby who’s crying it out.

In Leach’s latest book, “The Essential First Year: What Babies Need Parents To Know” she cites studies to back up her claims. ‘“At three months… The babies who were picked up most, cried less,” says Leach, with a twinkle in her eye.’

I know that babies are all different. My three have quite different ways of falling asleep! My husband and I also have differences. But I love to have him there at night, to warm my feet on if I wake.

Of course, my kids have grown out of needing me to be near them to fall asleep. I read them a story and off I go. Those needy baby years are so brief, and so sweet. There are few things nicer than a sleepy, snugly baby.

Why miss out on those nightly snuggles? They won’t always smell so good, you know. They won’t always be so round and soft. And it’s doubly nice to know that by kissing those soft, silky heads goodnight, we are helping to protect the developing brains inside.

by Nan Sheppard

Photo graciously provided by the publisher, through the fair use doctrine, some rights reserved

Tell Me How To Parent My Kid

a boy on his dad's lap steering a truck in trafficOur own Whitney Hoffman wrote an essay last week, one which got me to thinking. In her post, “Other People’s Kids,” Whitney relayed her feelings about the sensitive nature of dealing with other parents’ children. One section stuck out for me – she wrote: “How do you feel about disciplining other people’s children? That’s extremely tricky on its own. I know I tend to be indulgent with my nieces and nephews, more so than I would ever be with my own kids, and likewise with friends and guests. Yet when I see a kid treat their parent badly or disrespectfully, this is something we just don’t put up with.”

What do we put up with? Where do we draw the line? When is it ok to talk to the parent about their kid?

Most people seem to respond with some version of “Hey, don’t tell me how to parent my own kid!” I understand the feelings behind this, and I don’t dismiss them. Raising a child is, arguably, the toughest job on the planet. And it can be stressful, often too stressful, and sometimes you just need people to leave you alone. We all have those days when we’re down to our last nerve and we’re seriously considering selling the kids to that nice man who lives under the overpass. And that’s just not the time to be telling us what we’re doing wrong.

And maybe some of you think that it is never ok to tell another parent what to do with their kid. Perhaps you think that you and you alone know what is best for your child. Maybe you see your situation as different from anyone else’s, and bless your heart, maybe that is indeed the case. And maybe you’re just smarter than everyone else. Hey, I write a column where I give parenting advice, I’ve heard this exact line from more parents than you could imagine. And I’m ok with all of that. They are your kids and you get to decide how you’re going to parent. And in the end, no one should judge you, because you’re the one who’s got to do the heavy lifting.

But I operate in a different manner altogether. Not a better manner, mind you, just different. When it comes to my children, I actually welcome feedback from other parents. And I’m not just talking about the times when my kids are running around the supermarket or are having a “who can scream louder” contest in the parking lot of the movie theater. I’m talking about any area of my kids’ lives. If you see me doin’ somethin’ stupid, or if you see one of my kids making some horrible tragic mistake, I want to hear about it. Even if it’s something sensitive, like school or morality or nutrition or immunization or whatever. I’ll listen to any parent tell me what’s wrong with the way I parent. Even if they’re rude. Even if I’m in a hurry. Even if I’m exhausted. No matter the situation, I’m going to do my best to hear their advice or complaints or suggestion, and I’ll thank them for their help. Even if they’re screaming the help at the top of their lungs.


Well, it goes like this: A long time ago, a mentor of mine said this to me: “You *always* learn something from other people. When someone says something to you, no matter what, you learn one of three things. Either you learn something new, or you discover that you already understood what they are teaching you, which reinforces the learning, or you learn that the person talking to you is a complete idiot. So whatever they say, remember that you are learning something and be grateful for that.”

Most folks I’ve met have thought that this was just too difficult a process to internalize. And I get that, it’s reasonable to have a limit on one’s patience and understanding. But for me, I find those words bring me such undeniable relief. They are my excuse to be relaxed when someone tells me what to do with my kids. Yeah, sometimes what I hear is junk, but because I am open to the possibility, because I don’t reject what they say out of hand, there are many, many moments when another parent teaches me exactly what I need to know.

It’s not for everyone, and I’m not judging anyone who rejects this. I’m merely speaking of my own experience. And I’m also letting you know that if you see me on the street, don’t hesitate to give me an earful on what I’m doing wrong and how I need to fix myself. ‘Cause I absolutely want to do what is best for my kids, and I get it that I don’t have all the answers, and that sometimes I can really be an idiot. And if you know something I don’t, why on earth would I let my ego prevent me from hearing what could be an excellent parenting tip? My kids deserve nothing less than my every effort, my every ounce of strength, and my everlasting, unconditional humility.

So, please, tell me how to parent my kid. Thank you.

by Stu Mark

Photo graciously provided by meg nicol, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved