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Parenting

Don’t Take The Last Run: Advice From My Father

My sister and me in Taos, New Mexico, circa 1984. Look how happy we are. I think it's because we didn't take the last run. Ahem.

Father's Day is coming up this weekend, which has got me thinking about my Dad. He gave me a lot of advice over the years. I listened to all of it, and then promptly forgot or blatantly ignored most of what he said (sorry, Dad!)....


General

The Parenting Lesson of the Royal Wedding

I can’t stop thinking about the Royal Wedding. You bet your tushy we watched it. A friend came over with fascinators, homemade scones, and clotted cream. I broke a cardinal rule of parenting and woke my daughters up on a weekend morning, and we turned on the TV an hour before the ceremony even started. My husband thought it was all a bit ridiculous, so he stayed in bed. His loss. (Actually his win, because #sleep, but whatever.) I loved it. I loved the celebrity sightings and the page boys and flower girls and Harry’s beard and Meghan’s dress and the tiara (OMG THE TIARA) and the singing and the preaching and the carriage ride and the commentary and I loved every single minute. Mostly I loved Meghan's mom. I was riveted, and not just because she’s a social worker and yogini. *Swoon.* I loved her because she managed to look gorgeous and poised and strong and collected while at the same time seeming vulnerable and scared and unsure and totally relatable. I kept imagining what it must have been like for her to be there, on that day, watching her only daughter marry a prince. In a castle. And not some BS sorta-kinda-prince in some dusty old castle. We’re talking PRINCE HARRY in Windsor Freaking Castle, people. This was the real deal, and Doria Ragland literally had a front row seat. She must have been freaking out. Actually, she sort of looked like she was freaking out, but in the most composed way possible. Somewhere in the middle of it all, I looked over at my daughters. They were sprawled on the couch, arms and legs draped in all different directions. There was definitely a finger up a nose, and I’m pretty sure there was a fart, too. I looked back at Meghan who beat all the odds not once, but twice, first by becoming a successful actress and then again, by becoming the first biracial American divorcee to marry a royal. I glanced back at my daughters. Despite the fact that I have no royal aspirations for either of them, I couldn’t help but wonder how the hell I’m supposed to get them ready for such a  life. I mean, if it could happen to Meghan and Dorea, it could happen to us, right?


Parenting

How to Get Your Kids Off Their Screens


“Can we have some screen time?”

I get this request from my daughters (ages 7 & 9) almost every afternoon. Sometimes I say yes, sometimes I say no. When I say no, sometimes my kids throw tantrums, but mostly they don’t. Mostly they find something else to do, sometimes on their own, and sometimes with a little help and prompting from me.

Here’s how we manage screen time for our kids: No...


Parenting

How to Make Bedtime With Kids Easier

Bedtime can be rough, and not just for the kids. Folks get cranky, it’s hard to get motivated, and kids rarely fall asleep as quickly as we want them to. (In their defense, many of us adults also struggle with that same issue.) The reality is that bedtime is easier for some families than others, for lots of different reasons. If your kids have to share a room and one of them is a grunty sleeper, that can make things harder. If one of your children is on a medication that screws up their sleep, that’s going to make it harder. And if your kids are night owls, they might have a harder time going to sleep or waking up on the schedule you would prefer. (And yes, in case you were wondering, night owls and early birds are actually a real thing, and if you’re one and your kid is the other, well, that just stinks. I’m super sorry because it’s really damn hard to re-adjust your internal clock.) The reason I mention all of this is not because you should be fixing it, but because it’s a good reminder to cut yourself a whole lotta slack. This parenting gig ain’t easy, especially when we’re exhausted. Fortunately, there are choices you can make and habits you can develop that will make bedtime easier. Here are a few tips, all of which are relevant for parents and kids:


Mindfulness

Smile, Breathe, & Go Slowly: My Mantra for Difficult Moments

This weekend was a shitshow, y’all. Saturday morning found me dropping off one kid (not my own) who had spent the night at our house and then picking up my daughter, who had spent the night at another friends’ house. We had a busy day planned; it was our last chance to find dresses, shoes, and anything else the girls would need for my cousin’s fancy wedding next weekend. My daughters are seven and nine, and delicate little flowers to boot (except then they’re digging their elbows into my boobs with the force of a WWF wrestler). This sensitivity can make clothes shopping particularly challenging, especially if said clothes might entail any sort of unfamiliar fabric, cut, or embellishment that could potentially brush against their skin at any point. And don’t even get me started on the shoes. I’ll spare you the goring (gory + boring) details of the day, but there was whining, snapping, bickering, door slamming, and multiple trips to Costco (don’t ask) for reasonably priced fancy dresses. We followed that up with forty-five minutes spent trying on and summarily rejecting approximately 387 pairs of size 2 dress shoes before settling on sneakers. SNEAKERS. Yes, they are fancy sneakers, but sneakers nonetheless. Sigh. Oh, and not to bury the lede or anything, but I shut the car door on my daughter’s finger in the middle of a busy parking lot. She wailed, I found a band-aid, and ultimately she was fine, but I felt AWFUL. Really, really awful. Mindful parenting? Yeah. Right. I’d be lucky if I could make it through the day without physically injuring them. We ended up having dinner at a terrible restaurant, but at least there were screens on every table so we could spend the meal continually rejecting the girls’ requests to pay $1.99 to play some stupid game. Bonus! Sunday wasn’t a whole lot better. Nobody drowned or lost their sh*t at swim lessons, so that was good, and the Target Gods smiled upon us by having white camisoles and capri leggings in stock (thereby minimizing the amount of fancy dress fabric touching the girls’ skin). Even so, there was still a shocking amount of fighting, nagging, whining, and yelling, and by the end of the day, I was DONE. DONE DONE DONE. Truth be told, I was done before lunch, but we were out in public so I did some serious adulting and held it together. Once the girls were finally in bed (which in itself was a fairly epic endeavor that did not showcase my finer parenting skills), I retreated to My Happy Place, also known as The Couch. I spent some time trying to understand why the weekend had been so rough, and what I could do differently in the future. Here’s what I realized: I forgot to look at the big picture.


Book Review

Mindful Parenting for Fidgety Skeptics?


The cat is still extremely skeptical.
The first time I heard about mindfulness and meditation, I thought it was BS. I thought it was for people who didn't have their sh*t together. I was super type-A and I didn't need that hippie baloney.

And then I had kids. And everything changed.

It took me longer than I'd like to admit to stop being Little Miss JudgyPants and start integrating mindfulness into my daily life. Needless to...


Meditation

How I Taught My Kids to Meditate

My daughters have abandoned their meditation cushions, so the kitty moved in.

In my last post, I wrote about why I started teaching my kids to meditate. In this post, I’ll share how I taught them, and what I did when they lost interest.

I want to start out by saying that I don’t think formal meditation is the best way to teach mindfulness to young children....


Meditation

Why I’m Teaching My Girls to Meditate


Teaching my girls to meditate wasn’t one of my resolutions for the new year. I’ve got a ton of tricks up my sleeve for practicing mindfulness with them; so many, in fact, that I wrote a book about it. But formal seated meditation can be hard for little ones, especially kiddos who are super twitchy after being stuck inside for a week because the temperature outside is approximately one bajillion...


General

Making It Easier to be Mindful During the Holidays

Keepin' it real here, folks. Here's our Hanukkah celebration from a couple of years ago - one kid grumpily lighting candles while the other one has a fit. Good times!

Today is Giving Tuesday, hot on the heels of Cyber Monday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Melt on The Couch Because You’re So Damn Tired Sunday.

Folks, we are officially in the holiday season. Yikes.

By now you’ve...