Sport of Motherhood

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Changing Negative Family Dynamics

Dear Genevieve,
When I went back to my family over the holidays, I fell back into old roles and felt stuck. How do we break out of set family dynamics that are negative and challenging?
Starting New.

Dear Audrey.
Don’t count on your family changing, but do count on you making some changes with the way you choose to interact with some difficult family members. When family dynamics are complicated, it is especially helpful to go into a family gathering feeling balanced or grounded. How do you do that? Take care of yourself beforehand.

Just as you train for a big race or big event, make sure you sleep well and eat well beforehand. When there, take some deep breaths, say a prayer or meditation, or even take a walk if you need to cool off. If you come from a place of gratitude, you can change your attitude and your reactions. A journal is also a helpful tool.

If you can let go of some expectations, you can also free yourself up to enjoy the time with challenging family members by meeting them where they are, not where you want them to be.
Hope that helps. I have to deal with some tricky family situations myself and have learned a lot over the years.



Sunday, December 10, 2006

Letting Go

For the past 3 years, I have been interviewing, writing, revising, and getting my new book, The Sport of Motherhood: Training Tips for a Full and Balanced Life , to print. I have hit a spectrum of emotions along the way ranging from euphoria to tears. Why? Because the path was not always clear. When I hit walls along the way, I'd hammer away or devise an alternate route. Sometimes, I needed to back off and focus on a different area of writing or the business. I had to "let go" of my timeline and my expectations, but I could keep doing the footwork and keep some momentum.

Though I could revise until the cows come home, I am ready to put Sport out in the public domain. It is the right time. A year or two ago would have been too soon. See, I needed to grow in other areas of my life too. So now I am ready to see what all of this brings.

Accountability Buddies

This morning, a friend and I went for our weekly run. Though it was raining and cold at first, we chatted our way up and down the mountain for an hour and 45 minutes. Initially, I did not want to run and just wanted to crawl back in bed. That is a fine option too - but on another day. What got me up and out the door was that I did not want to miss my time with Suzanne. See, she is both a friend and an accountability buddy. We both count on our long run each weekend. We also both laugh about how we keep each other motivated and showing up.

An accountability buddy can help you get out the door and show up for something that is important to you - and to her. It is easy to develop accountablity buddies through exercise classes or activities. These buddies may also end up becoming accountability buddies in other areas of your life. Suzanne, for example, started our Dream Team. Our Dream Team meets monthly to go over work/life goals and balance. On our long runs, we also cover time management issues, discuss roadblocks regarding our respective businesses, and track progress. No matter what, I always end the run with renewed perspective and enthusiasm. Today we ended the run amidst a number of deer and their fawns beneath a rainbow. Pretty awesome.

Have you cultivated any accountability buddies for one of your goals or interests? If so, how did you do it?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Honoring Grief

While I researched grief and grieving and interviewed people for my November TV Show on the topic, I was wowed by the stories of loss around me. When people in the community found out this show's topic, they often shared moving stories with me. I heard about full-term miscarriages, SIDS deaths, and other accidents. Most times, tears readily came up, and I realized how so many of us carry our grief around - just under the surface. A talk with a stranger or friend can bring it all right back even if years have passed.

One Korean mother, whose father died over a year ago, told me that people are expected to grieve for at least 3 years in Korea. Here in America, she said, it seems as if you are supposed to move on shortly after the funeral is over. She has since brought out a white hair ornament - part of Korean tradition and has moved back into a period of mourning. It is helping her to feel her feelings and explore her loss. She already feels better by honoring her grief.

What are your thoughts about grieving? Do you think we skip over the grief because we are in a quick-fix culture? If so, what is the fallout?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Nighttime Visitors

Dear Gen,

How do we keep our kids, ages 5 and 7, in their beds at night? They come out to "tell us something" (then take their time coming up with that something to tell us) at least 5 times before they fall asleep, and then come in with bad dreams or stuffy noses in the middle of the night. I can't remember the last time we go to sleep through the night without visitors...

Tired in San Francisco

Dear Tired in San Francisco,

So many parents hit this wall with bedtime and wonder if a solution is possible. You want the kids to feel heard and want to comfort them when scared – but you and the kids need sleep! Maybe some of these collected tips from moms and dads in the trenches can help. Take what you want and leave the rest:
1. Re-gain Perspective. This sleepless-visitor stage will pass. One dad said, “I’m a deep sleeper so I don’t view kids coming in bed with us at night to be a problem. I like the fact that the kids want to be near us for security because I know it won’t last forever.”
2. Manage Fatigue. Make the time to get some sleep in another part of the day. Take a short nap in the day when kids are in a rest time or at school, OR go to bed earlier so that you can handle the interrupted sleep at night. This is about pacing yourself for the day and the week by taking into account the current challenges.
3. Tools: Use Carrot and Stick. One parent recommends the carrot and stick approach. Define your “carrot” for getting to bed earlier. An extra story or extra song is an easy reward if the kids are in bed by a certain time. The “stick” is NOT adding that extra story. You can also try a visual such as a sticker chart or marble jar. A marble in a jar or a sticker on a chart are the reward for a “successful” night. Be sure to clearly define successful to your kids. Start where you are. If they come in 5 times, shoot for 3, then 2, then 1, then 0.
4. Tools: Adapt Bedtime Routine. Begin bedtime routine15 minutes earlier to allot for extra talk time. Remind your kids that that this time is for the “one more thing.”
5. Tools: Utilize a Clock. Put a clock in their room. Show them when bedtime routine begins, ends, and how the extra talk time fits in. One mom likes “to use an egg timer for brushing teeth and getting into pajamas time. It keeps them moving along.”
6. Tools: Be Firm. Use a more no-nonsense tone of voice after kids tucked in. Play time and talk time is over. Reinforce that they had that special time earlier.

For those stuffy noses and scary dreams at night, a little TLC, a lovey or stuffed animal to comfort the kids, and the knowledge that this too shall pass can help get you through the night. Hope this helps. Keep us posted.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Welcome to the Sport of Motherhood Blog! Misc. Posts

Dear friends,
please join me in this online discussion on topics related to parenting, motherhood and raising a family. Feel free to visit my web site