Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Down Time for Parents? Is there such a thing?

Hi Friends,
My friend Jessica is great. She knew before her son was born that she wanted flexibility in her life. So she found a workplace that understood her needs and was willing to work with her. She is terrific at what she does and enjoys her clients.

What can we learn from Jessica? 1) That scheduling time for you is critical to the balancing act; 2) That it takes family and friends to make this work; 3) Down time is good for all. You feel better, have more energy, and make calmer decisions.

Now I know what you are saying - who has time for this? YOU do Mom and Dad! You need to take care of you, breathe a bit, and realize that life (and parenting) is a journey.

O.K., those of you that know me would say, I don't see you relaxing. You work, write, blog, etc., etc., etc.,.....

But I am learning that if you schedule time and plan for time, you can learn how to enjoy that time. Yes, those type A personalities are going to have to work at it extra hard, but you can do it. AND trust me, you will enjoy the time.

Do you have family or friends that can care of your kids while you get a coffee, workout, or go on a date? Offer to trade care giving like my friend Cilla did when her children were young. Or like Jessica, see if your parents will take the kids while you go out on a date with your sweetheart. Whatever it is, just plan time and space for you to breathe and relax.

Plan your work and work your plan. Use the planner section (Chapter 6) in my book to include time for you. You will feel better and be a better parent!

Do take care,
Dr. Beth

Friday, August 14, 2009

Learning from Cilla

My friend, Cilla, always has a positive attitude about everything! She takes her kids all over, helps her friends (and their kids) with errands, and spoils her loving husband. As she shared with me in a phone interview this week, her balancing act consists of a pinch of family and a shake of friends. "Teamwork is the key to balancing family, home and work. My dear husband, Peter is home during the day. Also, my friends and aunts help- everyone pitches in. You have to have a system of networking to make this thing work." She also works full time and volunteers at her children's schools in two different school districts!

Cilla's can do attitude inspires us to "keep on keeping on" She doesn't stop, she just slows down for a while (right now she is recovering from knee surgery). Also she always does things with a smile! Even if she is putting new tile on her floors, she does it with a happy heart! Nothing stops Cilla!

Two things Cilla can teach us 1) Attitude is everything; 2) Team is the key to balance. (See Chapter 5 of my book, Should I Stay Home? for how to plan with friends and set up a network for success!)

How are you planning for this balancing act called "parenthood?" If you are like my friend Cilla, you are going strong and in it for the long run.

Thanks, Cilla for the advice. Now get that knee up and put some ice on it, girl!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mother Sharing while Shopping

Dear Readers:
I met a mother on my second night away who told me an amazing story of what she and her husband did for their son. What started off as a way to help turned into a blessing from heaven. (I apologize if the details aren't right - I was shopping with my dear friend Chris and we were on a mission.)

A few years ago, this wonderful woman and her husband opened their home to her son, his partner, and two grandchildren. After a number of months, it became a bit cramped (and another grandchild was on the way).

So this amazing woman and her husband soul searched and decided that they would build a second home on their property for their son and growing family! WOW! What an act of love!
They took their savings for retirement and used it for family!

Now let's fast forward a few years - This woman now has her grandchildren right next door! What a Grandmother's dream come true! Her intent was to help; her reward is that her grandchildren are steps from her. She cooks with them, helps them with their homework, and is a daily part of her life!

I wish I could have spent more time with her. Her story is amazing story of love for the family.

Maybe it is the planner in me, but what we want for the future can be directed by the steps we take now. What steps are you making for the future?

Thanks again for sharing this comforting story of love and sacrifice!

If you have a story to share of love for family, please let me email me and I will post it to share with others.

Take Care,
Dr. Beth

Monday, August 10, 2009

Stories from the Road: Monday at Wolfgang's

The first day of the workshop/vacation we met our family at a wonderful breakfast place - Wolfgang's. While we were laughing and talking, there was a beautiful new family next to us.

The first baby - oh my- the excitement, the holding - the cooing! It made me remember just a few years ago, a single memory ago, of those first few months of your child's life. As all older mothers say; Blink and the years pass!

I was fortunate to see mother and baby up close later in the breakfast. (Wolfgang's is not fast food - be ready for at least an hour plus!) That sweet baby was watching everything - and smiling! Oh smiling and cooing - what a good baby!

Mother and I talked for a bit and I shared my book with her. Her eyes lit up - that was part of her table conversations just minutes ago!

This is a new generation of mothers and fathers. It used to be as parents we would savor every bit of maternity/paternity leave before having to go back to work. We would cry in the bathroom so our colleagues and bosses would not see how much we missed our children. Eventually the tears were replaced by hectic schedules, quick meals, and breathing for the weekend. We made it work because we didn't think we had a choice.

Now parents want the flexibility to be with their children while still having a career. Some may say that is being selfish, but I for one think it is smart. It is thinking about what will work for you and your family first.

This takes planning and support, but it can be done. Use my book, Should I Stay Home? as a tool for figuring what you want to do, locating and securing the help you need to do it, and developing a long term plan of action.

Take Care of your Family,

Dr. Beth

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hi Everyone! I am back from a very busy week! I listened to many parents tell me their stories and will share them with you in the upcoming days.

First of all, thanks Chris and Nick for having us there. Their place is a haven for us; a peaceful retreat where hugs run fast and every so often a big boom happens! My family spreads out and I see them most of the day running, laughing, and eating delicious food. There were edible "soldiers" (soft boiled eggs and toast), ham and turkey sandwiches with chocolate milk for lunch, delicious dinners (fish with pesto - yum), and homemade cupcakes. We talk, laugh, read books, work on tree houses, and watch "Sprout" , "Noggin", and "Imagination Movers." There are children of all ages and sizes - We love being there!

So Thank You Chris and Nick! And look forward to amazing stories about parents who are recreating their home and work lives!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

On The Long Road

We leave this morning on our trip for a small workshop and vacation. I like the kids around when I have workshops - they keep me grounded with what I say and do. They also can drive me batty with their yelling and picking and arguing about which radio station to chose when we are driving. Thank God for books, mp3, and portable DVDs!

What do you do when you leave for a trip? Do you just load the kids and throw the luggage in the car or do you take painstaking plans for where you will go and how will you get there? In the end, did you planning get you where you wanted to go and accomplish?

Planning takes time and effort. Following your plan takes focus and energy. In the middle of the plan, you may have everything go kaboom! But at least you know where you are to pick yourself up again and keep going.

May you have traveling mercies with your parenting plans.

Now excuse me while I mindfully enter a vehicle of family insanity!
Tomorrow, I travel for work and rest. Today I saw my son understand how to pair work and play.

As you know, YOU can pack in a few minutes. BUT IF YOU HAVE A FAMILY, you need to pack for days just to leave the house. There are dishes to clean (including the frig), the car to clean, clothes to wash (and pack), food to prepare for the road (or snacks to get so you don't pay "highway prices"), etc., etc., etc., IF you are lucky, maybe a little bit of cleaning!

My son pitched in, helped out, re-potted plants last night, and today vacuumed the car without asking. But in between getting ready, he relaxed. He told me after the plants were done last night, "that we were done working" and it was time to take it easy. He knew I had been feverishing tring to get ready to go and yet, made me stop. The timeline was mine, no one elses, we were driving, not flying, so why was I determined to keep going when I needed to stop and breathe?

I wonder what could I learn from him about work and play? Is the mixture of the two skills the secret to balance? BUT HOW WOULD EVERYTHING GET DONE?

What do you think? How do you do it?