When you are unhappy, no role is enough

Waking up this morning, although a bit tired, I felt really content.  I magaged to beat my own PR in a 5k race yesterday! I run for a staggering (for me) 27.33 minutes!

I then spend Sunday with my children enjoying the sun and nature doing some trail walking, picking up flowers, stroking slags, horses and climbing on mud.

Then…I read a comment on a newspaper online where a woman said: “it’s so nice to see successful, super fit women rather than the usual wives, mothers, victims.” ….
There are many things wrong in the world and in our society and this is one of them.

Women are not victims, wives are not victims and mother are certainly not victims. 

PEOPLE are victims when one of two (or both) things happen: 1) they choose to be, and 2) they have been psychically, emotionally, mentally and psychologically abused.

Women (sadly mostly) are so desperately trying to impose unrealistic standards to other women – it’s crazy! 

So first , motherhood is not good enough, screw the children – they can be raised in a nursery or by grandma or a nanny – depends on how much money you can spend. What really matters is to WORK even if your children are really small, even if you can afford not to go to work, even if for your own reasons you don’t want to. Send them to an all day school and follow your career cause THIS IS the only way to feel fulfilled as a woman.

Then, even this was not enough. In order for women to be really empowered, apparently, motherhood and successful careers are NOT enough.

I read this morning that women, now, also need to be super fit, complete marathons just before going to work or be able to cycle from London to Paris on a weekly basis.

Right. To all of this I say: 😐 . All I see is unhappy women trying so hard to prove something… probably to themselves even if they don’t know it yet.

There is NOTHING wrong with wanting to work, be healthy and fit and also have children. But there needs to be a balance and a realistic take on what is sacrificed each time.

 

I don’t need to be the CEO of any company to feel empowered. Money doesn’t empower me. Going out naked doesn’t empower me. Flying to business meetings every second day doesn’t empower me. Body image standards also don’t empower me. Arrogance doesn’t empower me, ignorance doesn’t empower me and blaming others for all my problems certainly doesn’t empower me!

I don’t hate men, I don’t feel the need to do so, I don’t feel victimized, a lesser member of western society because I am a woman, or that I need to be able to do exactly what men do! It is not a competition – men and women have different qualities, skills, and strengths and that is OK!

I want to and know that I can do more!

I feel very empowered that I have been lucky enough to live through every single experience and developmental stone of my children!

Teaching them, guiding them, working through issues together with them, showing them, talking to them, learning new things with them, supporting them and evolving together with them – requires physical presence, at least for the first few years of their lives.

I feel very empowered that I have gone through many difficulties in life and haven’t become bitter and negative.

I feel empowered that, after hard work with myself, I am slowly getting to the point where I delete toxic people from my life and surround myself with the ones that love me and make me happy.

I also feel empowered that I try every day to love myself more, stay as active as possible, lead a healthy lifestyle, learn to make myself happy first and teach my children to do the same.

Being in a healthy relationship or marriage an choosing to be with the people you deserve is VERY empowering!

If you want to be perfect at everything – please don’t let your children pay the price! 

Happy Monday and don’t forget to smile ☺ Life is what we make it!

Till next time x




Crying moms; are children assholes?

There is a new mom-trend around most groups, forums, and videos, lately. I am not sure when it started but it seems to be everywhere now: exhausted, fed-up, pissed-off, unappreciated moms going viral for posting drama overloaded videos where they mostly rant about their miserable mom lives and ungrateful, difficult kids.

I get it –  I am tired too. Unless you are a Holywood celebrity mom and you have another 5-6 (plus) people looking after your children, instead of you, then are most likely an exhausted mom. If you are a working mom, you are tired. If you are a stay-at-home mom, you are tired. You start being tired (among other things) from the morning after the night before, already.

Should you shut up about it? ABSOLUTELY NOT. You should discuss it, express it, you should exchange opinions and ideas with other moms, family members and professionals about it, you should ask for help if you need it and you should find ways to deal with it for the sake of your whole family.

However, I don’t get why moms feel the need to constantly moan about motherhood – since it’s something they chose to do. Why do they feel the need to call their children ‘assholes’? –  … and that is of the nicest things I heard. Being a mom is really hard, indeed. Moms should get together and find healthy, respectful – for their children, ways to address issues, deal with problems and get the support they need.

We maybe need to learn new parenting skills or adopt new parenting styles that might work better and commit to an attachment type of raising our children and building strong relationships with them.

If I was a child, today, and my mom was a blogger, I would be so upset with her telling the whole world about all the ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ things I did. I would not like it if she had called me an ‘asshole’ in one of her quotes on her Facebook page, or posted about that day she told me off in public. Humiliating me, embarrassing me and moaning about how bad/hard/sad her life is because am in it – would be devastating to me.

I believe that these moments with your children are sacred and private. How would you like it if your partner posted about how bad you were in bed one day, talked about your arguments, the fact that you are a bad cook, or that the house is a mess cause you couldn’t be bothered to clean or share things that are embarrassing or humiliating and definitely personal to you? Why do some parents think that it’s ok to do it with their children?

I often find myself in conversations where moms complain that their children are ungrateful, rude, dishonest, they lie, cheat, speak back to them or are difficult and even ‘horrible’. Many times I end up being the odd one out for supporting the view that children are NOT born bad. They aren’t born rude. When giving me my daughter for the first time to hold, the doctor didn’t say: ‘congratulations, it’s a girl. A dishonest and stubborn girl’.

It is, indeed, easier to blame others, – even our own children – rather than facing our mistakes and downfalls.

When our small children misbehave in any way then that is the perfect time to reflect on our parenting methods. Children learn by mimicing what we do and say. The way we treat them and each other becomes the standard which they develop with and learn from. For some parents, accepting their own flaws and embracing change is really hard.

Understandably, social norms, their own upbringing, educational background and their current relationship status affect the depth or self-reflection and openness to change and provide a ‘safe’, in every way, family environment for their children to grow in.

I was recently ‘kicked out’ of a Facebook parenting group for stating that reward is a much more effective learning method than punishment and that ‘hitting’our children is abusive. Sadly, so many parents do so and strongly believe that it’s the best way to ‘discipline’ their children.

Perhaps, it is about time governments realize the importance of investing more resources in educating new parents and parents-to-be on how to raise emotionally and psychologically healthier children.

I am a tired stay-at-home mom, often exhausted, many times dreaming of sunbathing on an island alone, sipping on martinis and being massaged… even for 10 whole minutes. I get angry, lose my temper, have no patience at times and need a time-out. I have my good and bad days, problems, health issues, worries and struggles –  like everyone else.

However… –  I chose to become a mother and since then I have made a promise to myself to try my hardest to treat my children with respect, raise them with love, parent them with mindfulness and raise them to be emotionally intelligent. I make mistakes, like every other mom and I try to fix them and not do them again. I don’t always succeed but I keep trying. I apologize to my children and when they behave badly I try to find out what we have done as parents for them to act this way.

I don’t feel the need to post daily about how ‘bad’ my children are or how ‘angry they made me feel like.  I moan about my bad days to my husband and close friends and I am grateful every day for my family. I am not living on cloud 9, I don’t pretend to be perfect or have it perfect either. But I also don’t choose to feel like a ‘victim’ mom either. 

In a world where it’s ‘trendy’ to blame others for our own problems –  be different and do something much more liberating and healthy. There is NOTHING wrong with admitting to making mistakes (and owning up to them),  –  it’s human and it’s OK! Our children deserve the best parents they can have and we can all be that.

Till next time xxx

Some more of my thoughts on parenting…:

 




Frozen 5

A year has gone by so fast when  Emilia had her Baymax party 🙂 Since then there have been 365 days of: around 5 billion kisses, 10 billion cuddles, more than 3 billion hugs, 10 billion laughing moments to go with the other 10 billion of crying ones, around 30 million hours worth of talking, give or take 40.000 melt downs, countless sleepovers, hundreds of hours of walking/cycling/running/playing together and more than 100 trillion moments of pride, love and gratefulness.

No, am not exaggerating – moms don’t do that, of course! 🙂

Emilia mostly likes ‘traditionally’ boys’ toys  – although we have never implied or set such limitations (pink is for girl, blue is for boys). She likes Lego’s, Baymax, Transformers and lovessss Spiderman. So while I was searching You Tube for a DIY Toothless cake, Emilia told me that she had ideas and thoughts about her party.

She wanted everything Frozen themed, Olaf everywhere, the house in blue, pink and white, she wanted to be dressed as Elsa and all her girlfriends to come at the party as princesses. 

I was taken aback. My daughter wanted girly stuff and I soooo wasn’t ready for that! A quick online research and I was convinced that there no way I would be able to make a Frozen cake on time so I settled for ordering one instead.

Emilia likes to be involved. In mostly everything. She chose all the presents for her classmates, she had strong opinions about what type of bags to put them in, she spend more than 15 minutes choosing the candy (!) and she helped me make all 28 🙂 We spend the night before,  decorating  – which I did most of – while Emilia was bossing everyone around and supervising the preparations.

At school, they gave her a nice little tiny party and she was so excited to give out all her goody bags. I am not sure how in 3,5 hours of school you can fit hundreds of events but apparently so many things took place that morning and she told me all about it on the way back to our frosted house.

Covered in snow and feeling really cold we kicked off the party under heavy weather conditions. Thankfully Elsa and her gang of powerful princesses were in good spirits and they didn’t turn us into ice statues! 

Party was great, lots of pizza was consumed, Frozen overload around, all children were happy and tired too, like mommy.

The latest online parenting trend, seems to be…moms, usually drinking wine/eating ice cream, generally being frustrated or angry and ranting about how fed up they are. I sometimes feel like that too – tired, exhausted, sleepless…but I guess I’ll be the black sheep and will choose to opt out of ‘offspring bashing’ and I’ll focus on how proud I am of Emilia.

I like the fact that she is a child – meaning, she is loud, she runs around, she complains, she demands, she laughs loud, she plays, sometimes she is too energetic, other times moody and many times she pushes our boundaries.
I like the fact that she tries to get away with everything, she sometimes secretly looks for where I left the cookies, her favorite meal is chocolate and if she had it her way that’s the only thing she would eat daily. It’s funny that she doesn’t want to go to school in the morning but she is so happy while she is there. She is 5 and acting like a 5 year old is kinda the norm 😉

Emilia we love you more and more and remember that really… Elsa has nothing on you! 🙂




When there is a will… mommy finds a way!

Are you a busy, tired mom who is looking forward to some alone time to work-out/run/be with your thoughts and relax but you don’t have anyone to look after your children? Well, I have the solution! And no.. it’s not staying at home drawing some more or making play-doh snakes (euw).

The solution is much simpler than that and I felt like a genius when I came up with it!

You take your children with you!

Yes, no stressing over babysitters or missing out on your favorite activities!

I got my daughters really excited about going together on my usual running route!  We (well,..that’s a lie… THEY decide on their own what they want to wear and gave me the ‘you can’t tell us what to wear’ speech when I tried to intervene so.. yeah.. 🙁 ),  chose really comfy and warm ‘working-out’ clothes, (so what if it’s the middle of August? …its the Netherlands here … the summer took the year off). We made really nice ponytails, made sure there won’t be any toilet emergencies on the way and we were set to go.

Oh… we also ate magical cereal bars that give lots of strength and apparently make hair blonder 😀

Me, Sofia and Emilia ran and walked for 4,01 km in 45 minutes and it was absolutely great! 

And although we have been going for many walks and outdoor activities over the years and even for test runs before a school charity event, this was somehow different. Sofia seemed to be better at endurance while Emilia was faster 🙂

Teaching children positive values, learning to love themselves and lead healthier lifestyles, are all things they will naturally mimic (among with everything else too).  Being a good role model is not as hard as some people think. It all starts from changing yourself first and the rest will follow.  

Till next time xxx




Mom wants to work, children want to play…

People who have a relaxing/care-free and easy-lifestyle view of stay-at-home moms (specially when the children are very small) are either childless, or never had to spend a lot of time with children or are plain ignorant.

Saying that, before I was a mom myself I understood the struggles of women who craved alone toilet time and more than 4 hours of consecutive sleep (so not having children is not really an excuse).

I am a stay-at-home mom and seeing its many benefits on my children I wouldn’t have had it any different. Employing a babysitter or paying for extra time in nursery and ending up giving 3/4 of my wages in childcare didn’t seem to be worth it! 

On the same note, I have total respect for the also tired moms who can’t wait to come home and see their children and  who end up missing so many ‘first’ moments in their lives. 

I have to admit, it has gotten easier now that my daughters go to school and a few ‘free’ hours in the day feel like bliss – I can work/cook/workout/clean alone 🙂

During school holidays, though, is back to normal and finding two minutes to gather my thoughts and write has become such a hard task.

So … we are all here together… singing, talking, drawing, calling ‘mom’ 9 times a minute and wanting food/water/snacks/gum/toys/books while mom is trying to read psychology books and write an article!

Oh! Sanne the horse is with us too and she is sooooo needy! Always wanting stroking and stuff… pffft

Stay sane working stay-at-home moms – increase your coffee/tea intake, listen to some music and take big breaths! Being around positive people who love you helps a lot as well! If that’s not possible… then do not worry! You are strong on your own too and I am sure you can manage 🙂

Till next time xxx 

 




Mom doesn’t always know best and that’s ok!

Most people like the notion of ‘change’ – it sounds exciting! it is also very popular, nowadays, especially in quotes that go around social media. It is great, right? I have also written an article about it  – you can read it here. The word makes you feel hopeful and good about yourself. On an individual level, embracing change is a fancy idea that self-help, spiritual and meditation groups promote.

In motherhood groups change is frowned upon by some but really supported by most… as long as it is someone else doing it, of course. We like saying that we need to change, things need to change, only by changing habits/ideas we move forward, change leads to evolution, etc. However, in order to ‘change’ anything we need to have a clear and deep understanding of ourselves, our limitations, our current situation, our good points and be mindful of our actions.

In order to ‘change’ and become better, as far as motherhood is concerned, we need to realize the impact that our behavior and decisions have on our children. We need to get away from feelings of self pride and stubbornness and be open to face new realities and process information we didn’t know before. We have to understand how our own childhood is affecting our parenting methods.

It is unfortunate that moms, especially, try to be perfect or want to believe they are. Motherhood doesn’t equal never making mistakes. On the contrary, is a learning process that will continue for the rest of our lives. Motherhood means creating lasting bonds with another person that are based on respect, love, understanding, effective communication, and accepting our own wrong decisions so next time we can improve and change.

Motherhood is based on trying to learn new things, explore areas we might not feel comfortable with, debating new ideas, educating ourselves, owing up to mistakes, and having an open relationship with our children that is based on honesty, humility and appreciation,  (Read: ‘Being the parent your child deserves’).

What I, unfortunately, notice with many moms is the fear of failing that stops them from actually becoming better. Many will support a wrong decision till the end as long as they don’t admit to themselves that maybe it wasn’t the right thing to do at the time. There is nothing wrong with realizing and accepting mistakes – that’s the only way towards change! 

Children are NOT born bad, liars, abusive, dishonest, unappreciative, manipulative, selfish, patronizing, vengeful and nasty. Noone is born that way. We need to take responsibility for our part in our children’s personality and character formation. Children grow up in home environments that directly affect their behavior. They are raised by adults whose own actions have a huge impact on what they project as a role model or how they should act and like. 

Everything we do and say HAS a huge effect on our children – how can young moms, especially, ignore this real fact? It might feel uncomfortable and unpleasant but we have the greatest responsibility in raising emotionally healthy children. We could be bringing up tomorrow’s abusers, narcissists, wife/husband beaters, criminals and bullies. 

Change starts from us. It is ok to make mistakes. It is ok to have made wrong decisions and believed in things you shouldn’t have. It is ok to change your mind/ideas/opinions based on new information. It is ok to apologize to your children. It is ok to forgive yourself and try again.
It is also ok to tell them that you are angry, tired, upset, annoyed at times – how you handle these feelings is what really matters! It is ok to not feel 100% all the time or super excited about motherhood – as long as you find a healthy way to deal with those times. It is ok to feel disappointed  – you just need to look into why you feel that way and where it comes from.

‘Always remember: the goal is not perfection, the goal is love. Forgive yourself for past parenting mistakes, learn new ways to deal with life’s difficulties, heal and evolve from wrong past choices and start loving yourself and your children more,’ (Always Ladies).

PS: The artists of these drawings are my daughters – I look at them every time I feel like a horrible mom. They are a good reminder of how much our children love and trusts us to be the best we can. x




Being the parent your child deserves…

A few of the notions of the past decades are:

  • Children should do as they are told
  • Children should obey their parents
  • Children should like all the relatives and kiss them every time they say hello and goodbye
  • Children should generally listen to all adults
  • Mom and dad know better and children don’t need to know why
  • Too much cuddling is not good
  • Children are not the priority…. parenting is not empowering enough…
  • Too much kissing is not good
  • Too much of anything is not good
  • Co-sleeping is not good
  • Children should ‘learn’ the hard way
  • Ideally, children should behave in any given situation
  • Children should be left to cry at school cause that’s how they learn to be independent
  • Children should not embarrass us. Ever.
  • Children have no say in anything, really
  • Only if they are good they deserve a treat
  • We shouldn’t spoil them
  • Parents can use any method they think appropriate to punish their children
  • Children are their parents’ reflections
  • Our children belong to us
  • Children have to follow every outdoor activity their parents choose for them
  • Hitting children won’t damage them in any way
  • Us, parents, have the right to publicly humiliate our children
  • Parents are mostly right
  • Children should naturally respect their parents
  • Children should dress the way their parents want. They are children they don’t know better.
  • Parents can tell off their children and shout at their children when they feel like it. Later they can apologize and everything is back to normal. The apology is optional.

I could go on forever. All the above statements are WRONG! Totally, completely WRONG. Start treating your children with respect, unlimited love, allowing them their space and the expression of their own unique thoughts and opinions, (READ: “Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children”)

Encourage them to communicate more and discuss all their issues, sympathize with them, practice empathy in anything you do, inspire them,  motivate them, respect their differences, allow healthy growth and help them become emotionally intelligentteach them to value themselves. Teach them how to be grateful, to respect their bodies, to be thankful, to protect themselves. Teach them self-confidence in line with reality, values, ambitions, needs of achievement and real concern for others and their ideas without exploiting them.

Help them build their self-esteem so they will be better able to find the balance between being overly dependent or overly self-reliant. BE MINDFUL of your actions and behavior,   (READ: “Bad Parenting: Expecting too much”)

Your children are unique and special in their own way, whichever way that is. They have their own pace, they don’t need to meet guidelines. Be the role model your children need. Raise children who will not have to recover from their childhood, (READ: “Parents: Follow your Instincts”).

“One generation of deeply loving parents would change the brain of the next generation, and with that, the world.”   – Dr. Charles Raison