50 shades of ambition

When I was growing up both my parents worked. My mom didn’t have a fancy well-paid career. She was an accountant and we needed the money. She had been working very hard all her life. Not in jobs where she can enjoy martinis with her colleagues after work. Not in places where you get bonuses, travel around the world and desperately try to fit in a competitive form of a superficial made-up ‘cool’.

It was difficult for her leaving us and going to work or, later on, coming back home long after we finished school. My mom didn’t work because she wanted to have it all – a perfect independent career and a family to boast about –  she was educated enough to know that this would never be possible.

She did the best she could, raising three children the only way she knew how and working full-time not because she wanted to move from a big house to an even bigger one, not because she had 10 pairs of shoes but wanted 20; she worked all day long so that we could be able to get educated, clothed and fed.

Every family has its own dynamic – this is absolutely true. However, babies/toddlers/children need their parents. All mammals on this planet do. They need their mom to feed them, nurture them, connect with them and provide them with comfort and safety. Grandmother, nurseries, au pairs, aunts and other relatives or friends are great BUT they can never replace a parent for the above needs to be met.

Sadly, nowadays, societies are desperately trying to persuade women that motherhood is not enough. Female empowerment, it seems, means successful careers and a lifestyle where children are only seen as accessories. As an advocate for children’s emotional well-being and respectful upbringing, it saddens me to see this kind of mentality existing in many young parents nowadays.

It is disappointing how the people who are wealthier are the ones wanting to stay as far away from parental duties as possible.

Women can and should work if that is what they want to do – there is no doubt about that.  Staying home is also a choice. I hardly ever complain about this choice of mine with the exception of fed-up moments which I share with family and a couple of friends.

However, in the past couple of years, I have had people commenting on how I lack ambition since I chose to be a stay-at-home mom. A friend of mine recently told me that: moms don’t raise their children, nowadays, – it’s 2017 – nurseries do this’. I was told to ‘wake up’ and realise that ‘women now are independent, they work not raise kids’. In the same conversation, I was told how it’s normal to put your child in a nursery at 3 months of age, besides, ‘everyone is doing it’! In another occasion, someone said to me that ‘some women HAVE ambition and successful careers, they go to work’.

I wonder how would I feel hearing this if I didn’t have a profession. If I was working as a waitress at a restaurant or I was a street cleaner,  a babysitter, worked in an old people’s home or at any other ‘non-glamorous’ job.

Today’s rhetoric is this: you are empowered if you make a lot of money. You are empowered if you wear business clothes. You are empowered when someone else is raising your children so you don’t feel as if parenting has brought any changes into your life and everything is the same as before. 

What about the women who work as the cashiers in a supermarket? How much do they matter in this whole female-empowerment-third wave feminist move? How will they feel empowered if they are not included in the image of the successful woman? Is ambition equal to making lots of money? Or is it measured in business suits?  Do women who raise the children they gave birth to lack ambition because of wanting to ‘JUST’ be mothers? Is the woman serving drinks in a bar less empowered? 

Isn’t the greatest ambition of all to be a person of decency, integrity and always trying to become better? Isn’t it to successfully raise decent, emotionally intelligent human beings who won’t have to recover from their childhoods?

I have taught myself a defence mechanism against ignorance. It doesn’t always work, though. Today was one of those days. My efforts for a bit of ‘me’ time in order to finish up an important assignment were fruitless. And then there are the failed job opportunity attempts. There is the work gap, you see, which now acts against a mom like me who literally buried her ambitions in favour of fulfilling unquestionable parental duties.

Maybe if governments allowed more paid time off for new moms and employers were not prejudiced to gaps in employment, things would be different for everyone, including the ones who matter the most: the children.

Stay-at-home moms have ambition too, and so do all the other women who have become invisible cause…  wrong work outfit I guess. 

Till next time xxx




There is no Zen in parenting

This morning I was a silent observer of a debate in a parenting group. There is a great deal of misunderstanding among moms, on different parenting styles. I noticed that it is often assumed that following an attachment parenting way of raising children, means that your family is pretty much perfect and that you are always the ideal example of being zen!

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Attachment parenting is about creating a safe and loving environment for your children to grow in.

It’s about building an emotionally and psychologically healthy bond with your children, based on trust, empathy, nurture, respect and effective-dignified ways of communication.

You are still human. You are allowed to get upset, lose your patience and feel mentally, (mostly), drained. And if you lose your temper once in a while, that’s NOT the end of the world.

It’s the way you react and express those feelings and handle your emotions, that will determine the kind of parent you want to be. 

Let’s stop generalizing and devaluing parents who try their best to show respect and understanding towards their children. They are not perfect. They don’t feel perfect. Parenthood is not about perfection.

You can still apply mindfulness, attachment and emotional intelligence while setting boundaries, applying rules, modeling positive behavior and teaching good values

I have a lot of respect for parents who try to raise their children the best way they can – whether they follow any ‘guidelines’ or theoretical approaches. You don’t need to be any kind of professional in order to treat your children with love and respect.

We all have the capacity to adopt new ideas, improve our parenting skills, change things that don’t work, evaluate our methods and become the parents our children deserve. Let’s do it together ☺

Till next time xxx




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 a nice person IS a choice

I was thinking today…-  why is it so difficult for some people to stay good? Society and childhood factors are always influential but at the end of the day no-one can ever force anyone else to behave badly!  No-one can make you bitter or nasty – all that is YOUR choice!

Well, this morning, reading the news , I once again felt kinda disgusted at some people’s choices/actions/behaviors.

I thought that there are people who beat up peaceful activists who try to save the bull from horribly dying in a bullfight…there are men who beat up their women in public. There are people in the street who can’t be bothered to be nice, shop assistants who don’t even smile when interacting with customers. There are sad 16 year old bullies who target a fellow classmate and brutally abuse her.

There are bad parents who hit their children, verbally attack them and destroy everything good of their childhood. And there are other parents who don’t even realize that by being bitter, nasty, rude individuals they teach their children to also become the same.

There are ‘men’ and ‘women’ who verbally/emotionally/physically and psychologically abuse others daily! There are people who abuse animals and kill them for fun… I could go on for ever…

I feel so disappointed  about the negative people who live among us but I am also thinking: screw that! All this will NOT turn me into such a person also.  I don’t quite get how hard such choice is for others but there is NO excuse for treating people like crap and behaving in a pathetic and rotten way (your unfortunate past/childhood is not an excuse, either).

Choose to stay good; positive people with be drawn to you. Try smiling too – it’s contagious 🙂 




Teaching children real values

My daughters’ school organised a charity event a few days ago. They had to run as many laps as they could and raise money, this way, for the charity of their choice. It wasn’t compulsory for all the school children to attend, although, they all did.

Days before the event, I felt like explaining to them what that would be all about. Although we often, in our family, talk about giving and helping others, the idea of raising money for a charity wasn’t quite understood. I showed them photos online of charities, other fundraising events, children in need around the world and explained how this kind of helping works. They had questions, of course, which is always good. Then they were sad and then… excited!

Learning how to be kind, good-hearted, considerate, compassionate, giving, positive and everything else good starts from home!

My daughters were now looking forward to try, to do well, to do as many laps as possible so we raise more money. We arranged to do a little training and since they watch me exercise almost every day, the notion is already a familiar and positive one. We went for long walks and practice runs while listening to music and having fun – yes, we actually did some outdoor dancing too 🙂

I always try to make my daughters understand that the result doesn’t really matter much – they can only do the best they can.

On the big day, we watched them both with a lot of pride and felt glad that schools promote these kind of activities and humanitarian thinking. Not wanting to brag (hehe) but, from the maximum of 22 laps my daughters ran 38 and 33 respectively 🙂 (I know, I know… I’m bragging)

The kind of people your children will grow up to be is right now depending on you! Teach your children the right values in life.

Well done to BS Lahrhof Primary School for organizing it and to all the children who took part in the event 🙂




A rare star is born

On the 2nd of March of 2010, at 10.10 in the morning a very very special girl came to the world, my daughter Sofia. They say that when you have children your life can never be the same again – I say: good! Your life should’t be the same again and you have to make it so it isn’t. You need to create a better life for your children to grow in!  You are obliged to become a better person, evolve, keep learning, expand, heal from your past, and do your best in being the parent your child deserves.

Of course all this is overwhelming and only comes into realization once two new little hands hold your finger and two tiny eyes look at you – that’s when it hit me. The 38 weeks of pregnancy and all that comes with it (good and bad), the almost 9 hours of labor and a c-section meant so little, really, compared to the moment that I came face to face with an authentic miracle of life which I would be responsible for appreciating, nourishing, honoring and shaping.

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For the last 6 years, (that have gone by so so so fast), Sofia has showed me that children have the greatest courage. While adults complain about minor daily problems, stress about relationship breakups and are drawing in money worries – children stare life in the face. Sofia has taught me that being brave and strong comes from within and that you can get up again no matter how many times you fall.

Sofia has always been a smiley, energetic, happy, kind, loving, giving, sensitive (yes, being sensitive is a positive trait), good hearted,  bubbly blonde little girl and having a rare condition called ‘Aniridia’ hasn’t changed that. What it has done, though, is proving to all of us that the greatest inspiration comes from the smallest things. It has also given us the opportunity to get to know some really great and supportive people.

My perfectly rare girl lovesssss dancing and horse riding. learning new things, making friends, Batman, running all the way back from school and cooking with mommy.

She is my hero xxxx 

 

Support important research on Aniridia to help Sofia and all the children like her 🙂 thank you. 




Emilia and Baymax…

On the 19th of September my youngest daughter, Emilia,  turned four. Four years that went by pretty fast but were full of so many memories that could fill a lifetime. I never liked the ‘sex role’ mold that children are ‘obliged’ to follow and despite secretly adoring anything girly pink, I pretty much allowed my daughters to choose any color, theme or dress code that expressed them the best since they were old enough to make such choices. Emilia likes purple, Spider- man, Transformers, dragons and Baymax among  skirts and ponies.

For her birthday she had been asking for a Spider-man cake at first before she finally ended up going for a Baymax theme party. While asking around for cakes I was a bit shocked at people’s reactions to my daughters Spider-man choice. Isn’t it really sad that in this day and age there are still people who want to force children to fit in specific sex preferences acceptable by our culture? Isn’t it even sadder that there are parents who ignore their children’s wants and choices in fear of turning them homosexual or being looked down by society? 

We had an amazing Baymax-themed party which included everything Baymax and ‘Big Hero 6’ related from cups, balloons and plates to mommy’s homemade birthday cake and matching cupcakes.

Four years after this amazing girl came into our lives we celebrated her cheeky but sweet character, her kindness, her determination, the way she always knows what she wants and goes for it, her caring nature, the endless love she has for her family, the way she protects and looks after her older sister, her love for shoes (that I ‘blame’ on her Godmother), the way she has managed to learn so many things on her own since she was so little, her sense of humour, the way she surprises us every day with the things she says and does, her incredible language skills, the way she wants to be independent, her unique preferences in everything, her strong personality, the way she says: ‘You are my best mommy’, her adorable attitude, her braveness, the way she always considers other peoples’ feelings, her thoughtfulness, the way she thinks things over and then wants to talk about what happened earlier on, the fact that she is not scared to speak her mind and express her feelings, the way she slowly takes my shoes off when I fall asleep on the couch,  and her love for everything  Spiderman.

My ‘tiny tiny’ baby I wish there will be lots and lots of birthdays as great as this one to celebrate  – well, and even better. 🙂 




First day at school – Mom did great!

It’s funny how everyone thinks that school stress is for the children. The start of every school year is, instead, a time of mixed emotions, anxiety, fear, worry, apprehension and stress for the parents – aka- mostly the mom. Dads are cool like that – or they pretend to be. They also have a reason to be, since mom is the unstoppable continuously thinking machine that runs on batteries that Duracell would be so envious of. So moms are mature and logical about stuff like this so they begin thinking about the new school year as soon as the last ones end, which totally makes sense. 

This year my youngest daughter, Emilia, also started school so the stress and anxiety were doubled and they reached a dangerous point today. While, during a really hectic morning, I was running around to get everything ready, talking to myself at the same time so I don’t forget anything – two relaxed, happy children and a totally care-free dad were playing and enjoying breakfast.

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I had a flashback of when I sat through my final year’s University exams, or of me doing a presentation for my Masters degree. I used to believe that this kind of – OMG what do I do now – feeling would never come back after graduation. I was so wrong. In the car, I went through with them every single thing I could remember of – be nice to other children, listen to your teacher, be polite, speak your mind, be brave, mommy loves you, smile, etc. – only to get the -yes, yes we know mom – reply.

While waking through the school corridors and observing the other moms and their own reactions I was glad to see that they all looked like they badly needed coffee and 5 minutes of breathing exercises. In my youngest daughter’s class, things weren’t that smooth. A couple of children were crying a lot asking for their moms, and a third one was screaming for her to come back while pulling her top.

I have been in a similar situation and I know how stressful and heart-breaking it can be. Some schools follow a strict technique which I don’t personally agree with, where they ask the parents to just go and leave their children in this state of distress. Luckily, ours is quite great and the teachers are really understanding, open minded and professional (Read: Mom’s Secrets #7: Starting School’.

Emilia squeezed my hand, looked at me and said: ‘that girl is scared, she needs her mommy. I won’t cry, don’t worry’. It would have been so great if I heard these lovely words in my previous experiences with first days at school 🙂

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Emilia quickly settled in, had a brief chat with the teacher, smiled at the other children and send me goodbye kisses. Next was Sofia, who was over the moon to meet up with her friends again exchanging cuddles, kisses and lots of giggles. I walked away from school with a huge grin on my face, grateful that we avoided possible drama and outbursts and feeling really proud of my children.

The first day at school IS a very intense time for all brave moms. The children are mostly doing great, possibly displaying bad behavior as a result of their parents’ stressful feelings. The secret to a smooth first day at school is for you to try and be as relaxed as possible. If you haven’t spend some quality time with your children explaining everything they need to know about school, asking them how they feel about it, helping them open up and express every thought, fear or worry they might have, you still have time.

Children need reassurance, understanding, they need to feel like thy can safely communicate a variety of emotions to you, especially the negative ones without being scolded or punished. Even when  you think that certain  issues are not of a great importance, always remember that for you child THEY ARE. 

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My  first school day was a success! I met up with a friend of mine for some nice warm coffee afterwards and now I feel better. I didn’t even cry. Just came close to it. Very close.  🙂  I really hope the whole school year will run smoothly for  all moms around the world. How was your first day? I would love to hear your stories!

 




Are ‘shouting’ moms just unhappy?

I recently traveled to London for a few days and shopping around Regent street I came across a very common – from what it seems – phenomenon,  – moms being exasperated, frustrated, tired and aggressive. I am totally against shouting at children or displaying any kind of abusive behavior whether that is verbal, emotional or physical. I felt angry, at first, and really sad for the poor children who were humiliated and maybe scared. I felt that they were being let down by their own moms and that is one of the worst feelings as a child.

Then, I saw a different reality. One that although does not in any way excuse such behavior but does give an added perspective that exposes an unfulfilled life. These women looked sad, unhappy, down and demotivated. They were tired, had run out of patience, they were joyless. Maybe they didn’t feel loved, maybe they were in bad relationships or marriages or even abusive ones. Maybe they were depressed. 

It is so easy to judge mothers or brand them as ‘bad’, feeling all superior and good about our own status as parents which is ‘obviously’ better. Taking problems out on children is NEVER the solution and saying that, not all unhappy moms do that. Some, though, do. Not because they don’t love their children, not because they are ‘unfit’ moms. For most moms around the world, making their children unhappy is not a choice they made when they entered motherhood.

Maybe the next time you criticize your friend or relative for being too harsh on their children, shout at them or always look like they are fed up – offer some support, instead. Try to find out the reasons behind such behavior, practice some therapeutic listening, offer a shoulder to cry on, be emphatic and try to be understanding. I promise you – you will feel a lot better and you might be able to change someone’s life, too.