Once Upon A Mommy

The Ups, Downs and All Arounds of Raising a Family

Author: Once Upon A Mommy (page 1 of 6)

Wanna Change the World?

change world

I noticed this quote on a billboard outside of a church building. It really struck a chord with me.

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family” – Mother Teresa

For the longest time, I’ve been wrestling with my purpose and meaning in life. I’ve been on a leave of absence from my teaching career for the last 2 years and I’ve been staying at home looking after my children in the meantime. I often wonder what the heck I’m supposed to be doing.

I seem to be discontented and unsettled a lot of the time. I feel a constant longing to do something else…something bigger. There’s a large drive in me to contribute and change the world yet I seem to miss the opportunity that is before me. Somehow I believe that taking care of children is not as important or significant (perhaps this is the message our society conveys). I seem perpetually distracted by things that don’t really matter and fail to notice my children as a result. I know I value family but I can’t seem to let go of the nagging in order to focus on what really matters. The by-product is often guilt and torment.

change world

However, I’m beginning to feel a shift. I’m realizing that it’s foolish to help hurting people while simultaneously creating a few more hurting people to add to the mix. In my endeavour to focus on everyone but my family, I will surely end up neglecting the people that are the most important to me.  In the end, I’m not really helping the world, I’m just adding to the pain. It doesn’t matter how many lives I influence. If the 3 people at home don’t feel loved by me, then all my efforts are futile.

Since I’ve already been rumbling around with the tension for a while, you can imagine why this quote stood out to me. Upon reading it, I felt a sense of relief and resolve. I felt permission to allow myself to take care of the seemingly unimportant things instead of striving for something greater. I was reminded that these “seemingly unimportant things” are actually massively important things. They aren’t ordinary or mundane at all. There is so much power and influence in shaping the next generation that will influence the world long after I’m gone. Besides, this is a season of time that is very demanding. Before I know it, my children will be out of the house and my purpose will change accordingly.

Ironically, I’m reminded of the reason why I became a teacher in the first place. I wanted to lead the next generation of politicians, doctors, teachers, parents, etc. Well, it may only be 2 young children instead of a classroom, but they still count. It only takes one person to make a difference.

 

Photo credit: http://paradiseandpinkflamingos.tumblr.com

Baby Whisperer – Baby Guide for New Parents

I’ve had a change of heart.

In a previous post about baby sleep resources, I shared a few thoughts about the book, “Secrets of the Baby Whisperer” by Tracy Hogg. At the time, I wasn’t particularly fond of the book and had some mixed emotions about it. Nevertheless, I’ve held onto the book for five years, meaning to read it again with my second child. For some reason, it’s had some sort of grip on me that I couldn’t let go.

I originally started reading the book when I had my daughter and dabbled in it briefly. I then put it down because it was causing stress and confusion. My goal was to teach my daughter to sleep and experienced the opposite. I was trying to avoid using crutches like rocking or swinging, which then resulted in no sleep at all. I resolved that I didn’t care how my baby fell asleep, the point was for her to sleep.

After I had my second baby, I started researching sleep again. I was determined to do a better job the second time around. Of all the books I was planning to read, “Secrets of the Baby Whisperer” kept nagging at me. I know I have the tendency to finish a book till completion despite the boredom, disinterest or poor quality. Perhaps this was the dynamic at play. However, the persistence was so compulsive that I decided to pick it up and finally put an end to the curiosity and pestering. I soon realized that my first impressions of the book were inaccurate.

Throughout the book I noticed I common theme of respect for the baby – listening to the baby for clues of unmet needs; asking permission to be in its personal space or touch its body; and talking to it respectfully as a human being instead of an object. Tracy uses the acronym S.L.O.W. to remind parents to slow down and listen to their baby’s language so that they can respond accordingly.

I’ve come to realize that Tracy Hogg has quite the balanced approach despite my first impression. She is realistic with the necessity of respecting the baby while still respecting the family. The baby can’t run the show at the expense of the parents because that isn’t healthy for anyone. Instead of creating a rigid schedule for the baby to follow or the parents allowing the baby to dictate their schedule, Tracy meets in the middle with her E.A.S.Y. routine.

According to Tracy, a routine is more flexible than a schedule but more structured than on demand. The E.A.S.Y. stands for:

E – Eat (feeding breastmilk/formula)

A – Activity (usually just a diaper change in the beginning; more activity as the window of wakefulness grows)

S – Sleep (baby sleeps)

Y – You (do whatever you need to do to care for yourself while the baby is sleeping)

I found her E.A.S.Y. routine super helpful and incredibly valuable. Actually, it was one of my main takeaways from the book when I read it 5 years ago. Since I’ve always kept this structure in the back of my mind, I intuitively started following the plan as soon as I had Jack.

Throughout the day, whenever he would cry for something and I felt unsure of what he needed, I’d go back to the routine. “Ok, he just ate an hour ago and I changed his diaper, he must be tired now.” It created a comfortable rhythm and flow to my day. All day, all I would do is E.A.S.Y. on repeat.

Regarding sleep, Tracy had a lot of good tips, tricks and clues to help know when the baby is tired. However, I didn’t find they particularly worked well for me. I found “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by Marc Weissbluth to be the most helpful resource coupled with Tracy’s E.A.S.Y. routine and the Dunstan Baby Language.

Upon taking a second look at the book, I see Tracy is a blend between cry it out and no cry strategies. She doesn’t let a bit of crying get in the way of teaching babies how to sleep. Furthermore, she doesn’t encourage props – like rocking, swinging, driving, which I find difficult to not use. To be honest, I have found the swing to be very useful when nothing else seems to work.

Nevertheless, I can appreciate her logic behind this advice. She advises to start as you would finish: if you don’t want to be rocking a 30 pound baby in the future, then don’t start now. I can appreciate what she’s saying, however, at some point you need to do what works. Habits can always be changed, although they can take a lot of time, energy and crying to break.

At the end of the book, she includes a troubleshooting section called “The ABC Cure for Accidental Parenting.” In this chapter she helps parents understand how they have contributed to difficulties and how to change bad patterns into good ones. While it’s obvious that you don’t want to start bad patterns to begin with, it is inevitable. We are all trying to do the best we can with the situations we have. Figuring out babies is hard and they don’t come with a manual. On top of that, we are sleep deprived and depleted. When my storehouse is running low, I’m desperate to do whatever it takes to get the outcome I need.

In conclusion, I found the overall tone of the book gentle and encouraging with respect as a major priority. However, reading the book a second time around hasn’t taught me anything more than I already acquired the first time I read it. Nonetheless, my aversion towards the book had decreased. While the E.A.S.Y. routine is still the biggest thing I take away from the book, I’m fortunate to be reminded of the importance of slowing down and tuning in to my baby. My son is almost a year old and I want to cherish as many moments as I can with him.

Mentrual Pads – Economical, Environmental and Chemically Safe

menstrual pads

Lunapads.com

Menstrual Pads vs Tampons? Which one are you?

Menstrual cycles are part of being a woman and every month we are continually using products to assist us with this process. Have you ever wondered what those products are made of and what chemicals are being absorbed by one of the most precious vulnerable parts of our body?

I have had these questions in the back of my mind for a while. From my couponing days, I created a large stock pile of pads and tampons – some of which I still have today, 5 years later. I never considered the effects these products could have on my body, constantly in close contact with my skin over several days. I was just proud that I got them for free.

Of course, I’ve come to learn that the products mostly associated with coupons are usually not the best choice for my body or the environment. Of course, low income families are the most vulnerable to unhealthy products because they are the cheapest to buy. It sure is tempting to buy the products to save money even though they can be a danger to our health.

I was fortunate to come across Lunapads at a trade show last year. While I was briefly aware of their products, I was curious to know more. Finally, a solution to menstrual pads that was economical, environmental and chemically free.

Lunapads – Long Menstrual Pad and Insert

I decided to switch over to Lunapads and bought my first supply. They are reusable washable pads that will last over 5 years and save a tonne of money. Furthermore, they are free of chemicals, perfumes and adhesives. Even better, they support education by donating Lunapads to girls in the developing world so they can stay in school rather than missing the days they have their period.

When I received my order, I was given a coupon code. I thought I’d pass it along. It can be used by more than one person and expires March 31st. You get $5 off orders over $35.

Discount code: THANKYOU215
www.lunapads.com

My next plan is to try the Diva Cup. I’ve heard great things about it – once you get used to the feel.

Minimalism – What’s Your Stuff Costing You?

minimalism

Minimalism – reconsidering the dream

Most of us, when we’re young, we dream of owning a house and having kids one day. Some of us are even bigger dreamers and hope to own a car, boat or even a cabin.

While all these things sound super awesome, I have come to realize that they come with a lot of work. Since owning a house and having kids, I see how much responsibility goes into the care of these possessions.

With our house we have had to replace the windows, redo the drain tile (that was a huge project), renovate the basement, prune the trees, clean the gutters, repaint the fence and deck, etc. Suddenly this nice idea of owning a home one day became an enormous never ending task that consumes the weekends.

An children, well don’t get me started. It isn’t enough to just feed, clothe or bathe them. No, we need to teach them morals, values and character. That’s heavy stuff!

I came across this article from The Minimalists, which sums up the cost of owning things really well. In my journey of minimizing, I am definitely taking into account the true cost of each item. I was finally able to let go of some toy cars Ella had when I considered the need to constantly replace the batteries. I decided I wasn’t willing to do that anymore.

http://www.theminimalists.com/cost

 

Image courtesy of jk1991 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Television – How Much Are Your Children Watching?

Television

Television…are your children watching too much? It’s so easy to use the modern convenience of the television as a babysitter. I get it, I’ve fallen into this trap. I was ambitious at the beginning, not allowing my daughter to watch TV till the recommended age 2. Not that she is 6, I find it all to easy to give into her requests. I particularly find it helpful in the mornings when I’m trying to get her ready for school or around dinner time.

While trying to be mindful of her TV consumption, I spontaneously thought of a good strategy the other day to get her off fast.

I first decided how much longer I was willing to let her watch. I decided on 10 minutes although I was prepared for a fight to breakout and it actually being 30 minutes.

After I decided on 10 minutes, I told her she could watch for 5 minutes more (way below my predetermined time). Then I said, “actually, you can watch 6 minutes more.” Then I set the timer.

As a result, she thought she was winning because I gave her an extra minute. Whereas I was the one actually winning because I got her off the TV in 6 minutes! Whoo hoo!

Image courtesy of winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Detergent – Natural Laundry Detergent (And Brands to Avoid)

detergent

detergent

Detergent – The search for natural laundry detergent and which brands to avoid.

It started with diaper wipes (see previous post) and now I’m transitioning to laundry detergent. I have just begun on this progressive journey of trying to cut out chemical products from my home. My main go-to website to help me navigate this confusing world is EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaners. I often find myself popping a brand name in their search bar to see what kind of results it will get. I’ve been really surprised to discover some terrible ratings for some of the companies that I thought would be good alternatives. As I looked closer at their ingredient lists, I was amazed to see some concern for cancer. I definitely want to stay far away from those ones!!

After comparing a variety of brands, I came to a personal standard to help me narrow down my search. I’m chosing to stay close to the products that have an overall grade of A or B, no cancer concerns and certified green for the environment. Below, I’ll share some of my thoughts and findings for some of the common laundry detergent brands.

 

Tide – GRADE F!

Over five years ago, I used to be an extreme shopper – using coupons to get products for free. I took pride in how many household items I got for free or next to nothing. At the time, I was quite pleased to stock pile several years’ worth of laundry detergent. I’m actually on my last bottle of Purex right now. Over the course of time, I started to notice a pattern. I came to realize that the products that are the worst for us (chemically laden or highly processed junk) were the cheapest to buy because they had the most coupons available. At the time, I thought I was really well for myself. Then I started to stay away from purchasing certain products even if I had a coupon for it and could get it cheap. Knowing what I know now, I had no idea that the product I was using was not only harmful to the environment, but to my health.

Tide coupons are easy to get, but check out the letter grade…a fail!

detergent

Tide Detergent

 

Purex – GRADE D!

I’m currently on my very last bottle of laundry detergent from my stockpile 5 years ago. Because I’m on my last, I’m forced to start considering what new brand I should buy next. Since my values with health and the environment have changed over the last 5 years, I want to be more mindful about what I purchase. Here’s how my current brand rates:

detergent

Purex Detergent

 

Ecos – GRADE C

In my quest to find the next best laundry detergent, my first stop was Costco to see what they offered for natural laundry detergent. The brand, ECOS, was recommended to me as a good choice. I was so close to buying it during my next visit but decided to check it out first. Here’s what I found:

Detergent

Ecos Detergent

While there is no cancer concern and it is green certified, I decided that a grade C was too low for me. I wanted to see if I could do better.

 

Nellie’s Laundry Soda – GRADE B

I was at a baby shower a month ago and saw someone give the mother-to-be a tin of Nellie’s Laundry Soda. Out of curiosity, I inquired further and found out that it was a great “natural” product. I was so convinced that I went to the store and bought a can of the laundry soda and stain remover. I’m not sure why I didn’t look up the product first because when I did, I was shocked! I was surprised to find the bar graph for cancer more so than Tide or Purex!

detergent

Nellie’s Detergent

To be honest, I was confused why Nellie’s received a B grade, considering their concern for cancer, while ECOS was graded C and had no concern. EWG must take all factors into account when rating the products and determining their grade level. Even though the product is not green certified, I did like the short ingredient list. While the ingredients themselves rated well, the concern for cancer nagged at my conscious. Therefore, I returned the product.

Nellie’s All Natural Laundry Soda -100 Load Tin

Nellie’s All-Natural Oxygen Brightener Tin – 2 lb

Rockin’ Green Soap – GRADE Unknown

I bought a bag of Rockin’ Green Laundry Detergent several years ago since it had a good reputation in the world of cloth diapers. While I can’t find the product on EWG, the label sounds promising. Mind you, I’m weary of whether I should trust its claims because other packages say “all-natural” and then turn out to be graded poorly. According to the label, the product is dye free, naturally scented, no fillers, vegan (I like that), and 100% phosphate free with bio gradable ingredients.

Rockin’ Green Laundry Detergent Classic Rock Unscented

 

Seventh Generation – GRADED C

I thought I’d add Seventh Generation because I would default this brand to being a good natural option. I think many people consider Seventh Generation to be a safer alternative compared to the array of chemical products on the market. Upon looking at its rating, I must say, I’m actually surprised. I thought it would have done better considering the company promotes itself as a safer choice. Ironically, it is certified as a green product but the bar graph for environmental concern is high. Weird.

detergent

Seventh Generation Detergent

 

Method – GRADED B

When I asked around to see what laundry products friends use, Method came up. I thought I’d show how it rates as well.

I’m happy to see this product rated as grade B. However, I wouldn’t use it because of the cancer concern. I’m also surprised to see some ingredients rated grade D. And the bar graphs don’t look too pretty.

detergent

Method Detergent

 

Green Works – GRADED F!

Green Works is another product that I equate with being a more natural choice. The packaging actually states, “natural laundry detergent.” Well, I guess it just goes to show that we can’t trust the word “natural” from manufactures considering this product was graded F! I guess the “natural” is supposed to refer to the green certification.

detergent

Green Works Detergent

Lastly….the one I chose!

Attitude – GRADE A

Attitude Laundry Detergent


Just like my diaper wipes, I chose Attitude for my laundry detergent. Based on their performance so far, I’ll probably end up choosing this brand again as I continue my journey into soaps, cleaners, etc. Actually, when I purchased my laundry detergent, I bought their dishwasher eco pouches at the same time since they were on sale (the couponer is still in me).

Attitude Dishwasher Eco Pouches Phosphate Free Detergent — 40 Pouches

Notice the bar graphs below compared to the other products I showed. I find it so refreshing! This product gives me a piece of mind. Not only is it grade A, it’s green and has no cancer concerns (according to the bar graph). I understand that I’ll be paying more for this product compared to Tide or Purex, but I’m ok with that. Finding the product on sale has been a bonus and I’ve already started my stockpile!

detergent

Attitude Detergent

So there you have it…my laundry detergent journey that’s taken me 5 years to conclude. I hope some of the information I’ve presented will help you come to your own conclusions about what detergent is best for your family. You may not have the same convictions as me, and that’s fine.

Lastly, I found this resource that I had tucked away in a drawer. It’s a top ten list prepared from Environmental Defence. You can go through the link to download a pocket guide that you can take with you on the go!

Environmental Defence’s “toxic ten” list

  • 1,4 dioxane
  • Artificial musks
  • Coal tar derived colours
  • BHA and BHT
  • Formaldehyde-releasing agents
  • Petrolatum
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Silicone chemicals
  • Triclosan

Film Wrap Leeches Chemicals

Film wrap has changed over the years and poses harm to our health. Is there an alternative?

I always love going to Christmas craft fairs. It’s a chance for me to be without the kids and admire the novel, creative ideas of others.

When I was at the Circle Craft Fair the other week, I discovered a natural alternative to film wrap. It’s called Abeego – a reusable beeswax wrap that breathes. The wrap protects food from air and moisture and lets it breathe at the same time. It’s also safer substitute compared to using film wrap.

It seems like I’ve been on a journey of trying to eliminate harmful chemicals from my home. I’ve started with diapers and wipes, and then soap and laundry detergent. When the opportunity for replacing my plastic wrap presented itself, I was curious.

While I’m not familiar with all the ins and outs of plastic wrap, I know enough to speculate that it’s not a healthy idea….especially when heated in the microwave. I can only imagine the chemicals have the potential to leech into my food within the fridge as well. I’m not willing to gamble with that risk.

From my brief research, I’ve discovered that the plastics used to make film wrap have changed over the years. Originally, plastic wrap was made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) due to its flexibility properties. However, PVC contains phthalates which are hormone disruptors and they are chemical leechers.

In 2006, manufactures changed chemicals the to low-density polyethylene (LDPE) or polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC), which are phthalate free. However, they don’t cling as well and they are potentially linked to breast cancer and low sperm count.

Unlike food products, manufactures do not need to include an ingredient list on their products. Therefore, consumers are left vulnerable and at risk.

I was already familiar with the concept of using beeswax to create a version of plastic wrap. My sister-in-law made some for herself. While I like the idea of making it from scratch, I’m realistic enough to know it’s not going to happen anytime soon. Therefore, when I saw the vendor at the craft fair, I snatched up a pack!

Abeego – Set of 3

Film Wrap

I really like the reusable factor – it supports my environmental values and solves the problem of using plastic wrap. I also like the idea of keeping the food alive due to its breathable capabilities. However, to be honest, my only uncertainty towards using the product is my unclear stance on using bee products. I’m not educated enough on the topic and I don’t fully know where I stand yet. In the meantime, this is an appropriate alternative for me.

In the end, I ordered several packages for Christmas gifts. I like the variety pack the best because you get to experiment with 3 sizes. I’m experimenting with the product for now. It definitely doesn’t stick the way plastic wrap does but I’m keeping an open mind. Hopefully, I’ll continue the journey and start moving away from my plastic and Tupperware containers too.

Check out Abeego to see their variety of sizes and demonstration videos.

Brush Your Teeth – Avoiding Power Struggles With Your Children

Brush Your Teeth

www.istock.com

Brush your teeth every day, twice a day, for ideal oral hygiene. While this advice may be easy for adults, how do you get your kids to cooperate?

Brushing teeth with children can often resort to power struggles. I’m often at a loss with how to make this routine the least stressful in order to divert aversion. My goal is to make the experience as pleasant as possible in order for my children to have positive associations with teeth brushing.

I’m not going to lie. There are times when the power struggle has been so strong that I resorted to force out of sheer desperation. I’ve been told by dental hygienists to use whatever tactic necessary, including holding their hands down, to get the job done. However, I’m fearful if I force the experience, they will develop a negative association when they are adults. While there have been times that I’ve held my daughter’s hands while she has a hissy fit, it isn’t my preferred way. As a result, I’m left with trying to find creative solutions to make brushing teeth the most pain free as possible.

When my daughter was younger, it was easier to sing songs and use distraction techniques. Sometimes, I’ve counted backwards or come up with silly ideas like “brushing the sparkles off her teeth.” We’ve talked about sugar bugs and what happens if we don’t brush properly. I’ve even pointed out children with silver teeth to show her the consequences of not brushing properly.

I’ve found that that these strategies have worked well for different ages or seasons of time. I have to constantly reinvent myself in order to keep up with my aging child. She is now nearing 6 years old and I’m having to change my approach, yet again.

The other night, I came up with a new strategy for brushing teeth:

I told Ella if she can brush her teeth before the timer beeps, she can get 5 minutes to play before bedtime. I set the oven timer for 3 minutes, giving myself enough time to brush her teeth plus a buffer so she’d be successful, and then pretended to be in a rush to brush her teeth. I brushed for over 2 minutes and still had 11 seconds to spare! It seemed to work. Hopefully I can rely on this tactic to avoid future teeth brushing struggles.

Below are a few other strategies to use to brush your teeth:

Reward Charts: here’s a Printable Toothbrushing Chart from happinessishomemade.net

Brush Your Teeth

Brush Your Teeth Chart

Brushing Teeth Timer: a sand hourglass with a 2 minute timer

Smile Tooth 2 Minute Sand Timer Assorted colors

Songs: the teeth brushing song from Raffi

Education: a kid friendly video on why we brush our teeth

Below are some basic tips and rules for teeth brushing I thought were necessary to share:

  • As soon as your baby has their first tooth appear, you should start brushing. Even before the teeth rupture the gums, you can run a damp cloth along your child’s gums in order to get them use to the sensations and to develop some sort of habit.
  • By the time your child is 1 years old, or 6 months after the first tooth erupts, take your child to see the dentist. Usually the dentist will give your child a ride in the chair and count their teeth. The main point is to intervene for tooth decay and give your child a positive experience with the dentist to avoid future anxieties.
  • Use a child-sized toothbrush with soft bristles. Replace it after 3-4 months or as soon as it shows wear. It is not recommended to share toothbrushes with other people in order to reduce the transferring of germs.
  • Use a small dose of toothpaste, the size of a grain of rice, until age 3. Afterwards, increase to the size of a pea. Brush twice a day in the morning and before bed for at least 2 minutes. The molars should be your biggest priority because this is where cavities are more likely.
  • As soon as two teeth emerge that touch, floss your child’s teeth once a day. I find the floss sticks super helpful for this task.
  • Brush in a gentle circular motion with the brush at a 45 degree angle beside your teeth. The gums are at risk of receding if you brush in a vigorous back and forth motion.
  • At about age 6-7, children have the skills and coordination to brush independently. However, I’d still do a check over to ensure they did a sufficient job.
  • Fluoride can have mixed reviews depending on who you talk to. The American Dental Association recommends it. The Canadian Dental Association “supports the appropriate use of fluoride in dentistry,” which sounds like a broad application. Check out their website for more information.

Here’s some resources from the Canadian Dental Association:

An Egg Experiment – Egg shells and teeth are both made of calcium and are weakened by acid. Try this fun experiment to show your children how fluoride can strengthen your teeth and lock in the calcium.

Canadian Dental Association – information on teeth cleaning, tooth decay, fluoride, Halloween, and pacifiers/thumb sucking

 

 

Citric Acid – What’s In Your Food?

It’s been a couple months since I’ve been navigating the world of solids with Jack. While I try to make his food a majority of the time, I have come to rely on puree pouches when I’m out and about. My favorite product is Love Child Organics. I feel good about this product because it’s organic with a super clean list of ingredients. Whatever it says on the front is exactly what’s in the ingredient list on the back. For example, this pouch has apples, spinach, kiwi, broccoli, water, quinoa, acerola, and lemon juice concentrate.

Love Child Organics Super Blends Purees – Spinach, Broccoli, Kiwi & Apples – 4 oz – 6 pkWhile they claim there’s no added sugars, I know enough about the hidden name of sugars to know that lemon juice concentrate is probably sugar. I can get over that. At least it’s the last ingredient on the list rather than the top 3.

The other day I was pondering about the acerola fruit used instead of citric acid. I recall the vendor at the food convention (where I discovered the product) telling me why acerola was more superior to citric acid but I couldn’t remember the specifics. I decided to research citric acid and was horrified by what I found.

In the article, “What You Need To Know About Citric Acid,” I discovered that citric acid is no longer made from lemons, which I assumed it was. Whenever I’ve seen citric acid on an ingredient list, my logic figured it’s a safe bet because it’s a recognizable and familiar ingredient. Little did I know that food scientists have been creating citric acid from BLACK MOLD!!! Can you believe it?!?!

Here’s another article that talks about how citric acid is harming our body and even causing tooth decay: “Is Citric Acid Truly Safe.”

So do your best to watch out for this ingredient! It’s amazing what we don’t know about the food we’re consuming. It sure makes my stomach churn when I visualize black mold in my food. Who would have thought?

Focused Parenting – Disciplining Children

Power of FocusFocused Parenting – One of the Seven Powers in “Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline” by Becky A. Bailey

I was initially prompted to start writing on the topic of focus in relation to parenting and discipline. However, once I started writing, one post evolved into four. Oops. I got carried away.

Focus is a massive topic for me that brings together tonnes of insight and knowledge over the past few years. As soon as I started writing, I was flooded with experiences and all the ways I could communicate this subject and hopefully add value to other peoples’ lives. Even after I’ve posted the previous three posts, I’m continuing to learn more about the power of focus.

The initial intention to start writing about this topic stemmed from a book I came across in my parenting class called, “Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline” by Becky A. Bailey. In this book, she talks about the Seven Powers of Self Control. One of the seven powers is called The Power of Focus.

Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline: The 7 Basic Skills for Turning Conflict into Cooperation

Throughout the class, I came to realize that I can set my children up for success or failure based on what I choose to focus on. I’m the leader and how I pose my questions, commands or requests will determine which way they behave. Unbeknownst to me, I was setting up Ella to be disciplined unfairly when her actions were really a reflection of my poor focus and leadership rather than her misbehavior or failing to answer my question as I would have liked her to.

Through the power of focus, I am learning to phrase my communication around what I want instead of what I don’t want. For example, instead of saying, “Don’t throw food,” I would say, “Keep the food on the table.” I’m instructing my children based on the positive action that I want to see instead of highlighting the behaviour I’m trying to avoid.

What we focus on expands. You will get more of what you focus on. Compare it to driving: if you’re driving a car on the highway, you focus on where you are going rather than on the streetlights. However, if you fixated on the streetlights, I guarantee you’ll hit one.

A mom in my parent group shared an experience she had with her husband. Before he went grocery shopping, she told him that she didn’t like overripe bananas with brown spots. When he returned, he brought her back overripe bananas with brown spots. We all had a good laugh. But why did he do that? Because that’s what he heard and what stuck in his head. It happens all the time. We say, “Don’t forget to buy bread” and that’s what we exactly do…forget to buy the bread. Instead of saying, “Don’t forget ______” you could say, “Remember ______.” That way, the visual of what we do want remembered stays in the mind.

Let’s put this into practice. With your children, are you focusing on what you want or don’t want? When you are getting upset with them, ask yourself, “Do I want more of this in my life?” If the answer is no, then focus on telling your child what you want them to do instead and why.

This week, start noticing how you talk and think. What are you focusing on? What is one thing you can change in your language to help guide your children more towards what you do want? Most days, I catch myself slightly tweaking my language so I can get more of the behavior I do want. As a result, there is less need to get frustrated or correct misbehavior.

If you’re new, come check me out on Facebook and join my community: www.facebook.com/onceuponamommy.perfectlyimperfect

If you’re interested in my other 3 posts that came out of this one, here they are:

Focused Thinking – Choosing the Positive

Power of Perception – Shifing Your Focus

Power of Focus – What You Focus On Expands

 

 

Image courtesy of Tanatat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Older posts

© 2017 Once Upon A Mommy

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)