I have been “snowed-in” for the past few days and have completed a lot of homework for my new graduate degree that I’m working on. I have also pinned a lot on Pinterest. In keeping this post short, I was able to sit down with my daughter and go through these pictures and ask her thoughts on what she saw. This was a very enlightening moment as she realized that the world was actually as big as she was being told. Kids are so visual and no matter how many reports they have to write on globalization and multiculturalism, it always hits home when they get to “see” it. The best is when they can experience. I wanted to share with you what I shared with her from a site called distractify.com.
I guess I’m at the age where myself and my peers are wondering what our purpose is on this earth. We are leaving long-term relationships, re-assessing finances and the way in which we spend money, switching careers, more conscious of our health and planning for the future of our children. Some of this may sound like it’s out-of-order but, it seems to be the same spot that everyone I know is in and we are all in the same age range mid 30’s- 40 years old. Speaking for myself I am even more focused on owning my own home and planning for the future. I keep contemplating leaving the classroom and just going for my dreams of being both a novelist and songwriter. It’s scary and I often consider going into real estate because it will allow me some flexibility but the market is so volatile.
Again, scary territory. What about getting up and moving back to my hometown of NY? That’s even an option on the table. I know that there is a huge change coming for me because I can feel it but in the meantime I find myself struggling with feelings of anxiety. What am I anxious over? Mostly, things that are not within my control. And speaking with my peers, I am not alone.
So, I never harp on a problem for too long. I usually go into solution mode and the solution I recently came up with was journaling more consistently (handwritten). It makes me feel good to get out my true feelings and just release. I usually look back over these entries when I am in a different state of mind and learn even more about myself. If you are feeling overwhelmed by life and your path, please consider journaling and those of you who do not like writing or typing can use voice memos on your cell phone or laptops. Let some of it go. It becomes too much to hold on to and creates a daunting outlook.
We are all here to do great things and in order to do those things we must keep ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally renewed.
When I think of my mother, I think of a strong woman whom worked hard all of her life until she retired on disability. This is the same woman who had two children early in life and then was surprised by another (myself) in her late thirties. Needless to say there was a lot of adjusting that needed to take place. With an 18 year gap between myself and my sister and a 20 year gap between myself and my brother, my mother and I have always struggled to bond as she wasn’t used to children any longer.
Now don’t get me wrong, she was the best mother she could be but, she, herself had grown up with a mother whom did not show love in the emotional sense, but through her ability to provide for and take care of her kids. The emotional piece had been missing for generations. I’m sure the fact that my grandmother growing up in the south and experiencing racism to an extent that I never had probably contributed to the hard demeanor that she presented. I am also sure that that was passed on to my own mother.
Now, as a parent myself I find it easy to show affection to my children while they are young but not so much as they get older; please do not beat me up for saying this. I currently have a 13 year old whom is going through her own hormonal changes and in need of emotional support of which I am not familiar except by the examples set forth in the family sitcoms I watched growing up.
I am thankful that I noticed my waning emotional support immediately (thanks to being a teacher and experiencing it firsthand with my students and their parents) because I was able to dig deep and surface the source and then research ways to remedy it.
I am happy to say that it is possible to break generational strongholds. I believe in purposeful parenting because you can never get back the years lost with your children but you can make a significant change for the better at any stage that will positively impact their lives. I am constantly searching for opportunities and creating opportunities to provide that emotional support to my daughter. I can’t say that I am an expert or that I am doing it correctly, but I am trying.
Purchased Groupons to brunch in the city for just her and I
We read a good book together or talk about whatever she wants to freely
We have created traditions that are unique to us and will be different for myself and her brother once he gets older
I purchased a devotional geared towards mothers and daughters to read with her every night
I do not allow electronics at the breakfast/dinner table to allow for conversation between her and myself
I have recently looked up more volunteer opportunities that we can do together
I am constantly looking for ways to create the emotional support that she needs as it is vital to her self-esteem and self-awareness. Recently, I read a book called How Full is Your Bucket by Tom Rath and my goal is to fill her bucket daily with positivity. I recommend reading this book and also StrengthsFinder 2.0. Just because something has been a certain way in your family for generations doesn’t mean that it can’t stop with you (and I am referring to something negative). You must proclaim that it will be different for you and yours. Purposefully parent!