Happy Mother’s Day

Today we are celebrating Mother’s Day in our part of the world, so I decided to share one of my favourite videos called “Just Like Me”. It is amazing how many new things I’ve learned and new experiences I’ve tried while trying to ‘catch up’ with my children. For me, having children was a very empowering experience, that developed me a lot as a person. Hope your parenting journey is full of fun, love, laughter and smiles too 🙂

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When Your Children Leave the Nest…

Empty Nest

No, none of my children is leaving the nest yet. Luckily, they are still not that old. Though it won’t take long before they grow up and turn into young adults. I’m dreading that moment. How am I going to cope with that, if at the moment I’m struggling to cope with one of my children leaving the nest for just a week?

From Laughter

Empty nest syndrome, the profound sadness that can come when children grow up and move out, is usually associated with mothers. But, men also experience grief when the last child departs–a problem that can be compounded by other issues. At the same time as kids leave home, careers tend to start leveling off. And suddenly, there is an abundance of time with the spouse –which isn’t always positive.

emptynest3

From http://everydayclimb.wordpress.com/

As Wayne Parker points out, the biggest challenge of being an empty-nester has little to do with the separation from the child, and everything to do with a need to redefine the relationship between the parents. Some spouses report that, because so much of family life has for twenty years or more revolved around children, they no longer have much in common. Sometimes their relationship have devolved into simply the relationship of a mother and a father; with the children no longer occupying center stage,  they might need to work through some critical relationship issues.

From Learning to live in an empty nest

Tips for Surviving the Empty Nest Experience

Recognize the reality of change. It is helpful to remember that moving into the empty nest stage of life is a major change, but it is one that has both positives and negatives. Accepting the reality of this new transition and knowing some of the changes to expect is helpful.

From GovLoop

Focus on relationships. Now that the demands of parenting in your immediate family are less, it is good to remember that life is about relationships. Spend time with your partner and other friends. You can’t just decrease the time you spend on your relationship with your son or daughter; you have to add time to other important relationships.

middle-ages-friendship-ftrFrom Parade

Take care of yourself. You might have put a lot of things on hold for yourself as you have cared for your family. With some additional time, it’s smart to create a little more time for yourself. Get your exercise regime back; maybe rediscover an old hobby/interest or travel a little more. It’s a great time for refreshing, and you deserve it.

From Over50Feeling40

Make a dream list. Sit down and make a list of things you have dreamed about doing during the active parenting years and prioritize. Maybe it’s time for the trip to Hawaii or the new fly rod.

empty nesters happyFrom Huffington Post

Keep connected to the kids. You don’t stop being a dad when the kids are no longer at home; the roles just change. Email the kids (and grandkids when they come) periodically to stay in touch. Exchange digital photos or videos. Send care packages to the college kids; they will appreciate the extra touch.

old man thinking about his childrenFrom CompleteWellbeing

Consider volunteering. There are so many worthwhile organizations in your community where your talents can be used. If you really miss your connection with your teenagers, consider the Scouting program, Boys and Girls Clubs or the Big Brothers group. Your local elementary school would really appreciate your help with childhood literacy.

Buddy
From BigBuddy

Empty nesting can be a challenging time, but being prepared and having a game plan for making it through this natural transition can ease the pain and help you find new opportunities for growth and fun. Take the most out of it before:

Grandma
From Empty Nest Syndrome

😉

Adapted from:

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THAT most empowering ONE

I usually collect other people’s writings and rarely write myself. However as Melanie, one of my dear followers and frequent visitors, indicated a few weeks ago that she enjoys my stories best of all on my blog, I decided to make her a special treat and post one of  my old little stories that was sitting on my computer for a few years. Hope you’ll have a few giggles while reading it, Melanie 🙂

* * *

( Russia, 1990s )

Sisters
from Coroflot

“Long ago in a faraway kingdom, three sisters were outside in the courtyard talking, imagining what they would do if they were married to Tsar Saltan. One said that she would prepare a great feast for the entire world. The next said that she would weave linen for the entire world. The third said that she would give the tsar “an heir, handsome and brave beyond compare.”

It did not take long for Ivan’s mum to pick up that I was totally useless in anything practical, so one day when we came to his home she greeted us with the following words:

“Hm, you won’t get any feast from that one. I doubt you’ll get any linen either. Well, from that one we’ll take heirs then,” she giggled and gave him a wink.

I don’t think I ever blushed that much in my life, while Ivan gave his mum a fierce look.

“She surely does not mean that “making heirs” is the only thing I’m good at?” I whispered to Ivan as soon as we got to his room. “And who are the other ‘ones’ she is talking about?”

“Do you think any other ‘ones’ will be hanging around with a mum like THAT ONE?”

Hanging

From Pinterest

A few days later I did point out to THAT ONE, that there were neither heirs nor wedding bells on the horizon. We were just friends with Ivan – old school friends hanging out together  – nothing more. We knew each other from the time when I started school at the age of seven.

“Oh well”, she giggled, “you’ll still make a good daughter for me, whether it is in-law or without any law”, she gave me a wink.

“I always wanted to have a daughter, you see,” she continued. “Ended having two sons instead,” she sighed. “Hope you’ll have at least one daughter. From a daughter you’ll always get a smile and a hug, while the only tender words you’ll ever hear from the sons are ‘What’s for dinner, ma?!’ “

Right at that moment the door flew open and her two sons rushed into the kitchen: “What’s for dinner, ma!?”

We both burst into laughter.

“What are you laughing about, YOU TWO?” her both sons looked at us with suspicion.

That’s how THAT ONE turned into YOU TWO.

Dinner
from Menu Monday

“That’s unfair,” pointed Ivan a few weeks later. “Every time you come to my place, it is all the giggles between YOU TWO. THAT ONE is my mum after all, but she seems to make more fuss about you than about me!”

“Come on, we can share THAT ONE,” I gave him a wink with a giggle.

 Mum
From Pinterest

Giggling with THAT ONE was like a fresh breath of air in the suffocating environment of obscure ‘cultural’ notions and norms where even at the University professors every now and then were ‘lecturing’ us, female students, about catching ‘princes’ before finishing the Uni on the grounds that there won’t be many ‘princes’ left afterwards. As one of the popular songs went, “there were only 9 boys for each 10 girls” at that time, which is not surprising taking into consideration millions of males killed during the revolution, civil war, First World War, Second World War, Stalin’s repressions, in Afghanistan and later in Chechnya. It looked like the whole purpose of girl’s existence was catching a prince – and the better the catch, more ‘worthy’ the girl was perceived.

 Cake
From http://andrfem.blogspot.co.nz

No cohabitation was ‘allowed’ before wedding bells – that ‘cultural’ notion puzzled me the most. After all, no one would be getting a new dress or a new suit before trying it first. Why were we forced to make important decisions in our lives after having just a few dates? How much can you learn about another person if all your ‘shared’ experiences are limited to a movie and a few ice-creams?

 Kino
From http://bonlady.ru/

THAT ONE fell into that trap herself with a quick marriage at the age of 19 that ended up in an even quicker divorce and a long spell of solo-parenting. No way she would fall for any of these “cultural” notions again.

“Listen to no one but yourself,” she used to say to me. “That’s your life – live it the way you want. Don’t let anyone else to write the story of your life”, she gave me a wink.

I smiled and gave a big hug to THAT MOST EMPOWERING ONE.

Family
From Adoption Services International

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Giggling your way to your teens

“They may push you away, but deep down your kids still need to know you love them. So don’t get hurt — get closer by learning these teen-friendly ways to show you care.”

Sarah Mahoney

dad-and-daighter
From How Fathers Influence Daughters

When your kids are little, parenthood is pretty much a contact sport — a nonstop marathon of smooching and snuggling. Fast-forward to their teen years, and it’s an entirely different story. Take my 14-year-old, for example. I used to put his sweet little baby toes in my mouth just to make him giggle. Now he not only has a pair of huge hairy man feet, but all of our tender moments — including those times he rests his chin on the top of my head, just to show how tall he is-happen entirely on his terms. And what about his 16-year-old sister? Sure, she’ll occasionally play footsie with me while we watch House. But if I hug her uninvited, she turns into a human surfboard.

Experts say we shouldn’t let those cold shoulders fool us. Kids not only want us to reach out to them, but also need constant reminders that we care…

When your kid starts insisting you keep your distance — in my house, that involves eye rolling, mock gagging or the ultra-offensive “eww, get away from me!” — relax. You can show your teens you love them while still giving them space.

1. Find affection alternatives. Kashurba suggests parents, especially dads, modify the ways they show affection to their teens. Hugging daughters can become embarrassing. Chances are you’ve already figured out that rumpling her hair is out of the question, so experiment. Try an occasional back scratch while she’s at the computer. Games — whether it’s touch football or flicking each other with wet dishrags — offer parents a chance to stay physical with both boys and girls.

2. Chill their way. Flop down on the couch next to your teen, even if it means you have to endure MTV’s “The Hills”. You might not be able to hug it out, but sitting shoulder-to-shoulder and sharing a laugh can be the next best thing.

3. Pick your moments. Your teen may brush off most of your overtures, but there are always unexpected times when she feels especially vulnerable — overwhelmed by calculus, for example, or after a fight with her best friend. Seize the moment. She might not ask for it, but she’d really love a reassuring arm around the shoulder.

4. Remember, showing up matters most. When raising teens, “being actively engaged in their daily lives trumps everything,” says Cauffman. That means rooting from the bleachers at basketball games, eating dinner together most nights, and really listening — on their terms, not yours — without judgment.

5.  Get your sense of humour back and share lots of giggles. In  “He’ll be OK: Growing gorgeous boys into good men” Celia Lashlie noted that a common theme of the conversations she had with many of the students was their lack of what they considered a real relationship with their dads. “What’s the one thing about your dad you would change if you could?’ she asked the students.

“Time and again the answer came: ‘He’d get his sense of humour back.’

Not “He’d get a sense of humour’ but ‘He’d get his sense of humour back‘.  … You’re great with your little fellows: you roll around on the floor, you fight, you have a lot of fun. And then the moment comes when a wee switch goes down in the back of the male brain, and you say to yourselves, ‘OK, I need to be a proper father now.’

So you stand up ready and willing to be a proper father and meanwhile your teen is looking around thinking, ‘I wonder where my dad went, because this grumpy old bastard sure isn’t him.’…”

(From 7 Ways to Get Closer to Your Teen and “He’ll be OK: Growing gorgeous boys into good men” )

father_daughter_momentsFrom The Dad Effect on Teen Self Esteem 

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Breastfeeding – a mother’s gift of love and care

“Breastfeeding is a mother’s gift to herself, her baby and the earth.”

Pamela K. Wiggins

breastfeeding-close-up
From The rants in my pants

Mother’s milk, time-tested for millions of years, is the best nutrient for babies. Numerous studies have demonstrated a number of important health benefits to breastfeeding. Among them:

  • Breast-fed children are more resistant to disease and infection early in life than formula-fed children
  • Breast-fed children are less likely to contract a number of diseases later in life, including juvenile diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and cancer before the age of 15
  • Mothers who breastfeed are less likely to develop osteoporosis later in life, are able to lose weight gained during pregnancy more easily and have a lower risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.

Babies also benefit from the physical closeness of nursing. Gazing into their mothers’ eyes, babies come to understand that they are loved and protected and that their mothers are there to provide for their needs.

In addition, breastfeeding releases hormones in mother’s body that promote mothering behaviors. This emotional bond is as vital as the nutritional benefit babies receive from breastfeeding. Scientists now tell us that infants learn best in a context of emotional closeness with an adult. Breastfeeding promotes a growing attachment between mothers and their babies that will continue to play an important role in baby’s development for years to come.

Many women report feeling uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, even doing so discreetly. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible for women to stay home all the time. They need to go out to do shopping and other household chores, or to take their children for a walk. Therefore sometimes mothers do need to breastfeed their babies in public. Please, be kind to breastfeeding mothers. Their need your support and understanding. Don’t make them feel bad for breastfeeding in public. Don’t force them to hide in the public toilets to feed their babies. Don’t shame them – there is nothing shamefull in mothers’ commitment to feed their babies whenever they need it. They should be praised instead. Please, don’t make them feel like in the Hollie McNish’s video “Embarrassed” provided below.

At first
I thought it was ok
I could understand their reasons
They said ‘There might be young children or a nervous man seeing’
this small piece of flesh that they weren’t quite expecting
so I whispered and tiptoed with nervous discretion.
But after six months of her life sat sitting on lids
Sipping on her milk nostrils sniffing up piss
Trying not to bang her head on toilet roll dispensers
I wonder whether these public loo feeds offend her?
Cos I’m getting tired of discretion and being ‘polite’ as my baby’s first sips are drowned drenched in shite,
I spent the first feeding months of her beautiful life
Feeling nervous and awkward and wanting everything right.
Surrounded by family until I stepped out the house
It took me eight weeks to get the confidence to go into town
Now the comments around me cut like a knife
As I rush into toilet cubicles feeling nothing like nice.
Because I’m giving her milk that’s not in a bottle
Wishing the cocaine generation white powder would topple
I see pyramid sales pitches across our green globe
and female breasts banned.  Unless they’re out just for show.
And the more I go out, the more I can’t stand it,
I walk into town feel I’m surrounded by bandits
Cos in this country of billboards covered in ‘tits’
and family newsagents’ magazines full of it
Whsmith top shelves out for men – Why don’t you complain about them then?
In this country of billboards covered in ‘tits’
and family newsagents magazines full of it
Whsmith top shelves out for men, I’m getting embarrassed
In case a small flash of flesh might offend.
And I’m mot trying to ‘parade’ this, I don’t want to make a show
But when I’m told I’d be better just staying at home
And when another friend I know is thrown off a bus
And another woman told to get out the pub
Even my grandma said maybe I was ‘sexing it up’.
And I’m sure the milk makers love all this fuss
All the cussing and worry and looks of disgust
As another mother turns from nipples to powder
Ashamed or embarrassed by comments around her and
As I hold her head up and pull my cardy across and she sips on the liquor made by everyones God, I think
For God sake, Jesus drank it
So did Sidhartha, Muhammed and Moses and both of their fathers
Ganesh and Shiva and Brighid and Buddha and I’m sure they weren’t doing it sniffing up piss as their mothers sat embarassed on cold toilet lids
In a country of billboards covered in ‘tits’
In a country of low cut tops cleavage and skin
In a country of cloth bags and recycling bins and as I desperately try to take all of it in,
I hold her head up
I can’t get my head round
The anger towards us and not to the sounds
of lorries offloading formula milk
into countries where water runs dripping in filth
In towns where breasts are oasis of life
now dried up in two for one offers, enticed by labels and logos and gold standard rights
claiming ‘breastmilk is healthier powdered and white’
packaged and branded and sold at a price so that nothing is free in this money fuelled life.
Which is fine
If you need it or prefer and can afford to use bottles, where water is clean and bacteria boiled,
but in towns where they drown in pollution and sewage
bottled kids die and they knew that they’d do it
In families where pennies are savoured like sweets
We’re now paying for one thing that’s always been free
In villages empty of hospital beds
babies die, diarrhoea fuelled that breastmilk would end
So no more will I sit on these cold toilet lids
No matter how embarrassed I feel as she sips
Cos in this country of billboards covered in ‘tits’
I think I should try to get used to this.

THE END