Trapped?

This one is a touchy subject for me.  It took me a while to even share it within a small, trusted group, and it’s taken me quite some time to come to terms with it.

Sometimes you can feel trapped when parenting, especially when you’re a young parent.

Now, I’ve heard some people say it before, or ask me if I feel trapped or stuck, and I usually try and steer clear of the subject.  The fact is, parents can feel a little trapped, and I don’t think it’s something to be ashamed of.  If you’re a parent, or have ever read any parenting blog or magazine, talked to parents at all…you know what I mean.  The conversation goes something like this:

“Hey, wanna do something this weekend?”

“Yeah sure!  What were you-oh wait I can’t actually, I have the little guy!”

“Oh..uhh ok well can’t you find a babysitter or something?”

“I mean I guess I could, but I kind of want to hang out with my kiddo…you wanna come to the park with us or something?”

“Umm no that’s ok, I’ll hit you up later.”

Unless you have a lot of great friends that also happen to be parents of young kids, you know how hard it is to find time to hang out with your friends.  I think this goes for all parents.  You might be more likely to have friends that have kids later on in life, but you’re still bound to have some peers without kids, and they just don’t really understand how valuable your time is now.

It can be tough to make all of your decisions around a new person.  I’m not talking about being selfish, but on the other hand, being completely selfless isn’t a walk in the park.  A parent’s life revolves around their child, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  Parenting is a long, difficult journey.  It’s extremely rewarding, but you also don’t really know what you’re signing up for when you start.

I think the hardest part of parenting for me, is the lack of freedom.  And, until recently, I thought I was alone.  I thought that maybe I just didn’t get it, or maybe I just wasn’t a great parent if I was thinking about myself too much, or even at all.

I had a conversation last week about this with some friends.  I joked that someday I’m going to live out of a backpack and travel the world, it might just be when I’m 55 instead of when I’m 25.  So maybe I wait until he’s on his own, or maybe I pick a closer destination, or a shorter trip, or maybe I even bring him with me!  Don’t worry, I’ve already picked out a kid’s backpack and size 4 hiking boots if the little one wants to come along, I kind of hope he does!  To my surprise, I found out I wasn’t crazy, and that many parents cope with similar feelings.  It’s important to know that you’re not the only one out there.

I guess what I’m saying, is:  never stop dreaming.

Parents lose sight of themselves sometimes.  Parenting is a selfless act.  If you’ve given your child a life full of love and support, what else do they need?

Well, I think they need parents that will be with them, spend time with them, and be present.  A kid needs someone that can dream with them and then help them achieve their own dreams.  A child needs a role model, not only in parenting, but also a role model when dealing with life’s challenges, staying positive, and sometimes reaching for the stars.

I still plan on living life fully, maybe just not in the traditional sequence.  For now, I have to realize that the little guy comes first, and show him a life of fulfillment.

And how exactly do you expect to give your child a life full of love, if you’ve lost your love of life?

Let me parent!

imagesOne of the obstacles I am trying to overcome while parenting is learning how to accept advice and learning how to speak up when it comes to disciplining my child. It is easy for me to get defensive and assume that people are criticizing my parenting. I am always open to advice, but finding the balance between advice and someone trying to tell me what to do with my daughter has been a challenge.

I love my 2 year old daughter Genesis to death but she can be a handful sometimes.  At home she is always cooperative but once we go out she just wants to show off for the world to see. I get embarrassed a lot of times when she has her tantrums in public and people look at me like I don’t know how to deal with my child. I feel that people are staring but a lot of the times I think I am just hard on myself. It is difficult to discipline her in public when she is screaming her lungs out and causing a scene. So many times I wonder what people are thinking. Do they stare at me because I am young and they think I am doing something wrong?

Other times, the way I discipline her becomes a conflict is when we are around family. Genesis wants to show off, I understand that she is a child, but I feel I have to correct her now when she is doing something wrong to prevent future bad habits. Let’s say she goes to an aunt’s house and begins to open the refrigerator, I pull Genesis to the side and tell her that she should not do that. Here comes my aunt saying don’t worry about it it’s okay-but this is not okay. I don’t want people to go against what I say to her. I feel like they cause confusion and then my way of teaching and disciplining
 her goes down the drain.

I want people to respect my judgment and that as long as I am not abusing my child, let me parent her the way I want to. I am constantly hearing put her jacket on, zip up her coat, put a hat on her, use this diaper cream, let her run around, don’t put the car seat on floor, don’t be so hard on her she’s just a kid! I am new at parenting and I am not going to be perfect but I think I am doing a pretty good job with my girls. I just want to feel more confident and not have people questioning my ability or my way of parenting her.

Don’t Forget About You!

CalvinHobbesParenting

The number one thing people tell you about parenting?

Kids come first.

End of story.  No discussion, no questions.

Now, I don’t disagree with this advice, but there’s a fine distinction between the “kids come first”, and the “I have to do what’s best for my kids” approach.  The moment you do something for yourself, there are plenty of people ready to write you off as a selfish parent.  Don’t listen to them.  Listen to you kids.  Ask your kiddo, “Do you like it better when mom and dad are stressed out, or when we’re happy.”  Gee, I wonder what they’ll say.

Thankfully, people are starting to realize that if you want to raise happy, healthy kids, you have to be healthy and happy too!  This is important to remember, and I noticed it the most in this Proud to Parent program.  Every meeting, we go through a few questions at the beginning.  Guess which question is the hardest to answer….

“What have you done for yourself this week?”

This might seem like a strange question to ask, especially coming from the “drop everything for the kids” approach to parenting.  But it makes a lot of sense, and I think people need to remember that.  Any parent, no matter what age, will tell you that parenting is exhausting at times.  Parenting is a tough job, no doubt about it.  But it’s also so incredibly rewarding, and in order to get the most out of parenting, you have to be able to take a step back and reflect on it.

If you’re like me, it’s always hard to take time for yourself.  Between work, school, kids, and every other obligation I’m signed up for, “me-time” isn’t exactly a top priority.  You feel guilty, you can’t stop thinking about work tomorrow, or that exam coming up, you miss your kids.  But I’ve also started to see how important it is.  Trust me, if I’ve had time to hang out with a friend or relax and read a book, I have way more fun with my son.  Sleeping too; man does getting enough sleep help…

So don’t be afraid to help yourself help your kids.  If you need a break, that’s ok.  If you need a night out or time to yourself, don’t let anyone tell you you’re not entitled to that.  Parenting is a full time job, and full time jobs have vacation time for a reason.  Everybody needs a vacation, even if it’s just one night.  Trust me, taking a day to recharge, catch up with an old friend, do some yoga, take a nap, whatever, will pay back tenfold.  If taking a night to yourself lets you be able to relax and have fun with the kids all weekend, it’s totally worth it!

So let me ask, what have you done for yourself this week?

Hard working single mom’s

denise imageBeing a single mom is very hard, stressful, and depressing. Being a single mom and working is even more stressful and depressing. Work causes stress, and being a mom also causes stress so you feel so stressed out and don’t know what to do or where to go. You get so desperate that you feel like you are all alone and don’t have anyone to help you or cheer you up. You feel like your not a good parent because you have to work enough hours to get enough money to pay bills and take care of your child. I am here to tell you that you’re doing a GREAT job and keep up the good work!!

I know exactly how you feel because I am going through it myself. I am a young single hard working mom. I am my daughters mother and father. Alot of times I get out of work so tired that I just want to lay down and sleep my life away, but then reality hits me that I am not able to do that because I have to take care of my daughter first and put her to sleep before I can get some rest. Most of the times I feel like I’m stuck in between these four walls and can’t get out. But then I think of all the help I get from my family and how lucky I am to have that help.

Never feel alone. There’s always someone out there willing to hear you and give you advice. Never feel like you are not good enough, because you are. Keep working hard even if you feel like giving up because “Hard work pays off”. Give all the love you can to your child because they need to feel it. Never give up, strive to do better in life for you and your child because in the future that child will thank you for never giving up on them.

10 Free Things to Do in Boston with Your Kids!

  1. Free Fun Fridays: Enjoy 60 museums and cultural venues open for free on Fridays all summer long including the Franklin Park Zoo, Cape Cod Maritime Museum, MIT Museum, and more! Click here for a full schedule.
  2. Star Gazing at the Observatory: The Public Open Night at the Observatory is a chance for young people to observe the night sky through telescopes and binoculars. Gaining hands on astronomy knowledge. Wed nights, 8:30-9:30pm. Coit Observatory, Boston University, 725 Commonwealth Ave.
  3. ZUMIX’s Summer Concert Series: Join ZUMIX for a FREE concerts this summer! Sundays through Sep 7, except for Aug 17, 6-8pm. Piers Park, 95 Marginal Street, East Boston (next to Maverick Station). Matt, 617-568-9777 x123,
  4. Magic 106.7 Family Film Festival: Enjoy FREE entertainment, games and gift card giveaways beginning at 6pm followed by the featured movie starting at sundown. The first 20 guests to arrive each night will receive a free picnic blanket. Every Sat in August. Prudential Center Shops, South Garden.
  5. BPL Concerts in the Courtyard: The Boston Public Library courtyard will host free music concerts that range from jazz to classical and from folk to funk. Through Aug 29, Fridays, 12:30pm and Wednesdays, 6pm. Central Library in Copley Square.
  6. The Boston Arts Festival: This free festival showcases visual artists who exhibit and sell one-of-a-kind paintings, sculptures, jewelry, photography, and more. Aug 30-31, 12-6pm. Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, North End. 617-635-3911
  7. Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series: This fitness series will bring FREE classes to parks across Boston through Aug! Click here for a full schedule. 617-961-3015
  8. Summer Evening Yoga at the Frog Pond: Join us on the lawn adjacent to the carousel for FREE outdoor yoga classes at the Frog Pond. All levels of experience are welcome. A limited number of mats and blocks will be available; recommended you bring your own. Thursdays, 6-7:15pm, weather permitting. http://www.bostonfrogpond.com
  9. Mayor Walsh’s Movie Night: Mayor Walsh is hosting free movie nights all across Boston. All ages are welcome to join the fun. Free popcorn! Bring your blankets and chairs and make yourself comfortable as you enjoy these family favorites in the outdoors. Full schedule here.
  10. Roxbury Revival: Legacy Project is hosting a FREE family cookout. Residents of Roxbury and neighboring communities are welcome to join. Free food, raffles, activities for all ages, live music and much more. Aug 16, 1-5pm, 10 Putnam St., Roxbury. 617-480-8675

Back-to-School Chat Tomorrow!

Flyer - Sept 9

A Young Mommy’s Tips for Positive Parenting

Hi, it’s Cora-Lee once again! Just a quick reminder I have a daughter that is 9 months (Sophia), and a stepson (Nicholas) that is 5 years old. My husband and I’ve been looking for ways to project positive discipline to our oldest. He’s around the age that he can definitely comprehend what’s right from wrong, but will test us here and there! It’s a struggle at times! So as parents we both knew that we had to set boundaries and create structure, because kids do need structure.

Now when we grew up we were disciplined the old fashion way which was physical. After talking about how we wanted to do punishments we decided we wanted to change the cycle and not repeat what our parents did. The type of effect that it had on us growing up was negative. I struggled with heavy depression, and aggression. I also battled with wondering if it was love my mother was doing it out of, or was it because she was upset with her personal life, and would take it out on me. Point is I just knew I never wanted to take the chance with my children, and it’d turn into me doing it out of my own frustration.

We researched and found some tips that we thought suited us, and what we wanted. And it will help us have a stronger, more peaceful connection with our kids!

1. Understand the meaning behind the behavior

2. Focusing on controlling ourselves rather than just focusing on the kids, because us as parents we can lose it in the heat of the moment, and might do something we regret.

3. Be consistent with your expectations

4. Give attention to the behavior you like not the behavior you don’t

5. Redirect (Exp. “A child acting up at the grocery store could be enlisted to help pick out oranges or rearrange the items in a grocery cart, or a kid running around a swimming pool might be challenged to walk “as if on marshmallows.”)

6. Exploit the energy drain (Ex. Cut that whining out, or stop fighting with your sibling because listening to that could cause me a big energy drain, and I don’t think I’ll have the energy to take you to the park after dinner.”

7. Don’t bribe!

At the end of the day I just want my kids to know that I love them and everything I do is for their well being and that I also have their best interest at heart. I never want them to feel or think anything less! Mommy’s always in your corner! 🙂

Getting Your Body Back

Having a baby is tough. There’s no time for anything, going to the gym can be pricey, looking for a babysitter is the worst so I came up with a few ideas to getting your body back. I think the first thing we have to do is admit that we are beautiful – embracing our motherhood is key. There and three things that we can do to get our body back.

Number 1: Eating healthy making it a lifestyle, not a diet. Use your phone, laptop, whatever you may have look on Google. There are many healthy recipes choices. Remember to buy more fresh foods and less packaged. Shop more in the fruits and veggies aisle, rather than the snacks, walk around the supermarket and try to stay away from the middle sections. That’s where a lot the oils, sugars, and unhealthy choices are. You can also watch the movies “Fat Sick” and “Nearly Dead” for more exciting ideas on weight loss.

Number 2: Playing and having fun with your child is exercise. Exercising can feel boring, so why not go to the park with your baby and play, even if they are small. Take a family member a friend to help you hold your baby so you can run around. If your child is a toddler, well, you know how much energy they have. Play with them and have fun. You can also get a running stroller!

Number 3: Make time for yourself.  This is very important! If you’re stressed, your body feels it. You may begin to develop acne, lose hair, and even not be able to lose the baby weight – it becomes a vicious cycle. So take a bath, read or do anything you like to do to de-stress for a little while. You can nap with your baby.

Find ways to not spend money or have to look for daycare on your journey to a healthy body. Best thing you can do to de-stress is laugh and make your baby laugh. Laughter and happiness is the best de-stressors!

Download a free weekly dinner planner here! 

I Thought My Life Was Over

I just recently found a quote that I fell in love with. If you follow me on twitter then you probably already know what quote I’m talking about because I always tweet it or use it for a photo caption. The  quote is ” Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” I initially thought about myself when I heard this quote and I’m pretty sure many young moms can relate to it.

I can personally relate to this quote because when I announced my pregnancy, I was told my life would be over if i decided to go through with it. I was constantly reminded of all the negative things that were associated with being a teen parent. I literally thought my world was ending until I meet my little Christian.

After months of caring for him I couldn’t comprehend how I lived all my life without him! He brings so much happiness to me and my family’s life! I was just like the caterpillar who thought my world was going to end when I had him but it turned out that my world did not end! Instead I became like the butterfly, a whole new beautiful being! I want teen parents and young parents out there to know that having a child doesn’t ruin your life. If I could choose a quote that represents young parents to the world I would choose this one.

Young Parent Ambassadors at STEPS

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