Teachers, mamas, & teacher mamas, help me out.
No, I don't need you to read to my babies. ☺️
I'm working on a course to help parents of littles get their kids to love reading. I'm talking super littles: newborns through preschool.
What are you best tips & tricks to getting little ones to snuggle up and read with you?
Boulders or glaciers?
Both make my babies smile.
One of my favorite memories of Nouarie was when we stepped onto frozen Portage Lake at the foot of the Portage Glacier two winters ago.
From my Ergo, she looked up and just laughed and laughed at the bright white light, the cold air, and the crunching ice.
Noutin had a similar experience in a much different environment as we took a break from hiking on a sunny winter day in Joshua Tree two weeks ago.
From my Ergo, he looked up and just laughed and laughed at the bright blue sky, the warm air, and his giggling big sister.
Kids need experiences.
We need experiences.
What’s the next experience on your calendar?
How much is your time worth?
Seriously. Most delivery fees are not much more the the price of a coffee or two.
•How much time does it take you to load the kids in the car or hand them off to someone else, unload them, load them, and then unload them again?
•How much time do you spend wandering aisles?
•How much money do you waste on impulse buys? (It’s probably more than a delivery fee!)
•How much stress do you feel navigating crowded aisles? Chasing toddlers? Dealing with meltdowns? Rushing to the potty?
You get the idea.
Busy mamas, you really don't need to go the store.
Just because your mom spent her weekends shopping doesn’t mean you need to.
If you live somewhere with reasonable delivery fees, free in-store pickup, or free car delivery, use the service. Pay the fee. Put money into the shopper and/or delivery drivers’ pocket. Feel good about it.
PS If you think shopping is fun, I challenge you to find a hobby instead. (Gardening, anyone?)
Where are you and what are your favorite affordable delivery services?
Branding photo real life.
I took branding photos yesterday. Nothing too fancy. A little mascara, a non-leggings outfit, and my favorite photographer working her magic.
Branding photos BECAUSE sitting on a couch drinking coffee while reaching over a sleeping infant to accomplish as much as I can on my laptop before the baby wakes up and/or his sister needs "mommy and Nouarie time" doesn't really draw people in. Besides, that photo is a little too busy for a website.
Maybe you think I'm ridiculous. It's okay. I totally thought branding photos were just something rich and fancy businesswomen did, too.
Then I began paying more attention to confident women. I am now learning I don't have to wait for nice things. SO...
•I'm not waiting to be successful.
•I'm not waiting to have a perfect business plan.
•I'm not waiting for more followers.
•I'm not waiting for my jeans to fit the way I want them to.
•I'm not waiting for some magical moment.
I'm just doing what I want. And it feels awesome!
What nice thing are you making yourself wait for? Go get it!
Block her. Delete her. Unfollow her.
You are in control of the negativity you consume, especially online.
I followed a mean girl for awhile. She was a loud female voice in the sea of mostly male educators on Twitter.
I unfollowed her after I saw her bash teachers (including her own children’s) who didn’t use much technology as she thought they should.
I silenced her in my world and moved on.
But too many of my friends still hear her. You wouldn’t believe how many have shared stories about someone being mean online. When I ask, It’s always the same mean girl!
Ladies, even if someone is sharing something useful, you do not have expose yourself to negativity to receive it.
There are so many—often quieter—knowledgeable and kind educators sharing online. Find and follow them instead.
Have you had a mean girl experience on Twitter? Insta? Are you still following her? No names of course.
Let go of things that no longer serve you.
See the little bit of green left in these tomato plants? Honestly, a small part of me felt guilty for ripping them out of the ground.
But they needed to go. Their tomato-producing days were over. We had to pull them up to make way for new plants.
Now that they are gone, we've begun planting a new crop. In their place, we are now growing tiny broccoli plants.
I'm one of the people who struggles to let stuff go. Our garden pushes me to work on this.
After two years of fighting with ugly hornworms, birds, and even rats, I'm giving up trying to grow tomato plants for awhile.
Why did I keep trying to force it? There are so many other plants. So many other possibilities.
I know we'll still have to battle garden pests, but we're ready for some new vegetables.
Look around, what do you need to let go of?
Say it to yourself. Memorize it. Keep it in your back pocket.
"I have so much to be grateful for."
Say it to yourself
and again in those moments when the negative emotions and self-talk fill your mind and body.
Maybe look around and take an inventory. Maybe close your eyes and remember. Maybe just use this phrase as a weapon to keep your mind occupied before it spirals into pushing you to think, say or do something you'll regret. Say it until your mind begins to move on.
Sometimes I see myself in the eyes of other mamas, especially first-time mamas with little ones around my son's age.
Often I see these struggling new mama eyes on women sitting alone playing with their infant. Just watching the more experienced moms.
I get it. I fought it, too. It’s been better with my second baby.
Know what's making the biggest difference? Mom friends.
Sometimes, I try to chat with the new mamas. I ask a lot of questions and talk about the standard mama/baby stuff. It can be socially awkward to have an intimate conversation with a stranger, but it's easy to talk about things like birth stories and sleep when you both have babies in your arms.
When Nouarie was small, I blew off having mom friends, because I kept thinking I could do it all alone. I was wrong.
I was that tired, nervous, lonely, and timid mama who wasn’t even at the playground.
Now I often don't get to chat with the new mamas I see because I am too busy catching up with my mama friends.
I'm still tired, but my confidence is stronger and my perspective of the rewarding and challenging experience of raising tiny humans, temper-tantrums and all, is brighter because I’m not alone.
Mamas, find mama friends and make time to hang out with them in real life.
Experience mamas, try a little harder to check in on the new ones in your life...even if they are just timid strangers at the playground.
PS This picture is from the middle of the night when Noutin was three weeks old.
Look around the room you are in right now.
Are there more screens or books? Yes, the cell phone in your hand counts.
Walk into another room. Repeat.
Think about every room in your house, including the restrooms.
If you want to read more, put more books than screens in each room of your house. Put a book next to each place you like to sit. It’s totally okay to read multiple books at once, and it’s okay to reread books.
If you have kids, repeat this. Put picture or chapter books at their level and make them easy to grab.
If you’re a teacher, repeat this. Include all the screens in your students’ pockets and backpacks. Put interesting books where you students can reach them.
Remember to turn off those screens while you're reading and magic will happen. You'll begin to grab the books and read more often. So will the kids.
I just did a count in our house. Including the phone in my hand, we have more books/magazines than screens in every room, except the laundry room and two restrooms. We’re almost there. Next step, make sure we have kid and adult books in every room.
What's the book:screen ratio in your house?
"She looks just like you!"
I have heard this so many times and just brushed it off.
No, Nouarie's huge gorgeous brown eyes and glowing skin do not look like my hazel eyes and fair skin. But, I smile politely and credit our somewhat matching curls.
Know what though, friends? I'm finally letting myself start to see it. Her little mouth and nose totally match mine.
I'm also beginning to see that what makes us look alike is more than our physical features. It's our mannerisms.
I keep seeing and hearing myself in my daughter. Just listen to her tell a long-winded story filled with extraneous details, exaggerated facial expressions, and plenty of "and-then's." Totally my daughter.
My friends with mixed babies, first of all, we sure make some cute babies!
Secondly, in case you're still struggling when people say you're babies "look just like you!" remember that we SO much more than just genetic features. Same to you my gorgeous step, adoptive, and foster mama friends.
I'm a teacher, mama, and mentor. I created the You Before School e-course and more. I'm here to encourage and share self-efficacy skills for women.