Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater

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Hoxie House: Photo by Swampyank at en.wikipedia

That saying has been around a long time. Probably because the meaning endures through the ages, in your rush to get rid of waste, don’t lose out on a valuable treasure. During a tour of Hoxie House Museum in Sandwich, MA, I learned an explanation for that phrase that shocked my modern parenting sensibilities.

The house was built around 1675 and has been restored to reflect what it looked like then. I went into the tiny house expecting to have a short, somewhat boring visit, but I was very surprised how interesting the tour was! It gave me a glimpse into the everyday life of the pilgrims. What I remember most was the distinct feeling that if one of them were to come back to life and observe modern parenting and family life, they would think we are crazy.

Vice versa, I could not believe the way children were treated. Thinking about the context of the times, it makes sense, but it is still shocking. We were ushered into a large darkish room with a fireplace at the center. Logically this was the central work area for the women, especially in winter. On the floor next to the hearth was a tiny cradle, and next to that a toddler sized chair with a hole in the seat and a leather belt. The infants were kept in the cradle (which looks doll-sized, too small even for a tiny human) until they started to walk. From the age of 3 until about 5 they sat strapped into their little potty chair because no one could be spared from working to look after them and keep them from getting hurt. Around 5 they were considered capable of doing work under the supervision of an older sibling. When the family ate, the father got the best food, the littlest one the worst, usually the burnt bottom crust on the loaf of bread. When they bathed, once a year in the spring, the hierarchy was the same. The father first in the clean water and the baby last in all the family’s grime. Thus the reference to throwing out the baby. Because the father was the most indispensable to the family’s welfare.

Unbelievable, right? But it made me realize that more has changed in modern parenting than we know. The fundamental way children are viewed has done a 360!

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I sometimes struggle to reconcile the “children should be seen and not heard” of a few generations ago, with the massive guilt a parent is taught to feel for denying their child anything nowadays. I do believe we are not serving our children well by these extreme shifts. Of course children should not be ignored or made to feel less valuable as a person simply because they are young. But unless we teach them that they are not the center of the universe and that they need to respect others, we are setting them and ourselves up for epic failure.

Children need to be specifically taught that their actions affect others. It’s ok to tell them that their whining is ruining your day.  It’s ok to tell them “no” when you really don’t have the patience or the money to take them toy shopping. It won’t break them. But it just might make them kinder, more empathetic people. 

So don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I think we have something to learn from previous generations about teaching our children respect. Every human is deserving of being treated with dignity. While treating our kids that way, let’s not forget to teach them to return the favor.

Source: https://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/g201504/child-discipline-that-works/

Endings 

So it’s the end of the school year. Another year done. Finished, complete. That means my baby is getting older!(sobbing voice, sniffle). But I’m so proud of her for all she has accomplished this year.

I’m such a rookie mom, but I hope I’m starting to get a few things figured out. Having my oldest start school was like entering a whole new world. I have had little to zero contact with the world of formal education since my own graduation from high school. Not only has it been a long time, but times have changed, and the style of education has changed too. I’ve changed. Now I’m approaching it from the perspective of a mom not a student. School years seem to go by quickly and slowly all at once. One school year ends. The next one will start up before 2017 gives way to 2018. My newfound mom perspective makes the time seem to fly.

I’ve been thinking about how deeply children feel the changes involved in their school career. They say goodbye to a beloved teacher, they move on to a new classroom, often with a new group of students. Some switch to a new school. Everything starts again. It’s true, they have the experience of past years, but essentially it’s a new start. It’s almost like changing your entire family every year. There’s a new mother or father figure, new siblings. If the child is moving into upper grades, there could be a complete structure change, from one classroom most of the day to different ones per subject.

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I can see the positives of these changes. If there’s a bad mix of personalities in a class, well next year there will be a new group. Also, the teaching style has to change with the development of the children. But the emotional aspect of it all took me by surprise. Imagine the emotions you would feel if you literally had to change parents and siblings. The time it takes to build trust again. To understand your new family and your place in it. To mourn the absence of your old family. That all seems to happen on a mini scale. The summer break softens it a little. It gives an emotional respite, some breathing room to regroup.

As for myself, I look forward to the summer, to having my girl with me all day every day. To being the main adult in her life again. To not having to share her with perfect strangers most of the day. On the other hand, when the new school year starts, we all enjoy having the added structure to our days, accomplishing something that is measurable in lesson plans and report cards.

My conclusion so far has been that the benefits of change have outweighed the drawbacks. Sure it can be tough in the moment. But we also want our little ones to learn how to be resilient, adaptable. And each teacher leaves his or her stamp on the children’s little minds. You never know which one will be the one to unlock your child’s hidden potential or help them spark a lifelong passion.

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I overheard the sweetest goodbye speech by our K-3 gradeschool’s art teacher to her third graders. She reminded them that everyone’s an artist. She said even if they don’t know it yet, each one of them has a talent they can enjoy and share with the world.

Each school year is a milestone. Maybe it seems more so to me now than it did when I was in school. In my mom perspective it marks the calendar with a date that symbolizes the physical and mental growth my child experiences with each passing year. A stamp that marks off the passage of time.

That one day, The Last Day of School, embodies all the achievements and growth, all the challenges met and overcome, all of the inches and shoe sizes gained, all the baby teeth lost.

Another school year gone, never to return. Did she learn what she needed? Did she enjoy the process? Did she make friends? Was she a good friend? Did she stand up for herself and for what she believes in? I hope and pray the answer is yes. Because what comes to pass in these formative years will leave it’s indelible mark on her mind and personality.

Patience

In short supply and high demand, this virtue is something I’m striving for. You moms and dads, can you relate? My little one starts screeching or whining and it takes exactly half a second for it to get under my skin and stretch my nerves to the snapping point. 

While volunteering at my daughter’s school today, I heard a popular quote or, more accurately a proverb. It got me thinking about patience. I have already been working on not responding to the tantrum, being the grown up, and keeping my cool. When I’m in the school and I see teachers doing this every day with large groups of children I am constantly amazed. One of the teachers told us that one particularly stressful morning, she happened to catch a glimpse of the coffee shop barista’s tattoo on her arm. It said

This too shall pass 

 

This is something her mother always said to her while she was growing up. And she felt as if she was meant to see those words that morning. The barista is also a mother and she survives each day with the constant reminder of those words.

This too shall pass. When you think about that phrase, and really let the meaning sink in, it’s the equivalent of a mental deep cleansing breath. It means you can get through this.



But it also means you’d better cherish this. I need this double sided reminder. These days and years when they are little are so transient. Every day they change. And they will never be little again.

This too shall pass, so savor the good parts and breathe through the tough parts. You got this!

Good morning, beautiful?

Beauty and diet, aaaagh!

This morning, when I woke up and looked at myself in the gigantic full-length bathroom mirror, I was pleased with what I saw for the first time in a long time. Ever since children happened to my body, I have felt self-conscious of a belly pooch that won’t go away. But today I feel like the belly area is acceptable. Not amazing, but acceptable. Because of this I find myself heading into the very unfamiliar territory of beauty and diet with this post. I can’t even believe this is happening to me, the one who has had one single salon manicure in her entire life. The one who is too lazy to make an appointment to get her hair done. The one who has literally spent approximately 2 1/2 hours for the entire year of 2017 so far clothes shopping for herself. The one who likes comfortable earrings that match everything so she can go 2 weeks without changing them. Well, here I go. Bear with me. Please don’t judge. But you may be surprised where this post ends up.

 

So, I’m wearing a skirt today. While showering I mull over the various basic black skirts I have in my closet, and I find myself settling on a full volume skirt I bought about 10 years ago. Way pre-child days. To spare you the trouble of trying to understand the descriptions of someone so fashion challenged, I’m adding selfies here. (The horror, I’m sorry. If you keep following my blog after all of this, you are a true friend.) And then I thought to myself, why is it that when I am comfortable with my body, I am comfortable wearing styles that add bulk, but when I’m not, I opt for more form fitting silhouettes? I wore the bulkier one, and I felt good.  It just goes to show, beauty is not necessarily in how you look, but also in how you feel.

I’m not counting calories or dieting. I haven’t been exercising more than usual. By that I mean chasing my girls around or carrying laundry baskets and groceries up and down the stairs. This is not because I’m satisfied with my body. It’s pure laziness, *please see my previous explanation of my beauty philosophy. So, while showering I also started wondering why my belly blob seems to have gone away, finally. This is when the swirl of thoughts and recent conversations rolled together in my mind to come up with the substance of this blog post. I believe this miracle of belly fat disappearance is because I recently pinpointed a food allergy I have, and enough time has gone by for my body to regain it’s health since I started strictly cutting my allergens out of my diet.

Allergies and intolerances

Now here’s something I know more about. I feel entirely comfortable with this subject, because I have had food allergies all my life. I have a severe tree nut allergy, and as a child I was also allergic to eggs, dairy products, legumes, and coconut. My parents once dreamed of being vegetarian. Then I was born. Try getting any plant protein into a kid who can’t have nuts or legumes. Oh, that’s OK, just give her cottage cheese or eggs. Nope, never mind. She just threw up. Legume allergy meant no soy. I challenge you to find a pre-made salad dressing, non-dairy spread, pasta sauce, or store bought loaf of bread with no soybean products in it!

My mom was amazing! She made homemade whole wheat bread the entire time I was growing up. She taught me words like whey and lecithin. Ingredient label speak for milk and soy products. Even when I was 3 years old, an adult could read me a label and I could tell them if I could eat that food or not. She became an expert at adjusting recipes to be allergy friendly. Keep in mind, this was the 70’s. I was still the weird allergic kid that everyone was afraid to inadvertently poison. Allergy awareness was not a thing. There were no rice, soy, or almond milks in the section next to dairy. (Weirdly again, I am not allergic to almonds or peanuts.) So my mom made almond milk for me with a blender and a cheesecloth. She made me peanut butter and carob balls as a substitute for chocolates.

Of course, I took this all for granted as a kid. I knew, eat that, you may end up in the ER, so don’t even go there kiddo. My favorite food on pizza night was Dinty Moore Beef Stew. (anyone?? I thought not, lol) dinty-moore-stewAnd I didn’t feel deprived. I was the kid eating fruit leather from the Whole Foods store before that was the cool thing to do. Looking back, I realize how wonderful it is to have a mom like that who was able to roll with the punches. She kept me fed, healthy, and even happy with what I could eat.

Once in my volunteer work I met a mom who’s infant had just been diagnosed with several food allergies, and she was distraught. Her mind was zooming ahead through her baby boy’s life, and she was envisioning all kinds of issues and problems. Like a gift from God, I appeared at her door. A living specimen of a functioning, normal adult with food allergies. My tips about how my mom dealt with it as well as my reassurances that I had a truly happy childhood calmed her fears. That was the first time I had thought about this subject from a parent’s perspective.

So if you are a parent of a child with food allergies, take heart. I survived. So did my mom.

In my adult years my dairy and legume allergy went away. I was able to eat any dairy products I wanted for about 15 years until I started experiencing sudden digestion and fatigue issues. A couple of years went by before I connected them with dairy. I know, duh, right? Just wait. I quit eating yogurt and cottage cheese, stopped adding milk or cream to my coffee. I felt much better. Fast forward to earlier this year, another 7 years later. Once again, digestive issues and other mystery symptoms were plaguing me. Things like clenching my teeth in my sleep, wheeziness, sinus headaches. I was a little baffled. So I went into battle mode, allergy sleuth style. I decided to do an elimination diet of all potential culprits. I gathered my tools: a bullet journal, a couple of allergy cookbooks, a calendar for scheduling when to reintroduce certain foods. I went all out. I cut out things I never had an issue with in the past, because I was going to get to the bottom of this.

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My bullet journal. Not pretty, I know. Nothing glamorous is happening in this post 😛

Five weeks later after many baffled evenings contemplating my growing pile of conflicting evidence, there was an epiphany, a light bulb! I read the label on the English muffins I usually eat for breakfast and guess what? Yep, dairy! Duh! I had forgotten about breads, cereals, granola bars, crackers, dressings, sauces. I spent five weeks sleuthing out what I already knew I was allergic too. Grr, (eye roll) whew! I dusted off my ingredient label skills and I have now weeded out all hidden dairy (and soy was causing the wheeziness, so I’ve also gotten stricter with that). Good morning to a day of poochlessness. Yay!

Do you have unexplained fatigue, headaches, digestion issues, bloating, sinus problems, etc, etc? I highly recommend doing a little detective work yourself. I suspect many, many people would feel much healthier (plus happier) if they were able to pinpoint hidden food allergies or intolerances. It is much simpler than it seems. I felt overwhelmed too, even with my extensive food allergy experience, when I started my elimination diet. But it has been so worth it. It’s not just the belly. It’s your mood, your well being, your pain level.

Here are some suggestions that may help you get started.

  1. Do you have any health conditions? Start by researching diets geared toward that. For example, if you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, many experts recommend restricting dairy and/or gluten. For some conditions a vegetarian diet is recommended.
  2. Make a list of foods or food groups that you would like to test.
  3. Make a list of symptoms you feel.
  4. Make a menu plan. In my case, I did better using a general plan versus writing out complete menus with recipes, but do what is easiest for you. Aim for at least 3 weeks of NO suspect foods at all.
  5. Go shopping. Make sure you have plenty of allowed food in the house. No one needs to starve!
  6. Using a calendar, plot a plan for reintroducing foods one by one, with a 2 day gap in between for noting symptoms. This way you will be completely certain which food causes which symptom.
  7. When reintroducing foods, take careful note of how you feel the next couple of days. Don’t worry, it will be pretty clear if something bothers you.
  8. Get answers, and hopefully a little relief.

 

Unpredictable: a story of motherhood in my 30’s

Looking back, I wish I had been able to relax and enjoy the process, cherish each birth for what it was. Women get so many disconcerting circumstances thrown at them during pregnancy and labor. In my case, it is taking years to process it all and figure out how it has changed and molded me into the woman I am.

Pregnancy Photosession at Saulkrasti beach, Latvia | Nikon D750

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Pregnancy number 1

I was a career missionary. The title Mom wasn’t in the plan for me. Despite the unusual amount of life experience gained from missionary life, I feel like my eyes were opened to the dangers of life in this world really and truly, starting at the time I first became pregnant.

When I started blogging, I had no idea what a rainbow baby is. Now thanks to the brave mommies who share their stories, I have learned that a rainbow baby is one born to a mother who experienced a miscarriage or infant loss, often multiple times. I learned that my daughters are technically rainbow babies.

Not many know this, but I got pregnant in 2008. I was happily living my childhood dream of serving as a foreign missionary in Latvia. My husband and I had been married 10 years without so much as me having a late period. To say we were shocked when we found out would be an understatement. Becoming parents was not part of the plan. (For my non Jehovah’s Witness readers, every Witness is basically considered a volunteer Bible teacher whether they live near home or not and regardless of how many hours they are able to spend in that work. But official full-time foreign missionaries don’t have children. They pledge to spend 130 hours a month in the public ministry and as much time as necessary helping the local congregation. That does not allow for having children or a secular job.  If missionaries start a family, they need to step down from special full time service to care for their family responsibilities. We consider taking care of your family as an assignment from God as well, so we view it simply as a change of assignment.)

So like I said, this was not part of the plan. Our whole life was turned upside down in an instant. Even so, I was quickly enchanted by the idea of a little tiny person growing inside me. I’m not sure if it was hormones or something else in the way we are made as women, but I was amazingly happy. We told our immediate family, who were also thrilled. Both with the idea of a little mini ‘us’ in the making and the idea of us coming home to live. (Even though everyone was supportive of our choice, I could still tell it was hard for them to have us so far away.)

One week later, the 5 to 6 week old pregnancy was over. I was devastated. Even though it meant not having to go through the upheaval of changing our whole life, in my mind, that had almost already been done. I had unquestioningly accepted the fact that this little person would come into the world and change our lives forever. And then he or she was gone.

Somehow I moved on. I threw myself into the ministry and slowly recovered emotionally. The few who knew what had happened were super supportive. Life kept going as it had been. But inside, I felt like I had lost everything I ever wanted, even though it was something I never even knew I wanted until a week earlier. I felt surprisingly a little bitter towards this extremely fulfilling life and career I had chosen for myself, because that meant I was not to be allowed the comfort of trying again. There was no rainbow baby in my future.

I didn’t know it at the time, but what happened to me was not unusual. Around 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, and of those the majority in the first trimester. I had been introduced to the roller coaster that is parenthood. Later I became pregnant again with our older daughter. This time I was skeptical and I hesitated to allow myself to get excited or too attached to the ‘bun in the oven’. Looking back I realize that my pregnancy with her was relatively trouble free. But I had been initiated. I knew now that pregnancy is dangerous.

Pregnancy number 2

With every passing week I learned about more and more dangers that in the world of obstetrics are part of the every day. Screenings, ultrasounds, blood tests, checkups. I was 32, going on 33 years old, and so already considered “elderly”. Potential risks pile higher each year older the mother. I learned about gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, genetic defects, RH factor, and danger of sepsis from strep B. I felt blindsided. Why is such a human and normal undertaking as having a baby such a risk?

My upbringing heavily influences my feelings on this subject. I’m the oldest of three, but my 2 siblings were born at home. My dad caught them. There wasn’t even a licensed midwife attending. I definitely subscribed to the notion that pregnancy is not an illness. A pregnant woman should be allowed to grow her baby without unnecessary poking and prodding, even during labor and delivery. I insisted on getting Bradley method birth classes instead of just going to what my local hospital offered.

The risk that became my obsession was breech presentation. My daughter was butt first and did not budge the entire 9 months! My biggest fear through the entire pregnancy was having a c-section. And that’s what we ended up with. I looked up and tried every method known to man to turn a breech baby, but it didn’t happen.

I was disappointed. I dreamed of the perfect relaxed natural birth, and instead I got the king of all birth interventions, a surgery!

Certain friends and advisors tried to warn me that in the business of having a baby you need to be flexible and ready for the unexpected. They emphasized that the most important thing is the well being of the baby and mother, not what kind of birth experience you have.

But I wasn’t really able to process that. I felt like I had cheated, I hadn’t done any work to deserve this beautiful newborn bundle of life. I lay there while the doctor did it all. I felt guilty. My daughter is now 7 and I’ve come to realize that being a parent means constant guilt feelings. It means sorting out conflicting ideas and information on a myriad of subjects. How to have the baby is just the first of a lifelong string of decisions and with each decision self-doubt and guilt about whether it was the right decision.

Pregnancy number 3

My pregnancy with my second daughter had me feeling more nervous. I was thrilled that I had another shot at natural childbirth but this time I was more aware of the odds that were stacked against me. Not only would this be an attempt at a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), but now I was even older. At 36 I was now in the “geriatric” category. In addition to all the normal pregnancy screenings I was offered genetic tests to screen for abnormalities. I was petrified of a repeat of my last pregnancy.

However, as you mothers of multiple children know, this pregnancy and birth was nothing like my previous one. She turned head down at 32 weeks to my immense relief, but the fear of the helpless feeling that came with being forced to plan a c-section with the last birth had me on the defensive. I also think the tone of Bradley method childbirth class taught parents to be in defense mode against needless interventions as well. I sought out the hospital with the best record of VBAC births in the state and chose their midwife group for delivery.

Making a long story short, I barely, by the skin of my teeth, managed to have a VBAC. I was on the operating table being prepped for a c-section when she was born! By no means the calm, relaxed, textbook Bradley birth I was hoping for. That was probably the hardest fight in my entire life thus far. But I at least accomplished my goal. I experienced a natural, vaginal, drug free birth.

Unpredictable, maybe even dangerous, but totally worth it!

A friend of mine recently reconnected with me, and she, like me, unexpectedly had a baby after choosing a career in full time service. She and I also fervently hoped for a natural birth. I found myself now in the role of adviser and cheerleader. I found myself guardedly giving the same advice I hadn’t been able to fully process, that it’s not the birth itself but the health and safety of the mother and child that matter most. I’ll tell you what I told her. Every mom is a rock star!

Looking back, I wish I had been able to relax and enjoy the process, cherish each birth for what it was. Women get so many disconcerting circumstances thrown at them during pregnancy and labor. Most of us agonize and worry. We do research. We gladly deny ourselves anything that could potentially harm the baby. We are superheroes! But we do it humbly, quietly, willingly. And in my case, it is taking years to process it all and figure out how it has changed and molded me into the woman I am.

As parents, we sometimes struggle with losing our own identity during the process of raising children. I can identify with that feeling. But I’ve come to the conclusion, I don’t believe I’ve lost myself. True, becoming a mother totally changed my life. But look at what I’ve learned. Look at the two beautiful human beings God allowed us to create! Look at the strength and resilience I’ve discovered within myself! I would rather own this change and let it empower me, than allow it to make me feel like a lesser version of myself.

I think that each parent has to conscientiously decide what to do in each circumstance, and for each child. But after they have done all the research and made a decision, they should do their best to be at peace with that. Don’t let differing opinions make you second guess your choices. Don’t feel as if you have to take the blame for circumstances beyond your control.  Don’t get too distracted by fear or guilt to enjoy the moment. It goes by too fast!

Childbirth is a miracle. Raising children is an amazing journey. Now, whenever I feel fear and doubt creeping in, I remind myself, the best results come when you let yourself be guided by love!

I would love to know, did you moms and dads out there anticipate how unpredictable pregnancy and childbirth is? Were you prepared? Did anything about it take you by surprise? Please leave me a comment!

Snow days and sick days

20170217_094412When you are all set to stand up and live, but life makes you sit back down, don’t get frustrated. Make lemonade!

Here I was, ready to take my own advice, as per my previous blog post, and get up, get out of the house, live my life with zest and vigour. And then. . . we had three snow days (meaning school was cancelled and normal life essentially stopped) in the past two weeks, and the littles in my family both caught a cold. Enter real life, exit well meant intentions.

But I’m really glad I had all these plans, because I didn’t just let the tv take over. Of course we did watch plenty of tv, but I was armed with some ideas of indoor activities that also spark creativity.

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1) Cook or bake with your kids

It’s a win, win situation. You need something to eat. You need something to do. Plus you can feel really great about doing something that allows you to bond, and that’s educational. Sure, cleanup can be a drag, but let’s face it, I can make a pretty big mess on my own, even without the help of my girls. So why not enjoy the cleanup too? Have them help you with dishes. What kid doesn’t love playing with water?

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2) Do some crafts

Work on creativity by putting out a box of supplies and letting them do the designing. Some basic things you can include are construction paper, scissors, glue (my girls adore glitter glue), stickers, ribbon, cardboard, stamps, markers, crayons, stencils. It’s another great way to bond with your little one, especially if you resist the urge to interfere with what they create. They may surprise you!
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3) Play together

Yep, a box of Legos kept us going for hours. It activates all kinds of creativity processes in the brain when you let them design their own imaginary world with imaginary characters. And you’d be surprised at the kind of dialog they come up with. But don’t be surprised if you hear your own words and tone of voice mirrored there. It can be scary! But to look at the positive, I’ve found its actually a really great way to analyze myself and see if there aren’t any changes I want to make in the way I speak to my kids.

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4)  Play in the snow!

And of course, every respectable snow day includes a romp in the fresh snow. Sunlight during the day helps regulate sleep mechanisms, so it’s no wonder they fall asleep much better when they’ve been outside during the day. Not to mention the fresh air, the physical activity, and the infinite possibilities for creative play on that bare white canvas of a back yard.

And yes, we really did make lemonade. What do you like to do on a snow day or a sick day? Let us know in the comments. And as always, please like, share and spread the word.

 

 

The screen time conundrum

Festival of Light " Staro Rīga " – Latvia | Nikon D750

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If you’re like me, you worry whether your kids are overdoing the screen time.  You guiltily give in when they beg for youTube just seconds after they finished bingeing on their favorite cartoon for an hour.  You download math apps, or morning routine timers, or video content from jw.org meant to teach spirituality, manners and morals, and hope that the good they get from their screen time outweighs the bad.

But it’s not just the kids.  Your husband crashes on the couch after a long day of work and channel surfs for a while to chill out.  You can’t be parted from your smart phone for more than a few minutes because you might miss a new post on your favorite social media or a like or comment on one of your own posts.  We live in a world dominated by screens whether we like it or not.

If you’re like me you also wonder, what can I do to give my kids the kind of childhood that fosters curiosity, imagination, exploration?  There are countless blogs about the 8 best educational apps or the 10 best parenting books, or the 30 best vacation locations, or the 12 most popular toys.  Don’t get me wrong, I read those and pin them all the time.  But this blog is not about a quick fix, with a catchy photo you can pin. It’s about the kind of drive for life that makes anyone happy, young or old.  The kind of thinking that gets us off our couch and out of our devices and lets us live our life.

Ironically one of those blogs that I pinned to my Pinterest board led me to a book which led me to crystalizing this thought that means so much to me. In the book “The Science of Parenting” by Margot Sunderland, I learned that “the lower brain contains a SEEKING system, one of the seven genetically ingrained systems in the brain. . . In humans, the SEEKING system can activate an appetite for life, an energy to explore the new, and an eagerness to seek out the fruits of the world.  It also stimulates curiosity or intense interest in something and the sustained motivation and directed sense of purpose that help us to achieve our goals. . .The SEEKING system is like a muscle-the more you use it, the more it will work for you.”

Exploration and curiosity can die at any age if we ignore it. Don’t go through life exchanging momentary pleasure for deep seated joy and satisfaction. And this thought extends on into everlasting life.  What will we do for eternity if we don’t have a well developed seeking system?

So what can change this spiral into screen induced laziness?  I have made it a goal to get myself and my kids out of doors at least once a day.  I am trying to stop the endless multitasking going on in my brain and focus on my child, relative, or friend wholly and undividedly when they talk to me.  I need to not stop the littles when they squish in the mud and scatter their dolls and paraphernalia all over the living room.  Shutting their brain off is not worth the momentary peace, quiet, and cleanliness it causes.

Instead of being frustrated and annoyed when they want screen time, I am trying to set clear limits and stick to them.  Then, not only do they get to enjoy their screen time guilt free, so do I!

As for myself, I’m exploring new ideas and creative outlets. This blog for example!  I hope my journey can help readers like you find a new zest for life. Find what makes you happy, and go for it! Stand up and live your life. Just be sure to like and share and comment first 😉

Family photosession, National Park of Gauja, Latvia | Nikon D750

A post shared by Indars Grasbergs -PHOTOGRAPHER (@wedding_pro_photo) on