A year ago, filling out those kindergarten forms seemed like the most daunting task in the world. Little did I know registration was the easy part! Even with the tough changes we've felt in the first 100 days of kindergarten, I am so excited to already have experienced all the positive ways she's growing and discovering and becoming. And, yes, parenting is a series of letting-go moments, but I can't wait to see what's next.
Some days are easier parenting days than others. Some weeks fly by with a wonderful syncing of energy, listening, and fun. Some hours are spent crying in the corner, worrying you've scarred your smaller beings forever. Some days we are singing, hugging, and playing with our sweet little ones. Other days we are that mom in the hoodie and sweatpants, chasing after her kids running wildly in opposite directions.
The fact is, this isn't about bento box at all. This is about the constant pressures of motherhood, the constant fear that we are not providing the best for our children, and the constant battle of social comparison. To me, the bento box encapsulates the constant striving for perfection. And, the fact is, I'm done striving for perfection. I'm striving to be perfectly fine.
All of a sudden, the school year has begun, the leaves are starting to change, and I'm putting on a sweater. This is the time for apple picking, for yard clean up, and for fall soups. Yes, soup! As the days start getting shorter and the temperatures start dipping, I find nothing more comforting than a bowl of soup. And as a mom of two trying to get dinner on the table after a day at the office, there is nothing more comforting than my Instant Pot — my amazing set-and-forget, one-appliance wonder.
It felt so good! It felt so empowering to stand up as a mom and as a woman who has been socialized to say yes. I even took it a step further and avoided giving in to the urge to come up with an excuse as to why we would not participate in an activity we'd been invited to. I felt proud as I helped my daughter make a choice between activities. It felt so affirming to hold true to what felt right for me and my family.
Of course, if it's full empowerment you're going for, why not have your kids help plant and grow their own vegetables? They will feel so proud of their work that the V won't be for vegetable, it will be for victory! If gardening isn't in your future, a trip to the local farm or farmer's market might do the trick. Even choosing the produce at the grocery store will help them feel more invested.
We grew together as a family as we learned from our failures and wrestled with waiting to see if Mother Nature would come through. We brainstormed and problem-solved, we raked and we watered, and we got to see cucumbers grow from seed into an almost overwhelming amount of produce. The look of pride on my daughter's face when she walked in with her haul of ruby red tomatoes folded up in her shirt was priceless.
Recently, I was asked to speak on a panel about going back to work after having a baby. Having done this twice, I am definitely no expert, but I can speak about what worked for me. Here are nine things I've learned (or wish I'd known) based on a predictable weekday schedule.
Now, I'm not really one for resolutions — far too many of them focus on superficial changes, drastic results, and unrealistic expectations. And they are often setups for failures and disappointment. This year, however, I'm going to dare to be different. I'm going to take on a mini-resolution. I'm going to try to make this the year of yes.
See, I'm totally aware that my daughter's not walking. And I'm totally aware that kids develop different skills at different times. And I'm really proud of the things she does do. Her language and social skills have really exploded in the last couple weeks. But this constant barrage of questions kills me and leaves me feeling like she's the racehorse who hasn't even left the gate.
Let's face it — Yom Kippur is a hard day. As a mom, I've made it my goal to make Yom Kippur less grueling and more enjoyable, or at least meaningful.
It all started by accident. Halfway to work one day, I realized I had forgotten my cell phone. I was forced to spend a good nine hours with no cell phone.