30 years ago, as I stood in the foyer of our townhouse, clearly having done something wrong (as per usual back then), my mother screamed over the banister, “Just wait, one day you’ll have one, just like you!”  – it wasn’t a compliment.  And when I was 34 and still without child, she gingerly asked if I was every going to have children and I reminded her of said situation and laughingly said, “Why would I?”

But fortunately for me, I did have children. One, actually. And the joke is on my Mom. My daughter is nothing like I was. I call her my “one-derful.”  She is smart like her daddy (and very close with him), funny and fair as the day is long, emotionally endearing and comfortable in her tween skin. I like her immensely. And I love her more than I could have ever imagined.

That’s why I knew I needed help when her thirteenth birthday began to loom. It was obvious to me that some of my choices for her (where to go to HS, where not to go to HS) and silly fears of basic teen behavior (make-up, boys, etc) was “my stuff” bubbling to the surface, not hers.  And so I called Susan Klein, an amazing family/kid counselor in our community, and made an appointment (let me know if anyone wants her number). I didn’t foresee needing intense therapy, but knew a few pointers would surely help me navigate the time to come. Luckily, I had also sat on the Board of Smart-Girl for years (www.smart-girl.org), had learned a few things and knew they, too, had amazing resources for girls and moms as they move through this tumultuous time (check them out for helpful info and if you live in Denver, you must attend their luncheon in April on the developing teen brain. It will be amazing!).

My 50 minutes with Susan yielded some great tips. I share them with the hope that all we’ll scream at our own children is “yeehaa!” and that what we see in them is a reflection of their own true selves, not our own wounded teenager.

Susan’s Advice:

The only way to be close to your kids during these years is to ask them questions and become familiar with their experience before going anywhere in your mind about what something means.

At this age, do more listening than talking in order to help understand their experience. Its not yours.

If you hear something that freaks you out, tell them you are concerned and that you are going to sit with it. Put the conversation on hold and take some time to ponder – it will become clear as to whether it is a slippery slope or normal glitch.

Take a Colombo attitude (the TV detective from our childhood). Get curious as if trying to solve a mystery. The mystery is their experience!

  • “Tell me about that”
  • “How did it happen?”
  • “What were you doing?” (watch your tone…)
  • “ I want you to have choices and I want to understand your experience.  Indulge me and help me understand.“
  • “There is only one way to make a good decision (child’s name) and that is to have ALL the information you need.” – Then its info we as parents can use to reinforce what we want them to know.

If your spouse sees it differently, ask them what they are worried about. They have stuff in this, too! Remember, everyone could use a little support in this job.

Luckily, my mom and I are dear friends today, and I get to pass on to my daughter the spirit of a long line of strong Kyett women (and I hope the Glicksteins, as well; talk about a strong and smart lineage). I pray that is ALL I pass on. As my old and wise friend Barb says, “People tell you who they are. Listen.” Thankfully, so far, all I hear is singing from the bathroom.

How do you MindFULLY navigate with your kids? Let us know!

One New Idea

Just this week, I had no fewer than 7 conversations with fantastic, “successful”, interesting, delightful  people who are bored with their lives. If there was one big bed everyone could crawl into, they’d put on their pj’s and scoot under the covers.

But alas, there isn’t. We have to get up. We get to get up! We are lucky we have the luxury to ponder “what Next?” And therefore, I say, “Come on, gang, we can do it. Let’s get up and get dreaming!”

“How?” You might ask. “I don’t know…”  However, what I do know is that there are some paths to figuring out what you’d like to do and hopefully, they can lead you to “Next”.

One of those paths is through journaling. Not writing words in a book, blah, blah, blah, but writing, creating, gluing, drawing and thinking as your hands move. No censoring. No self badgering as to whether you are an artist. That’s besides the point.

And that is why Judith Cohen-Mamet and her YouTube tutorials are a gem. Judith shows you how to journal and add some fun techniques to a traditionally dry process. Below is a link to the first of a series of video tutorials for mixed media journal techniques. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-rfGQDcjXg. After the video, check out the additional helpful hints found on her blog (www.jcmamet.net)

In addition to using Judith’s  techniques, consider using colorful crayons to scribble your dreams. Better yet, MAKE the crayons. I saw this technique on a friend’s Facebook page and thought it was so different. And how do you break the boredom cycle? BY DOING ONE SIMPLE THING IN A DIFFERENT WAY. One thing. Try it!

– soak the crayons in warm water (the wrappers come off much more easily this way)
– break into smallish pieces
– spray the baking pan with oil for easy remove.

– put in the oven at 250 degrees for 10 minutes
– they’ll be pure liquid when you take them out, but they’ll cool in another 10 minutes and viola, you’re done!

FYI – my friend’s friend got the pan at Crate & Barrel (it’s a whoopie pie pan 🙂

So, this week, try doing one thing differently, rip out one article from a magazine or newspaper that interests you or consider taking one class on a topic you’d like to learn more about. Just ponder one new idea. You don’t have to marry anything. Just explore it. You never know where it might lead. Certainly, it will add to “Next”!

What did you MindFULLY find to add to your “Next”? Let us know!


GroundHog Day

Today is Valentines Day and it is not one of my favorite holidays. Does that make me an unloving person? I sure hope not. For you see, I try and tell the people I love that I care for them, as often as possible. Why do I need a forced day of cards I don’t write or chocolate that we don’t eat?

I buy flowers for myself fairly often. I don’t mind that my husband doesn’t send them – he shows he cares in so many other ways, like doing the laundry and folding my underwear for me, by calling every day at 5:10pm and asking if there is anything I need him to pick up on the way home and by demonstrating patience when he could clearly be annoyed.

Every day, at least 10x before dinner, my daughter walks by me  and says, “I love you, mommy.”  I don’t need a card to put in a box to remember the sound of her voice. She shares her music with me, tells me her thoughts and feelings and puts her hand on my shoulder when I am sad.

Last night, a young friend of my daughter’s called and asked her if she liked him. She was totally bummed. She likes him as a friend, but found his question awkward and now feels a sense of loss, not gain. She spent the evening in tears. She has just been thrust into that awkward time of young emotion. I’m sure that is not what the folks at Hallmark had in mind.

As I walked the park this morning, I tried to think of all the things I love and all the people that fill my heart with delight. I said thank you to the Universe for the fact that I was walking, that the Rec Center was open so I could use a clean bathroom, that I have friends and family that I profoundly enjoy, that I could afford to shop at Target and that they carry Annies Fruit Snacks and Kelloggs Frosted Mini Wheats and socks so that I only have to make one stop. That Saturday night my husband and I raised a glass to how much we still like each other (24 Valentines Days later) and that my dear friend has finally found love, as well. As I laid beside my daughter last night and listened while she cried, and then watched as her humor re-emerged, I thought, “This is what love feels like”.

There is so much to love in our lives; so many people and so many little things. I pray that each day is a form of Valentines Day and that whether or not I make red food or go years between talking with someone, that my love is known, both to myself and to others.

If you are reading this, I pray that you may  know love in whatever way love fits for you. And then, consider making this Valentines Day into Groundhog Day. Live loving moments over and over. Why love only on one day, when there are so many we are so lucky to have?

How do you MindFULLY show someone you love them? Let us know!

New Uses

In the spirit of looking for new uses for old things, I bring you a link to Real Simple magazine. I love this magazine and always find something to rip from the pages.

Since I am away this week, I’ll let the folks at Real Simple do the talking. They have 50 things to say. I hope one of them resonates for you! http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/new-uses-for-old-things/favorite-new-uses-00000000019718/page38.html

What have you MindFULLY learned to that you can add to Real Simple’s list? Let us know!