Join me in my daily walk through the joys and struggles of parenthood. Share a word of encouragement or be encouraged. Cry a little, laugh a lot, but know it is all in divine order.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Muffins with Mom – Parenting blueprint – 3 tips for effective parenting

“Mama, did you see that tackle I made?”

“Did you see me shake that boy when I scored that lay-up?”

Over the years there have been many cheers from the 50 yard line, shouts from gymnasium bleachers and countless end of season banquets. And there have been days where parenting was less than glamorous.  Is there a parenting blueprint to guide us through the jungle of parenthood?

I haven’t discovered a parenting blueprint, but I have come up with three tips that I’ve found effective for a parenting toolkit.

1.      Find Balance – often as parents we believe we have to always put our children first, to the point of not taking care of ourselves. In order to be healthy and experience less stress we must have balance. Take care of the children, but also find something that you like to do and do it. Don’t think you have to wait until the children grow up.

2.      Seek parenting resources – participate in a play group if you have younger children. If you have teens, share your experiences with other parents of teens. You will discover that you are not the only parent with a teen you have to beg to clean his room, wash the dishes or do homework.

3.      Support your child’s interests – my boys have been involved with sports from the time of pre-school soccer, little league football, AAU sports and high school sports. My younger son (high school senior) added rugby to his list of sports last year. I don’t know anything about rugby, but when he runs with the ball, I’m right there cheering for him and the team.

Below are a couple of recent videos of my time on the sidelines of sporting events.

Rugby - Washtenaw Dark Army

High School Track Meet

What tips would you add in developing a parenting blueprint?

Friday, April 7, 2017

Fun Friday – Teen drivers

Teens are excited to drive when they first receive their license. They want to meet up with friends and hang out until you text and say, “It’s time to come home.” And the minute you ask your teen to run an errand for you, his disposition changes.

A chorus of moans and groans begin…

“I’m tired. I had school all day AND I worked out.”

“You want me to do my homework don’t you?”

The other day I asked my son to take his brother to the airport. The next day he had to meet his dad at 10pm to complete an errand. My son said, “I’m turning in my car keys.”

I ignored his comedic comment and gave him yet another assignment the following day. “Meet your Uncle Norm to pick up Granny.”

His shoulders slumped and exhaled loudly as he said, “I feel like an Uber driver except without the pay.”

My son’s excitement to drive everywhere had waned. He still likes to be able to drive where he wants to go. However, he has learned to put into perspective based on his available resources (money, time, etc.).

What has been your experience with a teen driver?

Monday, April 3, 2017

Muffins with Mom – High school graduation – 3 important reminders

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Parents of graduating high school seniors met in the school cafeteria. School officials and the Senior Coordinator provided us with final reminders about fees due, prom and the graduation ceremony.

Ah, graduation. There was a handout about the do’s and don’ts at the graduation ceremony. The students are not allowed to bring in beach balls, silly string, balloons and the list went on. I raised my hand and asked, “Are parents allowed to do back flips?”

I’ve paid for yearbooks, cap and gown fees, and athletic fees. I’ve been to parent/teacher conferences, the principal’s office and volunteer events. Just maybe I’d like to hit a beach ball, throw confetti and douse myself with silly string. But…I’m a rule follower. The silly string can wait until we arrive home.

As you prepare for your teen’s graduation, keep in mind three important things.

1.      Manage your stress level – plan ahead as much as possible. Check to make sure your teen doesn’t owe any money for lost books, her lunch account or other equipment.
2.      Keep your sense of humor – when you begin to feel overwhelmed, find something to smile or laugh about.
3.      Celebrate the moment – the final weeks of school go by quickly. Make time to celebrate with your child, family and friends.

What tips would you offer to a parent preparing for a high school graduation?

Friday, March 31, 2017

Feel Good Friday – Encouragement – Pay it forward

As I stood at the counter in the credit union completing a deposit slip, I noticed a note lying nearby.

The message on the note read, “Have a great day. Enjoy the beautiful weather. Have a safe and fun weekend. Thank God for your blessings. Remember God loves you.”

It was an unusual, but creative way to leave a message – scribbled on the back of a bank slip.

What methods can you use to encourage someone today? Pay it forward, share your gift of instilling hope, joy, and encouragement. Don’t keep it to yourself.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Feel Good Friday – Women’s History Month, 4 ways to celebrate

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Did you know that March is celebrated as Women’s History Month? This is a great time to explore your family’s history. What are some of the stories you have heard about the women in your family? Include your children as you celebrate Women’s History Month.

Below are four ways your child can celebrate:

1.      Have your child interview a woman in their life.
2.      Your child can write a letter to a woman they admire.
3.      Your child can a read a book about a woman who made contribution to our world   or perhaps who was  a local hero (shero).
4.      If you have young children, read books to them about women who made contributions to our society.

How about a round of Women’s History trivia? See if you can identify what the following notable women were/are famous for.

1.      Ella Fitzgerald
2.      Jackie Joyner-Keree
3.      Rosa Parks
4.      Mae C. Jemison
5.      Mya Angelo
6.      Emily Dickenson
7.      Oprah Winfrey

Before you peak at the answers below, here’s one more way you can celebrate Women’s History Month…read books by local authors. I have been fortunate to meet many great children’s book authors and participated in workshops, conferences and other gatherings with them.

It was recently announced that our very own Michigan author, Lisa Wheeler, has received the Golden Kite Award. Pick up a stack of her books at your local library or book store. Read to your child or enjoy them yourself. Have you met any local authors in your area?

Now for the answers to the Trivia questions. Check below to you did.

1.      One of the greatest jazz singers, lived 1918-1996
2.      First American woman to win Olympic Gold in the long jump (won in 1988 & 1992)
3.      Refused to give up her seat to a white person on a crowded bus during bus segregation time
4.      First African American woman to travel in space
5.      Poet
6.      Poet who wrote close 2000 poems

How will you celebrate Women’s History Month?