Three Simple Strategies For a Great Start to the Virtual School Year by Kelly.

School is ramping up again and I was wondering how is everyone doing and how are you preparing to make virtual learning 2.0 a positive experience? I love the theme “Looking for Silver Linings!”. Here are some healthy strategies I’m prepping this week after talking with counselors and educators this summer.

1. Sit down with your kid individually and have them generate their own list of ideas for how to calm down and recenter. Ex. Breathing, read a book, do yoga, run, dance, take a walk outside, call/zoom with a friend, etc. Then print out this list and keep it near their work space. When they are experiencing frustrations, have them pick something off their list and break for 5-10 minutes. It gives them control over the situation (removes the parent from the situation) and teaches them mindfulness. (Also, parents make your own list and keep it near by).

2. Sit down with your kids and generate a list of their favorite upbeat songs that will always result in a dance party. The physical movement and music releases endorphins and will help boost moods and improve mental focus. I’m aiming for 2-3 dance parties a day.

3. Trying to carve out time individually with each child for 20 minutes a week. Do a no-fail fun activity meaning there is no chance of power struggles or disappointments. Just something simple like sitting down and play legos, riding bikes together, staying up late for 20 minutes and looking at the stars, etc. Whatever allows you to connect with your child positively for 20 minutes – it will greatly improve/maintain a healthy relationship especially during times when you have another role as educator.

Sending virtual hugs to every parent & educator!

Our family’s schoolroom under construction.

For the Love of Wildflowers by Sabrina

When I was pregnant with you Georgia Grace, I fell madly in love with wildflowers. I even wanted it to be your middle name, but the nickname GG seemed much better than GW.

It was August and I was hot and very pregnant, I would walk around the neighborhood and pick blackberries. Everything slowed down in that time, I noticed more beauty in the world. It was like my own little bubble, just you in my belly, the beautiful foxgloves and poppies and the birds chirping around. My memory of all this has a lens of rose colored glasses. Like I was a disney princess, skipping along with the bunnies, with flowers blooming and bowing as I dance by…But it was magical, and the sight of a cluster of daisies or sweet peas on the side of the road gave me such immense pleasure, it still does. I am the crazy lady pulled over on the highway picking a bouquet of weeds.

I think if I hadn’t been chosen to be your mother, I never would have found my way. I have always felt like Alice, lost in Wonderland. I was looking for all the things that everyone else had; a family, a house, a perfectly crafted life and home that I had cultivated. It turns out I was a little too messy, a little too wild for “all that” to work out. It hasn’t been easy to find my way back to the wildflowers, but my daughter, you let something bloom inside me and I will always be drawn to it now. You showed your mamma herself. The summer I fell in love with wildflowers was the summer you were born. You were so wide awake, and so alive already. Nothing will ever stop you from being you baby. You came into this world knowing…

About Mothering A Wild Daughter

It is a hard thing to stay wild in this world. It’s a hard thing to raise your daughter and not dim her light. I catch myself all the time, telling her to be quieter, nicer, and more agreeable. Of course I can’t let her run around acting like a brat, screaming and demanding without so much as a please or thank you. It’s not that, it’s all the rest. It’s hard enough to un train yourself and stand in your own wildness everyday, but to take on a whole person and not fuck it up. It is incredibly daunting and HARD. I’m not going to sugar coat it, it’s HARD. I don’t want to bury the most beautiful thing about my daughter and mold and change and critique everything she does until that wide-eyed knowing has disappeared and it’s all my fault. I have to stop thinking that way. I have to trust that I know and I’m not perfect, I’m messy and that’s okay. 

I just have to slow down and go back to that summer. It’s just me and GG and the wildflowers. They whisper all the things I already know, they remind me.

For The Love of Wildflowers will be my compass, my house, my family, and my truth. Whatever I need is held in their petals, safe and waiting for me to come looking.

Motherhood Is Not What I Expected by Bethany

Motherhood is not what I expected. Not more difficult, just a different kind of difficult. When I was pregnant, and pictured being a mom, I saw a totally different version of myself than I am today. I saw myself with a husband who would help me, a partner who had the same parenting and life goals as me. I expected that I would be working part time once I had a kid. When I was holding my little baby, I dreamt of focusing most of my energy and time on teaching her new things, and little or no time at work. And then, life changed, I became a single mom, and my dreams changed too. And that’s okay; it’s wonderful actually. Parts of myself I that I had forgotten or given up on came to the surface. I have such different goals for myself, my career, and for my little family. And, as I start to work towards those goals, it is really easy to feel like my dreams for motherhood are slipping away. It’s so easy to feel like those goals I had for myself as a mom are dying . I often feel judged, even though I’m pretty sure that the only person judging me, is my own mind. I didn’t grow up seeing single moms or moms working full-time. I grew up surrounded by homeschoolers and people who quit their jobs to stay home with their kids. I know that isn’t my dream for myself, and that is okay. But, I’ve also never seen anything else.  When my life started to be so starkly different than what I had seen, it became really difficult not to judge myself. I’m not at home with my daughter most days; I’m at work. I’m not the one teaching her to tie her shoes, or how to say the alphabet, or how to count. And, as I look into advancing my career and making life better for  my little family, I realize that it’ll probably always be this way. I’ll probably always have to work full-time.  I think I’ll always want to work full-time. And, that is so different than I expected.  I need to learn to be okay with that. Because, what I need and what my little family needs, is different than what I had expected. What I want is different than what I had expected. It’s easy to judge myself and feel like I’m not teaching my daughter much. Often, I think she’s not learning from me because I am not teaching her in the way that I expected to. But, I am teaching her. She sees me working hard for us. She hears me talking about going to school and about my goals and dreams for myself and for us. I’m teaching her to work hard and go after her goals. She hears me constantly saying that I love her and that she is important me and that is helping to shape her into a healthy person. She sees me making decisions  to better my life and hers, and from that, I know she will learn how to make choices to better herself and those around her. She sees me surrounding myself with loving supportive healthy relationships and valuing those people in my life. She sees me get frustrated. She sees me calm myself when I’m feeling anxious. I hear her telling her self and others to take a deep breath and to give themselves a moment when they are struggling to remain calm. And, I’m proud that she has learned that from me. She sees me there with her, not leaving when it’s hard, not judging when she is having a meltdown, and staying with her through it. She hears my apologies when I do lose my cool and say something I shouldn’t have. That is teaching her too. I’m learning from this as well. I’m learning to be a more compassionate, strong, supportive, and patient person. All by being a different Mom than I ever expected to be.