Friday, November 16, 2018

Your personal end-of-the-year traditions

At this time of year, I like to complete a pre-holiday purge. I tell my son that we need to clear out some space before his grandparents over-indulge him at Christmas. (Side note: I love you, Mom, and you know what I am talking about here.)

Every November, I have my son pull out unwanted books and toys that can be set aside for donations and future consignment sales. And I do my best to make some shelf space. I am so proud of all the hard work that we do. And yet, it never quite feels like enough.

I've talked before about how much I like to clear out spaces in my home. I currently have a few empty drawers that I am particularly proud of. But I have an additional goal here: I want my son to learn how to periodically clean out his stuff so he has that skill set throughout his life.

Too many times, I read articles about the overflow in homes. My husband and I have noticed a bevy of new storage spaces pop up around us. The message is clear: We all have too much stuff.

So, I really like my pre-holiday tradition of sorting and purging. Sort of an end-of-the-year clean out. It's not as festive as the traditions we have for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but I hope it is one that I can convince my son to keep after he has moved out of the house.

And, hopefully when he moves out he will take his stuff with him.

What personal, non-holiday traditions do you like to observe at this time of year? Tell me in the comments.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

You don't have to be perfect

We are all too hard on ourselves.

I came to that conclusion last year while I was listening to a member of my team at work over-apologize for something. It was something that wasn't even wrong. But she felt like she had made a mistake. She felt like she had done something imperfectly.

I started coaching my team to understand that they were human, and that I liked humans and that if they made a mistake it wasn't going to be the end of the world. I still remind them of these things today: Mistakes can be made; learn from them; forgive yourself.

I've been trying to repeat this mantra with my son, but sometimes it is a little harder as a parent. When I look at his tests and see a silly mistake, of course I want him to do better. But, even more, I should want him to understand that I don't expect him to be perfect.

He and I need to get into this habit now - before he is older and an obsession with perfectionism can take hold of him. The stories on that link of students feeling pressure to be perfect - whether it is from real external sources or internal sources - are heartbreaking. As parents, we should remind our children that perfect is a high standard to try to maintain. We should remind them that they are perfect to us just the way they are.

So, I talk to my son about doing his best and about learning from the times that he doesn't. And I tell him that I love him no matter what.

How do you help your child understand that their best doesn't mean being perfect? Tell me in the comments.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Getting into the holiday spirit a little early

Halloween is my jam.

We decorate the house the first weekend in October; I take my son costume hunting early and I can't wait to dress up and pass out candy to all the kiddos in the neighborhood. We have Halloween fun all October long.

Then the first weekend in November, I put away all the holiday decorations and get very stubborn about celebrating Thanksgiving before I put up the Christmas decorations. I even get a little angry at all the stores that have Christmas stuff out (especially the ones that have materials out before Halloween).

I refuse to decorate for Christmas until Thanksgiving is over.

But I don't know why I get so stubborn about it. It's not like I have Thanksgiving decorations that I need to put up for a few weeks. And Thanksgiving at our house isn't even that big of a deal. And - according to a new study - decorating for Christmas earlier may make you happier.

The idea is based on people who truly enjoy the holidays and the decorations and making the most out of the season...if they decorate earlier it makes the feelings last longer.

I do wonder if this will work for my family. Because, while I enjoy Christmas, it is not really as big a deal to me as Halloween is. So, if we decorate earlier, will we experience more Christmas joy? Or is this just a good reason to get holiday decorations up before it gets truly cold in our neighborhood?

When do you traditionally like to decorate for Christmas? Tell me in the comments.

Friday, November 9, 2018

When baby bumps spread

When I was pregnant with my son, I had this thing happen where I suddenly saw pregnant women and babies everywhere - at the mall, in grocery stores, walking around the city....Logically, I knew that they had been there all along, but it wasn't until I was one of them (among my own kind) that I started to notice them.

At first, I thought it was just me being not very aware of my surroundings until I had a big bump I had to figure out how to navigate through the world, but then a friend of mine at work who was also pregnant mentioned it, and I learned it was "one of those things" about pregnancy.

So, there we were, two women in the department pregnant at the same time, and we heard "don't drink the water" jokes being tossed at the other ladies in the department fairly regularly. 

It's an old joke.

And there may be something to it. Because of course you can't catch pregnancy like a virus, but you can latch onto the idea of getting pregnant - at least according to one study. Simply put: When you see your friends get pregnant, you start to think about your own child situation as well (at least within a certain age group.)

Maybe there is something to the study. Maybe not. When we are in our child bearing years, we tend to have a lot of friends who are the same age as we are, and it would make sense that we go through some of life's stages at the same time. You could make the same argument that weddings are contagious, too.

What I do know is that I do still notice lots of other Mothers when I am out and about my day, but I also notice lots of other people, too. So, the real question is: Did pregnancy turn me into a people watcher?

Did you get pregnant around the same time as your friends? Tell me in the comments.