I’ve been putting off writing this post for a while now. I’ve been absent from this blog for a long time now for a reason and most of you that follow me on Instagram already knew this was coming with my recent confession of being a bit overwhelmed and IG name change.
For weeks now I’ve had thoughts of putting this part of my life to the side but I had no idea how to do it. It’s been such a huge part of who I am and I’ve loved every bit of it for so long. I loved sharing my thoughts and ideas and having a virtual baby book of sorts. It has introduced me to so many wonderful and supportive people and opportunities that have changed my life.
For a majority of the time I’ve written this blog it has been manageable. Connor was little and a great sleeper. I had the freedom to write often and it was within a good balance of everything else in my life. Naturally Attached has helped me figure out who I am and who I want to be. It has truly been more than just a little blog to me.
Life with two children is far different though. The “balance” I once had is now challenged daily. Connor is now 3 and Penelope will be 1 in 11 days! She’s basically running through the house and making sure I don’t get more than 2 hours of sleep at a time. Those kids and my husband are the center of my world and deserve every second I can give them. I never want to look back and regret time staring at my computer screen when I would have rather been building castles or having tea parties or snuggling up on the couch with my husband after a long day.
I’ve always stood behind being present in your life, living for the moment and now it is time for me to do what I so often advise… It’s time to take break from this world and live in my moment with my family so I don’t miss a second of the time I have with them.
Thank you for all your love and support. This place will be missed.
You can find me on Instagram – @brigidkhines
September has always been one of my favorite months. Maybe I’m just partial to it because it’s my birthday month and when you’re a kid birthdays are exciting. Not so much anymore though. It’s a good excuse to go out on a date night or splurge a bit on myself when I otherwise wouldn’t (which I’ve done already – new boots, new shirt, new jeans!) but overall it comes and it goes and I become one year older. I think I’ll start enjoying more when my kids are old enough to be excited about it for me. Do things like bring me breakfast in bed or craft up some homemade cards and banners. I think i’ll like that.
This year I turn 28.
Most people call me a baby and I am to them. That’s the beauty of marrying a man 7 years older than you. Him and majority of all our friends have me beat by quite a few years. I’ll take it. But honestly, I don’t feel that young. In fact I’ve always felt a bit older, a bit more mature I suppose? Which brings me to the point of this post, sort of.
With my 28th year approaching I started thinking about how much I’ve learned about something…
1. I really dislike large social situations. They overwhelm me and they make me want to go hide in a corner so I just stop putting myself in those positions.
2. My hair should never me shorter than my shoulders. EVER. If I ever contemplate a short cut, talk me out of it immediately!
3. I now take pride in my eating choices. Most people think I’m uptight about my food choices but I’m not. I eat for my health, sometimes for taste but mostly for my health. It’s really a simple, personal decision and I’m proud of myself for being so aware and in tune with my health.
4. I’ve learned to stop comparing, most of the time. It’s hard. I’m human and it happens but I’ve become significantly more aware that what works for the person next to me may not work for me and there are no grounds for comparison in any situation.
5. I used to think I wasn’t worthwhile because I never finished college with any fancy degree but now I know I am. I know that I have so much wisdom inside me about how to raise happy, healthy kids who will in turn teach the next generation after them and that is more powerful than some fancy job or earning a 6 figure salary.
6. Sleep is important. I will go crazy without it.
7 Similarly, food is important to my mental sanity. If it’s been a few hours since I’ve eaten something you won’t want to me near me.
8. I have the ability to set boundaries and say no. In the past, I never wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings and still, that’s never my intention. However, I have come to learn that it is ok to say no thanks or set limits especially when it involves my family and my children’s well being. I have to still mentally tell myself not to care what the other person may or may not think about it and just do it if I know it’s the best choice for us.
9. My thoughts and ideas about lifestyle and raising kids are not mainstream thoughts and I really like it that way.
10. Mistakes are ok. You have to make mistakes to find out who you aren’t.
There are certainly more but if I kept going I’d bore you so I’ll save some for another day but until then happy birthday to me. Here’s to #28 and many more to come!
Sharing. As parents, it is one of those crucial social skills we feel like we must instill in our children at an early age. Learning the value of sharing makes the world a wonderful and peaceful place to live in. Watching your child master and employ this skill as they happily set about their day is both heart warming and gratifying. It’ll make you feel like super mom, that is for sure!
The journey toward mastering the act of sharing is a bit tricky. Let’s be honest – how many of us have forced our children to share? We’re at the playground, the other kid wants the shovel your kid has, the other parent is sitting right there and you’re feeling the pressure! So it happens, you start persuading your kid to give up the precious shovel and then the screaming ensues… You leave with mixed emotions. Flip flopping between feeling confident that you are teaching your child to share and it’s a trait they have to learn and feeling unsettled that you took something away from your child that she was playing nicely with and not knowing if that was fair of you to push her to give it up?
The latter always weighs more on me. Sharing is indeed something children should learn but is forcing children to share, especially young toddlers really the best way to instill a deep-rooted motivation to do so?
Sharing is actually quite a complicated concept to a child. It involves wanting something and postponing the desire for it just because someone else wants it. This act involves being empathetic which children under the age of about six struggle with. Around 2 1/2, the age when children begin to play with each other rather than alongside each other, you will expect to see some motivation to share.
As adults, we know that some things are for sharing and some things are not. We get to decide when we would like to share and when not. Toys are precious belongings to children. They hold a value that parents simply don’t understand. Children deserve to have a choice, too.
For example, I would never expect my son to share his coveted blanket or special toy that helps calm his mind. That is special to him and he deserves to make the choice to keep it close. I certainly would never lend out a sentimental possession to someone who remarked on its beauty. As parents, sometimes we forget that children hold strong attachments to items we would otherwise overlook as meaningless toys.
Perhaps we don’t give our kids enough credit. We think that sharing is a skill that we must teach much like zipping a jacket or putting on shoes. We forget that sharing is developmental and happens when they are ready, not us. They don’t need us to pressure them into sharing, they simply need us to show them how through example.
Encourage Sharing Through Example & Guidance:
- Create an environment that encourages your child to want to share. Children who have been on the receiving end of generosity follow that model. Take every opportunity to share with your children — be it your glass of water, your book or a bite of your dinner.
- On the flip side, if it is something special to you explain that, “Mommy’s ring is very special. I would like to keep it close. Would you like to wear this necklace instead?” Now they can see that it is ok to make the choice not to share but should be encouraged to find a solution. In this case, offering the necklace in place of the ring.
- “Share Mommy or Daddy.” If you have 2 or more kids, place each child on your lap. This teaches the children to share their special person. Vocalize what you’re doing — “Connor and Penelope are sharing Mommy!”
- Make it a game. Children learn the best through play. Give your child a few toys, flowers, rocks or anything they may be currently interested in and ask her to share them with everyone in the room. “You can share one with your brother, one with sister, one with Mommy…” Your objective is to convey the message that sharing is a normal way of life and it can make everyone feel good.
- Encourage taking turns and trading. Help teach your child how to communicate her needs to her friends. “When Max is finished batting, it will be your turn to bat and Matt can pitch.”
- If a toy dispute begins, try not to interfere immediately. Sometimes it is best to give children the time and space to work it out among themselves. Be aware and monitor the dynamic. If all is going in the right direction, stay a bystander. If the situation is worsening, intervene with guidance.
- Connect actions with feelings. “Look how happy Kate is that your shared your train with her! That made her feel so good.” This encourages empathy and the desire to initiate sharing on their own.
- Protect special toys. Before friends come over, toddlers should have an opportunity to put away their most coveted toys. Just like the sentimental possession I mentioned above, there are certain items children deserve the right to claim only for themselves. Let your child take action in deciding what she may not feel comfortable sharing and tuck it away until after the play date has ended. This will also show them that you respect their choices and encourage the freedom to make their own decisions.
The road to sharing is a bumpy one. Some days will have you feeling like Supermom and some days you’ll just want to crawl under the covers and hope that the other parents understand and will still want to play another day. Every parent has those days and every parent gets through it. In the end, you will find that you’ve provided your child with the room to naturally grow into an empathetic, compassionate child and you are indeed a supermom!
You can find this and other of my posts at Hippie Mama | Lowcountry Parent
I have countless memories of waking up early on a Saturday morning to the crisp upstate New York air. I’d tiptoe from the bedroom that I shared with my older sister, head to the hallway where we kept our dressers, slip on some clothes and creep down the stairs to find my Dad waiting for me.
We’d ride our bikes through town and stop at the Stewarts – coffee for him, a donut for me. Before long we were back on our bikes exploring the town where we both grew up. He’d tell me stories of his childhood and I’d be in awe of his adventures. Other times we set off in the car to a little diner just outside of town. To me this was the ultimate treat since we very rarely ate out.
It was always just me and him. There was something significant about beginning my day this way. Something refreshing. Something meaningful. Maybe it was the cool, calm air fusing with the love of a proud father. Certainly I couldn’t put it into words back then and I struggle even now. All I know is that it meant something, enough to stay lodged in my memory as I’ve grown into a parent myself.
I do have a theory that it helped me recognize both my Mother and Father as individuals. People outside of solely being my parents. Through the moments of connection that filled our mornings I’ve learned that they were kids once too, adults with a life before they had me and my sisters and certainly during and after too. That they have flaws, regrets and accomplishments that have made them the people they are today. A parent isn’t solely a parent. What a shame it would be not to open up to the layers of their soul and uncover not only a parent, but a friend as well.
With Connor in the midst of his toddler years and Penelope a busy little firecracker; balancing our days prove to be challenging. My 7am to 8pm run of putting out fires, working through meltdowns, naps and lunches on a less than stellar night sleep were leaving me run down. I kept coming back to those mornings with my dad, dreaming of the days when I could do that with my kids as if I couldn’t now.
So I decided to stop, collect myself and create the moments I was longing for.
We sneak out many mornings now, find a calm place to explore and make our own memories just like my dad and me. A place where there aren’t rules or timelines. A place to connect and kickoff our day in a meaningful, memorable way. Our daybreak moments are ones that I want to memorize in my mind. I want to set them in stone. Soon they’ll be off
This is my meditation. My happy place in this crazy season of life called motherhood.
I originally posted to article over at Lowcountry Parent a few weeks ago but thought it should find a home over here too because these 8 ways to gain trust and connection between you and your kids are so easy and so d0-able and can make a huge difference in your relationship and the mood of your days. If you like these kids, check out Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham – this book continues to be one of my go-to parenting resources. It has yet to let me down.
I’ve learned over my many years of caring for children, and now more recently with my own, that establishing a deep, meaningful connection is at the root of happy parents and happy kids. The feeling of security and trust that lies between a parent and a child is how children grow to feel love and love themselves. How they learn to cooperate, compromise and grow into unique individuals.
Sometimes as parents we approach connection as more a duty than a natural desire to feel close to our children. It’s understandable – we live busy lives. We have a laundry list of obligations needing to be met at the end of each day and sometimes all we want is a moment or two or three or twenty to ourselves when we can squeeze in the time! That is important and we do need to find time for ourselves to be good parents but we also have to work in time for our little ones who so desperately crave our love and attention. Those little munchkins that live for us – to please us, to make us laugh and feel our support. They need to see that they are worthwhile in our eyes. That we want to spend our precious time with them. I am the first to attest that after you embrace those little moments, the rest of the world melts away. The list of chores you wanted to get done have washed away into mere memory and you realize where you need to be. Where you are needed most. Those silly dishes can wait…
I have compiled for you eight easy ways to improve your connection with your children! After building your relationship back up, you will see such a difference in independence, behavior, willingness to compromise and overall attitude!
8 ways you can improve your connection and relationship:
- Hug every day, multiple times a day. I love the quote from Virginia Satir, a family therapist, “We need four hugs a day for survival, We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” Fuel your connection with physical one. Hug first thing in the morning, every time you say goodbye, during play, before bed. This is for children of all ages
- Transition time connections. During transition times (before nap, bed, walking out the door, etc) take a moment to connect. Sit down together and have a little chat, a snuggle, read a book together. Make it obvious that you are committed to being with your child and not simply trying to get from one activity to another quickly.
- Turn off the cell phone, the iPad and computer. Kids know when you are not really listening to them.
- Introduce child-directed play. Spend at the very least 15 to 20 minutes of individual play time with each child. Let your child take the lead. Make them giggle, squeal and laugh.
- Get on their level. Hit the floor for playtime. Sit at the table with them. Make sure you are eye level so your child can see that you are in tune and dedicated to hearing what they want to say however silly or serious.
- Respond to your child’s cries and be empathetic. Children want to feel comfortable crying and sharing their feelings when they need to. Understand your child’s point of view and try not to “shush” your child instead tell them you are sorry they are feeling sad/frustrated/mad. Help guide them through their feelings. We all know stuffing our feelings is not healthy. Start young by letting them know it’s okay to feel upset in turn they will trust you and themselves with their feelings in turn share more with you. This can be a valuable connection to have as your toddler grows into a teenager.
- Follow through with promises. It may seem like a small, meaningless promise to you but your child is counting on it.
- Involve them. Let your children, no matter the age, help with making meals, home projects, etc. Make it a positive experience and have age-appropriate expectations for them.
We earn trust and grow connection through our everyday activities riding in the car, making dinner, taking a bath. Rememeber to make these chores into fun, memorable activities. They do happen to make up the majority of our day so let’s make them count! Look at establishing connection daily as a kind of happy-child, happy-parent maintenance. It will help prevent problems from arising.
All we need is love. A quote that rings true for both children and adults alike. It’s so simple yet seems to be to hard in grind of life. Make your children feel validated and heard and I promise you will start seeing an ease swing back into your days, smiles back on your family’s faces and few more sweet giggles floating through hallways.
What ways to do you connect or reconnect after a tough day?
It’s World Breastfeeding Week and it seeing all these posts on Facebook and Instagram leave me feeling all sentimental about my nursing relationship with Penelope and a little sad about the surprise weaning with Connor. Now, you guys know I went into my first pregnancy with every intentional of nursing Connor until he was ready to wean but I just wasn’t ready for that to be at 7 months and I just wasn’t educated enough to know we could have worked through his nursing strike. Instead I pumped like a crazy woman to make sure he had breastmilk to drink in his bottles until he was 18 months but that just doesn’t compare to the connection that forms while breastfeeding.
You live and you learn. When you know better you do better, right? Blah. Whatever. It makes me sad.
So once I become pregnant with Penelope I put the pump away for a few months and crossed my fingers in between
morning all day sickness for a positive, successful breastfeeding relationship with the sweet little peanut growing quickly inside of me. November 26th rolled around and there she was healthy, happy and nursing immediately but not for long… it was a roller coaster in the beginning – nipple shields, feeding syringes, lactation consultants and tears were involved throughout the first 6 weeks. Many, many tears. My poor husband – he handled me well. I was so sad that nothing about our nursing relationship was natural.
Weeks of struggle and a lot of weeping came and went and then suddenly it happened – she latched again and then again and again! WITHOUT the shield. All was right in the world – and has been ever since.
I schedule nothing. We nurse whenever she needs. I soak it all in knowing this will probably be my last little nursling. Knowing I’m so fortunate to be home with my babies nursing whenever is needed – for nutrition, for comfort. Fortunate to have overcome our obstacles. Fortunate to have found support in all of you…
We nurse in the sling, in the ergo, in the park, in the store. We nurse whenever, wherever. My confidence level with nursing in public is so much better than it was with Connor. I now have a feeling of pride while I’m nursing my daughter – knowing all that we have conquered together.
Connor sneaks in a few sips here and there from my breast these days. He giggles and squeals and tells me he’s drinking Penelope’s milk. I tell him it’s his milk too, if he wants it. (He drinks it out of a cup still but I’m not sure if he’s made the connection yet that it’s the same) He doesn’t commit to any length of time nursing. Just a bit here and there. It makes him feel included and that’s all I want for him.
Penelope and I have come a long way. We used to only be able to nurse using the My Breast Friend nursing pillow (and it was totally my best friend those first few months) only in the football hold. These days she’s become a bit more creative – she’ll nurse sitting up, she’ll throw her whole body over me if necessary to find my breast. She’ll give my shirt a little bite to let me know she wants in. She becomes completely distracted by her brother and pops on and off all day if he’s around. When we can find a quiet moment together she lays content, warm in my arms, her hand in my mouth always, nursing herself to sleep. During the night, not yet fully awake, she roots around my body in search for her place of comfort and settles in nursing until feeling satisfied that I am close by only to roll over a few minutes later to continue dreaming.
I see no signs of this little girl giving up her time nursing anytime soon. As far as I’m in concerned now – I’ll be happy to keep up this relationship for as long as she needs.