Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Bad Mother

I was recently at a family reunion where the main attraction for the children was an in-ground pool. My girls were excited to dip into the pool as soon as we arrived, so we put on our sunscreen and headed out.

My 7-year-old decided to leave her life jacket behind and use a floaty toy instead. I put a life jacket on my 4-year-old and hung out on the edge near her, my feet dangling in the water.

Suddenly, my older daughter lost hold of her floaty toy in the deep part of the pool. The toy remained a finger length away; all she needed to do was reach for it. Instead, she panicked and began to dog paddle frantically in circles. I stood up in alarm but calmly encouraged her to grab the toy. She continued to swim and call for help when a man I didn't know jumped into the pool — fully clothed — and grabbed her.

All of this played out in a few seconds, but the shame I felt for not jumping in immediately to rescue my own child may last a while. What made me hesitate? What could those few seconds have cost me?

There is a fine line between encouraging our children to rescue themselves and knowing when they are about to drown. Life threatening situations call for us to put our needs aside and even sacrifice our lives (day-to-day or literally) for our children. But a situation like a forgotten piece of homework or credit card bill may require some thinking before we rush to our children's aid.

The lesson in my experience at the pool is a big one but I'm too close to it yet to fully comprehend how I or my daughter will come to terms with it in the future. When things like this happen in our parenting, it's important to accept that it happened and to take some positive action that will honor its significance. I'm so grateful to the person whose reaction and proximity were faster than mine. Even in that there is a lesson: we are not isolated in the love and care of our children. We need others to assist and help us to see the solution before it's too late.

Bless your little ones and big ones this summer.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Declaring Prohibition

I'm 38 now. There, I admit it. My birthday was Thursday, June 12. I decided to celebrate it with a little one-on-one time with my oldest girl, a little me time with a massage and a little we time with girlfriends.

It was a female bonding day.

But I learned something big about myself while enjoying dinner with about five or six lovely women. A martini and a glass of wine on an empty stomach are not what they appear to be. They are not an innocent way for me to socialize. They are, in fact, the tool of my inner devil.

Yes, in the last year I have made friends with my physical, indulgent, passionate self. But the truth is, alcohol seems not to bring out my true self, but my worst self. It's one thing to be with your women friends and vent about your spouses, but it's another to do it loudly and obnoxiously...and rag on the spouses of your women friends.

I have realized that if I don't like myself the next day because of what I recall saying or doing while influenced by alcohol, it probably isn't the wisest choice to try again. Now my friends may say that it wasn't as bad as I'm making it out to be. Two drinks doesn't mean I have a problem. Still...

Living with patience, with mindfulness, is my vision for myself and the world. If I truly want to be the role model for this value and skill, to be present and of service to others, it makes no sense to muddle up my head...even if I'm celebrating, especially if I'm celebrating.

So I am declaring to the world on this evening, June 14, that alcohol is no longer a part of my life. Help me to keep this vow. I want to be a solution to the world. I want to be present to my friends. I want to speak of others kindly. I want to use my passions and physical, indulgent self for good. In the presense of chaos, numbness, resentment or despair, I want to be awake.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

News of Patient Parent and Nat Knows Spreading

So my goal with this blog is to write at least once a week, but apparently it hasn't happened yet. I'll keep it as a goal, though!

A lot has been happening on the marketing side of my patient parenting work. My patient parenting manuscript is going out to more publishers. My comments on patience will be featured in an article in First for Women magazine in June, which you can find on newsstands. I have also contributed information to articles that will be posted on and

Stacy DeBroff of wrote a book review about Nat Knows Bananas on her site. Thanks Stacy! The alumni magazine for Mass Communications at St. Cloud State University, my alma mater, wants to feature me in their maiden full-color magazine this year, too! And...Parents magazine wants to run information about my children's book along with an article on toddler patience.

Exciting stuff for a feisty mom of two and introverted writer who never thought she would publish a children's book, speak regularly in public or teach patience! Just goes to show that life is full of surprises.

I'll be 38 next week and it has been quite a year. I feel like I'm coming into my own as a woman and communicator and I pray that I will have the continued strength and passion to spread the message of patience to more people. I truly believe it coincides with the movement toward more enlightened human beings who are staying present and embracing this moment to act in service to others.

To check out a great free teleseminar series on this topic, visit