Okay, it's not St. Patrick's day yet, but I generally take so long to get these out once I start them that I'm figuring it will be by the time I send it off. <G>
This week I've pulled together some magical stuff for you. I've received so many letters from folks who seem so down, so discouraged, tired or unsupported that I wanted to get together a whole slew of stuff just for the moms, dads, step moms and grandparents who need a little fun too.
So in light of that here's ideas to make life easier, a little humor, a little sap, some ways to help you pamper yourself, and even toddler games you can play lying down (thanks Lonni!).
Ways to pamper yourself
I'm so disappointed with the world. I looked online for lists of ways to pamper yourself and all I found were expensive ones or lame ones. I finally found a list of 100 ways on a mom's site, clicked on it, and found out I had to pay $5 to download it. Pfft! A pox on them all. ;) So here's the ones I thought of.....
~ Stop by the library and check out some guilty pleasures-- fluff magazines, a murder mystery, your favorite childhood novel, whatever. Many libraries offer videos overnight for free, too. Find something wacky, sentimental or just plain fun.
~ Barter with the kids for back rubs or foot rubs (they can earn money, peanut butter cookies, books...)
~ Get outside and take a walk. Between the exercise, the sunlight and the change of scenery, you'll be releasing feel-good chemicals into your system left and right.
~ Get out your walkman and put on some fun music while you work, clean, or watch the kids on the swing set.
~ Take a scented bath A bottle of pure essential oil will last for years since you only need 2-3 drops per bath. Lavender is especially soothing. Or burn a scented candle by the bath.
~ Call a friend.
~ Snuggle with your sweetie. Or more. :)
~ Get a new haircut or just go to get it styled.
~ Make up a terribly fattening treat and gobble it up with the kiddos. If you want to be especially bad, eat with your hands. :)
~ Start a small routine that makes you feel good about yourself. It could be wearing lipstick all day just to feel more glamorous, exercising for 10 minutes before you wake up the kids, spritzing yourself with lavender water when you need a lift, wearing your best undies every day, whatever. Sometimes small things remind us we're special.
~ Take a day off. Declare the day a sick day & wear jammies, watch trashy TV and do nothing that doesn't absolutely have to be done. Make it fun for the kids too. Cuddle and read books on the couch, sit on the floor and play with them, and just do fun stuff till bedtime.
~ Sign up for a class like yoga, karate or dance to get in shape, get moving and have some fun. Your local Y or community ed may have very affordable classes. If you can't find a class, start a routine at home. Check out a tape or book from the library & get a friend or your kids in on it too.
~ Start a kid swap with a friend. Watch his or her kids for an afternoon once a week in exchange for dropping yours off once a week too. You both get an afternoon to yourselves, your kids get a play date, and it's all free.
~ Splurge on a small item like a fancy pen for all your writing, a luxurious lipstick, or a gorgeous mug for your daily coffee. It's a small, inexpensive way to feel expensive.
~ Take a break with a cup of hot cocoa or a cold beer.
~ Buy or make a beautiful blank book and start a journal. Fill it with sketches, musings, poetry, late night thoughts and doodles. Use a ribbon as a bookmark and keep it where you'll write in it often.
~ Paint your toenails bright red.
~ Give yourself a facial. First steam your face over hot water for 3-5 minutes (use a towel to keep the steam in). Then apply a face mask or make your own from the recipes on this site: http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Spa/3893/ Relax in a bath for 10 minutes, rinse and moisturize. You'll look gorgeous!
~ Make a homemade heating pad. Fill a long sock with dried rice or beans and tie shut. You can heat it in the microwave for about 60 seconds (shake well to avoid hot spots) and it will stay hot forever while wrapped around your neck or sore spots. You can pop it in the freezer for an ice pack too! If you like, toss in some essential oil to make it fragrant. These are perfect for sore necks and shoulders or just to stick under the covers when you're chilly.
~ Lift your mood with color. Just because it's blah outside doesn't mean you have to dress the same. Wear bright yellow or a bright floral print.
~ Make a treat from your childhood like Ovaltine, strawberry milk or Captain Crunch for breakfast. Having kids is a perfect excuse to indulge in the fun kid stuff all over again. It doesn't have to be food related either. Play with play dough, Barbies, paper dolls or markers with your kids.
~ Wear something really soft or luxurious that makes you feel cuddled.
~ Get some art supplies. Buy a small box of watercolor pencils, paints or a charcoal pencil and an art pad. Start taking some time every day to draw, paint, quilt, needlepoint, sculpt, make jewelry or sketch-- anything that lets you be creative. If cost is an issue, you can use the kids' crayons, make your supplies or scout thrift shops and garage sales. I love to just sit down with the girls and color dragonfly printouts with crayons. Watch what it does for your mood!
~ Count your blessings. Make a list of things in your life that make you happy and all that you're thankful for. If you like, start a gratitude journal. Dwell on all you have. :)
~ Do something creative
and fanciful. The other day I was feeling down so I forgot about
cleaning and wandered through the house with a bottle of old gold paint
and a paintbrush. I painted the rusty white medicine cabinet and
a wooden spice rack gold, then did some freehand designs around the bathroom
light switch and along the side of a wall. Finally I covered the
boring beige plastic frame around my computer monitor with swirls, dots
and little patterns. It's amazing how funky and fun it was!
I love the looks and felt almost naughty. <VBG> You can
even try it on a small scale-- paint a tiny nail polish heart on a few
possessions and see where it leads you....
My second favorite
household chore is ironing.
My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.
Baby Survey ~
Sometimes sentimentality is just the thing to remind you of your priorities and give you a lift. Here's a survey to copy into your favorite word processor and answer for your babies. Print it out and keep it in their baby books, written directly to them. Feel free to add to it or edit it to suit your family. Hope it gives you a smile......
Memories of you....
You remind me of...
The first time I felt you move...
The emotions I felt the first time I held you were...
I remember looking at your tiny...
As a baby you seemed so...
One of my favorite memories with you is...
Three milestones I especially remember are...
I am so proud of you for...
your own thoughts. You can even fill it out for each birthday, month
or whenever you feel the urge. And for goodness sakes, read them
to your kids. They eat this stuff up!
you want 50 fights with your children, establish 50 rules.
Instead, choose a few rules that are important to you to enforce
and ignore the rest."
~ Between Friends
Are friends and relatives down on you for how you parent?
I hear from way too many parents who seem to be surrounded by icks. Now we all have to deal with icks in our lives, but some of you poor people seem to have an unfair serving of them.
How do you know if loved ones are icks in your life?
If they start most of their sentences with "If I were you....".
If you can't remember the last time they paid you a compliment.
If you get a panic attack when they pull into your drive.
If you have been known to clean the oven to get away from them.
If their advice makes you feel bad about yourself.
you would choose elective surgery over an evening in their company.
What should you do about icks in your life?
Well, the obvious answers (booby traps, fire extinguishers, hornets...) are too hard to coordinate. Plus, icks tend to have the sticking power of starved leeches, probably because they're so used to having people push them over and take off running to get away from them.
So what should you do? Here's some suggestions.
Take up a hobby that will reduce the amount of time you can spend with them.
Get caller ID.
When they offer unwanted advice about how you parent, look thoughtful and say "That's interesting, it's exactly the opposite of what our doctor told me."
Tell them you've just been diagnosed with a severe ulcer and have been told to eliminate stress at all costs. Whenever they start to say something you don't like, grab your stomach and moan.
Every time they start to give advice, jump up and suddenly remember something you have to do in the next room. They're icky, not stupid. They'll get it.
Compliment them extensively for anything good they do. Icks are dreadfully insecure and are used to everybody thinking they're heinous (they are, after all). Therefore, nobody compliments them, even though lots of people may pretend to be their friends. Find anything real and gush over it. And be sincere. Redirection works for your two year old so why not try it on your father in law.
~ Avoid them. I've done this for years. Hey, they don't pay any cash for having social graces towards icky people. Why exactly should I play nicely with the old friend who treats me like an idiot? Why visit the relative who makes me feel bad about myself? Pfft. People whom you did not give birth to have to earn the right to your company.
~ Find better people. If you surround yourself with enough neat people you'll be better equipped to blow off the obnoxious ones. Even an online group of supportive friends can work wonders to drown out the drone of a lecturing relative. At the very least you can vent and have somebody say "poor thing" and "they suck" a lot.
~ Remember the most important thing: You're great and they're wrong. :) Any time some ick is prattling on at you about how you should spank your child for not staying at the supper table, or how you're ruining your baby by holding him, or how your house is too messy or your kid is too shy, then I want you to picture me saying it again. You're great and they're wrong. Got it? One more time. You're great and they're wrong. Good.
And I know it's true, too. For one thing, the type of person who tells other people what's wrong with them is always wrong. It's science. A law of nature. Nice people don't lecture. So it's proof-- the minute they open their mouths and find fault you have it.
You're great and they're wrong.
And if they're still too rude to take, you send 'em to me. :)
you cannot be a fabulous force in a child's life
if you're not one in your own.
to take care of yourself.
You have to give yourself permission to like yourself.
They're learning how to be a grown-up from you.
Show them how to be a happy one.
Make your own days special too!
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Toddler games you
can play lying down:
Behind every successful
woman...... is a basket of dirty laundry.
Interested in a mailing list? I've gotten to know so many of you through the newsletter. Lately I've received a lot of letters from moms who don't seem very supported and it occurred to me it would be nice if you could get to know each other too. If there's any interest I could set it up through one of the free group services so folks could share ideas, support or just yap about their kids. I could look into a bulletin board too, though I have no idea how that works... Let me know if any of you are interested and I'll see what I can put together.
And wouldn't you know it, it really did take me until St. Patrick's day to get this thing out. :)
Enjoy the holiday, folks. As always, don't forget to take care of you!
A Magical Childhood
Copyright 2002, Alicia Bayer
A Magical Childhood Newsletter is just something I throw together because I love children and those who love them. To subscribe, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. We do not use ads. It's not about money. :)
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