Help is on the Way

I was at my local grocery store and decided to use the self checkout lane. These lanes are designed to make our life easier and assist with us getting out of the store faster. However, like most things designed to make life easier, they don’t always do that. Sometimes you go through the self checkout and you find yourself thinking, I should’ve just stood in line.

Thats the thing about life there are no real shortcuts.

As I was checking myself out, I probably had way to many grocery for the self checkout, I heard the machine next to me saying “Help is on the way!” “Help is on the way” over and over. The lady using the machine was frantically looking around for said help. The cashier was busy assisting someone at that moment. The machine continue to sing out “help is on the way!” “help is on the way”. The lady tried to hit a few buttons, move her groceries around in the bagging area, but still nothing. She sighed a loud sigh and looked around again. I glanced at her and gave her a gentle smile and she shook her head in frustration, as she said “where is help when you need it. I can’t get this stupid machine to stop talking this is ridiculous.” I smiled a smile of it will be ok  and said “Yes these things can be frustating. I’m surprised at how busy it is today. I’m sure she will be here soon.” She sighed another heavy sigh, poked the machine a few more times, and then finally gathered up all her grocery, “I’m just going to go get in another line, this is ridiculous. I don’t have time to wait around.” And she sped off.

No Sooner than she sped off, help walked up!

The cashier looked around and said where did they go? “she went to another line, I responded” The cashier cleared the machine and moved on to the next person. This moment was so profound to me.

In the alchemist, Paulo Coelho writes about the universe testing everything we have learned right before we are about to reach our destiny. He says things will get really hard and this is usually when most people give up. They give up right before the thing they really wanted is about to come true.

In life things will get hard, the road to success will be a bumpy ride it is only those that continue the road who will reach the success.

The key to staying the course is being patient and having trust that help is on the way.

When we are in the midst of a storm, it’s easy to get agitated, irritated, frustrated. It becomes the norm to complain. in fact, people expect you to complain. They say things like I don’t know how you are dealing with that, that is crazy how do you do it, better you than me, I couldn’t imagine, maybe you should go back to doing what you use to do, that’s why you don’t do things like that and so on and so on. Often times, they will hop on the bandwagon of complaining and even lead the path. (steer clear of these people)

You have to trust that you are on the path that God has laid out for you, you have to listen to your heart and persevere, you have to be patient knowing that good things come to those who wait. You have to trust the universe and believe that the universe wants you to succeed. You have to trust the lessons you are learning and believe there is something to be learned in every situation. You have to trust help is on the way.

“one dies of thirst just as the palm trees appear on the horizon”-the alchemist

Believing these things will allow you to continue to forge on during the moments of difficulty. The lady in line was just a few moments away from being seen. Had she taken just a few more moments to be patient and maybe ask herself what can I learn in this moment as I wait, her journey may have been easier and in the end faster. On my way out of the store she was still standing in line. Although she may accomplish her goal (checking out) it took a lot longer because she wasn’t patient and she didn’t trust help was on the way. There are no shortcuts to life, we will be tested, we will struggle along the way, but if we are following our hearts the journey will be faster than if we derail from the path, try to turn around, or worse stop.

In the famous words of Dory…..

“just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming”

And believe help is on the way!

My Intent is to be Intentional

Happy New Year!

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What has your first week of 2017 looked like?

Has it started out in all the glory you envisioned in 2016?

Are you well on your way to a great year, a year of change?

Every year we make promises to ourselves that this year will be our year, every single goal we want to achieve we will achieve, we are going to make the changes we need to make. The first thing with these type of promises is that we wait until a new year to make these promises. If you know anything about me you know I believe in living now and if you don’t know then you need to head over to this post and read all about it!

The thing about change is we have to be intentional.

I’ve heard people talk about having a word for the year. I personally have never had a word for a year- after thinking about change and what it takes to make true change- I realized intention is everything and being intentional about your intention is key.

My word for 2017 is intentional!

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Let’s talk about the word intentional. According to the oxford dictionary  intentional means done on purpose; deliberate. When we look at this definition and apply it to change, we realize we have to be deliberate about our actions, we have to do things on purpose.

We can want change, but do nothing to get it.

When we are intentional about our actions, we are thoughtful and focused. We aren’t simply going with the motions of life, we are putting deliberate motions into action. We have ambition.

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Intention is defined by the oxford dictionary as a thing intended; an aim or plan.

What is your intention? What do you have planned? What are you aiming for?

Whatever it is you have to be intentional on making it happen. You have to be deliberate with your actions to make your plans happen. If you don’t know your intentions and you aren’t intentional, you will find yourself floating through life and making the same promises Dec 31, 2017.

I  challenge you to be intentional this year with everything you do. Go through life with clear intentions. Know what it is you are aiming for and then move forward with purpose. Walk with a stride that is confident and full of ambition.

Children Do Not Require Much

“shhhhhhhhhh, shhhhhhhh, shhhhhh. Wait Charlie, It’s too hot!” I heard my little Major say to Charlie. I went to see what exactly was to hot and what I found was the two of them nicely playing with a box. “You want to take a bath?” Major asked her as he continue to make the running water sound. I decided to sit and watch them as they carried on with this pretend bath in this box. At that moment, I realized several things. In watching this innocent pretend play among my children, I had a moment of clarity and another brick from my wall came tumbling down!

Children do not require much.

Yep, you heard it here first! But just in case you didn’t catch it, Children do not require much. I have always known that quality time over quanity of things is more important for a healthy happy child; however, I sometimes find myself getting caught up in the societal ideas of things and the idea of things my children should have. Rather it is educational toys, board games, electronic games, and the list goes on, I find myself running to the store for birthdays and holidays to buy these things, when in reality my children would rather play with miscelanous things they find around the house. Children are really simple beings, it is us who make them complicated. They only require and honestly, desire the basic needs in life food, water, shelter, and love. We, as a society, begin to put these other wants and desires into their minds and change them into something else.

As the wonderful Holiday of Christmas quickly approaches- and I for the first time in my life haven’t run out to buy up the entire stores for my children-still find my self struggling with this idea.

The noise of society swishes around in my head, “your a bad mother””what’s wrong with you” “you’re not in the Christmas spirit” “you need to get it together” “no gifts, what are you going to do for Christmas” and the noise goes on and on. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying zero gifts (that many bricks didn’t fall, YET) however, I am saying quality over quantity. I am saying a packed Christmas tree is no longer necessary. After losing my mom in 2014, we decided to take a family vacation for Christmas. (A) to celebrate  what would have been my moms 50 birthday. (B) to get away and do something different after a really rough time. We skipped gifts that year and took a trip instead. Although we didn’t get to have a nice good ole fashion Christmas dinner, we did have a fantastic time. Memories were made that can’t be trashed, replaced, set aside, or forgotten.

Every Holiday we are told to go out and buy an enormous amount of stuff only to replace that same stuff with new stuff on the next Holiday. Slowly we either replace old stuff or begin to collect stuff that has no real sentimental value.

I want you to think about a thing that has sentimental value to you …………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Got it? No? Need more time?—————————————————

Ok, if you don’t have it by now, these next few sentences won’t apply to you so feel free to skip over them. For those of us who have the thing in our mind that has sentimental value, what makes this thing special? Why is important to you? What is the story behind it? What do you remember about it? Can you tell me a story about it? Sticking with the holiday theme. One thing that is sentimental to me is this little elf  we have on our tree. img_2118

This little elf is special because he has been in our family since 1978. He is important to me because he was on my granny Christmas tree, then my mothers, and now mine. I remember putting this elf on the tree every single year! I always put him on last and I remember I would get into trouble when I was younger, because I would play with him like a barbie doll with the rest of my barbies during Christmas. My granny would get so mad at me, but I absolutely loved to play with him. It was something about him that made me happy, probably the fact he is an elf!

You see the elf himself isn’t sentimental the memories around the elf are sentimental. The memory the elf brings back to my mind when I see him is what is important. Even without the elf himself, I would still have these sweet memories of putting him on the tree.

Is this resonating with you?

Are you getting this?

You see, the thing you thought of probably wasn’t opened in a sea of other things on a random Holiday full of gifts. The thing you thought of has a memory attached to it. I have bought my kids over a thousand items and many of those things they can’t remember. I believe this is because they were too busy opening the next gift and the next gift and the next gift. In a society were we are never satisfied and always saying give me more, give me more, Christmas has done nothing but to aide in this more, more, more attitude.

Think about how kids rip through gifts on Christmas, not having a moment to fully enjoy what it’s front of them, because they are looking forward to whats to come. Wow! Does that sound familiar. Sometimes as adults were are unable to enjoy what’s in front of us because we are looking for what’s next.

Learned behavior?

This Christmas we aren’t traveling, but we aren’t ripping through tons of gifts, we aren’t focusing on presents, but  we are going to focus on the present  and each others presence. I’m going to listen to my kids and give them exactly what their hearts and soul want and require connection, fully and wholeheartedly. I’m going to make memories with them that may become attached to an item they get this year, but it won’t be the item it will really be the memory! I’m listening with to my soul not to my society.

Someday, Major and Charlie will see a box and they will laugh and they will get a warm and fuzzy feeling. I imagine they will say, “I love boxes! I remember when we use to collect boxes and make up games to play with them. Now every time I see a box it makes me happy! Such great memories”

 

Live Inside Your Walls

After brushing my teeth, I begin to put the few things away that were straggled on my counter. As I cleared the things, I stumbled across a spiderman toothbrush cover. I picked it up held in my hand and begin to smile. It was covered in old, hard toothpaste. It must have fell behind my counter, because the kid that adored this toothbrush holder was now in college. I sat down on the edge of my bathtub and listened to the silence. The silence that was once bliss and desired more than anything in the world. Tears begin to stream down my eyes as I held this tiny toothbrush holder in my hand. I looked around my bathroom and it was spotless. Not a thing out of place. I had spent yesterday cleaning it which explains how this tiny treasure had surfaced. I had longed for so long the desire to have a spotless bathroom, you know the kind that you see in magazines. And finally the day had come, and I was sitting in my magazine worthy bathroom balling tears of sadness. Why was I so sad? I pulled myself up and got dressed. Life was so different now, my house stayed clean, I had ample amount of quiet time and I was never short on me time. My career was thriving, yet my heart wished for the ‘good ole’ days. The days when I had tiny feet running about. The days when I had people storming into my bedroom asking me for help. The days when I had tiny arms wrapping around my neck and pecking me with little kisses. The days when my days were full of joyful chaos. Why had I rushed those sweet days away? Why was I in such a hurry for things to be different? Sure, I loved my life now and I enjoyed how things were, but there was still those sweet memories of yesterday.

What is it that makes us rush our present, in hopes of a better tomorrow only to get to tomorrow and wish for another yesterday?

I find myself, as a mother of 9 children at home, hoping for better tomorrows. Hoping that one day I don’t have to fuss as much. Hoping that one day my house will stay clean. Hoping that one day I will have an hour to myself. Hoping that one day I will get a moment of peace and quiet. I find myself daydreaming of these tomorrows. The problem is while I am daydreaming of these tomorrows the today is a blur. As a mother of 1 child out of the house, I find myself wishing for yesterdays when he was tiny. I know all to well what is to come, wishing for yesterdays; however I still find myself hoping for better tomorrows.

It’s almost as though society has arranged it for happiness to be impossible. The system has been setup to never be satisfied always wishing for something. It would have us believe we are incapable of living in the present. We have been programed to be living in the past or looking to the future rather eagerly or anxiously.

I have spent a lot time talking about kicking down walls and living outside the box. But for a moment I want us to live in the box. I want us to stop and look around our tiny little box and recognize the beauty of our box. Not concerned with what is going on outside the box, not wondering how we got into the box, but simply enjoying the box. For a moment we aren’t going to try to rip down the walls and get to a better place, instead we are going to say our box is our box and it’s enough! Can you make up your mind Tanyell….. I know, I know it can seem confusing. But, part of living beyond the walls is recognizing that our walls are our walls.

Let me explain. We take the time to build our perfect little four walls. For me my walls consist of my husband, 10 children, a dog, cat, a few small animals, my private practice, our inflatable business, our spirituality and view of the world, and a few other bricks. I have been careful with building these walls, being very strategic with each brick. However, inside these walls is chaos, craziness, madness, messiness, laughter, yelling, love, tears, laughter, and a plethora of other things. People will often come inside my four walls and begin to tell me what I need to change what I need to do different. I sometimes find myself comparing my four walls to other people four walls. And slowly, the beautiful bricks that I have strategically placed and the perfectly carved wood I have placed, I begin to chisel and hammer down. I find myself beating my bricks up and cutting my wood up with should and could. I find myself saying I can’t wait until this brick is gone or this wood is moved so I can_________ fill in the blank. My once perfect walls slowly get destroyed piece by piece by piece. The light shinning through isn’t a bright happy light of promises of freedom. The light shinning through is a blinding bright light that forces me to cover my eyes. My walls are crumbling and it doesn’t feel good.

In order to repair the holes in my walls, I must begin to plug them with memories and moments of the present. Take time to enjoy the tiny moments that are happening within them. The heftiness of life and all of it’s imperfections. It means allowing my littles to sleep in the middle one more night while my husband and I hold onto the edge of the bed. It means wiping tears and cleaning non existence booboos. It means stepping over toys and framing literal wall art. It means listening to the yelling and screaming and the details of who did it. It means putting the phone down to make eye contact and fully engage in a 20 min story about a teddy bear and barbie doll. It means reading one more bedtime story.  It means walking into a bathroom with tissue hanging off the roll and toothpaste spilled across the counter top from little hands brushing little teeth.

Sometimes life beyond the walls means remaining in our four walls. Sometimes it means not allowing others to come inside of our walls and try to tear them down with their ideals and opinions. Life beyond the walls can mean seeing beyond our walls to know that everyones four walls are different and the beauty inside of each of them is to be held by the person living inside. Before you begin to chisel down the walls in your life, make sure they aren’t your four walls that you built.

After brushing my teeth, I begin to look around at the toys in the bathtub from last night baths, the toothpaste splatters on the mirror from big spits, the clothes on the floor that lead into the closet were pajamas were kept, the tissue dangling from the roll from someone who needed a piece to clean their nose. I looked around at the beautiful mess of life, fun, and memories. I took a deep breath, put my toothbrush away, and walked out of the bathroom leaving the mess for another moment. I went out into the living room and embraced myself for all the mommies and feels that were going to flood me before I could make my way to the coffee pot. I took the time and hugged each and everyone of them looking deep into their tiny eyes and feeling their tiny arms try to wrap around me. I hugged my bigs and remembered their tiny arms. I took mental pictures of this moment and listened to all the dreams and the plans for the day. I didn’t think about the dishes, the work load, the better tomorrows. I held onto this moment and closed in the holes of my walls so no light could get in and I could focus my eyes on the beauty of what was happening inside of my walls. And at that moment I begin to live life beyond the walls within my walls!

Hello, Can you hear me?

Funny thing about communication is everyone is talking about it but no-one is really doing it. Want to learn about communication, better ways to communicate, how to communicate with your spouse, how to communicate with your child, how to communicate at work, how to communicate your feelings you can easily walk into any bookstore and find 100’s of books surrounding the topic of communication. Don’t feel like stepping foot in a bookstore enter communication into the magic google bar and be ready to be overwhelmed with 1000’s of results on the topic. To lazy to type then push that magic button and ask siri and she will have tons of wisdom for you. If you rather talk to a real person, ask the person next to you about communication and they will have a wealth of information for you. You get it. Basically, information on communication is everywhere and everyone is talking about it, even me! However, many of these people aren’t doing it. It’s cliche, I know, however it’s time that we start communicating. Not just any kind of communicating but TLC.

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What does the word communication mean? If we look at it’s latin roots, according to dictionary.com communicate comes from the latin word communicatus which means to impart or communicare impart or inform. However, like many things over the years, decades, and centuries the definition changed. Today communicate can be defined; according to merriam-webster.com, to get someone to understand your thoughts and feelings. Hence, this is what communication looks like for many conversation-799448_640Awww, this explains so much. Let’s begin, shall we?

Many people communicate with the intentions to get the other person to understand their thoughts or perhaps to try and sway or change another’s persons thoughts. There are many books that will even proclaim they can teach you how to do just this type of communication. Here is the problem with this type of communication, you aren’t communicating.  Convincing possibly, swaying maybe, judging plausibly, debating probably. The issue with this definition and style of communicating is you aren’t simply informing but you are trying to get the other person to sway or understand your side.

If we stick to the basic definition of communicate, to inform, we can change the entire way we communicate. Inform is to simply give knowledge. What the person does with it, doesn’t really matter to you. Thus the saying agree to disagree. The type of Communicating I want to discuss consist of Talking, Listening, and Connecting. Yep, taken from my beautiful initials TLC. I base the principles  of my therapy and coaching around this form of communication. Today I am going to break it down for you.

Talking – to communicate exchange ideas through speaking (Dictionary.com)

In order to properly communicate you must actually speak to the person. What I can’t send a text? Nope, you  have to open your mouth and allow the beautiful sounds and words come out of your mouth. Let me pause for a second, and discuss this whole idea of communicating via text.texting-1490691_640

There is a time and place for communicating via text. Want to send a quick message, sure you can text that person. Already have a strong foundation of communicating, understanding, and a secure attachment, then sure you can communicate some things via text. The problem with texting as a foundation of communication is; I can’t hear your expressions and I can’t see your face. I can, however, misread and misinterpret your words that I am reading. Think about it, when we read a book, we all read the characters voice in different ways, we interpret certain things differently, we allow our imaginations to run free this is the beauty of reading. So, what makes reading a text any different. If I don’t have a strong foundation and secure attachment to you, then chances are I am going to misinterpret your text every single time. You text K, I read they are mad, they don’t want to talk to me, they are busy, they don’t care, and so on and so on. When in reality, you simply meant OK. Nothing more nothing less. You text, hey, how are you. They read, they really like me, they were thinking about me, this is going to be My future spouse, they are feeling me. When in reality, you simply wanted to say hi. You get the idea. Without the ability to look you in face or hear the expressions in your voice, I don’t really know what you mean. What this type of communication leads to is the new age communication debating. Trying to convince the other person of something, usually what you meant by the text and/or what they read.

Ok, hit play.

When you talk to someone you are telling them all about yourself, you are sharing your views of the world with them, they are learning how your mind works. Talking, when done properly, is a way of sharing your inner thoughts, your soul.

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How do we effectively talk? The idea of talking is to converse without expectations. It’s a moment when you can allow yourself the freedom of expression without judgement. (we will get to that in a moment) I ask each of my couples to spend 15 min each day talking. I usually give the stipulation of not discussing kids, money, or work. Why do I give such a stipulation? Because this type of talking isn’t soul connecting. Many times people will have filler type conversations. You know the kind of conversations you have with someone while waiting in line or with the grocery cashier. You aren’t exactly bearing your soul to these people. Well, some of you may. I call this type of talking filler talk because you are simply filling space and time. You aren’t interested in really talking or listening to the person and you surely aren’t trying to connect with them. When I take out these 3 topics, many couples say, “what the heck will we talk about then Tanyell?” How about yourself, each other, your relationship, your dreams, your sorrows, and the list goes on. What many people fail to realize is that we are forever changing. Yes, you hear all the time. I am who I am, I can’t change them, I haven’t changed, and blah blah blah. If we didn’t evolve and grow, we would die. We would cease to exist as a species. If you haven’t changed since you were 20…. you get the gist. By constantly talking to each other, we are constantly connecting and learning.

Listening- to give attention with the ear. (dictionary.com)

Can you see how texting in the context of TL C communication isn’t effective. If you are communicating via text, you are reading with the eye, not listening with the ear. I won’t pause again to lecture on texting. Listening is an important part of communication, in fact I would say it is probably the most valuable part. When we listen to a person, we are simply hearing the information they are giving. We aren’t waiting to reply, rebuttal, report, refute, review, restate, or any other r word that I can’t think of right now! Wait,  I have another one, respond. (I humor myself) We are simply listening. When we truly listen to a person speaking, we are able to hear their soul. A person who is being listened to doesn’t feel the need to convince the other person to see things their way. They feel heard and when they feel heard they feel secure enough to talk. See what I did there? (insert emoji wink) Missed it? Ok, let me break it down. In order for a person to feel secure enough to talk to you they must feel that you are listening. This is why filler conversations will take place in lines, because honestly,  who feels secure enough to actually talk to the person in line with them. (yes, I put a period. That wasn’t a question. (inert emoji side eye))

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How do you know you are listening? When you are listening to a person, they don’t feel the need to change their communication style to convince.  In order to listen effectively, you have to hear the person without judgement. A lot of times, when we are listening to a person talk, we are judging. Listening for certain words and key words. Listening with an intent to respond. When you are listening in the context of TLC, you are hearing the person. There aren’t any distractions. This means no cellphones, no tv, no video games, no cleaning, no chores, no computer, and definitely no kids. (the ultimate distraction) You are focused whole heartedly on the person speaking. Giving eye contact. Asking non judgmental or accusatory questions. Really hearing the expression in their voice. It isn’t about you. Ok, I am going to attempt to give an example of this, but remember reading vs listening is different. Here it goes!

P, "How was your day?" 

J, Breathes hard, "Long." 

P, "Wow, it sounds like it. Anything happen in particular today?" 

J, "Not really, I had a report due today, and it wasn't quite right. So, I had to reconfigure some things and it just consumed my entire day." 

P, "Awe, Sounds like you spent your entire day redoing work that felt like you already did. That seems like it could be frustrating." 

J, "extremely frustrating!"

P, "I'm sorry. Do you want to talk about it?" and the band played on

What would usually happen in this conversation is A. P would ask how was your day. J would respond with long. P would get irritated with the short response because they missed the exasperated breath J took and the look of exhaust on their face. or B. P would begin an interrogating round of questions because P has an interior motive of trying to figure out why J didn’t answer their phone or text earlier. See the difference? In order to effectively listen, you have to be selfless. This part of the TLC isn’t about you, it’s about the speaker. You had your chance or your chance to talk  is coming. It’s their chance.  When you remove yourself from listening, you are able to effectively listen to the person talking. And you will be able to officially hear what it is they are trying to inform you about. This leads us to the final and most beautiful part.

Connecting- To join, link, or fasten together. Unite or bind latin- tie (dictionary.com)

Feeling connected to someone is one of the most important human needs. love-806375_640Connection comes in many different forms for humans. There is emotional connection, physical connection, mental connection, spiritual connection, sexual connection. Communication can provide all these types of connections. When you Talk to someone and Listen to someone, it ties you together, it unites you. You feel a connection to them. When a person opens their soul to you, and you receive it, an exchange happens that allows you to connect to the person on a deeper level. Keep in mind this is a double lane road, it isn’t a one way street. This is the difference in a relationship, say with a, therapist. Sometimes a person will begin to feel a connection with their therapist, but that connection can’t be solidified or deepened unless the therapist crosses boundaries and begins to talk to the client. Without both persons being active participants in the T and L, you can’t have the C. How will I know I am connected? Because you will feel it… ok, ok, ok…. I will give detailed answer. You will know you are connected because you will feel secure. You will be ok with a text message that reads K. You will be ok with those short  conversations via text. You won’t feel rejected when your phone call isn’t immediately answered. You won’t get defensive when your talking and they are informing. You will feel secure, safe, satisfied. The feeling of connectedness is individual. We can’t tell a person when she or he feels connected, but we can see it. Actions are different when people feel connected. The entire purpose of communication is to become connected. You communicate to inform to connect. Communicate is equal to connect. Definition numero 2 of connect, according to dictionary.com, is to establish communication between. I want to connect with you, I want to communicate with you. You can’t have connection with communication and you can’t communicate without connecting. They are joined at the hip.

Finishing it up…..

I saw a funny post the other day.

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Whoever wife calls first, pays the bill. 

The thing about this post is the husband who wins, probably, gives TLC to his spouse. They have a secure attachment to one another. More than likely he has already effectively communicated with his wife and she doesn’t feel the urge to call him, text him, dm him, FaceTime him, snapchat him, message him, or whatever else she could possibly do via phone. The wife who calls first, unless of course there is an emergency, more than likely is lacking TLC. So you see, you can’t define connectedness, but you can see it. It shows up in actions. More than likely the moment the rules where stated, the husband with the best communication skills, cheated, and informed his wife about the game! No? Ok, I guess we are the only ones that would cheat…. (insert embarrassed emoji)

This post inspired this blog. I see the couple who lost in my office and I hear the partner exasperation when they say to me, “I called and text him all night and he didn’t answer!! His excuse, he was playing some dumb a@$ game! A game was more important than calling me or answering my calls?!” I hear the defeat/confusion in his voice when he says, “I didn’t know this was going to cause ww1. It was just a game, it wasn’t that serious. They knew I was out, where I was, I don’t understand. I was only gone for a couple of hours.” This is the result of lack of TLC. Rather than  the husbands laugh, high five, and poke fun at the husbands who lost and got a phone call, they should be turning to the husband who  didn’t get a phone call, and asking them about communication.

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Potty Training….. Who does that?!

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I started using the bathroom at the ripe age of just 1 hour old! Yep, I was a smart little cookie. I have no idea how I knew what to do, but somehow I just did! No one had to teach me this must have skill, but yet I did it anyway. I can apply this to eating, crawling, talking, and walking, maybe I am a genius! Buzz… Wrong answer! Amazingly, as humans we are designed to learn, and sometimes without the help or assistance of others! Can you believe that, our survival as humans is totally and completely dependent on us learning and mastering new skills. This information and change in thought process changed my life when it came to potty training my children.

I remember with my first son, playing games like sink the tissue and with my first daughter giving her candy every time she would pee on the pot after sitting there for hours. It was a dreadful and tedious process. I literally stressed myself out trying to get them potty trained by the age of 2! By the time my fourth child came around,  I was over the idea of potty training. Everyone I ran into would recommend books for me to read they were appalled by the idea that she wasn’t potty training. Let’s just be honest does it really matter what age you were potty trained? Raise your hand if you remember what age you were potty trained.  Was this a question that I overlooked on my college application? Does being potty trained by a certain age make you smarter than the next kid? These are the things I began to ask myself. I mean really, what is the big deal? When son number 3 child number 5 came along, I decided I wasn’t going to potty train him. GASP!!! I said to myself as long as he is potty trained before he is 5, it doesn’t matter. My philosophy became if we learn how to walk and talk on our own who is to say we won’t learn to use the pot on our own. Who became the brainiac behind this idea of potty training, and where did they get this magic number from? I was no longer going to stress myself about this. People thought I had lost my mind when I would say I am not potty training him. When I explained our nontraditional potty training, I got remarks like “ok when he is 5 and still not using the bathroom you are going to regret this.” I knew my son was smart, and he picked up on these things pretty quickly. He loved and still loves to learn, is curious by nature, and wants to know and understand everything. Wait, isn’t that every toddler? So my thought was if he saw everyone else in our house using the toilet (more so daddy) then surely eventually he would want to do the same. If all else failed, he isn’t going to walk around in his mess forever, right? So the nontraditional potty training quest began!

I wasn’t going to potty train

When my husband would use the thrown, he would allow my son to watch, explaining that he was going pee in the potty. My son was amused by this feat! First off, daddy as a penis too! Secondly, Look what daddy penis can do! (boys have to love them) Soon my son started peeing  in the shower amazed by his personal feat,  I would praise him for this! Using statements like, “Wow you went pee” “Whoa look what you did you made a peepee” or “Great Job, now you can do that in the potty like daddy”! We would do this routinely with him. Never stressing over it or making him sit on the potty for hours with nothing happening. I allowed him to run around the house without clothing and without a diaper so he understood his little penis would make pee throughout the day. After just a few weeks of this non stress, nontraditional potty training, my little 21 month old started using the potty. He started at home on his own. One day he took out running for the toilet, when I followed behind to see what was going on, I was sure he was getting into trouble. To my amazement, he was going pee! He completely bypassed me and did it all on his own! I of course praised him and genuinely praised him because I was absolutely  amazed and shocked! I got the same feeling of joy I had the first time he took steps on his own! I am proud to say he is less than 3 years old and sleeps through the night without a pull up and doesn’t have any accidents, all of this without ‘formal’ training! Yep, he pretty much learned on his own. I couldn’t care less about the age, I am merely proud because he did it on his own and without me STRESSING!

For me this changed my view of potty training and teaching for that matter. Children are sponges and they love to learn especially visually and when involved.

“Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I learn” Benjamin Franklin

Wheel of Happiness

Often times, life gets unbalanced and we feel an uneasiness about different areas of our lives. We may not feel as happy or drained. This is a clear signal that our wheel of life needs to be rotated and balanced. Here is a free tool for you to regain control over your life and happiness. Download and print off the wheel of happiness.

Choose 8 areas in you life that you want to be happier in. Then on a scale of 1-10 10 being 100% happy and satisfied score how happy you are with each area of your life.

After you have scored your wheel, it is time to take action! Use this worksheet to begin taking action on getting your happiness back.

Feeling stuck, enlightened, or want some encouragement to help you begin taking action. Setup an appointment today and let’s work together on getting back to your happy!

Take a MENET and Enjoy the Moment

Have you ever watched a baby learn how to walk? Have you ever watched how a baby seizes the day and every single moment? Have you ever marveled at how babies are able to continue on after the difficult times in their lives? Babies are a perfect example of how we are suppose to live our lives. What we are designed to be. Imagine if we immersed ourselves into every single new day focusing on what we were learning at that exact moment. Imagine if when we were blessed with a new day we never looked back at yesterday. Imagine if we focused only on today as though there was no other day.

It’s amazing to me how when babies begin to walk they don’t revert back to crawling. (well most times) No matter how many times they stumble or how wobbly they are,they continue to press forward with walking. They don’t fall and say, “to hell with this, I’m going back to crawling”. They pick themselves up and continue to wobble forward laughing and marveling at the new skill they have learned. They don’t think about the ‘good ole days’ or ‘when things were easier’ They don’t focus on running or what they will do next. They are simply focused on putting one foot in front of the next! Isn’t that simply amazing!

The problem with adults is, we get stuck in the past. We get stuck with the should’ve, would’ve, could’ve. We get stuck with the remember when. No matter where we move in life, the past somehow continues to creep up. Unable to not only forget the past, but also unable to move forward, we are frozen in what use to be. To add to this dilemma, adults are  delusional and have a false reality that they are getting a tomorrow. Adults just automatically assume the future is a promised thing. (entitled much) Post on entitlement of the future coming soon!

What is it about the past that is so enticing? My theory is it’s because we have the capability of looking back without futuristic vision. We are able to have an unobstructed view of the past. We are no longer in that moment only to be thinking about the future, so we are able to separate our feelings and really see it for what it was. But the funny thing is the past is happening right now. It’s unfolding taking place even as I type these words. The 1st paragraph of this topic is now in the past. Isn’t that amazing!

With this new found information, can you begin to grasp how important it is to embrace every single moment as it is happening and live it out to the fullest? Where are you right now in your life? Maybe not exactly where you want to be, and that is ok. Like a baby you may have just started walking, still wobbly, and not quite as fast as the other toddlers around you, but YOU ARE walking!! You did it, you stood up on your two feet and took steps! How amazing is that. Immerse  yourself in that feeling of goodness. Applaud yourself for your efforts. I guarantee you, when you start running, you are going to find yourself thinking about when times were simpler and you were just starting to walk. You are going to want to take yourself back to this moment of time, partly because you didn’t allow yourself to really and fully enjoy it when it was happening. While you were learning to walk, you were thinking about how hard it is, how you keep falling, how you should go back to crawling, how you can barely stand and you wish you could run like everyone else. The moment you start running, you will be tired and tired of running wishing you could go back to days of just starting to walk. See this vicious cycle?

The past wouldn’t be as glorified in the present if we actually were present in the past. And the present wouldn’t appear so unpleasant if we were fully present in the present.

Ok, Ok Tanyell I get it I need to focus on the present. This isn’t new information, I have heard this all before. You got me there! However, you still aren’t living in the present. Why is that? My theory, glorified partial past and glorified promised futures. See society has a way of making us think we are suppose to reminisce about the good ole days. Even the word reminisce definition is glorified.

Thesaurus definition: Reminisce – indulge in enjoyable recollection of the past.

Wrong.

My definition: Reminisce-  indulge in a filtered recollection of the past.

Yep filtered because we are able to filter out the bad or filter out the good to meet our needs. Don’t believe me? How was your day yesterday?

Why do people come together to talk about the good ole days, when they should be focused on the time they are spending together at that moment. Society has a way of making us think we are all promised a tomorrow. Save for the future, better days are coming, try again tomorrow, you will get it next time. All these little catch phrases that were designed to encourage us, however, they somehow prevent us from enjoying this day. Basically our today is never good enough until it’s our yesterday.

This same backwards thinking is often tried to be pushed onto to our innocent little babies.

Think about it. Your beautiful baby is born and you enjoy that first month, but then you start saying things like I can’t wait for them to sit up by themselves. You will even prop them up to sit up. The race is on for them to sit up at 3 months. But baby just wants to suck eat, drink, sleep, and poop. Baby isn’t in a hurry to sit up. Baby doesn’t even know that there is a such thing as tomorrow. Then the day comes they sit up, for like two seconds. The next day you are trying to get baby to sit up again, but baby forgot that it sat up yesterday. Yesterday is history. They are only concerned with the little piece of paper in front of them at the moment. Finally, finally baby sits up for like 2 mins and does it again and again! How awesome is this. Clap, clap, clap, clap! Your ecstatic. But a short three week later, you are pushing for them to crawl. They sit up, they clap their hands, they laugh, they smile, still excited about this new thing they are doing. You. Crawl baby crawl. Baby sits up, claps hands, laughs, still amazed at what it can do. You. Put baby on belly, crawl baby crawl. A few months later. The baby begins to crawl! Hallelujah! You rejoice, you post pictures, you call family members, you show everyone. Your baby is finally crawling. I mean they are only 4 months (they must be a baby genius) or It  took forever they are like 7 months. (what is wrong) Either way, they are finally, finally crawling and you are thrilled! Until you find out baby g down the street is walking. (gasp) Now you are pushing for baby to walk. Walk baby. When will my baby walk. All the other babies are walking! Then one fine Friday morning your baby finally walks! Everyone is soo  excited. The day has finally come! You have been waiting for this moment forever. Your baby is walking. (he is only 8 months baby genius) Your baby is finally walking (she is 15 months, something is wrong) But then suddenly and unexpectedly a sadness comes over you, and you remember the day that your now walker was first born and so tiny. Where did the time go? Those same people who were asking you if they were sitting up, crawling, walking are now saying to you, don’t blink time goes by fast, you better enjoy it they grow up fast, before you know it they will be grown. You now want THOSE days back. You wish you could slow down time. You know it’s only a matter of time that this now walker will be running. You long for the good ole days. You wish your walker would let you cuddle them. Now your filtered memory has forgotten the late nights, the colic crying, the spilled milk. What you have filtered through is all the good and you want it back.

Tell me, when were you ever fully present? At any of these moments did you get down on your knees and crawl with your baby? Did you marvel at how their little knees hit the floor? Did you see how their belly would drag along the floor as they slid across it? Did you wash their facial expression as they crawled day after day. Sure you have tons of pictures, but when you see those pictures can you recall the smells, the sounds, does the picture come to life? Sure you were excited, but did you feel your heart beating, did you feel your babies heart beat? Where you fully present? Did you ever fully enjoy that tiny milestone? Do you remember when your baby had you up all night crying and crying, what did your baby smell like? What did their cry sound like? What did their tears taste like as you tried to calm them and kiss their tiny cheeks? What did their skin feel like, their tiny heart beat, their hair on your lips? What did their face look like, what did their eyes say to you? Or do you just remember how miserable you were.

Let me ask you. When was the last time you stopped and looked into your chid’s eyes. I mean literally looked into their soul. Your partners eyes. Your eyes. When was the last time you looked in the mirror and looked into your soul? When was the last time you had a conversation with someone and actually heard what their voice sounded like. The way they  pronounce certain words. When was the last time you tasted every single flavor in a food or a drink? When was the last time you felt someones skin and felt how soft or rough it was? When was the last time you felt the air on your face.  Being present, is more than just putting your phone down. It’s about taking in the moment with every single sense that God gave you. Think about the caveman days. They had to live in the present or the dangers of the world would have made humans extinct. They didn’t have time to reminisce about the yesterdays. They couldn’t worry about tomorrow because they were too busy trying to stay alive today. There is a reason we have five senses, but most of us only use one them. Can you guess which one?

Babies live in the very essence of the day. They use every single one of their senses every single day. When they look into your face they examine it intensely, they touch it, they smell you, they listen to your words with such intensity, and then they go in for the kill and taste you! (we call it kisses) They are fully immersed in you as a being and that exact moment with you. They aren’t distracted with anything else going on. You could have just let baby cry it out. (I hope not) Yet, baby isn’t mad or concerned with what just happened they are focused on the right now. They aren’t worried that in a few minutes you are going to put them down for a nap. They are only thinking about this moment. How incredibly beautiful is that.

If you haven’t figured out how to live in the now, after reading all of that. I’m going to tell you now. Every single day take a menet and be present with what you are doing. Umm you spelled minute wrong. Nope, not that kind of minute but a Mouth, Eyes, Nose, Ears, Touch menet! (if you don’t know by now, I’m cheesy) 😉 But you won’t forget it!

No matter what it is you are doing take some time and use your five senses! Sure you don’t want to walk around tasting every single thing, but you can take a moment and realize the taste you have in your mouth during that moment or the sensations in your mouth. Is your mouth dry or watery. However, when the opportunity fits, use your mouth and taste. I remember my now 13 year old daughter eating dirt one day as she was playing. She wasn’t a baby, but much older. I said to her why did you eat dirt. Her response, I wanted to know what the earth that I was playing on tasted like. How profound!

Now that we have went through all of that. I want you to go back and reread this, only this time take a menet while reading it!

Why Not Say Yes

“May I have some candy?” NO! “May I watch TV?” NO! “May I have a pb&J Sandwich for Dinner?” NO! WHY NOT!!!! What is preventing you from giving your kids a yes?

I recently had the privilege of taking a parenting class for parents who are parenting children from hard places aka parents of adopted children, known as Empowered to Connect. The information given in this class is from the book The Connected Child written by Karen Purvis. To say that the information I was given in this class was wall breaking, is saying the very least. As a mother of both biological and adopted children, I feel like this information should be given to every parent, because let’s just face it, we all come from hard places. Being birthed alone is traumatizing and hard for an infant.

While taking this class, we were given different parenting tools to try and explore, one of the tools that impacted and knocked down so many bricks in a wall I didn’t even know I had built, was a day of yes.

Many times, we think as parents we have to provide structure and protect our children from this big bad world. While this is true, it is also important to connect with our children and build a secure attachment with them. One of the ways to achieve this goal is allowing your children the opportunity to learn they can talk to you, but more importantly trust you. Saying yes to our children could provide them space to not be afraid to come to us in difficult times and ask hard questions, because they know you will answer reasonably and fairly. They learn how to accept no better and with ease. They begin to understand the whys behind the yes and no. If you are a parent that constantly says no to your children, you risk the possibility of them shutting down and shutting you out as they get older. No does not provide opportunities for experiences, growth, or connection. 

For me, this day of yes seemed daunting, I mean I have 9 children at home 8 of them can talk and ask for things. My initial thought was this could and probably will get out of control, they are going to suck me dry. What I found, is that my bigger kids had become so complacent with me saying no they hardly ask for anything. My oldest at home, didn’t ask for anything, and my younger ones while they asked for things constantly; their request were fairly reasonable and within acceptable boundaries. If this was the norm, why was my go to usually no?

I found, I typically say no out of pure convenience and selfishness. Not only was it easier for me to say no, but sometimes I simply didn’t  want to share or stop doing what I was doing to say yes. Examples? Well, on our yes day I fixed a nice breakfast for the kids as they ate breakfast and I proceeded to sit down at the computer to do a little prep for the remainder of the day. My 4 year comes to me and says can I have an orange? Now my go to would have been no eat breakfast. It’s an orange people! Relatively healthy and again an orange. Not a bag of chips or piece of candy.  I said yes, he was ecstatic, he did a little happy dance as we went into the kitchen so I could peel his orange. As I analyzed the situation, I realized I wanted to say no because I didn’t want to stop what I was doing and get up to go peel an orange. Now there are times I would have said not right now, when I finish this, in a minute, etc etc. These are all acceptable, however, many times it’s just easier to say no. No is final! I don’t have to hear now can I have one, are you done yet, is it a minute, blah blah blah. However, yes is final too! It took me all of 30 seconds to peel the orange and he was happy and content and I could go back to what I was doing and actually get it finished. Yes was better than no. Another example, I will usually treat myself to chick fil a once a week. It’s my treat just for me no one else. I came home  with my Arnold Palmer and set it down. I only had a few sips left.a few min later here comes my 5 year old can I have this mommy? My gut turned into knots as my lips started to form no, that’s mine. (I mean can’t this mommy have anything to herself.) That’s what would have went through my mind.  Instead I formed a smile on my face and said yes. Her eyes lit up and she drank the last few swallows. She was a happy girl. In my self analyzing, I realized sometimes, ok most times, I don’t like to share. Had my cup been full I may have been more likely to fail this yes, but the reality is  I could have easily poured her some in a little cup and we both would have been happy. Win win. 

When you have multiple children, you are bombarded with questions all day long. And saying yes to all of them all of the time isn’t realistic nor healthy parenting, however, taking a moment to discern can I say yes to this is what’s important. Understanding the why behind your No.

 My challenge to you is to pick a day and on that day say yes to your child/children  (within reason)for an entire day. You don’t want your child being put in harms way, so please use discernment and common sense. Push yourself beyond your limits and say yes to as much as possible. No matter how bad you may want to say no, if you can say yes, say yes! While doing this challenge, keep track of your feelings and emotions. Remember it’s only for one day! A day of yes is an opportunity for you to not only build a stronger bond with your children, but it also provides you with an opportunity to understand yourself and why you parent the way you do. Saying yes can be enlighting as well as freeing. It opens up doors that you may have never knocked on let alone set foot in. It provides you with the chance to grow beyond your comfort zone, and what happens when we grow beyond our comfort zone? Walls come tumbling down! So, get to it…. Happy Yessing!! 

I’m the Parent. You will Respect me.

When you think of respect, what comes to mind? What does respect mean to you? How would you define respect? 

According to the merriam dictionary, respect is defined as having a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something for their abilities. With that definition, how does respect fit into parenting? 

When I was growing up, respect meant I better do what my mother says or else, it meant saying yes mam/yes sir, it meant looking at my elders when they were talking to me, it meant staying in a child’s place (which I am still not exactly sure where that place was), it meant doing things simply because my mother said so. I remember thinking when I become a parent, I am not going to make my kids do all these things and I am not going to act like this. What I found was, although I may not parent exactly like I was raised, I still had a definition of respect in my head that didn’t fit the definition of what respect really meant. I still had the same ideologies about respect as my parents and the world. I felt like my kids should respect me simply because I was their mother. I mean, I could argue that being their mother is a pretty admirable thing, right! Aside from the fact I am admirable, if I take the definition of respect literal, the reality is my kids are not obligated to respect me. Gasp….. 

Ok, have you closed your mouth and regained oxygen to your brain? Great, let’s keep going!

I have learned two things that have moved me beyond the walls when it comes to parenting and respect, 1. my kids are not obligated to respect me and 2. the things I deemed as respectful were simply things that helped my ego and pride. I know that is heavy stuff. Let’s look at the terms yes mam and yes sir. At one point in my parenting career, I required my oldest child to say yes mam/yes sir to all adults. I felt this was respectful, because my parents made me say it and taught me this was respectful. But, hold on a minute, didn’t you say earlier you vowed you wouldn’t do things your parents did? Yep, I sure did, but again I got trapped behind the walls of life and society and I found myself doing things I didn’t really want to do nor did I understand why I was doing it. But I have digressed, back to topic. 

So, I was requiring my child to say yes mam/yes sir, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why. I tried to convince myself it made him have manners, and he got a lot of attention and I got a lot of praise for his “manners.”Yet and still, Who said that these two words were the be all to respect and the cause of his manners. I mean honestly, I met a lot of other parents who didn’t require their children to say yes mam/yes sir and they were very respectful children with excellent manners may I add. I began to really research and I realized this term was geographical and mostly used in the south. I also realized the brutal history of the term yes mam/yes sir and the reality that the terminology was used to show authority, belittle, and control. It really was a prideful thing. I am your boss you need to say yes mam and no mam to me simply because I am bigger and better than you, that’s it no other reason. I quickly released this idea of requiring my children to say yes mam/yes sir a simple yes and no would be just as efficient. It became as simple as use your words, don’t shake your head at me, open up your moth and speak. Well, this is all fine and dandy if your child has the language and cognitive development to say yes and no. For some children, a nod or the shake of their head may be all they can give and they can still be just as respectful.

This new ideal of thought blew up my thought pattern and required me to question all my ideals surrounding respect. Is respect set or fluid? Is it individualized or universal? Is it earned or given? I believe society likes to tell us respect is set, it looks like this and anything different is disrespect. It’s universal, it doesn’t matter the person or situation respect is respect. And respect is simply given to people in authority, they don’t have to earn it you respect them simply because of who they are. Society doesn’t feel there are levels to respect it is what is and it certainly isn’t a feeling you feel it is a requirement you do. I, however, believe there are two types of respect there is earned respect or the big R and there is given respect or the little r. Given respect is set and universal. Earned Respect, however, is fluid and individualized. Given respect you do, earned respect you feel. Just for fun, let’s call the little r respect SURG (set universal respect given) and the big R Respect FIRE(fluid individualized respect earned). Come on humor me! 

SURG respect is the kind of respect we give to people with titles or who hold certain positions. Examples would be police officers, teachers, government officials, parents, and so on. Some of them may not deserve our Respect and some surely haven’t earned it; however we will show them a set and universal amount of respect simply because of their title. What is set and universal respect? Why I am so glad you asked. Let us turn to the big book of the bible. Although the bible doesn’t use the exact word respect, it does have some pretty good advice on giving and showing respect. Matthew 7:12 treat others the way you want to be treated. Well, Tanyell how is that set and universal? We all may want to be treated differently. Nope, every single person wants to be loved and honored. (Universal) So universal respect shows love and honor for a person. How that is done may look different, but the end result will always be the same (set) the person receiving the respect will feel good after being in your presence. You know how to make a person feel good, because you know what will make you feel good.  FIRE Respect is different, you may have Respect for your mailman because of the admiration you have for them, therefore, you may do something different or extra for them to show your respect. You may give them a card, you may address them by mam or sir because you know that pleases them and out of admiration you want or have the desire to please them. You may greet them at the mailbox every evening and say hello and ask them how their day is going. Your level of respect and how you choose to show it may change day to day (Fluid) and the way you respect them may be different from the way you respect your neighbor (individualized), whom you admire and adore just as much. 

So, how does this work with parenting? First, my kids must know there are some people who they must have a certain amount of SURG for. So, as their mother they may not feel I deserve respect or have an admiration for me, but I did give birth to them and therefore they will show me respect. This means when I am in their presence I want to walk away feeling good. I don’t want to walk away feeling degraded and bad. You can speak to me in a respectful way, you can look me in the eyes, you can acknowledge me when I am in your presence, you can answer me when I speak to you. Don’t talk to me a way you wouldn’t want me to talk to you. You want me to give you my attention when you are speaking so show me the same courtesy. It’s teaching your child to value other people the same way they want to feel valued no matter how they may feel about that other person.   The other side to this is every day I am working toward earned respect from my kids. I want them to admire me and adore me and have a desire to show me FIRE. The type of Respect that goes deep. For me, what many people deem as disrespectful as a parent I do not. My child expressing to me that they are unhappy about their chore and they don’t like doing it, isn’t disrespectful they have the right to express themselves; however, because I hold the title of parent and I provide a roof over their head and food on their table they will do the chore. Why? Because, that is how they would want to be treated if the roles were reversed. At the same time, when my children enter into a room I greet them and say hello or good morning. I don’t wait for them to acknowledge me first. Many would deem this as them being disrespectful because I am the authority, therefore they greet me first. However, because I am trying to earn their Respect I treat them with SURG. I want them to greet me when I walk into a room; therefore, I will greet them when they walk into a room. Treat others how you want to be treated. For me, respect is a two way street. You can’t demand a person gives you big R Respect, child or not. You can’t demand a child says yes mam/yes sir and expect them to continue this behavior out of love as an adult if they don’t truly Respect you. 

What does this mean? Are you saying that I should just dismiss my ideas of respect and let my children run wild? Not at all, I take you back to my original questions when you think of respect, what comes to mind and what does respect mean to you?I challenge you to break down your walls around respect and redefine what respect means to you without the world defining it for you.  Are you giving your children the same type of respect you are requiring of them? Are your definitions of respect prideful and egotistical or are they unpretentious and humble? Should you be respected out of authority or admiration? Ask yourself am I a parent worth respecting rather than fearing. Does your child obey out of fear or respect?  I have a saying, when children are young they follow the rules out of fear, but when they become older they follow rules out of respect. 

Be careful not to confuse control as respect, one is earned through admiration the other demanded through fear. 

Feeling intrigued, inspired, or even irritated hop on over to I’m a great parent , my kid is busier than yours for more indulgence!