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How To Tap Into Your Mommy Intuition And Why It’s So Important

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Happy Mother’s Day!

In honor of this special holiday honoring moms, I wanted to blog about something that is often uniquely associated with mothers: intuition.

As moms, we often talk about intuition and wonder what specifically that means. We know intuition is something that’s important for us to be in touch with, but when it comes to dealing with that in actuality it seems to be a very challenging task.

How can we become more aware of our intuition? How can we teach our children that when they feel something they shouldn’t ignore it?

I have a great example. I was standing in the elevator with my 7-year-old daughter. On the sixth floor, an older man walked on and my daughter looked at the guy, made a strange face and whispered to me, “He is strange…”

My first response was to scold her for being disrespectful and tell her that she needs to be nice to everyone, but then I looked at her kind, innocent face and I realized…. She felt something that wasn’t right about this strange man. Weather it was right wasn’t the point. The point is that when your child or anyone you know for that matter tells you about how he or she feels about someone else it is important to be aware of those feelings and to take them into consideration.

Especially when it comes to our children, we want to teach them to be aware of their feelings because intuition can help get them out of dangerous situations. Children are often better than adults at listening to their intuition. They tend to make decisions off how they feel and don’t worry as much about how they will be perceived.

Intuition is the ability to understand something immediately without the need for conscious reasoning. Mother’s intuition has actually been well-documented by research. It makes sense. You are the expert when it comes to your child so your “gut feelings” are going to be more accurate than someone who has only known your child for a brief time. Children, in particular, often aren’t good at expressing how they are feeling, but as a mom, you learn to read their cues. You know their faces, their moods, and their body language. Therefore, you can probably sense when your child isn’t feeling well before he or she is even showing physical symptoms of being sick.

It’s productive for mothers, and really all people, to learn to become more connected to their intuition. Of course, we have to be careful to not let fear guide our actions. There are several things you can do to become more connected with your intuition – and a big one is meditation. Taking time to sit still, breathe, and be in the moment allows all the clutter to leave our minds. The more present and focused you are, the more you will be able to listen to your heart so to speak.

Another suggestion is to pay attention to your dreams. This doesn’t mean you need to analyze every dream you have, but if you are having recurrent nightmares about something there’s a good change your subconscious is uneasy about something. Also, pay attention to your body. What is it telling you? Like my daughter in the elevator, if someone or something makes you feel uneasy you should be responsive to that feeling and take the time to identify why you are feeling that way. Most adults have learned to shut down a lot of their anxiety because they believe it’s a hindrance to their daily life. It’s important to remember that we shouldn’t ignore our feelings because they can be helpful.

For more ways to tap into your intuition, check out this list.

The Tyranny Of Perfection And How New Mothers Can Avoid It

Never fake yourself just to look perfect because perfection is never real and reality is never perfect.

As parents and child care providers we often attempt to be as perfect or as close to perfect as possible.

When I had my first child, I forced myself to breastfeed her for as long as I could because A) my grandma from Israel told me that I had to and B) I believed it was the best for my child.

I also had my mom who came from Israel helping me, and she too wanted to make sure I breastfed my daughter. When things didn’t go the way I planned and I ended up with sores on my nipples and severe pain, I thought I had no choice but to continue to be as perfect as I thought I could be.

As my daughter grew I read every possible book about child development and spent hours and hours searching the internet to make sure I knew whatever it is that I had to know in order to best understand my daughter and her needs. Of course, being a nanny for almost 10 years provided me with a lot of experience, but having your own child and having to take care of her 24 hours a day is a whole different story. 

Very soon I realized I allowed everything I read and heard to affect me, and without even being aware, I found myself comparing myself to other moms and comparing my daughter and her development to other kids her age.

As the months went by, and especially when my daughter entered pre-school, I realized that I had allowed myself to be all consumed by this idea of perfection.

What does it even mean to be a perfect mom? Is there such a thing? I wondered. While the answer is loud and clear — NO — it wasn’t as loud and clear to me as a new mom. I was surrounded by incredible moms who devoted many hours to perfecting this idea of motherhood. 

New moms are often guilty of asking other moms questions about parenthood. While it’s great to have a network and learn from one another, what I found as a new mom was that we often spend so much time comparing ourselves to other moms, it turns into a competition of who we think is doing “the best job.” Some of the questions that I remember plaguing me back then were, “How long did you breastfeed?” “How soon after giving birth did you go back to work?” “Did you have a baby nurse?” “Which company did you use?” “How old was your son before he was potty trained?” “What pre-school did your daughter go?”

Striving to be the perfect mom can be very stressful and anxiety provoking.

What would it be like if you were just trying to be a mom? Not a perfect mom and not even close to perfect. Just being a mom to your child and embracing who you are while enjoying every moment with your child. What would it be like if moms stopped judging themselves and their imperfections? What if we got rid of the self-inflicted guilt? 

Here are four simple suggestions that I wish someone had given me when I first had my daughter:

  1. Don’t try to be perfect. In fact, expect to not be perfect and to make mistakes. 
  2. Enjoy being a mom and don’t allow whatever you are reading or whatever you hear from other people to affect how you raise your kids unless, of course, you believe in whatever it is you read or heard.
  3. Accept yourself as a parent with a unique style of parenting and always listen to your own intuition. Also, accept your child for the person he or she is.
  4. When you find yourself judging or comparing yourself to other moms, know that you DO have the power to redirect your thoughts and tell yourself that it’s ok to be just where you are — and that where you are at this moment is exactly where you are supposed to be.

You will soon find that when you do the above you will be less stressed and anxious and you will enjoy motherhood in a whole different way. 

3 Quick Tips For A Less Stressful Week

With Halloween weekend and trick-or-treating last night, I’m sure many moms are feeling exhausted. When any kind of holiday throws off the routine, it affects children even more than parents. It makes getting everyone off to school and to do things like homework way more stressful when you are dealing with exhausted kids (who have probably had quite a lot of sugar).

Over the past weekend, I was talking to a mom who called me in a panic. She said her 3-year-old was driving her crazy. After venting for 15 minutes, she told me she felt terrible because she felt like she sounded just like her own mom, and that made her upset. She didn’t want to always feel so annoyed.

Together, we came up with a list of three action steps she could take to alleviate her stress and turn her interactions with her daughter into more positive ones. I think these are particularly relevant for any parent who is feeling extra exhausted or on-edge, especially when maybe your kids have been particularly busy or are acting out.

  1. Don’t take things personally. In general, people who don’t take things personally are more easy-going and less stressed as they don’t let situations affect them. Especially when it comes to being a parent, you can’t take your kids’ actions personally. If they are exhausted and yelling at you, this is not a reflection on you as a parent. Kids’ emotions and temperaments can be so fragile. Keeping this in mind and not blaming yourself as a parent will help you stay calm.
  2. Forget about perfection. As parents we often expect our kids to look and act “perfect,” whatever that means to each parent. When we stress out over the fact that our children don’t want to wear the outfits we picked out for them or stayed up past their bedtime or perhaps the house hasn’t been cleaned – we aren’t forgiving ourselves for being human. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect parent.
  3. HAVE FUN! We often forget that it is ok for parents to also have fun and enjoy parenting. If you think about what you do as a parent and review the past week in interacting with your children, your list will be similar to most parents I work with. When I have parents list it out, their interactions are basically a series of commands to their kids. Particularly on a fun week like this one, where there is a holiday and our kids are dressing up and acting fun, remember to take part in that joy with them. Experiencing the joy simultaneously will not only be a bonding experience, but it will help you keep focused on what’s really important.

How Exercise And All Its Positive Effects Can Be The Ultimate Solution For Busy Mothers

After I had my three girls, I went through a period where I felt sad, lonely and exhausted. I just didn’t want to do anything – especially exercise. The only thing I thought I needed was sleep. I was convinced if I could just sleep for a really long time that would solve everything because I felt so overly exhausted.

Then, a friend who is a personal trainer and a dietitian suggested I exercise 30 minutes a day. I had done a little research about exercise and the brain, and it was obvious to me, of course, that exercise affects our body and makes us look and feel better, but I really wanted to learn about what is really going on when we exercise and how exercise could help me with my mental state as well as my physical state. I decided if I was going to start exercising, I wanted to document the progress that I was making so I could see the effects of what I was doing. I knew if I could somehow quantify the evidence within myself, by actually practicing what I had even preached to other people, it would be worth it. So, I made a decision to document my mental state for one week without exercise. I did that after I researched the effects of exercise on the brain and mood. I wanted to understand exactly what hormones are being released when I’m exercising, and I wanted to make sure I was recording the specific things I was feeling before and after I worked out.

I documented my feelings for one week without exercise and realized what I obviously knew – I felt exhausted, my mood was up-and-down and my emotions fluctuated many times throughout the day. Then, the first day I exercised I spent five minutes after writing about how I felt. I did that for one week. By the end of this week of exercise, I realized that by working out for 20 minutes a day my overall mood had improved, my emotions fluctuated a lot less and the endorphins that were released during my exercise were helping me start my days in a much healthier state of mind. My mood fluctuated less and I was less tired even though I woke up 30 minutes earlier to make that extra 20 minutes in my day for exercise.

What am I trying to say here is, of course, we are busy moms and as I’m sure many of you can relate to, we often feel exhausted and like we don’t have time to do anything – especially adding 20 more minutes to our days for exercise. But what I know is that if you really take a break and think about what you have going in a given week, maybe you can find even three days or two days and document how you feel before and after adding a workout in to your routine.

I started this experiment about 10 year ago, and you are probably wondering if I’m still working out for 20 minutes a day. Sadly, the answer is a big NO, but I will tell you that when I do make the time to exercise at least two or three times a week for even 15 minutes, then I do feel the effects. I do feel better and am able to perform at work a lot more efficiently. I can see the positive effects on my social life, relationships and everything else. My point is that if we all at least make an effort to think about our bodies – particularly the connection between the brain and our physical fitness – and to understand why it’s so important for us to exercise and really know all the positive effects, then maybe we’ll make a bigger effort to exercise and to really give it the time of day. I truly believe you can make a huge difference in your life by making such a small change. The beginning of summer is the perfect time to start a new habit that you can take with you through the new season!

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