Archives for March 2011

Cutest Baby Contest

Okay, yes… we are suckers for the babies! So when our friends at Baby Kid Expo asks us to partner with them on the Cutest Baby Contest, resistance was futile. We want to see your cutest baby pics… and share them… and gush over them… and have everyone else gush over them too!

GRAND PRIZE
The most-gushed (a.k.a. most voted) will win a fabulous basket of snap books from Snap Stories and a Treasured Picks Photography package, altogether valued in at $255. Your cutest baby pic will also be used in the 2012 Baby Kid Expo advertising campaign.

TO ENTER
1) Post your pic on our Facebook Wall (yes, you have to Like the page first) between now and noon on April 20.
2) Come back between April 21-29 to see if your cutest baby made the 15 finalists and VOTE!
3) Visit our booth at the Baby Kid Expo on Saturday, April 30 at the St. Charles Convention Center to find out if you won!

*Kids have to be 24 months or younger.

How to Tune In

This Sunday, Suzanne and I are facilitating a workshop at Passport to Power — a day-long mom-daughter conference in St. Louis. The event’s mission is one we strongly believe in, empowering girls through stronger connections with their female role models. Our morning session is called Sing Your Truth and will focus on how to tune into our own inner wisdom and how to model this for our girls. Of course, our regular readers know we can talk about this for days!!!

Intuitive guidance is a gift — a compass in a confusing world of too much external input, competing and conflicting agendas, and no clear cut answers. I already see it in my before-bed conversations with my daughter: My friends want this, but I don’t. Is that bad? Should I tell so-and-so what she said? Our night time ritual is now loaded with questions that are a lot more complicated than they were, even just last year. My response is usually a version of, “What does your gut tell you?”

But how much do we tune in to what our gut tells us? How often do we slow down enough to listen to the truth that our bodies already know? It’s an undoing or an unlearning, really. Because society places so much value in what we can decipher with our heads, what is logical, what makes sense….  As we “grow up,” we are taught to ignore what our gut tells us for what intellectual evidence our mind provides. In this sad way, we are unconsciously taught to distrust ourselves. And if we can’t trust ourselves, who can we trust?

The mental/emotional noise reaches a fever pitch in moments of real crisis. That’s just not the time to start turning to our inner guidance. If you start learning how to swim in the baby pool, you’ll actually fare better when you get tossed out in the raging sea. So I like suggesting that we start this practice with ourselves and our kids with the easy stuff: Does your body say, eggs or pancakes for breakfast?

The advanced level questions are ones like: What does my body say about this job/project/relationship?

Last week, I had the opportunity to steal away to Mexico for five days. No one else but me! Which meant this: I ate when I was hungry, I drank when I was thirsty, I slept when I was tired! It was an opportunity to tune into my body in a very elemental way. It was like a re-setting of the compass, back to due north. Since my re-entry into the noisy world, I’ve been practicing checking in and allowing my gut to set my priorities and guide my path. It’s been nothing less than magical!

So if you are in St. Louis, I hope you’ll join us on April 3, 9-3pm at The Doubletree Hotel in Chesterfield. It’s going to be a fabulous day. My dear friend and expert dreamer, Jen Lemen is doing the opening keynote on planting dreams for a hopeful world, so we can all learn how discovering and claiming your dreams can you help you develop and grow. Our breakout session for the moms is right afterwards, while parenting expert Annie Fox works with the girls on “Real Friends vs. The Other Kind.”

But it’s not all talk! There’s a luncheon, makeovers, massages, hairstyling, crafts, lots of photo opps, a boutique and silent auction. Oh yes, in addition to being a great day to spend with your daughter, Passport to Power is also a fundraiser for Girls In The Know, a nonprofit that hosts a speaker series year-round in St. Louis that helps start conversations between moms and tweens on body image, relationships, safety and the birds and the bees.

Space is limited at the hotel so go grab your tickets now! :)

How to Start Talking Birds & Bees

I pulled this video because, one, my girlfriends and I, all mother’s of ten year old girls, were JUST talking about this over lunch the other day. We were all in different places as far as having had “the talk” but agreed it was time if one hadn’t begun to share about this important subject . I for one think any age is a good age to talk about sex , or in the bigger picture, sexuality, with your kids as long as they are asking questions and are interested in your answers. Starting de-mystifies the whole topic so that one day you don’t have to just out of the blue ask your son or daughter to have the big TALK.

I remember having it with my mom and all I can say is that it was uncomfortable, not helpful, isolated occurrence. I wanted to go about things differently with my kids so we’ve been talking about sex in little and big ways since potty training. It started with my husband and I using the correct anatomical names for body parts instead of woo-woo or whatever else we might have come up with. 😉 We said (and still say) vagina. It’s not that it’s so easy for me to speak freely about all things sexuality with my kids, it’s just that it’s IMPORTANT to me. So I do. I sometimes even go a little out of my way to bring the topic up following something we see on television or out and about.

Have you started to have conversations with your teen/tween about how their bodies are changing: why they need to start wearing deodorant or when they can start shaving or why everyone is whispering about Suzy and Johnny? Watch this VIDEO of a Girls in the Know session with Dr. Denise Meckler, OB/GYN and this one by Ria and I on How to Talk About Sex. I hope they get the conversations started in your home or maybe just a bit further along.

Related Articles

How to Talk About Sex

Zen Mommy is Suzanne Tucker, co-creator of the Yoga Parenting course. Are you ready for parenting to be easier, more fun and less stressful?

How to Move Beyond “Good” and “Bad”

This is such an important conversation. Are you a bad mother?

In honor of the Guilt-Free parenting week we kicked off for BabyCenter.com last week, I pulled out these awesome interviews on being a “bad mother” in today’s world.  Watch as Ria Sharon and I team up with three other outspoken and prolific mom bloggers to interview best-selling author, Ayelet Waldman’s memoir, Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace. We interviewed Ayelet live on MyMommyManual.com a week after the book’s release and as part of a book tour that also included a session with Terry Gross on Fresh Air and another on the Today Show.

“You guys are amazing! I’ve been writing for ten years and this has definitely been the most fun, the most interesting, the most creative interaction I’ve ever had with readers and I’m so grateful to you all. You’re the bomb.” ~ Ayelet Waldman

If you would rather listen to the skype audio only… (no echo!), click HERE!

One of our mommies said this about this morning’s event…

“Let me push you to doing more of these b/c they are fantastic. I really loved how honest the conversation was. I think women in particular need to reclaim our “gut level” instinct & not be afraid to be honest & real no matter what people think we “should” do.

WE KEPT THE CONVERSATION GOING!

We invited moms to join us a week later on May 18th to continue the Bad Mother conversation and how this issue is reflected in many women’s lives. We even dove into the topic of “Bad Dad”,  the societal pressures men and women feel. Don’t miss the end where we talk about being selfish and how we women GET to encourage one other  with a little more “ass-slaping”. Yes, it got a little crazy. There was a lot of laughing and much inspiration in the raw, honest talk between us… five moms, yes, but five women as well.

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Suzanne Tucker is publisher of MyMommyManual.com and co-creator of YogaParenting, an online parenting course. If you liked what you read here, she hopes you’ll JOIN My Mommy Manual for always free parenting tips, inspired by the idea that we get to “look inside for instructions”.

 

How Achievement is Stressing our Kids

I am too excited for tonight. Not only am I going on a much anticipated date-night-out with my honey, we are going to see a great document to which I received FREE tickets. Woot. Always a nice thing. Thank you MO History Museum for giving me and two other couples in my St. Louis Mom’s Meetup group tickets. We are all looking forward to seeing “Race to Nowhere”. I’m bringing tissue as my friend Kim, mom of two teen boys, told me she saw it and it made her cry.

This documentary won like four different film festival awards. The flier for it explains the film as follows:

“A concerned mother turned filmmaker aims her camera at the high-stakes, high-pressure culture that has invaded our schools and our children’s lives, creating unhealthy disengaged, unprepared and stressed-out youth.

I was talking to my tween about this very thing last night. She had fallen asleep doing her homework the night before only to wake up at 3am to a sheet of unwritten spelling word sentences. Twenty four left to write. She woke me up at 3:58 am, disoriented and confused… and then got to work on that unfinished homework.

She told me about all this the next morning. It had taken her an hour to finish the work, so at 5:00am she tucked herself back into bed to sleep for another 90 minutes before her day began. She told me how GLAD she was to have woken up and finished her work as five other kids at school that day had not finished their spelling word sentences and had to stay in at recess.

None of what my daughter shared with me is out of bounds. If she had completed her work at 5pm instead of working on it at 9pm, none of it would have even happen. But I mention it because I think it speaks to the normal amount of stress kids feels in middle school. Add to that sports or a demanding parent and/or teacher and the stress levels rise way beyond what our tweens and teens need to be dealing with.

I hope you’ll join me in re-committing to avoid OVERSCHEDULING. Less is more. I’ll let you know what I thought of the movie tomorrow!

Followup: Okay – it’s tomorrow and I’m telling you, you HAVE TO SEE THIS MOVIE!!! Sign up for it on Netflix or where ever as soon as you can. See it if it comes to your city. IT is that important. Talk about a great conversation starter as well. My husband and I stayed up and talked about it for hours after seeing the film.

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Suzanne Tucker is publisher of MyMommyManual.com and co-creator of YogaParenting, an online course helping parents create more joyful, less stressful parenting. If you liked what you read here, she hopes you’ll JOIN My Mommy Manual for more inspiring (and free) parenting tips, delivered regularly right to your Inbox.