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Yin and Yang Mom by Renee Jensen - 3d ago

If you’ve followed any of my writings, you know that I’m a multi-tasker through and through. Show me a mom who isn’t, #amirite?  In fact, I’m literally drafting this now in my phone, as I walk on the treadmill.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s something to be treasured about having a few moments to work out in solitude. But if given the chance to walk with some friends, usually mommy friends, I’m always down!  I lovingly refer to these walks with friends as “Walking Clubs,” dating back to when my high school best friend (still my BFF to this day) and I would spend our summers walking through our childhood neighborhood.

What’s the appeal of a mommy walking club?  (Aka “stroller strides” as I’m told it’s referred to by some). Well for starters, it kills 3 birds with one stone: exercise, socialization and gabbing! Not necessarily in that order either, depending on the day.

Here are my top 5 reasons for loving myself a good ‘ole walking club:

  1. I like being physically active when I can or am in the mood to be.  Sometimes that’s going to the gym, other times it’s doing a 20-minute video in my house and other times, it’s taking a walk around my neighborhood.

  2. Exercise feels like less of a chore when it’s combined with friends!

  3. It’s nice to be able to get together with friends, with or without kids, and spend time doing something we don’t always get to do together.

  4. Walking – and I’m talking power walking here – is juuuuust intense enough for me to sweat and feel like I’ve done something good for my body without the commitment of an actual run.  Perfectly my speed! And kudos to those of you who DO run!!!

  5. If your kids are young enough, it’s a great opportunity to get everyone up and out of the house together!  A change of scenery always did well for me when I had babies in a stroller who came along for the ride.

Tis’ the season to be out and walking. Happy strolling, everyone!

Julia holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from Columbia University, advanced Clinical Certificates from NYU, and certification in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy from the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy. Julia can best be reached at julia.hochstadt@gmail.com or via her website www.therapywithjulia.com.

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Do you remember that silly thing we used to do when we had a crush on someone? We’d pick a flower and pull off the petals one at a time, chanting, “He loves me, he loves me not.”  And whatever the chant of the last petal, that was your destiny.  (Of course it wasn’t, but it was fun.)

Do you feel loved? Kids, pets, spouses… we love to feel the love from them, only sometimes it doesn’t have the look and feel we want. Sometimes it’s the opposite and we question whether we are important to them at all.  Let me begin with a story about our dog, Kessie. 

I know Kessie loves me.  I think.  She sure has a funny way of showing it. When I walk in the door she’s so excited to see me.  Well, not really; it’s her insatiable desire be outside.  One lick, and she’s panting at the door, frantic to get out.  And I am NOT exaggerating.

I was away for five days for a coach training.  My husband picked me up at the airport and I hoped that once, just once, I’d get a really warm welcome from her.  She flew down the stairs, jumped on me, gave one lick, and scratched at the door to be let out.  Sigh… Kessie’s just not the cuddly type. It doesn’t help that our first dog, my sweet Goldie, was 100% a love bug, and I can’t help but make comparisons.  (Comparing your children is a whole other discussion which we’ll save for another time.)

What’s the lesson in this story?  It’s not about me.  The love is in there somewhere, but Kessie acts first from her own needs, which are to be outside in the fresh air with room to run and explore (and hunt - ugh).  When she first came to us from a rescue shelter, she followed me everywhere, even to the point of leaving her food if I left the kitchen.  That was more about her need to not be left alone, than love for me.  And that’s okay.

What does this have to do with you and your child?  Parents have shared their sadness at a growing chasm between them and their child.  It feels like anything but love and connection.  He loves me, he loves me not?  On the surface it changes from day to day, moment to moment.

When children push you away, it’s not because you’ve done something terribly wrong and are undeserving of love. You are the person they love most, no matter how they protest.  You are their safe harbor in a confusing world.  Most likely they are working through something, going through the adolescent phase of separating, or you’ve given them an answer they don’t like.  Their reactions and responses to you are about their needs, not yours.  Your job is to love them no matter what. 

(NOTE:  They may be rude, loud, or shut you out, which is expected at this age; however, just because they are acting in a predictably adolescent way doesn’t mean you ignore disrespectful behavior.  There are ways to address these behaviors without lecturing, punishing and talking louder than them. Your other job is to model more loving and productive ways of responding in difficult, button-pushing situations.)

There are many days when parenting requires a thick skin.  When my children were toddlers, I remember having a higher threshold for the tantrums.  I could attribute them to fatigue, overstimulation, limited verbal skills, their tender age, and lack of experience. 

 As they move into and through the teen years, you have higher expectations for your kids’ ability to behave at a more mature level.  The fact is that their brain hasn’t reached the maturity of their body, and you’re often disappointed.  That requires more patience on your part as well.

When you separate yourself from their behavior, you all win.  When you stay calm in the face of their craziness, you all win.  When you love them in spite of themselves, you all win.  Hmm, maybe it really is about you…

He loves me, he loves me not?  Yes, he loves you.

Fern Weis is a Parent Coach and Family Recovery Coach, supporting parents going through challenging times with their teen and young adult children. She helps parents build a relationship based on trust, have healthy boundaries, and improve communication so they can confidently prepare their children to reach their potential and thrive through life’s challenges. www.fernweis.com

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“NOTES FROM THE EDITOR

This blog was published on what used to be mytime-out.com. I thought it was the perfect time to re-publish for the Yin and Yang Mom community! Summer is upon us and while it comes with joy, time spent with family, and everlasting memories, it can also come with a lot of stress. This blog is a reminder to acknowledge the tough times but to also be present in every day with a grateful heart.

Have a beautiful summer…

”
— Renee Jensen

School has been back in session for a few weeks now, yet I find myself reflecting back on our summer…what we enjoyed, and what I wish we would have done a little differently.  Specifically, what could I have done a little differently? For that, I have to take you back to the very beginning of the summer!

Each and every summer, I find myself in a similar position…excited for a break from the everyday routine, downtime with family, mornings to sleep in late, making fun summer memories and spending quality time with my family.  I am extremely fortunate that my husband is a high school teacher and gets the entire summer off. Summer for our family is a true vacation. But, if I was going to be totally honest with you, I should also tell you that summer is often accompanied for me by a colossal to-do list.  I always think that I will be super productive with my hubby home and the lack of a routine. And, truth be told, it very frequently throws me into a state of overwhelm!

This source of overwhelm for me is not uncommon and it is certainly not reserved for the Summer alone.  I am a very typical Type A personality…competitive, goal driven, motivated and driven by a desire to succeed.  In many areas of my life, I have been served extremely well by these characteristics…academics, athletics, my career.  I have experienced tremendous success and, truth be told, I have also enjoyed the recognition that has come with it. Yet, here I am, at a new point in my life, where I sometimes wish that I was a little less “Type A!”

In just a few short months, I will be 40 years old.  I have three children (ages 10, 7 and 4) who are growing up too quickly.  My daughter just started middle school for crying out loud, my middle son is a second grader, and my little guy just began his final year in preschool.  I have a career that I absolutely love! I am an Executive Sales Leader with Norwex and I am truly passionate about educating others about radically reducing their chemical use, with products that are truly life changing.  And, with this career, I have the ultimate flexibility. With three kiddos and a busy schedule, I couldn’t ask for any better. But, for someone like me, that blessing of flexibility and complete control over my own success, can also be a curse.  You see, I know that Norwex is going to be absolutely huge in my area, and I know that I am instrumental in making that a reality. It also really doesn’t feel like work at all… I have fun with my job and it is so inspiring. In fact, just before my daughter went to bed the other night, she looked at me with tears in her eyes (this is a true story!) and told me that I inspire her every day to work just a little harder than she did the day before.  When you are driven to succeed, and love what you do, and you want to earn the next incentive, or the next trip, it can be hard to stop working. But, at the same time, I know that my kids are only going to be young for so long… and it is already going by too quickly! That colossal to-do list and my Type A tendencies are just going to have to take a back seat sometimes. It’s not just my Norwex work… I would love a perfectly organized home, without piles of papers on the countertops and legos all over the place.  But, you know what, that’s not my reality at the moment, and I think I am finally starting to be ok with it!

So, when was my Winnie The Pool revelation, you ask?  On a rainy summer afternoon, our whole family went to see Christopher Robin.  I’ve always been a huge fan of Winnie the Pooh and my kids were excited to see it as well (I think my hubby just came along for the ride).  There were a lot of poignant moments during the movie, but one in particular really spoke to me. Christopher Robin, who grew up to be a rather Type-A individual himself, found himself reunited with his childhood friend, Winnie the Pooh.  Stressed to get back to his tasks and his to-do list, he wondered and asked Pooh what day it was. “Today exclaimed Pooh. My Favorite Day!” I immediately welled up with tears. Here we were, with just a few precious weeks of summer remaining, and I still felt overwhelmed by all of the tasks that I had yet to complete.  But…at that moment, something shifted in me and I decided to do my best to enjoy the time off with my kids, without the sense of overwhelm in the back of my mind at all times. The truth is, you really should treat “Today” as your favorite day, and do that as much as you can!

It is now Autumn, and we have quickly been thrown back in to our frantic daily routines.  So, did my inbox get cleaned out? Nope…it’s still sitting there with 28,000 emails in it! Are the photos downloaded and organized?  Not yet! But, we enjoyed the end of our summer as a family, and I hope that we made some great memories all summer long. It’s also my last year at home with my preschooler.  So, after lunch when the laundry needs to be folded, and the dishes are piled in the sink, and the papers are stacked on the counters, my son will often ask me to play. There are some times when I want to say no because there is just too much to get done before the after-school activities, and all the chaos that ensues with three kids, in three different schools.  But, I am doing my best to remind myself that my to-do list will wait, and he will only be home with me for this one last year. So, we are playing more…more shooting hoops outside, more building with blocks and more quiet moments with books. I am trying to do more of that with my school aged children as well. Will I still be a Type-A personality, driven by success and my to-do list.  Of course! But, I am trying to remind myself every day that “Today is my Favorite Day” and that I will never get today back!

Jamie Silver is an Executive Sales Leader and Independent Sales Consultant at Norwex. If you want to learn more about Jamie's Norwex journey visit her at: http://jamiesilver.norwex.biz/

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Yin and Yang Mom by Renee Jensen - 1M ago

The other day I was walking around – tearing through, if I’m being honest – the house, tidying up.  This goes there, that goes here etc. And as I was running around, I noticed my daughter’s daisy uniform laying on the foyer table.  It’s bright blue, hard to miss (unless you’re one of the other humans with whom I reside. Sigh) and had caught my eye on my last several passes past the table, but on this occasion, it occurred to me that I might as well bring it upstairs and put it away on my next trip up.  I’m nothing if not efficient.

But just before I went to grab it, another task came to mind.  “Don’t do it!” screamed one part of my brain “You’ll just get distracted with that and will completely forget about the task at hand (daisy uniform) which will then drive you nuts, which will then mean the uniform stays put…” “But I’m here!” screamed back the random thought in its own self-advocacy, “and if you don’t do me now, you’ll forget about me entirely!”  And sure enough, I did the other thing (I couldn’t tell you what this was if I was offered $1 million and tried really hard) and promptly forgot about what the hell I was doing in the first place a moment later. I got a good chuckle out of this scene, as you can imagine. And was equally annoyed that I had forgotten what I had been doing in the first place. No time to dawdle though, and a moment later, I was on to something else.  Don’t ask me what that was either.

And this is the conundrum I know we are each are faced with all too often, as I hear from my friends, my patients, and posts on social media mommy groups.  Is it because we’re moms?

Is it because I’m getting older and exhibit symptoms of CRS (Can’t- Remember-SH#T)?

Is it because I firmly believe that no one in my house cares about these thing besides me?  I think the answer is yes to all of the above.

When I was much younger and before I had kids, this never would have happened to me.  I was a bit neurotic about remembering things and most times, rarely forgot about them.  Errands, chores and other to-do’s were completed with relative efficiency. Frankly, I think I held myself to a standard that was at times, a bit too high, and if I’m being honest was not easily achieved without making myself a bit crazed in the process.  On the rare occasion that I had forgotten something, I would be pretty harsh and critical of myself and it was difficult for me to channel my inner Elsa and just let it go.

As I’ve gotten older, I feel pretty proud of myself about how I’ve changed as far as this is concerned. Without much choice really, I’ve adapted to not being able to achieve this standard anymore, and lots of times, I don’t even come close to it.  I do the best that I can and have learned to laugh in spite of the frustrations – at times – largely as a way of coping, I think, but also because the hilarity of it all really does just give me fuel for the next thing coming my way.  And they say laughter really is the best medicine, right?

I’ll be right back – just heard an email come through. The phone just rang.  Lunchtime. Coffee run. Kickball practice. It’s raining and my windows are open.  Hitting the gym real quick.

What was I just saying?

Julia holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from Columbia University, advanced Clinical Certificates from NYU, and certification in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy from the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy. Julia can best be reached at julia.hochstadt@gmail.com or via her website www.therapywithjulia.com.

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How many times have you heard (or said), "You're only as happy as your least happy child"?  Wink, wink, nod, nod. It's code for 'My kid is miserable, and so am I.'

I spent a good part of my parenting years going down into the pit with my children. Our family has had more than its share of challenges.  And even though my children are adults now, there is no shortage of things that I worry about, some serious, others not so much.

The truth is that I'm a champion worrier and it’s exhausting, mentally and physically.  Something has to give, because I don't want to live like this anymore. There are too many of us out there. This way of living is slowly killing us and our kids.

We worry and then hope things will get better.  We build up our hope and are let down. Build up, let down, build up, let down. It really is insanity.

There are things going on in my family that are distressing. The stories aren’t mine to tell; however, I can share how I react and respond.

Initially I went into the pit of despair.  When things are uncertain, out of my control, I go to ruminating and worrying and problem-solving… all in my head, of course.  And what rolls around in my head I quickly feel in my body. It’s the pattern of a lifetime.

“Live in the present… and the future will take care of itself.” READ MORE…

Up until recently, I could be aware of the thoughts and sensations and feel trapped.  I didn’t have an inkling that I could feel otherwise. Now I’m more aware and more responsive.  I’m starting to catch myself ruminating (all right, obsessing), and shifting to a more productive thought, meditation, breathing exercise or other activity.

I can only do what I can do in this present moment.  Regret is about the past, and worry is about the future. None of us have any control over either one. Louise Hay, a healer and one of the founders of the self-help movement, said, “Your power is in the present moment.”  These are words to live by, and I’m working at it. This includes working with a coach who has been helpful and supportive beyond words.

When we live in the past or the future, we give up any power we have to positively influence our own life and the people we love.  Notice the word ‘influence’, not ‘control’. This idea of control is mostly an illusion that gets us into trouble.

How is your being miserable about your ‘least happy child’ hurting both of you?

If you’re a constant worrier, it’s taking a toll.  You may feel powerless and hopeless, in a state of agitation.  It can affect your sleep, your eating, your productivity, and your health in general.  And like many parents, the more you worry, the more you try to control and micromanage.  It’s a normal reaction to want to fix the source of your distress.

All this has a spillover effect on the child you love so much, about whom you worry.  Parents who attempt to fix everything and smooth the way are doing their children a disservice.  These kids take longer to learn self-regulation and responsibility for themselves and their actions.  They are deprived of opportunities to develop coping and problem-solving skills. If you do it for them, they don’t learn how to do it for themselves.  Our parenting job is to step aside and allow them the dignity of their own journey, of figuring life out for themselves.

“Good intentions… and the road to hell and back” READ MORE…

The best of intentions work against them.  What you really want - a child who is self-reliant, confident and ready to enter the adult world - drifts farther from reach.  You end up with the opposite: a child who relies on you to take care of his or her life.

Of course there are times when you have to make a unilateral decision on behalf of your children.  Their health and safety are paramount. Then there are instances when you can step back and let them begin to handle problems and mistakes themselves. You can be available to help, if they ask for it.  They may not get the desired results, but there will be important learning along the way.

‘Letting go’ may be simple to understand, but it is not easy to do.  You’ve spent their whole life nurturing, protecting and teaching. Changing that mindset is not easy, yet it is critical that you do it.  Being miserable doesn’t help you or your child. There are many resources available to you: parenting workshops, therapy, coaching, clergy, books, mindfulness/meditation, recordings, support groups.

Choose one.  Take one small step out of misery and into calm, so your children can step forward into a more confident and satisfying life.

Fern Weis is a Parent Coach and Family Recovery Coach, supporting parents going through challenging times with their teen and young adult children.  She helps parents build a relationship based on trust, have healthy boundaries, and improve communication so they can confidently prepare their children to reach their potential and thrive through life’s challenges.  www.fernweis.com

GET FREE TIPS!!! “5 Powerful Steps To Get Your Teen To Talk”

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Laura and I had our third coaching session.  She came to me because she was worried about her 14- year old son who was slacking off in school and in danger of failing classes.  There were also problems at home with getting cooperation and respecting limits.  At our last session, together we came up with some strategies and wording.

5 Powerful Steps to Get Your Teen to Talk! For more support and a free parent guide, visit www.fernweis.com. If you’re ready to take a deeper parenting dive, I invite to request a complimentary consultation.

1)  Shifting responsibility back to her son by offering choices.  That ended up sounding something like this:  "You can either put your things where they belong or you can leave it to me... only you're not going to be too happy with my solution.  The choice is yours. How would you like to handle it?"  Laura wasn't going to do the picking up anymore, but she didn't want to be in a power struggle, either.  With this approach she was calm and clear about what was expected and what the choices and outcomes could be. No surprises. No wheedling.  And I know Laura well enough to know that she would be able to follow through.

2)  Acknowledging feelings.  This is big.  In most situations, when we acknowledge our kids' feelings, they end up being more receptive to learning and self-correcting later on.  Laura practiced applying the skills to a few situations and agreed that there was great potential in them to improve their relationship and her ability to help him through tough times.

3)  Take five.  When you're angry or confused, step back and think about what you really want to say.

Here's the part you really want to read.   Less than 24 hours later Laura called.  She was out the night before and received a phone call that her son, and a couple of friends, had been picked up by the police for vandalism.  You can imagine what it was like when they returned home... or can you?

Her first impulse was to do what many parents do in a pressure-cooker situation like this:  yell, cry, accuse, question, threaten, wring their hands.  After two sentences, Laura stopped herself, remembering what we had discussed just that morning.  She told Jared that she was upset and didn't want to say things that were hurtful and would not go anywhere good.  They would talk again later.

And they did. A lot was said, and here's what you need to know.  She asked him how he felt about what happened.  Embarrassed?  No.  Worried?  No.  Ashamed?  Yes.  Laura offered him the words until he found one that fit.  She helped Jared identify the emotion, and he continued talking. 

Laura made it clear that he would take the consequences and find a way to help pay the fine.  No argument from him.  Jared also agreed to go for counseling.

While this family's story is distressing, I consider it a success story, too.  I don't know how things will be one month or six months down the road.  What I do know is that this week Laura took a big step.  And having done it once, she'll be able to do it again.  She

    a) stood her ground and put responsibility where it belongs.
    b) stayed calm.
    c) applied what she learned to a tough situation.
    d) helped her son process what was going on within and without.
    e) created trust between them (in spite of what happened).
    f)  saved a precious relationship that could have been seriously eroded by anger and fear. 

You are an inspiration, Laura.  Thank you for letting me tell your story.

Fern Weis is a Parent Coach and Family Recovery Coach, supporting parents going through challenging times with their teen and young adult children.  She helps parents build a relationship based on trust, have healthy boundaries, and improve communication so they can confidently prepare their children to reach their potential and thrive through life’s challenges.  www.fernweis.com

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You want your children to leave the nest one day, confident and self-sufficient.  You won't always be able to protect them and walk them through every difficulty, nor should you. You want them to be able to financially support themselves, have good friends and relationships, to be healthy, and to handle what comes in healthy ways. How do you help them to be ready for a successful and satisfying life?

It helps to know a little about EQ, Emotional Intelligence.  It is defined as "a measure of a person's adequacy in such areas as self-awareness, empathy and dealing sensitively with other people."

With all the focus on grades and achievement, EQ gets lost in the IQ shuffle.  Psychologists agree that when it comes to success ingredients in life and career, IQ counts for 10-25%, while EQ is responsible for the rest (up to 90%)!

5 Powerful Steps to Get Your Teen to Talk

For more support and a free parent guide, visit www.fernweis.com. If you’re ready to take a deeper parenting dive, I invite to request a complimentary consultation.


First, a little more about EQ:

1.  Self-awareness - the ability to recognize emotions as you feel them is the number one element of EQ.  When you tune in to your true feelings, you can learn to understand them and manage them.

2.  Self-regulation - Emotions happen, but it's up to you for how long and how intensely they stick around.

3.  Motivation - Accomplishing any goal requires a plan and a good attitude, all keys to finding the motivation to complete the work.  This includes reframing negativity into more positive terms.

4.  Empathy - The ability to recognize how people feel, and acknowledge those feelings, is critical for healthy relationships, be they social, business or intimate.

5.  Social Skills - We all have instant access to information and technology, so there's nothing unique there.  It's the people with great interpersonal skills that will tip the scales to success.

It's up to you, us, parents, to teach them and walk them through it. ~ Fern Weis www.fernweis.com

Our focus must be on #1 and #2, self-awareness and self-regulation. (They are in the first two spots for a reason -- you can't have 3, 4 and 5 without them.)  Unfortunately, these are not areas of strength for teens.  They are busy figuring out how they fit into their new, expanding world. A teen's (normal) all-about-me perspective does not include introspection and self-examination (self-awareness) and they are mostly reactive (lack of self-regulation). 

This doesn't come naturally.  But just because it doesn't come naturally doesn't mean they can't learn it.  It's up to you, us, parents, to teach them and walk them through it.

Fern Weis is a Parent Coach and Family Recovery Coach, supporting parents going through challenging times with their teen and young adult children.  She helps parents build a relationship based on trust, have healthy boundaries, and improve communication so they can confidently prepare their children to reach their potential and thrive through life’s challenges.  www.fernweis.com

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Yin and Yang Mom by Renee Jensen - 3M ago

Once upon a time, many moons ago when I would go out with girlfriends, I was always turned off by people hitting on me.  It seemed lame, intrusive and offensive and really didn’t flatter me all that much. At the time, my girlfriends would give me a hard time, tell me to loosen up and to find the humor, the charm even, in being hit on.  But I honestly just couldn’t. Rather than feeling like a million bucks, it made me feel like a piece of meat.

I’ve been working in the anti-violence field for nearly 20 years.  In the course of my career, I’ve encountered thousands of survivors of violence coming from all walks of life.  I’m not sure if it’s simply how I’m built, (I know that my work has shaped my life as well), but in my social circles of women, I’ve never been particularly fond of being randomly hit on.  I’ve always been one of the only ones, if not THE only one, in many of my friend groups who rolls their eyes, says “thanks but no thanks,” or walks away without a second look. LOSER. Keep it moving.

Now, as a mature woman, wife and mother getting hit on happens a whole lot less.  But it happens! (Hey, I still got it). But my idea of flirtation at this point in my life has a whole lot to do with respect.  At this point in my life and career, if someone tries to convey fondness or affection for me, especially someone that I do not know, by touching me in any way - I lose my mind.  It takes all of my restraint not to turn around and scream to anyone who will listen to GET YOUR F’ING HANDS OFF!  My blood boils.

My blog this week has been inspired by several thing, least of which, that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  It’s a time of year that many come together to advocate and educate around sexual violence in our country. In addition, within the past month, I’ve been inappropriately, disrespectfully touched by men who I did not know and I’m pissed.  For the record, I wouldn’t (and as far as I’m concerned, it’s up to an individual to use their own language for their own experiences) categorize these as sexual assaults. Rather, what they represent is the total thoughtlessness on the part of some others when it comes to women.  And I’m sick of it. I’m sick of it for me, I’m sick of it for my clients and I’m sick of it on behalf of those of you reading this who can relate.

The interactions I experienced presented themselves as ‘innocent’ enough.  

A few weeks ago my husband and I were at an upscale restaurant for dinner.  Our table wasn’t ready so we waited at the crowded bar for a drink. As I stood next to my husband, a passing waiter needed to manage his way around me.  As he did, he casually caressed the small of my back and lingered there a second longer than necessary – or appropriate, given the fact that my body does not belong to anyone other than me and we don’t know one another.  I stood there, dumbfounded for a second before I could pull it together, enough to convey what had just happened to my husband who had missed the entire interaction.

But isn’t that the point?  To get away with something so sly, so ‘innocent,’ so ‘accidental’ and quick, it could be as if it never happened?  As if it were so small and nothing that it “no big deal?” But it did happen and for me, this IS a big deal. The waiter had copped a feel and I was left stunned.  The next week or so I couldn’t stop thinking about this. I was mad.

Shortly thereafter, I had another interaction of the same kind.  I parked my car at my usual garage in the city one evening to see patients.  I know the guys who work there, I’ve been a regular customer for months. They’re nice to me.  But on this particular day, when the garage attendant handed me my parking ticket, his fingers grazed and lingered on mine in a way that again, was totally unnecessary.  And worse, made me incredibly uncomfortable.  I remember I was on the phone with a girlfriend at the time and told her what had just happened.  I told her again how mad I was. And worse, I wondered if I would feel comfortable enough to continue to park my car there.  F HIM, I thought to myself. This is my garage. Dude, just take the keys, hand me my ticket and tell me to have a nice day.

Some of you may be reading this and thinking to yourself “what’s SO BAD about the things being described here?  Isn’t this innocent? Isn’t this flattering?” And I get that perspective 100% if that’s what works for you. For me however, after encountering thousands of survivors of sexual violence, I know that these types of interactions demonstrate a complete disregard for the other person.  Ultimately, these behaviors demonstrate power and control. If you touch someone without their permission and in a way that makes them uncomfortable – you’re wrong, plain and simple. And these interactions did and continue to make me feel uncomfortable.

After doing this work for many years, I know the value in offering people a space to be heard regardless of bruises, signs of injury, evidence or by someone else’s definition of something being “that bad.”  I know that there is tremendous value in coming together as a community to discuss these private matters and in MAKING THEM PUBLIC. As a woman, a person, I’m so sick of this stuff that it makes me want to scream.  Today, instead of screaming, I’m blogging. Thank you for reading.

Julia holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from Columbia University, advanced Clinical Certificates from NYU, and certification in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy from the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy. Julia can best be reached at julia.hochstadt@gmail.com or via her website www.therapywithjulia.com.

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We hear a lot about our children being part of the ‘me’ generation.  And to an extent that’s true. 

“Give me, buy me, get me, you know nothing, the world revolves around me and my needs and feelings.” 

In their eyes, it’s all about them.  We expect it, and know that it’s part of adolescence.  But… how you deal with it is all about YOU.  Getting your message across and making a lasting, positive impact on them is about you.  What you feel and how you respond is up to you.

You know how your kid always knows what to say or do to aggravate you? How she has an unproductive (read ‘negative’) attitude, pushes all kinds of boundaries, and drives you crazy?  You may yell or bite your tongue, punish or ignore, but every action elicits a reaction.  It’s actually a law of physics.

Guess what?  It starts out being about her, but ends up being about you.  Yes, you are always the center of the universe, even when it feels like it’s about someone else. That’s true for me and my family, too.  When I am reactive, I come from a place of victim hood and powerlessness. Nothing good comes of it, and sends a bad message about personal responsibility.

Are you equipping your children with the right life tools? For more support and a free parent guide, “5 Powerful Steps to Get Your Teen to Talk”, visit www.fernweis.com. And if you’re ready to take a deeper parenting dive, I invite to request a complimentary consultation.)

I know you’d like it to be all about your child, or your spouse, or your co-worker. Then you can say that ‘they’ need to change, nudge them to do so, and be annoyed when they don’t. It takes the focus off you.  The fact is that the only one you can change is you.  The only actions and reactions you can control are yours.  And remember, if you let your emotions rule your reactions, you’re definitely not in control of anything.

Our deepest desire as parents is to be a positive influence on our children, showing them how to be productive, to respond to stress in healthy ways, and be in loving, respectful relationships.  That doesn’t happen when we are sidetracked and lose our cool.  It doesn’t happen with nagging, lecturing and punishing.

When you work on you, you can have a positive impact on them.  How do we describe the parent who is doing this work? 

This parent is…

* is aware of strong emotions as they arise (instead of reacting emotionally).

* waits to respond in stressful situations (instead of saying something  she’ll regret or not enforce).

* stays focused and on topic (instead of letting a child distract her from the issue at hand).

* keeps the bigger picture in mind (because often the issue is more fundamental than whatever the child just said or did).

* understands that her child is watching and learning from what she does (even when her child protests that she couldn’t care less).

* holds herself to a high standard (at least as high as the one she sets for her child, in all things).

* examines her own attitudes and actions (instead of placing blame elsewhere).

This list creates high expectations for parenting.  In your hectic life, filled with non-stop demands and responsibilities, it feels daunting; not doable.  It is doable though, and by you.  As with all big projects (and this is a big one!), you have to start small.  Read through these points again and find one that you’re willing to try. 

Being a parent can be more satisfying and rewarding when you’re the healthy center of your universe. 

Now is a good time to start.

Fern Weis is a Parent Coach and Family Recovery Coach, supporting parents going through challenging times with their teen and young adult children.  She helps parents build a relationship based on trust, have healthy boundaries, and improve communication so they can confidently prepare their children to reach their potential and thrive through life’s challenges.  www.fernweis.com

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Life Insurance…

I’m going there. 

Who should have it? 

How much? 

What does it cost?

I’m going to start with the last question first.  What does it cost?  A better question might be, what would it cost to not have it?  While many people feel it is an expense, I think it’s invaluable.  If you drive, you have car insurance, I’d hope.  I feel this is the same for Life Insurance.  The benefit of life insurance can keep a family in their house if a parent dies, help a child go to school and be a backstop as a family picks up the pieces of broken hearts as they transition into their new “normal”. 

Connect with Miri…

Who should have it?  In my opinion, everyone.  The focus should not only be on the spouse who works outside but also the stay at home parents.  The logic is reasonable, if someone works, you need to replace their income.  What happens if it’s the stay at home parent?  There are other expenses to take into consideration, childcare.

How much should I have?  This is a tricky question.  It’s different for everyone.  There is no “one size fits all” answer.  Looking at all of the expenses and needs of the family is the first thing to be considered.  How many years of income are you looking to replace?  Will the cost of living go up or down?  What are the plans of the survivor?  Do you want to have more while your children are younger?  Will the insurance be used as a potential savings vehicle? 

These are just a few questions to think about while planning your insurance needs. The answer for everyone is different and it’s yours.

Have a conversation with your family.  It isn’t the most glamorous or easy conversation to have but it could save a family from hardship.  As always, reach out with any questions or comments you have, Miri@SynergiaFinancialGroup.com

Miri Upton is a dedicated Financial Adviser, working with individuals, families, and business owners to organize and simplify their financial lives. With a focus on education and empowerment, she is passionate about providing tools to help fulfill their hopes and dreams. Miri currently holds Series 7 & 66 Registrations, Life, Health & Accident Insurance Licenses and have received the CRPC® and CRPS® designations. Whether your goals are to save for retirement, education, estate planning strategies, or risk protection, Miri can customize a strategy for your specific needs.

Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC and advisory services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc., Miri Upton, Representative. Synergia Financial Group, LLC and Securities America are unaffiliated. This site is published for residents of the United States and is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security or product that may be referenced herein. Persons mentioned on this website may only offer services and transact business and/or respond to inquiries in states or jurisdictions in which they have been properly registered or are exempt from registration. Not all products and services referenced on this site are available in every state, jurisdiction or from every person listed. The third-party comments displayed are not verified, may not be accurate and are not necessarily representative of our client experience.

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