Sunday, February 24, 2013

Discussion: Is Homemaking Enough?

I'm reading this fantastic book, "Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity From a Consumer Culture" and am sure I will be doing a lot of posts from this book, but am still digesting it.  I highly recommend you get your hand on a copy of this book. There is a quote in this book that has really hit home to me and I'd REALLY like to hear other's input on how it resonates with you.

"Our gauge of success and personal worth has become so reliant on external validation that women and men now find it difficult to believe that a life centered around the home can satisfy their needs for personal fulfillment and genuine achievement."

Wow, what a powerful statement.  This is exactly what I have been struggling with these past few months as I prepare for the birth of my 3rd baby.  What is best for my family after this baby is born?  What is best for my own personal journey?  Would being home exclusively and not working be enough?

For you moms and dads who are home full-time and not bringing in an extra income, have you struggled with this issue? Have you found that satisfaction with a life centered around your family life?

Jen Starks, Owner 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

My Morning Routine

I have to admit, I am surprised by how good I am actually physically feeling for being at 30 weeks.  During my last 2 pregnancies, I was seeing a chiropractor regularly and waddling my way around at this point.  Even then, I felt very fortunate to feel as good as I did.  Never would I have imagined that I don't have these aches and stiffness throughout the day.  I can't say for sure but my instinct tells me that there are 2 reasons why I'm feeling this good.

First, I purchased a shoulder posture support brace that is basically like a racer-back bra without the bar part.  It can be worn under clothes or over the top.  I don't wear it everyday but on days when I'm around the house doing a lot of bending and cleaning or just on my feet a lot, I like to wear this.  It holds my shoulders back and allows me to breath better.  My chiropractor warned me not to wear it all the time or the  back muscles will relax and rely on its support.  But mostly, it has helped me maintain better posture as my belly grows and adds more of a strain on me.  Presently, I have only gone to the chiropractor twice in my pregnancy and not for pain but general maintenance.  The brace I have is shown below (I snagged it on sale around the holidays.):,default,pd.html
Secondly, I believe my morning routine has been a tremendous contributor to my physical (and mental!) well-being.  For awhile, I have been setting my alarm clock about 15 minutes before my 3 year old's clock told him it was time to come out for the day ("Mommy, my light turned green!").  If my 5 year old daughter wakes up before then, it is no big deal because she can independently start getting ready for school.  Plus, my husband has been super generous and getting out of bed immediately.  During these 15 minutes, I start slowly stretching in bed.  Laying on my back, I start with a spinal twist, hip opener, hamstring stretch, and hip flexor stretch.  Then I would sit up on the side of my bed and do some side stretches, twists, arms stretches, spinal rolls (modified cat/cow pose), head and shoulder rolls.  Finally, I would stand up in front of our long dresser and go deeper into some stretches.  I'd open up my hips with exaggerated rolls (like I'm doing a hula hoop slow and really big), forward lunges to stretch my psoaz muscle, hamstrings, side bends, twist a bit, and then finish with a forward bend.

Taking this time to open my body and also wake up in this gradual manner has been a great way to start my day.  I kinda wish I would have started it before this pregnancy, as it would have helped me be more patient in the morning with my kids.  But now it has finally become routine.  I'm starting my day on my terms, even though it is such a short period of time.

What has been your morning routine?  Does it help to take time in the morning for yourself?  Have you noticed a difference in your day?


Jen Starks, Owner 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Third Trimester- Already?

Well, I'm headed straight into my third trimester.  Having been through this twice before, I know what's right around the corner.  Yep, my days of feeling comfortable and looking pleasantly pregnant are quickly going away as this baby grows these last few weeks.  I absolutely love the second trimester and am so sad to see it go.

Today is the first day where I actually feel (and look) swollen. I thought maybe because I'm doing this through the winter season, I might dodge this.  And I have to admit that I'm feeling better this pregnancy than the past two and am sure it has to do with cooler temperatures.

I'd love to hear some suggestions on what you do or did to help swelling.  It's not so much my ankles disappearing as just my entire body feeling stretched and puffy.  Would you rather be pregnant in warmer or in cooler months?

Waddling just a bit,

Jen Starks, Owner 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Fostering Cooperation Through Attachment

I'm currently reading this fantastic book called "Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm, and Connected"  by Susan Stiffelman, (MFT) and highly recommend you find a copy to read. I have to admit that I have read through many parenting books, especially when I feel a bit in crisis as a mom.  Rarely however, do I come across a book where I agree enough with the concepts to read through the book in its entirety. This might even end up in my permanent parenting resource section on my bookshelf.

One of Stiffelman's basic concepts is the power of a parent (aka the "Captain of the Ship" who creates an environment of safety and steadiness) to form a healthy, strong attachment or connection with their children. When our kids feel truly connected to us and feel like we are coming alongside them rather than at them, they are much more receptive to us.  This also applies to our marriage, co-workers, extended family members, friends, etc!  Stiffelman has 6 Stages of Attachment she lays out (proximity, sameness, belonging/loyalty, significance, love, & being known) to develop a more closer connection.   I'm not going to go in great detail of the contents of each of these stages but it would certainly make another great blog post!

As I reflect on some of the issues I'm having with both my 5 y.o. daughter (sharing issues, sneaking behind my back) and 3 y.o. son (dealing with frustrations), I'm realizing that I can help manage our issues simply by being more present and empathetic to them and working on our personal relationship.  Hooray that it can be as straightforward as this.  Now, we all know that this isn't always easy, especially when we are tired, rushed, occupied, or in the midst of a tantrum (hello, my daily existence!).  But it's in the calm moments later that we can work a bit more to let them know we are hear to listen, learn from them, be with them, and love them unconditionally.  Then we are able to prevent more issues in the future.

Are you feeling connected with your kids right now?  What are some of your favorite ways to spend quality time with them?


Jen Starks, Owner