foodie · health · quarantine · Uncategorized

Changing Your Perspective on Food

What is your relationship with food? Do you eat to nourish your body? To bring you joy? To comfort you? To satisfy your hunger? If you’re like most people, you probably answered “yes” to all of the above. Me too!

However, as I’ve gotten older and cared more about my health and feeling good, over time I can honestly say I have shifted to eating more for these two reasons: to satisfy hunger and to nourish my body.

I think part of the reason we struggle as a culture with our food relationship, is that during phases of our life, we have placed too much focus on the other two reasons: we reach for food to bring us joy and to comfort us.

The greatest shift can happen for you when you stop (and this is the magic sentence, hence the boldface) stop choosing the foods you eat for the taste factor and choose them for how you know they will make you feel.

Those who are around me for much time at all are surprised at how easily I can say “no thanks” to a big bowl of ice cream or to donuts. It’s because I’ve learned I’m lactose intolerant and I’ve spent many a day doubled over in a ball on my bed, with the sharpest imaginable pain in my gut due to eating dairy. Same can be said for gluten. I have slowly evolved to the place where I care more able how I will feel for the rest of the day than a few brief moments of “yummy.”

When I have weak moments and give in to either my own cravings or into peer pressure of what those around me would prefer to eat, I always regret it. Physically, and sometimes also emotionally. Our physical health as you know impacts our emotional health, and vice versa. So before I choose what I want to put in my body, I try to always ask: is this the best thing I could be eating right now? Am I eating it because it is yummy? Is that the only reason? How will I feel after I eat this?

Another catalyst that helped me make the shift, was learning that the “food on the aisles” are loaded with preservatives and some of those include additives that make you crave more of that food. Some of you reading this may feel betrayed by the food industry and angry to learn this – I know I did. These are the packaged foods: boxed, canned, frozen. A good rule of thumb: if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, don’t eat it.

This is why I suggest to folks to shop the perimeter of the grocery store: meats, seafood, dairy (we do lactose free), fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts. The good stuff, the healthy stuff, is always on the perimeter, not in the aisles (this is generally true, though there are some good foods to find in the aisles.) You need to eat real food.

What I wasn’t expecting, is that once I cut out the junk food, I stopped craving it. Now I pretty much crave real fresh food. Then I read a quote that pretty much summarizes this idea: “what you eat you crave more of. ”

So if you eat junk, you crave more junk. When you eat real food, you crave that. The hard part is making the shift. When I cut out junk food, it wasn’t easy. It helped that I was pregnant, and my primary goal in life was to provide the healthiest possible environment for my baby to inhabit. I had a greater motivation and something outside myself that helped me have the willpower to make the change.

It also helped that my mom had been diagnosed with Alzheimers and my research to help her benefited my whole outlook. It was then that I learned about the terrible effects of artificial sweeteners.

And later still, when my oldest child was diagnosed with migraine headaches, my research to help her led me to my knowledge of food coloring and sugar. Both of these are migraine triggers and I would recommend cutting these two out to anyone who suffers from them. Even further research of food coloring led me to how  it effects those with ADD, and I learned sugar consumption lowers the immune system.

I realize these aren’t popular schools of thought and may even be unwanted because they don’t line up with how you would like to eat, but if you are aware, I promise your outlook on how you eat with shift and YOU WILL FEEL BETTER.

And in the face of a worldwide pandemic, as we are right now, you need to be reaching for every possible advantage that you can to increase your wellness and immune system so that you are resistant. Eat for your health, friends. You are what you eat.

 

 

adventures with kids · clarksville · kids · quarantine · Uncategorized

Our Second Week of Quarantine: “Spring Break”

I know we are like so many who have mourned (or are mourning) the loss of our spring break plans. We had so many fun adventures planned! But instead of being sad, we got creative and found ways to make the most of our time.

I felt like the girls deserved a week off – no school work. If it was going to be their spring break, quarantine or not, I was determined to make it the most fun I possibly could for them.

Neighborhood walks are the best medicine.
We went for a walk almost every day. It is amazing what being outdoors and taking in the vitamin D does for the body. Loving some sunshine after rain almost every day last week! Madeline asked for a horse, and I remembered a couple of stick horses I had bought way back, stuck in the closet and had forgotten about. I pulled those out and she has loved riding her hobby horse all over the house and outside.
Meet Diamond. 🐴
All of the rain delivered lots of growth in the beds so I weeded and prepped them while the girls played outside. Lots of bike and scooter riding, basketball, and badminton. Sidewalk chalk, bubbles and jumprope were favorites too. They enjoyed these simple pleasures so much.
Sidewalk chalk and bubbles
The girls asked to do some school work, which I hadn’t planned on, as I said, with this being Spring Break. But if they are wanting to learn, I am never saying no to that. Madeline working on ixl and AC worked on science fossils diagram.
AC found a recipe for Nutella fudge, and had been talking to us about it, writing it all out and begging for the ingredients to make it for several days. Larry got everything for her and helped her make it over break and she was over the moon. And her fudge was amazing. She seems to have a natural knack for cooking just like her dad. If we can just train her not to lick her fingers!
Watch out! This girl is going places. Everything she cooks up is amazing.
I had read on social media that many folks do Takeaway Tuesday. So many restaurants that we had been wanting to try have made the shift from dine-in to curbside and take-away, so we took a drive and picked up Nicholetta’s southern chicken salad and a calzone from Caprizios. We also did a curbside pick up of art supplies from Michael’s. It is so great that they offer this option! I ordered a giant pack of markers, some water color paper and a Frozen II jewelry making set for Madeline.
Nicholetta’s for the win!
It was a rainy day so we did washable marker designs on the watercolor paper and let them sit outside in the rain for a tie dye effect. AC was missing her friends so we let her call one of her best friends which she needed and loved. Madeline made one of her friends a necklace, colored her a picture and wrote her a letter. Both girls have enjoyed writing letters and receiving them. They discovered hangman and have become obsessed with the game.
Rainy day art!
Hangman!
When we were out getting Nicholetta’s we had noticed something we never noticed before – our favorite ice cream shop, Golly G’s has a drive through! So the next day, we hit the Golly G’s drive through for ice cream then took it with us to the park to enjoy outside. We hiked Spur Line Trailhead, which is a lesser known path. I like that you run into very few if any people. It is pretty with lots of flowering trees and the girls love crossing the bridge.
Spur Line Trailhead – downtown Clarksville
This was our “big trip” for break, but I do think we social distanced well and followed guidelines. AC had been begging to go to Five Daughter’s Bakery in Nashville and it was near the top of her bucket list for spring break. Well, when I was looking over our would-have-been-plans, Five Daughter’s delightfully stood out to me as something we could still do. They did online ordering and curbside pick-up so minimal human interaction. We got our 100-layer-donuts and took them with us to devour at Radnor Lake, another bucket list item. I told the girls awhile back that it was Taylor Swifts favorite park and they have begged to go there since. I thought it was doable since we would be close by and wanted to do a nature walk anyway. It was breathtaking. None of us were expecting it to be as beautiful and charming as it was. We will most definitely be back! When we got home I cut back monkey grass in our front bed while the girls blew bubbles and did sidewalk chalk.
Radnor Lake – our new favorite place.
To wrap up break, we had a rainy day, and treated ourselves to a spa day: charcoal soap, facial scrub, mask and foot bath. This could be habit forming!
Finally, I took Madeline to our small country store down the road (she calls it “the honey store.”) While we were there she discovered the little free library and found a book on butterflies. It was windy and I quickly remembered our kites I had picked up a week ago. It ended up being the perfect day for flying them.
Little Free Library
Kite flying success
Uncategorized

Our First Week of Quarantine: Homeschool Life

Required school closures and quarantine have evoked fear and panic in some, but to me it is an opportunity to experience life at a slower pace. There is a part of me (and probably you too) that has yearned for to be free from rushing around and schedules.

I have often told my children stories about what life was like when their dad and I were their age. We had time to run and play and be creative, to really be kids. A silver lining of this quarantine has definitely been the chance for them to sample what that’s like.

We LOLed when she finally guessed her card and had to say “I am nuts.” 😁

When our schools first made the decision to close, we eased into this, not really understanding how serious it was for us to stay home. Right or wrong, the first few days we kept hair and doctor appointments, and took the girls to the grocery with us. The talk of toilet paper shortage became real for our family when we were down to two rolls and my husband was unable to find any at our stores here. I drove to the next town over and chuckled at my own excitement when I scored a big pack of t.p. and paper towels.

Score!!!

We found out schools would be closed for one week, then we would have spring break. We wondered if we would go back to school after spring break, so we continued with school work: writing assignments, projects, ixl and checking Google Classroom. So many educational sites offered free access which has been wonderful. We had a homeschool experience. My girls took to homeschooling right away. They wanted time to read books, write, and do some online work, but loved the freedom to pursue their own interests, have choices, and to be able to move and talk throughout the day. We did math on white boards, and made a leprechaun trap for St. Patrick’s Day.

Homeschool.

I thought about what school would look like as a teacher and wondered what resources students and parents would need that I could provide. We were asked to pick up personal items from our classroom. When I went in I felt sad looking at the empty desks wondering when I would see students in them again. We all worried about students on free-reduced lunch who received FUEL (a bag of food given weekly by schools). We wondered how they would be fed and were proud of how our district and school responded to meet the need.

P.E. class has looked like going on walks. Getting outdoors has been a challenge some days due to cooler temps or rain, but when we were able it was wonderful. Going for daily walks bring joy. One day we walked a trail by the creek and the rain poured. We all got soaked but the girls didn’t seem to mind. Being outside is really important for all of us during this time. We need the fresh air, and Vitamin D.

Creativity and board games have served us all really well. The girls made dresses out of paper towels for their Barbies, we did watercolor and all kinds of art work. Lots of games played: checkers, Guess Who and Connect Four have been favorites.

The girls made dresses for their Barbies out of paper towels.

I have so much gratitude for the time we have and want to get it right. I want to love on these kiddos, make sure they feel safe and help them enjoy these days as much as possible.

Don’t let her sweet face fool you. She is a tough opponent at checkers!

 

Uncategorized

Be Wellness-Minded: What You Think About You Bring About!

All media seems focused on one thing: Coronavirus. Not recommended friends. I am intentionally avoiding social media like the plague (pun intended) and so should you.

We must take it seriously, and we must change our habits because of it. But the WORST thing we could do right now as a collective consciousness and talk and think about this scenario 24/7.

We know that what we think about, we bring about. Right? So then why in the world do we all want to beat the drum of something unwanted and give it more energy?

Instead: Let’s focus on the POLAR OPPOSITE. What do we want? Wellness.

Here are my quick ten wellness mindset practices:

  1. Think and speak thoughts of wellness. Visualize you and your family as well.
  2. Make it your habit to practice supporting your immune system. For specific tips and practices check out my post on immune system boosters.
  3. Stay off social media to the extent possible and avoid CNN and FoxNews. My dad used to refer to the news as “the bad news.” The older I get, the more I see he was right.
  4. Stay calm. We do need to stay home, to flatten the curve. But don’t panic. People get worked up in numbers and blow things out of proportion. This only contributes to the negative energy and attracts the unwanted.
  5. Be proactive. Do things you should do anyway. Wash hands. Avoid shaking hands and other unnecessary physical contact. But not to the extent of anxiety.
  6. Stay positive. The more upbeat you are, the higher you are vibing, the less at-risk you are of attracting unwanted. Focus on positive aspects as much as possible. Make lists if needed.
  7. Self-care. If you don’t take care of yourself you won’t be any good to anyone else. Have a nice cup of tea. Give yourself a facial or mani-pedi. Take a bubble bath. Read a good book.
  8. Meditate. I questioned myself if this should be number one. Why? One of the biggest stumbling blocks for most of us is negative thought. And what is the best way to get off that wagon? No thought. In other words, meditate. Negative thoughts and feelings are such a big component to this whole situation if we are honest. If everyone could take a big deep breath and clear their mind, we could put a brief stop to this collective panic and get a grip. For REAL.
  9. Gratitude. Honestly, when I was watching Oprah Winfrey as a teenager and she gave the advice to keep a gratitude journal, it changed my life. I practice it with my children. I have them tell me five things they are thankful for when we say prayers. I want the best possible thoughts in their minds as they drift off to sleep and their brain goes in to recharge mode.
  10. Prayer. If you believe in a higher power, ask for what it is you want and ask big. Our God is in control and those of us who take rest in Him can rest easy.

 

 

Uncategorized

For Your Just Add Magic Fan

The words Livonian, Galifrazian and Elysian may not mean much to you, unless someone in your household is a Just Add Magic fan.

Both of my daughters love the show, and the whole family has enjoyed watching the series together but my six year old is what you might call obsessed.

I have been on the lookout for any cookbooks, spices or other merchandise that might delight her. It has taken some searching to find what I was looking for so I thought I would write up a simple post sharing links to the products to help save time for other parents.

First of all, did you know the show was based on a book and that there are actually 2? The book is also titled Just Add Magic and the sequel is Just Add Magic: Potion Power.

More than anything, I wanted to find the cookbook for her. One with the recipes or just a blank one that would let her make her own. I found this one and it is sure to bring joy to your child.

My girls were both interested in the spice families and this wiki provides a well-organized table. They had fun perusing it. We plan to print it out and paste it into the cookbook. We also got this Melissa and Doug spice set.

Chucks’s list of spice families.

natural lifestyle · Uncategorized

Elderberry Syrup: The New Wellness Cabinet Staple

During flu and cold season our family has added elderberry syrup to our health and wellness regimen by taking at least a tablespoon each a day, to help support and protect our bodies.

Did you know…Elderberries are rich in vitamins A, B and C and are a traditional cold and flu remedy that has been used for hundreds of years? They are known to have high antioxidant activity and the bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice of the berry destroy the ability of a cold or flu virus to infect a cell. *mic drop*

Check out some of the other benefits of this amazing, NATURAL elixir:

  • boosts immune system
  • protects the heart
  • anti-inflammatory (in other words, helps with pain)
  • lessens stress
  • helps with back and leg pain (sciatica)
  • helps with chronic fatigue syndrome
  • helps with allergies
  • relieves constipation
  • natural diuretic
  • supports skin
  • can help prevent cancer
  • supports brain health
  • boosts vision health

I add my tablespoon of elderberry to a shot of Ningxia Red, an impressive blend of wolfberry, plum, aronia, cherry, blueberry, and pomegranate juices. Ningxia boasts the same antioxidant activity I just described. Talk about a powerhouse of protection!

Do you have elderberry syrup as a part of your wellness arsenal or any other natural preventatives that you love? If you are interested in elderberry and other immune system boosters check out this post on some lesser known wellness supports.

 

essential oils · natural lifestyle · Uncategorized

Immune System Boosters You May Not Know About

Most folks already know to take Vitamin C, drink plenty of fluids and to get rest when they are sick. You may not be aware of some on this list. While doing some or all of these won’t guarantee you are protected, they significantly lower the risk. If you do find yourself exposed, I think you’ll be impressed how quickly you bounce back.

  1. Elderberry syrup. This one needs to be a staple. Keep it in the fridge all winter long. Give to everyone in the house at the first sign or mention of sickness. It not only boosts the immune system, but it is also an influenza preventative. You can check out a post to learn other elderberry benefits here.
  2. Turmeric. You know, legend has it that the “gold” that was given to the baby Jesus by the three wise men was actually turmeric which is also known as “golden spice.” So in a sense they gave him the gift of health. We Westerners and just catching on to what Indians have known for years and years: natural turmeric has medicinal value. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and has many many more health benefits. I was curious how to decide which turmeric/curcumin I should take (curcumin is the powerful constituent in turmeric) and what characteristics to look for. I love this post from Dr. Weil whose information I trust. And you can purchase the turmeric I use here.
  3. Raw local honey. Raw local honey boosts the immune system, can help with allergies, and soothes sore throats. It has so many health benefits. Don’t confuse raw local honey with that cute honey bear you get at Walmart. Very little benefit there. I have written an entirely separate post on raw local honey if you want to learn more.
  4. Probiotics. Do you take one? Everyone should take a good probiotic. Life 9 by Young Living is a great one. Why are probiotics so important? Marketing geniuses have programmed many to think all bacteria and germ exposure is bad. We are trained to Lysol and Clorox wipe everything, when in actuality, we are ridding our surfaces of both good and beneficial bacteria and germs. You don’t have to take my word for it. See what the Environmental Working Group has to say here. Same way, when we trustingly take that probiotic, we are killing the good and bad bacteria in your bodies, which is why so often you will see, they sicker some folks get the sicker they get. Antibiotics should only truly be in order when there is a bacterial infection like strep for example, but it has become commonplace unfortunately to give it for ear infections and other sicknesses. When you deplete your body of that good bacteria, you have none to fight off future illness. My advice if you absolutely must take an antibiotic is to take a probiotic daily to replenish that good bacteria supply.
  5. Ningxia Red or a comparable antioxidant drink. When you or anyone in your household is down and out, or if you have been exposed to anyone who is, reach for  all the blueberries, açaí, raspberries, and goji berries you can get your hands on. Or take me at my word when I tell you that Ningxia Red has one of the highest levels of antioxidants you can find. It contains the rare Ningxia wolfberry. For those of you who may not know, Ningxia China has the highest longevity in the world, and it is said to be a result of their consumption of the Ningxia wolfberry, the key ingredient in Ningxia Red. You can purchase the Ningxia Red Starter Kit here.
  6. Thieves Essential Oil Blend. I seriously would not want to live without Thieves. Immune system booster powerhouse. It contains cinnamon bark oil, for one. Here’s a tidbit: viruses can’t exist in the presence of cinnamon bark oil. Thieves contains it. Viruses live in the spine. I apply Thieves to the spines of all my people on the regular. As I am writing this I’m thinking of four ways I used it just this evening alone. Thieves on the throat and spines of my youngest and husband who said their throats hurt “a little bit.” I added it to my girls’ bath salts because tis’ the season. Thieves in the diffuser for the same reason. Thieves in a spoonful of honey, also for my husband to soothe his throat. A great way to get started with Thieves is either the Thieves kit which includes Thieves and the Thieves line of cleaning products, or the Young Living Premium Starter Kit which includes Thieves as well as a high quality diffuser and the other main essential oils you would need to get started. You can find both of those here.

 

Uncategorized

Bowling Green – Mom’s Day Out

If you’re a mama, near Bowling Green, and find yourself with alone time, keep reading!

My oldest daughter is doing a gifted program at the local university each Saturday of the month so I find myself pleasantly and strangely in Bowling Green without children and time to explore.

Whenever I have the opportunity to explore a different city, there are several common things I am always interested to find: a nice park or outdoor area to walk and be in nature, a local coffee shop, and an experience unique to the area.

I read about several local parks in Bowling Green the week leading up to our first visit and the RiverWalk stood out to me, mainly because I have always been charmed by bridges and being near the water. Granted it is winter and no leaves on the trees, but I could imagine this would be a most beautiful place to walk in spring and fall.

I was surprised and mesmerized by the powerful churning of the river water as I stood on the bridge. I must have stood there for a good ten minutes, just thinking no thought and listening to the sound of the water, watching the white foamy water rapidly move downstream.

On my walk I also was able to see one of the longest trains I had ever seen in my life pass by. We have trains near our town, but the length of this one was so impressive to me, and it blew it’s horn the entire time.

I also chose the park hoping to find solitude early on a Saturday morning, and that’s exactly what I found. I only encountered one other person jogging, but felt the rest of my walk that I had the park all to myself.

After my walk I was eager to make way to my next stop, a Himalayan salt cave. Visiting a salt cave was interestingly enough a new bucket list item for me, and I had just learned about them a few months ago. The concept of the cave intrigued me: skin benefits, release of toxins and negative energy, and support for the respiratory system.

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When I arrived I told the lady I had a Groupon. (Look into this – it saved me $16.) She informed me that there was a private session going on and to come back the next hour which I did.

I asked for her help with my search for the best coffee in the area and she mentioned a Starbucks across the street or a local shop. I was quick to let her know I wanted the local shop! She directed me to Q Coffee Emporium which was only three minutes from the salt cave. If you would like to know more about my salt cave experience I shared all about it here in a separate post.

I was delighted as soon as I pulled into Q Coffee Emporium. It had garage doors that looked as if it would be open air in the warmer months, and the entrance and parking was in the back. When I asked about what they were known for, the barista told me they get their coffee from Nashville, and it’s the same coffee they have at Frothy Monkey. Well, I adore Frothy Monkey. So Nashville Frothy Monkey friends, take note. I had a cafe latte and toasted bagel with cream cheese and butter. Both were delish.

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If you’re looking for an enticing atmosphere, Q Coffee Emporium delivers. It’s oozing with charm. There is a cozy area indoors with couches, books, games and natural light. There’s an area that makes an excellent workspace with tables and outlets for charging. There’s an outdoor area with firepit and blankets. This was my personal favorite. There’s also a more traditional looking area that is better suited for dining.

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I also appreciated the bathroom doors labeled “Humans” instead of the traditional “Men” and “Women.”

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I spent the better part of an hour here, and left feeling like I had three different experiences: I ate, sipped coffee, wrote for a bit, and cozied up by the fire. I left there thinking, “If I lived here, I would be a regular.”

 

natural lifestyle · Uncategorized · yoga

Himalayan Salt Cave Experience

I was so excited to learn that there was a Himalayan salt cave located near the university where my daughter would be attending class in Bowling Green, KY. Interestingly enough, visiting a salt cave was a new bucket list item for me, and I had just learned about them a few months ago.

The concept of the cave intrigued me: skin benefits, release of toxins and negative energy, and support for the respiratory system.

During my research, I had made a list of some of the more specific benefits that Himalayan salt caves have to offer:

  • Clears respiratory and sinus issues, reducing symptoms of allergies and asthma.
  • Builds the immune system. Possible protection from the flu, since salt also has anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.
  • The salt has upwards of 84 minerals that can be absorbed through the skin, so you’re actually nourishing your body as you relax and breathe deeply. It can also help the skin absorb moisture. Can help with acne, eczema and other skin conditions.
  • A salt cave is roughly the equivalent of spending two whole days at the beach.
  • The negative ions in the air may help boost your mood and give you more energy. Some visitors find it helps them with issues such as insomnia, stress, anxiety, depression and seasonal affective disorder.
  • Increases focus.
  • Improves lung capacity and blood flow.
  • Reduces the frequency of migraine and tension headaches.

The “cave” is actually a man-made cave. Believe it or not, it’s located in a strip mall and it is also home to a yoga studio. On their website I read that it’s composed of 6 tons of Himalayan sea salt!

When I arrived I told the lady I had a Groupon. (Look into this – it saved me $16.) I made sure to get there about ten minutes before my start time which worked out perfectly. They had several procedures to explain to me and it allowed time to pay and place any belongings back in my car.

You will be asked to take off your shoes and put on fuzzy socks which are provided. This is to help keep from compromising the integrity of the salt floor. You place the socks in a hamper when you exit. There are cubbies for you to place your shoes or bag if you have one.

You are also discouraged from bringing your phone in the cave since salts and electronics don’t mix. I had one of the employees take a couple of photos for me and then handed my phone over to them.

C6ED5A73-A756-497B-91F5-3A0C950B3222

One thing that surprised me is that as you enter, the floor is ground salt and feels like sand under your feet. I expected the floor to be solid and hard, so I stumbled a bit when I entered. Once I realized it was soft, I found it very satisfying.

Someone will help you to your chair which is like reclining lounge chair similar to one you might find at the pool. They will cover you with a blanket, and explain that they also turn on a special type of humidifier that releases particles of therapeutic grade Himalayan salt into the air.

There are light panels in the wall and also in the ceiling above you. They supposedly emit a color light that is supposed to help relax you. I find I need to close my eyes to meditate and kept my eyes closed most of the session, so not sure how much I benefited from that. There is music playing that seemed to affect my mood and frequency – in a good way- I am sure it was intentional and part of the experience.

You may be in the cave with people you don’t know, which honestly concerned me a bit. I had intended on meditating while in the cave and I worried that someone might make noises that would distract me. That was not the case at all. Everyone was as silent as church mice and seemed to have the same intention.

The first five minutes I noticed my sinuses completely clear and drainage initially, followed by some of the clearest breathing I’ve had in recent memory. I did struggle with clearing my mind somewhat. My mind would wander, and then clear for about the first half of my time in the cave. Thoughts kept creeping in. The second half of the time, I was presence, clear of thought and felt tingly all over, totally at ease. I also went in with a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders and didn’t have any tension when I left.

I picked up a schedule and was excited to see that they have “kids in the cave” experiences and also yoga in the cave. I have already shared the details with my husband and he is eager to try it himself.

Here is the website for the salt cave I visited where you can find out more information and book your own visit.

parenting · Uncategorized

5 Dilemmas Faced by the “Bad Cop” Parent

Let’s get real. Nobody WANTS to be the bad guy. Everyone wants to be liked, and no parent wants to always be the “bad cop” in the family.

Between my husband and myself, I am definitely more of a bad cop than he is, but my children are fortunate because he will put his foot down and can be the bad cop when necessary. In fact, because he isn’t a bad cop as often, I think at times when he does play the bad cop role, it can make more of an impact on them.

Most days, he’s the good guy (and also a great dad). But sometimes I want to be the fun one. I want to let my hair down and be wild. And sometimes I actually do – I give myself permission to have fun and let my children see that side of me. But more on that later.

First of all, here are 5 dilemmas I see as a “bad cop” parent, being the one who sees themselves as the voice of reason, who wants to teach responsibility, who knows kids need boundaries and that discipline is a form of caring:

  1. It’s tiring. Always being the one who has to settle the arguments, squash the complaining, get everyone to clean up and do their part, get the homework done, guide better choices, encourage better eating habits – while you know it’s the right thing, man are you exhausted.
  2. You’re the bearer of bad news.big part of the “bad cop” parent’s role is to say NO. The good cop parent typically gets to be the good guy and almost always says YES. But children can’t be allowed to do as they please 24/7. That would result in an entitled brat of a child. (Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory comes to mind.) So you enter the room and set the record straight that “no, you can’t have some more junk food or you won’t be able to sleep tonight,” and “no you can’t binge watch YouTube videos for hours on end.”
  3. Parenting is so much harder when a good cop is in the room. I can take my girls somewhere or be at home with them alone, and have NO issues. They know where I stand on just about everything and know not to test. But if we are in a situation where a good cop is in proximity – sometimes it can be their dad but it’s often another family member – they will test! My youngest especially. She will do things that she would NEVER EVER do if it were just she and I. She becomes bold and spunky and defiant and sometimes it breaks my heart. We can be in public and I will ask her to leave something alone that belongs something else and she will keep messing with it and just look at me. The other family member will say it’s ok, that she is fine, she is “not hurting anything.” One night this week she was lying on our set of bleachers and kicking the bleachers, shaking everyone in our section. I asked her to stop and the other family member said it was ok. At that point I just need to leave the room! It leaves me feeling disrespected by my child and the family member.
  4. The right thing and the easy thing are rarely the same. It’s easier to let kids play on their tablet for two hours straight, and easier to let them eat whatever they want. Currently I’m exercising bad cop mode on both of these issues. As I type this, my girls are not allowed to have any screen time for the next two hours, AND I’ve turned down their request for cookies and chips. I told them they could grab some cut fruit from the fridge if they’re really hungry, and they are working on rainbow loom bracelets at the moment. What’s nice though, is despite the moaning and complaining that may ensued at first, they are enjoying making their bracelets and love apple slices. It’s that initial moving past not getting their way in the moment where the tension strikes, the protesting happens, and where I could see the good cop caving in. 
  5. We do it to ourselves. I really think so. My husband and I are so like-minded on how children should be raised, I often wonder if I would just keep my mouth closed, if he would chime in, say NO, and take care of the issue. Bad cop parents (or at least it is true for me) are quick to squash the dilemma that it could be the other parent doesn’t have an opportunity to address it. I am a quick reactor and decision maker, and have a lower tolerance for discord and misbehavior than he does. So I naturally nip it in the bud so we can get on with things and the issue doesn’t gain momentum. For this reason, things won’t likely change, and if my control freak tendencies get the better of me, like they have I the past, I suspect “bad cop” will continue to be the dominant role I play in our family.

The good news is, I think our children are going to turn out great. They have my husband’s calm and laid back demeanor modeled for them on a daily basis. They see the ease at which he goes about everything. They also will for sure know the difference between right and wrong, They will who know how to behave in public, eat healthy, resolve conflicts and grow up to be responsible, well-mannered, resilient adults.

Our girls will hopefully look back and see that there were times when their mom and their dad played each of these roles: bad cop and good cop. Playing the bad cop isn’t easy, and somebody has to do it, but it doesn’t always have to be one person.