Raising respectful boys (and girls).

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Recent events have me thinking especially hard about how to teach my children about sexual misconduct and overall respect for others. Not that these scenarios haven’t been in the news before, the issue of sexual harassment is as old as time. My first encounter with the term was when Anita Hill came forward to accuse now supreme court member, Clarence Thomas, of committing sexual harassment against her. It was a huge story back in 1991 and was a groundbreaking moment for women everywhere who finally felt empowered to come forward and speak. Whether you believe Anita’s story or not, that she came forward about such a controversial issue that had not been given much attention before gave others the sense that they could come forward as well.

I am the mother of three young boys, so it’s especially important to me to raise them with the knowledge that they must treat women with respect and dignity. Not to say that girls are off the hook either, as I point out in the title, girls need to be taught these things as well. Women and girls can often be responsible for “slut shaming” or spreading rumors about other females that they don’t like or are jealous of, we need to teach them that this is not ok and that they should treat one another the way they want to be treated. Do not make up stories or spread rumors about someone because your are jealous or competitive. Teach your girls confidence so they don’t feel the need to put others down in order to feel good about themselves. Celebrate each others beauty and accomplishments instead of tearing them down. This is not only the right thing to do, but will result in others feeling more inclined to celebrate them and lift them up instead of tearing them down.

Now I am certainly not the authority on how to teach your children respect and kindness but I do have a few ideas that could be helpful. Please share yours with us!

  1. Showing your partner respect. The best way to show your sons and daughters how to treat the opposite sex is to treat your partner (if they are the opposite sex) with kindness and love.
  2. Teaching them a sense of responsibility for their actions. When you see them mistreating one another or someone else make sure to correct this behavior. Even if it seems that the other party may be partially at fault it’s important they know it “takes two to tango”.
  3. Simply talking to them about what it means to be respectful. I found this definition of the word at talkingtreebooks.com and the site also has some ideas on how to teach the concept to children.

Showing respect to someone means you act in a way that shows you care about their feelings and well-being.

Last but certainly not  least, the best way to teach respect is to show respect, so treat your children with the same respect and kindness you expect from them.

xo,

Hil

 

Start your week off right!

I was looking at articles on this subject to get inspired and came across one that was intended to be amusing but is actually quite sad. It made me realize how far I’ve come since my drinking days. On PuckerMob.com, a site I had never heard of, the article “Case of the Mondays, 8 Ways to Kick Start Your Week“, the author simply discusses immature and disgusting ways to nurse your hangover from a weekend long binge.

This used to be me. Rolling into the office trying to just get through the day, hating my job, myself and everyone around me. That’s no way to live. I live without a drink now and am so much happier. I know to some it seems like a fate worse than death to give up drinking, but really it could not only save your life but help you create the best life you’ve ever had.

As a sober, responsible and inspired human, Monday is a great day for me to reboot. It’s a new week which gives me the feeling that I have a clean slate. Here are a few things that help me start my week off right…

  1. Wake up with time to spare. I used to be a consummate late sleeper, snoozing until the last possible moment, then rushing around to get myself ready in the morning and rushing out the door. I still have a tough time waking up, it’s a little easier now that I have natural alarm clocks, my 3 sons, waking me up every morning before 7. I try to get up a little before they do to have sometime for myself in the morning whether to workout, have a cup of coffee or stretch and meditate, it really helps to have that time to myself before the kids wake up and it’s all about them.
  2. A healthy breakfast. I used to never eat breakfast. Now I can’t go without it. I’m not that hungry in the mornings but if I skip it I’m become ravenous later in the day and eat things I shouldn’t. Also, eating a healthy breakfast is so important to kick-start your metabolism for the day.
  3. Think about what I want to accomplish for the day / week and make a list. Once I’ve cleared my head a bit and my older 2 get off to school I like to think about the week ahead and what I would like to accomplish. What appointments do I have, when am I going to squeeze in working out and updating my blog, what fun activities am I going to do with Tommy, dinners for the week, who do I need to call or message etc… having this list in front of me is a good way to organize.

That’s all I’ve got for today. What suggestions do you have for starting your week off strong?

xo, Hil

The only parenting advice I give.

I often get asked what is the best advice I can give to new parents. Having three kids I consider myself someone of a veteran at parenting, although admittedly far from perfect. But I have been through a lot with my boys, from babies to grade schoolers, so have some wisdom that I believe is helpful.

What is the one tip I give anyone who is embarking on the crazy path of parenthood?

Tell  your kids you love them of everyday and schedule one or two times during the day that are just for you and them. 

Believe it or not, even when you’re a SAHM (or maybe especially when you are) it’s very difficult to have quality time with your children. I’m talking about time that you aren’t distracted by a thousand other things that need to happen in your life and are just focused on them.

Find time in your day that is just for you and the kids, for me this came about pretty organically. The first year or two of my first born’s life, I felt like I was just haphazardly getting through the day and not having any real quality time with him. Finally as he got older I started bed time stories. This takes time as when they’re babies they aren’t going to sit with you and read a book. But once they do it’s such a lovely experience to share with them. I also find that we have some good talks after reading for a bit. We lie in bed and they tell me about their day or maybe go on and on about some new game they’re into (Minecraft anyone??). Night is a good time to do this as I find I’m more relaxed, the day is through and it’s easier to concentrate on whatever it is they want to talk about.

The second time I schedule with my kids, although not always successful depending on how the morning goes, is breakfast. It’s a great way to start off our day. Since the craziness of the day hasn’t quite begun we are able to enjoy some time and conversation together, and often have a few laughs.

What’s your best parenting advice? And what time do you enjoy most with your kids?

XO,

Hilary

 

Broken promises.

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I made a promise to you guys that I would post workouts every week. I’m breaking that promise and I’m sorry. I’m focusing on other things at the moment so the blog will yet have to take a back seat. I will update once week on Tuesdays, so if you have any questions you want to ask me about exercise or diet please email me (ugobabyfitness@gmail.com) and I will either email you back or I will post my answer on the blog.

There are many things that are important; family, friends, community, giving back, career etc… It’s so hard to do it all! And we can’t really can we? So I have to delegate my time as I see fit and as things come up that are important. Usually those important things have to do with my children, in fact I have a smiley baby begging for my attention as I write this!

I’ve learned to role with the punches and realize when I’m taking on too much and need to get a few things off my plate or replace a few things with more important ones (there’s a good metaphor for healthy eating in there I think).

This can be incredibly frustrating, but when I get overwhelmed I get anxious, frustrated, tired and I’m not being the best I can be in any area of my life. I start to let people down, myself included, and it’s just not worth it. If you’ve ever felt this way I’d love to hear about it and your ways of coping with busy family life.

What are your tips for managing it all??

Thanks for reading!

xo,

Hilary

 

 

 

Kids and Physical Fitness.

girl-hoola-hooping

Hula Hooping is a fun way for your family to get some cardio (and work that mid-section).

The the topic of the Super Bowl and football has me thinking about kids and physical fitness. Many children, mine included, are talking about football and getting excited for the game this weekend. I wanted to talk a little about how you can use this topic, and other ideas, to motivate your children to workout and be physically fit. Most kids don’t need a strict workout regimen as they probably get enough exercise by running and playing with their friends. But it is a good idea to start talking about why exercise is important and if your children love football that’s a good way to inspire them to want to be physically active and fit throughout their life.

Tips for inspiring your children to be active:

  1. On the topic of football, if your children enjoy watching sports and maybe have a favorite player, tell them how important it is for athletes to take care of their bodies with diet and exercise. For  example, I spoke about Tom Brady’s diet on the blog yesterday, this is a very strict diet that I don’t think any child should partake in, but it’s an example of how disciplined athletes need to be to stay in top physical condition.
  2. Workout in front of your children. My husband and I are constantly exercising in front of our children so they know how important working out is to us. Explain to them why you workout and the benefits you get from it.
  3. Show them some of the exercises you do to stay in shape and stay strong. Some basic exercises like crunches, push-ups (starting on their knees for better posture), squats and lunges are a good way to familiarize them with strength training. You can also give a basic anatomy lesson by telling them what muscle groups they are working.
  4. Talk about aerobic exercise. They probably get enough of this running around with their friends and playing sports. But explaining to them how these activities are beneficial is a good idea.

Do you have any suggestions to add to the list?

xo,

Hil

Practicing gratitude toward yourself.

img_5377I read this article yesterday on embracing your body and loving yourself just the way you are. We expect so much from ourselves and others. Often we want others to love us “just the way we are” but have trouble loving everything about ourselves, including our imperfections. We put ourselves down, body and soul. It’s human nature to be hardest on oneself which serves the purpose of helping us to be better people. But, as important as it is to try to be better, it’s equally important to love yourself.

The biggest inspiration for me to love myself and be confident in who I am is my children. I think about what I want for them and how I want them to feel. More than anything, I want them to have the utmost appreciation for who they are, where they come from, what they have to offer the world and most of all, to be confident. In order to teach them to be this way I realize I need to practice these skills myself.

A good way to kick off your day with confidence is to take a few minutes to appreciate YOU, body, mind and soul. Here are some mantras you can say to yourself when you wake up in the morning to kick-start your day with confidence:

  1. I am enough.  I do enough,  I have enough.
  2. I love myself. I am a beautiful, unique spirit. There is no one else quite like me.
  3. I let my happiness be visible to others. My happiness overflows from me. I can use my happiness to bring joy to others.
  4. I thank my body for taking such good care of me today. It is perfect and takes such good care of me.
  5. My body is a gift and I love and appreciate it just the way it is.

How do you practice appreciating yourself?

xo,

Hil

 

“What’s your excuse?” and my love for African-American culture.

whatsyourexcuse.png

I actually wrote something about the woman on the left a few years ago when she first appeared in the press. I hate to give her more publicity but the subject of a post-baby body has re-emerged since I had my third son 6 months ago and am already back in pretty good shape. It had me thinking about this lady, who is a self-proclaimed “fat shamer”.

The purpose of this site is never to make anyone feel ashamed of how they look and I apologize if it ever comes across that way! I understand that we all have different body types and lifestyles that make it easier or harder to get back into our optimal shape, especially after having a baby. And “optimal shape” is different for everyone, as the woman on the right proclaims that she is “okay with this” and I think she looks great.

I try to be sensitive to others feelings about their body and weight. I happen to have a skinny frame but have not avoided “image” shaming. I was told both that I have a big butt and “thunder thighs” when I was in high school. I used to struggle with the size of my derriere as in white culture we tend to think that having no butt or thighs is preferred and having really big boobs is most beautiful. So basically, being a rail with big breasts is preferred. Which, I should add, is very hard to achieve as our boobies are made up of fat cells and unfortunately we can’t decide where those go. I didn’t live up to the societal standard. At least according to magazines and television. We still get inundated with images of these supper skinny models and actresses, but I should say that it’s not as bad as when I grew up in the 90s when being a “waif” was all the rage.

This is where part of my love for African- American and Puerto Rican cultures comes in. The first people to tell me I had a nice body were some African- American girls at my high school. They told me I had a “black girls ass” lol! I looked at them strangely and one of them responded, “don’t get mad, it’s a compliment, you have a really nice butt”. And then there was the emergence of Jennifer Lopez. She was one of the first celebrities to have a big derriere and it was considered, arguably, the sexiest thing of the late 90s. It made me realize that there are so many different perceptions of what is considered “beautiful”. And from then on was proud of my bum, even flaunted it as an asset, no pun intended. Now I do exercises to increase the size of my butt!

What’s the point of the story? I guess it’s that if anyone intentionally insults you and makes you feel bad about your body, tell them to GFY.

xo,

Hil