Sunday, December 30, 2012

Just a Mom

Guest Post by Zen Parent Jennifer Parianos, founder of That Crazy Homeschooler

One of my earliest memories was when my mom dropped me off at preschool one day. I was a child of four, shy and withdrawn in the company of strangers, with a kind and quiet manner. This memory is faded and murky but, stands out because I can recall how I FELT with such intensity. I remember wanting my mother so much that I would stare out the window of the preschool and imagine myself walking to her work. In my mind, I could easily make the long and congested trek, if only my teacher would let me. I recall crying gently in my blankie, pining for my "mommy", hoping 3 o'clock would come quickly, so we could be reunited again.

Flash forward a few years and another memory stands out boldly among the others in my winding staircase of a brain. It was the first day of school during what was to be my 3rd grade year. My mom walked me to class while I nervously held her hand, my little hand in hers, clammy with sweat. I remember smiling at her as she exited my homeroom, me smiling bravely at her, putting on a brave face. As soon as I knew she was a safe distance away, I promptly buried my face in my hands, trying to hide my tears and anxiety from the other students. It was this moment that maybe, just maybe, the seed was planted that allowed me to consider home educating my children.

I also knew that I was different from other kids when we would talk about what we wanted to be when we grew up. Little boys would say things like police-officer and little girls would say things like a teacher or a nurse. I would simply say "I want to be a mom". Not to say that working moms aren't moms. I just knew with every fiber of my being that I wanted to be the kind of mom who didn't have to go to another job outside the home.

This is not to say that I am particularly domestic. I don't enjoy cooking nor do I bake very well. I don't really have a "cleaning schedule" although, I did read a book called "The Fly Lady" that suggested that if I wear my shoes in the house all the time, I would be more likely to clean "something". My natural and inherent volume is louder than most. Yup, I'm a shouter! A practice that most likely is a genetic trait that dates back to my Italian heritage. I have been known to have a sailor mouth, another by- product of my heritage. This time from my Irish grandmother, God rest her soul. I don't sew or knit or macrame or possess any other domestic talent that stands out above others.

You might be thinking, at this point, that I should have yearned for a different occupation in life. So, let me share what I AM proficient at. I am very good at adapting to my children's needs. While my natural inclination is to yell, I am aware of this malady, and am constantly trying to remedy it by reading books on positive parenting, while simultaneously trying to implement their practices. I am quite loving and intuitive with my children. I make it a point that they feel loved, attended to and secure. I spend a lot of quiet moments with each of them and try to just be "present". I am good at evolving WITH them and adapt my parenting to their many stages of growth and maturity.I focus a lot of my energy on helping them deal with their strong emotions and, at times, hot tempers. A gift, I think, for my future daughter/son in laws. Finally, I think I am pretty good at putting myself in their place. My goal as a mom is three-fold. I want them to have a memorable childhood that was filled with delight and wonder. I want them to learn to be good, kind and thought provoking human beings who know their value in this world. Lastly, I want to prepare them for their adult life by simply facilitating them in their passions and helping them to reach their goals and life's pursuits.

I'm just a mom. I don't have a resume, a cubicle or an office with a view. I've never written a book or starred in a movie. I won't be winning a Pulitzer prize or acquiring my PhD in anything in the near future. My closet isn't filled with fancy suits or designer shoes. My clothes are bought for comfort so I can get dirty playing in the leaves with the kids. My toes aren't manicured unless you count multicolored blobs painted by a 6 year old as being "manicured". My idea of a work out isn't hitting the gym but, consists of playing hide and go seek, duck-duck goose or rocking my baby tenderly to sleep.

I'm just a mom and my legacy is carried in my children and in their children and so on and so forth.

It is in the family I have created. I imagine Sunday dinners and loud, boisterous family gatherings filled with grandchildren and family recipes.

My legacy will be in the conversations my children will have when I'm long gone about how I, above all else, believed in them , rallied for them, fought for them and put their needs above my own.

Yup, I'm "just a mom."

By Popular Demand

If you've been around my Facebook page long enough, you know that back in August my husband and I made an appearance on Steve Harvey's daytime talk show to discuss "Extreme Parenting," which was actually sold to us as "Modern Parenting" (neither of which describes us, actually). We were contacted after they saw my most popular blog post - My Own Time Magazine Cover.


For those who missed it, here's the appearance.

And for those who missed what REALLY happened, here's my response after the airing of the show.



*Special thanks to my friend Debbie, who video taped this from her DVR and posted it to YouTube for everyone to see.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

End of Term Evaluation

As a high school teacher, I always gave my students an anonymous evaluation to fill out at the end of every term. This gave me the opportunity to see what they liked, didn't like, learned, didn't learn, wanted more of, and wanted less of. I'd like to do the same with you, if you wouldn't mind taking a minute or seven. Input like this is invaluable to me in gauging the page's and blog's effectiveness. As I did with my students, I take what you have to say seriously, so please be honest. Thank you.



Please rate on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best, and make follow-up comments where appropriate:

1. Frequency of posts
1a. Too often, not often enough?

2. Number of posts per day
2a. Too few, too many, or just right (think Goldilocks and the Three Bears)

3. Quality of posts

4. Diversity of posts

5. Posts regarding topics you care about

6. Timeliness of responses to messages and/or comments

7. Level of understanding of topic at hand demonstrated by administrators

8. Ability to arouse interest

9. Intellectual stimulation

10. Overall satisfaction Zen Parenting

Please comment on:

11. Overall satisfaction with fellow Zen Parents

12. Overall satisfaction with administrators

13. How closely do you feel Zen Parenting sticks to what is written in their about section?

14. Our mission being: "Education. Activism. Peace, Love, and Zen," how well do you feel we are adhering to that?

15. What aspects of Zen Parenting do you like best? Least? Why?

16. What aspects of Zen Parenting do you feel are weakest? How do you suggest those aspects change?

17. Which topics do you like reading about most? Least? Why?

18. What blog topics would you like to see more written about?

19. What new information have you learned as a result of the information provided by Zen Parenting?

20. Have you changed your mind on anything as a result of information presented by Zen Parenting? Please explain.

21. Please feel free to make any other comments you feel are important.

Thank you so much for taking the time to help improve our community.

It's been a wonderful, educational year for me. I hope it has been for you as well!



Thursday, December 20, 2012

How to Cope with Your Babe's Cold

Around this time of year, we find ourselves inundated with questions about how to help soothe the symptoms of a pesky cold. Rather than answer over and over, it only makes sense for us to consolidate all our best advice in one place.

Here goes:

- cool mist (for safety reasons, cool mist should always be used - warm mist presents a burn danger to children) humidifier with camphor or eucalyptus oil
- homemade Vick's on the chest, feet, and a smidge on your boob right where babe's nose will be (recipe to follow)
- lotioned or aloe tissues for nose wiping
- no dairy (thickens mucus)
- breastfeed on demand (as always, but it'll likely be more often during any illness)
- breastmilk in the nose
- Nose Frida (sounded too gross for me initially, but if I had to do it over again, I'd get one)
- coconut oil on a raw nose
- find a position for breastfeeding that allows babe to be more upright than horizontal to allow for easier breathing


Homemade "Vick's VapoRub"

- 10-15 drops eucalyptus oil
- 10-15 drops lavender oil
- 10-15 drops rosemary oil
- 1/4 C coconut oil

Mix ingredients thoroughly. Do the sniff test. If needed, add more eucalyptus. Slather liberally and cover with clothing to avoid getting in little eyeballs.


More than anything, your love, cuddles, and boobies will be most helpful in getting your babe through the creep and crud.

Monday, December 17, 2012

New Logo - VOTE

The top 9 submissions have been chosen by the Zen Parenting admins. Now is your chance to vote upon which logo you'd like to see on our pages.
Choose 1-9 in the comments here or on Facebook.

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A thousand thanks to all who entered! The winner will be notified via email.