With thanks to my village…

When we talk about raising kids, it really does take a village.  When I think back to when my own kids were little, I realize that I couldn’t have made it through without my mom friends. I wouldn’t have known when it was time to give my baby cheerios, or that it was ok to let her cry for a bit if I was just finishing something up. As the kids got older, I had a bunco group that kept me up to date on what was happening at the high school and I had a Mom’s Night Out group who kept me sane.  My friends who would bring their kids over for the afternoon so I could have a playdate, too, and then stayed for dinner and baths were my lifeline…and I could give you so many more examples!  It is with thanks to my village that I write this post today and I hope that you, too, have a village who saves your life each day and restores your sanity!!  Feel free to tag your friends with a word of thanks here!!!

Wishing you balance,

Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT

Reacting vs. Responding

A life of raising kids is certainly filled with adventure! You never know what is going to come at you! The true test of balanced parenthood is being able to keep our heads on straight when times get challenging.  The key is to RESPOND to situations, not to REACT to them.  What’s the difference?  Sometimes, it’s simply taking a second to take a breath, let our anxious heads have a minute to settle in with the situation and then making a clear and concise decision about how to handle something rather than the typical knee-jerk reactions we are usually likely to employ.  But how do we do that when we are in the moment? The key is less in the moment than in other moments.  When we take good care of ourselves on a day to day basis – rest, exercise, healthy food, self-care, nourishing relationships, etc…we are more likely to have the internal resources to stay centered in a “knock-you-off-your-feet” moment.  What have you found works best for helping you to stay calm in those crazy moments?

Wishing you balance,

Bette Alkazian, LMFT
Balanced Parenting

from MOMIPEDIA post on Facebook

The Lesson of the Oscars

I love the Oscars!!!  I make it a point to see all of the “Best Picture” nominated movies and even try to see some of the nominated performances in other movies.  My mom and I do this together which makes it even more fun!  We have a ritual.  Around November, we start making our list of “must-see” movies.  During awards season, we call each other and we plan each coming weekend.  If we both have a free afternoon or evening during the weekend (or even a decadent weeknight) we plan where we’ll see it and what time we’ll meet.  We buy our popcorn (sometimes) and our ridiculously overpriced water bottles and we head into the theater with great anticipation. 

After the movie, we often go out for a bowl of soup and debrief.  The movies often spark conversations about relationships, life, philosophy, and even turn us into amateur movie critics.  It is so much fun! 

Of course, we repeat this routine as many times as necessary until we have seen all of the movies on our list.  It is so much fun and we wait with great anticipation for the Oscars Ceremony.  It is truly our reward for all of our hard work and dedication.  Ok, really, it’s tons of fun and gives me a great excuse to spend time together with my fabulous mom!

Last night was the big night! We got together to watch at my house on the big screen TV.  I made us a big salad and put out appetizers for us to nosh on throughout the evening.  Literally, we made a mini party.  Just the two of us!  My kids came in and out during the evening, but their commitment level is clearly not the same as Mom’s and mine.  My husband timed a visit to his Dad’s perfectly, so he didn’t have to witness the silliness and our overly loud exuberance as our favorites won or lost. 

We loved the show from start to finish! We enjoyed every minute of the red carpet – commenting on the dresses and the hilariousness of the question, “Who are you wearing?”  We waited with baited breath to hear the end of the sentence, “And the Oscar goes to…”  over and over again.  It was truly a labor of love shared by a mother and daughter who typically don’t allow themselves the luxuries of indulgence.  We both work hard and clearly have our priorities in order most of the year.  This is our one “cheesy” indulgence and we cherish the time together more than any other ingredient of this whole scenario. 

Here’s the irony: Today, the day after the Oscars, the television stations are crazy with reports about last night’s ceremony.  “Billy Crystal was wonderful!” “Billy Crystal was terrible!” “Everyone looked beautiful!” “Everyone looked so old!”  The reports are flying and the critics are working overtime being overly critical, to say the least.  I can hardly stand to listen to them.

Here’s my take on the whole thing.  Just like everything in life, you get out what you put in.  My mom and I put our hearts into the whole experience and made it wonderful for ourselves all along the way and it paid off.  It was wonderful – for us!  The bottom line is that if you don’t make a big investment, you don’t get a big payoff.  The critics are paid to be critical and I don’t care what anyone says, Mom and I loved every minute!