A Different Kind of Independence – Letting Go!

What do you fiercely hold on to that you should be letting go of? There’s been a theme in my office this week of people struggling to let go…of something.  Sometimes it’s an event in the past, or a grudge that we hold on to even if we forgot why, or a thing that holds sentimental value or none, or a story that we tell ourselves that we don’t want to challenge or question. There is much that we hold onto that drains our energy or drains our relationships or drains us financially. Independence Day can mean many different types of independence.  How about a healthy letting go of something that no longer serves us?  What do you want to let go of today?

Wishing you balance,

Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT

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!

Work Hard to Live Happily Ever After

Having kids changes your relationship dramatically! Of course, you’re all laughing at me right now and calling me “Captain Obvious”, right? How can it not? You’re more tired, the physical demands are immense, the emotional demands are even greater, there are financial strains and at the end of the day, we often don’t have much left to give to our partners. Of course, kids also bring immense joy, fulfillment, fun and so many wonderful blessings!
Parents must push through all of those blessings and burdens and prioritize time with each other. Taking care of your marriage is essential on so many levels that I don’t know where to start.

First, modeling a loving relationship for your kids is very important. How will they ever have loving relationships if they don’t know what one looks like? Next, kids need to know that the whole world doesn’t revolve around THEM. When parents put each other first, the kids learn to respect adults. They learn that they sometimes have to wait and that the world doesn’t operate only for them. There are others who come first. This is so important in the fight against “entitlement”.

Another key reason for parents to take care of their marriages is so that their kids will feel safe and secure. When Mom and Dad are doing ok, the kids are ok. The parents are the foundation of the family. When the foundation is solid, all is well with the world!

People are living longer and healthier lives than ever before. We are raising our kids for a much shorter percentage of our married lives. Wouldn’t it be great if at the time our kids are all launched that we are so excited to travel and enjoy spending time alone again with our spouses? To me, that’s the ultimate goal!!

The road to that goal isn’t always easy. In fact, it can be a pretty bumpy road at times. That’s true for most couples. The key is commitment. You don’t leave when the going gets tough, you stay and work hard. That’s the message I hope you want to teach your kids, as well, as benefit from yourself.

So, treat yourself to the marriage of your dreams and give your kids 1,000,000 gifts in the process!

Parenting and your Marriage

I’m headed right now to go do a speaking engagement on the importance of taking care of your marriage while raising your kids. I always talk about how you must take care of yourself first and then bring your best self to your marriage. Then, you’ll be able to have a happy and fulfilling relationship which will enable you to bring not only a happy YOU, but also a happy couple to the job of parenting. Then, it all falls into place. That and a few parenting tools, and voila! you have a happy family!

Take some time today to give to your relationship. It’s not too late. It’s never too little. Be kind, be giving and have fun! You’ll be glad you did!