I gave this little talk at Children’s recently about where joy and science meet– a lunchtime chat about life and balance and work and loving up our children. Ultimately, it was a sincere privilege to think of sharing a little bit of science and a lot of stories from my own tightrope walk as a mom to boys. I spoke about about how we get this done while bearing witness to our children and their enormity, while also working on our careers. In my mind it’s a messy palette of colors we use when watercoloring our lives as our children grow and make themselves into adults. We have big chewy highs and bits of beauty all the time. We also feel miserable when we don’t live up to what we’d hope for ourselves as parents. We all worry. It can be a little ugly. We all house doubt about who we are as parents. But joy is abundant in this lifetime with children and teens and little tips may help us connect with it more often…

There was a lot in this talk not included in the slides and images in the above Prezi, but hopefully you can enjoy a few of the lessons if you click on through it. Even Will Ferrell makes an appearance. I hope they invite me back even though I might have used a swear word or something.

  1. Mindfulness is just a devout attention to the moment as it happens. Without judgment for how we feel we can just feel and absorb time, anytime. It can bring on a little bit more peace in our soul. I shared a little that I’ve learned from experts at children’s and a series on the podcast I’ve done with guided mindfulness journeys. They are so good and can be shared with children. We can practice mindfulness anywhere — even in a terrible meeting just by refocusing our attention to our senses.
  2. Self-care is critical. Prioritize it. Only you know if you’re not living up to what you’d like to in this regard. Sometimes self-care is just sleep. Sometimes it’s being alone. Sometimes it’s seriously just a bowl of pho. Sometimes it’s just creating an empty pocket on your calendar.
  3. Everyone in the family needs sleep, you included. The focus cannot solely be on your children’s sleep. This may cause you all a little more suffering. Quick links included on some sleep blog posts and ideas that may help you prioritize your own shut-eye.
  4. The Flu vaccine is a safe, essential, every-year vaccine to protect you and your family from 4 strains (in WA state all childhood flu vaccines are quadrivalent) of influenza. Get one ASAP for yourself and everyone in your family 6 months of age and up, if you haven’t already. 10 reasons why included in the presentation..
  5. The HPV vaccine is an anti-cancer vaccine. It’s a BOOMER of a vaccine in that regard — I mean!?!?!? Over 90% of HPV disease could be prevented through the vaccine and about 80% of us will get HPV during our lifetime. The vaccine can be given after age 9 years and if your child starts the series anytime before their 15th birthday (when it works even better to create protection) they only need 2 doses in total! WIN.
  6. Let your children play lots of sports until age 16. Don’t think that having them focus intensely on one sport will do them any good. The data is clear on this. Sports specialization does not lead them to be better athletes, in fact, it leads to burn out & overuse injuries if it happens before puberty. Have your children take a month off every 3 months from each sport and make sure there is always a day off every week!
  7. Fill you children’s plates with 50% fruits and veggies. Your job is is to provide great options, their job is to decide what and how much they eat. I reviewed the famed “Division of Responsibility,” in the talk. But food may be poetry and poetry, in any form, may be life’s most generous nourishment. When I started putting poetry into my boys’ lunch boxes this year I started to feel JOY making them. A favorite video clip from Dead Poet’s Society in included up there to drive my point home…

This talk was for The Seattle Children’s Hospital Parenting Network. One of the many amazing benefits of working at Children’s are the organizations and groups you can join and learn from. The Parenting Network’s goals are as follows:

  • LEARN more about child development and gain confidence in your parenting skills.
  • CONNECT with others experiencing the joys and challenges of raising children and/or working with patients and families.
  • BUILD your capacity to model and coach positive parenting skills in everyday encounters.
  • MAKE Seattle Children’s a great place for parents to work.