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5 tips before talking to your child about racism

There are some tough conversations as parents we wish we never have to have with our children. Racism is one of them. Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve seen the countless stories and the racial tension that is brewing in our country. As parents, it’s important that our children learn from our voices. My husband and I are firm believers that certain first-time conversations shouldn’t be had with our children at school, amongst their peers, and if I can keep it real…out in the streets. We want our kids to know our voice and views on particular issues. From the pool incident in McKinney, TX to the Massacre in Charleston, SC conversations about racism with our children are more important now than ever. Being prepared for the discussion is almost just as important as the conversation itself. Have you ever had your child ask you a question you totally weren’t ready to answer at the time? Exactly, I can see your face because my face had the same expression. It’s not fun…you began to stutter, you either dismiss them or give them an answer you weren’t sure about. Be prepared.

Here are five things to consider before talking with your child about racism:

1. Just do it

Most people think there are children are too young to have a conversation about race. Between the ages of 5-8 years old is when children begin to notice the differences between themselves and other children. Speak age appropriately. It’s important to have a different conversation with an 8-year-old than you would for a 15-year-old. Certain events or illustrations may be too much for younger children. The last thing you would want to do is cause your child to be fearful or nervous about certain topics that will cause a breakdown in the communication. This won’t be an easy or one of those light-hearted conversations, but it will be worth it later.

2. Anticipate questions

Your child is going to have a ton of questions, so why not anticipate them. Take some time and write down questions that could come up and think about your answers or stories you could tell to help them understand. Do your research on the subject, be sure you support and clear on the information you’re giving. Another important thing is to not to worry about saying “I don’t know” or ask to revisit the question later. Your kids know that you aren’t an expert or Wikipedia, so it’s completely fine to come back later and give an appropriate response.

3. Foster their curiosity

Give your child room to be curious about the issues. When you hear the word curiosity, your mind automatically goes to younger children. Curiosity isn’t solely linked to younger children, but also prominent in teenagers, most of the time we don’t give them room to be open enough to share and ask honest questions for fear of disagreement, embarrassment, or just plain ole not wanting to know.

4. Think about how to start the conversation

Depending on the age, how you bring up the conversation can cause a break in communication. Time the conversation when you’re not tired, hungry and don’t have the time to give your full attention. The worse thing in starting a meaningful conversation is starting it and not having the time to fully complete it and to answer any questions that may come up.

5. Give homework and plan to have a follow-up conversation

Give your child homework and follow up with them a few days later. It’s especially important for parents of teenagers, don’t be pushy if they say “I’m good. Give them a little space and allow them to come to you. One of the best ways to get your child invested in what’s going on in their community or the world around them is to allow them to be a part of the solution. Ask them questions to get their input and assist them in making small strides towards a goal.

Bonus: Be an example

One of the best conversations you can have with your child no matter the age is through your actions. Be a role model and look for teachable moments every day.

34 years…34 life-changing moments

34 life-changing moments

Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.”
Aldous Huxley

There’s something about getting older that brings about reflection. Today I celebrate my 34th birthday and I decided to reflect on 34 life-changing moments that played a major role in my development and who I am. I firmly believe every experience whether good or bad molds us into our best selves. Everyday I’m learning to appreciate every moment.

1. The moment I was born.
2. The moments I didn’t have a care in the world.
3. The moment I was introduced to God.
4. The moment I knew I could have it all.
5. The moments I walked across those stages.
6. The moments I doubted my existence.
7. The moments I wanted to give up.
8. The moments I gave up, made me better.
9. The moments I thought I knew it all.
10. The moment I wanted to end it all.
11. The moment when I realized that God’s plans for me were bigger than I could ever imagine.
12. The moment when I decided to just be myself
13. The moment when I realized that no one could stop me but me.
14. The moment when what used to matter to me really didn’t matter anymore
15. The moment I stopped comparing myself to others because who they are isn’t what it’s cracked up to be anyway.
16. The moment I was heart broken.
17. The moment I embraced my individuality.
18. The moment I let go of my past hurts because it’s not worth holding on to.
19. The many moments I made mistakes.
20. The moment I embraced the process.
21. The moment I started praying extravagant prayers.
22. The moment God heard me.
23. The moment I got fired.
24. The moment I knew my worth.
25. The moment I felt good enough.
26. The moment I realized happiness was tied to people, but joy was found within myself.
27. The moment I experienced real love and said yes.
28. The moment I knew motherhood was one of the toughest yet rewarding jobs I will ever have.
29. The moment I started this blog.
30. The moment I walked in faith.
31. The moment I felt fulfilled.
32. The moment I discovered my purpose.
33. The moment I jumped.
34. The moment I started living my dreams.

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Is summer really over?

Is it me or did summer really fly by? Or is it because my daughter Taylor never misses an opportunity to let me know all the things we didn’t do this summer. I feel like between the normal hustle and bustle of our ever so busy lives and special events like birthday parties and family gatherings our weekend schedules were packed. Not to mention in our household August is the busiest month of the year with our Wedding Anniversary, both of the girls Birthday’s, two college send offs, and back to school for the girls…I can’t keep up! Nevertheless, I feel like we had a pretty good summer…. and guess what summer isn’t technically over until September 21st. So we will continue to enjoy this beautiful weather for as long as it lasts and hopefully we will make it to the beach one of these days.

Leave me a comment! What did you do this summer with your family or share your most memorable summer moment?

Take a look into Adventure’s in Terryland summer edition!

photo 1(3)
First day of School!
photo 4
Birthday Party! Royal Princess style!
photo 2(2)
More Birthday Fun!
photo 3(1)
Wisconsin State Fair. Yum!
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Labor day weekend. Enjoying downtown Chicago!

 

We love these smiles! Family fun!
We love these smiles! Family fun!

 

Little Miss question asker

photo(2)My almost six-year old is a human question asker! She has the ability to fire off questions left and right about any random subject, person, place, thing, or the well-known how do babies come out of the mommi’s tummy (out of the belly-button…that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)

I take most of the blame for all the questions; I’m pretty open with her about world events, disasters, and our local Chicago violence. I don’t want her to be afraid but aware of what’s going on in the world around her. Although it was my goal for her to be more aware than afraid, she has is very inquisitive especially when it comes to tornadoes.

This week alone I have been asked questions like:

What happens when it rains on a plane?

What if a tornado happens while you’re on a plane?

Can we have tornadoes in Chicago?

Are there tornadoes in Mexico?

It’s raining, will there be a tornado?

Pray for me……

I consider myself pretty curious…. well more curious than most (just ask my friends).  When I was a child there wasn’t Google where information is seconds away from our fingertips…we had a stack of encyclopedias! It was frowned upon when a kid asked to many questions to adults. I ran out of fingers and toes trying to count how many times I heard an adult tell a child “You don’t question grown folks”. Imagine if my curiosity was nurtured into adulthood. I would be more open-minded, handle challenges differently, and gain a different appreciation for our world.

So with that said…I’m ready for Little Miss Question asker and Miss Question asker # 2.  They can fire away all the questions they want (except where do babies come from…nope not ready to deal with that yet). I know these questions are building up her little brain, encouraging her to explore the world, and enhancing her imagination.

How do you encourage your child’s natural curiosity?

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The problem with being the perfect parent

photo(1)“Perfect people lead to having perfect kids which make the perfect people perfect parents with a perfect life but in reality it puts plenty of profuse pressure on people.” –LaChaya D. Terry

Who told me I had to be a perfect mother? Sure weren’t my two girls! Did my husband tell me? Nope! Did my mother tell me she was a perfect mother and I should be one too? Nope!

I have come to the realization that I have put unrealistic expectations on my children and myself to be perfect, and it’s pretty stressful. When you start out at perfect what else is there to strive for and how much further up can you go?

1. “You don’t have to be perfect to be “the” perfect parent for your kids.” Parents make mistakes, fly off the handle, lose their patience, forget about a school trip, or lose a favorite toy. Don’t beat yourself up! Start new and fresh, learn from each opportunity, and make the necessary changes.

2. “Perfect can be dangerous.” I want to raise well-rounded children that aren’t afraid to mess up or to fail, but can dust themselves off, get back up, and not be afraid to try again. I’ve witnessed too many adults who never experienced disappointment until adulthood and it rocked them to the core.

3. “Don’t have comparisonitis” Your parenting style might not be the same as your family member, co-worker, or friend. Do what works best for your household and family!

4. “Kids will be kids” They will fight, cry, kick, scream, embarrass you, make you late, sleep in your bed, lose things, forget things, forget to use the potty, make bad decisions, giggle too much in class, like the wrong boy, say they hate you. IT’S ALL RIGHT! Be “their” perfect parent and not “the” perfect parent…love, hug, kiss, and embrace them for who they are, cherish every moment you have. They love you and you love them and it’s all that matters.

Before you know it they will grow up and strive to be perfect people with perfect kids being the perfect parents having the perfect life putting plenty of profuse pressure on them. Don’t pass it on.

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Thank you for telling me no

Whether you are 5 or 45, hearing no can be disappointing. As hard as some no’s can be, a no can also be a safety net. I have experienced many disappointments in relationships, my career, and through everyday life. Although disappointments can be hard, I can honestly say I am “thankful for the no’s”. 

Years ago, while working at my first job after college at a staffing agency, I experienced my first adult disappointment. This position wasn’t my ideal job, but I was content where I was. After working there for two years, I was let go, and boy was I disappointed. I hadn’t planned on retiring from the company, but I also didn’t plan on leaving so abruptly. I didn’t realize it at first, but that was a great place to insert a “thank you”. If I stayed in that position any longer I would have been off track from the larger plan set for me. Do you know how many passions or gifts were birthed out of disappointment? 

As an adult, here are three things “no” can mean: 

1. Not yet
2. Not for you
3. A safety net to save you from making a wrong move 

Parents hate telling their children no! We all like to see our children happy and satisfied, but unfortunately there are times we have to tell them no. Those reasons could be to protect them or to build character. 

Here are some healthy reasons for telling your child no: 

1. For their safety 
2. For their health 
3. For their behavior 
4. To teach them patience, boundaries, sacrifice, and discipline. 

Could those same reasons to protect or teach a child, be similar experiences to why an adult is told no in various areas of life? As adults let’s try not be like my two-year old and throw a tantrum when we experience being told no through closed doors or disappointment. Realize it’s an opportunity for building character and say “Thank you for telling me no!”

L.T.  

The Power of Unhappiness

“Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation.”
― Oscar Wilde

What are you tired of? It could be that very thing that is pushing you closer to greatness. No one likes to feel discontent, unhappy, defeated, sadness, misery, uneasy, or dissatisfied. In fact most of us do everything in our power not to experience those feelings. As much as we don’t like it, it can be that very thing that is pushing you to the next level in your career, school, life and most of all pushing you to CHANGE.

Many businesses have been started, books written, and career changes have been attributed to discontent. Most people would never be where they are today if they never experienced some sort of disappointment or discontent. Look at Oprah, she grew up poor, raped at nine, pregnant at 14, counted out plenty of times, but look at her glory. Walt Disney was fired from his newspaper job because his boss said that he lacked imagination and good ideas (really? Walt Disney?), if he had never been fired would we know of the Disney empire today? Michael Jordan one of the greatest basketball players of all times, was cut from his High School basketball team, yet he used that discontent to work harder at his craft.

I could give you example after example of using your disappointments and discontent to your advantage and as an opportunity to push harder, do more, and take your life to the next level. My pastor always says “A setback is a setup for a comeback”! So if you are going through a tough time, don’t throw a pity party, dust yourself off and move closer to greatness.

 

 

 

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Monday=Fun Day

Growing up I remember every Saturday we got up earlier then should be allowed on a Saturday and we went to eat breakfast at OHOP (Original House of Pancakes for those who are unfamiliar). No matter how late I went to bed, rain or shine, we were there every single Saturday. It was an unspoken rule in our house that Saturday’s were Family Day. It is moments like those that shaped my life and created so many fun memories with my family, that I will never ever forget.

So a month ago we deemed Monday, “Fun Day” in the Terry Household. We let our oldest daughter pick what fun family activity we will do every Monday and we make it happen! We wanted to have something fun for our kids to look forward to as many summer weekends are usually filled with Weddings, Baby Showers, and BBQ’s, although the kids like to go, it is usually more fun for us than it is for them.

Creating a fun family day doesn’t require a ton of money, but some special time, and lots of love!

Check out these pics from our previous Monday Fun Day’s!

Our first Monday we went bike riding and had a day at the park
Beach day!
Trip to Brookfield Zoo
Water Day at home and water balloon fight
Chuck E. Cheese

You need your BFF

Yesterday, I was reading through Parenting Magazine and came across a really cool article called “Friendship CPR”. In the article it stressed the importance of social interaction with friends and tips in which I will share through this post.

“I think if I’ve learned anything about friendship, it’s to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don’t walk away, don’t be distracted, don’t be too busy or tired, don’t take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff.”
Jon Katz

Oh yeah, Friends are pretty doggone important. How many of us (me included) have done these things:

Not seen your friends for months at a time?
Haven’t spoke to your friend in over a month?
When you speak to or hang out with your friends you spend the first hour catching up, because you haven’t talked in so long?

I’m so guilty of this! With family, kids, career…..LIFE alone….can get soooo crazy that the first people we put on the back burner are our friends. Some of us before we had all of the above we had a hard time making time for our friends. Just as we have to maintain relationships with our spouses, relationships with our friends have to also be given the necessary attention otherwise the relationship grows further and further apart. Now…..there are situations where certain friendships grow apart and head in different directions, and you just aren’t on the same page anymore, but that’s a different post 🙂

The Article “Friendship CPR” gave a few tips for making time for your friends:

-Run errands together, since you have to get them done anyway, why not spend your grocery shopping time with a friend?

-Take a fun class together (my girls and I have already discussed doing this)

-Can’t get to your friends? Skype or Instant Message them (we do this daily, it really works, check out WhatsApp for iPhone/Blackberry, the groupchat feature is fab)

A few Haute Mommi tips:

-Start a tradition with your friends and stick to them (i.e. Monthly breakfast or dinners, game or family nights, potlucks)

-Share your dreams with your friends and watch out for the opportunities that you can create together

-Do good with your friends, find a local charity and you can volunteer together

You need your husband/wife, kids, job, parents, siblings, but you also need your FRIENDS.

Supporting what matters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes we don’t realize how blessed we are just to have our health, a place to sleep, and safety. This week, my four-year old Taylor has been sick and as a parent it felt like the end of the world because no parent wants to see their child ill or uncomfortable. Yesterday, on our way from the doctor’s office, she spotted a man sleeping under the viaduct and she said why is that man sleeping outside, why doesn’t he go home. I explained to her that some people aren’t fortunate to have a place to live because they may not have a job or money, and her response was, why don’t they just go to the bank? I chuckled and said, the bank doesn’t just give out money (although I wish they did), people have to work for money and then they put it in the bank. She said oh….

Overtime I will be sharing with you great causes that I have come across, and feel free to share some with me, as we look to help other people out that might be sick, down on their luck, living in a third-world country, or just need help. I know you may be thinking, “hey, I’m struggling too”, but supporting doesn’t always take money.

Here’s a way you can get involved today:

Ronald McDonald House Charities help families that have children that are hospitalized with life-threatening illnesses or diseases. RMHC has partnered with HP to provide encouragement to families living in their houses. All you have to do is visit www.hpesmiles.com and send an eSmile to the Chicago Ronald McDonald House and HP will donate $1 to that home to continue to provide care. The eSmile can be a poem, note, picture, or whatever you think can make the day of someone else. Their goal to raise $50,000 by April 15th.

Have a great weekend!