About GirlHB

Author Archive | GirlHB

The Top 10 Little Secrets About Being A Mom

agandherband-89rightonemd

The Top 10 Little Secrets About Being A Mom

10.     The kids go from smelly diapers to smelly socks but you will actually miss all of those black-hole socks one day. It may not seem like it right now. Not since you just finished putting away a full metric ton of laundry and get to do it all over again tomorrow. One day, I am told, we will look at the bottom of those laundry baskets and wish just one more time to see that foul-smelling baseball or soccer uniform balled up at the bottom.

9.     You will assign them the chore of manicuring the lawn and will come home to a “mow”hawked yard complete with the Broncos (or your team of choice) logo made especially by the push mower. Art is everywhere with kids around.

8.    You will get your chance to become a real groupie. True, it may not for your favorite rock band or Adam Levine. Still, there is nothing better than cheering for your kid from the stands or bleachers or auditorium. Just when you think that they are completely indifferent to your presence there in the audience, they will make a goal or nail a piano concerto perfectly for the first time and the FIRST person they scan the audience to find is YOU.

7.     You may not be slow dancing with your husband in the living room as often as you were before kids. Not to worry! You will improvise team victory dances as the dual parenting team athletes that will rival those dating days of old. Exhibit A: That one time during the double overtime when your kid scored the game-winning goal with her head? Your guy picked you up and twirled you three and a half times before dipping you backwards and wrapping the whole deal with double high-fives.

6.    Bigger breakfasts in bed! Yes, it is true. Most families are either secretly or overtly competitive. This includes cooking breakfast in bed with mom. Each member of your family will have an unspoken duel to see who can serve you the world’s best muffin or most savory omelette on planet Earth.

5.     Your sheets will boast the best thread count ever. This is what happens over the years when kids crawl between the sheets and toss and turn with elbows to your ribs three nights per week. The wear and tear on your short term memory is significant. But your sheets will have never, ever felt softer.

4.    You will have the opportunity to become a professional art collector- also known as an art hoarder. Nearly every sketch, note and painting will become much too special to toss in the wastebasket. You will probably drive three miles to throw away the ones that you know must go in order to make sure that your child never sees their work in the trash. The ones that you commit to keep will become more valuable to you than your own great-grandmother’s silver candlesticks.

3.    You will broaden your music tastes considerably. At first, the radio stations that the kids coerce you into committing to your car’s memory will grate on your last nerve. You will begin to question whether or not certain groups are out to corrupt your children right beneath your very nose (or ears). You may even come home and Google such phrases as Pop Some Tags or Get Jiggy With It to dispel your worries. Then one day suddenly you are singing along. Or playing air guitar in the driver’s seat making sure that no one in the back sees you. It will happen. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent. Perhaps just that you are finding ways to bond with the rising generations.

2.    Parties that don’t cost a thing except for a few cups of milk. You will stage a milk mustache party at the dinner table and, later at bedtime, get nostalgic about the toddler days gone by. It will be a silly contest out of the blue to see who can drink the biggest mustache atop their lip. The coolest part about this is that this is the type of impromptu party that can be had on any given night, free of charge, no overhead, and with no special venue. All you need is a kitchen table, a few cups of milk and some willing players.

And, drumrolllllll….

1.    Finally, the BEST kept little secret about being a mom is that you get to sleep in on Mother’s Day. You will rarely take the opportunity to do so though. Why? Because that HUGE breakfast in bed is on its way!

Happy Mother’s Day you MOMS of the band.

This song is for you!

The House That Built Me

Together Everyone Achieves More (aka TEAM)

agahb softball 2fbMoms, dads and siblings are often the unsung heroes of the sporting world on the sidelines. For every Olympic medalist that has stood atop that podium- glowing with patriotism and adorned in gold, silver or bronze- there are at least two people with a stiff back after hours on the bleachers who supported them every step of the way.

    Rarely will you hear an athlete make an acceptance speech or complete an interview without paying homage to the parents who ‘got me here’. It is a labor of love, commitment and laundry to raise a true competitor. Truth? We wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Broken cleats, torn dance recital pointe shoes, cracked water bottles, Ace bandages, and early alarm clocks. They are ALL part of the journey that build character in our kids and in us.

    As our children age from the pee-wee leagues to the varsity ones, I think that it is important to involve them in the preparations for game time. After all, we are preparing our children for independence above all.

    It is so tempting to want to fill the high schooler’s water bottle on a daily basis or fold the hockey jersey ‘just perfectly’ as though it has been a good luck charm through the years. Sport moms may be among the most vulnerable to doing things for the kids that they should be doing for themselves.

    There is a reason to be conscious of this. When we involve our kids in the laundry or the next Mapquest to tomorrow’s soccer fields in a new zip code, it gives them ownership in the preparations too. Have you ever tasted a peanut-butter jelly sandwich after a grueling workout that you made yourself? It is the bomb fuel.

    Kids tend to set their goals higher when they are involved in the process of achieving them. So next time you are breaking a sweat in the laundry room over a grass stain with the Spray n’ Wash trigger finger, tap your kiddo to be the co-captain of clean-up. Make it a contest. Who can get the stain out first?

    Remember that if they help build it, they will certainly show up with their game face on, a gracious attitude and the thrill of knowing that teamwork doesn’t just stop at the field. It is alive and well at home too.

GOT ART?

untitled (14)I will never forget my first box of crayons. Crayola, of course. Can you remember the waxy smell and the clever names? My favorites were cauliflower and sky blue. Or was it magenta and maize? My husband’s favorite was burnt sienna. Who am I kidding? I loved them all.

The endless potential for creation that rectangular box of meticulously wrapped, wax sticks held was huge. The excitement made me cradle the new purchase in my arms like a new doll. Move over, Picasso. Watch it, Matisse. Scoot over, Van Gogh. I sat the box on the same shelf as my ball trophies. My new crayons pulled the same rank as my sporting accomplishments. I was not only going to be the girl working towards a black belt in karate. I was about to be an artist too. I just needed a bottomless supply of white paper and it was going to be ON.

Flash forward thirty-five years.

I am holding the scotch tape gently between my teeth as I adjust my own child’s latest depiction of our family of four as various stick figures. My cabinets and refrigerator are covered in their artwork. It is a rare occasion that I throw one away. I often sit and watch them as they draw, color, glitterfy, sculpt, cut, tape and glue their latest creations. Have you ever noticed a child hard at work as an artist? Typically, their mouth is set in a taut line with the tongue curled in pure concentration around the upper lip. Adorably awesome. Perfectly engaged. A creator at work.

Finger paints, play-doh and glitter are a childhood rite of passage. So often, we push them to the back of the cabinet because they are messy. Moms + messes = L. Art is an important albeit messy process. Often, I will tell visitors to our home to please excuse the mess because memories are being made. It just goes with the territory of a life well-lived.

Einstein was right when he said, “Play is the highest form of research.” The more we allow kids to make messes (within reason, barring any Nickelodeon green slime on the walls), the more confident our children will become as creators and artists. Every child is an artist. Just ask any kid with a new box of crayons.

P.S. If you’re like us, you probably have a box or drawer of broken, unloved crayons somewhere in the house. They are super fun to recycle. Here is how:

* Gather up all of your broken crayons, and cut them into small pieces. (An adult will need to complete this step.)

* Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

* Fill the muffin tin with an inch-thick layer of crayon pieces.

* Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the wax is melted.

* Allow the tin to cool; then pop out the crayons, and they’re ready for use by your little Van Goghs.

Huddle Up

XGzy1 The buttercups are peeking though the frozen ground. They aren’t afraid of the last few frigid nights before spring officially makes its grand entrance this year. The field lights are aglow with the sounds of sports practices- bats cracking, whistles blowing, and new grass stains are being made at spring practices on most every field in town. It is that time of year when the vacant bleachers begin to fill with excited spectators and family members arrive to cheer on the athletes as they ready for a season of competition.

 

Anyone who has been around sports for at least one season is aware of this fact: not all spectators are created equally. In fact, for every rule in soccer or baseball, one might say there should be a rule for the fans do’s and don’ts. It is easy to get caught up in the pinch of a tie ballgame or a referee’s bad call. Trust me, there have been times when I thought duct tape might keep my commentary more safely at bay. However, if our kids watch us for anything, it is how we handle ourselves in front of others. How we navigate conflict and disappointment is one of the greatest lessons that we can model for our children.

 

A Few Golden Rules for Parent Sportsmanship

 

* You never know who you are sitting next to at games. It could possibly be the opposing team’s family members. Even so, evoke the If You Can’t Say Something Nice, Don’t Say It At All MOTTO. Games are a fun social outing. Speak of opponent’s children the same way you would want them to speak of yours.

* Don’t question the umpires, referee’s or coaches calls in front of the children- particularly by yelling. Wait until you can have adult facetime if you wish to voice a concern.

* Remind your child that effort counts as much as a win. This is a FUN time in their lives.

* Avoid post-game analysis unless your child initiates the conversation. Chances are they already know exactly how they can improve next time if they are invested athletes.

* Smile! Before, during and AFTER!

 

Above all, be there for your children. Support them, praise them, and let them know you can always be counted on for unconditional love, regardless of the final score.

Be The Change

Be-The-Change (2)

Be The Change

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

-Margaret Mead-

 

There eventually comes a time (like in the blink of an eye) when your toddler evolves into less of a tornadic hoarder of toys and more of a miniature person capable of sharing them. We believe that kids and adults alike are wired to give of themselves. It can be the gift of time, affection or a box wrapped with a bow on a special occasion. There is a certain feeling that overcomes us as we do something good in the world. It is a heart opener and a heart healer in so many ways. Giving back or paying-it-forward feels similar to the endorphins after a good sweat or workout. But BETTER. It is the feeling of knowing you have left a person and a world somehow better than you found it.

When you visit an elementary classroom for any duration of time, you will notice children’s innate knack for giving. Often, you will leave with a stack of homemade cards from kids you just met- a paper fortune teller decorated especially for you, an abstract but lovely portrait with your hair in a bow as big as your body, or a birthday card even if your birthday is nine full months away. Kids are naturally wired to give of themselves. It is important to give them the opportunity to do so whenever possible.

Our Be The Change headband was designed specifically for giving back to our global community. We will be selling this band at the movie premier of “Girl Rising” which A Girl and Her Band is hosting on Monday, March 11 in Denver, Colorado. All proceeds from the sale of this band will be donated to the 10 x 10 Girls’ Education Fund. 10 x 10 is on a mission to launch a global campaign to empower and educate girls from around the world.

If you are looking for a fantastic picture book that tells the story of small acts of kindness that change the world, grab a copy of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr. You and your child will never forget this bedtime story. Likely, you will wake a changed person the morning after this beautiful read-aloud. It may even become a family tradition- one that you will want to pass down from generation to generation. Just like a kind, giving heart.

 Sadako-and-the-Thousand-Paper-Cranes-Coerr-Eleanor-9780698118027

 

Book Description: Born in Hiroshima in 1943, Sadako was the star of her school’s running team, until the dizzy spells started and she was forced to face the hardest race of her life-the race against time.

Cape?What Cape?

imagesScaling up. Sounds great, right? It’s what most entrepreneurs strive to do. It’s often the message we receive from almost every media and societal angle on a daily basis- more, more, more. Ping, ping, ping. Do more, spend more, get more, BE more.

Spend enough time with any group of driven people and you will notice that they are always on the cusp of the next great accomplishment. Planning, executing, failing, dusting knees off, trying again. Their business plan is always at their fingertips, laminated, and rarely subject to change.

Parenthood has taken me on this ride a few times- that undying quest for greatness AND BADGE of honor. The desire for the best employee parking spot. There is this insane notion that we must do more STUFF with our kids to be a good mom or dad. More activities. More hobbies. More language acquisition for the future diplomat. More, more, more- until our calendar looks like a football coach’s scrimmage playbook.

We sometimes forget quality and downtime to just be. To relax, talk, breathe, stare at a cicada’s very strange mating habits in the driveway. You know what happens in my family when we get too busy with ‘stuff’? Meltdown City. Make that Meltdown State.

The quest for being a perfect parent and business partner can be  exhausting. No offense (because I am perfectly capable of looking in the mirror) but we moms can be pretty MANIC these days. I gave myself a case of the shingles once trying to hard to embrace the overly hectic life. Sorry, manic mom friends. The truth hurts sometimes. How is it that we got to the point of believing an hour (or day- gasp) of idleness will kibosh a kid’s quest for presidential candidacy down the road?

Life can all too easily become a whirlwhind of unsolicited parenting advice with all of that pressure to scale up, do more, breathe less, sign up for that T-Ball class that teaches Buddism or Mandarin Chinese in the huddle.

And since some of us are in the business of raising kids, we need to remember this. You have to take care of yourself in order to better take care of others. Simple as that. No Superwoman cape needed. Maybe just a cup of coffee.

Now, go get yourself a snazzy headband, gentle breeze, hardback book (you deserve it) and a hammock.

Peace and happy bug watching!

A Belated Thank You Note

band aid2

Date: Better Late Than Never

Re: Thank-You Note

Dear Past Failures:

Please accept my apologies for this belated thank-you note. I honestly had no idea how much gratitude you were due until somewhat recently. This note has been a long time coming. I am a 39- year-old-mother of young children and really had no idea how tempting it would be to try to keep you away from my kids- to protect them from failure at all costs and prevent the ensuing heartache that comes in its wake. It may seem as though I am trying to flatter you- brown nose you OUT of a visit or two. I do admit that you seem to be more tolerable in small doses. In fact, there are days when I bend over backwards, lose the grocery list and my mind, miss important work calls, and rearrange life’s most minute details to make sure you don’t get near my kids. It has taken me this many years to understand how much you have taught me. In my heart of hearts, I know that protecting my kids from mistakes and failures will only deny them the chance to experience the same hardwon lessons. It has taken me years to understand what an invaluable teacher you were (and are) for me and that you will also be an important teacher for my kids- if only I will allow it. I do ask this of you though. Please be kind to my kids and show me how to use you as an instrument for building their character and confidence. It takes courage to be a kid today. Whether being the new kid at school, putting on shin guards for the first soccer game or walking away from peer pressure. Kids face many new frontiers on a near daily basis. If they are never allowed to fail, how will they come to know and believe that they can knock the dirt off their shoulder and try again? Kids don’t necessarily develop confidence and resilience because their parents tell them that they are great (although isn’t that nice to hear from time to time?). They become can-do’ers and try-again’ers because they are encouraged to take on new challenges and given a safe place to land when they fall (or fail). For each achievement big or small- brushing teeth, getting a new Boy Scout badge, sticking up to a bully, or being the MVP- confidence grows. It grows from a place that is not rooted in entitlement, but in faith that failure is not the end of the line. Failure is simply a push-up in the parking lot before trying again. So, Failure, I leave you with this. Thank you. Be kind. Come gently. I am leaving the door open. Teach my children as well as you have taught me.

P.S. Leave Band-aids by the door- a few for the knees and a few for the heart.

Warmly, Mom of the Band

Hide and go Seek

Family playing hide and seek

 Raise your hand if you remember playing intense games of hide-and-go-seek as a kid? I can still see the grass stain on the skinned knees and smell the summer sweat. 

 The childhood contest is a rite of passage for kids. It’s the traditional go-to game for slumber parties, family reunions, and neighborhood barbecues. In our family, the seeking and chasing typically turned into a heated competition. We took that sprint towards the safety of home base very seriously. 

 Adults most likely won’t admit it but are secretly delighted when children ask them to play. It is a rare chance to delve back into the sweetness of childhood- a time when life was as simple as Ready or not, here I come!. Don’t believe me? Watch an adult play sometime. Be prepared to giggle. They pick hiding places that are much too small for them. It is if they have forgotten that the years between childhood and adulthood have added not just inches- but feet- to their frame. 

 Over here at A Girl and Her Band ™, we believe that you are never too old to join a game of hide-and-go-seek with the kids. The next time you see your kids mobilizing for a game, jump in there. It is likely to flood you with a rush of memories of your favorite hiding tree stump, the smell of a honeysuckle bush and the tip-toeing over grass and sticks that crack under foot. 

 Whether you get tagged out at home base anymore will be inconsequential. You are playing out of sheer fun and the best part? You will walk away feeling about five years younger from just having taken a joyful stroll down memory lane.

 Oh, and don’t forget your lucky Band™! We’ve heard they are fantastic good luck charms for finding the best hiding spots on the block. Don’t whistle while you waitJ.

Grand Opening February 1st!

agahb059

We are excited to announce the grand opening of A Girl and Her Band on February 1st!