Monthly Archives: June 2017

Parents: Here are 10 Ways We Can Implement Better Self-Care

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written by Jen Valu

 

I’m talking to all parents here, but moms specifically.  We are always too busy (a word I use way too often to describe how I’m doing), taking care of everyone – our kids, our home, even our spouse…that we often neglect a very important person – YOURSELF.  Easier said than done, I am guilty as charged.  I sometimes wait 6 months to get a haircut.  I rarely get much needed “girl time” with my friends.  I can’t remember the last time I was able to pick up a book and get lost in it.  I feel good thinking about all of the things I get done every day – taking care of two children, working PT, paying bills, food shopping, taking care of the house and  somehow mustering up the energy after both kids are asleep to make my husband and I dinner when he gets home from work.  After all, look at what we accomplish every single day.  We should feel proud!!!  BUT…do you ever feel like you’re losing yourself in the day to day grind, not having a moment to think about you?

Here are a few ideas for ways we can take care of ourselves without breaking the bank and taking too much time away from those snuggles and laughs with our babies.

 

  • EXERCISE.  Don’t have a gym membership?  Doesn’t matter.  Get your heartrate up for 30 min.  Go for a walk – do the Prospect Park loop.   Catch up on your favorite podcast while you’re out and about!  Release those endorphins.
  • Go to your favorite cafe, alone.  People watch (Brooklyn is a great place to do this) or meet up with a friend for a cup of Joe.
  • Take a bath  (when is the last time you did this)?  Candles, music, glass of wine – do it up!!!!
  • Take that meditation or yoga class.  Re-center yourself.
  • Once a month, make a date night – not necessarily with your spouse (let them babysit) –  maybe with a friend.  Make a plan to do dinner, go to a concert, whatever.  Something you really want to do.  Agree that your spouse does the same, this way you are both helping each other with self care and striving to be happier parents, together!
  • Go outside by yourself – on your balcony, on your rooftop, wherever that is.  Get that fresh air and bring your your favorite music.  Enjoy a quiet cup of tea or coffee.  Breathe.  Alone.
  • Do you have a creative hobby?  Don’t neglect it.  Painting, drawing, photography, writing, playing music?  Take a little time to invest in that hobby.
  • Go the park by yourself.  Bring your beach-chair and relax under your favorite tree for a half hour and catch up on a book.
  • Getting to the hair salon can often be difficult and time consuming…how about a quick mani or pedi?  Or a half hour massage…ahhh.  Reward yourself.
  • Sleep in.  Make sure you and your partner allow the other to do this on a regular basis.  There is no downplaying how important it is for you to catch enough z’s.

 

Try setting your alarm clock 20-30 min early if you can’t find time in the day to do these things.   Start the day with YOU-time.  And watch the beautiful sun rise while you do it.

Listen, there is never enough time in the day or the funds to do what we really want to do for ourselves. Sure I’d love a day at the spa once a month and a yearly trip with close girlfriends somewhere on a secluded beach in the Caribbean.   I’d love to go into Manhattan, all alone and just wander around for an entire day.  Meet up with friends for lunch, go shop.  Just a me-day.  One day we’ll all get there (here’s to hoping), but these things can feel a little out of reach with the little people in our lives.   Maybe we can take some of these small steps towards that much needed “me time”.   

Remember, if you feel like you’re taking care of “everything”, that includes you.  If you truly take care of yourself, you are happier…you are a better parent, a more patient parent.  You’re also letting your children know that YOU matter, and that you truly value yourself.

 

10 Family Activities to Enjoy In & Around Brooklyn this July

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Looking for something special to do during the month of July with your family?  Look no further.  Here are 10 ideas, from taking your child “Phishing”, kayaking at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, and checking out interactive installations at the Kids Summer Family Day at the Whitney Museum of Art.

 

July 4th:  Independence Day in Prospect Park, 12-5pm:   Enjoy family-friendly activities at the Prospect Park Audubon Center, Lefferts Historic House and the Carousel.  Activities include nature activities at the Audubon Center, signing a reproduction of the Declaration of Independence at the Lefferts Historic House and a ride on the infamous 1912 carousel.  https://www.prospectpark.org/news-events/events/2017/7/4#independence-day-prospect-park-2017

July 4th (location: all over NYC):  Do you have a little one that will stay up late and watch fireworks with you?  Time Out lists best places to watch this year, including Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade:  https://www.timeout.com/newyork/things-to-do/where-to-watch-the-4th-of-july-fireworks

July 8th:  Family Cooking in the Garden at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, 1pm-2:30pm.  Bring the whole family to the Children’s Garden for an afternoon cooking class. Harvest produce from the garden, then try the kitchen tool, techniques, and recipes in the Children’s Garden that will also keep kids engaged in the home kitchen. The group will prepare one farm-fresh entree and one dessert to share.  Member Fee: $15, Non-Member Fee:  $17.  https://classes.bbg.org/CourseStatus.awp?&course=17SCGFCGA

July 9th and 23rd: Rock and Roll Playhouse at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg, 12pm.  On the 9th come check out The Music of Elvis Presley for Kids.  And on July 23rd, Kids Gone Phishing: Baker’s Trio.  Each workshop is 60 minutes long and is specifically designed for children 7 and under, but all members of the family are welcome to this family show.  All ages, tickets are $10 (kids under 1 are free).   http://www.brooklynbowl.com/event/1487392-rock-roll-playhouse-music-brooklyn/ and http://www.brooklynbowl.com/event/1469789-kids-gone-phishing-baker-s-brooklyn/

July 15th:  Whitney Kids Summer Family Day at the Whitney Museum of Art, 10:30am – 3pm.  Immerse yourself in movement at Whitney Kids Summer Family Day! Explore moveable sculptures in Calder: Hypermobility and interactive installations in Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium. Join us for gallery activities, artmaking workshops, and a special Samba performance and dance party. You can also pick up a free Kids Activity or Audio Guide.  Buy your admission ticket online in advance to save $.  http://whitney.org/Events/Summer2017FamilyDay

July 16th and 30th:  Music In The Grove at Fort Greene Park, 11am-12pm:  Free. On July 16th:  Kids Concert W/ Rozz And Val Show.The Brooklyn-based high-energy duo Rozz & Val Show is coming to Fort Greene for an extra fun Sunday!  http://www.fortgreenepark.org/events/2017/5/31/music-in-the-grove-kids-concert-w-suzi-shelton-sng5r-bms53.  And on July 30th: Kids Concert With Hopalong Andrew.  Come listen to some upbeat, urban cowboy tunes brought to you by Hopalong Andrew, a former Central Park Ranger! Bring your blanket and set it down by the trees just south of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument for this free concert catered to children 0-8 years old.  http://www.fortgreenepark.org/events/2017/5/31/music-in-the-grove-kids-concert-w-suzi-shelton-sng5r-bms53-rwsck-9m35n

July 30th:  Member’s Night for Children and Sunset Picnic, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, 6:30pm-8pm.  For members only (great reason to join prior)!  Join the fun-loving bluegrass band Astrograss for an evening of singing and dancing, especially for the kids in your life! BBG educators will also be on hand with a special planting activity.  https://www.bbg.org/visit/event/members_night_for_children

Sundays through October:  Smorgasburg, Breeze Hill in Prospect Park, 11am – 6pm.  Find 100 vendors and food from all over the world every Sunday at Breeze Hill, located near Lakeside and the park’s Lincoln Road entrance. Presented in partnership with Prospect Park Alliance. Dog friendly. Rain or shine.  Here is a list of the top 10 foods you might need to try this year:  http://bbook.com/nightlife/10-things-you-need-to-eat-at-smorgasburg-2017/

Saturdays through 8/26:  Kayaking In Brooklyn Bridge Park, 10am-3pm.  For those with older kids, this is a fun adventure waiting for you!  Free.  Location: Pier 2.  Glide along the water while kayaking with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse at the Pier 2 floating dock! Children under 18 must have an adult guardian present. All levels are welcome and no experience is necessary. There are doubles for one adult and no more than one child under 14 (or paddler that needs assistance).  http://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/events/kayaking

Thursdays – Sundays through October:  Makeryard, Brooklyn Children’s Museum (Crown Heights):  Inspired by adventure playgrounds, MakerYard, Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s newest exhibition, invites children to test their motor skills and imaginations as they construct, build, and invent structures and other creations using everyday materials such as cardboard, tape, fabric, string and recyclables. Parents and caregivers are invited to sit back and let children explore independently, or work collaboratively to create together.  http://www.brooklynkids.org/visiting-exhibits/