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Tread Lightly. It is tempting as the story unfolds to follow every moment on the news and social media. Don’t. Turn it off. If you want, check in at the top of the hour for updates. Older kids are getting fatigued into numbness and youngsters often think the replay images are new occurrences.

Talk even though it’s tough. We hope that if we don’t bring it up, our children won’t know what happened. Yet once they are school aged, if we don’t speak up, they will hear the news from a hundred other sources. Don’t fret about the words you use, simply start the conversation. State your truth, “This is hard for me to tell you…”

Speak in Sound Bites. Give children brief facts and information. Then listen. Listen to the nuance of their confusion, questions and comments. Follow their lead. Then (re)assure them. Give them space to weep and wonder. Listen for the emotions that are under their words, assure them that all of their feelings matter. Let them to know that you are here. That together you are bigger and stronger than any disaster. That you will be present for them, no matter how overwhelming life feels.

Stay the Course. We all thrive on routine, and this is especially true in times of trauma. Keep children on their regular schedules. Familiarity breeds comfort.

Look at Each Step. Yes, the media will focus injury and death. But we can talk about life. And all the days each person had before today. And all the people who loved them, and whom they loved. And how, even after someone is gone, they are not gone. They are within us.

Remind Them of all the Helpers. Show children how many responders there are. Doctors, nurses, emergency personnel, teachers, faith leaders, community members—everyone involved is supported by a dozens of adults. As Mister Rogers said  “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” Look at all of the helpers here.

Become a Helper. Look for those who need support. It may mean donating resources, time or expertise. Help your kids find ways to contribute. When we give of ourselves, we learn we are capable. When we realize we can overcome, our resiliency for future events is stronger. By finding their own voice in this tragedy, they learn that they can make a difference in the world, no matter what events unfold.

Would you like additional support or help? For yourself, family or community? Contact me here.

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Free Guide: 5 changes in 5 minutes to make parenting better, easier, right now!

February 9th, 2018

Q & A and fabulous food! This small group event is open to everyone. There are 13 spots available for a two and a half hour talk. It is all Q &A about all things parenting. Sleep! Siblings! Discipline! Media! Toilet! Whatever is on your mind, we’ll talk about it. We’ll be meeting at Casa Mia of Olympia from 6 – 9 p.m. Tickets for this event ($15) must be purchased in advance. Come join us!

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Free Guide: 5 changes in 5 minutes to make parenting better, easier, right now!

FEBRUARY 6th, 2018 begins at 6:30 pm

STICKS and STONES: Bullying, relational aggression, the wheel of problem solving, why we want kids to tell, and what parents can do!

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Free Guide: 5 changes in 5 minutes to make parenting better, easier, right now!

Wednesday January 24th, 6-7:30 pm

Please join us for our annual workshop on raising kids in the digital age. Use the link to RSVP at Eventbrite, We’ll be sharing the latest research on kids and technology, and helping you establish/revisit/revise your family guidelines to help set your kids up for success. Relevant for all ages. BRING YOUR TWEEN (8-12) or TEEN (13-18) WITH YOU! This is a FREE event and open all in the South Sound region.

Free childcare for very young children will be provided on site. Event is at Charles Wright Academy in the Lower School Commons. It’s the first parking lot/building you see when you get to campus!

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Free Guide: 5 changes in 5 minutes to make parenting better, easier, right now!

JANUARY 18th, 2018 begins at 7:00 pm

IQ / EQ: Getting Smart about our Feelings. Emotional intelligence is crucial component to our children’s academic success.

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Free Guide: 5 changes in 5 minutes to make parenting better, easier, right now!

JANUARY 9th, 2018 begins at 6:30 pm

Discipline–how to work with our kids during ‘those’ moments, to make them smoother, better, and leave us more connected than before the meltdown happened.

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Free Guide: 5 changes in 5 minutes to make parenting better, easier, right now!

messy messy joy joy

Dearest Clara and Nutcracker,

In just a few hours our annual party begins. And when our guests arrive they’ll marvel at the sight. (Over the past nine years we’ve learned how to throw a seriously great party).

But what they won’t see is what is happening right now—as we are prepping and struggling and stumbling.

They will see the joy, but not the mess.

They will see only half of what is true. Like looking with only one eye open, they will not have depth perception. They will not perceive the effort, the sweat. They will not see the moments when we worried we couldn’t pull it off, when things were half done and seemed impossible to do.

Later in the night our guests will see it all. While the party begins beautifully, there comes the time when the nutcracker is broken. A mess that changes everything. Without it? The night would quickly end. Without the mess there would be no dream, no second act.

Messiness isn’t a mistake. It is the space for the creation of joy. So often we worry that the mess makes a moment less. That the mess means we are less. The opposite is true. It is the messy that makes life more. Nothing is just joy.

The full story is that joy and messiness are necessary companions.

So look for the moments of messy in your life—a role you didn’t wish for, a partner you don’t want, an injury that sets you back. Trust in them. Know that they point the way to great joy.

Because the joy will be there. It’s waiting for you. It’s real. It isn’t just in dreams.

 

With all my love,

Mama Stahlbaum

Love this Nutcracker Love Note? You can pin it.

This is the ninth year I have performed in The Nutcracker. It is my eighth year as Clara’s mother, the seventh time I have written a letter to the dancers  Here are the links to the letters for the past six years: stage fright, the balance pointe, home for the holidays, blizzards of truth, life in ¾ time, in a nutshell.

 

 

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Free Guide: 5 changes in 5 minutes to make parenting better, easier, right now!

MOPS

DECEMBER 2nd, 2017 starting at 6:30 pm

I’ll be joining the Lighthouse Christian Center MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) to discuss parenthood.

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Free Guide: 5 changes in 5 minutes to make parenting better, easier, right now!