Allow yourself to “dream small”

  “Dreaming big” is admired and rewarded, while dreaming about real things is often perceived “down to earth”. But sometimes it is impossible to dream big, before your down-to-earth challenges are solved. I personally can’t dream big if I do not have a nanny schedule confirmed, I struggle to dream big if I need to plan activities, birthdays and travel (which I love to do btw).  My mind just can’t focus on big and abstract before the real and practical ones are defined. Sounds familiar? Few weeks ago at my birthday we talked dreams. And with two friends of mine, we realized our big /unrealistic dreams are about day to day challenges like not having to think who and when picks up children or having residence permit solved finally after so many years…. The “bigger” angle of these dreams was […]

Enjoy life more. Sport with pleasure

Last year one of the most popular posts among you was “How to find time to exercise”. And this was one of the themes of my year as well. I learned how to find this time, I built a habit, and I felt very good about regular exercise about 3 times a week or more. So I thought what is next. Do it more (target everyday)? Do it harder (sport challenge?) but none of the two were making me excited. Then I realized what I really want is Do it differently  that is having more pleasure and enjoying it more. So few months ago I made the best decision of the year. It was black Friday, I got a call from a friend telling that my aspirational and non-attainable sport club has the sale, and I finally allowed myself […]

Few ideas how to survive Festive December

December is my love and hate. I love the expectations of holidays, I hate the overwhelming tiredness from intense business season; I love festive activities, I hate my calendar in December – it is too much on all fronts. I love the crispy air, and I hate the absence of snow yet. I love the thinking of year ending, I hate the list of things that still have to be done. How to balance the extremes and get more joy from the season’s specialties. Celebrate more. This is my strategy to survive December:  I loved how Nikita’s teacher framed it “Its very busy but very exciting time of the year, it creates lovely experiences to learn and enjoy. Do not miss the opportunity” This is what works for me to enjoy the lovely experiences First, calendar basics. Put all activities […]

How to make a birthday last longer

Every child wants to extend the birthday to as long as possible. As a parent I want to make them happy and I was thinking how to make it FEEL longer. I learned that it is possible to make a birthday feel lasting longer….The key word is “expectations”. Lets start from theory. Expectation is a belief that something will happen, a feeling or belief of how good something will be (Webster’s dictionary definition). It is proven that expectations of events are often more important than events themselves as they last longer and they create a positive spin for long. Expectations created by mind are often compared to “placebo effect” in medicine. They are somewhat bending the reality as positive belief causes the brain to release endorphins.  (“Mind over Mind: the surprising power of expectations” by Chris Berdik). So for a […]

Enjoying your weekday mornings more

Getting to school and work on time is the biggest challenge of working parents. No-one wants to get up early every day and we resist the morning pressure.. so do the children. But this is not a “time management” challenge. It’s not about fitting all to-dos in a short span of time between alarm clock and office.  For me the challenge is finding a way to do what you enjoy more often including weekday mornings. What I want from the morning is some positive time together when we are preparing for the day. In our family we have long adopted the morning routine basics: we already plan the day ahead, prepare the clothes and school bags in the evening, we do not watch cartoons or play games in the morning so there are little efficiencies to be achieved by optimizing […]

Are your goals big enough

Recently we had a discussion with our friends who mentioned they were reviewing their goals for the year and by September they have achieved most of them . They questioned if what they were wishing for was too predictable or have they made a huge progress in such a short time…A week after we sat to review our 2016 goals with Maks and as we did it, we also were surprised how far we have progressed and how achievable some of the goals were. We had some very aspiring family/relationships directions that are progressing as well as few personal development goals, but in professional and numeric terms some of the goals were modest. The problem was that they WERE VERY SMART specific and measureable and ACHIEVABLE within a year’s timeframe. I was intrigued and went to explore the topic further. […]

Back to school thoughts

  This is the last weekend before the school year starts. As a parent I am not looking forward to early mornings rush and evening homework routine. And there will be always something going on that should not be missed.  Still I want to think how to make it more enjoyable (sort of) and more rewarding. Apart from buying the supplies, new backpacks and clothes there are few even more important things to do in the last days of summer… which is think about the year ahead. Ask yourself, talk as a couple, engage the child to answer the following questions. Doing it ahead of the school year helps to make daily choices easier. What challenges is your family is facing this year (international move, move of the house… new jobs of parents…) if NONE –congratulations! It is a stable […]

The time for two

  In summer we are lucky to have grandparents and summer camps. This allows some of us, parents, to have the time for two for few days or even weeks. This time is absolutely critical. It helps to nurture the relationships, remind you why you started to like the person and how you felt when you are just two. When you are not father or mother but really the couple you used to be. I feel that even getting used to a “couple vs parents” mindset takes some time and I need at least 1 day to re-learn how to focus on myself and Maks only. 2-3 hours getaways for a dinner or movie are a nice refresher, but they are not enough. The “time for two” for a longer time restores the balance of feeling as a couple vs […]

Things are not getting done in summer

  Summer time…. I love the relaxing feeling of summer mornings, days and nights…. But often I question if I am lazy more than I should be, or if it is ok to allow myself to be lazy for a while…. Workwise  life is a bit easier in July and August, children are with grandparents for a couple of weeks and I planned many “extra” things to do, but they are not getting done… I tried few times waking up early but I could never convince myself anything earlier than 7. It was possible during the year, but in July the body resists the effort. I decided not to force myself and allow 9-10pm bedtimes, alarm clock not earlier than 7am, lazy cocktails on terrace after work and lazy coffee in the morning. It was not vacation – I was […]

Making relationships stronger

If you are a having a professional career and having children, you said this at least once: “I cannot spend all the time with my children, but I the time we spend will be quality time”. Familiar?  If I ask Maks do we have enough quality time, he will say yes and I will say no…. so what is this quality time… when do you know you get it right? For some people (and I am one of those) quality time is the key measure of love . It is scientifically proven that some need more than others. I know I am loved and appreciated when people find the time to be with me. All my “managing myself and my work” efforts are to create time to spend with the ones I love…. I hate weeks when I can’t spend […]