Category Archives: The Little Teacher

You are often more able to achieve things than you might think

Again I got the chance to learn a lesson from my boy who is almost 1 now. Yesterday, during a coffee break while traveling I decided to take my son for a little walk. Soon we would turn back to the car and we still had a two hour drive in front of us. It was time to exercise.

Walking

Approx two months ago Samuel started to pay interest in standing straight. Being able to stand straight and to see the world from a new perspective created an interest in the little boy: walking. Since then, walking is one of his key interests. He is very happy when someone offers him hands to walk. When we not feel like giving him hands we sometimes offer him his ‘first rollator’, a baby push-toy. I love watching him using the baby push- toy. When he his using it, his face shows me a big smile, him being so proud that he is able to walk.

Two hands

Samuel has been practicing walking for more then 2 months now. When doing the exercise walk yesterday, I notices that he was walking very stable. Although the fact that he was walking very stable, he still wanted both of my hands to hold on. Since I was convinced that he does not need both of my hands anymore, I changed one of my hands for a piece of scarf that was around my neck. The scarf only gave him very little support that could be neglected and as I already thought he was still able to walk properly.

Without help

Samuel knew that he is able to walk with help of two hands. He did not experience yet that he is now also able to walk with only one hand. So he wanted to be sure and asked for two hands. This observation made me realize that it happens to me that I do not do certain things because I play the safe game. In the end I am more capable then I think. A reason to think less and to do more. Even doing things that I did not experience yet that I can do it!

ACTION STEPS

Think of something you always thought you was not able to do it and then just DO IT.

A Chronic disease is not suddenly created overnight

Suddenly it is true: you have a chronic disease. An experience lots of people have to cope with today. Only in the Netherlands more than 5 million people out of 17 million living in the country are chronic ill (+-30%).

Chronic

A chronic disease does not come out of the blue. It is like a straw that breaks the camels back. I was thinking of this expression during the talk with my friends on what kind of food and drinks I give my boy.

Iceberg

I believe that making the right food and drinks choices during your life is one of the essentials in keeping your health and staying away from chronic disease. So, the question that turned up to me already years ago is: what is the right food to eat that contributes to your lifetime health? I have been trying to answer this question for approx 15 years now and I am still working on it. The answer until now is that for me food is like an iceberg. Little is know, the tip of the iceberg that sticks out above the water. Most is unknown. That part of the iceberg that is underwater. I do not know everything about the effect of food on my health. And I have, until now, not found anybody who knows that either.

Tip

So being short of knowing everything, I decided to look at the tip of the iceberg. What is it that I do know? I created some principles I believe are right, to life after. These principles are based on my gut feeling, an innumerable amount of books I read about food in the last 15 years and they are based on the lessons learnt when following  a course of being a health food chef (the main focus of this course is to create food that helps your health). My food principles are:

  • CHANGE at least the products, the cooking style and the cutting style on a regular basis;
  • ATTENTION TO DETAIL makes the food you prepare tastier (and that makes it more easy to create healthy food habits that last), makes you only want to buy the best quality products, helps you being aware when eating home made food, etc etc.
  • RELAX, especially the mind, on how to deal with food.

(I use the donkey bridge: “CAR” to keep my principles a life).

Habits

I used CHANGE and ATTENTION TO DETAIL already for a couple of years. I added RELAX only after becoming a parent. I did so after I learnt that I do not want to be the food police in the upcoming years when raising my boy. I do not want to ignore the present time where the western diet is available to us everywhere either. I do like to close the gap between awareness of the influence of food on your (families) health and action to choice the right food. Remember, chronic illness does not come by eating one time something that is not supposed to be healthy. Chronic illness is created more easily when having wrong diet habits during your life.

ACTION TIP

  • Learn to cook tasty food by using the CAR principles (CHANGE, ATTENTION TO DETAIL and RELAX).

Do you want to know more specific what food choices I make? Please contact me here contact@carolinevanbemmel.com.

 

Stop comparing yourself to others

Comparing yourself to others is a habit I see on a regular basis. What does it bring? Often it brings lots of suffering. We human beings are individuals. I never found persons who are exactly the same. Even identical twins are not the same. Sometimes we want to reach similar goals, but we forget that the ingredients are different and so will be the result.

Sisterhood of motherhood

In my family I am the youngest of four, two older sisters and one older brother. The three girls have been pregnant at the same time last year. Before I got pregnant I thought that was the perfect dream: three sisters being pregnant at the same time. That must be fun! Reality turned out to be different.

Three babies in a row

From the moment the babies are born differences in the approach how to raise children became clear. I choose breastmilk, they choose formula. I choose not to immunize, they choose immunizations. I choose most of the time finger foods, they choose  baby puree. As you can see, only by being able to list the differences is the proof that I compared myself to my sisters. The result was that the relationship got close to 0. What happened to the lovely relationship we used to have?

Need to talk

The other day my oldest sister came over to ‘talk’. That moment I realized that I was judging the way she was raising her kids and that I created the feeling that I was judged by her on how I raise my boy. My thoughts  did not give me the nice family relationship that I wanted. To re-establih a good sister-sister relationship I realized I needed to change. I needed to stop comparing myself.

Benefit

I stopped comparing myself. Being without comparison means there is no need for judgement anymore. And being freed of judgment creates space to focus on the nice things of being in a sister- sister relationship we both enjoy.

Being freed of comparison to others; another leason given to me thanks to my little teacher.

ACTION STEPS

  • check whether or not you compare yourself to others;
  • if you do so, then just stop it!

If you want more practical tips on how to stop comparing yourself to others check this out.

Pay yourself first

Becoming a parent effects your expenses and maybe also your income. The Dutch independent organization for family finances Nibud says that the first child cost in average 17% of your disposable income (=all your income added up), the second 26%, the third, 33% and the forth 40%. Becoming a parent or extending your family may therefore be an reason to have a close look at your personal financial situation.

Months before becoming a mum I noticed that my expenses outgrew my income. Luckily this situation was only temporary due to pre- born expenses like stuff for badding, sleeping and going for a walk stuff, and, and, and..

This was the moment for me to have a look into the future what would happen with my income and expenses after my son was born. Since may income was going to be the same befor and after, I only focused at my expenses. There I saw that becoming a mum meant I needed to change some of my expenditure habits. Approximately 20% of my income would go to expenditures related to my son. So I needed to change.

Living a healthy lifestyle is important for me. So I decided to set priorities on doing sport, eating biological food and taking rests. Knowing what my priorities are meant that cutting out expenses on things what I did not list as a priority was quitte easy by then. For example I decreased the times I get out for diner and I stop buying magazines I did not enjoyed.

What also eased my mind was that I used the rule: “pay yourself first” already for more than ten years. This rule means that when your income enters your bankaccount, the first thing to do is to pay yourself. I opened several bank accounts: permanent education, fun things, clothing, health care and savings. I pay myself the amount of money or percentage of my income that feels good to me. For example I pay myself monthly €100,- for permanent education of myself and I have been paying myself 10% of my income for savings. After paying myself I pay the rent and other things I have to pay. I labeled everything that is left as free spending money.

This method works well for me. I know when something happens that affects my financial situatie that  I’ll be alright. I will be able to adapt to the new situation. Nothing to be fearful off. The rule ‘pay yourself first’ gives me peace.

Are you using some sort of rule to organize your finances? If not, this is my ACTION TIP: pay yourself first. Good luck!

Self- experimenting

We all know being a parent puts you into the position to receive, with or without asking, lots of tips on how you have to do something. But what to do if the tips you receive are contradicting each other?

Start self- experimenting!

I wanted to be a perfect mum and I did not want to make any mistakes. I played the save game. I was for example breastfeeding whenever my baby made a noise. This ended up in me sleeping only a few hours a night and on top of that, many broken nights. I was completely exhausted. I never felt so tired before. I was a total wreck at work and on the road. This needed to change quickly.

I started talking to mums what they did, read lots of books on different methods and of course also talked about it with my partner. Then I started self- experimenting the suggestions that suited me the most. The result was that I was sleeping more hours during the night and my nights were less broken. And as a bonus: the effect of a happy mum was a happy baby!

You want to start self-experimenting too?

ACTION STEPS:
1. Find a situation your are not happy with;
2. Find out how other people are handling a similar situation;
3. Decide which method suits you wel and start self-experimenting.
Bad luck? Continue self- experimenting until it works well for you.