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    Mom of the Month: Trisha

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    It is hard to believe that this CityMom ever described herself as shy considering that she now serves as the voice for The Riley Children’s Foundation and performs regularly in local musical theater. Trisha Shepherd had her first solo performance as a munchkin kid in a local production of Wizard of Oz, and from that point forward she was “absolutely hooked”. She developed her voice and has been using it proudly ever since.

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    Mom to three busy children—Calvin, 13; Clara, 10; and Daisy May, 6—Trisha is always on the move. “My life is very busy. It’s nonstop, but I’m not complaining”. Trisha is used to being busy. Before serving in her current role at Riley, Trisha worked for many years as a news anchor. Although she was incredibly successful, Trisha struggled with the demands her career put on her family. She grew tired of missing evenings with her family and the rigidity of her schedule. So, she decided to make a change and leave her career. The transition was big and at times scary, but from it came exciting opportunities. Trisha published Know When To Run last Summer, which chronicles her struggle with and decision to leave her job as a news anchor. 

    Trisha is enjoying this new chapter in her life as a busy professional, but one who finally gets to spend lots of quality time with her children. Her son plays on a traveling baseball team, which can be quite demanding, and she is adjusting to life as a single parent. Trisha says she is learning to be humble and ask for help when she needs it and recognize that she doesn’t have to do everything.

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    Her job as the Lead Storyteller for the Riley Children’s Foundation is right up her alley. It is journalism at the core, according to Trisha, and she has “the best stories to tell.” Another great perk of her job is the flexibility that allows her to attend her son’s baseball games, freelance for Indy’s Child magazine, and to participate in her other love: musical theater. Trisha is currently rehearsing for the show Billy Elliot in which she plays Bill’s dead mother. The show will be performed at Marian University. Trisha tries to perform in at least one show a year, and now her daughters are getting involved, making it a family affair.

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    Trisha describes her personal mom style as laid back. She said, “I embrace going for it and doing what you love even when it’s challenging.” She is not afraid of a little mess and chaos. She recently threw her daughter’s birthday party on Mother’s Day, which is emblematic of her relaxed and whimsical parenting style. She said it was the only day where there weren’t a dozen other plans already, so she figured why not? She doesn’t like to overthink things.

    Trisha has enjoyed her involvement with theCityMoms. She likes that the group can be “as much or as little as you want it to be.” She appreciates that she can meet such a variety of people and “network with supportive women”. She has especially enjoyed practicing her Spanish with certain members of the group and meeting people that she wouldn’t ordinarily cross paths with in her daily life.

    What does the future hold for Trisha? She would like to publish another book. She will continue to tell the touching and emotional stories about the amazing work being done at Riley Hospital, and she will embrace the business of being a single mother to three busy children. She said, “Enjoy what you have even if it’s simple.”

    And now for the important questions…

    Q) What five items would you bring to a desert island?

    1. Piano

    2. Mini Mexican restaurant

    3. Good wine

    4. Her kids

    5. A hammock

    Q) What is currently playing on your ITunes right now?

    The Billy Elliot soundtrack, in particular “The Letter”

    Q) What are you currently reading?

    Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

    Q) What is a fond recent mom memory?

    Throwing a Mother’s day birthday party for my six year old daughter. It was the only free day ;) My 10 year old made me a bouquet of flowers from her last show. They were wilting and near death, but the gesture was so sweet.

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    Q) What has been a cringe-worthy moment lately?

    Her son texted her saying he urgently needed a specific piece of masculine sports equipment. She rushed to bring it to him in the middle of a muddy field. She is sure he was mortified.

    Q) What is your guilty pleasure?

    “It’s awful, but watching “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” with some friends and some wine.”

     

    Stay tuned next month to see which CityMom Trisha thinks you should know!

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    Ask Amanda: Child Anxiety

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    This is a combined question from two concerned moms.

    Q) My five year old has started showing signs of anxiety, stomach hurts every night at lights out. How do I support her without being either dismissive or enabling?

    I'm interested in learning more about this, too. My almost 5 year old gets overwhelmed easily and has a hard time calming down. I wonder if he has anxiety, too.

    A) Anxiety can be an underlying cause of a variety of undesired behaviors in children, from inattention to sadness and withdrawal. Read more about the signs of anxiety in children HERE.

    What Not To Say

    You’re not alone in your concerns about being too dismissive or enabling. Often, parents are unsure how to respond when their child bombards them with worries and fears.

    Avoid statements like, "It will be okay" or "Don't worry about it" or “It’s not a big deal.” These can minimize their feelings.

    Instead, we want to help them identify what they're feeling and show empathy. We want them to know that even if a feeling is uncomfortable and overwhelming, we can still figure out a way to resolve it.

    Try these more reassuring statements instead, "I can see you're upset" or "I can tell this is a big deal for you."

    We can acknowledge and help them label their feelings in this way without encouraging the anxiety. Labeling can help them seem more concrete and easier to resolve, rather than just some vague, confusing discomfort.

    Encourage Self-Help

    Of course we want our children to feel safe and supported. We can do so more effectively by helping them generate reassuring statements for themselves, rather than relying on us to do it for them.

    Trying asking questions that challenge the irrationality of the fear. “How likely is it that [insert fear/worry] will happen?” Or, “What are the odds that your fear will come true?”

    A simple example might be if they are afraid of the dark or don’t want to go to sleep at night. We can reassure them about all the times they were in the dark or slept by themselves and nothing bad happened.

    Ask about things they can do to feel less afraid. Or ask what might help them feel safer. Maybe they would like an extra blanket or stuffed animal. 

    If they're worried about a test or grade, ask them what they can do to feel more confident. 'What could you do to feel more prepared/confident?'

    If they can't think of anything, ask "Would you feel better if you studied more?"

    Sometimes, if the child is mature enough to articulate their needs, we can simply ask, "How can I help you?" or simply say, "Let me know how I can help."

    We want to encourage self-sufficiency, but we also want them to know we are here, if and when, they need us. We don’t always have to jump to their rescue. If we are confident in their ability to handle it, then they will be to.

    If they're already pretty upset, just listening (and a hug or two) can work wonders. As they talk it out, they might be able to discover a solution.

    Super Powers

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    Try teaching your kiddo some Fear Fighting Super Powers, like deep breathing.

    Have them pretend there's a balloon in their belly, inhaling to blow it up and exhaling to let the air out. There's a cute Sesame Street video on YouTube with Elmo, Colbie Caillat, and Common singing a song about "belly breathing." Check it out HERE

    Another Super Power is to use progressive muscle relaxation.  

    One kid-friendly strategy is to pretend they are an uncooked piece of spaghetti, all rigid and straight. Then, they go limp, like cooked spaghetti, to relax all over. Each time, have them count to five before switching.

    They can also try it with different body parts. Start with their feet by curling their toes tight, while inhaling, and then exhale as they relax their feet. They can progressively do this with all their parts from bottom to top or head to toe.

    Doing these exercise a few times should relax them or at least calm them down enough to have a more rational conversation about their fears. It might just distract them enough that they forget the whole thing!

    I love these techniques because kiddos can do them anywhere without necessary equipment. Added bonus, they work for mom and dad, too!

    What super powers have you found helpful to fight your kiddo’s fears? Share in the comments below!

    Thanks for taking the time,

    Amanda

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    Crispy Glazed Tofu Bok Choy: Recipe of the Week

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    There are many things I would like to take credit for.  Most I cannot, like this recipe, totally stolen and only slightly modified. However, I can take credit for finding a recipe that had all four kids asking for seconds of tofu and bok choy.  This is delicious, and if you cringe at the thought of tofu, consider substituting diced chicken. After all, the secret is in the sauce.
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    Ingredients for the tofu:
    14 oz package go extra firm tofu
    1/4 cup plum sauce
    3 Tbsp ketchup
    2 Tbsp soy sauce (we use low sodium)
    1 Tbsp rice wine or cooking wine
    1 Tbsp sesame oil
    If you have never worked with tofu before, there are a few things you must do: 
    1. Open and drain the package
    2. Take the tofu out and lay it on a plate or a cutting board with a paper towel under it
    3. Place another towel on top of it, and then put something solid on it, like two plates or a pan, and squeeze
    That’s it, easy peasy.  Just let the water squeeze out until you are ready to use it.  15-30 minutes.
    In the meantime, add all the ingredients other than the oil to a bowl and whisk together.  Heat the oil in a pan over medium high heat until it shimmers.  It’s time to cube your tofu!  This is truly one of the most satisfying and calming kitchen chopping routines you can do.  I can’t explain it…
    Add tofu to the pan in a single layer.  Do not stir for three minutes in order to get a nice brown crust, then go to town.  Stir frequently for the next 6-8 minutes until tofu is browned on all sides.  Add the sauce and stir well, cooking for 2-3 minutes.  You want everything covered and caramelized.
    Ingredients for the bok choy:
    *you may want to follow the recipe in the link, but I do a simple preparation
    2tsp sesame oil
    2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
    1/4 cup chicken broth
    3 baby bok choy
    Chop the bok choy in half length wise.  Coat a skillet over medium high heat with the oil.  Sauté the garlic and then add the bok choy.  Cook for 3 minutes until wilted and bright green.  Add chicken broth and cover.  Steam until tender.
    That’s it!  I did add toasted sesame seeds because I was feeling ambitious and I already had some.  Enjoy!
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It is hard to believe that this CityMom ever described herself as shy considering that she now serves as the voice for The Riley Children’s Foundation and performs regularly in local musical theater. Trisha Shepherd had her first solo performance as a munchkin kid in a local production of Wizard...

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