Ah, spring.

Your arrival is marked by warmer temperatures, budding flowers, a magnificent green canopy overhead, and the annual pressure to achieve physical perfection as the swimsuit season approaches. No offense to those offering “mommy makeovers” through punishing diet plans or the knife or the needle, or “hot dad” flawlessness via deep discounts at the gym and Rogaine on special. Looking good isn’t a bad thing, it’s just not the only thing.

If parenthood has left you feeling a little worse for wear, take heart. You may not be the same person you were pre-kids, but no doubt you are better. The trick is to use your new reality to underscore a makeover of the most invigorating kind: One for your mind. Luckily, there are countless ways to tune up your brain in the QC.

Consider redirecting the following well-known parent powers to transform your foggy, distracted and exhausted mind into something fit and fabulous.

Bionic hearing

Now that little ones are afoot you can hear like a boss. And you’ve probably used that skill to avert disaster more than once. But why not use those grown-up ears to listen and to learn?

The Learning Society of Queens University hosts cool semi-annual lectures featuring authors and thinkers with timely and interesting insights. A $45 general admission ticket lets you tune in to the likes of former Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice, The Big Short author Michael Lewis and TV pundits Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

If you’d prefer a more artistic mind-blowing experience, check out the insane rhetorical skills of the nationally recognized Poetry Slam competitors during monthly shows at the McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square.

Faith communities abound in Charlotte and often host inspiring speakers, like Myers Park Baptist’s recent evening with Glennon Doyle Melton and Christ Church’s upcoming event with Anne Lamott. Mecklenburg Ministries interfaith organization facilitates free presentations and dialogue on issues of local importance on the third Thursday of the month at Covenant Presbyterian Church.

Eyes in the back of your head

Parenthood equips you with this bonus, and not just to stay one step ahead of the little people. If you want to really exercise your mind, lay your eyes on the many Charlotte cultural institutions that challenge you to see the world differently.

Take a museum tour uptown and include the Bechtler Museum, the Levine Museum of the New South, and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture. Check out a plethora of stimulating performances through the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

Thought-provoking independent films await you at the Twin Manor Theatre in Myers Park. Want to go old school? Pick up a book (that has more than two juvenile sentences to a page). For brilliant advice on what to read visit www.kimmerymartin.com for detailed recommendations from the Charlotte author and book reviewer (and plan to add her upcoming novel to your list in 2018!).

Mad skills

It’s hard to anticipate what will be required of you before the kids come. A close friend who was beaten down by a squealing toddler and a squirmy newborn looked at her own mom with awe and despair and said, “How could I not know? You’re a freakin’ genius?!”

You may feel like an old dog some days, but your post-kid multi-tasking demonstrates that you can learn new tricks.

Consider really expanding your horizons with post-grad and adult offerings at Queens University of Charlotte, UNCC or CPCC.  This may seem like an extraordinarily impossible move, but it could also prove to be a life-changing one. (Don’t be discouraged if, like me, it takes you six months to complete and submit the admissions application. I promise that doesn’t translate into 20 years to actually finish the degree!)

This spring, make up your mind with these smart offerings from the QC.

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