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Deborah Cruz

The Racist You Know Does Not Approve this Message, casual racism

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Today is December 1st and I promised myself that I was going to start writing again. Real, honest to God, truthful writing about what’s going on in my world. Let me start by saying that it’s been a lot, even for this Gen X mom. If you’ve been reading here over the years, you know that I’ve been through a lot of shit (like everyone else) in my life and, even I, find 2022 to be a ridiculous amount of crazy. I’m not going to lay it all on you from the jump because, honestly, it’ll just sound like life’s a bad country song over here complete with a dog knocking on heaven’s door. But really, it’s not all bad (says the toxic positivity that’s currently keeping me afloat along with a lot of deep breaths and some pharmaceuticals). I’m still married to the Big Guy and the girls are doing their best. We have our health, mostly and we all love each other. That being said, since I decided to jump back in the blogging fire on Throat Punch Thursday, I figured I should share with you a throat punch-worthy story. Just be warned, the racist you know does not approve of this message ( even if they’re related to you).

In September, as we were recovering from CoVid, my husband’s grandmother, my daughters’ GG and one of the most vibrant women I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing and loving died. It fucking sucked as you can imagine. Here comes the throat punch son of a bitch part of our program, at her funeral, I still can’t believe this happened, an extended family member who almost never speaks thought this was the time and place to tell me that he didn’t approve of “mixed” marriages and “biracial” children. Yes. He said this to me, out of the blue, at his Aunt’s funeral. This grown-ass man in his late 60’s who has said maybe a total of 15 words to me total in the past 23 years (maybe that’s why…he didn’t approve of me, my parents, my marriage, my brothers and sisters and my children). He probably thought I would hold my tongue because, you know, we were at a funeral but apparently, he doesn’t know me. I’ve been known to speak my mind at family funerals on more than one occasion. Don’t test me man. He just had to fuck around and find out and boy, did he find out.

Did I mention that he said, “people should stick with their own kind.”  QUE?QUE???  Apparently, that means he should only be associating and mixing with other garbage trolls. Did I mention my parents got married just barely after the time that interracial marriage became legal? Did that POS think my existence should be illegal? Does he think the fact that he was born with white skin and an Anglo surname makes his life somehow more valuable than mine? Than my fathers? Than my children’s lives?

I nearly swallowed my tongue at that level of flabbergast. Like what the actual f*ck?? Who says that kind of shit today? I know there are people that think that kind of shit but who says that out loud, to the face of a biracial woman at.a.funeral??? When I tell you that my head almost exploded, that is an understatement. He really should have kept that conversation inside his tiny, malfunctioning, racist brain.

Look, I am no stranger to racism. We’ve been here before. Casual racism is rampant in America, especially if you are white-passing. If I had a penny for every time a person made a slur about Mexicans and I informed them that I am, in fact, MEXICAN and they said, “no, not like you,” I’d be a billionaire. Apparently, if you’re white-passing and they get caught being racist, suddenly, you’re the exception. No, pendejo, I am not the exception. I am just like the rest of them and you are an offense to me. You disown my existence, I disown you twice,

Sorry about the tangent, this topic and this incident in particular, makes my blood boil. So back to my story after he basically told me that he doesn’t approve of my parent’s marriage, my marriage, my existence or that of my children, I very calmly (in a whisper-shout as to feign composure while exposing him to all the other funeral goers including a cousin who was a priest and within earshot as a racist piece of caca) said, “You do realize that I am biracial. My dad is from Mexico. My parents are in a biracial marriage. My husband, your 2nd cousin, is in a biracial marriage. Our children are mixed. All of my brothers and sisters, we are mixed.”

The racist you know

Him: ……….

Me: “Why? Why do you “not approve”? What do you mean people should “stick with their own kind”? You mean humans should stick with other humans?”

Him: “I didn’t mean like YOU.”

Me: “There’s no difference between me and “them”. We are all the same kind.”

Him: “Well, I’m sorry. It’s just what I believe. It’s how I was raised.”

Me: “So your dad was a racist? Because I know your mom isn’t. She has loved me since the day she met me.” Let me tell you, if Alzheimer’s didn’t have a firm hold on her, I’d definitely tell on his ass.

Him: “Oh God no. My dad once heard me say “n*gger” when I was a kid and I got spanked.” Maybe what he should have gotten was aborted. (OK, I went too far but honestly, he’s a trash human being and not fit for human consumption.)

Me: (Picks jaw up off ground) Did he really just say the N-word at a funeral? Did he really just say that word out loud anywhere on the face of the earth?

Him: “That woman lying in the casket (his aunt) her dad (his grandfather) was the biggest racist I’ve ever met.” Apparently, racism skips a generation in some families.

Me: “Well, I’m glad I never met him. I’m kind of wishing I never met you either.”

And that’s when I decided to never see this asshole ever again because life is too short for dealing with this level of ignorance. Fuck him and his racist grandpa who I never had the misfortune to ever meet.

The racist you know does not approve of this message

All this to say, I believe in freedom of speech but not freedom to hate. I was raised by my biracial parents to treat everyone with equal respect and tolerance. I give everyone a chance until they show me they don’t deserve one. I see color and I honor the differences. I welcome the opportunity to learn from others about their culture and to see life from their perspective. We are all human beings and everyone is equal in my mind until they prove otherwise.

You know how you become less than to me? By having a poor character, no ethics or integrity, being judgmental and choosing to hate others simply because you don’t approve, understand or look like them. I don’t hate anyone but if you are a prejudiced garbage person, I also reserve the right to not give you space and time in my heart (even if we’re related). I was raised to believe that family is everything but being a part of my family means unconditional love and acceptance, not down low disgust and contempt for the existence of everyone I love. This man and his hatred are a hard pass, certain hell no for me.

What would you have done? Should I have been more aggressive? Should I have given him an actual throat punch at the funeral? He certainly deserved it but out of respect for GG, I restrained my passionate Latina desire to throat-punch him right there and then.  Hopefully, I’ll never cross paths with him again but if I do, here’s hoping he has learned his lesson and keeps his mouth shut because I definitely won’t.

The racist you know doesn’t get a free pass just because they’re related to you, work with you or grew up with you. Stop making yourself small to try to blend in or hide. Stand tall and speak your truth. They should know better and if they don’t, let them fuck around and find out right then and there, wherever that might be.

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Food addiction can be much more harmful than many people think because, unlike other addictions, you can’t just stop food. It’s not just linked to obesity, but diabetes and other health conditions. If left unchecked, it could lead to premature death. Nobody wants that, but it’s a difficult addiction to overcome.

The good news is you shouldn’t need to go to an outpatient center to overcome it. It would be beneficial to consult your doctor and then a therapist to get to the root of what’s precipitating this behavior. It could be just a matter of understanding your addiction and getting professional guidance on how to beat it. While it’ll take time and effort, it could be relatively straightforward.

How To Beat Your Food Addiction

1. Know What Triggers Cravings

In many cases, there’s something that triggers your cravings and makes you want to overeat or eat something unhealthy. You’ll need to know what these triggers are so you can start managing them and beat your addiction. While these can take time to figure out, it’s a necessary part of figuring out how to beat your addiction.

Stress, low feelings, and similar triggers can be relatively common. Whatever your triggers are, take the time to understand and deal with them. Your addiction will become more manageable after that, and you’ll have fewer and fewer cravings in time.

2. Have A Distraction Tactic

Having cravings is relatively natural, especially when you’re still figuring out your triggers and how to overcome them. While you’re doing this, you’ll still want to find a way to manage and start beating your addiction. Having a distraction tactic is one of the more notable ways of doing this.

Instead of eating when you feel a craving, replace it with something else. A short walk, and even some music or a television show, can be great options for this. Focus on something that takes your mind off the impulse to overeat or engage in your addiction. In time, you’ll see your cravings fade away.

3. Explore Non-Food Rewards

Everyone likes to feel good, and eating can often be a quick and easy way to do this, especially with chocolate and similar foods. In many situations, your brain treats them as a reward and something to use to feel better about a specific situation. There are ways to overcome this.

Exploring non-food rewards can be an effective way of doing this. These still give you the satisfaction of rewarding yourself without harming your health. Even something as simple as rewarding yourself with a new book can be a great way to do this.

How To Beat Your Food Addiction: Wrapping Up

Figuring out how to beat your food addiction can seem like a complicated process. While it takes time and effort to understand and overcome, it could be simpler than you might expect. You’ll need to focus on the right areas when you’re doing so.

Exploring non-food rewards, knowing your triggers, and having a distraction tactic can all be recommended with it. They’ll help you understand your addiction and overcome it properly. Your food addiction will be in the rear-view mirror in no time.

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Going to the gym and working out is always a good idea for your health but you need to know how to stay safe and avoid getting injured. Nothing slows down progress faster than an injury, especially when it comes to your body. Between faulty equipment, people who aren’t paying attention around you, and even over-exercising, there are plenty of ways to get hurt at the gym. This guide will help you understand the most common gym injuries, as well as how you can avoid them so that your workout doesn’t become an injury instead of progressing toward your fitness goals!

Lack of training

There are many different machines, tools, and equipment in a gym. If you don’t know how to use them properly, the risk of injury increases exponentially. If you’re new to the gym scene, take it slow and check with the staff about which machines and workouts would be good for beginners.

Once you know what equipment is available, ask your gym’s staff to show you how to correctly and effectively use the machines so that you can minimize the potential for getting injured.

Faulty equipment

When using any type of equipment in a gym or fitness class, it’s important to use it correctly. But, what’s even more important is to use equipment that is reliable. When the machine suddenly breaks unexpectedly, it could lead to severe injuries. This can be frequent for weight trainer gyms that fail to maintain their equipment. An injury sustained as a result of faulty gear can affect your fitness goals and health for a long time. Ideally, you should always check that the equipment is in good condition. You can also refer your case to a personal injury lawyer, who can help recover your medical bills and lost income in the event you’ve been hurt by damaged gym property. 

Lack of attention

The gym is a place for physical activity, not a mental one. If you’re too busy thinking about work or school, that only distracts from your workout. The answer? Bring your phone in your pocket or handbag when you go to exercise but leave it there. Don’t take it out unless you need it for an emergency call or text. Once you start working out, concentrate on keeping your mind on what’s important—your workout goals! Also, I’ve found that when I’m working out, it’s a great way to destress and focus inward; be present for myself, which is something as a busy mom, I seldom get to do.

At the same time, good gym etiquette requires that you pay attention to the people around you. Many gym members use headphones to stay in the zone. They may not hear you approaching them or may not know you are next to them so keep that in mind when coming up behind someone. 


Never let a day go by without exercising. This might seem like good advice, but it’s actually very bad. While working out several times a week is certainly better than not working out at all, an excess of exercise can lead to overtraining—a condition that occurs when you work out so much you break down your muscles and burn away your gains faster than you can replace them with new ones. The solution? Work out two or four times a week, allowing at least one full day of rest between each session.

Exercising is healthy. But it can include risks if you are not careful. That’s why it’s important to get familiar with the gym environment and your own body to always stay on the safe side of fitness. 

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Day 1 Year 50, midlife awakening

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

I still feel 25 just with bad knees. How fast a half a century has gone by. The first 18 years felt slow as molasses for me but I know in retrospect, as a mom myself now, that only the first twelve months move in slow motion, sometimes even feeling like it’s moving in reverse. But every year after that goes at lightning speed. Too fast for me to notice in the thick of it but it was the burden of my parents to feel every bit of it. I had no idea. I do now on day 1 of year 50.

For the first 25 years, I lived recklessly because the burden to worry was my parents. I was afforded the luxury of living in a gilded cage that my young, inexperienced mind thought was an electrified prison. But in reality, I lived so selfishly that even those I thought were important to me were treated callously. Unintentionally, I was not malicious but I couldn’t see past myself.

The last 25 we’re about building a life outside of my birth family. It was the time when love found me, took hold of me and changed me for the better. That love opened my eyes and my heart. Soon, the pendulum swung too far in the opposite direction and the selfish, self absorbed girl I once was quietly and I in noticeably evolved into a selfless martyr who sacrificed everything for everyone. My body, my career, my wants and needs, the life I’d so meticulously planned and longed for.

But don’t feel sorry for me. In exchange I got so much more than I could have imagined. Not things but something I never had …. Stability which sounds mundane but not to someone whose entire life has been completely nuanced in tumultuous chaos. It hard for a bird to take flight with a chain and cinder lock around its neck. I got unconditional healthy love with no restrictions and ever replenishing. I got loved for who I was not in spite of it.I felt seen and heard so much so that I didn’t have to tirelessly fight to be understood. I felt peace and safe. Safe to be my most vulnerable self and still love remained. In return, I happily dedicated my life to nurturing those relationships. I built a life with my best friend whom I wholly adore as he does me. I raised amazing human beings who I’m

Proud to know and privileged to love. But pretty soon, they’ll be starting the next 25 years of life and I refuse to put the chain of guilt around their necks. Instead I will raise them up towards the heavens and encourage them to take flight.

My last 25 years have been about putting out fires. The next 25 years I will live my life with intention. It’s time for me to set life on fire. I am no longer going to white knuckle through life wishing and hoping things turn out alright. I’m letting go of things, people and other peoples expectations that no longer serve me. The time of mediocrity and sacrifice has passed.

I’ve loved the last 50 years. Honestly, I’ve got a lot of great memories and stories. I’ve gained invaluable memories and experience. I’ve gained something that you can only earn with age…wisdom. I’ve lived 10 lifetimes in the past 50 years..but this next part is going to be about me and reclaiming my relationship with the Big Guy.

No more getting by or doing what I’m supposed to do. If it’s not a hell yeah, it’s a hell no for me. Today’s the day, the first day of forever this is not a crisis it’s just the beginning. This is day 1 of year 50 and this is my midlife awakening. What would you do if you could do anything?

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Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

I just applied to the planDisney panel. This is something I’ve done annually for the past few years. I’ve made it to round 3 in the past but I’ve never gone all the way. But here I am again, applying with the hope that this is the year. I don’t give up. Why do I keep trying you may be asking? Here is our Disney origin story and why I’m applying to the planDisney panel.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

Well, I LOVE Disney. Like truly, maybe too much, genuinely love Walt Disney World and Disney Studios and everything Disney. It has been a HUGE part of my happily ever after. You see, on my very first trip (I was a poor kid so I didn’t get to make these magical memories as a child. Disney was the dream but I knew it was something I’d have to take the initiative to attain on my own) was for our honeymoon. I’m sure I’ve shared this story here before in some capacity but here it goes again.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

This is our Disney origin story

I met the Big Guy in college. He comes from a perfectly nice, middle-class American family from the suburbs. They did things like travel to Disney World and stay at the Grand Floridian. His grandmother traveled the world and went on African Safaris, danced the tango in Spain and had roots in the Black Forest. I was what they affectionately refer to as a “region rat” (IYKYK). Yes, we’re everywhere. I even met a fellow Region Rat working at the Yacht Club and hey, Bob Chapek is one too so don’t turn your nose up at the region. My point is that I’m a first-generation freckled Mexibilly from the Chicagoland area who grew up in an urban area surrounded by fellow minorities and was raised by two Catholic parents (6 kids) and one factory worker’s blue-collar salary. All of our “vacation” money went to travel to see our grandparents in Tennessee and Mexico. No matter how much we wished for Disney, it was not feasible for us.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

So I met this cute, funny, tall, smart guy from the suburbs and he had this very normal, idyllic childhood and when we got married he only had 3 requests.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

 1) we walk into the reception to the Star Wars theme

2) he either got to lick my face at the altar (instead of the proposed demure, closed-mouth kiss in front of 300 of our closest family and friends at our high noon full wedding mass or he got to shove my wedding cake into my face Mexican style (both of which I was vehemently opposed). I ultimately chose to sacrifice our first Mr. and Mrs. kiss in lieu of a face full of cake.

3) This was his number 1 request; we honeymoon at Walt Disney World.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

Everything else was my fairy tale wedding.

Not going to lie, I was not thrilled at the idea of spending my honeymoon running around a theme park. This is not how I expected our Disney origin story began. I wanted either Europe or a tropical island somewhere filled with lazy days on the beach frolicking in the sand while sipping mojitos with my beloved but the Big Guy wanted to share the world with me, via a mouse. I was super in love and totally agreed because it didn’t matter where we went, as long as we were together. 

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

Long story slightly shorter (it’s not lost on me that it’s still pretty damn long and I’m not even halfway through), everything was club level, 5–star and surprisingly romantic. YES, holding hands, walking on white sand beaches, kissing under the stars, watching fireworks wrapped in his arms and sipping champagne and eating dessert like calories didn’t exist. It felt like everything I ever wanted on my honeymoon, even if it didn’t look like it. In those 8 days, I grew closer and fell deeper in love with the Big Guy as he shared his magical place with me. Even though there were thousands of people around, it felt intimate and special like it existed just for the two of us. In those moments, Walt Disney World became “our magical place” and I wanted that magic to last forever so we went back every chance we got (get). This is one of the reasons why I’m applying to the planDIsney panel.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

We ended up being “those” people. The obnoxious people who couldn’t stop touting the wonders and magic of WDW. We tried to convince everyone we knew that they needed to go because, we believe, everyone does need to go and often. Who doesn’t want magic and happiness in their life? We’d go with friends. We’d go ourselves. We didn’t care, it just made us feel happy every single time. That’s part of the magic, the nostalgia of feeling like you’re 4 years old and there’s not a worry in the world. It’s just pure, unadulterated joy…unless you let it stress you out and overwhelm you, in which case, some of the magic is dulled. Just go there with a tentative plan and an open heart and mind and you will not be disappointed. If you’ve been, you know.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

Fast forward a few years (and all of our friends and family coming to us for insider tips on planning their Disney trips) and we expanded the Disney lovers club by 2 (our two daughters, Bella and Gabs). We’d been in our twenties, we’d been with friends and family, we’d stayed at all levels of resorts, all times of the year on all different kinds of budgets and every single trip was different. WDW is 1000% a choose-your-own-adventure and every single trip is sprinkled with its own kind of pixie dust and filled with a different kind of magic.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

Then we went as parents and I’m not sure how but somehow, the magic was even greater experiencing it through the eyes of our two favorite human beings. Our first trip as a family of four was when the girls were 3 and 5 years old and my heart swelled up so big that I was sure I would die from happiness.

That trip was full of oohs and aahs and wonder, the kind that can only be experienced from the princess chair revealed from Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. If you’ve ever gotten to see your child’s face when that happens, you know that it is a feeling beyond words and unlike anything else. It is palpable joy. And that was it for us. We’ve gone every year since, sometimes twice.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

The girls are teenagers now. Bella’s about to go away to college next year and her biggest dream is to join the Disney College Program and eventually, become a Disney imaginer. That’s her dream. She wants to be a part of the magic for other families and I get it.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

Our family of four has always been one that does everything together. That’s one thing our two very different families did the same. We eat our meals together, we travel together and we share our good times, our bad times and our magical times.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

Love is like that; someone to share everything with. Disney puts an exclamation point on the love and togetherness for us and I suspect, it always will.

This is our Disney origin story and why I’m applying to the planDisney panel.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel
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A life well lived, Colleen Marilyn Beck Fuller

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

You know in the end, all any of us really ever want is to look back and see a life well-lived with no regrets and a lot of great stories and memories spent with the people we love. We will be remembered for how we made people feel; the way we made them smile, laugh out loud, gave them hope when they were down, encouragement when they needed it, held their hand when they were lonely, loved when they felt unlovable and respected and admired in our actions. Thoughts are nice and kind words gas us up but what really matters is not what people say in their lifetime but what they do with the one life they are given. I want to be remembered for making others feel loved, cared for and like they mattered. I want my funeral to be a celebration of all the good I put into the world, of the life I lived not crying and sadness. I want people to laugh and smile through tears retelling funny and endearing stories of a life well lived.

We just lost my husband’s grandmother, she was 92 years old. Her sister, Maxine, is 95. These are two of the most vivacious women I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. They’ve inspired me to suck every last ounce of marrow out of life because whether you are 50, 75 or 95, the consensus is that we always feel young in our hearts so why should we stop living to our fullest when our hearts and minds are still all in? That’s why we need to take care of ourselves so that we can enjoy the time we have with the people we love.

Colleen, known to us as GiGi, was my husband’s grandmother. I met her when I was 25 years old. She was almost 70 when I met her but she will always be one of the most animated, big personalities I’ve ever known. She laughed at her own jokes, and loved to dance and sip cocktails while telling stories. She traveled the world. She was a mom, a wife, a grandmother, a great grandmother and yes, in her lifetime, a great-great-grandmother. She had lots of friends and did lots of things that most people only dream of. She knew, probably after she lost her first husband in her 40s, that life is not guaranteed and why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?

A life well lived, Colleen Marilyn Beck Fuller

She was never afraid to say what was on her mind. Things were not left unsaid. She was kind to me and welcoming and her smile cut through whatever confusion and bullshit that might have been happening at the moment. She really didn’t sweat the small stuff at all. That was someone else’s problem. I sort of envied her that because I always seem to be wrapped up in the minutia, the day-to-day triviality of life sometimes so much so that I can’t see clear of the noise; making it almost impossible to breathe and be present.

She could be so vivacious and elegant but when my girls were around, there was nothing she wouldn’t do. I can’t tell you how my heart filled when I watched as she and her older sister (in their 80s at the time) would casually and without hesitation dress up as princesses and play with my toddlers. It was like a time machine back and forth simultaneously and it was beautiful and meaningful in ways that we don’t often get to experience. But I only had 25 short years with her. There was a lifetime of living before she came into my life.

In the end, she battled dementia and failing health. The last time I saw her was in the spring for her birthday. We all went to a local Mexican restaurant (her favorite) and as she sat there in her wheelchair with her frail 90-pound body, holding a margarita that was almost as big as her head, in and out of lucidity, she smiled and I saw her, that familiar, just out of reach face of the woman I met that Christmas 25 years ago.

A life well lived, Colleen Marilyn Beck Fuller

My emotions are mixed because while we are all sad to no longer have her with us, Alzheimer’s had started pulling her away from us years ago. There were good days and there were bad days. Some days she remembered who we were and some days she was confused and afraid because we were strangers in her room. All the days she loved us, in photos and memories she just couldn’t always recognize us in the now because depending on the day, she remembered us differently. It was hard to watch her disappear. It was heartbreaking to see the woman who was once so big and full of life, so frail, meek and tiny. And while our hearts are breaking, we take comfort in knowing that she is somewhere laughing, dancing, sipping a margarita, regaling the love of her life with all the stories he missed of her life well lived.

A life well lived, Colleen Marilyn Beck Fuller
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Taking the kids to experience the great outdoors is a normal part of childhood. It also happens to be a great opportunity to unplug and bond while making everlasting memories. Even in today’s world, when we love to be indoors and staring at screens, kids still love to be up and using their energy. We visit beautiful national parks, have camping trips, and even go on hikes through forests and beautiful vistas – being in nature together is a different kind of time together. It’s a more engaged and care-free way to enjoy one another.

But kids today can find the great outdoors to be a little less stimulating than what they’re used to. Our kids are used to instant satisfaction, easability and many options at all times. As you can imagine, walking around a national park might appear, at first glance, to be boring but if they are there immersed without all the distraction of technology, it can become quite awe inspiring. Even if you love being outside, your kids might disagree, and you’ve got to try and meet them halfway. Here are some great ways to make hikes more fun for anyone under the age of 15. 

Pack ‘Adventure’ Gear

Curating a love for the outdoors takes a bit of effort, but according to people like Matthias O’Meara, all it takes is a demonstration of passion for the kids to follow along. And one of the best ways to show that passion is to pack dress up items for your kids to make good use of. 

Any number of items can go in your bag. Old world adventuring hats and coats, like you’d see in movies like Indiana Jones, as well as a compass or a treasure map to follow. Simply put, if it’s something fun that makes the outdoors seem like the great adventure it really is, the kids will love to get involved! 

Pack Plenty of Snacks

Kids love to snack at all times, no matter what age they are. So when you’re trying to get them interested in the great outdoors, make sure you’ve packed something tasty to try along the way. Plus, who doesn’t love a snack when you’re miles away from the nearest shop? 

Trail mix is usually the go-to, but snacks with a higher sugar content can work in small doses, as well. Help them keep their energy up, make sure they can’t complain about being tired and hungry, and they’ll keep pace with you just fine along the way. 

Make a Game of the Trail

There are plenty of games to play when you’re out hiking, and all it takes is some imagination. Thankfully, kids have got that in droves! A lot of parents like to do scavenger hunts with the little ones – if you know the trail already, you can ask them to bring back twigs and leaves and even bugs. 

But if this is a new place, you can play tried and tested games like I-Spy to pass the time. You can also play more involved games, such as ‘what could be at the end of the trail?’, and then ask them to come up with creatures they might find. You could even just give them a ball to bounce along the path, which they can run along with when they need to catch up with you. 

Hiking can be fun, and you’ve just got to show the kids how to make it so!

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When you have children, your entire world changes drastically. This is completely normal and understandable. If you’re not obsessed with your kids, I need to know how you do it because, tbh, I am dreading the letting go. At the end of the day, you’ve brought a little being into this world who is going to be entirely dependent on you for many years to come, and who will lean on you for the rest of their life. My girls are teens now and they still need me as much as they did when they were toddlers, just in different ways. It’s a whole lot of responsibility but a privilege and honor too.

You’re inevitably going to find yourself changing your day to day tasks and routines in order to accommodate them and provide them with everything they need to grow and thrive. Believe me, I am not the same person I was before I had my daughters and that’s fine; I’ve evolved. You’ll see your social schedule changing, your family schedule changing, your day to day tasks and to-do’s changing… the list goes on. That is evolution. One area that can change drastically when you have a child is your work life and career. Even if you have every intention of going right back into the workforce, sometimes you change your mind, like I did. They’re not overstating when they say that a baby changes everything. It really does, in every single way that you can imagine and even in some ways that you never would have. Here’s some information on what you may expect and how to manage your work around your little one.

Parental Leave

If you are in an employed role, most countries entitle you to some parental leave when you bring your child into this world or when you adopt a child. This gives you time to recover from any physical processes involved, as well as being able to care for a new dependent or familiarise them with their new home and environment. Make sure that you’re fully aware of the rights that you have in regards to this. Different countries have different rules and allow different periods of time off, paired with different levels of pay and support for time taken off. Knowing what you are entitled to can help you a lot, ensuring that you can enforce your rights and experience the benefits you’re entitled to. It can also help you to create a timeline regarding how long you’ll be able to spend at home with your child and how you’re going to want to spend and manage that time. Finally, it allows you to start looking into childcare options in advance of heading back to the workplace if this is what you’re planning on doing.

Working vs. Staying at Home

Of course, not everyone has the option of giving up work when they have a child. But it’s important to consider your options and what appeals most to you. Some people will want to get back to work as soon as possible, as their careers mean a lot to them. Some may want to give up work in order to focus on their child. Neither is a wrong or right answer or path to follow. It’s entirely dependent on a whole host of personal factors. One thing to consider is the cost of heading back to work vs. staying at home as a stay at home parent. When you go back to work, you will be earning an income, but also have to consider the costs of childcare. You may need to earn over a certain amount to make working financially viable, as childcare costs in many areas can be high. Alternatively, you may be able to turn to a family member for support, or your workplace may offer payment of childcare costs or childcare contributions. Staying at home means you may not earn an income, but don’t have to worry about childcare costs. Weigh up all of the different factors to determine what’s best for you and your child.

Do Something You Love

You need to make sure that whatever role you’re working is in a field that you love. Heading to a nine to five that you can’t stand is just going to make extra work and stress for you. Think of your personal interests, strengths and what makes you happy. Many parents find that caring roles suit them well. Nursing is a good option, as it requires less medical training than positions like doctor or surgeon, meaning you can get into the field more quickly and easily. Nursing also gives you a great sense of purpose, helping you to feel more content with the fact of facing time away from your children. Once you’ve chosen a role that you love, make sure that you have what you need in the role and engage in things that help make each day more positive. Choose Uniform Advantage Cherokee Scrubs for bold and empowering colors that will give you confidence and add a ray of sunshine to your patient’s days. Ask for support as and when you need it from your manager or supervisor. In short, make a conscious effort to make every day the best it can be at work.

Remote Work

Remote work is becoming increasingly common and is an option that allows you to work from your own home. This is becoming increasingly favored by many parents, as it allows a host of perks that benefit both them and their child. Of course, when you work from home, you still have to work, so this doesn’t mean that you will be paid to take care of your child, or that you will be able to work without having to consider childcare. You may still need to find childcare for your little one while you’re concentrating on your work. But the benefits are that you don’t have to worry about spending time or money on the commute to and from a workplace elsewhere. This frees up time and cash that could be spent on other things, such as your little one. You also haver access to your personal space during your breaks, which could be used productively, such as quickly putting a wash in, preparing some elements of dinner and more. Consider searching for remote positions if you specialize in a role that can be completed from home. Some companies also offer hybrid roles – where some days are spent working on site and some days are spent working from home – that allow flexibility.

Flexible Work

Some workplaces are stricter than others. Some will require you to be working specific times and available at specific times. Others allow more freedom, simply stating that you need to log your working hours and can do so throughout the course of the day. If you require more flexibility with your working hours – perhaps you need to drop your child to school, clubs, appointments and more – you could look for a company that’s going to be more flexible with you and your needs. Alternatively, you could try to arrange this with the company you already work for. Many will oblige, as long as you state when you are and aren’t available in your calendar. This can make managing your work life alongside your personal life a lot simpler and straightforward. This can also work well with shift work.

After School Clubs

Often, children finish school before the majority of adults finish work. This can cause issues if you’re unable to collect them from school when you’re still meant to be on shift. But this, of course, is an extremely common challenge many parents face. This is why many schools have offered up after school clubs and extracurricular activities. They will keep your child in school and provide them with entertainment, fun and games until you are ready to collect them. Not only is this fun your children, helping them to enjoy themselves around others of their own age and developing new skills, but it means you don’t have to worry about arranging external childcare or collections.

Summer Camps and Sessions

Another challenge that working parents can face is school breaks and holidays. Children get a lot more breaks than adults do – often around special occasions or summer breaks. They will be off school, but you may still be required to go to work. What happens here? Well, many solutions have been offered up as this is a problem that many parents would otherwise struggle to negotiate and manage. Common activities for children during these breaks include daily activities, where your child can be dropped off in the morning before you head to work, or camps, where children can stay for a longer and more extended period of time.

Support Networks

As with any element of being a parent, it really is important that you have a good support network around you to help you through the process of working and parenting at once. This network will differ between one person and another, and there’s no right or wrong way of managing it. There are some people who will rely on their partner to split responsibilities. Some people will rely on family members and friends for support. Remember that you are never alone. If you don’t have these individuals to count on, you’re by far not the only person to feel this way. There are others out there who will be more than happy to help, from other parents to support groups and more.

Relaxation and You-Time

If you are working and parenting, chances are, you’re pretty exhausted. Nobody is superhuman and you’re going to find that you definitely need some time away from both activities to let your hair down and recuperate. This is why scheduling some relaxation time and you-time is important on a regular basis. This can vary from one person to another, as different people unwind in different ways. It could be something as simple as getting up a little earlier than your kids to enjoy a hot drink and the news or a TV program. It could be waiting up a little after they go to bed to have a bath and soak. It could be splitting childcare on weekends so that one weekend you may take care of someone else’s kids, but the next you can look forward to an afternoon or evening spent to yourself doing what you want to do – whether that’s a meal out, cinema or simply a long, well deserved nap. You don’t want to overload yourself and experience burnout, as then you won’t be able to look after yourself or your little ones.

As you can see, working and parenting are two draining activities that can be quite difficult to manage at once. But it is possible. Hopefully, some of the advice above will help to guide you on this journey, taking the paths that best suit you, your children, your lifestyle and your needs. Give them a try and see how things improve!

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Creative Tips to Foster A Love Of Reading

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

It may appear to be a difficult effort to encourage your child to pick up a book and start reading. Even if you encourage a positive relationship with reading from the time your child was an infant, many parents find that as their children get older, their children’s enthusiasm for reading begins to wane, and getting their children to pick up a book becomes more of a struggle than a pleasurable way to pass a few hours. This is true even if you encouraged a positive relationship with reading from the time your child was an infant.

How, therefore, can you instill a love of reading in your child while preventing it from being a source of disagreement between the two of you?

Beginning a healthy relationship with reading and books while you are still a young child by sharing stories with your children is the best way to proceed. If you are worried about your child’s ability to read, you should check out the reading standards by age and start reading books to them right away and continue until they can read on their own.

Make sure your tales are entertaining, easy to understand and follow their lead. If they just want to stay still for a few pages, then you should not force them to continue for the complete book because this will encourage a bad experience with books in and of itself. As you read to them, you should make an effort to engage them in the tale by asking them straightforward questions or encouraging them to make silly sounds. Or you could let them read the narrative to you, or encourage them to look at the photos and come up with their own interpretation of what is happening or what they think is occurring based on what they see.

Allow them to choose the reading material that suits them.

Reading may take many forms, including perusing comic books. It might not appear at first glance that kids are reading when they follow the plot in comic books; nevertheless, there are always words on the page and a storyline to follow, so this qualifies as reading. It will only be counterproductive to try to get them to read literature in which they have no interest. Therefore, if you truly want your child to develop a passion for reading, you should give them the freedom to do so on their own terms.


If they enjoy listening to music, you may suggest that they try listening to children’s audiobooks instead. Some children have a different way of processing information; therefore, reading the words on a page will not be something they can do easily. It is possible that substituting sounds for words will be the answer to broadening their knowledge while allowing them to continue listening to stories in a new style.

When it comes to reading, it is essential to keep in mind that you should follow your child’s lead. If you take the initiative and attempt to get them to read novels that you like or that you believe are appropriate for their maturity level, you will only succeed in driving them farther away from reading, and they may not want to read anything at all as a result.

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What to Do With All That Extra Space In Your Empty Nest

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

We just started taking Bella on college tours and it’s a lot, almost too much for my mama heart to take. It’s hard to believe that your little ones are all grown up and moved out of the house. But now that you have all this extra space, what will you do with it? Here are some ideas to get you started.

Decide What You Want To Use The Extra Space For

One of the first things you need to do is figure out what you want to use the extra space for. This could be anything from a home office to a spare bedroom. Once you know what you want, you can start figuring out ways to make it happen.

Purge What You Don’t Need

Now that the kids are gone, you probably have a lot of baby gear taking up space in your home. But do you really need all of it? Probably not. Take some time to go through everything and get rid of what you don’t need. Then, you could donate it to a charity, sell it online, or hold a garage sale.

Repurpose What You Can

If there’s some baby gear you can’t let go of, why not try repurposing it into something new? For example, a changing table could become a craft station, or a crib could become a bookshelf. Just be creative and have fun with it!

Make Use Of The Extra Space

Once you’ve removed what you don’t need and repurposed what you can, it’s time to use the extra space in your home. This is your chance to finally have that home gym or sewing room you’ve always wanted. Please make sure you think about it, and don’t let the space waste! You can also prepare the extra space for when your grandchildren visit. This could mean setting up some extra beds or putting in some toys, so they have somewhere to play. Just make sure you think about what will work best for them!

Sentimental Value

When you’re finished with your children’s baby gear, you might have a lot of extra space in your home. While you can use that space for all sorts of things, it’s also essential to think about storing your sentimental items. That’s where self-storage units can come in handy.

Storing your sentimental items in a self-storage unit can be a great way to keep them safe and out of the way until you need them again. And since you can access your unit whenever you want, you’ll never have to worry about not being able to get to them when you need them.

Enjoy The New Space

Now that you have all this extra space, it’s time to make the most of it! Decide what you want to use the area for, and then start planning to make it happen. Purge what you don’t need, repurpose what you can, and use the extra space in your home. And if you need some help storing your sentimental items, a self-storage unit is always an option. So enjoy the new space in your home and make the most of it!

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