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Parenting

Parenting is nothing you expected and everything you could have imagined all rolled into one. I have been spit up on, pooped on, vomited on all before 7 a.m. in the newborn years. I’ve watched my toddler shove a pearl up her nose and poop in her mouth, and I’ve even masticated food. Not as fun as it sounds. I’ve survived breast buds and the sex talk. I share everything I ever learned and you might want to know about parenting from pregnancy to labor thru to the teens years.  It’s is hard but it’s the toughest job that you’ll ever love but the salary sucks.

What is the coronavirus? , What every mom should know about the coronavirus?

Wondering if you should be taking more precautions to protect your family from Coronavirus? Don’t want to be an alarmist? But want to take care of your children? Maybe you’re wondering why they named a really shitty virus after a vacation cocktail. Yes, I’d like an ice-cold coronavirus, add lime. Not funny, right? Let’s just talk plainly, what the hell is coronavirus and what should every mom know about it.

Now, while I’m not raiding my local stores of all the cleaning supplies, I am keeping my pantry stocked with Lysol, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer and toilet paper but I do that all the time anyway. I’m not buying a year’s worth but with 4 people who seem to catch everything that goes around living in the house, we’re always stocked just in case. While I’m not one for screaming the proverbial fire in a crowded theater, I’m also a realist and the fact is that Coronavirus exists and it does not discriminate.

READ ALSO: Parents who send their kids to school sick are the worst

However, being immunosuppressed with an immunosuppressed child, I’m also not taking any unnecessary risks. We won’t be using public transportation; planes, trains, and buses are not on our to-do list. We’re also not going to be going to any large crowded venues if we can avoid it. I’m also considering taking advantage of pick-up for groceries and necessities rather than being in the stores until some of the flu strains and viruses going around are not going around as much.

Here is what I’ve found out and what every mom should know about the coronavirus!

What is the coronavirus?

Coronaviruses (CoV) is not new. They’re a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The issue with the current novel coronavirus is that it’s a new strain and is zoonotic, meaning it can be transmitted between animals and people. The strains that typically infect humans generally cause symptoms that are no more severe than the common cold. However, sometimes a rogue coronavirus jumps from animals to humans and is more severe than typical.

This new coronavirus is spreading quickly throughout the world and we’re all on edge, especially parents because we’re worried about our children. At last count, more than 92,000 known people have contracted Coronavirus and at least 3,000 people have died since an outbreak began in December in Wuhan, China. While most confirmed cases are still in China, the coronavirus has since spread to at least 71 countries, with at least 100 recorded cases and at least six deaths in the United States.

Previously, the bulk of the cases in the United States were connected to the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was docked in Japan after it was revealed that some guests onboard tested positive for coronavirus. But a growing number of those diagnosed have happened after contact with an infected person or after no known connection to previous cases, suggesting that the virus is spreading among communities. The outbreak is on the verge of being a pandemic if it can’t be contained.

Symptoms of the Coronavirus that Moms should be aware of

  • Common signs of infection include
  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
  • In more severe cases, an infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

How to stop the spread of Coronavirus

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

READ ALSO: Working with Preschoolers and Jumping in the Cootie Pond

To reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses in the general public do as follows, which include hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissues away immediately and wash hands;
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough;
  • If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider;
  • When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals;
  • The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.

Why are experts so concerned about this new coronavirus?

  1. This is a new illness that doctors have never seen before so there’s still a lot to learn about how it’s transmitted and how it will affect everyone.

  2. The virus is contagious, even before symptoms appear.

The CDC believes the new virus is contagious during the incubation period, which is believed to be 14 days, and symptoms can appear anytime between two and 14 days after exposure. Chinese officials reported person-to-person transmission as the virus spreads. The CDC also has confirmed person-to-person transmission in the U.S.

  1. The 2019 novel coronavirus may be mild but, in some cases, can be very serious

“As with a cold, there is no vaccine for the coronavirus and a flu vaccine won’t protect people from developing it. Washing hands especially after eating, going to the bathroom, and touching your face and avoiding other people who have flu-like symptoms are the best strategies at this point.”

  1. There’s a lot that we don’t know, so precautions are extremely important

Given that the symptoms tend to be mild and the number of people infected worldwide remains small, you may wonder why so much attention is being paid to this particular illness. Extreme caution is warranted because of how little is known about this new virus. For now, spreading awareness, keeping people updated as scientists learn more, and screening people who might be at risk are the best tools available. If you travel or if you visit a health care provider or facility, it may be helpful to know that the coronavirus-related signs you see and questions you may be asked are important.

  1. Guidelines will evolve as doctors learn more

The CDC advises people who travel anywhere, locally or internationally, to:

  • Avoid contact with sick people
  • Avoid animals, whether they are dead or alive, as well as animal markets, and animal products
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

What to do if you think you may have been exposed

Anyone who has traveled to Wuhan and is experiencing fever or respiratory symptoms should:

  • Seek medical care immediately. Call ahead to their doctor or emergency room to let them know about recent travel and symptoms.

  • Avoid contact with others

  • Avoid travel if they are sick

  • Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not hands) if they must cough or sneeze

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

The virus can be spread from animals to people. But it also can be spread by coughing, sneezing and through close contact with an infected person or an object carrying the virus. Experts are still figuring out how long an infected person is contagious as they try to determine a point of transmission.

How different is it from the common cold or flu?

Coronavirus infections, in general, are indistinguishable from other respiratory infections. In most cases, they cause a runny nose, cough, sore throat, fatigue and fever. But with the new coronavirus, patients tend to have a fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Do I need to stockpile face masks?

No.

“You can increase your risk of getting it by wearing a mask if you are not a health care provider,” US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said. “Folks who don’t know how to wear them properly tend to touch their faces a lot and actually can increase the spread of coronavirus.”

The C.D.C. recommends that only infected patients and their health care providers wear N95 respirator masks, which are a special type of mask intended to filter out 95 percent of airborne particles. When physicians treat a person infected with the disease caused by the virus, they wear “a face shield, gown and gloves.

Standard surgical masks also can’t fully protect you from contracting the virus.

Should parents be worried?

Right now, no. Be cautious but not crazy. Cases in children have been very rare. Most people infected with coronavirus are between 49 and 56 years old. It appears that when kids do get it, they have milder symptoms. Flu is killing a lot more Americans, including children, but flu is the monster we know.

What steps should parents take to protect their child from Coronavirus?

You should take the same precautions you would take to protect your child from the common cold or flu.

  • Encourage children to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can work if that’s all you got, but they’re generally not as effective as soap and hot water.
  • Hands should be washed before children eat, after they use the bathroom, come inside from outdoors or touch something dirty like garbage.
  • If you see someone coughing or sneezing, try to keep your kids as far away from them as possible. It’s believed that respiratory secretions don’t travel more than six feet.
  • Travel is also fine but use common sense and caution. For the most part, domestic trips and even most international ones are still OK. Check the CDC guidelines before you plan a trip. If you’re planning a cruise for spring break, the C.D.C. urges you to avoid ones that travel to or from Asia. Personally, as much as I love cruising, it’s a stew of germs in the best conditions.

If there is an outbreak in your town, you should practice what’s known as social distancing. That means staying at home, rather than going out and about to movies, sports events and other activities. Schools could close, at least temporarily, and people who can work from home will be encouraged to do so.

For now, if you and your kids still haven’t gotten a flu shot, get one.

I’m pregnant. Should I be concerned about Coronavirus?

Yes, but no more than you would be about coming down with the flu. During pregnancy, your immune system can be depressed, which makes you more susceptible to complications from viruses like the flu and chickenpox.

There isn’t much information on how the new coronavirus affects pregnancies, though preliminary research suggests it isn’t likely to be transmitted from a mother to her baby through the womb. A study that followed nine pregnant women who were infected in Wuhan found that all of the newborns, who were delivered via cesarean section, tested negative for the coronavirus, and there were no traces of the virus in the mother’s amniotic fluid, cord blood or breast milk.

The C.D.C. does caution that it has observed miscarriage and stillbirth in pregnant women infected with other related coronaviruses (SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV). A high fever during the first trimester of pregnancy which can happen after infection with the new coronavirus and with illnesses such as a cold or flu can also increase the risk of certain birth defects.

Let me be honest with you, mom to mom, I’m not a doctor. This is just a lot of research that I found by scouring the internet. The truth is none of us want our children to catch something that we know so little about but panic is not the way to protect ourselves. In reality, I think there are probably a lot more cases we don’t know about because symptoms are mild and comparable to the viruses that we’re used to. Most cases will probably go undiagnosed. My advice is to be cautious. Practice good hygiene. Don’t take unnecessary risks. Take care of your health and maybe spend more time at home with your family during the cold and flu season. Use your common sense and mama intuition. Don’t ransack the stores and buy out all the TP, Clorox wipes and face masks because then people that need them won’t have them. It’s not the apocalypse people. It’s scary because it’s new. Be careful and be safe.

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how motherhood can prepare you for a new career after kids, exciting new jobs, careers fro moms going back to work, stay at home mom

Being a mom is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I know that’s not politically correct and some of my feminist friends might think I’m setting the cause back but that’s not how I see it. We live in a time where women can have the career of their dreams and then chose to stay home or work outside the home and nobody blinks so that’s progress. Are we getting it all? No, it’s a lot of work but I wouldn’t change a minute of any of it. Did you know that being a stay at home mom, motherhood, can prepare you for a new career after kids?

For me, motherhood has been such a rewarding, empowering and enriching experience. For those of us who choose this path, I think we’d all agree that motherhood is awesome. Maybe it’s not all rainbows and unicorns and there are frequently mid-day blowouts, tantrums and breakdowns (by moms and kids alike) but still, on most days, there is nothing else that I’d rather be doing.

Believe it or not, motherhood can prepare you for a new career path.

But like anything else, too much of anything can simply be too much and it’s okay to admit that mommy burnout is real. Sometimes, maybe after years of parenting, you need something beyond just motherhood because eventually, our kids need us less and we need to fill that time and space with other things or we’ll suffocate our children and feel a void where all of that motherhood energy used to be expended. If you look deep within yourself, you will see that motherhood can prepare you for a new career after kids grow up. You’ve learned a whole lot of amazing skills like time management, organization, multi-tasking and customer satisfaction for the most difficult customers.

If you’re really lucky you’ll find new skills and passions that maybe you didn’t even know you had before. That’s how it’s happened to me. Like many moms, I’ve created career windows where doors were shut. When you are following your bliss, you are happy and your kids see that.

READ ALSO: How to be a present mom and have a career

Pursuing outside dreams and goals is actually good for your health and the overall wellbeing of your family. Having a mom who is happy, healthy and living her best life will trickle down to our kids; it teaches them how to live their best life, too – unapologetically following their goals and dreams, becoming the person they want to be. It’s a great example for how to live their lives. You owe it to yourself to be happy and your family wants that for you. You’ve spent so many years tending to everyone else’s needs and wants, maybe it’s time to take care of you a little bit.

But what to do after being a stay at home mom?

After years of giving your all to your kids and putting yourself last, you might be in the dark as to how you begin pursuing a passion. Or maybe you’re just ready to enter back into the workforce and don’t know where to start; what choices are available. You’ve got this girl. You’re currently a genius multitasking, organizing, go-getter who keeps humans alive for a living. You’ve got this. Your time is now. Follow your bliss. You’re not too old until you’re dead so don’t give me that.

READ ALSO:  When Happiness hits you like a train

Pursuing a brand new career, especially as an adult who has been home raising little people, can be a little daunting, but it’s also really exciting and incredibly fun. So many fields are open to you, and believe it or not, your skills as a parent have been training you for the discipline and creativity needed to pursue something new. Careers are out there in every field from healthcare to food, to business and more, all suited to your specific, special skills and interests. I’ve suggested a few things below to help get your creative ideas following.

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately myself. I recently dipped my toe back into the outside of my home workforce and while it’s not my dream job, it’s reignited a fire in me to know exactly what my passion is and set me on a new path to pursue it.

I’m choosing a new career after kids.

You’re hearing it first here people, I’m putting it into the universe, I’m going back to school for my Masters in Digital Marketing and I’m more excited about it than I’ve been in a while. It’s a field I’m already in just with more in-depth knowledge, a few certifications and a degree with expertise. Now is the time for me and I can feel it in my gut that this is what I want.

Exciting Careers for moms  going back to work

These are just a few options for exciting pursuits open to moms, for when you’re ready to re-enter the workforce and find a career or part-time gig that gives you excitement, joy and yes, makes you seriously good money:

Become a Chef/Caterer/Food Vendor

Ok, so this one does involve a lot of work, but it’s a good kind of work. Fun, productive, delicious work. This is why a lot of women go into this field after their kids get a little older. In fact, the kids can help you with this venture. It’s a labor of love. Whether your dream is to be a pastry chef at a fancy bistro, to sell home-made donuts at sports events, or make custom-cakes and cookies for birthday parties, this is an attainable dream that will flex your brain, let you be creative, show off your unique talents and best of all: you can make a lot of money at it. There are plenty of women out there who, armed with only some mixing bowls and an Instagram feed, have revamped their entire career and started lucrative businesses selling sweet treats.

Become a Nurse

Again, another profession that involves a lot of study and hard work. But there are so many women who go back to nursing school later in life. With so many different types of nursing degrees to choose from, you can pick any field from ER Nursing to pediatric care (babies!). Many women talk about nursing school as one of the most fun, dedicated and amazing times in their life; times where they made lifelong friendships while pursuing a respected career. Nursing also pays really well and in some cases, you can enjoy a flexible schedule. I believe it’s a calling, like teaching, because it takes a special person who loves people.

Become a Pilot

This is one of the most exciting careers that I can think of. I love flying and more and more women are becoming pilots these days. With four different types of pilot licenses available, you can be a part-time pilot, a commercial pilot, or whatever you want to be. You’re a woman, you are fierce and you can do all the things. There’s nothing cooler than a woman conquering the skies! And whether you want to make a career of it or just a weekend hobby, there are courses of study available to you no matter where you are. You should totally learn more about becoming a pilot and follow that dream of sailing among the clouds. Maybe I’ll tackle that next!

READ ALSO: How to Get Yourself a Life after Motherhood

These are just three of the many, many hundreds of career choices open to you, if you’re a mom looking to get back out in the world and start a new career venture. There will never be a job more rewarding than raising your kids, and we know what a good mom you are. Taking some time for you, to become your best self and realize those goals and dreams of your own will only make you an even better mama to your children. Let’s dust off those cobwebs and start following those dreams. Your spirit – and your kids – will thank you for it. I’m doing it. You can too!

If motherhood can prepare you for a new career, and nothing was off-limits, what would you be when your kids grew up?

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a baby changes everything, motherhood fashion, after pregnancy, how to upcycle your maternity clothes after pregnancy, birth, wardrobe

Having a baby changes everything. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar. The one thing it changes forever is your body. Even if you get back to the size you were pre-baby, you are changed. But who am I telling? If you’re a mom, you already know this. However, no need to stress out. Just a little change of perspective, some patience and self-love, and everything is back on track. Figuring out what to do about your maternity clothes after pregnancy can be a challenge, your body is still changing but a mom still wants to look and feel stylish. Start with upcycling your way of thinking.

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how to become the woman you were before you became mom, rediscovering who you were before motherhooddaylight savings time, kids and daylight savings time, surviving daylight savings time, DST, parenting and daylight savings time

Once you have children, “mom” is your name, taking care of little people is your game. You stop being known as the person you used to be, and you start being known as the mom, mommy, mama to your little one. If you’re like me, you’ll probably even refer to yourself as such. I’ve been Bella and Gabi’s mom for so long, I’m pretty sure that some of their friends actually think my name is BellaAnGabi. But, I’m still in here rediscovering myself before motherhood. Like you, trying to figure out how to be the woman you were before you became mom.

READ ALSO: The Beauty of Motherhood

Being a mom is all-consuming and it’s very easy to lose yourself in that one thing you become and even easier to forget who you were before that. Soon, all of the likes and dislikes you used to have seemed to fade away and your life revolves around your children. For example, I loved strawberry ice cream and then my children didn’t so I didn’t buy strawberry ice cream for 13 years until one day, I took that power back. What I like matters too. It’s such a simple thing but I get to matter.  With all the concessions of motherhood, the biggest is the total loss of a time in your life and that usually means sacrificing your youth.

I’m just a mom like you, trying to figure out how to be the woman you were before you became mom.

The life you had before becoming a mom and how young you used to feel is fading from all of the responsibility of your new role. You’ll think about all of the things that you used to say and do, and how different the things that you say and do are now. You’re not any less of a person, you’re just not the same person at all. You can’t be. In fact, the moms I know are some of the best people I know.

READ MORE: The TRUTH about Motherhood that No One will Tell You

The resourcefulness and resilience that you build as a mother is unfathomable, and for me, my life feels like it has a higher purpose; one greater than myself. But, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t think of the ways to get your groove back and rediscover who you are as a person. You deserve to exist autonomous from your kids and spouse. I want to show you some of the ways you can do just that and feel more like you again or at least the new hybrid wonder woman that you have become.

Rediscover Your Passions

You will have grown up having some sort of passion in life. For me, I loved writing, dancing and being active. Even if your passion was just going out and having fun every weekend, you were passionate about something. Hey, I was pretty passionate about my weekends before becoming a mom. Sure for most people, their passions stem a bit deeper than being able to have a cocktail on the weekend. Maybe you were into a sport, fashion, music, or art. For some reason, that all seems to fade into the background when you become a mom, or at least for those first few years.

READ MORE: My TRUTH about Motherhood

Your passion becomes your child, and that’s never going to go away. But you’re allowed to be able to have something else to focus on, on the side. It doesn’t make you’re a bad person to want to do things you like just for you. It’s what makes you, you, and nobody can take that away from you. You’re better for your family if you take care of yourself too. Do something just for you. Start small, take a hot bath or read a book before bedtime because you used to enjoy spa days and reading for leisure. Once you star t doing something just for you, you’ll start to reconnect with yourself and find joy in things that you forgot you used to enjoy.

Invest Some Time In What Makes You Feel Beautiful

I think all moms fall prey to this affliction at one point or another in their tenure as a mom. Sometime between pregnancy, middle of the night cluster feedings, running to make sure toddlers don’t fall when learning to walk and the teen years, messy buns, yoga pants and a t-shirt with some kind of tiny human’s bodily fluid on it becomes our mom uniform. It’s not because we moms fundamentally dislike fashion and style, it’s because our priorities changed and it just felt like keeping the baby alive was more important than what label we wore or how often we could get to dry bar. I’m here to tell you we need some of that investment in our appearance to help us feel confident.

READ ALSO: Sneaking away for Me Time

There were years where I felt like a ghost walking through my life because I had let myself go so far that I tried to convince myself that I didn’t care but I did. It wore on me. My daughters always looked amazing but I looked like the nanny Cinderella.

Let’s start with fashion, because who can deny that a cute outfit makes a mama feel empowered. You can reinvent yourself. Check out the latest styles and see feels like it fits. Scroll through Instagram and see what the cute mom influencers are wearing or check out Pinterest to discover what the latest trends are.

Try shopping at places that you wouldn’t usually shop at to get inspiration for style. Even if the style is hip athleisure wear, just a small change can change your entire perspective, mood and the way you carry yourself.

You can see more GCDS here, which is a clothing brand from Milan that you might not have ever heard about before, selling styles you’ve probably not tried in years. Also, if I can sneak in a quick face mask after the girls go to bed or some moisturizer, mascara and tinted chapstick in the morning, it makes me feel less out of sorts when I’m out in the general population. And I don’t care what anyone says, a cute messy bun is always in fashion.

Be Spontaneous

I know the thought of spontaneity is practically laughable as a mom but sometimes we need to shake things up to shake our true selves awake. I mean our mom side has been in full-on high-gear for years now. It needs to be reminded that there is a sexy, creative, intelligent, fierce and beautiful woman right beneath the service that needs the day off from mom duty to get her groove back.

As moms, our lives are on a schedule. We exist to cross things off the list. We always have to be prepared and responsible for everyone but being spontaneous can be invigorating. Try an impromptu coffee, Zumba or brunch date with a girlfriend while the kids are at school. Those dishes and laundry can wait a few hours. Don’t even bother with that mom guilt. Mom guilt and worry are two useless emotions. As a mom, it it’s easy to forget where our children end and we begin and whenever we try to do anything for ourselves, it feels unnatural but that’s just because we haven’t done it in a while. Repeat after me, you’re not a bad mom for existing outside of your children’s per view. Try to have a girl’s night or date night at least once a month. Just make it happen, even if it’s just for a couple hours. You need to feel empowered and confident as a woman to be a strong example of joy and fulfillment for your children. Do you want them to see you looking miserable as their mother? No, go get your groove back girl.

What do you do for yourself ( just you) that makes you feel good about who you are? What are your tips for how to be the woman you were before you became a mom?

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why every mom needs an escape, mom vacation, momcation

I’m tired. Every day, I get up and perform the same routine. I get the Big Guy and the girls off to school. I work out on the way home from drop off, come home, speed through breakfast and get ready for work. Over and over. Repeat.

I go to work and entertain and play surrogate mama to preschoolers for 5 hours of the day. Racking up a whopping 12000-15000 steps while there. Then, pick the girls up from school, go to whatever appointment we might have that day, maybe stop at the grocery store. Talk to the girls to see how their day went. Cook dinner. Eat dinner with the family. Talk to the Big Guy to see how his day went. Help with homework. Write for my deadlines and muster the creativity to say something on my own site. Shower. Kiss my family goodnight and go to bed. Oh wait, no I’m a mom, I’m probably up for another hour or so loading the dishwasher or folding laundry.

This mom needs an escape.

Lay in bed while an infinite list of things I forgot to do or need to do the next day overwhelm me, eventually I pass out from sheer exhaustion. Sometimes, I get to sleep 3 hours before my mom bladder wakes me up to go pee. Other nights, I’m woken to a vomiting or crying sick child or someone crawling into my bed for mom comfort. Some nights, the list is too long to close my eyes for sheer fear that I’ll suffocate the moment I close my eyes.

READ ALSO: How to Survive Mom Guilt

I need a vacation from my inner monologue and the responsibility of my day-to-day. I’m not saying I need a vacation from my family but I’m not saying I don’t either. Every single mom/ dad/ human being needs their escape in life. It’s not something anyone gives us. It’s one of those things you’ve got to prioritize and take.

If you really think about all of the things that we do as moms on a daily basis, you’d be in awe of just how much you accomplish in a single day. The funny thing is we don’t even give ourselves credit for all that we do. We just do it. With only very minimal complaining (who’d listen anyway, right?)

why every mom needs an escape, mom vacation, momcation,vacation, disney world, Orlando Florida, Universal Studios, Shingle Creek, paradise, family vacation

A mom vacation to someplace quiet is a fantasy for most of us.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that many of us chose to stay home with our children. Maybe we feel a little guilty that we sacrificed our careers after investing all that money on grad school (twice) and then shelving our visions for our lives. But really didn’t the dream just change?

READ ALSO: The Mom Resume

Let’s face it, by nature, moms are martyrs. We often sacrifice our hopes and dreams for those of the people we love. No one asks us to do it. We just do it instinctively and then one day, we look around and wonder what the heck happened to the life we thought we’d have?

Being home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year doing the same routine can not only become monotonous but exhausting mentally, physically and spiritually. Taking care of our children, driving the mom taxi, cleaning, cooking and being the emotional support person for everyone in the house is a lot of work and I don’t know about you but I need an escape plan from it all sometimes.

Mom needs an escape from reality to remember who she is.

Our lives of full of crazy and chaos, even if the rest of the world doesn’t recognize what’s going on in the motherhood. We don’t get to sleep in when we’re tired. We don’t get sick days. And there sure as hell is no personal or mental health days available to moms. We get up, get to it and power through. We’re unwilling wonder women.

Every mom and dad needs an occasional escape if for nothing else just to hit the reset button and get some much needed quiet time and hey if sunshine is on the menu that’s even better.

Returning to Simpler Times

If you think back to who you used to be and the life you lived before you became a mom, you’d probably be imaging a person who was carefree with no real worries or responsibilities. Ah, the good ole days. Remember when the biggest concern you had on Friday was what you were going to wear out to the club and if you had the money for pre-club cocktails with your girls?  These days, you’re worrying if you have enough money to pay all of the bills, fill the fridge, and go out and do something as a family on the weekend.

Time to flip the script. Get in touch with your before kids self, and start doing more of the things that you love. Think about the time you were in when you loved yourself the most, and what used to make you happy. The 90’s were simpler times for me. I had a lot of fun. Remember any of these things? https://blog.meccabingo.com/the-best-90s-things-that-take-us-back/ Honestly, I was a lot of fun back then. I’m not one to live in the past and I love my future but sometimes reminding yourself of the audacious creature you are at your core is not only needed but necessary. Get yourself to a dance party stat and you will feel rejuvenated. Try it. It’s the perfect escape and you don’t even have to take a place anywhere. Who needs an airplane when you’ve got yourself a time machine?

Have A Social Life Without Children

This is such an important one that I feel like so many moms are missing out on. A social life without your children by your side is imperative to your sanity. No one can go full-on all hours of the day. Eventually, they’re going to break mama and then we all lose. When you feel like the only life you have is life as a mom, you become wrapped up in that. You don’t go out alone, and you might feel as though you have lost connections with other adults. Twice a month try to get out without the kids, a date night with your partner and a few hours with friends. It’s just enough time to remember who you are outside of being someone’s mom. Sometimes that’s all we need; a few hours of being ourselves with no butts to wipe, diapers to change or little people to army crawl out of their room after getting them to sleep. A night off without guilt can totally change your perspective.

Focusing On Your Own Self Love

Focusing on your own self-love is something you can do easily and for free but it can also feel indulgent. Cue the mom guilt. For some moms, the routine they get to do before they go to bed is all the sanctuary that they need. It’s a time when the kids are asleep in bed, and all you need to think about is you and what you want to do. An uninterrupted, hot bath, some candles, a glass of wine and quiet might be enough to do the trick. For others, a good book, hot tea and no one asking for anything for a couple of hours is perfection. The point is an escape from reality and relaxation can be pure bliss to a weary mom.

Take the Day Off

You can’t actually take the day off from being a mom nor would we want to. But you don’t always have to be in mom mode. Having those listening ears on at all times and catlike reflexes to catch falling babies and projectile vomiting is exhausting. If you want to go out shopping for clothes alone, you shouldn’t feel like you need anyone there with you. Going shopping in your own company, and then eating out on your own can bring you so much peace. Hey and watching a movie in the theater alone may be one of the greatest things none of us are doing. Trust me, just do it.

Take a Momcation

If you’re next level mom, embrace the concept of an actual vacation. I love traveling with my family but my wanderlust runs deep. Travel is one of the most beautiful ways to refresh your mindset and appreciate your life. There’s no shame in taking a day or a week and going away with your partner, your friends or just yourself to get a break and reset. Don’t feel guilty. You are doing it for the greater good. You’re doing it for all of you. A happy mom and wife is certainly a happier life.

What is your favorite way to escape your routine, relax and reset?

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parenting teens, next time they won't need me, letting go, mom of teens

Our most recent trip to Walt Disney World may have been the last one of my girls’ childhood wonder. It wasn’t on purpose. They didn’t try to do it but it happened. I felt it. The gentle pulling away that is growing up. As a parent, there’s nothing you can do about it.

You’re presented with 2 pseudo choices, go with it and gently let go with a loving smile while wiping away the secret tear in your eye. Or you can hold on for dear life, as they push, pull and drag you off of them. They love you but their instinct is to achieve maximum freedom and independence. You’re a hindrance to both, whether you mean to be or not. There’s only one way to come out of this alive, you have to let go so that the subtle pushing and pulling away of childhood into adolescence doesn’t kill you both.

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Have you been thinking about changing your career? Maybe thinking about rejoining the workforce. I did that very thing earlier this year; political scientist, storytelling lifestyle blogger turned preschooler pied piper. I get it. I love a good challenge.If you’ve spent a lot of your working life flitting between jobs or working in one area, choosing to retrain in something different can be a big and sometimes even scary deal!

Don’t let fear stop you from doing what you want; pursuing your passions. Honestly, there are so many benefits to going back to school when you’re older. It shouldn’t matter what your reasons are if you want to do this, then you should make it your priority.

“If you’re bored with life – you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you don’t have enough goals – Lou Holtz”

If you are considering going back to school or changing career paths, it is never too late. There’s always options available to you… no matter what your dreams are.

Stay Motivated.

While it’s true that people who choose to learn a new career or develop their skills later in life have more to lose than someone fresh out of high school. It doesn’t mean you can’t stop and change direction. It’s never too late to pivot in life. I reinvent myself all the time. Life is always moving; you can’t stay stagnant. Even if you have a family, mortgage or other commitments you need to focus on during this change. Instead of letting it stop you, use it as motivation to do and be better; the best you can.

Be positive. Sure, it might be hard but it will be worth it. Focus on the benefits your new changes will give you and your family. The result will be worth it in the long run.

Clear Goals.

Most people don’t really know what they want to do when they go to college. Heading back to school at a later stage in life gives you the chance to know exactly why you are and have the focus and drive to stick the course.

Heading back to the classroom now, whether physical or virtual, could well be the best time for you. So go ahead, embark on a new career completely or branch out into a different area in the same field such as going from an rn to fnp degree online. You may find that you are more driven, focussed and determined now to reach your goals than younger you were!

Life Experience.

Are you worried you don’t have all the relevant experience for your new career? Instead, look at what other experiences you can draw on. There is a lot to be said about having life skills under your belt.

Don’t underestimate all you have learned so far in life. Look at ways you can work with what you know and have already learned. Look at how you can apply it to your new goal.

Skills such as;

  • Timekeeping
  • Interacting with other people,
  • Budgeting from dealing with household finances,
  • Managing schedules eg, juggling after-school activities.

These are all valuable qualities that a lot of employers look for.

So don’t worry about your life or even your age being detrimental to reaching your goals. Whether this is a new dream or goals just not yet reached, hold your head high, start your new journey and show the world what you’re made of!

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VSCO, VSCO girl, how to be a VSCO girl,

I’m a VSCO mom. I used to be a VSCO girl, back in the 90’s. I was one of the original VSCO girls, so I do not begrudge my girls a little social consciousness with a side of scrunchie, messy bun and oversized shirts. I love that my girls care more about the environment and saving turtles than who they’ll be giving their scrunchies too.

According to Google, VSCO girl is a term, generally used as an insult, for a young, usually white woman who posts trendy pictures of herself edited on the app VSCO. Stereotypes of the VSCO girl include wearing Birkenstock sandals, drinking out of Hydro Flask reusable water canisters, saying sksksk and I oop, and generally seeking attention online.

I actually love the VSCO girl idea because at the heart of it, what it really is, is young girls finding themselves. We’ve all been there. When I was a teen, I was several iterations of myself. I was a new wave emo girl, I was a prep, I was a social activist, I was a crunchy hippie and I was a little bit grungy. I was most definitely a nerd, an artist and at one point, I was even a club kid. I’m pretty sure I was 1000% more annoying than any kid saying. “sksksk” ever could be.

READ ALSO: Parents Guide to Teen Slang

Just to be clear, I am a grown woman now and I always use the VSCO app for my Instagram. I’ve been wearing Birkenstocks since the 80’s. My girls are wearing some of the scrunchies I’ve had since the 90’s and still wear now. Hydro Flask, Swell, Yeti…I have all of them because I drink water almost exclusively. Water is life. I am and have always been very socially conscious and I’ve put my money where my mouth was. PETA, Greenpeace, Amnesty International and WWF, I’m a card carrying member. I want to save the world. I want to save the elephants and yes, I even want to save the turtles. We (the whole family) own those metal reusable straws. We recycle and vegetarian is how we roll most days of the week.

VSCO, VSCO girl, how to be a VSCO girl, a parent's guide to understanding VSCO, VSCO girl trend, In defense of VSCO girls

What does all of this have to do with anything? What it means is that right now, your little/tween/teen/even early 20’s girl is trying on different personalities for size to see which one best fits her. Just because that might not look like what you imagined, doesn’t mean it’s not right. She’s finding her way and there is nothing we could want more for our girls (and boys) than for them to be the best them they can be and be comfortable in their own skin as they do it.

So what if she’s carrying around a hydro flask? So what if her sweatshirt can fit 2 girls inside of it and her shorts are tiny? So what if her favorite hairstyle is a top knot? Maybe this is how she feels beautiful and how she feels comfortable in her skin. Is it really the worst thing that she can do to have a wrist full of scrunchies? The “sksksksksk” is just another way to say “lol” and who among us hasn’t used that? And I know that no one who ever said, “Gnarly, dude, rad, totally or awesome sauce” is making fun of sksksk.

VSCO, VSCO girl, how to be a VSCO girl, a parent's guide to understanding VSCO, VSCO girl trend, In defense of VSCO girls

The thing is VSCO girl is being thrown around like an insult to our girls. I know we all think it’s cute and the VSCO girl memes are entertaining. Hell, even our girls being VSCO girls might be entertaining but do we really need another derogatory term to belittle our girls? There are already so many employed by the misogynist of the world do we need more?

Just remember, these tweens and teen girls are just trying to figure out who they want to be in life. It’s like trying on clothes to see what you feel the most beautiful in. Let her look at herself with an untainted heart. Maybe she’s a VSCO girl and maybe she’s not but let her figure that out. As parents, especially as moms, we are here to support and guide our girls into adulthood not shame them into feeling less than. The world will do that soon enough.

READ ALSO:  Teen Girls Rebel when teen boys rate Female Classmates

Being a VSCO girl is harmless, even if it may be annoying to you. I’m sure when we were teens, our parents thought a lot of the fads and slang we used was weird and crazy too. Maybe they said something to make you feel less than about it or maybe they just let you try it on for size. Bless my parents, they let me be and loved me for who I was, whomever that was on any given day.

This is how we grow and evolve into who are meant to be. Just imagine if that process was cut short by ridicule and we never fully reached our potential because of what other people thought? Or what if we never felt comfortable in our own skin because someone else made us feel like we weren’t good enough?

You are good enough. Your VSCO girl is good enough. Viva Hydro Flasks and long live the turtles. So next time you think about using the term VSCO girl as an insult, ask yourself, is this giggle worth making my daughter feel small or making her think twice about sharing the next iteration of who she will become with you? Because before any of us can become who we are meant to be, we have to be who we were. This is how we grow up.

READ ALSO: The TRUTH about Parenting Teenagers from a Mom of Teens

What do you think of the VSCO Girl? Did you used to be one? Are you raising one? Whatever the case may be, hug your VSCO girl, let her be all the versions of herself she needs to be to become the fabulous, fierce woman she is meant to be and keep your “and I oop” moments about her in your head (unless she’s in danger). This too shall pass.

XOXO, VSCO mom out.

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Traveling, family travel

You might not always find it easy to spend time with your family in the chaotic modern world. Sometimes you just need a break from everything. You have work, and your kids have school. You also have to “adult” with responsibilities that take up a lot of your time. Forget about “spare time” that doesn’t even exist anymore.  Everybody’s under the same roof, but everyone does things separately more often now because as the kids grow up, they want to be with their friends more.

Maybe your kids binge-watch Netflix shows, play games on their phones or watch YouTube.. You might be doing the exact same downstairs. Wouldn’t it be nice if you all spent some time together? Well, here are some great ideas to help you have fun with your family every weekend. You’ve got to make that time off really count.

Go on a road trip.

If you’ve never been on a family adventure in an RV, then you’re missing out. In fact, it doesn’t have to be an RV. The point is that you should hit the open road with your loved ones and share some experiences. Make a plan regarding the route you’d like to take. Maybe you’d like to stop at a particular beach to admire the views and relax. Maybe your kids would like to stop at an arcade. The point is that a road trip can appeal to every family member. It’s a chance to do something that keeps everyone happy.

Make sure you stock your car well. The journey is part of the experience. You need plenty of snacks to keep everyone well-fed and happy. Bring plenty of water if it’s going to be a long journey, too; you might even want to get some flasks that you could refill whenever you stop anywhere. That’s a smart and sustainable well to make sure you drink enough on trips; you don’t have to buy water bottles. You should also prepare a great playlist for the journey. Obviously, you’ll talk and relax, but music will set the scene for your adventure. And you don’t have to go on a road trip every weekend, but it’s certainly something you should try to do regularly.

Play some games.

You could always stay at home and play some games if you want a relaxing weekend indoors, of course. You don’t always have to go outside and explore the world in order to have an adventure. You could unearth the dusty old board games that you might have used when you were a child. Or you could start playing some mobile games as a family. Words With Friends is particularly fun. If you want a helping hand, you could use a word unscrambler to give you some suggestions. Just don’t let the rest of the family know about your technique.

Have a movie night.

You might even want to think about having a movie night if you want to relax with the family at home. There’s nothing more exciting than turning your living room into a mini cinema. You just need some comfortable seats for everyone and a few delicious snacks. Of course, you could really switch up your weekly movie night by filming your own movies. Making a movie as a family is a great bonding experience. You don’t have to be the next great Hollywood director. The goal is to simply have fun as a family. Then, you can watch and admire the end product later.

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sick mom, cooties, working with preschoolers, cootie pond

Good morning from the deep end of the cootie pond. I’m on day 5 of my second illness in a month. Yes, my friends, this mom has gone back to school with preschoolers and my compromised immune system is showing.

This year is a big year for me. It’s the first year, in 14 years of being a mom, that I’ve decided to take a position working outside the home. I’ve spent the last 14 years working from home so that I could be here for my daughters.

Working with Preschoolers is drowning in the cootie pond.

I never planned on being a stay-at-home mom. But the moment they laid Bella on my chest, I knew I couldn’t leave her. I tried. God knows I tried. When she was about 18 months old, I took a part-time job as a tech at the local pharmacy but I soon fell pregnant and wanted to be home with my girls. Even being financially tight it was worth it to me to be home with my girls.

READ ALSO: Back to Scholl shopping with Amazon

I still want to be there for my girls (I’d also like to have a steady income to help out financially) but now that the girls are 14 and 12-years-old, I’ve decided to give working outside of the home another try. This time, I’ve taken a part-time job working with preschoolers. It’s fun and the hours are perfect and I still get to be there for my girls whenever they’re home.

In all honesty, I’d forgotten what it was like to be around preschoolers. 4 and 5-year-olds have a lot of energy. They’re snuggly and they love to share everything. They are so cute and full of wonder. I love working with these little people. They honestly fill my heart with energy that only 4 and 5-year-olds can.

Preschoolers lick everything.

There is only one caveat, they are covered in germs. Like me, they have spent the last few years of life in a bubble (we’re severely immunocompromised). They catch viruses. They’re too small and young to know to cover their mouths when they sneeze and cough. They lick everything. I mean everything. I forgot about that. Little kids stick their fingers in their mouths and touch everything. I’ve seen them lick tables, their hands after touching the toilet, each other and me.

Between the licking, coughing, sneezing, touching and finger sucking, they’re like little Petri dishes of germs. Did I mention that on the first day of work the cutest little boy in the world coughed directly into my mouth? Directly. It’s through no fault of their own. They just haven’t been alive long enough to learn not to do these things. They have no self-control and they don’t understand the word no. The only thing they know is to live and love full-on. Cooties be damned.

READ ALSO: Pint-Sized Bullies Beware

Anyways, I’m on sickness number two. If you’re keeping count, I’ve been sick for the entire month that I’ve been working. The other teachers assure me that I will be right as rain after the first year. Yes, you read that right, the.first.year. I’m investing in all the zinc lozenges, hand sanitizer, boogie wipes, Kleenex with aloe and Nyquil. I spend my weekends resting and recuperating to live another school week.

There have been moments when I’ve asked myself if this is all worth it. Some days I’m not sure. But, if I’m being honest, those little cootie carriers have snuggled their way into my heart and I’m not sure I could quit on them any more than I could my own girls.

Preschoolers are the cutest little cootie carriers ever.

It’s been a while since my girls were preschoolers, moms with preschoolers how do you protect yourself from the cooties your little ones bring home from preschool?

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