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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.

Tips to Help your Teen Survive

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

We’ve all been so worried about keeping our kids safe from Coronavirus that we’ve forgotten to keep their mental health safe from seclusion. Check in on your teens and little ones, they are not alright. Not even close. I put my girls in therapy last April at the beginning of the pandemic and they are still struggling. We can’t shelter them from the world but we can try to ease the weight of the world so many of us are feeling. Below are some Tips to Help your Teen Survive Depression, Anxiety and Pandemic Burnout.

It’s not fine. We’re not fine. They’re not fine. The kids are not alright.

We’ve been quarantining since March 9th. Our life went on pause and everything we had planned for the spring and summer was canceled. Nothing is like it’s supposed to be. The new normal absolutely sucks. We are a family of huggers and kissers. Friends are family and family is everything. We’re explorers and adventurers. We celebrate life in the small moments but this past year has been hard to find the silver linings.

Disclaimer: Firstly, let me start by saying I am not a therapist or a trained mental health professional. I’m just a mom who is very self-aware, has years of therapy under her built and pays a professional to treat her children. A good licensed mental health professional to follow for great tips is Katie Hurley.

Bella turned 15 last March 10th and 16 this year. March 14th , 2020 was supposed to be her quinceañera. We planned for years for her big day. Everything was ready to go. The dress, the court, the venue, DJ, photographer and videographer. It was going to be the quinceañera she had been dreaming of since she was a little girl. Friends and family from around the country were flying and driving in to celebrate our special girl. I can’t even put into words the devastation I felt taking that away from her. It hurts to even think of it now, especially since we rescheduled it to August 8th and had to postpone once again. Instead of getting the quinceañera of her dreams, she didn’t even get a proper birthday celebration. Her birthday was basically skipped for the past two years thanks to CoVid.

Gabs turned 13 last May, the day after what was supposed to be last day of school. There was no party. No family and friends to hug and play with. There’s no theme or games in the backyard. There was no bbq with 50 of her favorite people. There was a birthday drive-by parade which made her pandemic heart break with gratitude for those who showed up. She felt alone and forgotten. The smallest gestures mean so much when human contact is few and far between.

But how do you help your teen survive pandemic burnout?

We’ve learned not to take things for granted. We know the worth of our freedom to move throughout the world safely. We know the value of a hug and human interaction in real time. Virtual is a poor substitute but it may be the only thing offered at the moment.

Our kids are resilient. They are strong and they are amazing. They carry on even when they want to give up but everyone has their breaking point, even you and I. I’ve been doing everything that I’m supposed to do and still, people I love are getting sick. People I know are dying. My heart is breaking but I’m trying hard to keep my mental stability. Manic mom has even made an appearance this pandemic and I was hoping to never see her again. I’m trying to be strong for the Big Guy and the girls but even I notice that while I’ve had to adopt the let it go, one day at a time mentality, I am also holding on to things. I’m holding on to things and anxious about things I don’t even realize.

I’ve started clenching my jaw and my fists in my sleep from stress. I wake up sore. I’ve started finding myself angry for no reason at all or maybe it’s for every reason under the sun. Why would I think my girls are any different? They are younger with less life experience and more hormones. How could I forget that?

Check in on your kids. They are not alright.

My girls have been overly silly. At first, I was annoyed by this but then I realized this silliness is what is allowing them to get through this unbelievably stressful time. If they need to regress and find joy in the simplest things, who am I to judge? Right now, all bets are off. We’re all just trying to get through this pandemic. We’re in survival mode and that’s ok. Unfortunately, all that silliness has begun to give way to anxiety, depression and burnout and not just for them. I am burnt out too.

I’m so over virtual learning. Not only have my girls been virtual all year long, so have I. I had the bright idea to get a masters and enrolled a month pre pandemic. I’ve been struggling with burn out myself for the past couple months but watching my girls buckle under the pressure and anxiety of this non-stop pandemic life is too much. I hate it for them and can do very little to make it better other than pay for therapy and give out random hugs and encouragement all day.

Worse, I feel like I’m failing at that because I’m struggling myself. I hate all of this. There’s 2 weeks left of school for the girls and I feel like we’re all drowning. There’s no down time and days and nights are just one long exercise in never ending lists of shit to get done. I want to scream but I’m afraid if I start, I’ll never be able to stop. F*ck you pandemic and all the people who aren’t doing their part. I’m tired of my cage. I know this will pass but watching my girls struggle is the worst.

Tips to help your teen survive depression, and anxiety and overcome pandemic burn out.

  • Create calm times of the day, preferably an hour or longer.
  • Spend time with them doing silly and fun things like playing a game, being outdoors, cooking a fun meal (this helps kids calm down their nervous system so they aren’t so triggered by stress), or just plain talking.
  • Structure helps kids know what to expect which always improves stress.
  • Sleep and eat well (less sugar).
  • Help them write about their feelings.
  • Get them a therapist, many are offering virtual right now. Do it.
Tips to Help your Teen Survive  Depression, Tips to Help your Teen Survive Anxiety, Tips to Help your Teen Survive Pandemic Burnout

Anxiety specific simple but effective grounding techniques

Grounding Techniques
Grounding is a technique that helps keep someone in the present. They help reorient a. person to the here-and-now and in reality. Grounding skills can be helpful in managing overwhelming feelings or intense anxiety. They help someone to regain their mental focus from an often intensely emotional state. Grounding skills occur within two specific approaches: Sensory Awareness and Cognitive Awareness.

Sensory Awareness
Grounding Exercise #1:
Begin by tracing your hand on a piece of paper and label each finger as one of the five
senses. Then take each finger and identify something special and safe representing each
of those five senses. For example: Thumb represents sight and a label for sight might be
butterflies or my middle finger represents the smell sense and it could be represented by
lilacs.
After writing and drawing all this on paper, post it on your refrigerator or other safe
places in the home where it could be easily seen and memorize it.
Whenever you get triggered, breathe deeply and slowly, and put your hand in front of
your face where you can really see it – stare at your hand and then look at each finger and
try to do the five senses exercise from memory.

Grounding Exercise #2:
• Keep your eyes open, look around the room, notice your surroundings, notice
details.
• Hold a pillow, stuffed animal or a ball.
• Place a cool cloth on your face, or hold something cool such as a can of soda.
• Listen to soothing music
• Put your feet firmly on the ground
• FOCUS on someone’s voice or a neutral conversation.

Sensory Awareness Grounding Exercise #3:
Here’s the 54321 “game”.
• Name 5 things you can see in the room with you.
• 4 things you can feel (“chair on my back” or “feet on floor”)
• 3 things you can hear right now (“fingers tapping on keyboard” or “tv”)
• 2 things you can smell right now (or, 2 things you like the smell of)
•1 good thing about yourself

Cognitive Awareness Grounding Exercise:
Re-orient yourself in place and time by asking yourself some or all of these questions:

Where am I?

What is today?

What is the date?

What is the month?

What is the year?

How old am I?

What season is it?

Tips for parents

Build coping skills. One thing kids and teens need to hear on repeat is that all emotions are okay. There is no right or wrong way to feel about this global pandemic. Parents should get in the habit of checking in with each child privately throughout the day to give them an opportunity to verbalize feelings and talk about triggers.

Learn how to manage anger. Now is the time to figure out some techniques to decrease negativity in the home. In other words, stop yelling. Parents have a lot on their plates, and it is difficult to juggle work responsibilities, parenting responsibilities, keeping the family physically and emotionally safe, and running a distance-learning school. Chances are, you feel like you might snap at times.

Adjust expectations. To hear social media tell it, this is a time when everyone should be enjoying every moment and learning new things as a family (a privilege not everyone shares). And parents suddenly find themselves in the driver’s seat for their children’s education, expected to manage distance learning regardless of resources, finances, work schedules and child-care struggles. Then there are the expectations parents have of their kids regarding learning, training for extracurricular activities and being “productive” during this time away from school.

Practice empathic communication. There’s a lot we don’t have control over right now, and that can trigger negative emotions, but we can control how we respond to and communicate with others. One thing I hear on that tiny screen day after day during my sessions with kids: I just want my parents to understand me.

Tap into technology, and stay connected. Many parents spend a fair amount of time trying to manage and limit screen time. There are positives and negatives to technology, though, and now is the time to tap into the positives. It’s still important to focus on balance and make sure that kids and teens are getting exercise and engaging in activities that don’t involve screens, but technology can be a source of support, connection and education.

Parents, don’t forget to take care of your own mental health. It’s hard to help your teen survive depression, anxiety and pandemic burnout if you are holding on by a thread yourself. Believe me, I know. Find yourself some coping mechanisms and a licensed therapist.

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How Autism is Different in Girls than Boys and How to Recognize autism in girls

April is Autism Awareness month. Did you know that? I didn’t. To be honest, I don’t know a whole hell of a lot about the ins and outs of autism and what a diagnosis means for parents and children who live with it. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I am not directly affected by it ( that I know of because maybe I have just not paid enough attention). The most interesting thing I’ve learned as a girl mom is how autism is different in girls than boys and how to recognize autism in girls. Did you know it looked different?

I do have friends who have children, more than 1, who are autistic but even though I know them, their children and spend time with them, I ask on a need to know basis and listen when they want me to but I never wanted to pry to the point that I make them feel uncomfortable. I know that sounds like a lazy excuse but I swear, I didn’t want them to feel like they needed to educate me. I’m a Latina/woman/ with a mental health diagnosis…I don’t appreciate having to be anyone’s token anything so I try not to put others in that position. 

What is autism?

I’m fully aware that every child with or without autism is different. However, I was assigned a post for Cafemom this week about things everyone should know about Autism and, in my research, I reached out to my friends and asked for help and credible resources and I learned a lot. A lot. I’m so grateful for this assignment. 

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mom and daughter, organization tips for mom life

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

As a mom, you know just how busy life can be. We’re always on the go and always have things that we need to do. We rarely get a moment to ourself because we’re always busy doing things and looking after everyone else. But that’s just what mom life is like – and we wouldn’t change it for the world. Well, maybe some more sleep and hours in the day would be awesome. I can’t make more hours in the day or help with your insomnia but I can help with some best organization and planning tips for mom life to make life easier.

We all wish that things could be a little bit more streamlined. And that’s only natural. We all feel that way. It’s always going to be a good thing if we can all be organized and a little more put together. We feel calmer and can go through the day with a bit more clarity. But how easy is that to do in practice?

Let’s take a look at five ideas that might be able to help you make mom life more organized.

Manage Your Finances Well

First of all, you will want to make sure that things like your finances, bills, and household paperwork is organized. It sounds crazy, but if you’re worried about this or not organized, it can affect how well you are able to manage the rest of your life. These 34 savings and money-making tips for moms will help.

Have a Schedule

Next up, you’re going to want to make sure that you have a daily and weekly routine too. This can be good for your kids but also for all the things that you need to do. It’ll help you to feel more organized instead of like you have too much to do and no time to do it.

Turn to Your Family

From here, you may then want to rely on some of your family more. It could even be your partner. If you need to, be sure to look into the spouse visa appeal process or for other members of your family. Even having your mom close by could be really helpful for you here.

Keep Things Tidy

When it comes to the rest of your home, you’ll find that it’s a good idea for you to try and keep things as tidy as possible. A tidy home can make you feel so much more organized and together. It will also then make everything else you have to do easier too.

Make It a Mindset Thing

And finally, you’re going to want to try and make this a bit of a mindset thing. If you know that you are always thinking about things and worrying or panicking, you need to change that. Working to get more of a positive mindset can really help. When you’re able to focus on the good things, take one day at a time, and be grateful, it really does help you transform your life and everyday.

As much as it can seem like trying to be organized as a mom is impossible, it’s really not. There’s always going to be things and organization tips for mom that you can do to make your days that little bit easier. To pick out what’ll work for you and see what results you get.

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As moms, we have so many responsibilities to consider these days when it comes to dealing with your money, and there are so many financial obligations you need to fulfil these days. It is so important to ensure that you are taking steps to look after your money this year. COVID-19 has hit many of us hard, and this has hurt many bank balances across the world. 

Now, there are a lot of expenses you are going to need to pay for this year, but you also need to consider the right changes to protect your finances and ease the pressure and stress of potential money worries. You have so much to consider this year when it comes to making the right financial decisions, and these are some of the key tips you can use that will help you navigate 2021.

Get Better at Saving

Saving is always the most difficult part of managing your finances, and there is a lot that you need to keep in mind with this. It is definitely possible to ensure you start saving more money, and this is certainly something that is going to help you be more comfortable financially. There are loads of ideas that you need to focus on to help with this, and being able to save money for the things that matter in life is really essential. You’re going to need to improve the way you save money, and start trying to set aside a certain amount every week or month in order to get some consistent saving and start building your bank balance back up.  Check out WECU and see how you can open an account.

Consider a Loan

There are a lot of things that you need to think about when it comes to improving your money, and taking out a loan is definitely one of the most effective options that can help with this. There are plenty of loan options you could consider these days, and it is important to try to find one that works for you. Plenti offers a fast and simple lending process that allows borrowers to get the money they might need for emergencies, or for any outgoings they might need to cover. A loan may not be right for everyone, but it is definitely important to consider this as a way of helping you improve your financial situation. Just make sure you read and understand the terms before you commit to taking out a loan, and ensure you’re able to pay it back.  

Cut as Many Costs as You Can

Trying to cut as many costs as you possibly can to free up money and give you more disposable, and bankable, income. There are lots of different things that you need to keep in mind when you are looking to cut costs, and one of the biggest factors to keep in mind is to look at places you might be overspending. We are all guilty of this, and you are going to need to focus on trimming these costs as much as you can. Things like reducing energy bills, spending less on groceries, and focusing only on essentials are just a few of the best ways of being able to reduce costs, and this is something you should think about trying to make the most of this year. 

Invest Your Money

Investing is a sensible use of funds in the current climate, so you need to make sure you are making the right choices for your long-term investments.

There are so many investment options you could consider when it comes to investing your funds these days, and you need to do your research with this. Whether you are choosing Dogecoin merchandise, stocks & shares, cryptocurrency, precious metals, or other investments, you need to make sure you understand what you are investing in.

Create a Budget

Creating a budget for your finances is a great way of being able to keep on top of your finances, and this is something you can start doing as soon as possible. There are a lot of factors that will help you to improve the way you manage your cash, and a budget is essential for making everything clearer and more organised. You need to know where you are spending money and the areas you can cut down on what you’re spending, and this is something that budgeting can help you with. Keeping a record of all the things you’re going to be spending is really important, and this is something that a budget can help you with. 

Mobile Banking

You have so many options to consider when it comes to taking better care of your money, and mobile banking is definitely something you should consider. Try to make use of mobile banking as much as you can, and this is one of the key things that can help you manage your accounts, check your balance, set up things like direct debits, and more. Mobile banking is an excellent way of taking better care of your money, and this is certainly something you have to keep in mind moving forward. Mobile banking is a quick, efficient, and simple way of being able to keep track of your money, what’s coming in, and what you are spending. If you want to take better care of your finances, this is definitely something to keep in mind.

There are plenty of benefits to investing in gold, silver, and other precious metals and it’s possible to get gold for a reasonable price if you look for the Cheapest Places to Buy Gold. Keep in mind that you need to treat any money you invest as though you aren’t going to see it again, and you should never invest money you can’t afford to lose. 

These are some of the best tips you need to consider when it comes to improving your financial decision-making. Try to make sure you do your best to boss your money and do the best you can to focus on financial freedom and independence. You’ve got to take steps to improve your money management and try to navigate this year in the most stress-free way possible. There are a lot of things that you can do to help take better care of your cash, and this is something that can help you in a big way. 

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mom and daughter talking while camping, How Unplugging and Listening will make You a Better Parent to your Teenager

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Disclosure: This post is made possible with support from the Center for Parent and Teen Communication, part of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. All opinions about How unplugging and listening will make you a better parent to your teenager are my own.

Parenting teenagers is exciting and challenging in big and little ways, unlike any other stage. It’s sprinting towards the parenting finish line before our children go off independently in the world to chase their own dreams. The Center for Parent and Teen Communication helps parents raise teens prepared to thrive. Adolescence is a time of opportunity, and parents matter more than ever. They strive to ensure every caring adult has the knowledge and skills to promote positive youth development and foster strong family connections. To get great tips and videos for communicating with your teens sign up for CPTC’s 100-word, daily parenting tip newsletter.

The secret to success when raising teens is communicating openly and good listening skills. As a mom of teen girls, often, I feel like I need to provide all the answers to their problems. I swoop in like Wonder Woman and want to fix everything. Soon, they’ll need to be able to confidently navigate the world on their own. For that to happen, I need to step back, be still, breathe and listen with empathy. I need to unplug, be present, and give my girls my full attention. Most importantly they need to feel heard, understood, seen, and loved unconditionally. 

How unplugging and listening will make you a better parent to your teenager.

That’s the video that resonates the most with me. You should watch the animations. They’re short and you might pick up a tip or two you’d never thought of before. Which one is your favorite and why?

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Teen Driving Safety Tips Every Parent Needs to Know

Some days, I can’t believe that I’m the mom to two teenagers. It feels like just yesterday; I was introducing you all to my toddlers. But, Bella is 15-years-old already, about to be 16 in less than a month. What they say about the days being long but the years being short, is the truest thing ever said about motherhood and childhood. It’s hard to imagine, my little girl is old enough to drive. It scares me in more ways than I expected. Aside from it making me painfully aware that she will soon be old enough to live on her own, it makes it that much easier for her to spend time away from us.

Of course for teenagers, driving is an exciting rite of passage. Getting onto the road for the first time in their own car is thrilling time for a teenager. Its independence and freedom that our kids haven’t experienced up to that point. Of course, while this is thrilling for them, it can also be terrifying for parents. We have to make sure we give them a thorough course in teen driving 101. Aside from the letting go, we know how dangerous driving can be. No matter what driving directions we’ve give them, the fact is that teen drivers are more likely to make driving mistakes in their first year on the road than for the rest of their driving career, you should take a look at the Corpus Christi business guide.

Tips for New Drivers

Maybe it sounds like an overreaction, especially from someone who has been driving since she was 13-years-old. But I’m me and they’re them. Take my driving directions don’t follow my driving examples, kids. Danger hits different when you’re on the mom end of things than it does when you’re the carefree teenager. Sorry, mom.

I had my days as a teenage girl, now it’s my time to worry. I’m better at that than most. As a teen, I was the one who was going places and doing things that I probably shouldn’t have been. I definitely would have given my mom a heart attack if she knew half of it. Thank God I was too stupid and naïve to realize what could have happened to me. It’s true, some things you just have to live through to believe. Being aware and prepared can help prevent unnecessarilyissues.

Teen Driving Safety Tips Every Parent Needs to Know that their kid might be breaking

Speeding while driving

Whether they are showing off, being careless, or are trying to have fun, speeding is a serious offense. No matter where you are or why you’re doing it. Many roads have automated cameras that can capture cars speeding and issue fines, while police will also lookout. Speeding can damage a teenager’s permanent driving record. It can make their insurance premiums go up while running the risk of losing their license if they break the rules more than once. Some insurance companies can also monitor the speed of your car to make sure that you’re not breaking the rules. Speeding can also cause a lot of car accidents. If you’re a victim of such, you can rely on the personal injury lawyer boston ma to help you in your case.

Driving Under the influence (DUI)

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal. Road accidents happen more frequently under the influence. That’s why I always carry a personal breathalyzer in my purse and bring a designated driver. Teen drivers are more likely to take a risks, trusting themselves to be safe behind the wheel. Let’s face it, teenagers think they are invincible. Police can easily recognize drivers under the influence. A DUI defense can be difficult to manage, meaning that your teen will almost certainly need legal support if they find themselves in this position.

Driving Accidents

Teen drivers without much experience on the road are much more likely to cause accidents than veteran drivers, so make sure you have the information of a few traffic lawyers. Friends, radios and telephones can easily distract new drivers. Having a major driving accident can make your teen’s premium skyrocket. It is also important to know When You Should Hire A Car Accident Lawyer just in case an accident occurs. This can make products like dashcams extremely useful, providing evidence so that you can prove your teenagers innocence. Of course, though, you have to make sure that they don’t delete any footage that could make them look bad. And if your teen gets hit a reckless bus driver, then you might want to hire a bus accident lawyer for legal help.

Driver’s Road Rage

Road rage is a common issue across the world. People find it easier to get annoyed when driving than when walking. Teenagers tend to be more emotional than adults and get into bad situations when they engage with other drivers. You need to make sure that your teenager knows that they can’t shout, swear, or attack other drivers, especially when they’re on busy roads. Instead, they should work to simply ignore the annoyances of other drivers.

Incorrect Documentation

Teenagers aren’t generally considered the best administrators, and this means that they can easily let their documentation become void and will break the DUI law causing them a problem. This can have a negative impact on their driving career, making it difficult for them to get a new license if their current one is taken from them. It’s crucial that insurance, licenses, and things like tax are all up to date before your teenager is allowed to hit the road. In many cases, the punishment for failing to do this can be bigger than fines.

Insurance Violations

Teenagers usually care about things like fashion a lot more than older people. This can lead to extensive modifications being made to their vehicles, with many of the changes they make being superficial. Of course, though, insurance companies need to know about these changes, ensuring that the car that is being covered reflects the actual car on your driveway. If you don’t let their insurance company know when changes like this are made, your child could have their claim denied by insurance company if they have an accident.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of avoiding the trouble your teen driver could get into during their first year on the road. This can be a difficult time for new drivers, but you can help your teens overcome the issues with a little bit of practice, encouragement and safety reminders.

Letting go is hard. Watching our “little” girls drive away, is not easy but we can’t keep them at our sides forever so the most important thing we can do as parents is to prepare them well to take on the world. We have to trust that we’ve done our jobs as parents and if all else fails, let them know we’re always there to lift them up, support them and hold their hands when they need it. As soon as this snow melts, we’re taking Bella out for some more driving practice.

What’s your best tip for teaching your teen driving safety without stressing you both out?

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How it Feels to be a Democrat on Inauguration Eve 2021, President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

I was sitting here contemplating tomorrow and the events of the past 2 weeks. 2 weeks ago tomorrow, President Trump incited a coup attempt and set his Patriots on a path to overturn democracy; an assault on our Capitol. He fanned the flames of insurgence and pointed them in the direction of our nation’s house with instructions to take the country back. Last week, he was impeached (for a second time) for his part in inciting violence and assault upon the very country and people he was entrusted to serve and protect. Tomorrow, we begin anew with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

One day more until we again have hope; another day, another destiny.

I’m afraid. I am exhausted from the past four years of enduring the unthinkable. I’ve felt that I’ve been living in an alternate reality; stuck in a nightmare that I cannot awake from. I’ve only recently realized that I’ve spent the past four years living in constant fear and under duress; terrified of the people wielding power and hate. Holding my breath, gritting my teeth and biting my tongue. Unable to fully breathe. I have been suffocating. Striking out and speaking out with the constant knowledge that it could put me in imminent danger. The worry is real. But the pursuit of good is greater.

One day more, we endure.

As a nation, we the people, have learned to band together to speak up and strike out against hatred. In the midst of all of this chaos, we have become unified in our pursuit of justice. It’s changed our perspective and given us a renewed faith and appreciation for the democracy our great country was born upon.  Here we are, less than 24 hours from the dawn of a new era. Tomorrow, we are given redemption in the form of hope, decency and democracy.

One day more.

 

Tomorrow, we will wake up and have a decent, good man as the president of our United States. We will have THE FIRST FEMALE VICE PRESIDENT. I get to celebrate this history-making inauguration alongside my two daughters, who get to see a woman of color, merit and humanity take the second-highest office in this nation. Let that sit with you a moment. Tomorrow, a man who perpetuated hatred and insurgence and led his own supporters down a trail of lies and conspiracies just to hold onto the power of the presidency, will finally leave the sacred grounds of the White House.

One day more.

Tonight, I can’t sleep. I am afraid as I inhale deeply and hold my breath one last time before human decency and democracy return to their rightful place in our nation’s capital. One long last night filled with hope and fear of what is to come and where we go from here as we the people, assemble in reformation to become the great nation we once were before the long four years of divisive tension that culminated in an insurrection. We can never unknow the hatred and vitriol that has been so freely spewed in the last term. Our neighbors, friends and family have revealed themselves as the monsters they are and we cannot forgive nor forget that they chose their hatred and money over the well-being and equality of the rest of us. It has been unbearable, this anxiety-ridden, claustrophobic hostage situation we’ve spent the last four years surviving.

Just one day more.

How it Feels to be a Democrat on Inauguration Eve 2021, President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris

Tomorrow is unseen and I don’t know how this is all going to playout. I’m hopeful that tomorrow goes as expected but I’m trepidatious because this is not the same United States that it was four years ago. None of us are the same as we were before the Trump administration. We don’t see one another with those rose-colored glasses of civility anymore and neither does the rest of the world. We have been revealed to be instead of the photoshopped version of ourselves hiding behind press releases and fancy clothes and makeup to a stripped-down naked and hungry version of ourselves for all the world to see. We fought amongst ourselves as our allies and enemies watched on. Our president’s bravado and narcissism has left us exposed and vulnerable to the world; attacks foreign and domestic.  I pray tomorrow, we finally can make America great again… I hope we can rebuild bridges where he has built walls.

One day more.

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Exhausted mom and dad asleep on couch covered in toys while toddler reaches out. Best Gifts to Get New Moms or Any Moms

This is not your traditional gift guide for moms. It’s not specific to cool moms, crunchy moms, tech moms, teen moms or even girl moms. Nope, this is the perfect gift guide for all moms of all ages with kids of all ages and any sex. These are proven gifts for moms that are approved by, you guessed it, moms. But before I tell you the Best gifts to get new moms or any moms, read below.

Let me tell you a little story, the other day, I was talking to my therapist (physical, not mental) who just became a dad for the third time. Nice guy. Cute kids, 3 under 3 and an amazing wife who just gave birth to all three children in three years. They’re both probably in their early 30’s. Our conversation inspired me to write this gift guide because, from my perspective of the hard-earned wisdom of the school of been there done that, I realized that men are clueless.

READ ALSO: Gift Guide for Women who love tech and pretty things

I’m not saying this in a mean or ugly way. I’m saying it in the way that men are from Mars and women are apparently, from Venus ( more like women are from earth and men have no clue).  While we may be on similar paths in life, they are most definitely perpendicular and not parallel. We ay accidentally cross paths in our way of thinking occasionally but for the most part, we are miles away. We interest but it’s not the same life, not even the same world.

I’m not trying to bad mouth this guy or any man for that matter, I’m just saying that we don’t share the same experience. At all.  A few years ago, I was shocked to find out that men are never afraid to walk alone, outside after dark like EVER. Never. They are not phased in the slightest. Meanwhile, I’ve never felt comfortable walking alone at night and sometimes not even in the daytime, depending on where I am and what I’m doing. Men are fearless because they are at the top of the food chain. They’re doing the accosting. No one is accosting them. Women, well, it’s the men’s world and we’re just living it, unfortunately. Forget about the fact that we’ve given birth to them ( they’ve forgotten) and just know that they view us as other if they see us at all.

READ ALSO: Standing up for my girls no matter the cost

My therapist and I were talking about how they’ve been having a hard time sleeping ( 3-week old baby) and he said, “she’s been a bit tired and grumpy” ( no shit, new baby exhaustion is real especially when you’re chasing after 2 other toddlers in a damn pandemic.) Anyway, I digress. My point is that she was a little curt because she was new mom tired and she needed help.

Somehow we got on the subject of people needing space (an hour or so to decompress from their family and work, how I walk for an hour every day alone). I gently suggested that on the weekends he let his wife nap and his life would be easier because a rested mom is a happier one. He thought I was suggesting for him to get some time to himself. He was telling me how important his soccer weekends were to him. I gently, reminded him, “Yeah, your wife needs that too. Moms always need time, even if it’s just to drink our coffee or run to Target. Just because we don’t complain doesn’t mean we’re not tired.”

He answered me, “No, she loves being a mom.” That’s when I realized that it was my civic duty to save this perfectly decent man from fucking up his marriage.

READ ALSO: How Scrambled Eggs Saved my Marriage

Dude we all love being a mom but we also love being ourselves, being treated as humans; seen as something other than the help. We are not the live-in nannies, who also cook and clean so that you can spend your weekends golfing, playing soccer or call of duty. Repeat after me; My wife loves her children but she needs breaks. I love her so I must give her the opportunity to rest and breathe. No one can run on full blast at all times without burning out.

In case you don’t believe me, that we are all exhausted, even those of us who love what we are doing and being a mom, I just received this text. She’s a mom and a doctor who has been working almost constantly lately treating CoVid patients in her overcapacity hospital.

“I worked overnight and slept for 2 hours so I could get up and entertain the kids. I’m exhausted. It would be so nice to have a minute where the kids aren’t telling me how bored they are or the husband wasn’t sulking about a couple of days without sex. I wish I could have half an hour to myself instead of trying to please everyone else.”

Best gifts to get new moms or any moms

A day of rest

Even God took a day off. Maybe it sounds too simple or maybe you just don’t want to do it because you’ve worked all week and you want your days off to be relaxing. Great, I get it but how is it fair that you get 2 days off a week and she gets no days off ever? Think about it. Split the days; 1 for each.

Quiet time alone

Take the kids somewhere; anywhere. Quiet time is in high demand and there is never enough of it. Just tell her to take an hour and put on her headphones, sit in the car or go for a walk and enjoy not being the person in charge of meeting everyone’s needs for just a little while.

A spa day

This is a real luxury because, after kids, money and time are both things moms never have enough of. Moms tend to always put themselves last and a spa day, is not only good for the body, but it’s also pretty amazing for the soul too. Let her be a woman of leisure for just a few hours. Plus, relaxing is a superego boost for moms and if she feels prettier, sexier, more relaxed…you will benefit from it.

A girl’s night

I didn’t get a girl’s night until my girls were already 5 and 3-years-old. I kept telling myself that I didn’t need it. Then, my husband basically forced me out one night and it was the best thing ever. Moms need that time to remember who they are as a woman, not just someone’s wife and mommy.

Bring home or cook dinner once a week

Pssst, hey you, we hate cooking after feeding picky eaters all day, coaxing them to sleep and chasing them around. It’s just one more thing on a super long list of things we have to do and we don’t like it. Please handle it occasionally. You will be our hero. Do the dishes and put the kids to sleep on your own…your imagination is the only thing holding you back, baby.

An hour to work out

Being a mom is so busy that we really lose sight of ourselves. One day, we realize we’ve become bottom of our own very long list of things to care about. Working out not only provides us with some time alone, but we also get to feel those endorphins and feel productive and beautiful. Yes, sweating makes us feel like we are part of the solution, especially when we’re feeling overwhelmed and particularly mommish.

A space of her own

It doesn’t need to be huge. It just needs to have a door and a lock. An office, craft room, or workout area. We just really need something that is ours.

Volunteer to do some of the chores

Bringing home dinner is one thing but if you put babies to sleep, walk dogs, fold laundry and unload the dishwasher, there might be some more babies or at the very least some A+ effort baby-making-like actions being initiated.

Consider her feelings

Ask yourself, what would my wife do? You want to go out with the guys for 1, 2 or 10 beers after work on Friday night. Ask yourself, does my wife need me to come home and give her a break? Is she going insane because the only people she’s been talking to all day are under 3 feet and don’t know any words? Does she need to hand off the littles to me and regroup? Yes, the answer is yes. No matter what you might think, no matter how amazing she is or how much she loves your children, the answer is yes because while she is a superwoman, she is only a human.

Ask her how her day has been and let her tell you

Talk to her. Not at her. Ask her questions. Listen to her answers. Let her vent. Give her a hug. Let her cry. Be tolerant. Be patient. Be kind. Most importantly, be understanding and know that she is probably really tired and very hungry.

Entertain the kids after dinner

She made dinner. She bathed the kids. Offer to put them to bed. Offer to read them stories. Take one thing off of her super piled high mom plate. Be proactive. It will make your relationship with your wife and your kids better. You are part of the team, not a spectator. These are truly the best gifts to get new moms and moms everywhere of all ages and it’s free, with the exception of a little effort.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and wishing you lots of peace and love in your marriage and your parenthood. You can do it. You just need to want to. Let’s be honest, as a mom, I would prefer a gift of the middle of the night feeding duty, dishwashing, folding and putting away laundry, baby wrangling and time alone to breathe, eat, play my music at full blast over diamonds and bags any day of the year. That’s saying a lot because I love my diamonds and bags but time for me, consideration, and respect for what I do from the ones I love, is worth more than anything else.

As a mom, what do you consider the best gifts to get new moms? Best gifts to get moms? Do you think the best gifts for moms are free?

 

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ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood, adverse childhood experiences

This post is made possible with support from the American Academy of Pediatrics through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All opinions are my own.

2020 has been a crazy year. Things have happened to all of us that we never could have imagined. As an adult, it’s been trying. It’s hard to get your bearings when the world feels like it’s on fire. I can only imagine how hard this must be on our children; struggling to make sense of everything and trying to function in this new normal. It’s not normal for any of us. 

I’ve stayed vigilant these past 9 months since the pandemic began, trying to keep our lives right side up. It takes effort, work, ingenuity, and creativity. I’ve spent the past 15 years trying to help my daughters avoid the pitfalls of ACEs because I suffered them myself and know the effect they can have on a child.  Hopefully, our vigilance as parents being safe nurturing caregivers will help our girls fair better should the pandemic be traumatic.

READ ALSO: Sending Kids Back to School during a Pandemic

 ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) are negative childhood experiences that impact children and can have long-lasting effects. There are 10 ACEs, and they fall into 3 categories: 1) Abuse (physical, emotional, or sexual); 2) Neglect (physical or emotional); and 3) Household dysfunction (mental illness, domestic violence, divorce, incarcerated relative, substance abuse). Thankfully, ACEs can be prevented or mitigated when adults and children have strong support systems through individuals or organizations. 

There are a lot of traumatic things that can happen in a child’s life—including death, pandemics, or natural disasters—over which we have no control, but ACEs can be prevented either directly with help from another person, or indirectly through policy, education, or society changes such as paid family leave or prison sentencing laws. 

Luckily, I had adults in my life who helped me navigate those ACEs in my life and get through them. Since then, my goal has always been to be an advocate for children and to pay forward the kindness that was given to me by the three people who saved my life without ever knowing it, even more so this holiday season.

READ ALSO: What Every Mom Needs to Know about Coronavirus

This is not something difficult. I’m not special. But being there for a kid when they need it most can make a huge difference in their life as it did for me.  We all have the capability to be kind to others, to help others in need, especially children. Experiencing an adverse childhood experience can be traumatic and can set the tone for the quality of life going forward. Having a support system in place can mean the difference between moving through and past hard things in life or getting stuck or even regressing. 

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood, adverse childhood experiences

This year, coronavirus has taught me a lot of invaluable life lessons. The most important is how important it is to be able to ask for and give help when needed. But kids can’t always do that. Just the way toddlers can’t always verbalize what they feel because of their lack of vocabulary, bigger kids and teens still have difficulty expressing their emotions, especially during a pandemic. It’s hard to turn to the adults in your life for help when they are crumbling under the enormous weight of an international health crisis. We’re all trying our best but sometimes, as parents, just like our kids, we have to be willing to ask for and accept help. 

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood, adverse childhood experiencesThe most important thing is to create safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments for our own children and the children around us. This is the foundation upon which their entire lives will be built. This foundation is not only essential to lifelong health and happiness but could even prevent ACEs from happening in the first place. 

For my own children, I check in daily; sometimes hourly. A big part of being there for them is being present in a time when, honestly, a lot of us just want to check out. Another thing I did was put both of my girls into virtual therapy. I am diabetic (underlying condition) so we have only left the house a handful of times in the past 9 months. The girls are doing school virtually. I’m doing grad school virtually. I’m working virtually. We’ve been wearing masks and quarantining for a long time. There have been no family visits. No friends to talk to in-person or at birthday parties. There was no family Thanksgiving celebration. Our world is pretty much the 4 of us who live in this house and as much as we love one another, it is a lot. I didn’t spend all these years doing everything so my girls didn’t experience ACEs just for the aftermath of a global pandemic to mess everything up so I’ve learned to pivot. I know my limits, and I’m not too proud to ask for help.

Therapy helps my daughters talk to someone other than me and express any anxieties or fears they might have and don’t want or can’t talk to me about. It’s a pressure release. I’ve also encouraged the girls to video chat with friends and family and encouraged my husband to initiate his own conversations with them. I want them to feel connected even when we’re physically not and feel heard when the world is so noisy. 

I’ve noticed my daughters’ friends also experiencing these same issues as my girls. I’ve always been the mom who the kids know they can talk to about anything. I’m the mom who isn’t afraid to go to school and speak up for the kid getting bullied. I’m the mom who if I see your child struggling or reaching out for attention, I will tell you. I know it might not be popular with my daughters, but if I see a child talking about depression or suicide (needing help), I will and have reached out to their parents or school officials. I can’t ignore it when it can mean the difference between life and death. The thing is you never know what kind of desperation is behind a social media post (especially during coronavirus), and I just don’t feel comfortable taking that chance. I know it’s not a lot, but it’s a small way that I can provide kindness and advocate on behalf of the children in my life.

READ ALSO: Surviving Child Abuse

Being there for children is free. It only takes a willingness to help, time, and genuine concern. This pandemic holiday season, I am going to make sure to send personalized cards to the kids in our lives to let them know they are not alone and we are here to support them. I am also going to take some time to personally call and check in on some of them. I’ll also be checking their social media accounts including the fake accounts their parents know nothing about. The holidays are always a hard time of year for some, but I think this year is hard probably for most. 

My gift to the children in my life this year is to be one of their three if they need me, like the three people who were there for me when I needed them most. If I can help a child get through these uncertain times by being part of an unconditional support system and providing some stability, that would be a gift to me.

We’ve all had our three (or more) people in our lives who’ve been there to help us when we needed them most. This holiday season, let’s all pay it forward. Who were the three people who helped create a safe, stable, and nurturing relationship or environment when you were growing up? What will you do to be one of a child’s three this holiday season?

 

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Life is a Tik Tok Trend, how to fall gracefully

Maybe you’ve been wondering where I’ve been. Maybe not. We’ve all got our own shit going on in this pandemic, I get it. I really fucking do. But in case you were wondering, I fell…again. Ooops. And in true, Debi fashion, I didn’t just fall. I fell in a way that not only ended with me having a concussion but a broken middle toe, at the proximal. I mean who the fuck breaks their middle toe. There are 4 other motherfucking toes protecting it. And it’s not like I have long toes. I’ve got sturdy ass Flintstone toes.

I never dreamt my real life would be a TikTok trend.

Oh No, Oh No, Oh no, no, no, no, no. That’s what I heard when my pinky toe caught the cord of my MacBook Air. And you thought being a writer wasn’t dangerous work. Pfft. You haven’t met me. I can even make stepping off a curb deadly. Not silent. I cried like a baby. But real fucking deadly. It was one of those moments in life, I’ve had a few; when you know something is put into motion that you cannot stop. That moment of sheer terror and uncontrollability.

READ ALSO: How a Curb took me Out of My Sister’s Wedding and Straight to the ER

I’m just going to give you a play by play because, seriously, if I had watched in on TikTok with that damn “Oh no” sound that I favorited, it would have been epic. It would have been so epic that I would have probably been crying from laughter but as it were, it was real life and happening to me so all I can do is be thankful that it wasn’t worse than it was.

I had been working all day on work deadlines and it was the last week of my Social Media Marketing class; there was a final project on the line. The Big Guy picked up dinner so I could work. He had just walked through the door and yelled upstairs that dinner was there. I was thrilled because I hadn’t stopped to eat all day. In my excitement to relieve my hangry headache, I jumped off my bed and promptly caught my pinky toe of my right foot on my laptop cord. That was the moment I knew shit was definitely going to go sideways. Know how I knew? Well, if you remember correctly, in 2015 it was my right leg that was the Judas who betrayed me and took out my left leg. Also, on that day, I also had not eaten. Apparently, hunger and walking is not a combination I have yet mastered.

Back to the story, my pinky toe reached out and grabbed hold of the cord. I lost my balance. To my right was a bookshelf, to my left the sharp corner of my bed, in front of me ( to my right) a movable hanging chair with a basket full of clean not put away laundry, an opened door, (to my left) 2 more baskets of paired socks and more, you guessed it, laundry. #momlife

As my life was flashing before my eyes and the “oh No” TikTok sound played in my head, I had a true red wire, blue wire moment and I had about 3 seconds to decide which extremity I was willing to sacrifice to the broken mom gods. In the end, fear made me hesitate and, long story slightly shorter, my head broke the fall. Well, that’s not entirely true. My middle toe broke the fall down and my head broke the fall forward once the Benedict Arnold hanging chair betrayed me and swerved when I fell with outstretched arm (that was at the time already being treated for bicep and rotator cuff tendonitis) and kept right on falling.

Still with me? Pinky toe plotted with a laptop cord to murder me. Lost balance. Started to fall, reached for help towards the hanging chair only to be rejected and fall through the chair. Topple towards the left. Definitely did not want to re-break left leg. Nope. Didn’t want to re- dislocate left arm. Re-breaking right arm wasn’t appealing so I fell down. Broke middle toe at proximal. Heard it crunch under the weight of my body. Yep, insult to injury #1. Then, fell forward with the full force of 220 pounds headfirst into the side of the door. Then insult to injury #2, the aforementioned basket of clothes fell on top of me. Immediately, a bump the size of a softball popped up on my head. I now, looked like Frankenstein’s ugly cousin, as was obvious by my lopsided Fivehead. I also accrued multiple scrapes and bruises in the fall. More importantly, my toe was making a crunching sound and I couldn’t walk on it. We thought maybe it was jammed so I proceeded to pull on it. Yep, I’m the idiot. Spoiler alert; it wasn’t jammed, it was broken. Or maybe it was jammed and I broke it by pulling on it with a concussion.

You’d think that was enough excitement for one night right? Nope. This is the gift that keeps giving. I am still sporting a putrid green vomit colored bruised on my entire left side of my forehead. I’m heading back to the orthopedic surgeons tomorrow to check on healing because we found a surprise cyst in my toe bone that needs to be monitored. LUCKY. Aren’t you jealous? On top of all of that, guess who is back in physical therapy for that newly reinjured rotator cuff and bicep tendonitis. Because you know the place a diabetic most wants to be during a global pandemic? Obviously, every doctor’s office ever so I can be exposed to as many germs of possible during cold and flu season. Anyway, that was my November. Of course, there was also an auto accident in which my husband’s SUV was completely totaled and he ended up in the ER not once but twice for injuries including a concussion. Yep, we’re the concussion couple; our poor children. Fucking 2020, I hate you.

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