web analytics


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.

Keeping Your Home Healthy When You Have Pets

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Our pets fill our homes and hearts with love and laughter. But they can also fill your home with mud, hair and much worse. This is why its so important that, if you have fur babies in your home, you make an extra effort to keep the place tidy and healthy. Here’s how you can do that:

1. Fight the Fur

First things first, pet hair is more than just a fashion accessory you didn’t ask for on all your clothes. It can clog up your home’s air filters and contribute to allergens around the house. If I’m being honest, our French Mastiff, Stella, sheds so much that sometimes, it looks like there are a bunch of little Stellas running around the house. Regular grooming of your pets can reduce the amount of hair and dander floating around, and a good vacuum designed for pet hair is a must-have.

2. Master the Mud

If you have a dog, chances are you’re familiar with the “joy” of unexpected mud parties. Creating a pet cleaning station near your entryway—a simple setup with towels and paw cleaner—can help prevent your pooch from turning your living room into a mud wrestling ring.

3. Tick Talk

Let’s get serious for a second and talk about ticks. These little critters can be more than just a nuisance; they can be a health hazard to your pets and your family, so you need to know how to spot them and how to get rid of ticks fast. Regularly check your pets for ticks, especially after they’ve been outside. Invest in reliable tick prevention for your pets, and consider treating your yard with a pet-safe pesticide to reduce the tick population. Remember, it’s always a good season to say ‘no’ to ticks!

4. The Great Scent Cover-up

Pets can bring some unique smells into your home, and we don’t mean freshly baked cookies. While regular baths for your pets can help, sometimes you need a little extra firepower. Natural enzyme cleaners are great for breaking down pet smells instead of just masking them. For a quick fix, baking soda is great for sprinkling on carpets before vacuuming to absorb odors.

5. Emergency Clean Kit

Accidents happen—especially when you have pets. Keep an emergency cleaning kit handy that includes paper towels, disinfectant, and odor removal spray. For those times when Fido mistakes your carpet for the grass, you’ll be prepared to act fast and minimize the damage.

6. Purify Your Air

Pets can contribute to less-than-pristine indoor air quality. An air purifier can do wonders to capture pet dander, pollen, and other allergens, making breathing easier for everyone. Plus, it helps keep your home smelling fresh, so you’re not greeted by eau de dog when you walk in the door.

7. Secure Your Trash

Pets are notorious for their treasure-hunting skills, so it goes without saying they can sniff some pretty exciting (to them) stuff in the trash can. So if you don’t want to come home to stinky garbage all over the kitchen floor, secure your cans with tight-fitting lids to keep Fido out.

Maintaining a healthy home with pets is all about staying one step ahead of the fur, odors, and little surprises, but you can do it!

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
How To Help Your Teenager Through Exams

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

School just got out for the summer but I’m already thinking about how to better prepare my girls to succeed next year. Exam time can be stressful for both teenagers and parents alike. As a parent, you realize that the results your teenager gets at school or college will reflect the path they take afterwards. Now, I’m not too worried because I know that there is no one path to success but some paths are definitely easier than others. If your teenager can do well, it could set him up for the future. This is why you need to know how to help your teenager through exams.

Although our teenagers will have to rely on their own knowledge, there are some things you can do to make school and the exam season much easier. If you’re wondering how to help your teen get through her exams, check out the following tips.

Meal Prep

One of the best ways you can help your teenager tackle studying for exams is to make sure she eats well. Eating and drinking properly is essential. Your teen will need the vitamins and nutrients for good brain function and to maintain energy levels.

If you’re seeing your teen going back and forth to the fridge for energy drinks and snack bars, they may not be eating well enough. Do her a favor and make sure she eats three nutritious and well-balanced meals a day to give her the best chance at absorbing and retaining all the information she’ll need to do well on her tests.

Avoid Adding Pressure

Many teenagers say that they feel pressure from their families more than from anywhere else. It’s easy to unconsciously make your teen feel under pressure by hovering too much or asking a lot of questions. I know I’m guilty of this and I never thought it was putting pressure on them until my girls told me it was. Now, I think before I start asking too many questions about exams. Maybe you’ve even offered incentives for doing well. Bet you didn’t realize even that can feel like immense pressure to a kid studying for exams.

There are many variables that contribute to the grades that each child will get from their exams. It can depend on revision time, nerves, whether your child got enough sleep, and all sorts of things. Encourage your teen to do well but take the pressure off. I like to tell my girls to just do their best. Really, that’s all any of us can hope for. 

Good Sleeping Patterns

It can be tempting for your teen to stay up late trying to cram in revision hours before an exam. Who amongst us hasn’t spent an all-nighter cramming for exams? Not only is this counterproductive to remembering information but it’s also unhealthy. My freshman year of college, I stayed up all night studying for a chemistry exam only to fall asleep at dawn and miss my exam.The best thing your teen can do is sleep well and use the hours available to study.

Although you have no control over when your teen goes to sleep, it can help to explain why being well-rested before an exam is so important. Encourage your teen to get as much rest as needed before an exam.

Play Games

Your teen is going to need a break from studying every now and then. These mental breaks are important for clarity and taking time to have some fun. Games are a great way to have some fun while still keeping the brain engaged. My girls and I live for our Mario Kart brain breaks.

However, more cerebral games like Chess, for instance, are ideal for engaging your teens brain and developing problem solving skills. Even though your teen is taking a break, he’ll be able to return to his studies with the ability to continue without too much effort.

Study With Her

There may be some subjects that you aren’t familiar with but that doesn’t mean you can’t help your teen study. If you want to be hands-on with helping your teen, getting stuck into study with her is ideal. Find a quiet place to sit together and test your teen on his knowledge.

You can ask questions from what you read on a page or ask typical exam study questions from past exams. This can be particularly good for teens with ADHD. Spending this time is a good way to bond together and your teen will remember that you were there to help when she needed you.

Recognize Exam Stress

Most teenagers have a healthy amount of exam stress. However, some teenagers may suffer with an unhealthy amount. For instance, some teenagers may display signs of severe anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite, and many more. This happens to be the case for my girls who both suffer from extreme test anxiety.

If you recognize any of these symptoms, it’s worth talking to your teen about what you see. Make sure your teen knows that physical and mental health should always take priority over exams and you’re always there to talk if she needs to.

Let Little Things Go

Perhaps your teenager has a chore list to do around the home. Maybe she’s responsible for walking the dog in her spare time. During exam season, these things need a little more flexibility.

If you notice dirty plates in his room and his dirty clothes are still unwashed, give her a pass. You can help her by taking on a few of these jobs so she has more free time to study without feeling overwhelmed by everything she has to do.

Be Positive

Have you ever read the information on a page three times and still not been able to take it in?  Preparing for exams takes a lot of effort and there will be times when your teen may feel like she’s failing. Be positive and supportive during this time so she knows you believe in her.

Make her feel like as long as he does her best, she can’t fail. Empower her to be confident. No matter what the outcome of her exams are, she can forge her own path if she works at it. Where there’s a will, there is always a way.

Study Space

If you’re able to, create a dedicated study space for your teen that will help to set her up for success. If she’s trying to study in the room she shares with a younger sibling, it may be hard to get anything done. Find a quiet and secluded place for her to study, even if it’s just temporary.

It’s also worth explaining to other family members ( younger siblings, I’m talking to you) that your teen needs space and quiet while she studies. Doing well in exams can be a whole family effort when your teen needs a helping hand.


Teens cannot live on studying alone. The brain doesn’t work as well without good blood and oxygen flow. Encourage your teen to take walking breaks to get her body moving. It could be as simple as getting up and walking up and down the stairs in your home.

Even better, go for a walk with your teen outside to get some fresh air too. Healthy body and mind for everyone. This will be a huge boost to your teen and she’ll go back to studying with renewed energy and perspective.

Listen To Any Concerns

Don’t assume your teen has no concerns because she hasn’t voiced any. You may be surprised at what your teen is thinking if you ask her. Take some time to talk to her about how she’s feeling about her exams. And make sure she knows that her feelings are valid.

Try to validate her concerns and offer support. Often the best thing you can do is listen, rather than trying to offer solutions. You don’t always have to be the fixer. If your teen feels heard and supported, other things will fall into place.

Reward Effort

Rather than offering an incentive for results, think about rewarding effort. You’ll be able to see how much effort your teen is putting into her studies. Regardless of the results, if you know your teen has worked hard, reward the effort.

This will show your teen that effort is worthwhile and hard work pays off in many different ways. It could mean that your teen is willing to try again if she should fail this time around.

Ask For Support

If you can see that your child is struggling with a particular subject, it may be worth getting some extra support. An hour a day with a tutor at home could make all the difference to your teens exam results. How your teen is taught will affect how she feels about the subject and exam results.

If your teen hasn’t got a good teacher at school, some extra tuition could change everything, including your teen’s confidence.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Love letter to my daughter on her 17th birthday


It’s been a hell of a rough year for you. Life’s thrown you so many curveballs. Things people much older than you couldn’t navigate easily. But you never give up or quit. You fight through the uncertainty. At 17, you’ve had to navigate more than any little girl should ever have to navigate on her own. I tried to step in front of every single hardship and take the hit but that’s not how life works. Instead, I’ve had to watch from nearby, ready and willing to stable you, to pull you up and push you forward. Pushing through the noise and breaking down doors to help you get what you want and need that’s my job. You’ve faced every single trial and tribulation with grace. I wish I could have taken every struggle away.  

Maybe we’re too much alike. It’s been like this since you were a little girl. We both know this and it’s probably why we butt heads so often but I hope you know that no matter what standoff we’re having, how hard you push me away or how long you give me side eye and the silent treatment, I’m not going anywhere. I’ll always be just there; beside you, behind you, or in front of you to guide you to the place where maybe you can’t see because you’re new to it or you’re too overwhelmed by all the obligations and expectations of the world. To me, you are the world so I couldn’t care less about what the world expects of us. The thing I care most about in this world is you and your sister

Those tears that seem to fall like a waterfall, I don’t see weakness. I see strength and too much love for your little heart to hold. You are one of the strongest people I know. Never stop talking to me. There is nothing that you could ever say that would change my love for you. We are all human. We all make mistakes. Believe me, I’ve made plenty. Our humanity and humility is what makes us better humans to the world. Our mistakes are the lessons that teach us to be who we want to be and change so we don’t become who we don’t want to be. 

Always remember that you cannot make anyone love you and you can never control anyone else’s reactions to what you say and do. You can only control your own heart and mind. Keep that in mind when you move through this world. Your words and actions have consequences so consider that before you hurt others. No one owes you forgiveness and you owe no one. The people we’ve loved and lost teach us what we want and need in friends and partners, so never dwell on the loss for too long. Instead, be thankful that you learned such an invaluable life lesson.

I know that your 17-year-old heart takes things personally. I know that every blow feels like the end of the world. Everything is so big at 17. But, I promise you ( I pinky swear on my mama heart) none of this will matter in 5 years. You are growing your soul as much as you are growing your body; stretch and reach. This is the evolution of who you are meant to be. Take it all in because one day, even the hardest bits will be looked back upon with fondness. But why make life harder than we need to?

Never compare your beginning or middle to someone else’s ending. Don’t worry too much about what other people think about you. Their opinion is their’s and has absolutely nothing to do with you. Be happy. Don’t overthink. Fall in love. Dance. Play in rain puddles. You’re never too old for snuggles and hugs. And I’ll never stop listening, caring or wanting the best for you. Go for it. Flap those wings and fly as high as you want. I’ll always be here to catch you if you fall.I’ve got  you forever. You’ll never stop being my baby girl, even when you have your own baby girl. 

Next year is a big one for you. I want it to be the best. You deserve all the happiness and none of the worry and struggle that you’ve had to endure this past year. Let’s make 17 unforgettable in the best possible way. Stay your loving, sweet, funny, goofy, don’t give a shit attitude that you are now. You are smart and beautiful and more than enough. It is my greatest privilege and honor to be your mom and there will never be a day that THAT is not true. 

Love you to the moon and back, forever and ever!

xoxo ,


0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Lola, Nobody tells you what to do when your dog dies, Why is losing a dog so painful, How do you get over the grief of losing a dog?

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

There’s a reason they call dogs “man’s best friend.” They worm their way into the deepest crevices of our hearts and become inextricable parts of our families. So when the day comes to say goodbye, it absolutely shatters you.

Last year, on May 6th, our beloved Lola, a sweet, quirky Victorian bulldog who’d been by my side for over a decade, passed away. Her loss left a chasm in my soul that still hasn’t closed, even weeks later.

Our Lola was more than just a pet – she was our furry child, a bright light during one of the darkest chapters of our lives. Back in 2012, my world imploded after suffering a devastating miscarriage and losing our first boxer, Saffaron. I vividly remember curling up night after night, hollowed out by grief, utterly convinced that my family would never make it through that gaping void of compounded loss.

Then, on December 14th of that same year, Lola quite literally pranced into our lives – a tiny ray of hope swathed in a big pink bow. From the moment we locked eyes with her sweet, gentle spirit, we knew she was our family’s redemption and path to healing. Lola filled every nook and cranny of our broken hearts with her pure, unconditional love.

She was there for us through all the ups and downs over the next decade – our steadfast, loyal companion who sensed our every sadness and snuggled up to us until the sorrow temporarily melted away. When I shattered my leg in 2015 and couldn’t walk for 3 months, Lola stayed dedicated by my side day and night, raising my spirits in a way only she could.

Our bond went far deeper than most people share with their household pets. We loved our Lola as fiercely and wholeheartedly as we love our human children. So you can imagine the earth-shattering despair when her health began rapidly declining in the summer of 2022 due to Cushing’s Disease.

Why Losing a Dog Leaves You Broken

For months, I had to hand-feed Lola, spoon by tiny spoon, as she grew weaker and more emaciated before my eyes. My heart shredded further each day watching her die a slow, undignified death despite our relentless vet visits and medication protocols. It’s impossible to know when to let go. We were in constant contact with our vet to make sure that she wasn’t in pain,

I tried preparing for the inevitable while paradoxically holding out hope for a miracle. I told myself “When the time comes, at least you’ll know you cherished every second with her and eased her suffering in the end.”

But as all my fellow pet parents know, those affirmations offer little solace when you’re suddenly staring into the eyes of your beloved fur baby and realizing this might be the last time. On May 6, 2023, Lola collapsed in the yard, finally succumbing to her illness. The light faded from her warm brown eyes as she locked her gaze on mine, silently communicating this was her final goodbye.

That pit of dread and grief was all too familiar, conjuring up the anguish of my miscarriage – that same powerless feeling of watching someone you’d give your life for slip away. I promised myself I’d hold Lola until her final breaths, stroking her soft fur and reassuring her that everything would be okay. For hours, I cradled her in my arms, violently sobbing as I felt her tiny heartbeat grow faint under my fingertips.

When the inevitable occurred and Lola finally stopped breathing, a part of me went still and cold too. We rushed her to the emergency vet not to save her, but to ease her transition to the other side since she seemed trapped between two realms. Standing in that sterile lobby begging strangers to help my baby as her limp body hung in my arms…I’ve never felt so hopeless and hollowed out.

How to (Try to) Heal a Shattered Heart

Lola was more than just a beloved pet – she was a child to me, a treasured family member whose cuddles and kisses provided comfort unmatched by anything else. Her love helped carry us through some of life’s most traumatic, arduous valleys. And now, home no longer feels like home; living in a Lola-less house each day is like being stabbed anew.

My morning routine is forever altered – there’s no tiny wagging tail to greet me or watchful brown eyes following my every move as I get ready. No affectionate snuggles as I breakdown in tears reaching for her favorite soft blankets that still hold the smell of her. I see her everywhere yet nowhere. One saving grace is that we have Stella, the Dogue de Bourdeaux we adopted the spring before we found out Lola was sick but even so, our Lola was irreplaceable.

Friends and loved ones with the best intentions still mention our sweet Lola. But they couldn’t possibly comprehend the permanence of this loss. Just like humans, our pets leave indelible pawprints on our lives that we’ll carry forever.

While the searing pain of acute grief does inevitably dull over time, for those of us who love our pets as our own children, that dull ache never fully disappears. We simply learn to rebuild our lives around the holes they’ve left in our hearts.

One step at a time, one fond memory at a time, we transform our sadness into newfound gratitude for the unconditional love they bestowed upon us. For me, this pain transcends just being “sad Lola’s gone.” More than anything, I feel deep regret, knowing we’ll never again experience her constant companionship, her intuitive snuggles on my darkest days, those small joys that comprised my “normal” for over a decade. No other pet could ever replace the sacred space she occupied.

So if you’re grappling with this same devastation, please be gentle with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for days when you can’t pull it together, because this grief is incredibly disruptive and all-encompassing. Let the waves of sadness crash over you – cry until your heart feels hollow again if you have to. Your pain is valid and real.

Most importantly, keep your beloved pet’s spirit alive by sharing their story and honoring their unconditional love. I’m finding solace in reliving all the hilarious Lola tales that made our family roar with laughter over the years. Though our home feels emptier without her tiny paws clicking across the hardwoods, she’ll always be our guardian angel on the other side of the rainbow bridge.

In time, we’ll be able to celebrate Lola’s life without feeling consumed by tears. We’ll adopt another rescue and pay forward the boundless affection she shamelessly showered us with each day.

Until then, we’ll continue leaving the porch light on for our sweet girl, so she knows there’s still a way back home to the people who love her most.

A Call to Honor Our Beloved Pet’s Memories

I’m sharing Lola’s story today because I know I’m not alone in feeling this profound, seismic heartbreak and upheaval after an adored pet passes away. Whether your baby had fur, feathers, scales, or something else, their absence leaves a cavernous void that humans are simply not equipped to navigate gracefully.

So let’s build a community to uplift each other through these brutal, raw moments. If you’ve ever lost your own furry BFF, please leave a comment sharing their name and a fond memory that still makes you smile through the tears. Let’s swap coping strategies, survival tips, and most importantly – humor and hope that our pets’ legacies will carry us through the darkness.

We’re in this together, opening our arms and hearts as wide as our four-legged friends taught us unconditional love means. Hug your babies a little tighter today and be ever-grateful for their pawprints on your soul. After all, it’s better to have loved and lost an irreplaceable pet than never experienced their extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime companionship at all.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
mom burnout

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Hey mama, let’s get real for a sec. That exhaustion you’ve been feeling? The short fuse, the cynicism, the desire to abandon ship and move to a remote island away from tiny humans? Girl, you’re burned. the. fuck. out. Mom burnout, it’s not a joke. 

I get it, I really do. Motherhood, while incredible, is a marathon like no other. The relentless cycle of caring for kids, managing the household, maybe even clocking in at a 9-5…it’s enough to turn any woman into a brittle, hollowed-out husk just going through the motions. 

But what if I told you there’s a way to pull yourself out of that dark pit of burnout before it swallows you whole? Spoiler alert: Self-care isn’t just a trendy buzzword. It’s a critical survival tactic for moms on the brink.

Now, now…before you roll your eyes and claim you “don’t have time for that,” hear me out. I’m about to drop some game-changing, mom-tested secrets for injecting those self-care habits into your life in tiny, sustainable ways. No luxurious spa weekends or Marie Kondo-level overhauls required.

The Bare Minimum, Maximum Impact Routine:

Become a Morning Person (Yeah, I Said It)

Those pre-kid wake-up calls might seem like fresh hell, but here’s the truth bomb: Waking up even 30-60 minutes before your little ones do ensures that you have a sliver of precious “me” time to myself. Read, journal, meditate (enjoy your coffee while it’s still hot) or even just get ready…do whatever soothes your soul before the morning chaos erupts.

Top Tip: Place your alarm across the room, so you’re forced to GET UP. Trust me, hitting snooze robs you of this sacred recharge window.

Schedule Your Mom Burnout Breaks 

Working mom or stay-at-home, we all need periodic respites throughout the day to pause and catch our breath. Set recurring reminders to take 5-10 minute breaks: a quick walk ( or a 5K…whatever makes you happy) around the block, a warm beverage on the patio, or a solo dance party in the living room (this one doubles as cardio!).

The key is being ruthless about taking these “burnout breaks.” These momentary reprieves act as a reset, helping you avoid those meltdown moments of overwhelm.

Reclaim Your Shower 

We’ve all had days where showers feel like monumental chores we don’t have bandwidth for. Except showering, when intentional, can be a micro self-care ritual!

Create a spa-like experience by upgrading with a loofah, body scrub, and luxe hair products. Turn on a timed water-resistant speaker and belt out anthems like you’re Taylor freakin’ Swift for 20 blissful minutes. Emerge anew, a rejuvenated, pruney ( experiencing substantially less mom burnout) goddess!

Get Horizontal 

I’m orbiting closer to midlife, so downtime is precious. But whenever possible, I’ll drop onto my bed for 20-30 minutes and simply lay there, supine and sans responsibilities. I rarely am able to nap, but a night mask goes a long way to concealing that fact. They don’t need to know I’m awake. Think of it as a “do not disturb” sign. 

Read, doze, or simply press the reset button. Little rituals like these, while small, have massive energizing effects to carry us through those burnout danger zones.

Happy Hour (The Mocktail Edition or not, you’re grown) 

As an unwavering low tox enthusiast, I’ve sworn off hangovers as self-care. But mixing up delicious, whimsical cocktails is still my fix! These days I’m more into nootropics and adaptogens but whatever makes you happy. 

Blend up mocktails with fresh juices, herbs, and bubbles for an effervescent happy hour experience. Or reserve wine glasses for refreshing aguas frescas. These tiny oases of tranquility will whisk you away, if only briefly, from the mom grind.

Listen, friend. I’m not here to preach about finding the glorified “life balance.” That mythical ideal is a toxic trap that just fuels our burnout cycles! We can have it all, just not all at the same time.

Instead, I’m offering you these micro self-care habits to ease the load incrementally. Do them regularly, or don’t do them at all. Self-care without guilt or pressure!

When we make replenishing our cups a non-negotiable ritual woven into our days, we rewire our perspectives. What once felt like an indulgence becomes a survival staple.

And from that point, everything shifts. We shed the frantic, all-consuming burnout haze and rediscover the joy in this wild ride of raising humans. We’re more present, patient, and emotionally replenished to show up boldy for our families.

That’s the truth, mama. So go ahead, put on your tough-but-needs-love mom blinders and commit to these bite-sized acts of self-preservation. I’m rooting for you!

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Love letter to my daughter on her 19th birthday

Dear daughter,

Life is precious, and not a single day goes by that I don’t thank God and the universe for the gift of being your mom. Simply having you in my orbit would be more than enough, but getting to love you is the most precious gift I’ve ever received in my life.

This may be the hardest birthday yet because I know that next year, when you turn 20, I won’t get to walk into your bedroom, give you a big birthday hug, and wake you with cuddles and “Mañanitas” playing. There will be no birthday waffles and Starbucks run, no stress-relieving trip to play with puppies, and no “Bella Day” like we’ve had for the past 19 years. Next year, you’ll be on campus, and I’ll be here. Everything will be different.

Will you be available at 4:51 p.m. for your birth minute kiss? I’ll be driving to your college campus, but maybe you’ll be in class, with friends, or too busy. Life gets in the way, and distance changes perspectives. The shift that’s coming is inevitable and natural – it’s how you fully become you. Unfortunately, it also means we both have to learn where I end and you begin.

You’ll always be my favorite person in the entire world, and I’ll always love you beyond measure. But someday soon, I’ll be one of many blessed souls who get the privilege of loving you. It’s okay, though, because this separation is how life is designed so we both survive the impending physical distance and the big, beautiful life ahead of you.

Mom’s Advice as You Leave for College

I think we’ve both been feeling the gentle tug of separation on the dotted line over the past year. Don’t be sad. I got an extra year with you at home, and every day with you in my orbit has been precious. I’ll be forever grateful for it.

This week, your first week of being 19, I feel the pull a little harder as we await your transfer acceptance letter to your dream school. I’m so damn proud and happy for you, but I’m also sorrowful for myself. Letting go has never been something I’ve been good at. But dear God, I’m thankful that I’ve gotten to love you so hard for these 19 years.

I’ve watched you grow and blossom from a silly, sweet, imaginative, kind, and happy child into a smart, beautiful, funny, thoughtful, authentic, caring, and generous woman. You keep your circle small but tight. You love unconditionally and fully, yet you’re discerning about who you give your time and love to. You are wise beyond your years and stronger than you realize. You are absolutely amazing, and nothing can stop you.

Fly high, and never stop fighting for what you believe in, your dreams, those you love, and, most importantly, never give up on yourself.

19 will be a year of growth and change for both of us. I can’t wait to see you continue to blossom into the woman you’re meant to be. As your mom, it’s time to give you space to do that. Just know that no matter where you go, who you become, or where life takes you, I’ll always be here cheering you on, supporting you, and yes, still fighting for you. You are the best of me, and there will ever only be one “Bella BooBoo Kitty” in this lifetime for me.

Never doubt that when life gets hard, you’ve got a soft place to land. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, my home is your home, and you will always have a place here with us. When you feel life is getting too heavy, put the burden on me. I’ll carry it until you recoup your strength. Remember, you are loved literally beyond measure, and no space, time, distance, or circumstances can ever change that.

So be brave, go out into the world, and build the life you’ve dreamed of. You deserve all the happiness you want. You’ve got this.

19 is just a number, but it’s also the year you begin the biggest adventure of your life. I wish you every one of God’s blessings and a lifetime filled with big, heart-fluttering, reciprocated love; booming, from-the-bottom-of-your-soul laughter; unbridled, can’t-stop-smiling happiness; great health and adventure chasing; and heart-fulfilling dreams. But most of all, I ask you to love yourself. Love and care for yourself the way I love and care for you, like you are my favorite and most precious person in this world, because you are. Never forget that.

Love you forever, to the moon and back!


0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Planning a Trip Your Teens Won't Whine About

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Hey Mamas (and Papas!), remember those pre-teen years when vacations meant building sandcastles and begging for ice cream? Those glorious spring breaks where everyone went with the flow? Sure, you had to carry an ass ton of extras to keep them entertained but in the end, it was absolutely worth it. Yeah, those days are officially over. Now, we’re facing a new foe: the dreaded planning a trip your teens won’t whine about and you might actually enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE traveling with my teens (it’s my favorite thing to do) but life would be easier without the “cool, bruh.” 

The mere mention of a family trip can be met with eye rolls, dramatic sighs, and monosyllabic responses.  Don’t worry, you’re not alone. It happens to the best of us. My girls even refer to me as “cool” on occasion and I get all the eye rolls. Planning a trip that appeals to both your inner wanderlust and your teen’s ever-evolving interests can feel like navigating a minefield. But fear not, fellow travelers!  This mama is here to equip you with secret weapons to conquer the Teen Travel Whine and plan a trip EVERYONE will love. Yes, even that youngest, most entitled and champion “cool, bruh” one. 

Embrace the Collaboration (Without Losing Control)

First things first, ditch the “Surprise! We’re going to Disney!” tactic. Just kidding. Maybe for typical teens but my girls are die-hard Disney teens. We go every year and every year it’s.the.best.time.ever! Teens crave a sense of ownership, so ditch the dictator routine and turn trip planning into a collaborative mission. Dust off that dusty world map (or whip out your phone) and gather your little squad. Get their travel vibes flowing by browsing travel blogs, Instagram accounts, and travel magazines together.

Pro Tip: Let them dream big! Even if a trip to the Maldives is out of budget, exploring their wildest travel desires can spark inspiration for more realistic options.

Location, Location, Location:

Now, the fun part! Once you have a general idea of what kind of trip your teen is digging (beach bumming, city exploration, adventure junkie, etc.), start brainstorming destinations that cater to both your interests. Here are some Teen-Approved Hotspots:

  • Adventure Awaits! For the thrill-seekers, consider national parks like Yosemite or Yellowstone, where hiking, camping, and white-water rafting will have them screaming with excitement (in a good way!). If international travel is on the agenda, Costa Rica offers a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation. Ziplining through rainforests, horseback riding on volcanic beaches, and learning to surf – enough adrenaline to keep those teenage spirits soaring.
  • City Slickers Unite! Let your teen unleash their inner urban explorer in a vibrant city like New Orleans, overflowing with live music, historic sites, and mouthwatering food (beignets, anyone?). London, with its iconic landmarks, museums galore, and a thriving theater scene, is another fantastic option. Explore hidden alleyways, catch a West End show, and maybe even take a day trip to explore the magic of Harry Potter Studios.
  • Beach Bums Welcome! Who doesn’t love a relaxing beach getaway? But ditch the all-inclusive resorts and opt for a location with some personality. Tulum, Mexico, offers stunning beaches, ancient Mayan ruins to explore, and a bohemian vibe your teen will love. The Outer Banks in North Carolina boasts beautiful beaches, charming towns, and even wild horses to keep everyone entertained.

Activities: It’s All About the Experiences

Okay, you’ve nailed the destination. Now, let’s make sure there’s enough action to keep everyone from getting bored (especially those with short attention spans cough teenagers cough).

Pro Tip:  Remember, vacations are about creating lasting memories, so prioritize experiences over souvenirs.

Here are some ideas to keep your teens engaged:

  • Food Tours: Turn mealtimes into mini-adventures with a food tour that explores the local cuisine. From chowing down on tacos in Mexico City to sampling dim sum in Hong Kong, these tours offer a delicious way to experience a new culture.
  • Get Creative: Does your teen have an artistic soul? Seek out workshops or classes that allow them to learn a new skill like pottery making, glass blowing, or graffiti art. This is a fantastic way to create a unique souvenir and a fun memory.
  • Volunteer for a Cause: Looking for a way to give back on your trip? Look into volunteer opportunities with local organizations. This could be anything from helping to build a school in a developing country to working at an animal shelter. Not only is it a rewarding experience, but it allows your teen to connect with the local community on a deeper level.

Don’t Forget the “Me Time” Factor

Remember, a vacation is supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable for EVERYONE, including yourself!

Pro Tip: Factor in “me-time” for everyone. Let your teens explore their own interests for a few hours, whether it’s browsing vintage shops or catching a movie. You can head to a museum, get a massage, or simply relax on a beach lounger with a good book.

This isn’t about abandoning your teens on a deserted island (tempting as it may sound sometimes!), but rather creating opportunities for everyone to recharge and pursue their individual interests.

Here are some ideas to create that “me-time” magic:

  • Teen Time: Negotiate a few hours where your teens can explore the city (or beach, or wherever you are) on their own. This could involve browsing vintage shops, catching a local band’s gig, or simply hanging out with friends they may have made on the trip.
  • Adult Adventures: Schedule an activity just for you! Whether it’s a solo museum visit, a relaxing spa treatment, or enjoying a quiet coffee at a local cafe, this dedicated “me-time” allows you to unwind and recharge.

Embrace the Unexpected

Travel is all about creating memories, and sometimes the best ones are the ones you don’t plan. Leave some room for spontaneity on your trip!

Here are some ways to embrace the unexpected:

  • Get Lost (Safely): Instead of sticking rigidly to your itinerary, allow some time to wander and explore. You might stumble upon a hidden gem of a restaurant, a charming local market, or a quirky street performance – these unexpected finds can become the highlights of your trip.
  • Be Open to New Experiences: Don’t shy away from trying something new, even if it’s outside your comfort zone. Whether it’s trying a local dish you can’t pronounce, taking a salsa dancing lesson, or going on a spontaneous hike, embracing new experiences can create lasting memories and stories to tell for years to come.
  • Go with the Flow: Things don’t always go according to plan, especially when traveling. Flights might get delayed, museums might be closed, or the weather might not cooperate. Instead of getting stressed, take a deep breath and roll with the punches. These unexpected hiccups can actually lead to some hilarious stories down the road.
  • The Loss Of Items: It can be tough if you lose things when you’re on your trip. Nobody likes it but it happens nonetheless. Instead of getting stressed out and panicked about it, remember that there’s always a solution. Where there’s a will, there is always a way. If you lose your phone, look for it, track it, see where it is. If you’re like me ( ADHD brain) backtrack and you will find it, even if it take a while. If you lose your travel money card, see if someone back home can do a money transfer to Mexico or wherever you are until you get back. There are always solutions, try not to panic.

**Remember, Mamas (and Papas, too), a successful family vacation isn’t about achieving Instagram-perfect moments. It’s about creating shared experiences, fostering connection, and making memories that will last a lifetime.  So ditch the stress, embrace the chaos, and get ready to have the best family vacation ever!

Bonus Tip:  Don’t forget to document your adventures! Encourage your teens to take photos, capture videos, and jot down their thoughts in a travel journal.  These little mementos will be precious treasures you can all look back on and reminisce about long after the tan lines fade.

Now, go forth and plan that epic trip your whole family (even the teens!) will be raving about!**

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Welp, it finally happened. The girls have finally “dated” partners that gave me the “ick”. No, it wasn’t anything personal, or even that I could put my finger on. What it was… my mom intuition. We all have it but I’m a bit of a natural bruja and when my mommy senses start tingling, I can’t ignore it.  But how do you talk to your teen when you notice red flags in their partner or bestie? You won’t always love your teens partner but try talking to your teen like an adult instead of at them. 

The girls and I have always had very open, honest, close and transparent relationship and there’s nothing off limits, but I make it a practice not to bash their friends and partners. My girls consider me a friend so I don’t want to switch gears and go all dictator on them. It’s their choice but I’m their mom so I can’t ignore obvious red flags that they may be blind to due to inexperience, the love bubble or an onslaught of love bombing.

Fellow parents in the trenches of parenthood, are you ready to tackle a conversation that can feel trickier than parallel parking after a tequila tasting? I’m referring to talking to your teen about a friend or partner who raises your red flags.

Let’s face it, our teens are navigating the social jungle, and sometimes, they pick up companions who make us want to grab a metaphorical hairbrush and untangle the mess. But before you launch into a full-on “they’re-not-good-enough-for-you” tirade (trust me, been there, done that, resulted in slammed doors and epic eye rolls), let’s pause, take a deep breath, and approach this with the finesse of a seasoned diplomat.

Why the Worries? Buckle Up, Buttercup, Here Comes the Truth:

As parents, we have this built-in radar that goes off when something feels off with our kids. Maybe it’s the way their “friend” manipulates them, constantly needs rescuing, or leaves them feeling drained and down. Or perhaps it’s the partner who exhibits controlling behavior, puts them down, or makes them question their worth. Whatever the reason, our mama and papa bear instincts kick in, and we want to shield our precious offspring from harm.

The Tightrope Walk: Navigating the Conversation Minefield:

Here’s the thing: direct attacks rarely work. Calling someone names or forbidding the relationship altogether might push your teen further away and make them even more defensive. Instead, we need to be strategic ninjas, wielding the power of communication and empathy.

Step 1: Become a Listening Ear, Not a Judgmental Judge:

First, create a safe space for your teen to talk. Let them know you’re concerned, but avoid accusatory language. Phrases like “I’ve noticed you seem different lately” or “I’m curious about this friendship/relationship” can open the door to honest conversation.

Step 2: Ask Open-Ended Questions, Not Leading Ones:

Instead of planting seeds of doubt with questions like “Do you think they’re a good influence?”, encourage critical thinking with prompts like “How does this relationship make you feel?” or “What are your concerns about this person?”

Step 3: Validate Their Feelings, Even the Ones You Disagree With:

Remember, your teen is experiencing this relationship firsthand. Even if you don’t like the person, acknowledge their feelings by saying things like “It sounds like you care about them” or “I understand why this is challenging.”

Step 4: Share Your Observations (But Gently):

Once you’ve established a safe space, you can cautiously share your concerns. Focus on specific behaviors, not personal attacks. For example, instead of saying “They’re manipulative,” you could say “I’ve noticed they tend to guilt you into doing things you don’t want to do.”

Step 5: Empower Them, Don’t Dictate:

Ultimately, the decision is up to your teen. You can offer guidance and support, but avoid ultimatums or threats. Encourage them to trust their gut, set healthy boundaries, and know that you’re there for them no matter what.

Remember: This may not be a one-time conversation. Be patient, supportive, and offer a listening ear whenever they need it.

Bonus Tip: Lead by example! Build healthy relationships in your own life and model the kind of love and respect you want your teen to experience.

The Takeaway:

Talking to your teen about a questionable friend or partner can be tricky, but it’s an important conversation to have. By approaching it with empathy, open communication, and a focus on healthy relationships, you can empower your teen to make wise choices and navigate the complexities of their social world. Honestly, the relationship I have with my girls is the most important thing ever so I will do whatever it takes to keep them safe and happy but, at the same time, our relationship is one built on trust, respect and unconditional love so I have to keep it real with them. Also, you are not always going to love who your ten choses to spend their time with or invest their love into but when you see them headed for danger, you should try to talk to them in a way that respects them as young adults. 

Now, onto you, fellow warriors! What are your tips for communicating with your teens about tough topics? Share your experiences and advice in the comments below!

P.S. Remember, taking care of yourself is crucial when navigating the sometimes-turbulent waters of parenthood. So, do something small for yourself today – take a walk, read a book, or indulge in your favorite dessert. You deserve it

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Celebrating Our Furry Family on National Love Your Pet Day, Stella

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Remember Saffaron, our brindle-coated whirlwind who stole our hearts as newlyweds? Or Lola, the Victorian Bulldog who brought sunshine after a storm? Today, on National Love Your Pet Day, their stories remind me of the profound impact our furry companions have on our lives.

Saffaron, our first “dog-daughter,” wasn’t just a pet; she was a confidante, a furry therapist, and a champion snuggler. She saw us through thick and thin, from the wobbly first steps of marriage to the joy (and chaos!) of parenthood. Her unconditional love was a constant, a warm paw on our hearts during life’s storms.

Losing her was heartbreaking, leaving a void that felt impossible to fill. But then came Lola, a goofy, lovable Victorian bulldog with a penchant for stealing socks and giving the best wet-nosed kisses. She didn’t replace Saffaron, but her playful spirit and boundless affection slowly mended our cracks. We learned that love comes in many forms, each paw print unique and precious.

Celebrating Our Furry Family on National Love Your Pet Day, StellaAnd then, life surprised us again with Stella, our gentle giant of a French Mastiff. We weren’t looking, but sometimes, the best things find you. Stella arrived just as we were facing another loss, her presence a beacon of hope and unwavering love. She reminded us that even the deepest wounds can heal, and that laughter and joy can bloom even in the midst of sorrow.

These are just three tails in our ever-growing family story, each one a testament to the powerful bond between humans and animals. Today, I urge you to celebrate your own furry family members. Shower them with belly rubs, ear scratches, and their favorite treats. Take them for a walk in the park, play fetch in the backyard, or simply snuggle on the couch. Let them know how much they mean to you, not just with words, but with actions.

So, this National Love Your Pet Day, let’s shower our furry friends with the love they deserve! Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Spoil them rotten! Whip up a batch of homemade dog treats, indulge in a belly rub marathon, or splurge on a new squeaky toy. Remember, the little things matter!
  • Plan a pawsome adventure! Take them on a hike, hit the dog park, or explore a new pet-friendly cafe. Let them sniff out some fun!
  • Shower them with affection! Extra cuddles, playful games, and heartfelt words of appreciation go a long way in their book (or bark, rather!).
  • Give back to the furry community! Donate to your local animal shelter, volunteer at a rescue organization, or simply foster a pet in need. Every act of kindness counts!

Remember, our pets are more than just companions; they’re family. They offer unconditional love, unwavering loyalty, and endless entertainment (hello, squirrel-chasing!). So, let’s celebrate them today and every day!

Now, it’s your turn! Share your own heartwarming pet stories in the comments below. Let’s spread the love and make every day a National Love Your Pet Day!

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Top Things to Learn Now About Sleep

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

I just had a dream last night that I was pregnant.Yeah, it was a pretty weird dream considering that it’s actually impossible, since the great partial hysterectomy of 2018. Not having a uterus makes it pretty much impossible to be pregnant. But, it reminded me of what it was like to be pregnant and becoming a new mom, all those years ago. Those early months of being a parent can be the foggiest of your life. I, honestly, didn’t know which way was up a lot of the time because I was so damn exhausted. Having to try to navigate, keeping a kid alive while keeping yourself organized at the same time is no easy task. It doesn’t leave much space for sleep, especially when your newborn is making your sleep as broken as physically possible. Don’t even get me started on the colicky newborn sleep nights. Trying to learn the way another person sleeps is not easy even if that person has come directly from you. Sleep is one of those things that you expect to lose out on when you become a parent, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy to truly comprehend how much sleep you will actually lose or what that can mean for you as a new mom… and that’s coming from a lifelong insomniac.

When you’re a mom, everything becomes about survival, and sleep is a big part of that survival. You think about when you can nap, about how long the baby is going to sleep through the night, how often you will be waking up to check on their breathing patterns. Babies are brand new to the world and you are learning about them as much as they are learning how to be human beings. The thing is, that’s little consolation when you’re so tired that you can’t see straight. There are guides such as Baby Sleep Positions: The Complete Guide For Parents that can help guide you through how to understand the ways that babies sleep, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy. You can anticipate broken sleep and still be in shock and awe when the reality of sleep deprivation hits. Just because you chose to be a parent does not mean that you could have anticipated the gravity of what sleep deprivation can do to your mind, your mood and your health.

If it helps in any way, just know that sleep deprivation has been used as a torturing device in wars, so you’re not alone in feeling like you’re being cruel and unusually  punished. As a new mom, there are lots of things that you’ll be learning and experiencing about motherhood for the first time. Sleep, for baby and mama, is a crucial part of surviving that process so let’s take a look at some of the top things that you need to learn now about how your baby will sleep.

Top things to learn now about newborn sleep

  • Sleep deprivation is very dangerous. You can joke about leaving your car keys in your car, or leaving the chest freezer open in the garage, or falling asleep on the toilet due to lack of sleep but what happens when you are so tired you leave the baby in the carseat in a hot car? It’s scary and it’s dangerous. Severe and prolonged sleep deprivation can cause depression, hallucinations, memory loss and high blood pressure. Not only that, it is exhausting to try to live on very little sleep. Ideally, you’ll be sharing this sleep deprivation load with a partner, but if you’re trying to navigate things by yourself ( and even with help from your partner) then you’ll definitely need to call in some reinforcements in terms of friends and family to have some extra help.
  • Parents often lie when it comes to their baby’s sleep. We all want to pretend we’ve got our mom shit together. If you ask a new parent how their baby is sleeping, they will tell you that their baby is sleeping just fine. But what does “fine” even mean for most people? I can tell you from my own experience, it sure as heck didn’t mean sleeping through the night. It mostly meant, at some point during the night they passed out and then I passed out and none of us died before the next feeding. But it most certainly did not mean we all had a massage and fell asleep at 9 PM and stayed asleep until 8 am the next morning. I never could have told that lie, the baggage under my eyes would have ratted me out. Newborns are not designed to sleep through the night. They have tiny tummies that need feeding every couple of hours, and they require cuddles and contact because they’ve just spent nine months suspended in animation in the coziest womb ever. Some parents feel the need to exaggerate that their babies are getting enough sleep so that they feel like they are competent parents when actually, it’s pretty refreshing if somebody just tells you the truth. Then, we know we’re all in this gangsta ass mother hood together just trying to survive. To be completely honest, when I had 2 babies, 2-years-old and under, I really thought I was going to die from lack of sleep. I survived on coffee, delirium and a partner who helped me up when I thought I could no longer soldier on. 
  • Solid food will not force your child to sleep. So many myths and legends of old parenting will tell you that if you put something heavy in the baby’s tummy, they will sleep for longer. But this doesn’t actually work. Sure, they might drift off into a high sugar, carb coma but that’s not healthy.at.all.Firstly, they’re not designed to sleep through the night. They are babies, they’re not built FORD tough. They are designed to wake up regularly as a survival instinct, to fill their bellies and train you for the zombie apocalypse. Secondly, putting solids into the belly of a newborn baby can lead to a lot of gut issues later on in life. You could also be exacerbating reflux issues and other pain issues that your baby may end up having. Why? Because baby tummies are not designed to hold solid food until beyond six months. There is plenty of research to back up this fact.
  • Great nap times are not an indicator of great night times. Hell no. In fact, you’re baby might just be getting their days and nights mixed up and that’s a whole new level of cruel and unusual torture. Just because your baby sleeps during the day in solid nap time chunks doesn’t mean they’re going to do the same thing at night time, in fact, the opposite is probably true. Oh, in your exhausted state you’ll be tempted to let them sleeping babies just keep on napping but take it from this seasoned mom, don’t do it.  One of the best things that you can do is to put your baby into some kind of a routine that’s based on them and not based on what you believe they should be doing. For example, overtired babies don’t sleep very well, and you’ll notice that within 90 minutes of waking up, your baby’s going to learn to understand your baby’s sleep cues. 
  • Routine is a good thing. Bedtime routines work, but it has to be dependent on what your baby’s wants and needs are. You could try to put your baby down before a certain time of night, but that doesn’t mean that they’re going to instantly learn to recognize this as nighttime bedtime. A good winding down with a bath, lavender lotion massage, and story at bedtime is perfect, so just make sure that you are sticking to the same order so as they get older they will learn that this is what they’re bedtime routine is.
  • Babies will always fall asleep when they are tired enough to do so but to be able to drift off into a peaceful slumber is the real goal. If you manage to get your baby off into a nice deep sleep and put them into their crib successfully, then congratulations to you because this only happened because they felt safe and comfortable enough to do so in your care. Believe me, many a night I silently, army crawled backwards out of my daughters’ nursery like some sort of James Bond supervillain so I know, it takes some time to get the process working. 
  • Breastfeeding can help with sleeping. Breast milk is packed with melatonin and as a naturally occurring human hormone, the levels of this hormone increase towards the evening. Those nighttime feeds are packed with all of the good fats and melatonin that your child needs to fall asleep. As our melatonin starts to rise in the evening and reaches that peak in the early hours of the morning, breast milk is melatonin. Breast milk can be quite magical in that way. 
  • Keep the environment dark. Lighting and devices will always interfere with baby’s sleep.I recommend room darkening blinds or blackout curtains. I never had a nursery without them.  If you’re trying to put your baby to sleep, leave your phone behind. Sure you may be tempted to try to multitask during those 3 AM hour long feeding and rocking sessions but try to avoid the phone because that blue light will be shining in their face as much as it will be yours and you both need your rest. 

The important thing to remember is that this is temporary and it won’t always be this hard. If you can remind yourself of that from time to time in the early days, it will change your perspective and make it all feel a bit easier. The most important thing is that you and baby get enough rest to live and love and fight again the next day. Motherhood can be really hard and sometimes a bit miserable but then, it’s filled with little hands hugging your neck, loving you unconditionally and even the occasional moments of unadulterated bliss. Take from this mom of a 18 and 16-year-old, with one heading off to college in the fall and the other one about to graduate from high school, I would not trade one second of my exhausted front row seat in their childhood for any amount of sleep. From me to you, motherhood is very hard but it is also very worth it and never forget, you are not alone; we’ve all been where you are.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Newer Posts

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More