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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.

back to school, must have supplies for college

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Kids are getting ready to go back to school in person again soon. I don’t know about the rest of you but we are ecstatic. I loved the bonus pandemic year home with my girls (I truly did) but it was challenging and it was hard on everyone involved. The girls deserve a normal high school experience and I can’t wait to watch them have it together.

All that being said, last year was long and the kids got cheated and moms never got a day off, not even an hour in the day because thanks to pandemic hyper anxiety and depression, moms were on call ( if not actively tending to meltdowns) every minute of every day. Who am I telling? You know. If I wasn’t worrying they would contract coronavirus, I was terrified they were getting suicidal and that might have been the worst part of everything. I wasn’t just meeting needs, I was anticipating spiritual, psychological and physical needs. I was a damned mom medium and I am exhausted.

My girls are not the only ones going back to school. Kids all over the world are making the leap from virtual to in-person over the next few weeks from kindergarten to university and moms everywhere are having high impact, stop you in your tracks panic attacks predecessed by elation and followed by extreme mom guilt because how can we put our own comfort above our children’s safety and send them back to school but really it’s all about everyone’s mental health.

Here is a definitive list of what college kids need this year before returning to school:

Therapy appointment

I am serious, all kids from 4-24 ( and all the adults) need regularly scheduled therapy appointments for re-entry into the real world and out of the zoom world and the best way to do that is by taking an hour every other week and meeting with their therapist over ZOOM. Baby steps and it works. The girls have been in therapy since the pandemic started.

Ergonomic Office Chair

Thanks to Flexispot I was able to personally try out the Soutien Ergonomic Office Chair and it is amazing and I don’t say that lightly. I’ve worked from home for the past 12 years and spend a huge amount of my time sitting at a desk. The thing is that in the wrong chair that means back pain, neck pain and feeling pretty awful. I’ve been using this chair since the spring and it alleviates all of that and it is very comfortable. I love it and will be sending one with each of my girls when they head off to college in the next couple of years because if I can’t be there to make them comfortable, you better believe that I’m sending them a chair that does.

CoVid Vaccination

Not to be that person but if you can, please get your kids their CoVid vaccination before school start back not only to keep them safe from coronavirus and keep others safe but to give your kids peace of mind. You think the long-term effects of CoVid are worrisome ( and they are) well, the effects on everyone’s mental health, even those fortunate enough to avoid contracting the virus, are devastating. It’s too much. Kids have enough to worry about as is, as parents, we need take this off their plate and make the decision to do the responsible thing for the greater good.

Lodge Baking Ware

It’s been a minute since I’ve been in college myself but I do remember making a few meals once I had an apartment and good bakeware was (and is) always appreciated. To be honest, I always remember my mom having cast-iron skillet ware and they were her favorites because they cooked evenly and completely. Recently, through the generosity of Lodge I tried out a few basic pieces myself;

Dual Handle Grilling Basket, Pizza Pan and the Casserole Pan and they are great for grilling, cooking pizza and making my mom’s chicken broccoli casserole, three staples I’ve taught my girls for college.

Meters OV-1-B Headphones 

These headphones are perfect to buy ahead of your teens going to college. My girls are in high school and like all teenagers they love to play their music very loudly the new fashion-forward Meters OV-1-B Headphones provide a win-win solution for both parents and their children. These headphones feature cutting-edge audio quality and a trendy design with volume unit (VU) meters on each earcup, giving teens a headset they’d actually want to wear while empowering parents to monitor how loudly their child/teen is playing their music. 

Each VU meter features a customizable RGB backlight, letting young listeners alter the color and brightness of their VU meters to match any style or mood. These real, active VU meters measure the headphones’ input, replicating the meters found on professional-grade bass amplifiers used in live musical performances, and giving parents a discrete way to ensure their child is enjoying music at a safe volume.

Face Masks

As much as we all thought that the pandemic was coming to an end, Delta variant had other plans. Now, there are surges everywhere and if you are sending your kids off to university you are probably worrying about them anyways so just load them up on face masks, disposable or some cool ones

Triple-Layer X-STATIC® Mask 

has a removable filter (that you can cut and tailor to your own face shape) and the layer closest to the face is made with X-STATIC® silver yarn. Used by US Special Forces and NASA astronauts, X-STATIC® yarn is 99.9% pure silver, making it one of the most effective antimicrobial and antiviral materials for use in textiles. 

  • Antimicrobial and antiviral
  • Highly effective in hot and wet environments
  • Permanent (silver is irreversibly bound to a polymer so it becomes a physical part of the fiber) and performance does not diminish over time (X-STATIC® has been tested for more than 250 washes with virtually no reduction in performance)

The masks are reusable and washable and come in a pack of two masks (so you can wear one while the other is in the wash). 

Last but not least, send our child off to college with lots and lots of love and support. Encourage them to spread their wings, meet new people, and try new things because that’s what college is all about…growing up and learning to live life on your own terms, becoming the person you want to be with no regrets.

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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Unlike most people, I don’t want to be young again. It was a blast the first time around but I had to learn a lot of hard lessons. My life is a life well lived and well-deserved but lately, as my girls have become teenagers, I feel infinitely older. Don’t get me wrong, I love being the mom of teenage girls. They are so much fun and, with my girls, it’s like having a couple of built-in best friends. But they are so beautiful and flawless, as teen girls are, that I can’t help but notice that they are the present and I am the past.

That’s not always a bad thing. I’m an adult with life experiences, wisdom and the inability to give any Fs about what strangers think of me. This makes me a better mom and role model for my girls. Still, it reminds me that my life is probably at the midway point, or pretty close. While possibilities are endless ahead of me, some things are irrefutably behind me; meeting someone, falling in love, getting married, having babies, and buying my first house. There are still firsts ahead of me, still lots of excitement and adventures to be had but that bright-eyed, the world is brand new time has passed for me.

We will never again be the women we were before becoming moms. We get older every year and deal with a laundry list of responsibilities that feels never-ending. But, just because we are getting older doesn’t mean we have to feel old. There are many ways to keep feeling youthful and vibrant, here are four effective approaches that will give you the energy to live your life the way you want without regrets. Don’t let the number of candles on your birthday cake determine how you live your life. 

Hang Out with Friends More Regularly 

Spending time with the people you consider closest to you is one of the best ways to encourage physical and mental well-being. When was the last time you and your friends had a night together? Granted, after the past year of the pandemic, peopling can be exhausting but totally worth it. Still, it can be challenging to stay in touch as your friends start families and have more commitments, but putting aside a night every month (especially if the kids are old enough) will do wonders for keeping you young. Sure, you won’t have the wild nights you once had in your youth, but you don’t need to. Instead, you can enjoy one another’s company for what it is and maintain your friendships for years.

Spend Time In Nature 

The link between nature and staying young is something you cannot underestimate. Getting away from the city and breathing in the fresh air will maintain excellent health and encourage you to feel more grateful for the world around you. It might not be an immediate change, but the more time you spend outside, whether you go on hikes, bike rides, or just go for a picnic will create a positive association with the outdoors, and you’ll look for as many excuses as you can to get outside. 

Know Your Limits 

Most people enjoy a drink after a stressful day at work, but you know you aren’t as young as you used to be. You will get to an age where even the smallest hangover can keep you bedridden all day long. Likewise, drinking can make you look older as you miss out on the sleep that’s crucial as you get older. Therefore, it’s important that you know your limits. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a tipple now and again but overdoing it will not do you any favors. 

Do Things for You 

Younger people will go through their early life worrying about what everyone thinks of them and this can stop them from reaching their potential. However, once you get older, you can start doing things for yourself, and this will make you feel younger. This means you can solve your grooming issues by finding ways to remove hair permanently, or you can dress however you like. You can follow hobbies and go on vacations to places you’ve always wanted, and you don’t need to worry about what anybody says about it. 

Forever Young

Many people are worried about trying to be too young for too long. They are concerned about missing the point of growing old gracefully. These ideas find the perfect balance between enjoying your life while still embracing getting older. 

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How to Help Your Child when They are Feeling Anxious, how to help a child with anxiety

If your child suffers from being anxious, you already know that watching them struggle with it the worst. As parents, we genuinely want to make everything better. But anxiety is not like a scraped knee, we can’t just kiss it or wish it away. But we also don’t have to watch it happen. There are things we can do, starting with support and considering professional help. Especially after this past year of living the pandemic life and the unthinkable lurking around every corner.

As their parents, kids expect us to be able to calm them, make them feel safe, remove that feeling of anxiety and dread that is rising up in them for whatever reason. They want us to take those anxious feelings away and make them feel happy and relaxed again. And as parents, that’s what we want too. The problem is, knowing what we want – and what our children want – and knowing how to make that happen are two separate issues, and the former is much easier than the letter. In fact, some parents can start to feel anxious themselves in this situation, as they don’t know what to say or do to make their child feel better. 

The past year and especially these past few weeks filled with upheaval and loss, we’ve all been a little anxious. The truth is there are no perfect words to say, and there is no perfect response because every child is different. However, doing something, even if it’s imperfect, is far better than doing nothing at all, and even if it doesn’t entirely quell your child’s fears, it can go a long way toward helping them, and it might give you an insight into their thoughts and feelings too, enabling you to be more proactive in the future.

How to help your child when they are feeling anxious

Always Be Empathetic 

One of the most important things your child will want from you when they are feeling anxious is to know that you understand how they feel. This is why empathy is so important; your child will be much more likely to come to you in the future with other issues if they know you are understanding. Suppose you brush away their concerns because you don’t personally understand why they

are worried, or you know that whatever their concern is isn’t really a big deal. In that case, they will pull away, and when there is something more problematic to worry them, they may stay silent, making them feel worse and causing potential behavioral problems. 

Empathy is an important trait to have, but it is not the same as sympathy, and this distinction is important. Sympathy is about acknowledging their anxiety and caring that they are upset. Empathy is about understanding the anxiety itself; you are putting yourself in their position, in other words. Although sympathy is not a negative thing, empathy is much better – it helps the child much more. 

When you are showing empathy, the best advice is to show emotion. If you stay cool and calm, it doesn’t matter what your words say; your child will get the feeling you don’t really understand what they are going through. 

Keep Them In The Moment 

When people – and this includes children – are anxious, they will start talking about ‘if only’ and ‘what if’, trying to think of a way that they can undo the problem. Of course, this is not possible, and it will only serve to make things more upsetting. You cannot go back in time and make good mistakes or change something so that whatever is causing the anxiety isn’t a problem. Yet as human beings, we seem to be conditioned to think along these lines, always working out ways we could have prevented this or that thing from occurring. 

If this is how your child is reacting, you can help them by keeping them in the present. Just listening and being fully present can mean everything. Simply reminding them that there is no point in worrying about the past probably won’t help; adults know this logically, and yet still they have the same concerns. What you can do is assist your child in being more mindful, so they concentrate only on the present. In this way, they can not only stop worrying about the past, but they can forget any upcoming worries too. To do this, you need to engage their senses. They need to name five things they can see to begin with, and then name four things they can touch. Then three things they can hear. This will bring their attention right back to the present and calm them considerably. 

Have a Ritual 

Rituals and routines are how children, teens (and many adults) run their lives, and they are comforting, even when the child is feeling anxious. Why not come up with your own ritual for when your child is feeling upset and worried? If you use it every time, and it’s one they can relate to and enjoy, then they will always have a tangible way to reduce their fears and to feel better. 

One idea might be to ‘press a button’. The button could be your nose or perhaps a nose ring you wear (or another piece of jewelry) or mole on your arm or anything else that could conceivably be a button. If the child is feeling anxious, get them to tell you what is wrong, and then have them ‘press the button’. When they do this, perhaps you can sing a silly song, tell a joke, or do an impression. Maybe they have to copy you. This will immediately turn a sad or scary situation into a funny one that they think of fondly. It’s good for children to have their own coping mechanisms, but if they can also have one that involves you and shows that you know what they are going through, this can help even more. 

The above idea is just one of so many you can come up with. It’s often best to think of your own rituals that relate to you and your child, as they will have the most positive impact and offer the biggest benefits. 

There are many different ways that we parents can help our anxious child but not all of them will have a positive effect. This is why it is crucial to ensure that we are empathetic and that we allow our children to say what’s on their minds and tell us how they are feeling. Try to assure them that their feelings are valid and talk them through. Even if you’re not sure what to do to help, just listening and understanding can be enough. 

How do you comfort your child when they are having anxiety about a new or stressful situation.

What’s your best tip for how to help your child when they are feeling anxious?

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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?

https://youtu.be/gXFjjwGlVsw

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.

https://youtu.be/BrP9UW9eOts

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.

https://youtu.be/F_9K8Pgekwo

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.

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. 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 are 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 fulfill 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.  

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 possible 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 stocks & shares, cryptocurrency, precious metals, or other investments, you need to make sure you understand what you are investing in.

Create a Budget

Create 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 organized. 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 do your research. 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.

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 unnecessary issues.

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.

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.

Driving Accidents

Teen drivers without much experience on the road are much more likely to cause accidents than veteran drivers. Friends, radios and telephones can easily distract new drivers. Having a major driving accident can make your teen’s premium skyrocket.

Driver’s Road Rage

Road rage is a common issue across the world and causes many accidents. 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.

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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