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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.

Questions To Ask Before Getting A Family Dog

Dogs are awesome. We are dog people. To be fair, we love cats and guinea pigs and mostly all animals but dogs are our favorite. They can be excellent additions to any family. Saffaron, Lola and Stella are the best things that have happened to us. These furry friends stick by your side for their entire lives, giving you all the attention you need, through thick and thin, dogs just love you unconditionally. Honestly, humans don’t deserve dogs at all. They’re far too good for us; offering up all of their love without wanting anything but a few belly rubs and treats in return. 

Having a dog to yourself is one thing – it’s completely different if you want to get one for a family. When you have kids to think about as well, you can’t make a snap decision to just get a dog. A few key questions need to be asked and answered to help you figure out if this is the right move for you and your family. 

Do you have room for a dog?

Firstly, is there enough room in your house for a dog? You might have a relatively small home with a small backyard. It’s absolutely perfect for you and your family right now. There’s enough space for everyone, and the yard is just big enough for the kids to enjoy. 

Unfortunately, if you add a dog into the picture, the house seems a lot smaller. There’s no space for the dog to roam around during the day – particularly if it’s a fairly big one. You can’t really find anywhere to keep a dog bed and there’s certainly not enough room outside for your pooch to have a little house. 

Consequently, some families might be unable to handle a dog because there’s not enough room in the home. This does depend on the type of dog you’re thinking about getting – smaller ones don’t need that much room. However, we will talk more about dog breeds later on! 

Are you able to look after the dog?

How busy is your daily schedule? Are you packed to the brim with things to do every single day? If you already struggle to find time for yourself – which a lot of parents do struggle to do – then a dog may complicate things. Suddenly, you have another responsibility on your hands. 

Can you walk the dog regularly? Can you keep them groomed? Can you ensure they’re given all the attention they deserve? Can you afford to keep them fed, loved, and rewarded with treats when they need them? These things may not always be cheap or convenient to provide but you need to consider them. For example, you might think treats are not a necessity but Treatibles are great for training, and behavioral adjustments, some are good for joint pain, tummy issues and relieving anxiety.

Yes, you can argue that your kids should give them lots of attention. In reality, they are the ones that probably asked you to get a dog anyway! But, what if they are too young to walk the dog by themselves? They’re too little to give the dog a bath or even to feed it. So, all the responsibility falls on your shoulders. 

Okay, what if your kids are old enough to help you look after the dog. In this scenario, you still have to give them loads of attention when the kids are at school. There are many hours in the day when a dog will be left without your children to take care of it. Can you find the time in these hours to give them attention? If you work a full-time job, the answer will be a resounding no. 

Please, please, please take this into consideration before getting a dog for your family. As you can imagine, time is the number one reason people surrender dogs. Owners simply can’t find the time to give a dog the attention and care it deserves. Don’t be one of those people that gets a dog and has to give it up. It’s not nice for the dog to be taken to a new home, only to end up being abandoned at an animal shelter. 

If you want a family pet, but don’t have the time to devote many hours a day to that pet, think about getting a cat. They’re super low-maintenance and can be left for hours on end with no issues. As long as there’s water, food, and a cat flap, the cat is fine by themselves.

Why do you want a family dog?

Ask yourself, why do you want a family dog? It might seem like a strange question, but consider what has pushed you to think about bringing a furry friend to your family. Is this a decision you and your partner have been thinking about for a long time? Perhaps you had dogs before when you were growing up, and you’d love to have one for your new family to enjoy. That’s a perfectly viable reason to get a dog; you want a new addition to the family!

But, what if you’re getting one because your kids have pestered you about it. They’ve been saying they want a dog, so you’re finally thinking about caving in. If this isn’t something you and your partner are too keen on, don’t give in. 

It’s never a good idea to get anything because your kids really want it. Kids are kids, meaning they like different things all the time. They may love the idea of a dog right now, but will they still be as interested in a few weeks or months?

A dog is a long-term investment for you and your kids. Be sure that this isn’t just a phase before you decide to get one. 

Can you afford a dog?

After answering the previous questions, you’ve reached a pivotal point in the dog acquiring process. Can you actually afford the financial commitment that comes with owning a dog?

The initial costs will vary depending on how you get your dog. If you adopt, it’s completely free. If you purchase a dog from a breeder, prices depend on the specific breed of dog as well as the caliber of the breeder. 

However, these aren’t the main costs you should be worried about. Instead, you need to question if you can afford the ongoing costs of dog ownership. So, how much is this going to cost? Well, you should start by considering everything you need to buy: 

There’s a lot you need to think about, and the costs can add up to anywhere between $1,500 to $9,900 per year. That’s a lot of money that you might not be able to afford. Of course, it all depends on your financial situation. Some of you may do the calculations and figure out that you can definitely afford an extra mouth to feed. If that’s the case, you’re one step closer to owning a dog. 

If you can’t afford a dog, think about how you can save money to possibly get one in the future!

What dog breeds are good for kids/families?

You can financially afford a dog, but you’re still not ready to go out there and pick one up. Some dogs are better suited to families and young children than others. For the sake of your kid’s safety, you need to consider breeds that are suitable. Here are some of the options you should think about: 

Labrador retrievers

Labs are always popular family dogs because they have the perfect temperament for kids. They’re very patient, playful and full of love. As you can see on https://chocolatelabradorretriever.ca/lab-retriever-michigan/, you can get labrador retrievers in a range of colors, with chocolate labs being very popular these days. They do grow to be quite big, but they always retain a sense of playfulness that makes them perfect family companions. 

Boxers

Boxers are great medium-sized dogs, so they’re great to have around kids. There’s never any worry about the dogs knocking over young children, and they have a very fun-loving, bright and active demeanor that makes them ideal for a family setting. While originally a working dog, these dogs are constantly eager to play games and have fun outside. They’re a great option if you want a pet to occupy your kids for hours on end. 

Boston terriers

A small dog breed that works really well with families and children is Boston terriers. The great thing about Boston terriers is that they are pretty low-maintenance. They don’t need to be walked that much, and they’re more than happy to stay inside for hours a day. Make no mistake about it, this doesn’t mean they’re lazy creatures. They are still keen to play with your kids, they’re just easier to look after than many other dogs. 

Should you adopt or buy a dog?

The final question is whether or not you should buy a dog. It is a good idea to adopt whenever possible. However, if you are looking for a specific breed of dog – or you want a puppy from birth to raise in your family, buying from a breeder might be the better option.  After asking yourself all of these crucial questions, you will know if a family dog is the right choice or not. Furthermore, you should also know what breed of dog is the best, and whether or not you should adopt it. It is so important to think this decision through as carefully as you can. Don’t rush into things as it could mean you get a dog that ends of being put up for adoption very soon.

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things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux, a French mastif

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

A couple of months ago, we were doing our regularly scheduled visit to play with puppies because puppies make us feel better about life and life has been kind of shitty these past couple of years. When completely out of character, we impulse-bought a “Dogue de Bordeaux” which I think is French for expensive ass dog but still not as expensive as its much tinier but much more expensive little cousin, the French bulldog. Apparently, if your dog is French he’s going to be adorable, lovable and expensive. These are things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux, a French mastiff if you’re nasty.

The thing is you know how when you just know something is right? Like my husband said he knew right away that I was “the one”, his “soul mate”. Well, we all felt the same way about Stella (our big, beautiful, playful, sweet, lovable French mastiff). The thing is when we bought her, we had no idea what kind of breed she was which is very out of character for our family because we like to research and plan the shit out of everything.

This may have been the most spontaneous thing we’ve done in the past decade because since we had children, we’re always thinking long-term and BIG picture but not on Friday, March 11. Nope, we fell head over paws in love with Stella Coco on the spot. The Big Guy was signing paperwork before the girls and I even knew what was happening.

things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux, a French mastiff

The first couple of days, not going to lie, I was having major buyer’s remorse. Remember, no idea what the Dogue de Bordeaux was before deciding to bring her home. Once I got home and Googled Dogue de Bordeaux, I scared myself because she will be the biggest dog breed we’ve ever owned with the shortest life span and she needs a lot of love and attention. Did I mention she’s only 6 months old and eats 5 cups of food a day? The vet predicts 8 cups a day by the time she is full-grown.

I was intimidated because they are also known for being great family guard dogs but that’s never been what I looked for in a dog. Our dogs are like family members. TBH, I think the Big Guy and I gravitated towards this mastiff because of her HUGE paws. When our Bella was a baby, we called her Big paws and Stella the big paw French Mastiff shares our Bella’s gentle, giant, friendly disposition. How could we not bring her home with us, she was born to be a part of our family.

things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux, a French mastiff

Things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux

  1. The DDB is an excellent companion, deeply devoted to her family. 23 hours of the day, she’s calm, affectionate, docile and steady. But for that one hour (at least in my experience, at the puppy stage) she can be needy, hyper and super playful but always loving. She also has a protective instinct and guards her family with courage like a boss b*tch. In my opinion, Dogues de Bordeaux are great for families with older children who won’t be easily knocked over or startled by this big dog that tends to hop when excited.
things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux, a French mastif

Be warned, this gentle giant is not a pushover most of the time. Along with that mostly calm temperament comes a stubborn streak that will make a teenage girl seem easygoing, self-confident, and a tendency to dominate. However, in our house, she is very submissive to our much tinier and older Victorian bulldog, Lola. I’m not sure if it’s because Lola’s older, if it’s a doggie respect thing or if it’s the regal Bridgerton aura that Lola emits but Stell tens to just roll over and bear her belly for her big sis. Socialization and patient positive training are a must with Dogue de Bourdeauxs, much like myself, they can’t be forced to do anything. Start early—it’s easier to train a puppy than a DDB who may be bigger (and certainly stronger) than you are.

  • Dogues do very well at dog sports. While only moderately active, their willingness to learn and eagerness to please their owners make them adept at cart-pullingobedience and even therapy work.
things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux, a French mastiff

Keep in mind, that exercise will tire them out so we’ve figured out that burning off some of that energy before bedtime (much like when we used to dance the sillies out with the girls) is the key to the whole family getting a good nights sleep.

  • Do not teach your cute 30 lb. puppy any habits that you wouldn’t want your 130 lb. DDB to have. We’ve always had medium-sized working dogs but never something as massive as our Stella is anticipated to be so our dog babies have always been lap dogs, even at 50 lbs. we’re made of sturdy stock but our pediatrician has assured us that this warning needs to be heeded or we will be the ones who suffer the consequences. She loves to sit on our laps, sleep across my teenager’s chest and cuddle in like she’s tiny. She is currently 60 lbs. at 7 months (honestly, she’s on the smaller size compared to other DDBs of the same age and we are fine with it) and she’s getting too strong for the girls and me to control or pick up so positive reinforcement is the trick in our house. She loves treats like they’re addictive.
  • These are tall like ridiculously tall. Our girl can stand up with her front paws at the height of our kitchen island. Did I mention
  • They drool. Apparently, they really, really drool! Our Stella is not as wrinkly as some of the others and has not started to drool uncontrollably yet. It’s coming though. She loves to fill her jaws with water and carry it across the house. Anyone who lives with a Dogue de Bordeaux quickly becomes familiar with strings of drool covering furniture, floors and walls. Be prepared that you may have to up your cleaning game. I know, sounds like a shit trade but I promise you, all the love that your French mastiff will give you will be worth every single slobbery kiss you endure. To know a dogue de Bordeaux is to love her sweet face, drool and all.
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gifts for new moms that aren't for the baby

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Becoming a mom is a privilege, just ask any mom but it is also exhausting and thankless and, did I mention, exhausting. Half the time you forget your own name because everyone refers to you as mom, mama, mommy or so-and-so’s (insert baby’s name here) mom.

If someone you love has become a mom for the first time, you probably want to give them a special gift to mark the occasion. A lot of gifts for new Moms are actually things for the baby. This can be helpful for Mom, but after a while, she might soon find she’s got more newborn baby stuff than she can use and feels as though her special occasion is more about the baby than herself. It can be lovely to give your new Mom loved one something that is purely for her, and not for her baby. 

Jewelry

If the new Mom you know is someone very special to you, like your spouse, partner, sister, or best friend, you could give her a beautiful piece of keepsake jewelry. Jewelry to commemorate something so special will always be sentimental to her. You could buy something like a beautiful necklace, or even have something custom designed just for her to really make a statement. Choose a stone, with help from the James Allen review from Pricescope, and a setting, and you have something she’ll always treasure. 

Gift Vouchers

Vouchers can be very good gifts as they give the receiver more choice. Think about what might be most appreciated by a busy, tired new Mom. You could give vouchers for their favorite local takeaway or food delivery service. Give vouchers for some pampering, whether it’s a pedicure or a full spa day. You could even make your own vouchers for things like an evening of babysitting, that she can cash in to have a date night with her spouse or an afternoon off to go shopping. 

Subscriptions

A subscription gift could be for something practical and useful, or something more fun for her. If you know she’s struggling to find time to cook, gift a recipe box subscription service that can make cooking quicker and simpler. You could gift a subscription to her favorite magazine so she has something to read when she’s up doing late-night feeds. What about a subscription for a flower delivery so something pretty arrives every month for her?

Coffee

Disrupted nights mean a tired mom. A lot of new Moms drink a lot of coffee, although if she’s breastfeeding, you should double-check with her how much she is able to have. A gift of some posh coffee that’s eco-friendly and gourmet like Steeped Coffee, a pretty mug to drink it out of, or a to-go cup to put her coffee in when she takes the baby out in the stroller will all be well-received. You can find beautiful cups that have clever technology in them to keep your drink warm without needing to use a thermos cup in the house. These are perfect for new Moms who struggle to drink a whole cup of coffee before it gets cold. 

At-home beauty and spa treatments

There is not a lot of free time when you have a newborn but that doesn’t mean that you don’t want to feel good and take care of yourself. Facemasks, at-home teeth whitening kits, lotions and serums, a foot spa or a great skincare system like Tarte’s Awake line, vegan and cruelty-free, is a favorite in our house.

Loungewear

As a new mom, clothing can often be decided by what can be put on quickest, is most comfortable, and is the cleanest. Make this easier for her by gifting her some stylish but comfortable loungewear. Comfortable leggings, yoga pants, or cardigans are all good choices.

As a mom, what is the number 1 thing that you’d want as a gift from family and friends?

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back pain, sciatica, midlife

Well, it’s been a hell of a last few days. Of course, it’s May so what else did I expect? If the universe is not trying to break me, is it even May? Thursday, I fell down my stairs. Hello, sciatica, not so happy to see you again. My fall was dramatic like a full-on telenovela or someone threw me down our stairs (though it feels like it) but more accurately, our new, gigantic French Mastiff excitedly came down the stairs while I was heading down to refill my water bottle in the middle of the night. Well, if you’ve been here long, you know that at night or in inclement weather I walk like a f*cking pirate thanks to the hardware situation in my leg from the broken leg situation in 2015. Yep, it’s the f*cking gift that just keeps on giving.

My point is that I’m already unstable as it is and when an unexpected bull in a China shop comes running behind you in the dark, I’m more than likely going to end up on my ass and I did.

Disclosure: I was provided the Boppy® Multi-use Slipcovered Total Body Pillow for review purposes but my true love and opinion of this pillow are all my own.

Anyways, it was only about 4 stairs but my life did flash before my eyes because this is not the first time I’ve fallen and, more often than expected, I’ve ended up in the ER. I didn’t this time but, of course, it was no regular fall. In my desperation not to break more bones, I forgot my own “go limp b*tch” protocol and stiffened my entire body up. What happened you asked?

My feet were capoeira style swept out from beneath me thanks to aforementioned adorable, silent but deadly dogue de Bordeaux (big ass dog) and thanks to the carpet on the stairs, I lost my balance. I stiffened my arms trying to catch myself (as if I remember nothing from the 2020 broken toe/concussion situation) and at the same time, I broke my fall into the banister with my ribs while stiffening my legs, arm and entire right side of my body. I thought I escaped with minimal damage until the next day. I woke up pretty sore.

Oh no, bad timing. I had a second job interview at noon with the owner of a company that could prove to be a super exciting opportunity for me. I pulled on my big girl panties, a really cute outfit and sucked up any pain I was feeling. Did I mention the in –person interview went from being 2 people to 7-9, depending when you checked?  Did I mention I haven’t had an in-person interview in 17 years?

The unconventional interview lasted 5 hours (that’s a post for another day) but I wasn’t actually surprised because the first one lasted 6 hours. But for the 5 hours, I was sitting in a typical office chair, super uncomfortable. About hour 3 I started using my left hand as a chin rest because I was actually trying to feign interest in someone else’s interview that I ended up a part of. I think I must have kept it there for about 2 hours. After 5 hours, I tried to stand up and my sciatica said, “F*ck you, Debi. Sit your ass back down!” But I had to go because it had been a long, weird day and I had eaten nothing all day so I was ready to eat the face off of the next person who looked at me.

I got in my car and as I drove, I knew the damage had been extensive and the weekend was going to be for recuperating. As soon as I got in my car, I realized that my left hand that was supporting my face for 2 hours, had tingling in my pinky and ring finger. OMG, did I have a stroke during my interview? I figured it just fell asleep under the weight of my chunky face and double chin. Only the pins and needles gave way to numbness.

By the time, I reached home, I could barely get out of my SUV because my sciatica nerve pain was so intense. I slowly grandpa walked into the house and barked at my poor husband to get us some dinner, as I put the heating pad on my back and prayed the damage wasn’t permanent. I felt about 100 years old. I started to get worried because the funky feeling in my fingers was not getting any better.

Well, it’s been three days. The feeling just came back in my fingers today. It’s an ulnar nerve injury from when I dislocated my elbow trying to do some manual labor in my yard that is acting up. It’s basically a pinched nerve that shows up occasionally t keep my humble.

However, my lower back sciatica pain that started when I was pregnant with the girls has its own plans. I’m currently trying to find a way to position myself to not want to kill myself from the pain. The only thing that seems to work is the Boppy® Multi-use Slipcovered Total Body Pillow it’s a one-piece pregnancy pillow that can be used in multiple ways ( well beyond pregnancy, as I am almost 15 years postpartum) to make you and your growing baby bump ( or your regular mom belly) more comfortable. Its unique contoured design supports your body head-to-toe. That boppy has been my saving grace these last few nights. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to get comfortable enough to fall asleep.

Well, that was my weekend. How was yours? Did you enjoy every moment of it or was it too short and filled with obligations?

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Breastfeeding Tips Every New Moms Should Know About, Tips to Help New Moms Get the Best Breastfeeding Results

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Having your first baby (or any baby) comes with excitement at all the firsts. You can’t wait to take care of your sweet baby and even things like breastfeeding seem magical. Even though sometimes it’s not as easy or as magical as we anticipate. Breastfeeding offers various benefits for you and your baby so if you can do it, I’d recommend giving it a try. It provides the ideal nutrition while preventing the risks of developing diseases. It also helps restore your uterus to its original size and reduces your risk of falling sick or depressed. But in all honesty, it’s not always easy and moms frequently find breastfeeding uncomfortable and sometimes painful. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to give up. However, it’s a great way to bond with your baby, one of my personal favorites and, for me, it was worth the work but it’s different for everyone. If you do want to give breastfeeding a try, here are some tips to help new moms get the best breastfeeding results. 

Provide ample support for your body 

Breastfeeding can be stressful or unpleasant if you’re not positioned comfortably. Therefore, you’ll find it helpful to support your body for the best experience. You can invest in a chair with substantial support for your arms and back. It’s also helpful to place your legs on a footstool, coffee table, or stack of pillows to create the perfect balance. If sitting down to breastfeed isn’t for you, you can also make yourself comfortable on your bed. As a tip, rest your back on many pillows for the needed support. 

Invest in a good nursing bra 

You’ll find that your regular bra may not be so comfortable. Due to their structure, you may have to take your bra off when breastfeeding. Moreover, the texture of your regular bras can feel irritating or compound the pain in your sore nipples. Fortunately, nursing bras are specially designed to enhance comfort when breastfeeding. These options enable you to nurse without removing anything and can accommodate your breasts, no matter how engorged they are. Therefore, investing in maternity bras is essential, so keep this in mind. 

Determine the proper breastfeeding position 

Admittedly, there is no right or wrong way to hold your baby while breastfeeding. However, some positions may be less pleasant than others. Therefore, determining the right options is essential. Fortunately, several breastfeeding options are available, and you can choose what’s best suited for you. For instance, the cross-cradle hold is excellent for feeding newborns and babies with latching difficulties. This position supports your kid’s shoulders and head when sucking. However, avoid holding them around the head to prevent a shallow latch and sore nipples. Another position you can consider is the reclined position, where you place your baby on your tummy or chest. Instinctively, your baby will work its way to one of your breasts. The skin-to-skin contact also stimulates their feeding instincts, so keep this in mind. Fortunately, you can research the various breastfeeding positions online for a more informed decision. It may take a while but you will find one that best works for you and your baby. Believe me, I feel like I tried every position there was, in fact, I may have created a couple but in the end, the girls were full and that’s the most important thing.

Drink water regularly 

You’ll discover that you get thirstier when breastfeeding. This is normal, as your body releases oxytocin to remind you to get enough water to produce breast milk. While drinking more water than is necessary won’t increase your milk supply, dehydration can reduce how much you produce. Moreover, you risk having mood swings, low energy, and poor skin health. Therefore, it’s important to drink water regularly for the best results. I kept my ½ gallon Hydro Jug by my side and it reminded me to keep drinking and I’ve never stopped. Experts advise taking a glass of water before or during breastfeeding and consuming cucumbers, watermelons, oranges, and other fruit with high water content. You can also improve your water’s taste by adding small juice amounts. However, avoid excess caffeine and alcohol when breastfeeding. 

Eat enough calories

When I was breastfeeding, I was hungry so remember to feed yourself, as well as, your little one. One cool and delicious snack that a lot of new moms like to snack on is EZMILK trail mix for moms. I wish they had it around when I was breastfeeding, it would have made things a lot simpler. It’s a natural, filling trail mix for breastfeeding & nursing moms made with just 5 ingredients, including almonds, raisins, organic pumpkin seeds, organic watermelon seeds and fennel seeds to help support a mom on her breastfeeding journey. Nourishing and delicious, EZMILK is naturally free of gluten, grain, dairy, soy, added sugars and fenugreek. It’s perfect to help curb mom’s hunger cravings while breastfeeding and the pouch can be kept within easy reach for a quick snack!

What’s your best tip to help new moms get the best breastfeeding results?

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What to Do if Your Child Comes Out to You as LGBTQ+, how to handle it when your child comes out, LGBTQ

Children in the world have it tough for a lot of reasons from being abused to being treated as property by their parents instead of like autonomous human beings. I’d say you’d be hardpressed to find many that have it tougher than children who fall under the LGBTQ+ label. Those children will be more likely to have trouble with peers, romantic interests and finding their place to fit in general, but perhaps the most stressful moments come from wondering how their family might handle it. But do any of us really know what we’d do if our child comes out to us as LGBTQ+ ?

As far as we know, our girls are cis-gendered which is hard enough as a teenager. Being a tween and teen is hard enough in general when things are considered “usual”. My girls have had friends who have come out as gay and bisexual but when they were younger, I was their parental sounding board. I’ve been asked multiple times what I would do if my girls were gay or bisexual. Every time, without hesitation, I answered I’d love them. Nothing would change. Who they love has no bearing on how I love my children. The only thing I ask is that their love is reciprocated and they are happy.

I have no real experience with a child who has come out as part of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m only speaking from a place of what I hope I’d do. I know it would be more difficult when actually in the situation because there would be more to consider than just what ifs but the main priority is to make life as easy for my child who is struggling with how to navigate coming out to their parents and the world.

Here are a few pieces of wisdom gleaned from the internet on what to do if your child comes out to you as LGBTQ+

Ensure that they know that you love them

The most important thing to do is to ensure your child that one of the primary fears of queer youth doesn’t come to pass: the loss of parental love. So many children have been disowned by their parents for coming out one way or another, even leading to homelessness. The very first thing you should do, even if you are confused about what their admission means for them and for your family, is to let them know that you love them and support them. If you can’t do that, then none of the other advice here is going to be very applicable. Being able to have empathy and love for your child after they reveal an important truth to you is an essential skill for parents, no ifs, ands, or buts.

Encourage them to share what it means to them

You shouldn’t pry into their personal lives too much, nor should you offer an endless barrage of questions to them. However, you should make it clear to your child that you are interested about their life and available to talk at anytime. This goes outside of their sexuality and gender, as well. Ask about their day, their friends and don’t be afraid to ask what they like to do. The main thing is to let them know that you care and keep the lines of communication open. Bit by bit, day by day, you should encourage them to share their life with you. This can, in turn, lead to them sharing more about their sexuality and identity, too.

Back them up, no questions

It might not happen often or immediately, but your child is very likely to face prejudice from others. Sometimes, it can come from places within the family. You should try to be their soft place to land. One of the most difficult parts for parents to navigate is when more conservative, often older members of the family take a stand against the sexuality of the younger members or act insensitively towards them. Stand up for your children. Parents, not wanting to rock the boat, can freeze up and fail to defend and support their children. However, at that point, the boat is already rocked. You don’t necessarily have to do anything inflammatory, simply let your loved ones know that you support your child and don’t want to hear any bigotry in their direction. You can’t control what other family members do, but you can control how you react and you can refuse to stay where your child is mistreated or made to feel humiliated or marginalized.

Should you try to help them find gay spaces?

Helping your kids feel accepted, supported and loved in the home community is one thing, but what about outside of that? They may have peer groups at school and otherwise, that accept them, but you might, like any parent, want your growing child to be happy in the relationships they find. Of course, this applies mostly to parents of children on the older side, those who are approaching or crossing into adulthood. While you don’t need to help them find the top gay chat line or gay bars near you, letting them know that you support them if they want to explore building a social life in gay spaces and being open to meeting their friends can help a lot. Be there for the choices that they make and if they want help, be there to offer it, but don’t try to take over their life.

What about their rights?

It’s a typical open-minded response to care about a cause but not to fully understand the situation until it affects you directly. That said, if you want to show how much you truly support your child and their ability to have all of the rights that they deserve, including the rights that non-queer people already enjoy, then getting involved can be well worth it. When it comes to things like gay marriage rights, fighting conversion therapy and taking a stand against the gay erasure that’s affecting young queer people across the country, even taking a stand alongside your local LGBTQ+ community can help a lot. Put your actions where your words are.

Consider finding your own support system

Being the relative of someone who is part of the LGBTQ+ sphere might not be quite as much of a challenge to navigate, but it can still be helpful to be in dialogue with people who are going through the same situation. This relationship with your child is always evolving and, as such, having people you can feel comfortable talking to (in a supportive way) can do a lot of good. You can make sure you get a good understanding on what you do right, what can go better, and what you might want to avoid during this journey with your family.

Accept responsibility when you do something wrong

Your response might not always be perfect. You might fail to speak up when you should have done or said something that comes across as insensitive. Your immediate reaction may be to defend yourself, to assure your child and yourself that you have no ill-will. But in doing so, you can easily minimize the harm that’s done to queer children by aggressions, micro and macro, not to mention the hurt done to your own child. Even if it comes late, apologizing when you’re wrong is a vital skill for a parent to learn, and you should be able to clearly see and correct your wrong-doing.

If you have any reason to suspect your child might be about to come out, or they already have and you’re worried you’re not doing enough to support them, or you simply want to make sure that you’re the best parent you can be, reading and learning about what you can do is important. 

What would you do if your child comes out to you as LGBTQ+ ? How would you handle it?

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love letter to my teen daughter, Bella, teen birthday

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Dear Daughter,

It’s taken me a couple of weeks to post this because I’m still in shock. How did we get here? Time is a cruel bitch, the minutes sometimes seem like an eternity but the years have passed by in what feels like, at best, a slow syncopated blink of an eye. It’s too soon for me to have to start letting go, My heart won’t loosen the white knuckle grip it’s had on you since the first moment I saw those 2 pink lines. You’ve been the love of my life from that second. My mind knows that you’re not mine alone.  You belong to yourself, I have just been entrusted the privilege and honor of being your mother in this lifetime. 

love letter to my teen daughter, Bella, teen birthday

How could you simultaneously only and already be on this earth for 17 years? You came into the world and changed me forever. You literally changed the woman I was, am and will be. You made me stronger, wiser, kinder, more compassionate and better. You gave me a new and more tolerant view of the world. You taught me what it means to love someone so unconditionally and completely that no ask is too big, no request too small, a thousand years not long enough and nothing can ever change that love. It’s unending, unwavering and all-encompassing. I wouldn’t just take a bullet for you, I’m pretty sure I’d be capable of murder for you. No one told me this was what motherhood is. 

love letter to my teen daughter, Bella, teen birthday

As you grow our relationship keeps evolving. At every age, I think I couldn’t love you more and then I discover another level. My heart has an unending abyss of love for you. The older you get, the bigger my love which I find incredible because if anyone would have told me on the day you were born that I could ever love anything more than I did in that heart bursting moment, I would have surely called them crazy because I loved you so completely. But here we are with my heart growing grinch-like 2x each day, hour, minute and second. Boundless is the only word that comes to mind and I hope you’ve felt that in your soul every single day of your 17 years here with me. 

love letter to my teen daughter, Bella, teen birthday

I am so proud of the young woman you are becoming. You can literally do anything you set your mind to. I just wish you could see yourself through my eyes so that you could see how truly amazing, smart, beautiful, fierce and breathtaking you really are. Stop comparing yourself to me. I am full of flaws. You are the best part of me.  Embrace your humanness. There is no shame in being vulnerable, real, kind, compassionate, honest and real. Perfection does not exist. Just be the best you to you, that’s more than enough. Never measure your worth by someone else. There is only 1 you. 

love letter to my teen daughter, Bella, teen birthday,Love letter, tween, 12th birthday, birthday, daughter

The things you consider weaknesses are actually strengths. There are so many people who cannot recognize or accept their vulnerabilities but you know them, embrace them and work through them which makes you stronger than most adults faced with the same situations. 

You will always be my baby big paws and as you grow into a woman, my best friend and one of my all time favorite human beings. Please don’t be afraid to be gloriously you in all your honesty and grit. Continue standing up for what you believe in even when it feels impossible. Don’t back down when you have something to say but remember louder doesn’t always mean better. Use your words as swords to defeat ignorance, bigotry and hatred. Believe in yourself. 

love letter to my teen daughter, Bella, teen birthday

Trust your gut and love the Bella you see in the mirror. Most importantly, remember we’ve always got your back. No matter how crazy, out of control the circumstances, we’re on your side. Every second of every day. 

love letter to my teenage daughter, Bella, teen birthday

Don’t be afraid to try. The worst that anyone can say is no. Every failure is the opportunity to get better and to gain wisdom and fresh perspective for the next time. Love each time with your whole heart. Dance and sing like no one’s watching. Travel the world and meet new people. Never be afraid of new things. Every day is the opportunity for a new beginning. You’re never too old for a new adventure and it’s never too late unless you’re dead. Tell people you love them. Don’t be afraid of the unknown and always believe people when they show you who they are. And don’t ever feel guilty for walking away from people, places and situations that no longer serve a purpose in your life. It’s better to walk away than to hold on to things that hold you back and hurt you. 

love letter to my teenage daughter, Bella, teen birthday

I love you more than words can ever convey but I tried because words are my love language and I love you more than everything. Even a lifetime wouldn’t be long enough to get to be your mother but know that I cherish every single second that I get to be. Happy 17th Birthday Bella!  Wishing you a lifetime of happiness, love, laughter, adventure and the courage and power to chase your dreams! You can do all the things!

Love you more

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

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

If you’ve heard that the teen years of parenting are the worst, don’t believe everything you hear. It’s different from previous years but it’s just as beautiful in many ways. I like to think of it as the evolution of the parent and teen relationship filled with beauty and misery.

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

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

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Middle Class Mom Private School Kid CoVid Problems.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Not saying CoVid and this pandemic are issues especially hard for middle class moms with private school kids but not saying it isn’t either. I’ve noticed that, at least from my viewpoint, public schools are doing more to stop the spread. Public schools are funded by the government and are more likely to follow government guidelines and recommendations because they are cognizant that not doing so can end in losing funding. Private schools on the other hand are funded by donors, usually wealthy alumni who gift large sums of money, often with “suggestions.” What I’m saying is that if you think super-rich kids are terrible, well, you’ve never experienced their entitled parents firsthand.

They don’t like to be told what to do. It infringes upon “their freedom” so they will scream white at the top of their lungs while staring directly at a black wall. If you disagree, you are not right, you are obviously blind because you chose to believe your own eyes over what they tell you. This is the situation.

Middle Class Mom Private School Kid CoVid Problems.

Science and research show that vaccines, masks and social distancing are the way to end the pandemic. Some people at private schools say none of it exists and refuse to allow their children to follow guidelines for a “political pandemic” created by the liberals to make us all sheeple. After all, this is MURICA! Caught right in the middle of it all, the faculty and administration just trying to do the right thing by humankind without alienating the very people who pay their salaries.

Omicron is here and making my life more difficult than ever. I hate pandemic parenting because I’m terrified to send my kids to school. Let me start by saying that this whole pandemic has been a lesson in versatility, patience and pushing past fear. It’s enough already. I give. I’ve learned my lesson. I wash my hands religiously, I prioritize people and I live like every day could be my last, because it could be but my breaking point seems to be when I live in a world where others are pretending that none of this is real. People are dying and where I live, people are pretending that nothing is wrong. People are dying and nothing is wrong? Is this logical to anyone reading this? If so, please help it make sense because I can’t and it’s literally making me feel insane.

At this point, my family has been vaccinated and boostered, except Gabi who will get hers this week as soon as I can get her an appointment. We rarely go anywhere. With Omicron we are actually reverting to our March 2020 hermit lives. We wear masks in public and we social distance when possible. We wash our hands and change our outside clothes. We disinfect everything. In our state, we are in the minority.

At our daughters’ school, there are no preventative CoVid safety measures in place this year other than CDC guideline quarantining for the minimum 5 days if exposed and showing symptoms. But there is no social distancing or mask policy in place. There is no vaccination requirement. So every day, my rational and intelligent girls who have common sense go to school knowing they are 100% exposed. This is not okay.

Middle Class Mom Private School Kid CoVid Problems.

They are under so much stress (as any rational/ thinking person would be) that they have now both developed severe stress and anxiety due to the mishandling of the pandemic. They are kids who should be doing kid things but instead they are worried they are going to die or kill someone else because the adults are dropping the ball. The adults in charge are neither caring or protecting our children from Coronavirus, Delta or Omicron. They’re just seeing how this all plays out and that’s just not working for me anymore.

The other day I was driving to pick my daughters up from school and the truck ahead of me had a bumper sticker that read, “Unmask Our Kids Now.” In my head I heard, “unhand my mother” or “Free Nelson Mandela” only it wasn’t about saving anyone. In fact, quite the opposite. It basically read, “Societal rules don’t apply to me because I’m a selfish toddler who doesn’t care about anyone else but me and it’s my right to do whatever I want.”

You see, all over the country, friends of mine are taking their 5-11-year-olds to get their vaccination. In fact, they went on the very first day of eligibility, some of them drove to neighboring cities and even states, just to do their part to help end this pandemic. I’m elated. We took our girls as soon as they were eligible. Now, we’re getting them boostered because that is what all of us should be doing to end this pandemic. Was I nervous about giving my daughters a brand new vaccination? Yes. But I’m more afraid of CoVid and the long-term effects of Coronavirus.

There are still adults who haven’t gotten 1 shot yet. Y’all should be ashamed. You’d probably jump in the lifeboats ahead of the women and children too, am I right? Come on, this is embarrassing, America. Be a grown-up and do your part. Yes, I know, you don’t believe in CoVid but he believes in you and if you’re just going to live your life like you’re pursuing happiness, Consequences be damned, YOU WILL GET COVID. Regardless if you believe or not.

Middle Class Mom Private School Kid CoVid Problems.

So here we are. My daughter has missed 30 days of in-person school. I’d say at least 20 of those days were mandatory quarantines from exposure or from having “symptoms” like coughing or sore throat. I did it because even though they were vaccinated, the rules are in place to protect all of us. Also, the girls have caught a few viruses this year (as expected when reentering public places after 17 months of isolation) and pre-CoVid if my children were sick, I kept them home to protect others from catching it and to let my girls rest and recuperate. But suddenly, CoVid is the only acceptable reason for an absence.

Here’s where the real frustration comes into play, aside from kids at school chastising those who are vaccinated and/or wearing masks now the administration is questioning whether or not my daughters are “really sick” or just “don’t want to be there” when I call my daughters in sick. This began after we made them aware of the mental health struggles our girls are dealing with (as are most intelligent adults and teens). Talk about minimizing mental health. What else did I expect from a place that literally had a speaker come in and tell the kids that depression is evil and they need to pray away their mental health issues? Look, I’m all for leaning on God for strength when you feel helpless but to make it a character flaw to seek mental health help is something entirely different altogether.

Honestly, I didn’t write this post to complain about my kids’ school, I’m simply frustrated and exhausted from all of this. My daughter’s been vomiting and nauseous for the past 36 hours. Obviously, I can’t send her into a school like that nor would I send a child who is feeling that terrible into school. I called the attendance office and explained and braced myself for the inevitable call from the school nurse telling us we’d need a negative CoVid test to return, even with being vaccinated and boostered. Can I just mention that we’ve had to get so many CoVid tests in the past 2 years that the pharmacy techs at our local CVS know us by name now? It’s embarrassing. All that aside, I did get the call for the nurse but not before I got the call from the Vice Principal telling me that we “need to have a meeting to discuss her attendance”. It’s the first day of the new semester, what is there to talk about? She.Is. SICK. End of the story.   

Middle Class Mom Private School Kid CoVid Problems.

I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do. My first priority is to keep my girls healthy, happy and alive. ALIVE. At this point, I’m getting as afraid of their depression and anxiety as I am of CoVid. No child should have to feel so hopeless and helpless. I spend many nights a week reassuring my daughters that we can get through this. Holding them while they cry about what they’ve lost and the normal teen experience that they simply cannot have right now. They are missing normal human connection and being able to attend school safely. Every day they feel under threat and I don’t blame them. So I advocate for them, reassure them, hold them and love them as much and as unconditionally as I can but it’s hard when I’m just as stressed, anxious and depressed as they are.

Update: Day 2 of vomiting and nausea, they are requiring a doctor’s note or fax saying the doctor doesn’t need to see her in order to excuse the absences. Even the pediatrician is like, it hasn’t even been 48 hours, she’s not dehydrated and she’s not running a fever coming in would be more dangerous than waiting it out. They can’t even do anything for a stomach bug. FML.

What would you do in my situation? What are you doing to not only protect your family from CoVid Omicron but all the long-term side effects of surviving a pandemic in a world where conspiracy theorists and CoVid deniers pretend nothing is wrong and none of this is real?

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15 Reasons your family needs an emergency fund

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, well, with the exception of a surging pandemic. 2021, you’re so unoriginal. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s to always expect the unexpected. No matter how on top of things you think you are in terms of your family finances or life in general, no matter how well you might be doing at the moment, things can always change and you need to be prepared for any unforeseen emergencies that come your way, especially when you have a family.

Building an emergency fund once you have paid for the essentials in life, is a really sensible way of providing your family with some extra financial cushioning should the worst go wrong and if coronavirus has taught us anything it’s that it can. Don’t believe me?

Here are 15 very good reasons why our family really does need an emergency fund:

1. Job loss

None of us like to think that we might lose our jobs one day, but these days, there really is no such thing as a job for life and a job loss is something that can happen to anyone at any time for a whole host of reasons. If you lost your job, how would you cope? If you have an emergency fund that you can dip into when you need it, it is will be a whole lot easier to cover the bills and keep the family afloat until you find a new position, that’s for sure.

2. You need to relocate

Relocating is a lot more common now than it was even just a few years ago and often doing so can lead to better opportunities for your whole family in terms of job and schooling prp[ets, but if you cannot afford the costs of relocation you could miss out, which is why having an emergency fund is imminently sensible.

3. Legal costs

None of us like to think that we or a family member would ever end up on the wrong side of the law, but from DUIs to lawsuits, there are so many things that can happen unexpectedly and when they do, in order to do our best for ourselves or our family members who have gotten into trouble, we will need to find the money for lawyers, bail bonds, and things of that nature, which as you will probably know, can be pretty expensive, so if you do not have a pot of money to fall back on, it could be a very tricky situation to navigate indeed.

4. Tax bills

If you have filed your taxes correctly, this is unlikely to happen to you but it is not uncommon for families across the United States to be hit with unexpected tax bills due to calculating errors and things like that. Owing money to the IRS is never a good experience and it can cause a whole lot of stress and strain on family life, which is why being able to access the cash you need to settle that unexpected tax bill should it arise is always going to be a good thing.

5. Car troubles

How would your family get by without your car? Chances are you would struggle to get everyone to work and school on time not to mention running basic errands like grocery shopping. But, you know that car repairs can be extremely expensive, and sometimes, there’s no amount of repairing that can keep the car in action any longer, which means you will need to find the money for a new one, which means if you don’t have an emergency fund to fall back on, you could end up having to manage without access to a vehicle for quite a while. Is it really worth taking the risk?

6. Veterinary bills

If you have pets, then it is a really good idea to take out an insurance policy that will cover any treatments and medications they may need throughout their life, but even if you have insurance,w you will normally be asked to pay for various deductibles and veterinary treatment can be very expensive. The last thing you want is to feel like you have to get your pet put to sleep because you cannot afford to pay for treatment, hence why an emergency find would be a literal lifesaver.

7. Rent rises

If you rent your home, then there is a good chance that the rent you are paying will rise on a semi-regular basis, and if you are not prepared for that when it happens, it could be difficult to keep a roof over your head. If you have an emergency fund, you can dip into that to make up the shortfall until you find a more affordable home or maybe pick up a few more hours at work. Keeping a roof over your family’s head is probably the most important thing you need to do and having savings available to you when you need them will really help with that.

8. Unexpected bills

Unexpected utility bills are hardly unheard of but they can throw your finances out of whack if you have not budgeted for them and the last thing you need is to risk having the power turned off, for example. Having cash tucked away for just such bills is something that may not seem necessary, but which you will be glad of should the problem of an unexpected bill arise.

9. Health issues

Health issues are also very common, unfortunately, and if you are hit with a nasty illness that leaves you unable to work, you may not be able to bring any money into the home. That, on top of the fact that medical bills can get very expensive, even if you have insurance, means that having a nest egg hidden away for when you get sick is one of the most sensible things you could ever do for your whole family.

10. Pregnancy


Pregnancy is a lot easier to manage financially and emotionally when it is planned by you and your spouse. However, life happens and unexpected pregnancies are as common as sunshine in Florida, so if there is any chance you could end up unexpectedly pregnant at all, it really would be wise to have some money set aside in an emergency fund that will help you to pay for the essentials like diapers and doctor visits, you might have to find other ways of financing the first 18 years of the little bundle’s life though! 

11. Divorce

No one gets married thinking that they will one day get divorced, but around half of all marriages o end up in divorce and that means that it could well be something that you have to deal with one day. Should the worst happen, it will be a whole lot easier to start your life over as a single person if you have some money in the bank to help you get started. It will mean that you don’t have to wait for the divorce settlement to move out and start building a new life and that can be amazing for your mental health, Hopefully, you’ll never need to use, it but you never know what life is going to throw at you!

12. Kids activities

If you have children, you will know that they cost you an absolute fortune in many ways from clothing to college funds, but something a lot of parents do not consider in terms of financiaing their kids are the various extra-curricular activities that they are going to want to try throughout their lives. Many of these activities come right lots of unexpected expenses from the costs of uniforms to trips and tournament entry fees, so having an emergency fund can really help you to support your children with their interests.

13. Weddings

Whether your own or someone else’s weddings can be expensive affairs when you count the cost of outfits, gits, travel, and hotel stays, so when one is sprung on you at the last minute it can be a struggle to find money in the budget to attend. Not when you have an emergency fund though!

14. Death

When you have a family it is really important that you and your spouse have life insurance policies so that if one or both of you were to sadly pass away, the rest of the family would have a financial cushion to take care of them. However, having an emergency fund can also be helpful because it may take the insurance a while to payout and the last thing loved ones need is to be worrying about money when they are mourning an important loss.

15. Unexpected opportunities

Sometimes in life, we are thrown an opportunity that is too good to pass up, whether it be a business opportunity or the vacation of a lifetime, but many of us DO have to pass them up because we simply do not have access to the funds that would enable us to take the opportunity that is presented to us, When you have an emergency fund, this is less of a problem and you can truly embrace life and do what you really want instead of being held back by a lack of money.

As you can see, having an emergency fund makes so much sense for pretty much every eventuality in life, so time to start saving!

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