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We all have day when we feel overwhelmed before we even get out bed. Work deadlines, school assignments, kids’ schedules, grocery shopping, cleaning–we juggle so many tasks daily, and sometimes the pressure builds up and we blow up, lose our temper, say things we regret, and feel awful afterwards.
To avoid losing your cool, consider listening to this three-minute meditation to set a peaceful, positive intention for your day. Just the act of intending to stay calm and patient goes a long way to help us do that. Combine that with deep, mindful breathing and a withdrawal from the stresses of the world, and you are ready to tackle your day with ease of body and mind.
You can take these three minutes out of your day at any time you need to give yourself a time-out. You will thank yourself later for things you did not say and do out of anger. And your body will reap the benefits of deep breathing and calming thoughts.

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New Mom

I was petrified when the time came to take my first child home from the hospital. I timidly asked the nurse, “Will you show me how to change her before we go?” I had changed a few of my niece’s diapers, but this tiny little helpless being was mine. I looked at her precious little face and thought about all the ways I could screw up. Over time, I figured out how to really listen to my intuition and take other people’s advice with a grain of salt and you will too. New mamas, here are 6 tips to get you there faster.

1. Listen and Observe Your Baby – The best thing you can do to hone your natural maternal instincts is to listen to your baby’s cries and observe his or her behavior. You will be the one who knows your child better than anyone so when it comes time to answer questions about your child’s health or development you’ll be ready with the answers.

Before you rush to pick up your crying baby (if you know they are safe) take a second to stop and listen. Pay attention to what the cry sounds like. Is it long or start and stop, is it muffled or a full on wail? Then once you figure out why your baby is crying, you’ll be able to associate the sound with the cause. The more you observe, the quicker and easier it’ll be to tell whether they are hungry, sleepy, need a diaper, are in pain or just need a cuddle. You’ll also be able to answer your doctor’s questions about behavior that is unusual for them.

2. Save The Panic For Later– Babies are actually surprisingly resilient. When my first child was about eight months old she was sitting on the couch next to me and when I turned my head for a split second she went bounding over the back of it just out of my grasp. She fell onto the laminate floor with a sickening smack and for a second I couldn’t breathe. It took the longest second of silence ever, but then I heard her cry and my heart flooded with relief. I called the doctor and she told me to watch for signs of a concussion, but since she didn’t lose consciousness she was most likely fine.

While you have to be especially careful with newborns, as they get older the probability that they’ll get minor injuries goes up. The trick is to save the panic so that you can get them help first. You can freak out afterwards.

Oh and P.S. injuries to the mouth bleed like crazy. I spent $100 in the ER for that little piece of advice when my daughter cut her gum in a minor fall. No stitches were even done. Perhaps if I took a little longer to freak out, I would have thought to call the on-call pediatrician instead of racing off to the ER.

Again, you’ll need to answer questions about an injury or illness so it’s important to assess the situation and get the details before panic empties your mind.

3. Stay Off The Internet – Two days after I brought my first child home, my husband insisted we bring her to urgent care because she made a grunting sound in her sleep. He’s the one to jump on the internet to consult with Dr. Google and come to the worst case scenarios when it comes to our children’s health. If you really want to know what that rash is, make a doctor’s appointment and for the love of all that is holy stay off WebMD or Google. You’ll save yourself loads of unnecessary worry. Her grunting in her sleep was perfectly normal by the way.

4. Trial and Error Are Your Friends – You don’t have to have it all figured out to be a great parent. Don’t be scared to try something new or abandon a long standing technique that is no longer working. I always tell first-time parents, “Do what works, until it doesn’t anymore.” I co-slept with all of my babies until they got to an age where it became counterproductive and we both got less sleep instead of more. Then I moved them to the crib. Be wary of anyone who tells you definitively “this is what works.” Every baby and family is different and they can only tell you what worked for them, not what will work for you or your child.

5. Ease Up on Your Expectations – I see so many good moms totally beating themselves up when they don’t live up to their own expectations. When I was pregnant with my first child I told myself, “I will try to breastfeed.” That’s the extent of the promise I made to myself and as such I wasn’t going to be devastated if it didn’t work for me or the baby. It ended up being a great experience for me, but I know many women who really struggle with breastfeeding. So temper your expectations by saying, “I want to try to do this” instead of “I’m going to do this” when trying something new. You’ll be less hard on yourself if things don’t go according to plan and you’ll be a happier mom, which is always the best gift you can give your child.

6. Accept Help of Any Kind – Sure, maybe your mom’s fussing over the baby is getting on your last nerve, but if she offers to give you a break of an hour or even overnight, TAKE IT. When I was a new mom, my mother offered to come up once every month or so and watch my daughter downstairs overnight. Those days gave me the sleep I so desperately needed so that I didn’t feel like I was falling apart. We may want to do it all or feel we need to, but if someone offers to help, take it without shame or worry. The truth is that none of us do it alone. It’s too hard. When they say it takes a village, it’s because it’s true. Bottom line, if you can’t get a hot meal, shower or some sleep once in a while you’ll feel like you’re losing your mind. You can’t fine tune your maternal instincts if you’re not taking care of yourself.

I have a special place in my heart for new moms. I see them in the store with their tiny babies. Sometimes they ask me with weary eyes how long it took for my kids to sleep through the night. I often don’t have the answer that brings them comfort, but I want to tell you new moms, you WILL survive the baby years. You’ll wake up one day to a chubby faced toddler racing through your house, then a tall and independent child, and then a moody teenager. Motherhood is a roller coaster. It’s frightening, exciting and goes just as fast.

Erin Johnson a.k.a. The No Drama Mama can be found writing on her blog The No Drama Mama and Hudson Valley Parent when she’s not wiping poop or snot off her three adorable kiddos. This “tell it like it is” mama has NO time for drama, so forget your perfect parenting techniques and follow her on Facebook or Twitter for her delightfully imperfect parenting wins and fails. Her work can also be found on Money Saving Mom and Mamapedia.

 

Dear Moms Of A Screaming, Kicking, Crying, Throwing Something Child,

This medal for mental endurance during EPIC tantrums is for you. You rock! You may think to yourself “Oh MY GOD, how am I ever going to survive this nightmare?” I understand how hard it is not to lose it. I don’t even pretend that I don’t lose it from time to time. It’s so hard to deal with a child who is not in the right frame of mind to even hear your voice, let alone respond to threats of punishment, or attempts to figure out what will make the chaos stop.

After WAY too many of my son’s tantrums lately I finally figured out one universal truth – there is NOTHING to do, but wait it out. It’s like the girl at the party crying in her beer. All attempts to make her feel better are lost. You just say to her “alright time to go to bed and sleep it off.”

Sugar High Crash

My five-year-old son’s tantrums are caused by one thing – he’s overly tired. Sure last night’s Desert Fest 2014 at our neighbor’s house at our weekly “booty call” complete with ice cream, donuts and cookies played a hand in the nightmare of a tantrum produced when we got home, but he was TIRED. First he kicked off his fit when he wanted a glass of water and daddy told him he could have water when we got home (I think it’s less than 60 seconds by car door to door).

Exhausted Jayden
Being overly tired means Jayden either passes
out,
or kicks off an EPIC tantrum.

Then he wound himself up into a good cry, followed by pounding his fists on the floor, and after refusing to get ready for bed he just lay on the floor. When I told him he could just sleep in the hallway and let him lie there he started banging on my bedroom door as I was attempting to get the baby to sleep. Then I could feel the anger in me rising like bile in my throat. I always know that feeling when my face gets hot and I start to bite my lip hard. These are the moments I pray, “Lord, please don’t let me beat my child.” Of course I mean a spanking so feel free to put the phone down. No need to call CPS.

My Right Eye For Some Holy Water

During a particularly bad tantrum that lasted well over an hour last week I looked at my son and thought, “Who the hell are you?” “I so don’t like you right now.” It’s ok to admit it mamas. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your kid. It means your patience is well beyond spent. It means you are at an utter and total loss as to how to stop it and get your sweet, lovable kid back. If I had some holy water I may have been tempted to throw it on him to see if I could exercise whatever demon was possessing his little body.

A Padded Room For One Please

After my anger passed, I went into “survival denial.” This is when in order not to become “The Hulk” I have to remove myself from the presence of my tantruming boy. If that’s not physically possible, I have to go into a separate room in my mind. Call it meditation, call it what you want.  My goal is to survive it. I’ve tried calming, I’ve trying ignoring and eventually I know that I can do just one thing – survive it. If that means locking myself away in a little happy quiet room in my mind well then that’s exactly what I have to do.

Waiting Out The Tornado

The really crazy thing about a tantrum is that it is gone almost as inexplicably as it began. One minute there are tears and stomping and screaming and the next the tears are dry and that sweet voice comes back to ask you a random question or say, “I love you Mama.” It’s taken living through many of these tantrums to find the inner strength to endure the storm to get to that moment in the tornado where it suddenly dissipates and the sun comes out and life is once again beautiful.

So this is my prayer for you mamas out there – I pray for the strength to endure. Endure till the storm lifts, for surely it cannot last forever, no matter how long and agonizing it feels. Your rainbow is coming. Your “I love you” is right around the next tear drop so just hold on.

Push Through

I’ve said before that parenting is a marathon and not a sprint. A tantrum is therefore that moment where your calf seizes up and you feel like you can’t go on. You know there is a finish line somewhere, but it seems too impossible to continue through the pain. I hope these words help ease the knot of guilt a little bit.

Let The Guilt Go

I often tell my children post-tantrum or episode of misbehaving, “mommy may not like your actions, but I love you no matter what.” This is unconditional love -the “I love you through good times and bad.” It’s hard in that moment when The Hulk turns back into Bruce Banner and the storm has cleared and the wave of guilt rushes in. The guilt of “did I really just scream or act crazy or hate my kid in that moment.” It’s ok mama, let it go. Let it go as quickly as your child’s tantrum ends. No need to hang onto it. Massage out your calf and keep running the good race. And just in case you don’t feel like the world’s best mama the next time your child is writhing on the ground, completely immersed in a tantrum this medal is for you. The medal of Supreme Endurance. You have certainly earned it.

 

Last week we talked about our tough parenting emotions… the frustration, anger, guilt, and sadness that we all feel at some point while raising our little bundles of joy.  These feelings are never going to disappear.  There will always be hard days, weeks, months, and even years.  So how can we deal with this?  To a parenting outsider, it might sound like all of us are crazy for going down this road.   But we know the truth.  We all know we wouldn’t trade our little monsters for anything…not even for a full night of sleep and a clean house.  Instead, we have to find ways to cope with the challenges.  My advice: sing.

It all started on a camping trip a couple of years ago with a good friend who also has two children.  Inevitably, there were moments of frustration:  “No, we can’t throw the entire bag of marshmallows into the fire at once to watch them explode,”  “No, you can’t pee right outside the opening to our tent no matter how bad you need to go,”  “Your brother cannot be used as bait for any approaching werewolves…”

When we felt like we wanted to throw in the proverbial camping towel and go home, we started to make up silly songs.  Our children thought we were crazy, but we were having a blast.  And guess what?  Frustration, gone.  Tension, released.  We were able to get back to the business of parenting without any residual “bad stuff” hanging on.

After our trip, we began compiling songs for the “Greatest Hits of Parenting” Soundtrack.  When you’re feeling overworked, overwhelmed, tired, or grumpy, give it a try.  Your kids might appreciate it, or they might not (which more often than not is the case in my house)

But YOU will feel better…and this is about YOU!  Sing to your kids, sing aloud to yourself, sing the song in your head, sing it to your partner when you finally get some alone time…whatever helps to let the bad stuff roll off your back.  Do it!

P.S.  If you don’t know a song, please use the handy dandy internet to find it and listen.  You might find a new favorite…

For the times when your child won’t stop asking you for candy in the check out line:  No, No, No” By Destiny’s Child

For the times when your toddler is having a tantrum over dinner or maybe when you’re letting your baby cry it out for the first time:  Simon and Garfunkel’s “I Am A Rock”

When your daughter has gone into a tailspin after a tiring day at child care and you’re not sure what to do: She’s A Maniac” from Flashdance

When their B.F.F.s get I Phones and they… don’t:  You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones

When deciding between orange juice or apple juice turns breakfast into a nightmare:  “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls (Tell me what you want, what you really really want.  I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want…)

And for pretty much any moment of any day:  Respect” by Aretha Franklin  (This is the mother of all parenting soundtrack songs and will get you moving, grooving, and forgetting your troubles.  It might even get your kids to clean up their plates after dinner)  

When the going gets tough…Sing!  What are some of the songs on your parenting soundtrack?

 

 

 

 

Has this ever happened to you? Recently, I was babysitting my niece when all of sudden she turned and stared behind the couch. I asked her what was wrong and her response made the hair on my arms stand up, “I see rabbit, Aunt Bridget!” Excuse me? What? I turned in fear expecting to see a homicidal rabbit standing behind me, but there was in fact, nothing. Phew!

When I asked my brother and sister-in-law when they got home in laments terms, “What is up with the rabbit thing?” They said that she just started saying it when they moved in to their new house. Asking around it seems that my niece simply has an imaginary friend. Does your child have one? Share your experiences (creepy or not)! In the meantime, check out this article from our own Dr. Schwartz on his insight on imaginary friends.

All parents of children with disabilities worry about the day when they will no longer be able to care for them. While many parents have figured out ways to make life more comfortable for a child with disabilities while they are around, thinking about a time when they can no longer be personally responsible for their child’s well-being can be stressful.

Many parents believe that they can continue to care for their child with special needs by leaving money to a relative. This seems like a good idea because a relative knows the child personally and parents think they can trust them to care for their children. However, relatives are not legally bound to spend the money left to them on the child. In addition to this, the money can be taken from the appointed relative by a number of different parties, including creditors. Also, the money may be lost in a divorce settlement.

Many parents also make the mistake of leaving money to one of their children who does not have a disability, expecting this child to care for the one with special needs. However, this may be a bad idea because it also does not legally bind the child to use this money to care for the sibling with the disability. Also, doing so can pose undue stress on the sibling. If he or she already has to deal with the pain of losing parents, it may be too difficult for the sibling to deal with the added responsibility of caring for a child with special needs.

Rather than entrusting money directly to a relative or sibling, parents should consider forming a Special Needs Trust. Doing so will ensure that the child will be well taken care of and that the money devoted to this cause will not be taken by any other source and must be used for the purpose for which it was intended. Establishing a Special Needs Trust for a child with a disability is the best way to ensure the quality of his or her care in the future.

For me, the holiday season is a special time that includes good food, fun, family and friends.  Like many, however, I am challenged each year with finding the balance between joy and happiness and guilt and stress.  As the founder of Time Savor Gourmet I help people just like you to make good food, fast and easy no matter how busy you are or how well you can cook.  As a result, I came up with some holiday survival strategies to help you eat well, entertain with less stress and not pack on the pounds, all while having a great time!  My next few blog posts will cover strategies for Entertaining, Cooking, Stress-Less Party Noshing and some general behavioral tips to help you get through the holidays with ease.

Entertaining

Tried and true, classic recipes that are low in fat and full in flavor are a tradition in my household.  At the start of the holiday season, I make sure to have my pantry & fridge armed with the items I’m going to need to whip up some of my favorite snacks when unexpected (or expected!) company arrives.  (I’ve listed a few of my favorites in the Holiday Appetizer 911 section on my website.)  By having good ingredients on hand and stocking your pantry, fridge and freezer with some basics (and NOT fat laden frozen appetizers!!!) you’ll be prepared and never caught off guard.


I have a habit of slouching. It’s not good and I don’t endorse it. I always try to remember to stand tall, with my shoulders back, because if I don’t I hear my mom’s voice in my head, “Don’t slouch over!” It’s such a knee jerk reaction. I think that this habit is hard to break, but just as my mom knew it should be taught when children are younger. A recent article in the Washington Post agrees and also says to make learning about having good posture fun. The article has great tips for parents and kids on how to maintain a strong core. Soon no one will have to hear “stop slouching!” anymore.

Finding a helpful parenting website is like finding the decoder ring prize in a Cracker Jack box. (I couldn’t think of a better analogy.) But really, I love when I find new websites, especially ones I think our readers have yet to discover! Mother Nature Network is a site that is all about the “green living” lifestyle. The site is neatly organized with different categories like food, home, and family that are filled with blogs and articles. The information is concise and easy to follow. I hope you give it a look. If you like it, let us know!

Check out this new information just released today:

“Eating lots of vegetables and fruits during pregnancy may lower the chance of having a baby with certain allergies, hint study findings from Japan.

Greater intake of green and yellow vegetables, citrus fruit, and veggies and fruits high in beta carotene (generally those colored red and orange) may lessen the risk of having a baby with eczema (itchy, dry, red patched skin), Dr. Yoshihiro Miyake at Fukuoka University and colleagues found.

Foods high in vitamin E, found in some green vegetables, similarly may lessen the risk of having a wheezy infant, they report in the journal Allergy.”

Read more of the article here. We all know how important eating healthy is for your growing baby, but this new study raises some good points. What was your eating like when you were pregnant? If you are newly pregnant would you pay more attention to the study? Share your opinion!

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