I Miss My Pillow

Yes, it feels like only yesterday that I had kids who slept well through the night.

How quickly that changes.

One day you are getting decent, uninterrupted sleep…

Then you get a sick kid…

Then you have two sick kids…

Next thing you know, you have a kid sleeping on your head in your bed at night…

Next thing you know, good sleep patterns have been broken, and you have children that want to stay up all night (and stay up all night in your bed!!).

I feel like someone just pulled a fast one on me.

So, here begins my adventures in sleep retraining! If you see me with raccoon eyes in the street, don’t be shocked, don’t run away…now you know the reason why.

I will be victorious (eventually)! Yes, it will be a battle to the bitter end, but it will be all worth it when I can finally get some good sleep again!

My first challenge and focus will be the two-year old, and eventually the infant once he’s all better!

I’ll let you know how things pan out…pray for me!

No More Excuses: Time To Get In Shape

Are you feeling the pressure?? It’s that time of year when people make their New Year’s resolution, with many looking to lose weight.

I realized it myself recently. I’ve always been one to stay physically active all year round, but as of the past few years and two more kiddies later I’m left wondering what happened to my usually in shape self! Taking the stairs has become a real workout!!

So tomorrow is a new day. Don’t have a personal trainer, but I’m going to have to step it up and get myself motivated. We have been blessed with unusually mild weather this winter and the next few days are promising to be nice outdoor days, so my first step will be going out for walks which will hopefully eventually turn into runs.

Walking and running are probably the easiest things I can do to get myself in shape. No equipment needed but a good pair of sneakers and weather appropriate clothing.

I get bored with the gym and being trapped inside four walls. The outdoors, fresh air, and  sunlight are great motivators once you make it out the front door.

Another motivator for me has been seeing all the reminders on TV about women and heart disease. Any of us can easily suffer a heart attack at a young age if you’re not careful about your diet, your weight, or your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Especially for someone like me who has a history of heart disease in the family.

Whatever you find to motivate you to get moving remember…No Excuses!!

See you outside!

This entry was posted in Health.

Get into the Holiday Spirit by Volunteering

The Holiday Season is upon us. I know, it’s unbelievable that another whole year has flown by so fast! It seems like only yesterday that I was just finally recovering from New Years!!

The stores are starting to fill up with Holiday Decorations and apple picking season is coming to a close. Even though I may sound like I’m complaining a little, I LOVE the Holidays! Especially Christmas Season! It makes me feel like a kid all over again!

Unfortunately, the Holiday season is not such a happy and joyous time for everyone. It may bring back painful memories of lost love ones and friends and disappointing times. It can be a very lonely and depressing time of year for some.

If it feels that way for you, or even if you’re full of Holiday Joy, there is a way we can all bring some joy and happiness out of this coming season for ourselves and others.

By deciding to spend some of our time in the next few weeks volunteering we can  positively change our mood this season by taking our minds off of our own loneliness and/or problems and putting our attention on those we are helping. And I can’t neglect to mention just how much of a happiness boost you get from helping others, also.

My best Christmas season ever was the one when I spent a good part of my time volunteering with New York Cares in and around New York City. The last thing I remember doing was delivering Christmas meals to elderly people who lived alone on Christmas morning.

I remember starting my day off thinking nothing of it, but when I saw how happy the people I delivered to were to have a visitor on Christmas day, I realized just how important it is to give of your time to those who need…. especially around the holidays.

So, consider it.

There are so many organizations, community centers, and churches, just to name a few, who will gladly accept your help this season. Some volunteering opportunities that you’ll be able to take part in include: serving food at soup kitchens, delivering presents to sick kids in hospitals, delivering meals to elderly, caroling or playing instruments for events at senior homes, and delivering meals to homeless on the streets, just to name a few!

Your help is also needed behind the scenes, if you prefer, in doing things like wrapping toys to give as gifts to kids from low income families, or assisting in preparing meals to be served to the poor and homeless. You can also bring your children along (school age and up) so they can benefit from being involved with helping others.

So, mark your calendar, do your research, sign up, and have a beautiful, and fulfilling Holiday Season!

Five Holiday Cleaning Tips

It’s that time of year when it is time to get that house ready for those family members or coworkers. Holiday cleaning can be stressful, but we all know it needs to be done. Here are some helpful hints on how to get all that Christmas cleaning done and still enjoy the holidays.

Clean Carpets: If you have a pet, be sure to deal with any odor and stains. Get your carpets and rugs professionally cleaned. Having this done will save you some wear and tear on your body, and also get your home in tip top condition for that holiday party. Carpets and rugs hold stains and dirt that you can see, but there may be invisible pollutants too. Instead of killing yourself, let the professionals handle the floor cleaning and your carpets will look great and smell better. Just like it did when it was new.

Freshen Air: Next, you will want some fresh air to go with that clean floor. Consider using  an air purifier machine to remove airborne irritants like hair, dander, or unpleasant odors that may be lingering in your home. Remember the first impression at a Christmas party is the smell and look of your home.

Deal With Dust: Another thing on that list of cleaning are those pretty knickknacks that collect dust. A faster way to clean them are by putting them in the kitchen sink, spray them with window cleaner, lay them on a paper towel, and let air dry. Your knickknacks will be all clean and ready to go back on display. This will save you a lot of time with cleaning.

Clean Windows: Remember windows are another thing that people will be looking at during the party. No one wants to see smudges on the glass.

If winter has already hit, you might not be able to do much with the outside of your windows, but you can clean the inside.

If you live in a warm climate, get a window cleaner that you can put on your water hose to make that easier for you to do. This will cut down time cleaning windows on the outside.

Hire Experts: Finally, a big way to keep you from having to do the cleaning is hiring a cleaning service. Besides the holidays are about giving instead of receiving. Take some pressure off and let someone else do it for you while you get ready for the party. When we used to live in Maryland, we used Cathy’s Cleaning, a Baltimore cleaning service. Now that we’re in NYC, we don’t yet have a favorite, though we just got a Groupon for a local service… I’ll definitely post my review if it works out!

If you follow these tips, your holiday cleaning will be much easier to do. Happy Holidays!

Should I Quit My Job

Should I quit my job…. that was the question I had to ask myself last year. Yes, I know there are many readers out there that may not consider being a stay-at-home mother a job, but believe me, it’s the hardest work I’ve ever had to do. And after reading this article, I realized that I didn’t want to have a life of regret and that would most certainly happen if I kept up as a stay-at-home (for me personally… I obviously think it’s the hardest job and for anyone that enjoys it, more power to you).

Can I Afford to Quit My Job?

That’s the first question that anyone who is thinking about quitting should ask thsemselves. Now it may seem like a strange question to have asked myself as I’m not a salaried worker but by planning to go back to business school, it would mean incurring extra costs while still living off the same salary (the salary of my husband). Aside from the actual business school tuition, I had to think about books, hiring babysitter and other costs. Quitting wasn’t out of the realm of possibilities, but it did mean cutting on some monthly costs. Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself to see if you can cut some expenses in order to quit your job:

  • Is it possible to reduce any of your major life expenses. For example, moving to a smaller home or renting a cheaper apartment.
  • Is it possible to take on a part-time job or work as a freelancer (there are plenty of sites out there like oDesk or eLance). If working part-time is a possibility, make sure to pin down the job or to pick up some freelance gigs prior to quitting.
  • How much will I save on commuting, child care and eating out (though remember to account for costs of eating in)?

Check out this fantastic article ‘How Quitting My Job Saves Me $8000 A Year‘ which goes through the exercise of figuring out how much the author would save by quitting his job. The point is that it’s of utmost importance to go through this type of budgeting exercise to ensure that if you do decide to quit your job, that you aren’t going into debt or at the very least that it’s short-term debt that you know is manageable.

Even if you do decide that you can find ways to cut costs to quit your job, you should also think about future costs as well as account for future situations. For example, perhaps you can currently quit because you have a partner who brings home a large enough income to support the family. What happens though if your partner loses their job? That was something that happened to a lot of family during the economic downturn. It’s important  that regardless of your situation that you build up your savings and cut down on as much debt (mortgage, car loan, credit card bills) as possible so that you can weather any unexpected emergencies once the family becomes a one income household or a part-time income if you’re on your own and trying to grow your own business or look for another line of work.

Whether you’re quitting to go back to school, start your own business, change career paths or whatever else the case may be, make sure that it’s what you truly want. If you do, then definitely go for it as you don’t want to live a life of regrets. On the other hand, quitting a secure job typically brings buyer’s remorse for most, which is why you need to figure out why it is that you want to quit and if what you’re going to be doing after you leave your job will end up making you happier.

 

 

 

How To Keep Mom From Running Away From Home

This may sound like a funny title, but how many times have you moms out there felt like running away from home to some remote place where no one could find you. I’m talking about during those times when the kids are tearing the house apart, your tired and stressed, and your husband is somewhere acting like he can’t hear what’s going on.

We’ve all been there, and it’s enough to make you want to pack up and disappear…no matter how much you love your family we all have a limit!

Okay, seriously, I would never leave my family but I can’t speak for everyone out there. Some moms are so unhappy and burnt out that dreaming about being somewhere else all the time is definitely becomes a threat to their marriage and family life.

In this article I’m not going to get into what moms should do to feel better (that’s a whole other article) but I will get into what other family members can do to make mom feel like staying around.

So, Dads, husbands, boyfriends, Fiancés, kids big and small, and whoever else lives at home with mom, listen up…this one is for you!

Mom works hard to make the home a special place for you, so its nice to make her feel like staying around to continue to do so for a few more years. Here’s how:

Don’t Take Mom For Granted

Let her know she’s appreciated for who she is and everything she does to make your life a little easier.

How? Tell her…Say “Thank you” once in a while. Buy her a card, write a small letter, email her, text her, facebook her, whatever…it’s all good and will make her feel special.

Oh, and flowers are nice too!

Lend A Helping Hand

Help mom out once in a while (or more like as often as you can). Clean up after yourselves, do the dishes, offer to cook a meal, pick up the groceries, or even do some laundry here and there. A little help goes a long way.

Give Mom A Break

This is especially for you husbands. Take the kids for a while (like a week – ok, maybe just a few hours) and let mom have some time for herself. Even if it’s in the next room. A few hours of peace and quiet will make mom very happy and refreshed so that she can take even better care of all of you later!

“If Mommy gets time to rest, Everyone gets her best!” Remember that!

Listen To Her

I know I’ve stumped you on this one. This is may just be the hardest thing out of everything on this list for you, but believe me, it’s actually the easiest!

When mom asks you to do something take the time, stop what you’re doing, and listen.

Stop, Look, and Listen.

Keep a small notebook with you to write down what she’s telling you if it helps. Why are you laughing? I’m serious here.

And when she wants to talk with you about something she says is important, give her your full attention. This will go a long way…then maybe she won’t have to repeat herself 20 times a day-therefore sounding like a nag if you just make it a priority to listen the first time!

It takes practice, but you will improve with time : )

Diamonds

No explanation needed here…..

So, if you’re a mom on the verge of running away from home, pass this on to all the special people in your life who live in your home and are old enough to read! Dads, share this with your other fellow Dads (I can guarantee you’ll be glad you did!).

Fighting Loneliness During The Holidays For The Single Parent

When you’re a single parent and don’t have a significant other, the Holidays can be a very lonely time. Not having someone special to spend Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa or any other holiday with can be depressing. It also doesn’t help when you go out or watch TV and see so many couples together with their children enjoying the season.

I know the feeling, and it’s not any easy one to shake, but there are some things you can do (besides rushing off to date someone you really don’t want to) to keep your mind off of how lonely you may feel and get as much enjoyment out of the Holiday as you can!

Spend Time With Family

Schedule yourself to spend lots of quality time with your family. Dinners, parties, outings, traditions, sleepovers, even travel to family living in distant areas is great to take your mind off of yourself, and your children will enjoy it too.

Spend Time With Friends

Same thing with friends. Some friends are just like family and getting together as much as possible over the Holidays is good medicine for a lonely soul.

Pamper Yourself

Schedule yourself for a spa treatment, or a massage. Visit the hair salon and get your hair done or try a new style. Have a your makeup done before attending a party or event.

Buy yourself something nice to wear that’s flattering (just don’t break the bank!). You work hard and deserve a treat once in awhile…why not during the Holidays?!

Give of Your Time To Others

Volunteer. It’s amazing how helping someone less fortunate than yourself can bring you a whole new perspective on your own situation in life.

Be Thankful

Take a look at all the blessings you do have in your life. We have so many things to be thankful for that we take for granted everyday. Actually take time to think about and make a list in your mind (or on paper) of everything you have to be thankful for this season.

It’s not easy dealing with feelings of loneliness, but you can tell those feelings to take the back seat by keeping yourself busy this Holiday season doing the things that bring you and your children the most joy.

5 Signs You May Need Marriage Counseling

There’s no question — marriage can be challenging. Maybe marriage counseling should be something you register for when you tie the knot. Much like a new set of dishes that gets scratched from constant use, relationships can also show wear and tear over the years. So how do you know if your marriage has hit a rough patch or it’s something more serious… requiring professional help?

Sign 1: Poor Communication.
No problem in a marriage can be solved without open, honest communication. Lack of personal, intimate exchange in a marriage is a very bad sign.

Two recent studies, published in the American Journal of Family Psychology, found that couples who went on to divorce were more likely to be poorer communicators, and tended to display more negative emotions and support mechanisms than people who stayed married.

For example, the couples who went on to divorce were more likely to use blame and invalidation in their communication efforts. They were more likely to discourage a spouse from expressing his or her feelings, and to display “inappropriate pessimism.” Husbands who were more verbally aggressive early on were also more likely to be part of couples who went on to divorce later.

Sign 2: Your Sex Life has Significantly Changed.
Most feel that when there is a loss of intimacy, there are problems. While this is true, it is also important to be mindful of a sudden increase. Quite a few marriage counselors suggest that either an absence or a sudden increase of sex in your relationship can signal danger.

An increase in your partner’s libido may suggest that they are having an extramarital affair which is why they are all of a sudden experiencing feelings of arousal. On the other hand, having no sex life or a very minimal one is also clearly bad for a relationship.

Sign 3: Your Marriage is Like a Battlefield
No matter how in love you used to be and how much fun you used to have, many of us wake up one morning and realize that the marriage has turned into a battlefield (Very often – After having children).

Lines are drawn; you stick to your guns on every issue. You dig in on your side; your husband digs in on the other side. Neither of you will budge.

This pushes all your intimacy away and you no longer enjoy his company.

With time, you find yourself taking a “side” opposite your spouse. This damages the very foundation of your marriage. When “We” turns into “me” is a definite reason to seek marriage therapy immediately.

Sign 4: Relationship Stagnation
Are you one of many couples out there who, every night, sit across the dinner table from one another (if you still have dinner together) and wonder “who is this person I am living with? Why did I marry him?

When a marriage falls into stagnation, it’s because somewhere along the line one or both of you stopped taking care  of it. Nothing is really “wrong” with our marriage; it’s just boring and stuck. You have to work to pay the bills, maybe you have kids to take care of, and/or sick, elderly parents who require your care and attention. You don’t have time to spend with your spouse.

If your relationship doesn’t continue to grow, it’s wallowing. This is a dangerous seed that needs to be attended to. Marriage stagnation is why a marriage breaks down. You care about everything else but the marriage and it will be sacrificed as a result

Sign 5. The Bad Overweighs the Good

Most of us are able to look deep inside and answer this question truthfully: Is there more bad than good in our marriage?

If the answer is yes, your marriage is in trouble and you need marriage counseling of some sort. The cancer will grow and eat up your marriage until it’s over, if you don’t act and do something right now.

If you are hesitant about traditional marriage counseling (many of us are) because of the high costs, the lack of privacy, availability and comfort, you have other options.

The first option is to try to work with your partner on any of these issues by opening up a line of communication. However, if you find that that isn’t possible (perhaps one of the problems with your marriage is in fact the ability to communicate), then you should see a therapist within your local city or you can follow a new trend of using online marriage counseling, which allows you to receive counseling from the privacy of your home at a time that’s convenient for you. In either case, make sure that you don’t wait to get help!

Raising Your Daughter To Have Good Self-Esteem: Leading By Example

Raising daughters with great self-esteem is something that is definitely very important to me.

I want them to be self-confident throughout their life and be leaders instead of followers.

I’d like them to have the courage to go after whatever they want and never have to listen to the negative opinions of others who just want to hold them back.

I also want them to never have to depend heavily on the flattery (especially false flattery) of others to make them feel good about themselves.

With girls I think it all starts with how they feel about their looks. Girls want to be seen as pretty. They need that affirmation that they are loved and liked by their family and friends. Most importantly from their parents.

I think the easiest way we as moms can influence the self-esteem of our daughters is to not only show them love and acceptance but to lead by example.

Our daughters watch us daily from the time they’re born to the time they’re old enough to leave home on their own.

If we portray a strong sense of our own self-esteem and we show them that we are confident within ourselves and are comfortable with our own looks, bodies, and abilities, I think that is the strongest example we can set for them.

If you are constantly putting yourself down in front of the mirror in front of them, or always talking negative about yourself, your looks, and your abilities or lack thereof, you need to realize they are watching and soaking it all in.

My own daughters are still young, but I remember watching my own mother growing up. She was always a very self-confident person with a good self-esteem.

I don’t remember her spending a lot of time obsessing over body weight or putting herself down. The comfort she portrayed with herself gave me a healthy dose of self-confidence and self-esteem for myself growing up. I think this is why I’ve always been (for the most part) comfortable with myself, my looks, and my abilities.

Sure, I love compliments…who doesn’t? We all need affirmation, but I don’t depend on it for survival and for my well-being.

Our kids have a habit of mirroring everything we do and it starts very young. I don’t want my daughter to always call herself “fat” every time she looks in the mirror, or doubt that her own talents and abilities are good enough to amount to anything in life.

Remember that next time you open your mouth to say something negative about yourself in front of your daughter.

Raising a daughter with great self-esteem starts with you.

This entry was posted in Kids.

I Miss The Summer – How To Beat The Winter Blues

As I put more and more layers on the kids to head outdoors I am slowly starting to miss the summer again. Don’t get me wrong, I love the change in seasons, but there’s nothing like the warmth and sunshine of summer that makes me come alive.

As it gets colder I just want to retreat inside and hide!

As a child I loved the winter snow, but now as an adult, cleaning snow off the car is not as enjoyable. If you’re like me, its hard to live in the North East during the winter time. There are some ways, however that I’ve found to make living through the winters more bearable. (On the contrary, if you love the winter, please leave your suggestions for the rest of us on how to enjoy below).

Sunlight

On the days that are sunny (but cold) I try to get out as much as possible. It’s so easy to just sit in doors and hibernate! For others who suffer from sadness and lack of motivation during the winter months, the use of a light box can also help you feel better.

Socializing

Spending time with friends and family also helps during the long winter months when getting out and spending time outdoors is restricted. Getting together on a regular basis or just keeping in touch over the phone helps keep the winter months from turning into long lonely winter months. Even a trip to the mall or museum is a nice break to the bleakness of a dragging winter.

Exercise

This winter I plan to get out and actually take my kids sledding if we get enough snow. It reminds you of why you enjoyed winter as a child and helps you hate it a little less! Sledding (or dragging the kids on the sled up the hill a hundred times) is actually excellent exercise which will give you a little energy and help release the “feel good chemicals” which help improve your mood. Walking, skiing, shoveling, and even indoor exercise will go a long way this winter for boosting your happiness level and killing the winter time blues!

Eat Well

Eating well will help keep your energy level up as well as help promote a good mood. Try to avoid processed foods high in sugar and heavy carbs. Try to include lots of fruits,  veggies and grains in your diet. Eating the wrong foods (Unfortunately, the ones we crave) which are high in fat and sugar will drain your energy level and mood even more as well as put unwanted extra weight on you (The reason why we way 20 pounds more by March and are always rushing to the gym to attempt to “shape up” by summertime!).

Enjoy The Season

Embrace the holiday season and don’t stop just because its Jan 1st (Some of my neighbors are good at this-leaving the inflatable Santa Claus in their front lawn untill the Fourth of July). Go out for walks with Hot Chocolate, take carriage rides, and go ice skating. Don’t Worry, before you know it wintertime will be gone, so lets try to take the sting out of it and make it feel as short as we possibly can.