School is Now in Session!

As a mom of two teenagers and a toddler, organization and routine is important to decrease stress and maintain a healthy balance in my home.

Below are some ways
that I do this:

Schedule family time:  Allow your children to help plan a weekly family night.  An example is renting videos and watching them at home with favorite movie snacks to enjoy.  During family night, rules should be established, such as no texting or taking phone calls.

Choose chores:  Because everyone’s schedules are busier now, it is helpful to have a family meeting where everyone can decide which chores they will be responsible for.

Homework:  By providing your children a calendar and having one for yourself, both of you can jot down any special dates and scheduled tests.   Staying organized is the key to a successful school year!

Observe child’s behavior:   Be mindful of any changes in behavior, sleep, and eating behaviors.

Offer support and solutions:  Be your child’s strongest advocate.  Reach out to teacher s and counselors to help you and your child.

Listen:  Use car rides home and dinner time to talk with your child.

Real Mom Lisa

Today’s guest author is Lisa Salazar, MA, LMFT, LPC who is a licensed marriage and family therapist.  She has been married for 18 years and has 3 children.   Books in the Burbs is a blog that Lisa maintains to write book reviews.

Spare Your Sanity; Save Yourself-Part 2

Here’s part 2 of what you can do to maintain your health and sanity.

  1. Ask for help.  Speak with family and friends about how they can help especially if you’ve just had a new baby.  Be direct about the kinds of help you will appreciate, both childcare assistance and emotional support.  Research has shown that you benefit most from support if it’s what you need, not what others might imagine you need.
  2. Nurture your sense of humor.  The ability to step back and laugh at life’s challenges and frustrations is an asset.  If you can see anything funny in what you’re going through, imagine looking back on this scene two or three years from now.   Believe it or not, some of your worst days now will make great stories later on.
  3. Self-Acceptance:  One of the hardest habits is learning to love ourselves wholly with our strengths and limitations.  Practice unconditional love and positive regard towards yourself because you are a unique, special person.  For no other reason than that.  Don’t compare yourself to other moms.  Make your motherhood and life journey your own.

If you can practice one or two of these habits weekly, kudos to you.  If there’s one which appeals to you, try it 2-3 times a week or daily for 10-15 minutes.  Make it your goal over the next few months to experiment with adding each of these to your weekly/daily life.  Remember, motherhood is a lifetime journey and self-care is the key to emotional health and happiness.

Spare Your Sanity; Save Yourself-Part 1

While this article was originally written for new moms, it offers advice which all women can benefit from. If you don’t have children, think of all the people in your life you care for and how that affects you.  All women need self-care to stay healthy and sane.

7 Sanity Saving Tips:

  1. Care for your children by caring for yourself.  Practice our “Five A Day.”  Eat, sleep, get regular physical activity, rest/take breaks and connect with yourself and others.  Put your oxygen mask on first, so you have the energy and vitality to be the mom your children deserve.
  2. Take three to four hours a week for “me-time.”  You may think you can run full-tilt 24/7, but your body and mind was not designed for this.  You need periods of rest-oration for optimal health.  Without refilling your pitcher, you will feel depleted, exhausted, impatient and resentful.
  3. Know yourself.  The greater your need for control, the more likely you are to come unraveled as a mom when life runs itself.  Try cutting back before children.  Start removing items from your “to-do list” and prioritizing what is truly important.  Practice not having things “just so” for improved adjustment.
  4. Notice your accomplishments (even if no one else does).  Put your attention on what you’re getting done instead of where you’re falling short.  Keep a jar and every time you do something, drop a coin in.  Change a diaper-a coin, feed your baby-a coin, bathe your baby-a coin.  It adds up fast.

Part 2 next Monday🙂

Pick Your Pie

“For those of you who feel overwhelmed and yet can’t see what you could eliminate from your schedule, I’d like to address a few things here. First, I want you to know that life really isn’t a competition. I think we can all agree that a little competitiveness is good-it motivates, keeps us on our toes and helps us do our best. But when you feel everything you do is being compared to someone else, it can make you a little crazy!

I’m not knocking being the best at something. But there are tons of other positions in life. You’re probably familiar with them despite killing your Self to be number one. I’m urging you right now to just do the best you can (and let your kids do the same) and then relax.

Instead of ‘putting your fingers in so many pies’ I’m urging you to limit your kids’ activities to one, maybe two, things a week. Just think how much more family time you’ll have! I’m urging you to choose one, maybe two volunteer activities you feel passionate about and let the others go. You will find you have more time and energy than you’ve had in a long time. Believe me when I say no one is judging you for what you are or aren’t doing. Everyone is too wrapped up in their own lives to give yours more than a brief notice.”

Today’s author is Stacey Glaesmann, MA, LPC. Her book is What About Me?

What is a Mother?

As we conclude our Mother’s Day Contest/Challenge, here are some final thoughts about what motherhood means.  One of our favorite poems about mother/parenthood is from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, “On Children.”

“Your children are not your children.  They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. ..

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.”

Another touching  account of motherhood is found in the video “What Is A Mother,” from Mother to Mother, one of our challenge champions.  Click here to view.

Then I saw Katherine Stone’s beautiful Mother Day post at Daily Hope and wanted you to see it too.

“You will discover the mother inside you and how beautiful and wonderful she is thanks in part to the love from your children.  You will grow to see yourself as your child sees you when he or she calls your name, or falls asleep comfortably in your arms, or smiles at you, or wants you when she is scared or hurt, or asks your opinion when he needs guidance.  You will see. ”

Photo by Real Mom Kim

We took the weekend off to practice self-care so contest winners will be announced Wednesday.  In the meantime, we hope you’ll send us your comments about what motherhood means to you.  Remember, make everyday Mother’s Day by Living Self-Care.

Self-Care During the Heat Wave

Temperatures have been breaking records all over the country due to the extreme heat. Not only is it uncomfortable, but triple-digit temperatures can be the cause of illness and even death if you don’t take care of yourself!

Some self-care techniques may seem obvious when you step outside and immediately start sweating. Stay inside where there’s air conditioning, drink plenty of water, and, if you do have to be outside for more than 15 minutes, wear at leastSun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 sunscreen to protect your skin from dangerous sunburns and seek out shady spots and take breaks often. However, there are some facts about self-care in the heat that many are not aware of.

Pools are popular places for residents to go for relief from the heat. The cool water masks the fact that you are still most likely sweating. Also, the pool water can actually focus ultraviolet (UV) rays on to your skin in a more extreme manner than if you were out of the water. So if you think you have less of a chance of getting burned in the pool, think again. Don’t pass up that SPF 30 or greater sunscreen, and apply it often – about every 30 minutes. This also applies to visits to the beach or a lake!

Cloudy, breezy days also seem to encourage folks to come outside. Many people believe that since it is cloudy, their risk for sunburn is diminished. Unfortunately, UV rays easily penetrate even the thickest cloud cover can can burn skin just as quickly as they would on a clear day.

It is true that the best times of the day to be outside in weather like this is in the mornings before 10 a.m. or in the afternoons after 4 p.m. The sun is not high in the sky during these times and UV rays are not as harsh. However, if you are required to be outside for over one hour during the heat of the day, wearing long sleeved shirts, long pants and a hat will give you the greatest protection. It sounds backwards, but the clothing will protect your skin and will also help absorb moisture from sweat. In this case, it is essential to stop and drink water every 10 – 15 minutes to lessen the chances of experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke. It used to be common thought that sugar and caffeine found in sodas and other drinks actually dehydrated the body, but this has been found to be false. However, experts still agree that water is the best option for hydration in temperatures this hot.

It looks like the heat is here to stay for a while, but using the self-care tips outlined above, you and your family can navigate the summer free of sunburns and heat illness.

For Prego Moms: Beat the Summer Heat!

We’ve been discussing all types of ways to engage in self-care.
No time is more important than when you’re pregnant.

Prego Factoid: During your pregnancy, your body produces
approximately 50% more blood and body fluids to meet the needs of the developing baby. Swelling is a normal part of pregnancy that is caused by this additional blood and fluids. Normal swelling, which is also called edema, is experienced in the hands, face, legs, ankles, and feet.

Swelling can happen at any point during your pregnancy but is
usually noticeable around your fifth month; it can increase while you are in
the third trimester. Here’s why it happens: Summertime heat, standing for longer periods of time, “long” days of activity, diets low in potassium, higher
levels of caffeine consumption, and too much sodium.

Now for the self-care part! Eating foods that are high in potassium such as bananas and avoiding caffeine can reduce your swelling. Here are helpful hints:

  • Avoid standing for long periods
  • Minimize outdoor time when it is hot
  • Rest with your feet elevated
  • Wear comfortable shoes, avoiding high heels if possible
  • Wear supportive tights or stockings
  • Avoid clothes that are tight around your wrists or ankles
  • Have your legs massaged
  • Remove your rings before your fingers swell up
  • Drink water which helps flush the body and reduce water
  • Minimize sodium (salt) intake, avoid adding additional salt to

If you follow a regimen of self-care, you’ll always feel better!  Today’s guest author is Mollee of