Four signs you need Family support as a single mom.

family support needed

Being a single parent is hard. I remember coming home from the hospital with my son, holding him, and sobbing for hours. It didn't get better. In fact, it got worse. Suffering from postpartum psychosis and lack of sleep, I desperately needed family support - but I didn't know when to ask for it. Looking back, there were many signs I needed help - here are 4 to look out for.

1.     You are crying often.

Crying is a sign of multiple things. It could be a sign you are overwhelmed and need a break. It could signify that you are getting sick, as crying is an immune response when everything else is getting too weak. Crying is also a sign of severe sleep deprivation. Any of these are a sign that it is time to get a full night's sleep and get some help. Call a family member who can come, or even a close friend. If you cry a couple of times because you are momentarily overwhelmed, that is one thing. If you feel like you are crying more often than smiling (no matter how old your kiddos are) it is time to bring in the reinforcements.

2.      You are feeling off.

By this, I mean you are feeling dizzy, weak, nauseous - anything that doesn't feel right. Recovering from childbirth, or a particularly hard week with school or a teenager, can break down your body's defenses and leave you much more vulnerable to becoming ill - which you can’t afford as a single parent.

3.     You are thinking of hurting your child

As much as I wish I could say it doesn't happen - this happens all of the time. With postpartum psychosis, I STILL frequently consider throwing my son (whom I love more than anything else) into the garbage - and he's almost 9 months old. While this is most often found in parents with young children who are still adjusting to single parenthood, it can happen to any overwhelmed parent - no matter how much you love your children. Having experienced this desire first-hand - ADMITTING IT DOES NOT MEAN YOUR CHILD WILL BE TAKEN AWAY!! I cannot stress this enough. If you are truly overwhelmed and feel you may hurt your child, CALL SOMEBODY. It doesn't matter if it is family, friends, the cops.......any of these people will come to your aid.

4.     You need an adult.

Lastly - as much as kids rock, you can't really vent to them - it's not appropriate and they do not deserve that burden. Sometimes, you just need that interaction with an adult. This is crucially important to your mental health. If you feel yourself getting frustrated or anxious, it is time to organize a visit to your family - either to drop the kids off or enjoy time in a larger unit. Doing this before you hit a breaking point is by far the healthiest thing you can do for you and your children.

Just remember - even when things are getting particularly difficult, you are not failing as a parent. All parents hit the point where they just need some help - married and single parents alike. It doesn't mean you can't do your job - it means you are doing exactly what you need. And your kids will love you through it all.


6 Things Guys Should Know about Moms

Alright fellas, if you’re dating a mom, listen up. First off, congratulations, you’re probably dating a strong, passionate, kind, sincere, funny and talented lady. Next, pay attention to these 6 things guys should know about moms: it will improve your relationship and help you avoid trouble along the way.

6 Things Guys Should Know about Moms

#1 It took her some time to fall for you.

Moms don’t jump into relationships quickly. When you’re responsible for a child (or several), you always have your guard up, looking for those inevitable “deal breakers” in a perspective partner. So, if you’re in a relationship with a mom, you need to know that she has given this a lot of thought and you’ve demonstrated the key qualities she wants: you’re thoughtful, responsible and will be good with kids.


#2 Her kids are always Priority

Something happens when you become a mother. Well, lots of things happen, but the main one is a deep, fierce sense of responsibility for your child. Guys who date moms know that, no matter what is going on between the two of you, she will always need to know that her children are safe, secure, cared for and loved. She will cancel plans, change her mind and do whatever it takes to make sure her children are thriving.


#3 The Ex is a Factor.

If you’re dating a mom who maintains contact with her ex (the father), you need to respect that relationship. It is fragile and civil for the sake of the kids and they walk a very delicate path to keep things on an even keel. Do not intervene in this relationship. Instead, be as supportive and accommodating as you can be, realizing that she will choose to maintain a healthy relationship with her ex to the greatest extent possible: even if it means she isn’t dating you.


#4 She has a Crazy Life.

The mom you’re dating is trying to juggle it all: kids, an ex-husband, custody, a career, schedules, day care, soccer practice and an occasional girls’ night out. You can be part of the chaos, but you cannot contribute to it negatively. This means that you should offer to bring over dinner – for the entire family – when you want to spend time with her. Fitting into her crazy life will be difficult, but oh so worth it.


#5 She doesn’t need you; she wants you, and that’s much better.

Generally speaking, moms who are in the dating game aren’t looking for a meal ticket, a sugar daddy or someone to “fix” things. She’s got that covered. So, don’t expect her to be needy and dependent; she’s learned the hard way to depend on herself. She wants you in her life, and wanting someone is so much more powerful than needing them.


#6 She is loyal, loving and gives her whole heart.

Spend five minutes watching her with the kids and you’ve got everything you need to know about this mom. She really cares about the people in her life and shows them every day in amazing ways. She loves fiercely and will be loyal to those she loves. That means the kids, her friends and you, too. Dating this mom will be the best thing you’ve ever done.



Top 3 Tips for Moms Who Don’t Feel Sexy  

Many moms fall into the same routine, where they throw their hair up in a messy bun and put on the yoga pants. While this may be comfortable and convenient, it leaves you feeling frumpy, and undesirable.

Top 3 Tips for Moms Who Don’t Feel Sexy

A New Wardrobe. Take a minute and think about your closet… when was the last time you bought yourself something new—that actually fits and you like to wear? I’m going to guess that there are only a few, if any, of those articles of clothing in your closet. In many cases, moms are always worrying about everyone else, that they never think to buy themselves something. This leads to you having a closet full of clothes that are outdated and probably no longer fit. Thus, the yoga pants—they are an easy option that fit and are worn by many. However, if you want to feel sexy, you need to wear clothes that make you feel good—not just wear clothes that fit. Go to the mall, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack, a walk downtown to the boutiques, or wherever you want and buy yourself some new clothes that are age appropriate, fashion forward, that are comfortable and fit you! While your out shopping, buy yourself some new undergarments; wearing sexy clothes will instantly make you feel sexier!

Be Active and Eat Healthy. Probably the easiest way to feel sexy, is to feel confortable in your own skin and have the confidence knowing that you look good. You can shave off some pounds and sculpt your body however you want by working out and eating healthy. Group fitness classes are very popular among moms, because it gives you a social aspect too! Working out also supplies you with endorphins, allowing you to feel good while exercising On another note, eating healthy does not mean cutting out all the carbs out of your diet. Just being more aware of what you are eating. Most moms end up eating what their kids are eating, during snack time and meals. However, these are not necessarily the foods you should be eating. Try a more health conscious way of eating along with regular exercise to get you back to feeling sexy again.

Pamper yourself. Along with wearing clothes that actually fit and that make you feel good, you need to make sure to take the time to pamper yourself. This should be time set aside just for you or time with your friends. Go get a manicure, a massage, a facial, a bikini wax—whatever it is that makes you feel special and pretty. Feeling good about yourself is the key aspect to feeling sexy. By taking care of yourself, both inside and out, you will regain your confidence and feel sexy again.



How to Get Along With Your Child’s Teacher

Once your child goes to school, he or she begins to experience life without you and this means that things will happen that you will not always know about.  You will not only need to trust your child’s teachers as well as your child, but you will have to be the bridge of communication sometimes when conflict arises between your child and the ones who help care for your child.  Here are some suggestions that we think will help you in getting along with your child’s teacher.

How to Get Along With Your Child’s Teacher

Starting Off On the Right Foot

Good Beginnings for Communication

The first and best thing you can resolve to do is to communicate daily and openly.  Check in with your child’s teacher often – even before conflict requires it – and see how your child is doing from their perspective.  Ask your child specific questions about their day at school or how they enjoy their teachers.  Follow through on notes that are sent home about trouble spots in your child’s behavior or learning.  Make sure you have your child’s teacher’s email address and phone number.  And make sure they have all that information from you.  If you set up healthy habits for communication between you and your child and your child’s teacher from the very beginning, many future problems can be entirely avoided.


Bridge Over Troubled Water

Communication Through Conflict

When a conflict does occur, try to remain neutral while you are gathering as much information as possible.  Believe the best in your child and take their story to heart, but also believe the best in your child’s teacher and remember the challenges they face daily with teaching 10-15 other children besides only your child.  Give special consideration to the fact that misunderstandings happen and that your child may be expressing issues related to home that your child’s teacher will have no knowledge of.  Here are some questions to ask before rushing to judgment:

  • Is your child getting enough sleep?
  • Is there significant stress at home that may be contributing?
  • Has your child gone through any recent changes?
  • Is your child’s teacher having a problem with only your child or others too?
  • Is there significant stress at school that may be contributing?

Try to look at the problem from all angles and remember that your child’s teacher is human too.  Usually, if you just remember to be kind and patient as you communicate with your child and your child’s teacher, most problems can be easily solved.


Building Relationships of Trust

Communication, Patience and Kindness

There are always conflicts and problems that arise, but we feel certain that you can build good relationships of trust with your child’s teachers, coaches or even their friends as you continue to communicate with patience and kindness.  Your child will also learn by your example and will grow to understand and respect the differences of others around them even while becoming more confident in who they are.  Keep communication first, be patient and be kind and you will do well!





Mom, Can I Have a Dog?

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For the busy family with children, choosing a pet is a huge commitment. A pet is not just a toy or playmate, but actually a living, breathing member of the family that requires responsible love and care in order to survive. A pet can be a gentle, lovable and loyal addition to your family. A lot of thought should go into adopting a pet when you have a child.

In choosing the perfect pet to adopt for your kids, you have to first consider their age and maturity. The last thing you want to do is bring a young or tiny animal into your home and subject it to possible abuse because the kids do not fully understand the responsibility, needs and frailty of that new family member. Children beyond age six are usually a little more mature and capable of understanding how to handle a new kitten or puppy. It depends on the child. If you know your child will respond appropriately when told not to pick up the tiny animal for fear of dropping it, you may be ready to adopt a small and/or very young animal. If not, a larger, older pet may be more appropriate. That’s not to say that you should decide on a dangerously large pet. This is where research comes in to find the right animal that is very kid-friendly.

Some children just don’t have it in them to be devoted to the time and attention it takes in caring for a high-maintenance animal such a dog. A cat may be a better choice because of its independent nature. They don’t require as much human interaction and can be left alone, happily, for hours and more. They also don’t need to be walked and exercised regularly, which are among the needs of a dog.

There are pros and cons to having pets in the home. They do fill a void because it is nearly impossible not to smile with the presence of a cuddle or snuggle and wag of a friendly tail. However, pets are also a big responsibility both physically and financially. They require food, a cozy place to sleep, toys to play with and regular exercise and visits to the vet for good health.

Sometimes it is best to consider a small pet for the kids until they can prove they can take on the care and responsibility of another living creature. Such pets may include fish, a turtle, guinea pig, hamsters or gerbils. They take up relatively little space and are less costly to care for while teaching your little ones that these living beings do indeed require love and care. Once they have proven to be a responsible pet owner, then you may move on to choosing your favorite breed of dog.

Do Kids Still Get Allowances?

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Moms have an array of options when it comes to giving their kids a bit of spending money each week. As has been the case for generations, young boys and girls can often earn some extra cash by doing some chores around the home that will keep the household functioning optimally. In fact, allowances are still an excellent way to teach kids the value of money. When they learn that it is precious and needs to be spent as resourcefully as possible, they will develop responsible financial habits as they grow into adults and eventually strike out on their own.There are surely alternative ways that kids can get their hands on money, such as cash gifts at birthdays and other holidays. These are usually handed over by doting relatives, especially grandmothers and grandfathers, and children have every right to receive them. During other times of the year, such as the vast entertainment wasteland that is summer vacation, boys and girls should be given the chance to bring in some money for themselves.Household chores are the best way for this to occur. Younger children might be given the chance to rinse their dinner plates and make their beds. Some moms might wish this to extend to cleaning entire bedrooms from time to time. Most kids should be able to handle these kinds of tasks. For example, a dust rag and a spray bottle of cleaning fluid can quickly clean most of the dirt and grime off furniture and other surfaces. Some kids might also be responsible for vacuuming the house or helping in the garden. If this is not appropriate, moms can look for alternatives that will keep their children busy.Moms might also ask for some help with dinner on work nights. For example, boys and girls who are a little older might be asked to cut up a few vegetables or set the table. This way, when parents arrive home from work, the final touches can be added to what should be a perfectly elegant meal. On certain nights of the week, kids might also be asked to do the dishes. This could involve anything from washing the dishes by hand to loading and unloading the dishwasher.

Ultimately, though alternatives are available, allowances should certainly remain part of the child-rearing process. Children might even be rewarded for receiving good grades during their kindergarten and elementary school years. When they understand that hard work will be rewarded with hard cash, this particular lesson should remain with them into the realm of adulthood.

Oh No! She’s Asking For Her Own Phone!

girl with cell phone

I grew up in the generation of beepers. I had never even seen a cell phone until I was in my late teens and I didn't own one until my early 20s. Fast-forward a few years later. I'm sitting with my best friend in her living room and her 11-year-old walks in with a high-end smartphone. Though I never felt it was my business to ask why, I'm pretty sure that the shock was registered all over my face. These days, kids with phones are younger and younger. 75 percent of children aged 12 to 17 own a cell phone. How can we tell if our children really need these devices or if we are just giving in to their peer pressure?

The truth is, it's hard. There is no magical age. It's not like you turn 12 and are suddenly a mature adult. The decision to give your kids a mobile device depends on things such as their level of responsibility, your family's lifestyle and your location. If your child can't even make her bed without you practically having to lock her in her room, she's probably not responsible enough to carry around and use a cell phone. However, sometimes they are needed. Today's families are busier, often with both parents working full-time jobs and the children participating in multiple activities. If plans tend to change at the last minute in your family, it might be time to get your child a cell. If you live in an area where your son or daughter will be walking to school alone, they should probably have a way to contact you in case of an emergency. As a basic rule, once children reach middle school age, they are likely to need a cell phone.

No matter her age, in the event that you do decide to purchase a phone for your child, you should look into your options. You may want to start with a basic phone to test her level of responsibility before switching her to a smartphone. You can choose phones that allow only for dialing certain phone numbers that you program in and cell phones that have GPS tracking devices so you always know where you child is. Many cell phone companies now have add-on packages that allow you to completely and totally monitor your child's cell phone and even turn off certain features or the whole phone between times that you specify. No matter your decision, be sure to think it through and talk it over with other parents or guardians and the child herself.

Back to School Tees…on the Cheap

cheap-tees...back to school tees - on the cheap. 😉 Check out what we made today using fabric pens and these really fun "doodle-pop" embellishments at Michaels.

So simple - yet so cute.

The bright colored embelishments were actually iron-on embroidered art doodles.  I just used one white, and one black fabric pen and added some of the backfround designs.  (Swirls, stars, hearts, little buildings...honestly - anyone can do it!)

They also have some "flocked" matching iron ons that you can use to add detail (see the octopus photo).

Everything, including the transfers, tees, and pens cost me less than $20!

Click the link above for more information...and don't forget to grab your online Michaels coupon!

Mom Review: Bleach Baths for Eczema…Do they Work?

eczemaMy daughter has severe eczema.  So severe that she referred to herself as "polka-dotted" when someone commented on her tan. "Boy are you tan..."..."no, I'm just polka-dotted".  Thankfully, she's only six and the "polka-dots" caused by dry skin are still somewhat funny to her...

Lately her condition has worsened and it is no longer funny to either of us.  While I had hoped that the humidity of summer would improve the problem it has aggravated it.  (I am suspect that the 3X daily dose of sunscreen or seasonal allergies is making it worse).

I've tried just about everything to treat her eczema - from slathering on Hydrocortisone creams to trying the "as seen on TV" skin care remedies and while her condition improves somewhat (off and on) nothing has eliminated it.   During my monthly search for the "next best thing" I came across numerous websites that suggested adding a small amount of bleach to a child's bath water will help treat eczema.  Yes - bleach. Like many of you reading this, my initial reaction was, "are you kidding me?". Why would I put bleach in my child's bath water?   So I continued to search and realized that the bleach treatment was actually featured in numerous reputable magazines and websites including Time, WebMD, and ABC

From Time Magazine....

When treating children for chronic eczema, pediatricians may want to look in the laundry room, according to a new study published this week in the journal Pediatrics. The study reports that adding a small amount of household bleach to a child's bathwater can dramatically reduce the itching, rashes and discomfort caused by eczema.

The treatment sounds harsh, but the findings confirm what many pediatric dermatologists have seen anecdotally for years. The theory is that the antimicrobial properties of bleach help relieve symptoms of eczema not by acting directly on that skin condition, but by improving children's skin infections of staph bacteria — a common co-occurrence that exacerbates the irritating symptoms of eczema.

Last year  my husband (who also suffers from eczema) nearly wound up in the hospital after contracting a severe MRSA (anti-biotic resistant) strain of staph infection, therefore, I've been especially concerned about my daughter's condition.   While the "bleach bath" treatment sounds harsh, there is nothing worse than watching a loved one suffer from a staph infection and not knowing what antibiotics (or even *if* antibiotics) will help.

So I'm giving it a try and will post the results (after a few weeks) here.  She had her first bath tonight and so far, so good!  🙂  I used 1/4 cup of bleach in our full tub.   Her hair is the same color...her skin is the same color...and she didn't seem bothered by the smell.  (She actually liked it..."it smells like a pool in here".  Oh...and the tub is bright white and looks AWESOME.  🙂

I'm planning to give her a 10 minute bleach bath nightly followed by a slathering of Aveeno oatmeal lotion (recommended by our neighborhood pharmacist).  Bookmark this post and I will share my review in a few weeks.

(This is just my personal opinion and review - please consult your pediatrician or dermatologist before trying this treatment).

Not a Fan: Old Navy Little Girls’ Jeans

jeansToday was back to school shopping day.  Let me start by saying that I was *thrilled with the deals!  $10.00 Jeans at Old Navy...$10-$12.00 Jeans at Kohls.   I felt like I hit a gold mine.

I bought 4 pairs of girls Jeans at Kohls - and three more pairs at Old Navy for a total of $$65.00  I felt like I'd hit the jackpot.

...and then - fitting time.

I unloaded my bags and had my six year old daughter try on her jeans.  The first pair (from Kohls) was from the "Jumping Beans" line.  One of my all time favorites.

Cute, stylish...yet still "childish" - elastic waistband...cute detailing including little "heart" pockets.  Perfect.  I spent $7.00 - cha-ching!

Next, we tried the "SO" Kohls brand jeans 2 for $22.00.  Again, cute...simple - adjustable waistband...again - perfect.

Finally, the Old Navy brand jeans.  I bought one "boot cut" pair, and another "flare leg" in size 6.

....Not a fan.  My six year old daughter literally had to "jump" up and down to get the jeans to her waist.  If that wasn't horrifying enough...they were skin tight on the thighs and extremely low-waisted.

...I am not a prude (by any stretch of the imagination)  - but why in the world would a little girl need to "hop" into her jeans?  ....and why so tight?  My daughter is average-sized (a little slim) and these jeans were tighter than tight around the thighs and bottom...and "low-rise" enough that if she bent over to pick up a crayon...her bottom would be showing.

Do we really need to "show-off" the figures of little girls? Do they even have a figure yet?

Mind you, I am a huge fan of Old Navy for myself - but I will no longer be shopping there for anything but graphic tees for my little girl.

I just don't get it...