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Traveling with a Toddler

Traveling a far distance with a toddler can be a daunting experience. After having taken my one year-old on several cross-country flights and a week-long road trip, I felt it would be nice to share some of our successes and failures in case there are any parents out there who are gearing up to bravely take their little ones on their first big trip.

mom baby place

As far as places to stay go, I can’t stress enough how much more convenient it is to find a hotel that either offers suites with a kitchenette, which is ideal, or a room that has a refrigerator. Your toddler is going to need somewhere for their milk and other perishable snacks and food. This is beyond difficult to deal with when you are limited to ice machines and coolers. Having experienced both options, I would gladly pay a few extra dollars for the luxury of the refrigerator amenity.

When it comes to flying, there are some things to consider. We have successfully maneuvered our baby boy through long flights and flights with layovers. There are benefits to both depending on what kind of kid you have. A flight with layover gives you the opportunity to stretch your legs and take a break from the plane atmosphere. A direct flight makes for a much shorter day of travel. While a layover can be a nice break, it can also make for a super long day because switching planes takes an hour at least.


Dealing with the Stigmas of Your Choices

by Richel on April 15, 2013
category: Pop culture,Practical Tips

We are homeschoolers.  We are also a family of five.  We also have a mommy that stays home.  That’s just a couple of the choices we have made.  Despite all of those being really great choices in my mind, sadly society on a whole judges us.  People wrinkle their brows and roll their eyes when they find out we homeschool.  They ask us why we wanted to have three kids when it is so expensive.  They ask me if I get bored working at home.


What I want to ask them is when did it become cool to judge other moms?  It is the single most horrible thing about being a mom when it comes to walking out of the house with your kids.  You are not only judged as a women (too fat, too thin, too mean, too flirty) you are now judged by the choices that you make as a mom.  Like I need another thing to worry about people.  I mean, I am trying to raise tiny humans for goodness sake.

I once met a really nice man who told me that “life is better when you embrace that there is unity in diversity.” Boy I wish that was a national motto in America and a few other places……………

In a world full of war, bullies and others who are trying to say that there view is the best and that you should think like them, saying that there is unity in the fact that we are all different is a big statement.  It is hard sometimes to understand why people feel so empowered to share their opinion but most of all I struggle with the fact that people seem to feel so empowered to share their opinion in front of my kids.

The other day I was talking to a lady who is new on the street.  She asked if my boys were sick.  This I assume was because it was 9:30am and my boys were outside, riding bikes and playing Nerf Guns and not at school.  I told her we homeschool and the boys had finished all of their work early today, so we decided to play for a while.  I got the usual one eyebrow up and the “wow you homeschool” look.

I told her that is was the most amazing experience and that she should not judge me for my choice because it was my choice.  She said she was not judging anyone but I told her “ya you kind of are.”  I had to call her out, I really felt like I had to stick up for my choice and my kid.

The thing was, my oldest was standing right there and wanted to know why that lady was acting like going to school at home was bad.  This prompted us to have to sit down and talk to him that going to school at home is not only just as good, if not better than going to school the way everyone else does and that her reaction was only because she didn’t understand that being different, well that being different is not a bad thing.

If we were all the same, then we would all be very limited in what we do, what we like and how we do these things.  It is because we are all different that we come together and learn from each other.  It’s a hard concept for kids to understand but sadly it is harder for adults to learn.  It is also sad that I cannot imagine not being judged by the other moms on the playground.  It is even more sad that I expect to see people roll their eyes when I say I homeschool.  We all know that being a mom means doing the work of like 40 by yourself so why do we not get the fact that it only makes it harder when we judge that other mom who is busting her booty to just get the kids to their play date?

When I became a mom the last thing in the world I wanted was to be judged.  Being a mom is hard enough and we all know that.  So why do we feel so obligated to judge other moms.  Can’t we just appreciate that they are just trying to make the best choices for their family?  Their family is not mine, so why would I want to pass judgement on them when I don’t know what it is like to be them?  I think it is possible but it is going to mean that we all put each other in check.  Moms need to mom up and when they have that other mom roll their eyes at them for having their 4 year old use a sippy cup, we need to say that we all make our own decisions and that’s okay.

So take the pledge a embrace your choices.  Just like you tell your kids that the kid that called them stupid is really the stupid one, don’t be afraid to stand up and say that you made a choice and it was right for you.  Be proud of your choices.  You made them for a reason right!?

Teaching Children About Home Security

by Tina on April 9, 2013
category: 5 – 12 years (kid),Practical Tips

Once children reach the age of comprehension, which could be as young as five for some, it is a good idea to start teaching them important and valuable lessons about home security. It is necessary to teach your children about home security at a young age so that it sticks with them as they get older and ultimately until they are adults living in their own home. There are many ways to teach your children important lessons on home security and safety.


Practice Learning Emergency Numbers

Once your children get to the age where they can recognize and remember numbers, you will want to teach them to call 9-1-1 if there is ever an emergency situation going on. You can explain to your children that calling 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency can save lives. Let your children know that whenever they feel scared or uncomfortable in a situation, whether it is someone breaking into the home, a fire, or any other serious emergency, that they should dial this number.


My Ex, Myself and the Expectation Balance

by Alexandra Lucia on March 18, 2013
category: Healthy Mom,Husbands and Dads,Practical Tips

If you’re anything like me, you are probably selfless to your own downfall.  Whether it’s with friends, family, and especially with a significant other, this can create complications.

With my most recent breakup, I’ve found that these complications usually don’t arise as a major issue with the other person (that’s a separate subject entirely), it morphs into an ugly resentment monster, usually pent up deep within our own selves.

couple finding balance

The resentment monster then begins to slowly manifest itself in the form of snippy comments, aloofness, or if you’re lucky enough to have to navigate my map of emotions, complete silence and disengagement.

I turn into an unresponsive, and probably a passive aggressive stone statue, “Everything’s fine, no worries, yea cool, whatever”.  Looking back, those are a few of the delightful gems that my ex-boyfriend had to endure.

Selflessness aside, I have myself to blame for choosing to try to be a super woman girlfriend, and expecting a superman boyfriend in return.  My former boyfriend is a musician (a tremendously successful musician, who I still cannot get over).  We’ve been involved for three years, and bond regularly over contemporary art and reggae music.

Based on my personality, I know that I will stop everything at the sound of a needle dropping for someone I love.  But, I also need to feel the love back.  I believe the littlest gestures, and small amounts of individual attention, make a world of difference.  I dropped engagements, plans with friends, and huge dreams of drama school to be completely devoted to a person who I still think is insanely brilliant, without giving myself enough credit to think similarly of myself.

While I am still reeling over the separation, blaming myself for not being supportive “enough”, awkwardly trying to figure out if we can be friends, and secretly hoping things might be different if we have a second chance, I do realize that there is a balance, and I clearly haven’t achieved that balance.

I recall disagreeing during a one year anniversary (on and off anniversary) because I wanted to go dancing, and he didn’t.  I ended up picking up the tab for “our” dinner and hearing a convincing argument as to why we should do something at a later date (which we never did).  Almost immediately, I began telling myself that I was “too needy” and how “selfish” I am to want to go dancing with my significant other.  But, in retrospect, it was my selflessness that choked a lot of the love, and maybe even permanently caused the flames of love to fizzle.  I lost sight of my passions and goals and desires, and I became a femmebot machine, nodding at every whim, and graciously exhausting myself at every command.

I know I’m not alone in this epidemic.  So what can WE as women do about it?

First, I think we need to check in with ourselves every so often.  Or, as a wise friend says, “Check yoself before you wreck yoself”.  If you are or anticipate being in a relationship at any point in the future, make sure you’re achieving your goals, and pursuing your dreams regardless of who is in the picture.

Second, if you have any gut feelings that you’re being mistreated, manipulated, disrespected (in any way), speak up!  If it’s repetitively harmful (physical or emotional), get out. You’re not crazy, and you’re not needy.  You’re intelligent, and wildly talented, you’re just maintaining your self worth.

Finally, if you feel like you’re battling to keep a spark alive, or a relationship that has an expiration date, and nothing is changing, make the change yourself.  If you’re exhausting every inch of your soul, energy, finances, and conversations to convince someone to be with you, to help you out, to spend one night a week at home with you, let them go!

The fact is, I am perfectly imperfect, but I let my expectations cloud the physical inactions (and actions) that I received.  I created a prince in shining armor, and became a resentful monster; all I had to do was make a change, and focus on myself.

Working as a Family to Save Money

by Richel on March 14, 2013
category: Practical Tips

When you work as a family to save money, you not only teach your children the value of saving, you also teach them that a family should work together and have good communication.  Teaching the value of money will benefit them long into adulthood.

Most children are not in a position to earn income from an outside source to help with the family’s financial plans; their involvement will largely be in the saving money through making good choices and helping to find deals when shopping. This is still a great way to add value to their skills buy teaching them there are many ways to save money everyday.  The last time my family got together to brainstorm ideas on how to save money, we came up with several relatively painless ways to reduce our expenditures.

money mom

Buy and sell consignment items

Some towns and cities have consignment stores where people can take their used (but still in good condition) items to a storefront where they are priced by the store manager and offered for sale at the store. Sometimes consignment stores have special niches. Prices on the items in the consignment store typically are lower than the retail price but if it is a lightly used item, you can still get a good amount of cash back.

Play It Again Sports consignment stores are often the first stop for parents to go when they need to buy sports equipment for their school age children. It is a great way to save money on what kids need and also sell items that they have outgrown.  You can find just about any type of sports equipment lightly used.  This will save you tons of money.


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