Life After Birth: 5 Ways to Take Care Of Yourself

Check out part one and part two of our series of frequently asked questions on postpartum mood disorders. We are offering an exclusive discount to Today’s Mama’s readers. Enter code HMHBLOVESTM to take $40 off a lifetime membership to our program. In our two-part series on postpartum mental health, we mentioned the idea of upping your self-care game if you have the baby blues. (Please note: the baby blues is not a postpartum mood disorder. Read our previous posts for a clear explanation and check out this post about baby blues vs. postpartum depression.) Self-care is often neglected during the blur of new motherhood, so we hope these fun ideas will tempt you to treat yourself and indulge in some much deserved YOU time.

Enjoy Some Water Therapy

Budget: Ask your partner, a friend, family member or sitter to take your little(s) for an hour of uninterrupted time. Fill up your tub and add your favorite bubbles, oils, or salts (we love these Ancient Minerals bath salts). Light a candle, and turn on your favorite Pandora station loud enough to cancel out any potential baby/toddler noises. Make sure to lock the door, so your zen isn’t interrupted.

Splurge: Consider checking out a float tank (get approval from your provider first!) in your area. Float tanks (sometimes called sensory deprivation tanks) are large, light- and sound-free chambers concentrated with Epsom salt so your body floats to the surface. It can be used as a tool for stress and pain management. If you don’t have any float tank companies in your area, consider getting a day pass to a local spa that has a hot tub. Either way, you’ll still get some deep relaxation and restorative time alone.

Find A Supportive Community

We were designed to mother in communities. Reaching out for help is life skill that you can start practicing today! Sometimes a good laugh or venting session with a friend can help do the trick. Other times, you may need a more experienced professional to step in.

Budget:  Set up a babysitting swap with another mama friend. You watch her kid(s) while she enjoys some alone time, and next time she’ll watch yours. Don’t have any close mama friends? Ask anyone you trust to watch your little(s) and you can “repay” them with a coffee or have them over for dinner once you’re feeling up to it. Don’t want to be alone? Strap the baby in the stroller, grab a friend, go for a walk, and allow yourself an hour to just vent on how freaking hard motherhood is. Once you’re done releasing, discuss ways you can troubleshoot the difficult situations. Need professional support? Check out Postpartum Support International’s free, live “Chats With an Expert” which are facilitated by licensed mental health professionals. You can also see if your insurance covers visits to health professionals, such as a behavioral health and marriage and family therapists.

Splurge: Hire a personal trainer, registered dietitian (this may be covered by your insurance), life coach, or business coach who can offer you personalized strategies to reach your unique goals, whatever they may be.

Streamline Your Beauty Routine

I mean, you’re absolutely stunning without makeup, but sometimes it just feels nice to spend a few minutes brushing your hair and taking care of your skin. Take some time to figure out a quick beauty routine that works for you. If you know you can breeze through your beauty routine in under 10 minutes with products you love to use, you’ll probably make regular time to do so.

Budget: We all have that one friend who has fantastic hair and makeup. Ask her if she’d come over to take a look at your makeup drawer and help you figure out which products to keep; which products to toss; which products to invest in; and how to organize everything. She’ll be honored to share her tips with you, and you’ll get some girlfriend time in!

Splurge: Consider going to a local Ulta or department store make-up counter and have them give you a quick make-over. You’ll likely have to purchase a product and/or pay a small fee for the service, but it can be a fun, new way to recreate your style. Ask for a simple routine to keep it reasonable! Or, you can try Beautycounter’s 5-Minute Face Kit. You could also go to a nice salon and get a great new haircut. Ask the stylist for some tips for fabulous, low-maintenance style!

Channel Your Inner Bookworm

I’m talking fiction — dramatic, juicy, “I can’t put it down” books. I’m NOT talking sleep training books and the other millions of baby books that make you doubt your mama instincts. Pick a new favorite tome and find some time to read each week.

Budget: Head to your library and find something that will take your mind off of mom-ing for awhile. You may be able to time it just right to join the library’s mommy and me group while you’re there! Or, you could also borrow a book from a friend, family member, or neighbor who has similar interests. Consider joining a book club. You might be able to find a local one on Meetup, or you can join an online book club on Instagram, like Belletrist, Book Bento, or RWBookClub.

Splurge: Consider getting a Kindle or Audible membership to keep your personal library fresh with new options.

Get Help with Grocery Shopping and Food Prep

Budget:  Consider a time-saving grocery service, like Instacart. Some popular local grocery stores also offer this service, and Amazon Prime Now delivers groceries in specific areas. You could also host a  weekly meal swap with your neighbors/community, where you each make a few batches of your favorite meal. Then you can “trade” batches of your meal for other meals so you get a variety of meals throughout the week, with less work and prep time.

Splurge: Let meal-delivery companies do the cooking for you! There are plenty of Whole30 Approved options out there. If cooking relaxes you, but you’d like help with some of the prep work, consider a service like SunBasket. Maybe meal planning gets you down. In that case, a subscription to RealPlans might be the ticket. It will save you tons of time planning and you’ll find delicious, new recipes to keep your meals exciting.

Bonus ideas from our HMHB Community:

“Tiara time” Dedicate at least 5-minutes to yourself.  You can designate this time by literally putting on a toy tiara, or by sitting in a certain spot in your house. When your partner or (older) kids see that, they’ll know that you need a minute to recharge and that they can’t interrupt you until it’s over.

Purchase a new coffee mug with a fun slogan Choose something to make you smile every morning. I like mugs from Brim Papery and The Love Bomb Company.

Start a new hobby or rekindle an old passion. Strap on your dusty rollerblades, learn how to kickbox, decorate cakes, play piano, color, or dance. The options are endless!

Walk around Target without a child or a time limit What else is there to say?

Recognize Yourself

The simplest way to take care of yourself? Remind yourself that you’re still you! It’s important to “put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.” In order to be the best version of yourself, you need to have your own needs met, and this includes taking time for self-care. When you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re more likely to pick arguments with your partner, yell at your kids, and emotionally eat. Simply taking a few minutes for yourself each day can make all the difference. Give it a shot, mama! What do you have to lose? What’s your favorite way to take care of yourself? Join the conversation on Instagram or send us an email.


Steph(hi)-6Stephanie Greunke is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition who specializes in women’s health. She is a certified personal trainer and prenatal and postnatal corrective exercise specialist. Stephanie guides and supports women locally and globally through her web-based private practice, RockYourHormones.com.

 

 

Note: Some of the links contained in this website are affiliate links. This means that we may receive a commission if you click on the link and make a purchase from the affiliate. We only recommend products and services that we know or trust to be of high quality, whether an affiliate relationship is in place or not.

 

Apps You Need If You’re Traveling Over the Holidays

By Christine Elgersma, Common Sense Media

Traveling with kids is always an adventure. And anything longer than a trip across town requires some strategic planning to keep kids entertained, civil, and — ideally — learning along the way. In the mix of homework, books, music, and of course actually talking, apps can be super helpful when you’re trapped in a car or a plane. Whether you want to listen as a group, have the kids play together, or let them get their thinking caps on, check out these apps and our other travel lists to find what works best for your family.

All-Together Audio

Tales Untold, 4+. These short audio stories are in perfect bite-sized bits to get you from one rest stop to the next. With fiction and nonfiction, there’s something for everyone, including a magical adventure story, a mystery-based series, and a fact-based nonfiction series, among others. The first episode in each series is free, but you’ll have to pay for the rest. Also check out Pinna – Audio for Kids.

Leela Kids – Best Audio Content for 3-15 Yr Olds, 7+. Instead of providing original content, this app curates the best podcasts and audio content for kids, so you don’t have to do the legwork. You can choose topics based on your kid’s age and the categories that interest them most, like Animals, Music, and Space. Leela Kids is free and the quality of the content varies. But you can always switch to something else without worrying about the price. Also check out This American Life.

Backseat Bonding

RelationShapes, 3+. RelationShapes (get it?) allows for more than one finger to match shapes and solve puzzles at the same time. So if you have two kids playing on the same device, they can practice playing cooperatively and helping each other. Not only do kids match and construct shapes into pictures — a bit like Tangrams — they can make original creations as well. Parents can also set up multiple profiles if kids want to take turns playing instead of working together. Also check out Duel 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade Math Games for Kids.

Heads Up!, 7+. This classic guessing game is still one of the best co-play apps around. The person who’s “it” holds the phone or tablet at forehead level with the mystery word facing out, and the other player gives hints. After each correct answer, the player tilts the device to get the next answer on the screen. Kids can easily play while seated, but it’s better for the car versus the plane or bus because it can get rambunctious. Also check out Trivia Crack.

Off-the-Grid Good Times

Monument Valley 2, 8+. This mind-bending adventure through a surreal landscape tests your spatial sense. And its soothing, sensory environment is ideal for those who like problem-solving without pressure (who needs more of that when you’re traveling?). Once it’s downloaded you can play offline, and there are lots of levels to keep kids occupied. Though it’s not really a co-play game, kids can help each other figure things out if there’s one device to share. Also check out Zoombinis.

The Room, 11+. This creepy puzzle-based app has an involved story and lots of mystery. As kids solve complicated and beautiful puzzles, they move along in the story — and to the next puzzle. Once you pay and download, you no longer need to be connected to play. If your kid loves it and wants more, you can invest in parts two and three of the series as well. Also check out Lifeline.

Low-Key Learning

Busy Shapes & Colors, 2+. This great problem-solving app has kids sorting colors and shapes while solving simple puzzles (it can also be played offline). The difficulty increases as kids progress, which will help beat back boredom. If there’s an older sibling in a generous spirit, it’s also an opportunity for some gentle guidance and instruction. Also check out Artie’s Magic Pencil.

codeSpark Academy, 5+. codeSpark introduces the basic concepts of logic and looping in a fun game, and it’s great for kids who aren’t reading yet. Parents can include up to three profiles, so siblings can all use the app on their own. It’s free to download, but if you subscribe, kids can get new content every month. Also check out The Robot Factory by Tinybop and Thinkrolls: Kings & Queens.

Weirdwood Manor, 8+. Half book and half game, Weirdwood Manor reads like a digital book but with lots of interactivity and puzzles to solve. And the atmosphere is mysterious and eerie without being too scary. Kids can try the first chapter to see if it’s a hit, then parents can purchase one chapter at a time or the whole collection at once. Also check out Device 6.

 

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Perfect Weekend Getaway in NYC for Teens

There is nothing like a weekend in New York City for a teenager. Full of things to do with teens, the city is a sensory overload, but in a good way. It’s a lovely diversion from everyday life, and certainly an exciting one. Teens who crave a dose of culture and street life will appreciate a short jaunt. There’s great food, plays, shopping, and even just view of the skyline from a hotel window.

Visiting NYC also gives parents and their teens time to reconnect with each other. If you’re like Lorelai and Rory from Gilmore Girls and get along like two friends, you’ll bond over everything.

Here’s a great way to spend a perfect weekend getaway in NYC with your teens.

Spend a perfect weekend getaway in NYC with your teens. (Flickr: hjjanisch)

 

Day One: Art and Parks

The city oozes things to do with teens, which makes it the perfect weekend getaway, so plan each day accordingly. One of the best places to visit in NYC is the High Line. It’s a great place to start on day one, and completely free. It’s a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets of NYC. There are lounge chairs to lie on under the sun as well as nature walks, dance performances, and art installations.

Afterwards, head to Chelsea Market for a plate of hummus or other Israeli dishes at Dizengoff. Be sure to hit Artists & Fleas for some shopping from local vendors. For a dose of art during your perfect weekend getaway in NYC, head to the Whitney Museum of American Art. Be sure to visit Samsung 837. It’s a digital playground in the heart of the Meatpacking District and one of the best things to do with teens.

Pop into the Sugar Factory for a light bite in the evening. It’s a teenager’s dream with its menu full of sweet treats. Another dinner option: Cafe Mogador on St. Mark’s Place. Teenagers will love the choice of mezze, couscous, salads, and tagines. It also has a seriously good vibe and a great spot people-watch. For dessert, head to Big Gay Ice Cream Shop for sublime cones, sundaes, or shakes. Or brave the long lines at Cookie Do NYC. Your teens can get their fill of various kinds of cookie dough in a cup.

Finally, if your teens have more energy, it might be a good time to introduce them to Independent cinema. Catch a movie at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema.

Day Two: Brooklyn

It isn’t a perfect weekend getaway in NYC without spending a day in its most hip borough. On day two, hop a subway train to Brooklyn. Stop at Brooklyn Heights Promenade for the city’s best views and photo opportunities.

Not far away is Shmorgesburg. The seasonal food showcase boasts a slew of creative vendors, open Saturdays in Williamsburg and Sundays in Prospect Park. Visit also the Brooklyn Flea Market, open on weekends year round. It’s the borough’s largest flea market featuring vintage, design, antiques, collectibles, and food.

Afterwards, a stroll around Williamsburg is a must. Explore its shops alongside a slew of hipsters. Finally, hop on a ferry to the Rockaways and have a taco dinner at Rockaway Beach Surf Club.

Where to Stay

The Muse, boutique hotel located on West 46th Street, is your best bet for a base during your perfect weekend getaway in NYC. Mere steps away from Broadway and Times Square, it’s modern and stylish with bold pop-art pillows and silvery blue walls.

The Perks: From 5-6pm daily, the hotel serves hot chocolate, which teens will love, and complimentary wine for adults in the lobby. There are also specials that can make your visit cost-effective. Plus, it’s within walking distance from a number of teen-friendly spots.

Tips: Teens will love being close to the Richard Rodgers Theater where “Hamilton” is playing, just a block away. Tickets aren’t easy to come by, so plan ahead. Stop in the “Hamilton” pop-up shop across the street for swag from the show. You can put your teens in the room where it happens, or at least bear witness.

 

Holly Rosen Fink of The Culture Mom contributed this to MiniTime. She is a full-time marketer living in Larchmont, NY with her husband and two children.

 

More from MiniTime:

Travel Itinerary: Things to Do in New York City

5 Kid-Friendly Beaches In New York City

How to Stay Healthy on Flights

A Family Guide to London with Millennials in Tow

My 12 Year Old Was Blackmailed for Nude Photos

As a mom, and a communications professional in the technology space, I’ve heard some pretty scary stories about kids’ use of social media. Predators lurking on Facebook, bullying happening via Twitter and even suspicious activity occurring on Minecraft.

As parents, we try to stay on top of what our kids are doing, but the technology seems to be outpacing our ability to monitor. And there seems to be a new breed of apps out there that are wreaking havoc on our children. SnapChat and ask.FM seem to be particularly problematic. Well, at least that was before a friend — someone I have no doubt is an engaged mother — wrote the following words to me:

“I want to share my story to as many moms as possible, so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

I thought she would share a bullying story gone wrong, but it was much, much worse. My heart ached for her — but even more for her 12-year-old daughter.

girl blackmailed for naked photos on snapchat

You see, we continue as parents to try to give our kids an inch of technology so they can feel accepted and part of their generation. We often complain that we see only the tops of our kids’ heads because their noses are always in their phones — but we don’t take them away or limit their use. We think we have explained the rules, controlled the mechanism, established boundaries — but then a new company comes along with a new “app” that is better, faster, easier in every way, and it probably is. Until it’s used for evil and not its original intent.

And we don’t even know it’s happening.

Enter Kik (and several other messengers that fly under the radar of parental controls because they are apps. And oh yeah, kids can delete the messages so they are no longer on their device –although they can remain on the recipients.)

Kik Messenger (launched in late 2010, but gained a lot of popularity in 2012) is an instant messaging app for mobile devices. The app is available on most iOS, Android, and Windows Phones operating systems free of charge. It uses a smartphone’s data plan or WiFi to transmit and receive messages, so kids that have limited texting or no cellular texting at all love it — particularly because we now live in a world where free wi-fi is everywhere.

But kids really love Kik because it is more than typing messages. They can add videos and pictures to their text. They can also send Kik cards, which let them include YouTube videos, GIFs, or their own drawings in their conversations (these also fly under the radar of most parental controls.) The problem is some kids share their private Kik username on public social networks, or can find other users, usually with “cute” photos as their profiles. Kids post their username on their Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr pages and once someone knows their username, anyone can send them a message — and sexual predators are using it to contact minors ALL THE TIME.

According to an article from The CyberSafety Lady: “There are no parental controls for this messaging app of course, this app is designed for adults. And the usual parental controls on your child’s device won’t work within the Kik Messenger app. So blocking YouTube for example on your child’s iPod, won’t disable the YouTube app within Kik Messenger. Some parents are sharing messaging apps with their children to supervise their interactions. This can be especially helpful for younger users. Kik Messenger doesn’t enable this ability. The moment you log into the same Kik account on another device previous messages and conversations are deleted from the account. Logging out (resetting) of Kik messenger also deletes all previous conversations and messages, which for many parents makes parent supervision quite unreliable.”

So, if you are like me, this is where you say: “This wouldn’t happen to me. I’d monitor my kids’ devices better. And they understand the dangers of talking to strangers.”

And then I read this from my friend, and realized that if placed in a situation like this, I’m just not sure my daughters wouldn’t act the same

The below is a first-hand account of the incident. It is abridged for privacy and publication:

I picked up my 12 year old from summer camp one day, and her counselor made a joke about my daughter with her “phone” during a fire drill. Oddly enough, she doesn’t have a phone, but she does have a Galaxy Player. It’s an android device like the phone, just without the phone components. She is strictly forbidden from taking this device to camp, so, I took it from her right then and there as a punishment.

When I got home, I started investigating what was on the device to see what was new and what she was so interested in. She started sobbing dramatically and announced through hysterics, “Mom, please don’t be mad… I got a Kik account.”

Because I try to keep up with the latest in social media for tweens/teens, I was furious with her. I knew that these sorts of apps were bad news. I pulled it up and sure enough she had deleted the conversations as she went so I had no idea what she had been doing on it. I sent her to her room, and started looking at other things on the device to see what else was on it.

I pulled up the photo gallery section of her device, and when I saw the Kik file, my heart just broke into a million pieces. Photos of my daughter in her underwear posed in sexy selfies in front of her mirror. I started sobbing and my knees gave out.

daughter blackmailed for naked photos on snapchat

I immediately thought she was sending these photos because she thought all her friends were doing it. But then — amongst the sexy scandalous selfies — were photos of her crying. Like she was trying to send the photos but mis-angled the camera and it showed her face instead. The million pieces of my heart broke into a million more. Something was really wrong.

We called her to the living room and had a very serious discussion with her. She said she downloaded Kik at camp (free wifi) on Thursday. Then, on Friday she “kik’d” some cute guy (reportedly a teen boy) who posted a photo with the comment, “Kik me,” so, she said she did exactly that. He asked for a simple photo of her, and she complied. Once she gave him a harmless photo, he started demanding more scandalous photos, like the ones in her underwear.

She didn’t know how to make him go away, and he kept telling her he would “upload her picture” and “ruin her life” and her “friends and family would disown her if they found out” if she didn’t comply with his demands. This all happened in two short days of her having a Kik account.

She told us through tears that she had deleted all the conversations that would back up her story, so of course, I had my doubts. We told her if the story was true, we needed to call the sheriff, and she surprisingly agreed.

The officers came to our house and had no idea what Kik was. Initially, they told us because she wasn’t “nude” or in pornographic acts that the photos and such were harmless. We felt they were merely implying that we needed to get a better handle on our kid.

Frustrated, heartbroken, and confused, I downloaded Kik to MY phone and logged into her account. She showed me the name of the person who was blackmailing her, and told me who was who on her list of people she talked to. I just wanted some idea what she was exposed to.

 

SEE MORE: Bill Gates Reveals Minimum Age For Kids To Get A Cell Phone

 

That night, the app buzzed all night long from her “friends” at summer camp, all wondering why she wasn’t replying. Then the next morning, while I was at work, it happened.

Him: “(daughter’s name)” “Answer me” “What are you doing”

Me (as my daughter, trying to talk like she would): “Go away”

Him: “No sorry. You don’t get to tell me that.”

“I will upload this photo.” (One of her in her undergarments.)

“You want your friends and family to see these photos? “(then proceeds to post each and every photo she’d sent him)

Me: “Wat do you want?”

Him: “Let me see you. What are you wearing. You can take a photo.”

Me: “wat kind? wat kind of pic do u want?”

Him: “Show me what you are wearing.”

I thought it was now or never, so I went to the Sheriff’s office to show them the exchange.

I replied: “Busy”

Him: “Photos you have to take: (here he goes down a list of 5 photos – ranging from a fully dressed to “fully body naked in front of the mirror.” He also included some inappropriate graphics.) You do all that I want and I won’t ruin your life.”

Him: “Do you understand?”

Me: “U need to wait. can’t now. busy.”

Him: “I give you one week to do all those photos. If not next Wednesday I start to post your photos online. Do you understand?”

All this is happening while I am sitting with a Sheriff’s deputy from the Special Victim’s unit. The officers had a meeting while I waited. They discussed the points of the case, and what was being said in conversation while we were watching it happen.

They decided to pursue the case, because the demands of the 5 photos took the event from “a family scandal” to an assortment of felonies. The police seized my phone as evidence, then followed me home (without allowing me to call my husband and let him know we were coming), interviewed my daughter, took all the internet devices that accessed Kik and left.

A week went by and we finally heard from the detective. He said pursuing this guy was a long shot. Kik normally doesn’t cooperate with US Law Enforcement (it’s a Canadian-based company,) and he also said there are 10 cases just like this on his desk. He would keep the case active though.

Another long week in and the detective contacted us again about using our account for a Sting operation. We immediately agreed, and were anxious to hear what the police would tell us next. About three weeks later, the detective said in a surprise move Kik complied with his U.S. Warrant. They got all the information about the user, and surprisingly, he was a minor himself — a 16-year-old boy in London.

Because he’s a minor, the U.S. won’t prosecute him since the crime committed is no longer a felony when both people involved are minors. It’s more like a speeding ticket.

But you know why this was ALL good news to me? Because this month of hell is finally OVER. I don’t have to drag my daughter to depositions or a trial. We know who he is and know we won’t be seeing him. We have closure and know that it wasn’t a trafficking ring or an adult predator, although it is disturbing that there are young kids out there doing this and they most likely have disturbing futures ahead.

 

SEE MORE: Parents, Stop Teenage Privacy NOW

 

My daughter’s photo is now in the database for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. If the photos are to surface, ever, law enforcement agencies around the globe can use facial recognition software to identify victims of internet exploitation.

I keep telling her camp counselor that I owe her a lunch, for if she had she not joked about her “phone”, I wouldn’t have checked her Galaxy for another week. If she had gotten those messages (the 5 demands, sent 12 hours after we discovered the incident) she likely would have done it out of desperation. She truly felt like she had no options because this guy said so.

I am so thankful this story had what cannot be described as a happy ending, but at least a safe one. The fact that this young girl was so scared of getting caught that she engaged in even more desperate and unsafe behavior is so troubling, but yet so understanding. Who among us hasn’t tried to avoid getting caught by our parents when we knowingly go against the rules? But have the stakes ever been as high?

I did some research of my own, and found some extremely disturbing trends in the way kids are using this app, as well as a few others, and why Internet predators find these such an easy way to get in touch with potential victims.

It literally scared the crap out of me.

I am still searching for the appropriate way for tweens and teens to use the Internet and engage in social media, but I become increasingly convinced that the development of technology far outpaces the maturity of our children.

I encourage you to share this story with your friends and if appropriate, with your children. I encourage you to have meaningful discussions about Web-based behavior and treat it like drinking and driving — there is no instance about social media where they should be scared to tell you what they have done or contact you to help get them out of trouble. And I encourage you to hug your kids tight tonight.

I know I will.

 

About the Author

Whitney Fleming is the creator of the “Playdates on Fridays” (also known to adults as her wine plyagroup) blog and keeps all of us moms laughing on her Facebook page. She is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, and has additionally published work with Scary Mommy, In the Powder Room, Coffee + Crumbs , and Lies About Parenting among others. If you would like to connect with Whitney, or simply enjoy a good laugh and dose of reality, visit her Facebook page here.

 

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Put THIS On Your List This Year! (+ a GIVEAWAY!)

I was so excited to buy my daughter her first Radio Flyer Tricycle.

It was one of several Radio Flyer purchases that have brought us hours and hours of fun and adventure.

Tricycle, wagons (plural…that’s how much we like them), and a scooter.

And now…my son has his very own Radio Flyer Adventure book…starring…HIM! 

“Joe’s Radio Flyer Adventure” arrived on our door as a wonderful surprise. I used the website to customize Joe’s book—picking his hair color, skin color, and favorite Radio Flyer toy (his scooter)—and didn’t tell him it was on its way.

He’s at that magical age when reading and recognizing HIS name on something unique is a huge thrill.

He was so excited and could not stop talking about it…it was the first thing he needed to show his Grandma when she came over.

The book is beautiful—with bright and whimsical illustrations—and packed with hidden pictures of Joe’s name throughout the book

It was such a hit that we’ll be getting one for my daughter to place under the Christmas tree, because she couldn’t get enough of the book either.

SPECIAL DISCOUNT: you can get 15% off your I See Me Radio Flyer Adventure book with coupon code TODAYSMAMA15 

Does all this talk of our favorite Radio Flyer toys have you feeling nostalgic and hankering to get your shop on?!

ME TOO!

You’re in luck! Radio Flyer’s 25 Days of Holiday Giveaways is HAPPENING NOW.

RIGHT NOW!

Each day for 25 days, you can visit the Radio Flyer website and enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win the toy of that day’s giveaway! 

Wagons, scooters, tricycles, build-a-horse, and even the Tesla Model S for Kids!

YOU SHOULD TOTALLY GO ENTER!

Radio Flyer has been such a treasured and trusted brand in our family and it’s no surprise that Radio Flyer’s founder Antonio Pasin started Radio Flyer in 1917 and his dream was to “bring joy to every boy and every girl.”

Mission accomplished, Antonio.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Radio Flyer. The opinions and text are all mine.

Complaining Is Actually Making Your Stressful Holiday WORSE

It is not unusual to be frazzled or stressed during the last months of the year and so many celebrations crammed into 2 months time. With family parties, school parties, gift buying, gift giving, delivery deadlines, finding time for traditions, decorating, baking, sending out cards and making everything absolutely PERFECT for your children so that they’ll always remember the magic of the season, it’s obviously a cause for elevated stress level. And then you check your Instagram only to see that everyone else seems to be doing it better than you with beautiful smiles and stylish holiday decor.

via GIPHY

But before I give you permission to complain about all that and more, here’s why complaining will actually make your holidays worse.

Complaining rewires your brain.

Complaining is totally normal and we’re all prone to do it. It feels as if it’s helping because for the moment, you’re blowing off steam. With all the pressures and the to-do’s during the holidays, it can breed negativity if you let it. The more frequently you complain, your brain will make it easier to complain in the future – basically, your brain will rewire itself. So, over time, that negativity will become second nature. If you’re turning to negative thoughts more frequently, it will be more difficult for you to break that habit. Do you know one of those people that is constantly negative? They likely didn’t get there overnight. Practice makes perfect.

Complaining is bad for your health. 

So what’s the harm in complaining, even if it does rewire your brain to make it second nature to complain more? Complaining can actually harm your health. We all know how stressful the holidays are already, you won’t want to compound that stress.  Dr. Travis Bradberry wrote, “When you complain, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol shifts you into fight-or-flight mode, directing oxygen, blood, and energy away from everything but the systems that are essential to immediate survival. One effect of cortisol, for example, is to raise your blood pressure and blood sugar so that you’ll be prepared to either escape or defend yourself.

All the extra cortisol released by frequent complaining impairs your immune system and makes you more susceptible to high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. It even makes the brain more vulnerable to strokes.”

Joining the pity party.

You know that saying that misery loves company? Same goes for complainers. You seek validation for your complaints and then it just becomes a time for those who commiserate to join in the complaining. The negativity grows and you don’t want your most memorable party during the holidays to be a pity party. The holidays are a time for you to enjoy being with family and friends and being in a complaining cycle is not where you want to wallow.

 

Here are some ways to dial down the stress.

 

Make your complaint have a purpose.

Complaining in and of itself is not necessarily a problem. It’s the constant complaining that breeds negativity that can be a problem. If you have a complaint – something that you require a solution or a resolution to, take a step back and evaluate. What the problem is and how you can solve it? If you get angry every year because a member of your extended family forgets about your child’s very serious food allergy, address it before it becomes a problem when you are in a good place instead of testing them to see if they’ll remember and then complaining when they don’t. If you can identify the things you are most likely to complain about, you may be able to prevent it in the first place. And if you can’t, make sure that when you do have a complaint, you can use it constructively. Evaluate if it is worth addressing and if you can find a solution.

Stay positive and turn things around.

Just as complaining can become a problem, doing the opposite can bring more joy to the holidays. Yes, this means focusing on the good things, perhaps altering your attitude but the results will be worth it. If something about the holidays drives you crazy, do you really need to be doing it? If those neighbor gifts are becoming more of a burden than an expression of friendship, it’s time for you to ask what your goal is and if what you are doing is achieving that goal. Would a short, handwritten note suffice rather than an elaborate gift suffice?

Each year, a friend of mine would ask me if I was sending Christmas cards. For some reason this stressed me out and began to irritate me because it made me focus on my short-comings. I’m more of an every-other year lady in that department and having someone ask me about it was making me anxious. A few years ago, I got the e-mail again asking if I was sending cards and asking me for one and I realized that it was super important to her. It dawned on me that I could just send her one card without needing to send cards to everyone on our list. I turned something that was driving me crazy into something that I love doing now because I changed my perspective and realized something that required hardly anything from me was something very big for her.

via GIPHY

Let it go. 

When all else fails, let it go. A friend of mine years ago told me to pretend I was a sea otter and let it all just roll off of my back like water. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used that trick. Sometimes you can’t change a person or a situation but you can change yourself. You can choose to let it go. I don’t get hung up on the fact that I really wanted to make gingerbread houses and I just couldn’t find the time this year. Instead of venting about how I’m letting my family down by not finding that precious gingerbread house building time, I check myself and ask myself if it is worth giving that negativity a voice. No, I’m not perfect and neither are my holidays. But I’m going to do my very best to enjoy every bit and let go of all the rest.

 

See More at TodaysMama.com!

Our 10 Favorite Holiday Card Designs

Easy Christmas Chocolate Dipped Treats

Hallmark Holiday Movie Schedule 2017

 

Freeform (ABC Family) Holiday Movie Schedule 2017

It’s here! It’s here! It’s here! Freeform (formally ABC Family) is counting down to Christmas with their 25 days of Christmas Holiday movie line-up. My jinglebell slippers and CindyLouWho pigtails can’t wait!

 

Friday, December 1

7:30am/6:30c Eloise at Christmastime
11am/10c Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish
1pm/12c Jack Frost (1979)
2pm/1c The Nightmare Before Christmas
3:35pm/2:35c The Year Without a Santa Claus
4:35pm/3:35c Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
7:05pm/6:05c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
9:15pm/8:15c Elf
11:25pm/10:25c Disney’s A Christmas Carol
1:30am/12:30c Frosty’s Winter Wonderland

 

Saturday, December 2

7am/6c Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish
9am/8c Mickey’s Christmas Carol
9:30am/8:30c Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas
1:05pm/12:05c Disney’s A Christmas Carol
3:10pm/2:10c Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
4:50pm/3:50c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
7pm/6c Elf
9:10pm/8:10c Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
11:50pm/10:50c The Polar Express

 

Sunday, December 3

7am/6c Mickey’s Christmas Carol
7:30/6:30c Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas
9am/8c A Dennis the Menace Christmas
11:05am/10:05c Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups
1:10pm/12:10c Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
2:15pm/1:15c Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
3:55pm/2:55c The Polar Express
6:05pm/5:05c Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
8:45pm/7:45c The Santa Clause
10:50pm/9:50c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
12:55am/11:55c Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town

 

Monday, December 4

7:30am/6:30c Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups
11am/10c Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas
12:30pm/11:30c Arthur Christmas
2:30pm/1:30c The Santa Clause
4:35pm/3:35c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
6:40pm/5:40c Elf
8:50pm/7:50c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
12am/11c Four Christmases

 

Tuesday, December 5

7:30am/6:30c The Mistle-Tones
12:30pm/11:30c Four Christmases
2:30pm/1:30c Angry Angel
4:35pm/3:35c Elf
6:45pm/5:45c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
8:55pm/7:55c The Polar Express
12am/11c Eloise at Christmastime

 

 

 

Wednesday, December 6

7:30am/6:30c Snowglobe
12pm/11c Angry Angel
2:05pm/1:05c Eloise at Christmastime
4:15pm/3:15c Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
6:45pm/5:45c The Polar Express
8:50pm/7:50c Elf
12am/11c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

 

Thursday, December 7

7am/6c Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
11am/10c Snow Day
1pm/12c Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
2:35pm/1:35c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
4:45pm/3:45c Disney’s A Christmas Carol
6:50pm/5:50c Elf
9pm/8c Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story
12am/11c A Dennis the Menace Christmas

 

Friday, December 8

7am/6c The Little Drummer Boy
7:30am/6:30c A Dennis the Menace Christmas
11am/10c Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
12:40pm/11:40c Eloise at Christmas
2:45pm/1:45c Disney’s A Christmas Carol

Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story Marathon

4:50pm/3:50c Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story
6:50pm/5:50c Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story 2
9pm/8c Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story 3
11:30pm/10:30c Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story That Time Forgot
12am/11c Arthur Christmas

 

Saturday, December 9

7am/6c Rudolph & Frosty’s Christmas in July
9:05am/8:05c Eloise at Christmastime
11:10am/10:10c Arthur Christmas
1:15pm/12:15c Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story 2
3:25pm/2:25c Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story 3
5:55pm/4:55c Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story That Time Forgot

Santa Clause Double Feature

6:25pm/5:25c The Santa Clause
8:35pm/7:35c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
10:45pm/9:45c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
12:55am/11:55c Jack Frost (1979)

 

Sunday, December 10

7am/6c Jack Frost (1979)
8am/7c Snow Day
10:05am/9:05c Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish
12:10pm/11:10c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
2:15pm/1:15c Disney’s A Christmas Carol
4:20pm/3:20c The Santa Clause
6:30pm/5:30c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
8:40pm/7:40c Elf
10:50pm/9:50c Four Christmases
1am/12c The Year Without a Santa Claus

 

 
 

Monday, December 11

7am/6c The Bells of Fraggle Rock
7:30am/6:30c Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish
11am/10c The Little Drummer Boy
11:30am/10:30c Disney’s A Christmas Carol
1:35pm/12:35c Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
2:40pm/1:40c The Year Without a Santa Claus
3:40pm/2:40c Four Christmases
5:50pm/4:50c Elf
8pm/7c Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings: Holiday Magic
9pm/8c The Polar Express
12am/11c Eloise at Christmastime

 

Tuesday, December 12

7am/6c Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
7:30am/6:30c Eloise at Christmastime
11am/10c Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town
12:10pm/11:10c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
2:20pm/1:20c Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
4pm/3c Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
6:40pm/5:40c The Polar Express
8:50pm/7:50c The Santa Clause
12am/11c Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July

 

Wednesday, December 13

7am/6 ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
7:30am/6:30c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
11am/10c Rudolph’s Shiny New Year
12:10pm/11:10c Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
1:50pm/12:50c Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
4:30pm/3:30c Elf
6:40pm/5:40c The Santa Clause
8:50pm/7:50c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
12am/11c The Year Without a Santa Claus
1am/12c Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings: Holiday Magic

Thursday, December 14

7am/6c Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas
8:30am/7:30c Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings: Holiday Magic
11am/10c Mickey’s Christmas Carol
11:30am/10:30c Christmas Cupid
1:30pm/12:30c Elf
3:40pm/2:40c The Year Without a Santa Claus
4:40pm/3:40c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
6:45pm/5:45c Four Christmases
8:50pm/7:50c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
12am/11c Angry Angel

 

Friday, December 15

7am/6c Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups
9am/8c The Little Drummer Boy
11am/10c Eloise at Christmastime
1pm/12c Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish
3pm/2c Angry Angel
5pm/4c Four Christmases
7:10pm/6:10c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
9:20pm/8:20c Elf
11:30pm/10:30c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
1:30am/12:30c Mickey’s Christmas Carol

 

 
 

Saturday, December 16

7am/6c The Little Drummer Boy
7:30am/6:30c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
9:35am/8:35c Mickey’s Christmas Carol
10:05am/9:05c Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas
11:35am/10:35c Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas
1:05pm/12:05c Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
2:45pm/1:45c The Polar Express
4:55pm/3:55c The Santa Clause
7:05pm/6:05c Elf
9:15pm/8:15c Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
11:55pm/10:55 Christmas with the Kranks

 

Sunday, December 17

7am/6c Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas
8:30am/7:30c Christmas with the Kranks
10:40am/9:40c Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
12:20pm/12:20c The Polar Express
2:30pm/1:30c Disney’s Prep & Landing
3pm/2c Disney’s Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice
3:30pm/2:30c The Santa Clause
5:35pm/4:35c Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
8:15pm/7:15c Disney’s Frozen
10:45pm/9:45c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
12:55am/11:55c Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town

 

Monday, December 18

7am/6c The Little Drummer Boy
7:30am/6:30c Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
8:35am/7:35c Four Christmases
10:40am/9:40c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
12:50pm/11:50c Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
3:25pm/2:25c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
5:30pm/4:30c Disney’s Frozen
8pm/7c Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic
9pm/8c Elf
12am/11c Arthur Christmas

 

Tuesday, December 19

7am/6c Frosty’s Winter Wonderland
7:30am/6:30c Arthur Christmas
9:40am/8:40c Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
12:20pm/12:20c Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic
1:20pm/12:20c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
3:30pm/2:30c The Year Without a Santa Claus
4:30pm/3:30c Elf
6:40pm/5:40c Christmas with the Kranks
8:50pm/7:50c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
12am/11c Angry Angel

Wednesday, December 20

7am/6c Mickey’s Christmas Carol
7:30am/6:30c The Mistle-Tones
9:30am/8:30c Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic
10:30am/9:30c Angry Angel
12:30pm/11:30c Eloise at Christmastime
2:30pm/1:30c The Year Without a Santa Claus
3:30pm/2:30c Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
4:35pm/3:35c Christmas with the Kranks
6:40pm/5:40c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
8:50pm/7:50c Elf
12am/11c Four Christmases

 

 

Thursday, December 21

7am/6c Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer
8am/7c Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
8:30am/7:30c Jack Frost
9:30am/8:30c Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
10:35am/9:35c Eloise at Christmastime
12:35pm/11:35c Holiday in Handcuffs
2:35pm/1:35c Christmas with the Kranks
4:35pm/2:35c Four Christmases
6:40pm/5:40c Elf
8:50pm/7:50c The Polar Express
10:55pm/9:55c Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
12am/11c Home Alone: The Holiday Heist

 

Friday, December 22

7am/6c Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer
8am/7c Christmas with the Kranks
10:05am/9:05c Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic
11:05am/10:05c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
1:15pm/12:15c Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
2:20pm/1:20c The Year Without a Santa Claus
3:20pm/2:20c Arthur Christmas
5:25pm/4:25c The Polar Express

Santa Clause Double Feature
7:30pm/6:30c The Santa Clause
9:40pm/8:40c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
11:50pm/10:50c Elf

 

Saturday, December 23

7am/6c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
9:10am/8:10c Four Christmases
11:15am/10:15c Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
12:50pm/11:50c Elf
3pm/2c The Santa Clause
5:05pm/4:05c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
7:10pm/6:10c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
9:20pm/8:20c Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
12am/11c Disney’s A Christmas Carol

 

Sunday, December 24

7am/6c A Dennis the Menace Christmas
9:05am/8:05c Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish
11:05am/10:05c Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
12:10am/11:10c Disney’s A Christmas Carol
2:15pm/1:15c The Polar Express
4:25pm/3:25c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
6:35pm/5:35c Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
9:15pm/8:15c Elf
11:25pm/10:25c The Santa Clause
1:30am/12:30c ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

 

Monday, December 25

7am/6c Frosty’s Winter Wonderland
7:30am/6:30c Disney’s Prep & Landing
8am/7c Disney’s Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice
8:30am/7:30c Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
11am/10c Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
12:35pm/11:35c The Polar Express
2:35pm/1:35c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
4:45pm/3:45c The Santa Clause
6:45pm/5:45c Elf
8:50pm/7:50c National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
12am/11c Four Christmases

Hallmark Holiday Movie Schedule 2017

If you’re like me, you’re already counting the days to when you can blast your Christmas music in public without making anyone wince.  I’m an early bird holiday celebrator and the Hallmark channel feeds every ounce of my addiction. I can cozy up on my couch all through the month of November with the Hallmark channel watching endless amounts of heart warming Christmas movies.

If you MUST wait until Thanksgiving (I’ll forgive you for being one of those), get excited about Hallmarks 5-night Thanksgiving with 5 NEW Hallmark Christmas movies premiering!

 

With Love, Christmas

Wednesday, November 22, 8/7c

 

The Mistletoe Inn

Thursday, November 23, 8/7c

 

Finding Santa

Friday, November 24, 8/7c

 

The Christmas Train

Saturday, November 25, 8/7c

 

Switched for Christmas

Sunday, November 26, 8/7c

 

In total, Hallmark will be premiering 21 NEW movies! Get those electric blankets and cocoa makers brewing! (I’m shouldn’t be as excited as I truly am to see Candace Cameron Bure play a twin, but let’s face it…she makes the Hallmark channel go round and I love every second of it!).

 

Download and PRINT the Hallmark Christmas Movie Schedule HERE. I say pin it on the wall next to your TV. Come on… do it. Crap, I may even frame it. Okay, fine. I probably-maybe-might… not. But I am DEFINITELY scheduling all my recordings for these now.

Cultivating Gratitude For Your Body

We live in a weight- and body-shape-obsessed society, and it’s easy (and normal) to develop body dissatisfaction.

I recently heard the term “normative discontent,” coined in the 1980s by researchers who found widespread negative body image, particularly among women, in the United States. I really love it, I think it describes the issue perfectly, and also makes it so obvious how easily we fall prey to cultural norms, even if they make us miserable.

Essentially, it’s become really normal and socially acceptable to hate your body to the point that if you don’t, you are the minority. Isn’t that sad? While this may be more common among women, men come under the same pressure to look a certain way.

It starts young, too. A staggering 42 percent of girls in first through third grades want to be thinner, while 81 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat. Further, eating disorders affect 10 million females and 1 million males.

body positive girls happy

While there are many causes for developing eating disorders, we see exponential increases in body dissatisfaction, internalization of the thin ideal (or muscular ideal) and disordered eating with increases in exposure to media and popular fitness culture. Feeling inferior or flawed can make us desperate, as evidenced by the $60 billion diet industry.

Why cultivating gratitude can help

As a nutrition professional who regularly counsels individuals with disordered eating and body hatred, I have found real benefit in helping clients cultivate a sense of gratitude for their bodies.

With such extreme societal pressures, it may not feel realistic to love — or even like — your body, at least right now. It may be easier to practice body respect, weight neutrality and less emphasis on appearance in general. Shifting focus from appearance to how your body feels or functions can help cultivate gratitude for what it can do, or what it allows you to do.

This quote from Robert Holden perfectly summarizes why I feel cultivating gratitude for your body is so effective, “The real gift of gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become.”

As you cultivate gratitude for your body, you embrace where you are, allowing you to connect with what your body needs. This leads you to take care of yourself in a way that can bring about improvements in overall health and well-being. It has nothing to do with changing or manipulating your body and everything to do with supporting, respecting and caring for it. If your body changes as a result, then there’s that.

If it doesn’t, it’s no less deserving of support, respect and self-care.

 

SEE MORE: 5 Ways to Raise Kind Kids

 

How do you do that?

So how can you cultivate gratitude? When I think of November I think of cooler weather, crisp and juicy apples and Thanksgiving. Most notably, I love the reminder November brings to practice gratitude.

This November I am about 6 months pregnant.  I’ve had really positive body image throughout my pregnancy and obviously that has nothing to do with getting smaller.  My belly is growing and some of the rest of me is too.  But because this pregnancy was such a huge surprise and I really didn’t ever imagine I would be pregnant again, I’ve had such a profound sense of gratitude for my body and for all it’s doing to grow a baby.  I have no idea how to do that, but it does, and I’ve trusted it to let me know what it needs.  That may be extra food or rest or physical activity or something else entirely.  I’ve had gratitude and trust for my body which I know is the reason for my positive body image.

That’s important because we typically think of positive body image happening after we change or manipulate our body to be smaller or stronger or fit any other societal expectation.  In reality, you can cultivate body trust and gratitude right now.

love yourself body positive

I asked some of my favorite body image gurus to comment ideas for how to cultivate gratitude.  I hope you find their insight helpful.

“Feeling thankful for one’s body often doesn’t come easily, but everyone can develop a practice of body gratitude. No matter what your size, fitness level or health status, your body is doing its best by you. Begin by choosing one part of your body and saying something positive about it. If this feels too scary, start with an easier, less triggering body part. It could be as simple as, ‘My ears keep me connected to the people I love by letting me hear their voices. I love to listen to my children’s stories.'” — Barbara Spanjers, therapist and wellness coach

“Learning to cultivate gratitude for your body can feel really difficult when you are struggling with negative body image. One way to combat that is to allow yourself to let in a mix of feelings — both positive and negative. Giving yourself permission to feel grateful for a healthy set of lungs won’t eliminate the judgment you feel about your thighs. But it will open the door for you to have a more nuanced experience of your body rather than one that is dominated by negativity. This will help open the door to a more peaceful relationship to your body.” — Marci Evans, registered dietitian and food and body image healer

“YOGA! Yoga was the beginning of my well-being journey, and it continues to prove itself valuable. No matter the pose, I feel as though it’s the best way to express gratitude for my body. I accept my body exactly how it is, which creates a space to stretch a little further if it feels right. If not, I’m still breathing, and that alone is something to be grateful for.” — Maggie Danforth, registered dietitian

gratitude body image healthy yoga

“Body-hatred takes time to learn and thus, it makes sense that body neutrality (or even body love) is a process that takes time as well.” — Jennifer Rollin, MSW, LGSW, psychotherapist and eating disorder specialist

I hope this has given you an idea of how to practice body gratitude. While it’s tempting to think you can hate yourself into feeling motivated to change your body, it’s never effective, it keeps you stuck and only causes emotional distress. I know food and body peace is possible and cultivating gratitude is the path to get there.

Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD

 

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Moms, Get The Big Stuff Right

 

Moms, Get the Big Stuff Right

Every mom worries about failing her kids. We wonder what we will do if our kids turn against us, grow up to hate us or end up disliking their lives. These are natural worries, but these fears can drive us crazy. 

They can also drive us to focus on minor details, hoping that if we can control the small things, the big stuff will fall into place. But, posting the perfect “first day of school” picture on Instagram or making sure that our son gets the right football coach won’t improve our parenting. It will just give us a false sense of control.

So, I have a suggestion. Why don’t we forget the multitude of small parenting details and start focusing on getting the big things right. I believe that when we do this, life goes a whole lot better for moms and their kids. Here’s where we can start.

Be Kind. I’ve pulled the car over a few times in my life with a backseat full of fighting kids. I know firsthand how hard being nice can be. So I think that it’s important to train ourselves to be nice.

moms get big stuff right parenting

Personally, I need some alone time in order to keep myself calm and less irritable. Some moms need to work a little, exercise, pray more or go out with friends periodically. These aren’t selfish things. They are important because they help us be kind, and being patient with our kids is crucial to good parenting.

Speak Well. We often spend more time with our kids than anyone else, so they hear everything we say. They hear us talk to friends, our husbands, parents, and neighbors. And of course, they take to heart what we say to them.

Words are powerful. They can heal relationships or crush them, shape the identity of your children or deeply injure it. Pay attention to your words and the tone that you use.

Love Unconditionally. As much as we’d like to believe that we are good at loving our children unconditionally, the truth is, we’re not always very good at it. We always want more from our kids. We want to show them that we love them, but we also want them to succeed and love us back. 

Loving them when they’re flunking fifth grade, not liked by any of their friends or doing things to embarrass us is tough. But loving them when no one else will is what being a good mom is all about. That’s where we shine. 

Be Tough. The kids who I see in my practice who get in trouble aren’t the ones with strong mothers. They are the ones whose mothers have no spine.

parenting moms get big stuff right be tough

Forgoing discipline, failing to stick to rules and blurring boundaries makes kids crazy. Kids need to look at their moms and see stoicism. They won’t listen to a mother who is a pushover, who can’t make up her mind or who has no convictions. But they will listen to a mother who knows who she is and makes no apologies. 

Assert who you are, and your kids will stay close by your side.

Moms, you’re doing a great job! Hang in there, focus on love, kindness and discipline and most of all, don’t sweat the small stuff.

 

About The Author

Pediatrician, mother and best-selling author of six books, Dr. Meg Meeker is the country’s leading authority on parenting, teens and children’s health. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, certified by The American Board of Pediatrics and serves on the Advisory Board of The Medical Institute. She lives and works in northern Michigan where she shares a medical practice with her husband, Walter. They have four grown children and one beautiful granddaughter. To read more from Dr. Meeker, visit her website here.

 

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