This Kind of Summer Travel is NOT Kid Friendly (and we’re good with that)

For the last few weeks of school, all anyone can talk about is where your family is headed once that final bell rings. And, inevitably, you’ll answer with your plans to take the kids, uh, wherever the hell it is they’re dragging you this year. (How did they get put in charge of summer vacation anyhow?)

But might I suggest a few types of travel this summer where you ditch the kids at Grandma’s and strike out with only other grownups? No packing more diaper bags than suitcases, no fighting tired toddlers in airports, no obnoxious teenagers taking more pics for Instagram than one could possibly post…

Oh, you’re convinced? Okay, here we go:

The Looooooove Boat

Ryan Gosling Kiss GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

It’s the all-important cruise to reconnect with your significant other. Like, reconnect reconnect. You know…reconnect. Yeah, you get it. Plus, you can talk about things other than kids and remember that you are in fact a worthwhile and semi-cool human being even when no one is hanging from your legs crying about a fruit rollup.

The Girls Trip

Parks And Rec Television GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

That’s right, you DO have grown up friends still! And you know where you should take them? Disneyland. Now, personally, I’d rather die than stand in eternal lines with trillions of other people, swassing up a real slick storm—hard pass. But apparently there’s really something to hitting the most magical place on earth with your best GFs instead of your whiney kids. Check out the legit evidence here.

The Couples Getaway

Friends Tv Applause GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

An oceanfront cottage in Maine? Maybe a little Airbnb outside Prague. You choose the destination—near or far, but grab your best couple friends and live it up like you’re back in college. Stay out late, be a little reckless—the kids will never have to know!

Mama Goes Solo

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Happy Dance GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Whether you’re a weekend-at-the-spa kind of mama or a backpack-the-Pacific-Crest-Trail kind, the key is—fly solo. Take hours doing your hair and makeup just to read your book on the hotel balcony, sleep in til noon, go dancing til dawn. Whatever it is you WANT—do that thing. You deserve it, mama. And you deserve to do it without worrying about whether or not you deserve it. Because you do. I promise.

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The post This Kind of Summer Travel is NOT Kid Friendly (and we’re good with that) appeared first on TodaysMama.

This Kind of Summer Travel is NOT Kid Friendly (and we’re good with that)

For the last few weeks of school, all anyone can talk about is where your family is headed once that final bell rings. And, inevitably, you’ll answer with your plans to take the kids, uh, wherever the hell it is they’re dragging you this year. (How did they get put in charge of summer vacation anyhow?)

But might I suggest a few types of travel this summer where you ditch the kids at Grandma’s and strike out with only other grownups? No packing more diaper bags than suitcases, no fighting tired toddlers in airports, no obnoxious teenagers taking more pics for Instagram than one could possibly post…

Oh, you’re convinced? Okay, here we go:

The Looooooove Boat

Ryan Gosling Kiss GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

It’s the all-important cruise to reconnect with your significant other. Like, reconnect reconnect. You know…reconnect. Yeah, you get it. Plus, you can talk about things other than kids and remember that you are in fact a worthwhile and semi-cool human being even when no one is hanging from your legs crying about a fruit rollup.

The Girls Trip

Parks And Rec Television GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

That’s right, you DO have grown up friends still! And you know where you should take them? Disneyland. Now, personally, I’d rather die than stand in eternal lines with trillions of other people, swassing up a real slick storm—hard pass. But apparently there’s really something to hitting the most magical place on earth with your best GFs instead of your whiney kids. Check out the legit evidence here.

The Couples Getaway

Friends Tv Applause GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

An oceanfront cottage in Maine? Maybe a little Airbnb outside Prague. You choose the destination—near or far, but grab your best couple friends and live it up like you’re back in college. Stay out late, be a little reckless—the kids will never have to know!

Mama Goes Solo

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Happy Dance GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Whether you’re a weekend-at-the-spa kind of mama or a backpack-the-Pacific-Crest-Trail kind, the key is—fly solo. Take hours doing your hair and makeup just to read your book on the hotel balcony, sleep in til noon, go dancing til dawn. Whatever it is you WANT—do that thing. You deserve it, mama. And you deserve to do it without worrying about whether or not you deserve it. Because you do. I promise.

See More on TodaysMama!

Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List

10 Things That Made 90s Summers All That (And a Bag of Chips)

Scientific Proof That a Beyoncé Concert Could Literally Change Your Life

The post This Kind of Summer Travel is NOT Kid Friendly (and we’re good with that) appeared first on TodaysMama.

This Kind of Summer Travel is NOT Kid Friendly (and we’re good with that)

For the last few weeks of school, all anyone can talk about is where your family is headed once that final bell rings. And, inevitably, you’ll answer with your plans to take the kids, uh, wherever the hell it is they’re dragging you this year. (How did they get put in charge of summer vacation anyhow?)

But might I suggest a few types of travel this summer where you ditch the kids at Grandma’s and strike out with only other grownups? No packing more diaper bags than suitcases, no fighting tired toddlers in airports, no obnoxious teenagers taking more pics for Instagram than one could possibly post…

Oh, you’re convinced? Okay, here we go:

The Looooooove Boat

Ryan Gosling Kiss GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

It’s the all-important cruise to reconnect with your significant other. Like, reconnect reconnect. You know…reconnect. Yeah, you get it. Plus, you can talk about things other than kids and remember that you are in fact a worthwhile and semi-cool human being even when no one is hanging from your legs crying about a fruit rollup.

The Girls Trip

Parks And Rec Television GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

That’s right, you DO have grown up friends still! And you know where you should take them? Disneyland. Now, personally, I’d rather die than stand in eternal lines with trillions of other people, swassing up a real slick storm—hard pass. But apparently there’s really something to hitting the most magical place on earth with your best GFs instead of your whiney kids. Check out the legit evidence here.

The Couples Getaway

Friends Tv Applause GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

An oceanfront cottage in Maine? Maybe a little Airbnb outside Prague. You choose the destination—near or far, but grab your best couple friends and live it up like you’re back in college. Stay out late, be a little reckless—the kids will never have to know!

Mama Goes Solo

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Happy Dance GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Whether you’re a weekend-at-the-spa kind of mama or a backpack-the-Pacific-Crest-Trail kind, the key is—fly solo. Take hours doing your hair and makeup just to read your book on the hotel balcony, sleep in til noon, go dancing til dawn. Whatever it is you WANT—do that thing. You deserve it, mama. And you deserve to do it without worrying about whether or not you deserve it. Because you do. I promise.

See More on TodaysMama!

Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List

10 Things That Made 90s Summers All That (And a Bag of Chips)

Scientific Proof That a Beyoncé Concert Could Literally Change Your Life

The post This Kind of Summer Travel is NOT Kid Friendly (and we’re good with that) appeared first on TodaysMama.

IKEA Encouraged These Kids to Be Bullies, and Here’s Why

Ever been bullied? Picked on? Teased incessantly by that one guy at work?

Annoying, sure. But you can handle it, right?

While I’d like to think I’m somewhat immune to the effects of the obnoxious, and even ill-intentioned, IKEA has proven me wrong…using a plant.

In honor of Anti-Bullying Day, May 4th, IKEA set up a live experiment in a Middle Eastern school where they put two essentially identical plants next to each other, with equal amounts of sunlight, fertilizer, and water. The only difference? How the kids at the school talked to them.

With one plant given lots of verbal encouragement and compliments, and the other fed negative, hateful words, the plants were observed for 30 days and the results were clear.

The plant that had received the relentless bullying was visibly worse for wear. It was drooping, turning brown, and seemingly undernourished, while the encouraged plant thrived and flourished in a nearly identical environment.

What a powerful visual example of the pain a living thing suffers when being bullied. And, as one of the students mentioned: if hateful words can so drastically affect a plant, how much more will they affect us as human beings?

And on the other end of the spectrum? The power of positive, uplifting words is incredible! Thanks for the reminder, IKEA!

 

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The post IKEA Encouraged These Kids to Be Bullies, and Here’s Why appeared first on TodaysMama.

IKEA Encouraged These Kids to Be Bullies, and Here’s Why

Ever been bullied? Picked on? Teased incessantly by that one guy at work?

Annoying, sure. But you can handle it, right?

While I’d like to think I’m somewhat immune to the effects of the obnoxious, and even ill-intentioned, IKEA has proven me wrong…using a plant.

In honor of Anti-Bullying Day, May 4th, IKEA set up a live experiment in a Middle Eastern school where they put two essentially identical plants next to each other, with equal amounts of sunlight, fertilizer, and water. The only difference? How the kids at the school talked to them.

With one plant given lots of verbal encouragement and compliments, and the other fed negative, hateful words, the plants were observed for 30 days and the results were clear.

The plant that had received the relentless bullying was visibly worse for wear. It was drooping, turning brown, and seemingly undernourished, while the encouraged plant thrived and flourished in a nearly identical environment.

What a powerful visual example of the pain a living thing suffers when being bullied. And, as one of the students mentioned: if hateful words can so drastically affect a plant, how much more will they affect us as human beings?

And on the other end of the spectrum? The power of positive, uplifting words is incredible! Thanks for the reminder, IKEA!

 

See More on TodaysMama.com!

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The post IKEA Encouraged These Kids to Be Bullies, and Here’s Why appeared first on TodaysMama.

IKEA Encouraged These Kids to Be Bullies, and Here’s Why

Ever been bullied? Picked on? Teased incessantly by that one guy at work?

Annoying, sure. But you can handle it, right?

While I’d like to think I’m somewhat immune to the effects of the obnoxious, and even ill-intentioned, IKEA has proven me wrong…using a plant.

In honor of Anti-Bullying Day, May 4th, IKEA set up a live experiment in a Middle Eastern school where they put two essentially identical plants next to each other, with equal amounts of sunlight, fertilizer, and water. The only difference? How the kids at the school talked to them.

With one plant given lots of verbal encouragement and compliments, and the other fed negative, hateful words, the plants were observed for 30 days and the results were clear.

The plant that had received the relentless bullying was visibly worse for wear. It was drooping, turning brown, and seemingly undernourished, while the encouraged plant thrived and flourished in a nearly identical environment.

What a powerful visual example of the pain a living thing suffers when being bullied. And, as one of the students mentioned: if hateful words can so drastically affect a plant, how much more will they affect us as human beings?

And on the other end of the spectrum? The power of positive, uplifting words is incredible! Thanks for the reminder, IKEA!

 

See More on TodaysMama.com!

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The post IKEA Encouraged These Kids to Be Bullies, and Here’s Why appeared first on TodaysMama.

6 Things Every Mom Needs to Remember

My oldest child is heading to college this fall. That translates in mom talk to, “Friends beware. Spontaneous ugly cries may occur.” It also means I’ve gotten a little bit (okay… a lot bit) sentimental. While meandering down memory lane, I remembered two friends of mine. They were both older – one a grandmother with gray hair and dimples. The other an energetic empty nester. Every visit these ladies slipped in some piece of mothering advice before they left. Their perspective changed my perspective of how to raise my kids and I’m so grateful for it. Guess it’s time to pass that good advice on.

Things to Remember…

 

1. Don’t Stress About Keeping a Clean House.

It’s a phase. You’re not a slob. One day those sticky handprints on the glass are going to make you smile.

happy messy kids

2. Happiness is Not About Stuff.

Name brand clothes, yearly vacations, and presents overflowing under the Christmas tree aren’t necessary. Kids can be happy with a lot less than we think. Never go in debt for a kid’s want. Wanting is a motivating and healthy thing for every child.

 

3. Date Your Spouse.

Find a babysitter you trust and get out of the house! Weekly if you can. One day the kids will be gone and you need to still like your spouse! Dates can be as simple as going on a walk. Strengthening your marriage will strengthen your whole family.

 

4. Date Your Kids.

Your kids need time with you too. Not time with you and the baby. Not time with you and their little sister. Just you. Go grab a one-dollar ice cream cone together. That’s enough! Find ten minutes regularly that’s all for them. Doing this with my kids when they were young made them more willing to talk to me about the tough stuff when they were teens.

kids helping make dinner

 

5. Teach Them How to Help Themselves.

Chores teach hard work. Saving money teaches discipline. Talking face to face with unkind friends teaches bravery. Asking a teacher for help teaches self-reliance. Don’t save your kids when things get hard. Walk beside them and teach them how to save themselves.

 

6. Praise, Hug, Repeat.

Let the little things go. Praise the good more than you correct the bad. I know I would feel awful if someone only pointed out my mistakes while I was learning something new. Our kids are still learning how to be kind human beings. Be gentle, fun teachers. They’re going to turn out great.

love your children

 

 

About the Author

Hey! I’m Jenner –  a mother of four. A Texan. An author. And the wife of a beautifully bald elementary school teacher. I’m a wee bit obsessed with Christmas music and love writing. My writing has appeared in Jack and Jill, Friend, Ensign and Highlights magazines. You can also find it on storybird.com.  Catch me on my blog or follow me on Twitter here: @slushpilestory

 

 

 

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The post 6 Things Every Mom Needs to Remember appeared first on TodaysMama.

Science Says: THIS Is the Key to a Long, Happy Life

On occasion I wonder how soon the unearthly amount of sugar I consume in a day will kill me.

But then I read this research and I realize that as long as I keep up healthy, secure relationships I won’t have to change a thing. (Or at least I hope not, because I don’t see my sugar intake lowering anytime soon.)

According to one of the world’s longest studies of adult life, secure relationships are a greater predictor of longtime health than many other factors, including cholesterol levels and alcohol and tobacco abuse.

As the director of the study, Robert Waldinger, puts it: Loneliness kills.

Whoa.

The research even revealed that close relationships with family, friends, and community kept people happier and healthier than fame, social class, IQ, and even their genes. And that those good relationships helped protect from physical pain and memory loss as well.

Great, so we all have to have the perfect marriage to live long, happy lives? Nope.

“…Those good relationships, they don’t have to be smooth all the time. Some of our octogenarian couples could bicker with each other day in and day out, but as long as they felt that they could really count on the other when the going got tough, those arguments didn’t take a toll on their memories.”

Score.

 

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The post Science Says: THIS Is the Key to a Long, Happy Life appeared first on TodaysMama.

10 Simple Ways To Say I Love You (BFFs Included!)

We all want to be loved.  There’s this little part of our heart that gets all warm and melty when we feel cared for and acknowledged. I don’t know about you but when I am told all the things I “should” do to make sure my spouse or best friend know I love them, I get incredibly overwhelmed. Really it’s the perfect recipe for me to shut-down and completely swear off any kind of positive interaction. Little dramatic much? Maybe.

With that said, I started to sort through the many ways my spouse (who is my very best friend) acknowledges me every day. I realized that these small acts, words or gestures really make my day and I’d be lost without them.  If you don’t have a spouse, there are plenty of loved ones that could use these same simple acts in their life — and it won’t kill you to do them. Trust me. If I can do it, so can you.

 

1. Send a quick text

It does not have to be extravagant. It doesn’t even have to turn in to a conversation. Heck, don’t even expect a reply back. A little text saying “Hey, hope your day is going well!” or a too-good-to-pass-up GIF is always appreciated. The key here is that the text is being sent for the other person, not for you to receive gratification. Do it because you are thinking about them and want them to know.

Ways to Tell your BFF I Love You

 

 

2. Share things you love (and think they’ll love, too)

Is there a podcast you are freaking excited about? Is there a post on social media that makes your sides burn with laughter? Is there a book you’re reading that you can’t put down? TELL THEM ABOUT IT! Even if they don’t follow through with your same excitement, the shear fact that you want to introduce them to it will mean a lot. Not to mention the pure joy it brings when you both can’t handle how great Stranger Things on Netflix is.

 

3. Do an act of service (without any expectations)

A perfect example of this would be when my loving hubby does a load of dishes and doesn’t follow up his act of service with “Did you see that I did the dishes?”  A service is meant as a sweet act or gesture with no expectation in return (are you seeing a theme here)? Acts of service are meant to be helpful and a show of love. If you force the other person to acknowledge the act, or simply expect it, then the service wasn’t about them but about yourself. Acts of service can be as small as wiping down the counter or rolling garbage cans up from the sidewalk (yes, even if it’s for your BFF who lives a city over). No true act of service is too small.

 

 

4. Compliment Them

Seems simple, eh? How many times do we see someone we adore and don’t tell them? Start telling them! Don’t be creepy about it (not all of us deal well with compliments), but be honest. Their hair killing it? Tell them! Do they smell nice? Tell them! Even something as easy as “I love you” (yes, even to your non-spousal BFF) can go a long way.

 

5. Amazon A Little Love

One of my favorite things are random treats my sister sends from Amazon.  She and I speak a lot of the same love languages (food anyone? okay fine, that may not be an official love language, but whatever), so I have gotten random surprises from my favorite candy, a hilarious coloring book to a fun game for my kids. I know she is busy and doesn’t have a lot of extra funds to be spending on me, so the thought of her stopping to do that truly warms my soul.

 

ways to say i love you amazon

 

6.  Listen to Them Without a “You” Response

I have learned that when I try to “connect” with people, it’s done by sharing a story I think is related to the conversation. At times this can come off as me trying to talk about myself and not acknowledging the other person. I have to consciously make a choice to simply listen. We don’t always have to reference our experiences or share our point of view. We just need to be willing to hear them. Heard = loved.

 

7. Ask “How Are You?”… And Wait For A Response

Weird, right? Nope. How many times a day do we say “Hey! How are you?” but don’t really mean it?  Just once, when you say this, really mean it; wait for a response. If you really love someone, you may have to tell them “No, but really…how are you?” We’re all guilty of glossing over this question, so now’s the time to pick one person you really love to try this on.

 

8. Fold The Clean Laundry

This may be a totally selfish request, but I’d marry each and every one of my friends that did this for me.  Folding laundry means so much, in fact, that if I’m ever babysitting at a friend’s house, I try to fold any laundry they have laying out.  This could get weird if you don’t really know the person, so maybe use this one at your discretion. If you’re hanging out at your friend’s house, turn it in to a laundry folding party. Sure it may be weird at first, but the joy (and relief) you bring will be worth it.

 

ways to say i love you laundry

 

9.  Hug It Out

Hugs are not only a way to say I love and care about you, but it is scientifically proven to have numerous health benefits. Benefits such as reduced stress and anxiety, pain relief, and decreased levels of depression.  If any of you are like me, my real feelings are rarely hidden in a hug (not those side-hugs, a true bear hug).  If I’m on the verge of a melt-down or having a bad day, a hug usually brings me to tears. I can’t help it. I let go when I’m hugged and oftentimes it’s a much needed release.

 

10. Bring Them Bacon

I don’t feel like this needs any explanation. Bacon = love. However, if you have a non-bacon-lover (is there such a thing?) then bring or send them whatever their heart adores. A sweet friend of mine was having trouble finding gluten-free donuts only to be greeted by a delivery man courtesy her friend who lived across the U.S.  I’ve also been surprised by an UberEATS delivery courtesy my husband who knows I never feed myself lunch even though I need it. I’m telling you…food should be an official love language.

 

What is love language?

If you don’t know, you need to hop on this as soon as possible. After hearing about love languages from a source I didn’t fully respect, I pulled it up and took the test in the most immature and mocking way possible. Guess what happened? It was the best test I have ever taken for myself and my relationship. There are 5 Love Languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, physical touch.  When you know how someone (including yourself) feels loved, it is 1000 times easier to express love in ways that will make a big impact.

Don’t know your love language? Take the test here. It’s free!! (Click on “Learn Your Love Language”)

You can also have your kids take a test meant just for them. Click here, click on “Learn Your Love Language”, select “My Child”.

Trust me when I say that knowing your love language(s) will improve your relationships ten fold. Knowledge is half the battle, amiright?

 

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The post 10 Simple Ways To Say I Love You (BFFs Included!) appeared first on TodaysMama.

Stressed? Science Says Smell THIS!

Mamas—raise your hand if you’ve found yourself stressed out in the last week? Day? Hour?

Ha! Ladies, I know my audience, and I’m thinking pretty much every hand is up right now. (If not, I’d love to know your secret. Let’s talk. Like, really.)

Well, for starters, know that if you’re feeling the stress, you’re not alone. And secondly, you’ll be happy to know that the antidote no longer requires a trip to the rose garden…though that probably wouldn’t hurt.

A recent study published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reports that a woman’s stress level can drop when she takes a whiff of her romantic partner’s t-shirt.

Researchers studied 96 opposite-sex couples and had the men wear the same t-shirt for 24 hours with no deodorant or scented body products to interfere with their natural scents. The t-shirts were then frozen to preserve the smells, and later presented to the women in a series of experiments. Some women were given the t-shirt of a stranger to smell, others their own romantic partner’s. The women were then given mock job interviews and difficult math problems to solve in order to raise stress levels.

After the “tests” were performed, the women were asked to rate their own stress levels and provide saliva samples in order to measure cortisol (a stress hormone) levels. Unsurprisingly, the women who were provided with the shirts of their partners had lower overall stress levels than those of their counterparts in the study, suggesting that the familiar scent of a loved one can create a sense of safety and calm, even during a stressful situation.

So, the next time you find yourself worrying over that mountain of unwashed laundry, just stop and…well, smell the dirty laundry.

 

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