Mothering http://www.mothering.com/articles The Home for Natural Family Living Wed, 28 Sep 2016 04:16:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Home for Natural Family Living no The Home for Natural Family Living Mothering http://www.mothering.com/articles/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://www.mothering.com/articles Children Born by Elective C-Section at High Risk for Obesity http://www.mothering.com/articles/edelective-c-sections-put-newborns-higher-risk-obesity/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/edelective-c-sections-put-newborns-higher-risk-obesity/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2016 22:39:07 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=159802 Obesity is an epidemic in the United States, there’s no question of that. According to the CDC, 33.7% of all American adults are obese, meaning they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher and another 35.1% of adults in the U.S. have BMIs that fall within the overweight range of 25.0 to … Continue reading Children Born by Elective C-Section at High Risk for Obesity

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Children Born by Elective C-Section at High Risk for ObesityObesity is an epidemic in the United States, there’s no question of that. According to the CDC, 33.7% of all American adults are obese, meaning they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher and another 35.1% of adults in the U.S. have BMIs that fall within the overweight range of 25.0 to 29.9.

There is no easy answer why so many struggle with this very serious issue and researchers continue to unearth factors that may be contributing to this problem that perplexes individuals, families and health care providers. One of these risk-factors may be the manner in which a person is born.

A new study, published this month in JAMA Pediatrics, found that babies delivered via cesarean section are 15% more likely to become obese by age 9. The risk is even greater for babies whose mothers had no medical need for a C-section, with this group being 30% more likely to become obese than babies born vaginally.

The link between C-sections and obesity was present regardless of age, gender, or even maternal BMI.

The theory behind the link is this: when a newborn bypasses the birth canal they also miss out on exposure to microorganisms, an incredibly important step that is suspected to be a major part of creating a foundation of health in the human species.

Scientists have found that infants born vaginally have microbiomes with a greater variety of bacteria, including more probiotics and fewer pathogenic species like staphylococci, than C-section babies. Studies currently in progress are now looking at the long-term effects of swabbing C-section newborns with their mother’s vaginal fluids shortly after birth.

The results of this study should be added to a growing list of possible risks associated with C-sections that should be seriously considered by women, and their health care providers, before electing to undergo a medically unnecessary cesarean section.

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Trying to Get Pregnant? New Research Says Stress May Be Your Worst Enemy http://www.mothering.com/articles/trying-get-pregnant-new-research-says-stress-may-worst-enemy/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/trying-get-pregnant-new-research-says-stress-may-worst-enemy/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2016 20:40:37 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=159786 A recent study, conducted by the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences, confirmed that high stress levels in women can reduce their probability of conception. In the study, 400 women (age 40 and younger) recorded their perceived daily stress levels on a scale of 1-4. Factors such as lifestyle, behavioral factors, menstrual characteristics, contraceptive … Continue reading Trying to Get Pregnant? New Research Says Stress May Be Your Worst Enemy

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Trying to Get Pregnant? New Research Says Stress May Be Your Worst Enemy

A recent study, conducted by the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences, confirmed that high stress levels in women can reduce their probability of conception.

In the study, 400 women (age 40 and younger) recorded their perceived daily stress levels on a scale of 1-4. Factors such as lifestyle, behavioral factors, menstrual characteristics, contraceptive use, and intercourse frequency were included in the study.

Women who reported feeling very stressed during their ovulatory window were approximately 40% less likely to conceive during that month compared to less stressful months. Similarly, women who reported feeling generally more stressed than other women were about 45% less likely to conceive.

On the other hand, the study also found that women who conceived experienced an increase in stress at the end of the month in which they became pregnant. However, epidemiologists hypothesize that most likely the increased stress was the result of changes in hormone levels caused by pregnancy itself.

The findings of the study reinforce the need to encouraging stress management techniques for aspiring and expecting mothers. It is recommended that women who want to conceive should take active steps towards stress reduction by exercising, meditating, enrolling in a stress management program or talking to a health professional.

Looking for ways to reduce stress in your life? Check out these tips.

Image Credit: Firesam!

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Is it Okay NOT to Throw Your Kid a Birthday Party? http://www.mothering.com/articles/okay-dont-throw-kid-birthday-party/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/okay-dont-throw-kid-birthday-party/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 03:14:09 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=158458 Is it Okay Not to Throw Your Kid a Birthday Party? I have been to some seriously beautiful kids’ birthday parties. You know, the ones where the parents thought of everything… A cute theme complete with personalized banners, delicious and pretty appetizers, huge lovely prints of the birthday kid, fun activities, well thought-out gifts in … Continue reading Is it Okay NOT to Throw Your Kid a Birthday Party?

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Is it Okay NOT to Throw Your Kid a Birthday Party?

Is it Okay Not to Throw Your Kid a Birthday Party?

I have been to some seriously beautiful kids’ birthday parties. You know, the ones where the parents thought of everything…

A cute theme complete with personalized banners, delicious and pretty appetizers, huge lovely prints of the birthday kid, fun activities, well thought-out gifts in beautiful wrapping, a gorgeous cake and even hired entertainment or a photographer to capture all of this fancy cuteness.

As much as I admire all of the thoughtfulness, the details and the hard work, my kids’ birthdays have looked far less glamorous. Here’s a few reasons why:

When my first son turned one, money was tight. As in, even a large dinner party could exceed our monthly budget for “extras.” At the time, my husband and I were both working to pay school loans, trying to save some money and, of course, our son’s birthday happens to fall in December, the one month when our budget was stretched the most.

My son also happens to share a birthday with my brother and a few days before he turned one, our nephew was born. So, we went out of town and spent the day with family. He saw all of his grandparents that day, lots of aunts and uncles, and even met a newborn cousin. We reminisced about his birth day and all the ways we had enjoyed him over the past year, but he didn’t really notice any of that.

He did notice the balloon, and the one gift he opened from us – a monster truck (which he still plays with, 4 years later) – and the cup of yogurt we stuck a candle in when we sang “Happy Birthday.” We had lots of laughs, quality time and even a couple of sweet photos, but no extravagant party.

Spending too much money, getting too stressed or even arguing during all the frantic preparation is a common downfall of throwing a big party. But you have to wonder, is it worth it?

Where does this pressure to throw an extravagant party come from? Is stressing over a kid’s birthday party a rite of passage into parenthood?

I am a big believer that we all have to prioritize things in order to stay sane and the things that are most important will be different for each family. Some moms thrive on those big celebrations and I have a huge appreciation for that sentimentality. If that fuels you and is a creative outlet for you – if you can do it joyfully, don’t hold back! Fill your cup and enjoy every minute. But if it’s overwhelming, drains you or your family or just comes at a bad time, it’s okay to keep it simple.

For our son’s second birthday, we did this by asking him what he wanted to do. He said he wanted a doughnut and a blue balloon. Easy enough! I cut out gold paper stars and strung them on twine from the ceiling just for fun, bought 2 dozen balloons to play with and stacked donuts into a pyramid with a chocolate covered one on top for him.

By the time his fourth birthday came around, he got a real party. I spent about $20 on posters, made some fun decor and super hero masks for our guests. And I did stay up very late the night before, so I know even a small party takes a lot of work! Mostly family came and one friend his age, but it was a beautiful day. We all enjoyed homemade food and watched the boys play.

When I was a kid, my parents put streamers all over the house on our birthdays. Even if no one was coming over, it was happy way to wake up and it set the tone for the day. They often let me skip school on my birthday (Gasp!) and I loved it. It was a rare opportunity spend one-on-one time with my parents while my siblings were in school. These little gestures left the impression on my mind then, and now, that birthdays are a big deal and should be distinguished from regular days.

I think it’s important to remember that no matter the age of your child, a birthday can be special – with or without a party.

I have a friend who decorates her daughter’s door and hallway the night before her birthday. When she wakes up in the morning, the balloons and pretty bunting are the first things she sees. Some moms I know take their kids to a movie or the zoo or to the same restaurant every year. There’s something wonderful about an inexpensive tradition that stays special just because of the sentimentality.

This year, I’m not sure what we’ll do. I’m up for a party, if he asks for it. I just know from year to year, even if our capacity to deliver fluctuates and even on the years when we are pressed for time or money or energy, we’ll be sure to make the day special.

 

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Simple Steps Toward a More Self-Reliant Life http://www.mothering.com/articles/steps-toward-self-reliant-life/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/steps-toward-self-reliant-life/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 02:34:12 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=158290 Interested in learning to become more self-reliant as a family? You're not alone.

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Taking Steps Toward a More Self-Reliant Life

Interested in learning to become more self-reliant as a family? You’re not alone.

Becoming more self-reliant is about creating a lifestyle rooted in the values of simplicity, sustainability and mindful living – all while helping you save money and stay grounded in the fullness of family life.

Steps Toward a More Self-Reliant Life

  • Avoid over-consumption. We live in a throw-away society. Take small steps to reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose products and materials. Cloth diapering is a great way to start.
  • Make you own cleaning products. Natural cleaners are easy and cost-effective to make at home.
  • Maintain a compost pile. Composting reduces food waste and can save you money on trash disposal fees.
  • Learn basic skills such as sewing, canning and preserving. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, try your hand at knitting, weaving, woodworking or soap making. They’re practical, fun and can even be profitable!
  • Make an effort to make basic repairs. Search the internet or YouTube for tutorials on just about anything!

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  • Make an effort to grow your own food. Start small but dream big! Harvesting and eating produce grown in your own backyard is rewarding and delicious. Gardening with kids is especially rewarding!
  • Patronize local farmers. Buy local! Supplement your family’s diet with products grown or raised nearby. Consider joining a CSA or getting to know local producers at farmer’s markets – it’s a great way to support their efforts. Then, check out these 5 Vegetable Side Dishes Inspired by the Farmers Market for some fresh and tasty recipes.
  • Be mindful of your energy use. Turn off lights and unplug appliances. Use energy-efficient halogen incandescent, CFL and LED lights. Try washing clothes in cold water, it saves a ton of energy.
  • Walk, bike and/or carpool to your destination whenever possible.
  • Consider raising your own farm animals. A flock of laying hens are relatively easy to maintain and provide fresh eggs daily. Hobby farming chickens, pigs, goats, sheep and/or bees can be realistic to maintain for many families and can provide an abundance of milk, meat, honey and eggs.

Steps to a More Self-Reliant Life

Many small changes can make a big difference!   

Image credits:  www.kidsandeggs.com

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An After-School Activity Perfect for Fall: Homemade Cinnamon Spice Play Dough! http://www.mothering.com/articles/make-cinnamon-spice-play-dough/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/make-cinnamon-spice-play-dough/#comments Sun, 25 Sep 2016 23:40:20 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=150169 Making homemade play dough is the perfect activity to do with the kids on a chilly afternoon! This festive take on the classic makes it perfect for fall! Cinnamon Spice Homemade Play Dough 5 cups water 5 cups flour 2 1/2 cups salt 3 T cream of tartar 1/2 cup vegetable oil 6 T cinnamon … Continue reading An After-School Activity Perfect for Fall: Homemade Cinnamon Spice Play Dough!

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Making homemade play dough is the perfect activity to do with the kids on a chilly afternoon! This festive take on the classic makes it perfect for fall!

Cinnamon Spice Homemade Play Dough

  • 5 cups water
  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 cups salt
  • 3 T cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 T cinnamon
  • 1 T ground cloves
  • 1 T ginger

Heat water and oil in a stockpot over medium-low heat on the stove. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, cream of tartar, cinnamon, ground cloves, and ginger. Gradually add the flour mixture to the oil and water mixture, continuing to heat and stir until the mixture pulls away from the pan and is no longer sticky. Dump the dough on a tray and let cool. Knead until the dough has a uniform texture. Store the dough in an airtight container. Have fun and smell amazing!

Image Credits: Megan Devine

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Motherhood is More Than I Thought It Would Be http://www.mothering.com/articles/motherhood-is-more-than-i-thought-it-would-be/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/motherhood-is-more-than-i-thought-it-would-be/#comments Sun, 25 Sep 2016 22:14:26 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=159106 Motherhood is so much more than I thought it would be…. More hours going by between showers. More months going by between haircuts. More moments of bliss. More moments of feeling overwhelmed. Lots more waiting around. Even more hurrying up. More appreciation for all that my body can do. More effort to try to change … Continue reading Motherhood is More Than I Thought It Would Be

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Motherhood is More Than I Thought It Would BeMotherhood is so much more than I thought it would be….

More hours going by between showers.
More months going by between haircuts.

More moments of bliss.
More moments of feeling overwhelmed.

Lots more waiting around.
Even more hurrying up.

More appreciation for all that my body can do.
More effort to try to change it.

More coffee. (This is a welcome surprise.)

More relishing quality time with friends.
More protecting time spent at home with just my little family.

More thinking, “I totally got this.”
More questioning if I am doing it well enough.

So much more time watching the clock.
Even more thinking time is going too fast.

More leaky diapers.
More leaking milk.

More time in the kitchen. (But less time actually eating.)
More laundry than I imagined. (Somehow in those early days, my shirt was never dry.)

More loud noises.
More contentment in the quiet moments.

More wondering how many times I’m going to have to repeat myself.
More heart-melting moments of seeing them do the right thing on their own.

More adoring my husband as I watch him with our babies.
More frustration when we don’t agree on some part of this parenting thing.

More times a baby knocked over my drink with little flailing arms.
More wondering why I can’t remember to never set a drink down within their arm’s reach.

More accidentally burned dinners.
More not eating my own dinner until it’s cold.

More digging deep on hard days.
More realizing so much of this just comes naturally.

More days passing where it seems like almost nothing happened.
More days jam-packed with running errands, doing work, dragging little ones along.

More times yelling, “Don’t put your mouth on that!”
More sweet, sleepy “I love you’s” whispered.

More trusting my motherly instincts.
More needing reassurance.

More soaking up morning cuddles on the couch.
More kissing bumps and bruises.

More excruciating car rides with a crying baby in the backseat.
More cherished memories taking trips with the littles in tow.

More missing my mom.
More wanting to do it on my own.

More wondering how I could love another baby as much as this one.
More realizing I love and adore each one uniquely.

More stuff piling up in my car.
More challenging myself to carry it all inside in one trip.

More wanting to eat good food and teach good eating habits to my kids.
More wanting to get them treats to enjoy.

More pressure to please other people.
More gumption to stick up for myself or my husband or my kids.

More cancelling plans because I’m home with a sick, tired, teething or fussy kid.
More knowing I’d rather take care of them when they need me than be anywhere else.

More bonding with women who can relate to this phase of life.
More feeling introverted and just laying low in the house.

More thinking about all the things I would do if I had more time.
More realizing there is nothing more important for me to be doing than nurturing these sweet little souls.

More soaking up knowledge about how to keep them healthy and happy.
More understanding there is so much I do not know.

More PBS Kids.
More realizing I should replace most of that with reading books to them.
But then more being thankful for Nature Cat.

More regret over decisions I wish I could change.
More confidence when I figure it out.

More exchanging looks with my husband that say, “We are living our dream today.”
More planning and hoping for adventures in the future.

More appreciation for all Motherhood has taught me.
More understanding there is so much I have yet to learn.

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50 Reasons We Are Done Having Babies http://www.mothering.com/articles/51-reasons-done-babies/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/51-reasons-done-babies/#comments Thu, 22 Sep 2016 02:24:32 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=158674 After my son was born (number three) I obsessed about if he was our last or not. I thought about it all the time, talked about it, made lists. I asked people: How do you know when you’re done having babies!? I really wanted to know if this was the end. Tired of it consuming … Continue reading 50 Reasons We Are Done Having Babies

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50 Reasons We Are Done Having Babies

After my son was born (number three) I obsessed about if he was our last or not. I thought about it all the time, talked about it, made lists. I asked people: How do you know when you’re done having babies!? I really wanted to know if this was the end.

Tired of it consuming so much brain space, I vowed not to actively think about it anymore and just checked in with my feelings each day. Every day on the calendar I wrote a Y (Yes, I want to have another baby) or N (No, I don’t).

At first, it was really 50/50. Then there would be bursts of up to 5 Ys in a week. Then no Ys for a few weeks. Eventually, I stopped keeping track. The solid, resigned N days drowned out the sweet sighs of the Ys.

It started to feel like the end of the road. It was both terribly sad and hugely exhilarating.

I asked my circles: If you’re done, how do you know you’re done? What signs, what reasons, what led to that decision? Then I made a list.

50 Reasons We Are Done Having Babies

50 Reasons We Are Done Having Babies

  1. Our family feels complete.

  2. Pregnancy complications are be a burden and make it difficult to parent others.

  3. We just knew.

  4. When I think about being pregnant, it doesn’t feel right.

  5. The thought of starting again with a baby makes me nauseous.

  6. We fit well in our vehicle now.

  7. We can all fit in one hotel room.

  8. Every child is more of a financial responsibility.

  9. The age gap if we started again at this point would be too big.

  10. We don’t want to go back to no sleep.

  11. I want my body back.

  12. Potty training again would be like taking the ring to Mordor.

  13. I’m so done with diapers.

  14. I’d like to devote some of my time to a personal passion or pursuit now.

  15. We are tapped out.

  16. My partner is tapped out.

  17. I am tapped out.

  18. The risk of another postpartum mood disorder is too great.

  19. I don’t have any more energy to give to another child.

  20. It’s time for more date nights.

  21. It’s time for vacations.

  22. It’s time to move on.

  23. More kids would make travel prohibitive.

  24. Too many bodies and souls to care for.

  25. Too many bodies and souls to worry over.

  26. Another child means you roll the dice again…it could be anyone.

  27. We are struggling with the number we have now.

  28. My body could not sustain another small human climbing on me.

  29. After my last was born, I just felt fulfilled in every sense of the word.

  30. When I look at all my pregnancy/newborn stuff, it feels like another life.

  31. Thinking about getting the baby clothes down is not exciting.

  32. My last pregnancy was an accident and it’s been a strain.

  33. Newborns are cute but give me so much anxiety.

  34. When I see a stroller or baby, waves of relief wash over me. It’s not mine.

  35. I just felt too old.

  36. We had kids until we couldn’t anymore.

  37. So many miscarriages; my heart hurt too much to keep trying.

  38. We don’t want to be old parents.

  39. God gave us a sign.

  40. When I see a baby, it doesn’t make me ‘hungry.’

  41. Fewer kids is better for the earth.

  42. We have overpopulation problems already.

  43. The carbon footprint of each kid is significant.

  44. The quality of care we could offer with another would be too low.

  45.  I can’t imagine starting the chaos clock again.

  46. We’re ready for the next chapter.

  47. I’m ready to be done missing out on things because of babies.

  48. I feel at peace having my body to myself and moving on.

  49. Before my last, I knew there was another. After, I felt complete.

  50. We miss our relationship, the way it was when we had time for it.

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Image credits: IvanJames JordanS. Faric via Flickr: CC

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Six Simple Rules for Being a Happier Mom (That You Need to Stop Ignoring Today!) http://www.mothering.com/articles/guide-happy-mom/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/guide-happy-mom/#comments Thu, 22 Sep 2016 02:20:53 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=158410 I’ve been a little stressed and a little sick lately, and the whole experience of being in over my head has left me wondering where I went wrong. I’m writing this guide to being a happier mom not because I have actually mastered any of these skills, but because as I ranted over the messy … Continue reading Six Simple Rules for Being a Happier Mom (That You Need to Stop Ignoring Today!)

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Six Simple Rules for Being a Happier MomI’ve been a little stressed and a little sick lately, and the whole experience of being in over my head has left me wondering where I went wrong. I’m writing this guide to being a happier mom not because I have actually mastered any of these skills, but because as I ranted over the messy car (that my children all told me they had cleaned) this morning on the way to school drop-off, I recognized just how off course I had gone. 

So, here’s the rules for being a happier mom. I don’t follow them, but I intend to because I’m pretty sure they are great ideas.

1. Sleep

Remember how when you had a newborn and people told you to “sleep when baby sleeps,” and you thought they must be smoking peyote?

If you sleep when the baby sleeps then the laundry will never get done, you’ll never have private time with your spouse or read another book. You’ll just feel like a useless human being with floors that need mopping.

I ignored the sleep advice when I had newborns and I still ignore it.

Oh yes, the bad news: you think when your kids get older they will sleep and then you will sleep. It’s true – eventually the kids all sleep through the night (it’s awesome, by the way) but you will likely still continue to avoid sleep.

I have spent countless hours writing, hanging out with the hubby binge watching episodes of Psych (which is hilarious), working, exercising, reading, and more. Some of the time I spent awake was somewhat useless, but I also got a lot of things done.

I have spent many, many years getting 5-7 hours of sleep a night. You know what? I’m still tired even though all the kids will sleep now, and in their own beds to boot.

So, don’t do what I am doing – JUST SLEEP. Otherwise, you’ll get sick and your thyroid will freak out and your adrenals will malfunction.

2. Say no

This is possibly the hardest thing ever. But if you don’t learn to say no – you will freak out all the time.

Say no to the kids.

Say no to volunteering.

Say no to your job.

Say no to everyone!

Not to everyone all the time, but learn to say no when it needs to be said. Learn to recognize when you are at your limit and stop before you go hurtling over the cliff.

Otherwise you will never sleep, run yourself ragged and end up hating everyone.

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“But if I say no, I won’t be a good person!”

I know that’s what you are thinking, because I think it too! But setting limits doesn’t actually make you evil OR lazy, despite that voice in your head. The trick is to figure out when it is appropriate to say no and then to move on.

3. Don’t freak out

It’s hilarious that I would write this, because I am actually really good at freaking out.

First, I don’t sleep. Then I say yes to everyone and everything in an effort to be “nice.” Then I yell.

Following my first two rules might help with this one, although I can’t say I’ve tried it.

Freaking out, however, never leads to anything good. It just creates guilt and a lot of empty pints of ice cream in your garbage can. (However, freaking out does benefit manufacturers of ice cream and tranquilizers, so there are winners here.)

Take a breath, take a nap, say no, and remember that the freak out probably isn’t worth the guilt.

And if you do freak out, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t make you a bad person – just a normal one. So just let it go and forgive yourself. 

4. Exercise

Exercise is one of the best things in life, and I say that as someone who has difficulty walking up stairs. Physical agility isn’t a prerequisite for enjoying exercise.

your guide to being a happy mom

While it can be hard to fit it all into your day (especially if you are trying to do that whole sleep thing I mentioned earlier) exercise is worth making some room for.

Even if you’re not (at all) athletic, it’s a must have. Oh, and it doesn’t have to be something you hate or be overly complicated, it can be as easy as taking a daily walk.

Whatever it is that you enjoy, and can accomplish, do it. It really does make you feel less crazy. (Refer to rule #3.)

5. Turn off the computer

I recently took the Facebook app off my phone. Wow. I had no idea how much it was ruining my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I still check social media regularly but less is more in this department. More time, more focus on things that are actually happening in front of me and more real people: this equals more happiness.

Don’t get me wrong, I really love social media, and my computer in general, but it’s amazing how much better I experience life when I try to reign this in, even just a little.

Try it.

You can even read a book made of paper.

Life. Changing.

6. Have a real friend

This goes along with the computer stuff. Having a real life friend who you can call or visit with is pretty awesome.

I know it’s hard because we are all busy with work and kids but nothing, and I mean NOTHING, replaces a real person who you can safely be vulnerable with and talk to about your problems.

Knowing them in real life means two things:

A) They are nicer than people behind a screen.

B) You can see that they, too, are not perfect floating angel mothers about to get their wings.

Friends rock.

Friends who have more life experience than you are even better because they help with perspective and they reassure you that life actually goes on.

Congratulations! You have now read the guide to being a happy mom.

I hope it has been as educational for you as it was for me – and I hope I can take my own advice, too.

In all seriousness, I think we all KNOW what we need to do to be happy, it can just be hard to see it and actually do it. Life, expectations and the reality of our obligations just seem to get in the way. But I don’t think we have to be selfish in order to be happy – we just need to set some boundaries for ourselves and those around us, and then follow through with them. It may be as simple as that. 

Photo credit: Parker Knight via Foter.com / CC BY,  Hernan Piñera via Foter.com / CC BY-SAsboneham via Foter.com / CC BY

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3 Big Benefits for Kids from Exploring World Cultures and a Giveaway! http://www.mothering.com/articles/three-big-benefits-for-kids-from-exploring-world-cultures/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/three-big-benefits-for-kids-from-exploring-world-cultures/#comments Wed, 21 Sep 2016 23:21:43 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=157554 This is a Sponsored Post and Giveaway from Adventurous Mailbox To find out how to enter to win, see the giveaway section near the end of the post! We launched The Adventurous Mailbox because we think it is awfully important for kids to not only learn about other cultures, but also to develop an international … Continue reading 3 Big Benefits for Kids from Exploring World Cultures and a Giveaway!

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Adventurous Mailbox GiveawayThis is a Sponsored Post and Giveaway from Adventurous Mailbox

To find out how to enter to win, see the giveaway section near the end of the post!

We launched The Adventurous Mailbox because we think it is awfully important for kids to not only learn about other cultures, but also to develop an international perspective as they grow up. The ability to understand the way other peoples think and live their lives may not be assessed on standardized tests, but it is vitally important for every kid’s future.

1. It Prepares Them for the Future

For starters, the most obvious reason cultural education is important is that as countries of the world become more and more connected, chances are that the kids of today will need to work or cooperate with people from other cultures. There are little nuggets to learn about cultures from all over the world that will make collaboration and communication more fluid and more successful.

If kids can develop the ability to learn about and truly understand other cultures, as well as to see things from entirely different perspectives, they will have a major leg up in the future with much more opportunity available to them. Kids who are raised to study only their own culture and believe other cultures should adapt to their own way of thinking will be left behind in future work and social spheres, just as some adults are learning firsthand in today’s world. Moreover, the very skill of being able to appreciate another person’s perspective will help them form closer friendships and relationships as they grow up.

2. It Allows for Personal Growth

The amount of personal growth that comes from exploring other cultures also makes the endeavor time well spent. We all want our kids to grow up into fulfilled adults, but we also know that, as an adult, happiness and contentment aren’t always easily attained. Even if we “succeed” by having a healthy family and a stable job, so many of us fall into ruts. We get into ruts at work, and we get into cultural ruts at home where the only new inspiration comes from Netflix.

How, then, do we get a kid on a path that leads to more fulfillment? Well, if a child learns to study and appreciate other cultures or even picks up another language, more prospects and ideas will be available that make life richer. They will have traditions and practices from all over the world in their arsenal to deal with problems, stress, and boredom, or even in pursuing greater happiness.

Just learning about other cultures opens up a world of options and choices that would have otherwise been undiscovered, and over the course of adulthood options would be continuously revealed. As Marcel Proust advised, “the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new lands but in seeing with new eyes.” One great way to “see with new eyes” is to learn about how other folks live their lives.

Studying other cultures also helps kids who may feel out of place in their own. Whether they don’t fit in to their small town, urban environment, suburbia, or even the country as a whole, learning about other countries and cultures can give them inspiration to push on and not be limited by the surroundings that don’t suit them. It can serve as a “window out” and ease the massive pressure kids feel to conform.

3. It Helps Them Learn About Their Own Culture

Finally, another great benefit from studying other cultures is the insight you gain into your own. As you learn about other cultures and even grow to understand and respect them, at the same time you may think, “Thank goodness my culture is not like that.” That is entirely okay to think because this process of negation reveals your own culture. This process is especially important for people living in countries that are relatively new and very diverse, which make defining our cultures more difficult. The more difference you come into contact with, the more you understand about yourself.

Along these lines, our books and online content were written to not just give kids basic facts about other countries, but to really give them a peek into how other people think and live their lives. Of course there is a great deal of humor and intrigue in the mix, but our hope is that after kids put the books down, they will walk away with an eye pointed to foreign shores and ears ready to practice a new language or two. Once kids are opened up to the cultures of the world, a more fulfilling, rich and adventurous life awaits!

Adventurous Mailbox Giveaway

Adventurous Mailbox Giveaway!

To celebrate the release of our digital packages, as well as to introduce our other products to you, we are offering a special giveaway to Mothering readers.

One lucky child will get our Explorer Package ($99 value), which includes eight books sent in a very cool package from abroad. Kids will also find a secret password to use to join our “top secret” online community of young world explorers. Here, they can learn more about the world, win prizes, chat with other kids and our characters, as well as follow our characters’ blogs. More, this package also gives grownups access to our Teacher’s Lounge, where 100s of fun and intriguing lessons await to be explored with your child.

Editor’s Note: You might like to read the Mothering review of this great educational package here!

Another lucky winner will receive our E-Explorer Package. Kids will receive a parcel from abroad containing instructions (and a “top secret” password) to join our online community and download all of our e-books (in a choice of formats). Lifetime access is also given to the Teacher’s Lounge.

If you don’t win, we are also offering Mothering readers a special discount of 20% off any purchase from The Adventurous Mailbox, using the coupon code MOTHERING at check out. The coupon will be good through December, just in case you know a child who would love some adventure this holiday season.

To Enter

First Entry: To enter to win simply consider “liking” the Adventurous Mailbox on Facebook and then post a comment on this article below.

Second Entry: For a second entry share this giveaway with friends on social media and then post a second comment.

Rules: Two winners (one for the Explorer Package and one for the E-Explorer Package) will be selected randomly from all eligible comments on Sept 28th. Two entries per person only, those with more than two comments may be disqualified. Limited to US and Canadian residents, except where prohibited.

Let the adventure begin!

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Need an Easy Craft Project to Do With the Kids? Make a Pom Pom! http://www.mothering.com/articles/need-easy-craft-project-kids-make-pom-pom/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/need-easy-craft-project-kids-make-pom-pom/#comments Wed, 21 Sep 2016 21:45:24 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=150233 Are you looking for a fun family activity? Try making a pom pom with the kids!  Making pom poms are an easy way to let children experience quick success with a yarn project. How to Make a Pom Pom with Kids Materials: Yarn A fork (We used a large serving fork, but a smaller size works … Continue reading Need an Easy Craft Project to Do With the Kids? Make a Pom Pom!

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How to Make a Pom Pom with Kids

Are you looking for a fun family activity? Try making a pom pom with the kids!  Making pom poms are an easy way to let children experience quick success with a yarn project.

How to Make a Pom Pom with Kids

Materials:

  • Yarn
  • A fork (We used a large serving fork, but a smaller size works too. The bigger the fork, the larger the pom.)
  • Sharp scissors

How to Make a Pom Pom with Kids Step 1

1)  Wrap the yarn around the fork to desired thickness. The thicker you wrap the yarn, the fuller your pom pom will be. Snip the yarn with the scissors and tuck the end under a loop of the wrapped yarn so it does not start to unravel.

How to Make a Pom Pom with Kids Step 2

2)   Cut piece of yarn off of the skein approximately 4 inches in length. Tie this piece with a double knot vertically between your wound yarn on the fork.

How to Make a Pom Pom with Kids Step 3

3)  Slide the yarn off the fork.

How to Make a Pom Pom with Kids Step 4

4)  Use sharp scissors to cut the loops on each side of the knot.

How to Make a Pom Pom with Kids Step 5

5)  Fluff up your creation. You just made a pom pom!

How to Make a Pom Pom with Kids Step 6

This project is great for young children (ages four and up) to practice their fine motor skills with gentle guidance from adults.

Older and more independent children can do this with ease. (If your child likes making band bracelets they will probably like this activity too!)

Here are a few pom craft links to expand your creativity:

Photo Credits:  Megan Devine

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