• Parenting Girls

    6 Steps to Resolving Conflict with Your Strong-Willed Daughter

    It’s the same old conflict: Parent versus child. Throughout the ages, parents are at odds with their offspring at some point in the growing up process. You might even be getting a taste of some of that right now with your own daughter.

    Toddlers + adolescents are usually the biggest perpetrators of “boundary testing.” If you can survive these years, most girls grow beyond the attitudes + adopt a more mature nature.

    Unfortunately, for many parents, this “phase” is anything but. They grapple with real-life destructive behavior because they deal with a defiant daughter. If you are experiencing this, rest assured that there is help for your daughter + there is help for you.

    Defiance can go beyond the age-appropriate outbursts. In these situations, other conditions may be present that exacerbate overly strong-willed attitudes in your daughter.

    It could even stem from a chemical imbalance of some sort in the brain or a learning disability. The point is that there are solutions. Your daughter is not a “demon seed,” as some might like to label her, but someone you love who needs your assistance.

    Hang in there, Mama! We’re going to learn how to get to know life through your daughter’s eyes + get into to her head to see what she’s thinking.

    Hang in for a bumpy ride as we maneuver the “thinking errors” that young girls aren’t always able to turn off. Finally, we’re going to pave the way to steps for resolving conflict with your defiant daughter + find ways to better understand her.

    How a Defiant Daughter Thinks

    One common myth we have to overcome is that our daughter is a mini-version of us. In reality, her way of thinking is drastically different from ours.

    Let’s face it. They don’t have the experience we have. Her brain isn’t fully developed so she doesn’t connect reasoning + analyzing + numerous other actions the way we do as adults.

    As she learns to sit, stand, walk, talk, reason, share + understand, she also develops self-centered feelings that might make her act defiant — as in refusing to clean her room or throwing a tantrum because she doesn’t want to put on her shoes right now.

    Until she develops + learns to be in control of her actions + that she can control her emotions, she doesn’t really know any other way to react other than what she’s feeling inside so it can come across as defiance.

    A defiant child, on the other hand, sees things in their own way. What you view as reasonable requests are just reasons into an argument. Here are some snippets from the book “Day in the Life of a Defiant Child.”

    “I don’t want to get out of bed. School is dumb. I’ll just lay here.”

    “I don’t have enough time to get ready before the bus comes. This sucks. Why do I have to go to school?”

    “Why should I do my homework? I’ll never use any of this stuff. My teacher hates me anyway.”

    “Can you take me to school? Otherwise I’ll be late since I missed the bus.”

    “Stay off my back. I’m doing the best I can. Nothing I do is ever good enough for you guys.”

    “There’s nothing wrong with watching this show. All my friends’ parents let them watch it. You just don’t want me to be cool.”

    Does any of this sound familiar to you? You may have heard it so much that you just tune it out, roll your eyes + keep moving.

    Or, your blood boils every time you hear it + the shouting commences.

    These statements are inflammatory + meant to invoke these reactions from you. Defiant daughters have a goal + it’s to enrage you enough to give in to their demands so they can go on living as they always have.

    The problem is these attitudes are not healthy + not productive for you, for your daughter or for your family as a whole. It can only lead to more trouble, as your daughter gets older.

    A child who sees the world like this on a daily basis is not only defiant but might be suffering from some sort of disorder. What could be driving your child to exhibit such behavior?

    • Peer pressure and/or rejection (bullying, teasing, drugs, sex, alcohol or other)
    • Past traumatic experiences (physical or sexual abuse, for example, with or without the parent’s knowledge)
    • Conflict with parents (parental expectations, separation, divorce, or remarriage)
    • Body image issues (developing too fast or not as fast as their peers do)
    • Sibling issues (dangerous sibling rivalry, bullying, etc.)
    • Defiance is the thing that is “in” right now so it’s okay to do

    This is by no means a comprehensive list.

    It does bring many different kinds of situations to your attention, though. Children can set unrealistic expectations for themselves + feel too embarrassed to tell you when something is going on with them. As a result, they try to handle it themselves + it results in defiant behavior.

    You’re not a mind reader as a parent (You probably already know this.) so you don’t make the connection all the time, which can further infuriate your daughter into thinking that you don’t care so they don’t tell you when they’re having problems.

    Chemical imbalances + disabilities can also cause defiant behavior in girls. It is possible that she is suffering from:

    • Anxiety disorders (ADD, ADHD, ODD, panic attacks or another)
    • Depression (bipolar depression or clinical depression)
    • Learning disabilities (dyslexia, autism spectrum disorder, or another)

    It can create the perfect storm if your daughter is suffering from one of these disorders + has to deal with her emotions at the same time.

    Whatever the reasons causing the defiance, you’re going to have to address the underlying issues to take the necessary steps to correct it.

    Oppositional Defiant Disorder

    Almost every child goes through a defiant period in their life–especially during the formative years. Sometimes, though, it’s to an extreme. Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a medical condition that must be diagnosed by a professional clinician.

    ODD is something different than typical acting out. It is not a phase but an ongoing set of behaviors that don’t resolve or get better, but progressively worsen, especially if not treated through training + behavior modification (for both parents + children).

    A child may be suffering from ODD if they exhibit one or more of these chronic symptoms almost daily for at least six months.

    Children with ODD:

    • Are prone to using bad language
    • Lose their temper easily + often
    • Argue with adults including their parents (they believe that they are equal to adults)
    • Refuse to comply with requests from their parents, teachers + other adults
    • Annoy others on purpose
    • Talk back to adults
    • Blame others for their problems + accept no responsibility for their actions
    • Are annoyed easily by other people including friends + family members
    • Show vindictive behavior over perceived slights
    • Angry all the time
    • Resentful of other people

    These children believe that it is their right to do as they please. If something displeases them, they rage against it until they get their way.

    For them, defiant behavior is a norm instead of an exception. The danger is these patterns can carry over into adulthood where their behavior could turn violent + lead to problems at work + with the law.

    Thinking Errors in Defiant Children + Teens

    We all can exhibit “thinking errors” at times in our lives. This is not unique to young or teenage girls.

    Consider the alcoholic who says that they can drink + function at the same time. Or the person who wants to lose weight but doesn’t see the harm in eating half a gallon of ice cream after dinner because they will “work it off” tomorrow. It’s called “justification.” These thought patterns are used every day by someone (mostly adults) to feel better about making poor choices.

    As adults, we understand what we are doing but deceive ourselves so it will be alright. Children don’t have this knowledge. They act this way to gain the upper hand, or power, over others in their lives.

    When they see it works, their behavior will continue along that vein whether the outcome is good or bad. For defiant children, the outcomes tend to be negative + that’s where their power lies. When we as parents give in to their demands, we are reinforcing negative behavior + showing that their tactics work.

    Here are five thinking errors that a defiant daughter may exhibit.

    Victim Stance:  As a victim, everything is done “to” you so the responsibility for fixing a situation doesn’t fall on you but the person who is the aggressor.

    Defiant daughters may play the “victim” role to get out of taking responsibility for situations where they are clearly at fault. There are times when our children or we may actually be a victim, but it is not healthy to live in that position in everyday life.

    Blaming others seems to absolve them from trying a new task, making mistakes, or moving ahead in life when they are afraid or embarrassed. Instead of trying, they cry foul + become angry.

    Uniqueness: This is when children feel that they are above everyone else. Pitfalls that would ensnare a lesser person don’t apply to them.

    The alcoholic, mentioned above, is an example of this. He can drive unimpaired by a few drinks because he has a false sense of superiority + security. Clearly, alcohol compromises the system + his logic is faulty.

    For kids, it could be the reason why they don’t study for a test. Hanging out with the wrong crowd won’t influence them because they are “different.”

    Concrete Transactions: Defiant daughters use adults + others as a means to an end. You are only useful as long as you perform the job that they need you for. They may trade on their friendship with someone to get them to go along with something bad or illegal. Being nice to parents is only so they will do something for them even after the parent has put their foot down.

    Turnaround: No matter what you say, your defiant child will turn the remark around on you. If you are not prepared for it, you’ll be caught off guard.

    You end up annoyed because they are not cleaning their room. Your child retaliates by saying that you don’t love them or that you are too hard on them. They accuse you of all sorts of atrocities in order to change the subject + get out of punishment.

    One-way Training: Instead of you getting your child to follow the rules, she is training you to follow her rules. When confronted with a task she doesn’t want to do or a skill that she doesn’t want to learn, she turns things around to focus on your behavior.

    She may go through your belongings in your room but then bark at you when you come into her room. She may lie + say she has other things to do or too much on her plate to put off whatever you are asking her to do for later. Manipulation is not above her.

    STEPS TO DEAL WITH A DEFIANT DAUGHTER

    1. Learn to understand your child – In the case of defiant children, this is almost as important as loving them. In fact, it is an expression of your love for them. Discover how she thinks + why she thinks the way does. If you need to employ the services of a psychologist or psychiatrist to assist your family with sorting through the mess + getting to the root of the issues so everyone can live a more productive life.
    2. Avoid yelling – This is hard but yelling is counterproductive. Instead, step away from the situation. Instead of giving in to what your daughter wants, leave the area. Return to the discussion when you can keep your emotions in check.
    3. Listen to your child – In between her shouting + double talk are clues to why she is acting the way she is. Actively listening is also the way to compartmentalize your emotions as you seek out the information you need to help your daughter.
    4. Positive reinforcement – Your child is looking for power + doesn’t care if the results are negative or positive. Ensure that the results are positive through positive reinforcement. Offer encouragement, praise, validation + even rewards for positive behaviors she exhibits. Reduce her negative power by refusing to give in to her demands + refusing to produce the desired negative results.
    5. Redirect her energies – Think about the last time you were mad. Your heart was racing, your muscles were tense + you had a lot of excess energy. The same goes for your child. Use productive ways to burn off that energy that doesn’t involve negative behaviors. Teach her to use exercise (playing basketball, running, biking, jumping jacks, etc.) as a stress reliever to calm down. Physical movement satisfies the urge to throw or hit something while allowing her to come back down to earth.
    6. Set boundaries + stick to them – Following through with consequences, no matter what sad story your child tells, lets her know how things work in real life.

    Being defiant is a normal phase for most girls, but goes beyond normal for some. If your daughter is exhibiting defiant behavior (whether it escalates or not), nip it in the bud right now.

    Understand your daughter’s way of thinking + then combat each behavior by hitting it head on. Follow through with firm consequences for negative behavior. Stress reinforcement of positive behaviors as a way to move away from those destructive patterns. Give your daughter the tools she needs to fuel her growth into adulthood + a successful life.

  • Family Health

    3 Home Pests That Can Make Your Kids Sick

    As a parent, you do everything you can to keep your kids safe from outside dangers. But you may not have thought about the pests that can invade your home + make your kids sick. Find out about these three pests that you want to protect your kids from.

    Fleas

    Fleas are an annoying little pest that you want to keep away from your kids. If you have pets, then it’s possible that they can bring fleas into your home.

    But other animals, such as rodents + raccoons, can also drop off fleas into your space. Fleas might be tiny, but they carry several diseases + can cause allergies. And because they bite, fleas can irritate the skin + cause lesions.

    You can get rid of fleas by treating your pets with flea prevention medications. Also, you can wash all your bedding + any other materials in very hot water. Thrifty Fun says that if your children have flea bites, there are many child-safe remedies you can use to soothe them.

    Bed Bugs

    Despite their name, bed bugs don’t just live in beds. According to Sage Pest Control, bed bugs crawl on the ceiling + are drawn to humans because they can sense carbon monoxide being exhaled (Oh joy!).

    Then, they drop from the ceiling + begin to feed on human blood (The joy continues!). Their bites leave itchy welts + many people develop an allergic reaction to the saliva injected by the bed bug as it feeds.

    If you suspect you have bed bugs, then make sure you call a professional. They can use heat treatments + other methods to help protect your kids from bed bugs.

    Pigeons

    Lastly, another pest you need to protect your kids from is the flying kind. Pigeons may seem harmless, but they can actually make your kids sick.

    The droppings that pigeons leave behind can contain a wide range of different diseases that can be transmitted to people, including E. Coli, encephalitis + histoplasmosis, which is a respiratory disease.

    Pigeons are also known to carry fleas. While nesting around your house, pigeons can leave droppings in the areas where your kids play, such as playground equipment, enclosed screened patios + other areas. If you have pigeons hanging around, then a pest control expert can help humanely trap them or take steps to pigeon-proof your home.

    Keeping your kids safe + healthy means protecting them against these household pets. We also recommend that you seek the help of professionals if you have an infestation of any kind that you haven’t been able to deal with on your own.

    Experts can help you to eradicate these pests so that your kids don’t suffer from any of the diseases or irritants they carry.

    Family health + safety is something to take seriously.

  • Parenting Girls

    7 Strategies for Dealing with Defiant Daughters

    Parenting is not for the faint of heart, especially if you have a stubborn or downright defiant daughter. You need to be prepared + more determined than she is to help her get through the issues that arise.

    Having a game plan in place is crucial for your success and hers. Consider incorporating these parenting strategies for dealing with a defiant daughter.

    Defiant, stubborn daughters tend to test your patience + stretch your parenting skills to the limit on the reg. This is just part of raising girls, for the most part.

    All girls ten to go through at least two defiant stages:

    Around age two or three, when they learn the “n” word + go around saying no to EVERYTHING.

    Then, it comes back around again when they hit their teen years, when they say “no” as they practice making mature choices + decisions (or sometimes not making mature + good choices).

    If your daughter has been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) by a doctor, you can encounter similar issues. However, there are differences related to frequency + severity due to the cause of the defiant behavior.

    Under these circumstances, it’s even more important to have solid foundations, plans + consequences in place.

    Whether your daughter is going through one of the common defiant stages, dealing with ODD, or has another major issue, it’s important to address the problem early. In fact, at the first sign of defiant behavior, model + teach your daughter acceptable ways to react + respond to situations she faces.

    7 Strategies to Help with a Defiant Daughter

    #1 Build a solid foundation

    It is never too early to begin teaching your daughter good manners, conflict resolution, problem solving skills + social etiquette. The earlier you begin, the easier it is.

    Even before your babies are born, they are learning about the world around them – including actions, reactions, expectations + consequences, or causes + effects. Don’t be afraid to start building the foundation when she is a baby.

    Establish boundaries, rules + consequences. Establish these boundaries + rules to address your expectations for your daughter + for your own behavior, as well. When setting up consequences for your child(ren), try to correlate the consequences with a specific issue.

    Write down the consequences so your daughter knows what is going to happen if she chooses to disobey or ignore rules. Depending on what your child responds to, you may restrict or disallow the use of an item, especially if it contributed to what she did to break a rule or disobey.

    #2 Master your self-control

    Your daughter uses you as as role model. Model a calm, cool + collected attitude (even when you are ready to lose your $#@!). Defiant children can be emotional + explosive so you can’t be.

    In order to deal successfully with her outbursts, you must control your own thoughts, emotions, actions + words. If you need to, take time to calm down before addressing the behavior issue.

    When you talk with your child, keep your tone of voice low, firm + decisive as you discuss family beliefs, values, expectations + rules.

    #3 Enforce consequences

    When a child knows that consequences are not enforced, they are less likely to follow the rules or stick to the boundaries. Being consistent with enforcing rules can make a HUGE difference.

    Whatever the consequence is (losing her iPad for a day or not being allowed to have friends over), consistently enforce it when she done something to lose her privilege.

    #4 Hold on to your power

    A defiant daughter wants the last word. She also wants you to give in to her wants + way of thinking. Refuse to argue with her.

    End the conversation on your terms. Don’t let her wear you down. You have to be more determined than she is.

    #5 Refuse to negotiate

    Negotiation is a tool used by kids to get their way + get out of dealing with their responsibilities. No matter how much your daughter cries or complains, she must fix her mistake + then accept the consequences for her actions.

    #6 Reinforce the positive

    Instead of giving attention when she does something wrong, praise + reward her positive behaviors. Point out when she does something well or makes a well-thought out decision. Don’t skimp on the positives if you want your daughter to model them.

    Parents must take the time to plan + strategize when it comes to dealing with defiant daughters. Be determined + consistent when dealing with her defiance. Make a plan to include one or more of these 7 parenting strategies for dealing with a defiant daughter.

  • Book Reviews,  Parenting Girls,  Product + Service Reviews

    7 Books to Help Girls Overcome Anxiety, Fear + Worry + Other Feelings

    As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.

    This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my coffee drinking habit if you use these links to make a purchase. It does not cost you anything extra +  you’ll keep me supplied in caffeine. It’s a win for everyone, really.

    My oldest daughter, my 5-year-old, is a worrier. She always has been ever since she was a baby + toddler. I see it creeping into the 3-year-old too now. We checked out some of these books to help her work through some of her worry + fear.

    Toddlers + kids are a ball of emotions. They are learning what feelings are + how to deal with them — whether it is being angry, sad, frustrated, or something else. I’ve read all of these books to my girls + I think it has helped them learn about their emotions + given them some tools to deal with them — even as young girls.

    In most of these books (but not all) the main character is a girl. I think this helps girls to relate to what’s going on even more so than if it was a boy (although I don’t think if the characters were/are boys that they totally dismiss the lessons).

    1. Wilma Jean the Worry Machine

    Both of my older girls loved this book. It rhymed + I think the oldest one could relate a lot to what Wilma Jean worried about. My oldest has overcome it now, but she had some anxiety around starting Kindergarten this year. This book touches on worrying about things at school. I think it truly helped her to deal with some of the fear + overcome it.

    2. What to Do When You Worry Too Much

    This book is another great option for kids to learn how to deal with worry + to overcome the battle of worrying. We read it at the start of Kindergarten so I think it might have been a little too over my daughter’s head at that point. I do think the book does a great job of giving real-world examples + activities kids can do (it has some workbook style activities in it) to take them step-by-step through the process of saying goodbye to their worry.

    3. My Many Colored Days

    My Many Colored Days is a Dr. Seuss book about feelings. It uses colors to explain emotions or feelings that young kids might have. It’s a great book for letting kids know that everyone has sad days, happy days + other kinds of days — + that having all of these days (feeling all of these emotions) is A-OK.

    4. In My Heart

    Another great book that walks kids through all of the feelings they experience. Beyond the lessons the book holds, the illustrations are fun for kids. The HUGE rainbow die-cut heart on the front cover that goes all the way through the book is a big hit, too.

    5. Bernice Gets Carried Away

    My 3-year-old especially enjoys this book. It’s about a cat who is having a bad day + what she does to turn her bad day around. A series of events happen to Bernice that create a bad day in her mind. Then, Bernice springs into action to create a series of events that turn her bad day into a good day. It’s great at illustrating how you have control over your feelings + can do something about them.

    6. The Way I Feel Sometimes

    This book is more like a series of poems that tackle various situations + how you might feel about these situations. Being mad, scared, worried or how a child might feel when there is a new baby in the house are but some of the emotions covered in this book. This is a book that you can read from beginning to end or pick + choose the feelings you might want to tackle with your child.

    7. Grumpy Pants

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book + so do my girls. It’s about a grumpy penguin. (I LOVE penguins so it might be one of the reasons I like this book so much). He can’t seem to shake off his grumpiness + he isn’t even sure why he is grumpy. Then, he does a bunch of things he likes to do like take a cold bath, drink hot cocoa, read his favorite book + fall asleep with his favorite teddy bear. He also tells himself that tomorrow is another day + it’ll be a better day.

    If you’ve read any of these books with your kid, what did you + the kids think? Are there any other books you’d suggest for kids?

  • Book Reviews,  Product + Service Reviews

    The Hate U Give

    Last night, I finished reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It is technically a Young Adult novel but we read it for my book club for moms.

    The Overview

    The novel is told from the point of view of 16-year-old Starr Carter, an African-American girl living in Garden Heights, which most consider the ghetto.

    Her parents are hard-working — mom is a nurse at a clinic + her dad owns a convenient store in their neighborhood. They work hard to send all three of their kids to private school outside of their neighborhood, a primarily white school.

    One night, as Starr + her childhood friend, Khalil, are driving away from a party, they are pulled over by a white police officer. The cop ends up shooting + killing Khalil.

    The book is all about how Starr deals with witnessing the killing of her friend for the second time. She also witnessed a friend, Natasha, who was killed in a drive-by shooting when Starr + Natasha were 10-years-old.

    It’s also a book about race relations. A white officer killing a black boy. A black girl dating a white boy. Black children attending a predominantly white school + how they interact with their classmates + how their classmates interact with them.

    What I Liked

    The book was an easy read. It was a page turner so I kept turning, not wanting to put the book down, so I could find out what happened. I wanted to know if the cop was going to be charged with murdering an un-armed boy.

    I wanted to know how Starr would deal with witnessing the murder of her friend.

    I wanted to know.

    For me, it was not about what color the officer was + what color the boy was that he killed. To me, they were human beings + one of them was dead at 16 + his friend was dealing with the trauma of witnessing his death.

    For the characters of the book, however, it was about more than that. It was about race + their feelings about the fact that when there are officer-involved shootings that it’s typically a white cop + a black victim + that the white officer is never charged for a wrongdoing.

    I also liked that the book was about a strong girl character. Having three girls, I am always drawn to characters that are girls, that are strong + that want to make a difference in this world.

    In this novel, Starr is that girl.

    Even though she is only 16, she is wise beyond her years. She is grappling with being a teenager + with being a black teenager in this world. She struggles with making the right choices + decisions + for the most part she does the right thing throughout the novel.

    What I Didn’t Like

    I don’t really have anything bad to say about this book. Angie maybe could have wrapped it up in fewer pages but maybe not.

    I think she did leave some things hanging, though. Maybe she’s planning a sequel or maybe she just forgot to tie up some loose ends.

    Book Grade

    Overall, I give this book an A. My kids are too young right now but I suggest this as a book for teenagers to read, especially girls. I think it gives an insider view of what it’s like to be a teenage girl + what it is like to be a black teenage girl.

    The author does a good job of revealing to other teenage girls that may be reading the novel that they are not alone. That everyone feels self conscious at times. That everyone feels uncomfortable in certain situations + that they are not the only ones dealing with these feelings + problems.

    Next on my list of reads, Where the Crawdads Sing.

  • Daily Life,  Parenting Girls

    The Top 7 Girl Mom Bloggers You Should Be Following

    I had my first girl at 38, my second girl at 39 + my third girl at 42. I’m a girl mom.

    You might say moms are moms + this is true for the most part but there are undeniable differences from parenting girls on a daily basis to parenting boys.

    Yes, there are definitely similarities. Moms of both can probably relay these similarities more than anyone. Being a girl mom, a boy mom or a mom of both is not better or worse than another. It’s just different.

    If you’re a girl mom then here are some other girl mommies + their blogs that you should be following.

    Check them out here.

    1. Sports Girls Play

    The mom who runs Sports Girls Play is a mom of two daughters + one son — a mom of both. All her kids are athletes but this blog focuses on sharing information for girls that are athletes + at all ages (from young to college-age girls that play sports).

    In addition to info-packed blog posts that share information such as recovering from a tough workout as a girl to unique gifts for girl athletes, the site also boasts a resources page + a place to shop for athletic gear + gifts for athletic girls.

    2. From Meredith to Mommy

    This girl mom is also a former music teacher. I originally found her through a post she wrote for Scary Mommy, “A Girl Mom.” She blogs about a variety of topics that represent her “too many labels to live by” mantra from being Meredith to a mom to a girl mom to a music teacher, writer + beyond.

    3. It’s A Lovely Life

    Heather Delaney Reese has three girls, just like I do. Her girls are older than mine but I ran across her article about questions that people should not ask all girl moms. She blogs about a bunch of different topics but mostly about her travel adventures with her three daughters + her husband.

    4. A Mighty Girl

    This is one of my all time favorite blogs. While it is not just one mom that is blogging or sharing information + resources, it is all girl all the time. The site + the blog covers topics all about parenting girls, raising mighty girls, books for girls + about girls, the best toys for girls + movies/TV shows for girls, music + clothing for girls + the list just goes on + on. It is probably the most comprehensive source for raising strong, confident girls that will do great things for this world.

    5. Romy + The Bunnies

    This mom blog is named after the daughter so she’s a girl mom of one. This blog has more a style + travel slant to it so you’ll find lots of information on traveling with a toddler girl, along with clothes, accessories, toys, etc.

    6. Mom of Girls

    This mom blogger is also a mom of three girls. Her motto is “Raising daughters that are smart, happy and confident- this is the goal.” LOVE this. All of the resources Towanda shares are with this mission in mind. It’s a great blog + resource that celebrates everything about being a girl + raising girls.

    7. Girl Mom Chaos

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my own girl mom blog, Girl Mom Chaos. I am raising three daughters ranging in age from 1 to 5. I write about parenting girls, recipes, books + also share Mommy swag for moms of girls so we can take care of ourselves + feed our minds + souls. I review services + products for girls + for girl moms. I also share t-shirts for mommy + tots + mom blogging tips (I’m a copy + content writer). My angle is usually for girl moms with younger children since my girls are on the younger side. I’m also an older mom so sometimes I touch on topics that an older mom can relate to.

  • Mommy Works At Home

    3 Tips for Moms Going Back to School

    There used to be the belief that women could either get an education + work or be mothers. However, more + more women are pursuing degrees along with raising their children.

    Some might have been in college but put their degrees on hold to start a family. If you’re a mom looking to earn or complete your degree, these are some tips to help you get back into the college world.

    Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

    College can be difficult, but it’s much easier if you can stay focused on your ultimate goal: getting your diploma. Whenever you’re feeling reluctant to study or to complete an assignment, remind yourself that everything you do well in college brings you one step closer to that goal.

    You can also keep yourself in the present by focusing on one semester at a time. When you’re in the clear for one semester, you can feel relief + move onto the next one.

    The long-term financial benefits for moms getting that degree are a pretty good motivator, too. Goal setting can keep you going on a path of determination.

    Get Ready for a Lot of New Technology

    Depending on how long you’ve been out of school, you might find yourself downright stymied by all the changes in technology. Moms should know that the modern classroom is very technology focused.

    You should also know that anyone who is willing to learn can benefit from technology. You can submit assignments more easily + have more interactive instruction thanks to technology.

    Don’t feel ashamed about asking for additional help. Your instructors will be happy to teach you all sorts of new tricks if you need it.

    Keep Your Course Load Reasonable

    In order to keep up the balance between parenting + college, you need to have a schedule that’s manageable. Consider your work + family schedules + how your class schedule could be designed around it.

    You might have to take a bit longer to earn your degree by being enrolled part time. You also might have to schedule classes early in the day, such as when your kids are at daycare or preschool. Take the time to develop a schedule that works best for your needs.

    Don’t let yourself be duped into thinking that college is only for younger people without children. A college education is for anyone who’s interested in learning and receiving a diploma.

    As a mom, you’ve already proven yourself as someone who can take on a challenge + multi-task. Bring that confidence with you into the classroom + you’ll be a great success in college.

    Many moms find great success in getting into mommy blogging! It’s a great supplemental income + can help moms connect with their kids more while having other things they’re doing, like going back to school. For some great mommy blogging tips, check out The Mommy Business Blogging ebook!

  • Product + Service Reviews

    My MoM Group Cooking Class Experience

    We have a huge + active Mom group for our neighborhood. We’re the MoMs of Mantua.

    Throughout the year, we have events just for moms, for the kids + for couples.

    Wednesday night, we had a MoMs cooking class at a local cooking school — Culinaria in Vienna, VA.

    What I Loved

    I had expectations of what the night would be like + I was wrong on many accounts. The first of which is that we would be doing the cooking as we learned.

    In an unexpected surprise, the chef prepared the entire meal + his assistants served us wine, bread, the appetizer, the main course + the dessert.

    I LOVED that he taught us how to make each item, gave us tips + answered our questions + we didn’t have to cook one thing! He was very down to earth, easy to follow + easy to talk with.

    They did give us the recipes to take home with us, though, so we can prepare them ourselves.

    What I Wish Was Different

    The setup was perfect for learning from the chef but not so great for interacting + mingling with the other moms at the event.

    We sat at a counter facing the chef + the kitchen. All 20+ of us were sitting in a straight line along the counter so we could really only talk with the two people sitting on either side of us

    It was sort of a good + a bad setup. I realize it’s ideal for learning from + being able to watch the chef but not so great for the social aspect of the experience.

    While I did LOVE being somewhat pampered by being served delicious food + wine that I did not have to make, I sort of wish it was a hands-on event, where each of us prepared the meal as the chef instructed.

    I would have loved to prep it, package it + take it home so my husband + could have eaten it (I doubt the kids would have jumped at the menu choices even though they were delish).

    I Highly Recommend This Experience

    I highly recommend that you check out your local culinary school for this type of an experience. If you are local to Vienna, VA, definitely check out Culinaria.

    This was a private event for the MoMs of Mantua group but they also have couples cooking classes, kids cooking classes + more.

  • Daily Life

    3 Tips for Surviving a Move with Young Ones

    Moving with kids is no picnic. It’s stressful for everyone, but if your little ones are especially little, it’s particularly tough.

    When you’re frazzled from a long day of packing, being emotionally present for tots who need attention is the last thing on your mind. However, for a smooth move, it’s essential for the entire family to stay sane.

    Whether you’re going across the country or down the road, here are three tips to make a move with young ones a little easier.

    Prep Meals Ahead of Time

    When half the house is in boxes, it’s not easy to produce quality meals + still have time for the rest of what’s on your to-do list. Before moving week, fill the freezer with your family’s favorite meals.

    Kid-friendly casseroles are a good choice, but you can also prepare containers of essential ingredients that can be combined to make a variety of different dinners. A tub of diced chicken + bags of cut vegetables can make salads, soups, stir-fries + pasta dishes.

    The time you save on meal prep gives you back the hours you need to give the little ones the attention they deserve.

    Ask for Help

    With a pizza here + a favor there, family + friends may be happy to help you move. If you can’t gather enough troops for the job, using a moving company reduces stress when it comes to moving with small children. You’ll have more time to help them adjust to the transition while knowing your belongings are in safe + capable hands.

    Give Kids Something to Do

    Kids like to be involved. You don’t have to let them pack the china, but letting them box up some of their own things keeps them distracted + helps them feel like they’re part of the process.

    Give them each a box for the personal items they’ll want on the first night in their new home + let them decorate the box for fun. They’ll feel like they contributed + finding the teddy bear or other treasures when you get to your destination will be a cinch.

    Moving with young children is a challenge, but with planning, it’s not impossible. If you get your kids involved + you ask for help, you’ll be sure to have a more enjoyable experience.

    Take your time + be there for your kids. Remember, it’s about the journey, not the destination.

  • Family Health

    3 Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe in the Car

    Your vehicle remains one of the most dangerous places for your children. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), auto accidents are the number one cause of unintentional deaths among children.

    Despite this fact, going without your vehicle is probably not an option. There are, however, several things you can do to keep your children safe in the car and reduce their risk of injury.

    Get Rid of Distractions

    Taking your eyes off the road for just a second can have deadly consequences. In fact, distracted driving claims nearly 3,500 lives every year.

    When driving, especially with your kids in the back seat, get rid of distractions. For example, put your cell phone in your purse or briefcase, avoid eating while driving + never apply makeup while you’re on the road.

    Taking your eyes off the road for just a second can have deadly consequences. In fact, distracted driving claims nearly 3,500 lives every year. When driving, especially with your kids in the back seat, be sure to rid yourself of any distractions. For example, put your cell phone in your purse or briefcase, avoid eating while driving and never apply makeup while you’re on the road.

    Proper Seating

    Properly restraining your kids while driving is not just the law; it’s also the best safety measure you can take to protect your children while they’re on the road. No matter how big or small a car accident, kids seat belts help to mitigate the risk of head injuries.

    These devices do not prevent all injuries, but they do moderate the possibility or severity of an injury. Infants + toddlers should be placed in an age-appropriate car seat + young school-age children can use a booster seat.

    Only when your child reaches the age or weight set by your specific state can you allow your kids to use a seat belt without a car seat or booster seat.

    It’s crucial that you check to make sure your child is properly buckled in before driving. Correct seating can help to protect your kiddo in the event of an accident. It’s important to remember that using car seats, booster seats + kids’ seat belts help mitigate the risk of head injury or other traumas.

    Door + Window Locks

    Many vehicles today come with child safety locks for the doors. You can find this device on the inner frame of your door, which is only accessible when the door is ajar.

    Turning the mechanism to the safely locked position makes it impossible for your child to open the door while you are driving. You can control your vehicle window locks with the button panel on the driver’s door. Keeping both windows + doors locked while driving can help to prevent accidental injuries + keep your kids safe.

    When driving with your kids in the back seat, you should always take extra precautions to protect them. Following these tips could potentially help to reduce the risk of being in an auto accident or minimize the severity of your child’s injuries if that situation should occur.

    The safety of your children on the road is well worth the few extra steps it takes to protect them.

    Here’s another article that talks about keeping small children physically well + avoiding illness.

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