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Cultivating Friendships Through Your Children’s School

What does the word family mean to you? On my school drop-offs and pick-ups, I notice many grandparents doing that role. How lucky for those kids to have their grandparents present on a daily basis, and for the parents to have assistance!

The other day I was looking through pictures from a year ago and realized many of my friendships were with mothers from my neighborhood and moms of my kids’ friends from their school. I think of their school in many ways as a “family”.

When my kids first started school, I had no idea who to list as an emergency contact besides my spouse. With no extended family in the area, we were at a loss in that area.

Over the years, I’ve asked other moms, “Can I list you as an emergency contact?” They’ve said yes, fortunately.

After over ten years in Philly, I feel like there is a network of other moms who I can turn to if I needed help. If you don’t have family in your area, what do you do?

I’ve worked out carpools with other moms when logistically it made sense rather than spinning my wheels.

As I looked through my photos I realized I’m part of a school family and would feel perfectly content if my children stay at the school until 8th grade.

I am grateful for getting to know these mothers through car pools, birthday parties, class trips, etc. We all want what’s best for our children.

Do you feel you are part of a school community?

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Time for New Year’s Resolutions

The New Year is here, what are your resolutions?

Here are a few of mine:

  1. Obtain new clients. Every year, I assess the past year for my business—what worked and what didn’t. I value the work from repeat and long-term clients. It’s tough when a contract is not renewed, but that is the life of a consultant. It’s best to have a mix of clients, rather than rely on one or two for your income.
  2. Exercise! Last month, I cut my gym membership to the local YMCA because I just was not going. My exercise right now consists of dropping and picking up the kids from school, and running them around to different activities. That has to change.  
  3. Cut unnecessary expenses. I enjoy supporting local Moms in their business endeavors. I will buy their books at book signings and listen to their talks and discussions. I’ve purchased essential oil kits and skin regiments to help these Moms boost their businesses. I stopped using essential oil; the skin regiment might be the next one I cut. If a product is not working for you, why continue it?  
  4. Build my support network. There’s an evening event I want to attend later this month, and a neighbor is watching the kids until my husband can pick them up after work. I promised her I would return this favor. If you don’t have family in the area, you may have to ask another parent or neighbor to assist. Another mom walks one of my daughters over to CCD class every week. This saves me an amount of time that is much appreciated. When someone offers to help you, accept it! I walk a daughter’s friend over to a CCD class every week and do not expect anything in return. The saying “Give and you shall receive” is so true.    
  1. Evaluate time spent—meetings, product demos, etc. When you are a consultant, time is money. What monthly activities can you eliminate to add more time to your schedule? Are you committed to too many meet-ups? Should you scale back on the volunteer work?    

With a Barnes & Noble gift card, I recently bought “Fresh Start: The New You Begins Today” by Joel Osteen. Looking forward to some inspirational reading.    

Here’s to our success! Happy 2017!  

Image courtesy of Supertrooper at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A recap of A Child Grows’ First Annual Philadelphia Baby & Family Expo

Last weekend, we attended A Child Grows’ First Annual Philadelphia Baby & Family Expo in Center City. I was excited about this as I was a media sponsor; A Child Grows has run a successful Brooklyn Expo since 2012.

I ran a Family Pass giveaway on this blog, and my friend won the pass. She brought her daughter to the expo, and met me so our kids could play together.

Primp & Play and Music Monkey Jungle were co-sponsors of The Playroom. Primp & Play offered kid manicures and hands-on crafts. My girls were happy to make their own lip balm there. Music Monkey Jungle sang and danced for the crowd of children. Who knew they could play Taylor Swift upon request?

A Child Grows lined up a stellar list of speakers. I sat in on Wills, Trusts & Guardians 101 with Steven M. Zelinger, Esq. He asked: Did you know there are five Crucial Legal Documents every parent needs? No parent wants to think about death but you have to as a responsible person. Maybe you purchased life insurance, but with that, you thought you were done. Zelinger told the audience there’s more to protecting your family.

I also listened to Your Top Three Parenting Stressors Solved with Child & Family Coaching with Brandi Davis, ACC, a certified Parenting Coach, Parent Educator, and Author of O.K. I’m A Parent Now What? Brandi was just named Best of Philly’s Best Modern-Day Parenting Guru.

Davis told the crowd that being a parent comes with many stressors; some can be solved, and some just come with the territory. Being a parent is tough but there is no need to feel exhausted, spent and drained every day. Davis delved into how to lighten your load and squish those top three stressors:

My Discipline Isn’t Working; Now All I Do Is YELL!
I’m Getting Attitude, Fighting and Negotiations At Every Turn
I Can’t Get A Second For Myself

Jill Spivack, co-author of The Sleepeasy Solution, founder of Sleepy Planet Parenting and Star of hit Bravo show, There Goes the Motherhood, gave the keynote address.

Jill Spivack, LCSW is a licensed family therapist and pediatric sleep consultant who earned her master’s degree at the University of Southern California and completed a post-graduate fellowship as a psychotherapist at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

I am past the baby and toddler sleep challenges, so I did not stay too long at this panel. I did not attend the afternoon panels, which were geared toward mothers of babies. Instead, I walked the expo floor and spoke to the media sponsors. We got a chance to get our hair curled by Concihairge and then take photos in front of a gorgeous floral design by Nicol Floral Designs.

From the expo, I gleaned two interview ideas and subjects I will cover for an education site. I am always looking for new interview ideas, and this was the perfect place to find them.

A Child Grows offered a wealth of insight and resources for parents, especially for mothers with babies or toddlers. I’ll be back next year for sure, and will bring the kids along so they can have fun too.

Giveaway for a Premium Family Pass to the First Annual Philadelphia Baby & Family Expo

Did you get your tickets to @achildgrows 1st annual #PhillyBabyFamilyExpo October 16, 2016?

We are happy to be a media partner for A Child Grows’ First Annual Philadelphia Baby & Family Expo in Center City. The expo will welcome new, expectant and seasoned parents and kiddos!

Exhibitors will showcase products and services covering all phases of life, whether you’re a new or experienced parent!

The First Annual Philadelphia Baby & Family Expo℠ will connect top local and national service providers with savvy expectant, new and experienced parents. This family-friendly event will showcase invaluable resources and products in an exciting and convenient location in the heart of Center City, Philadelphia.

The expo will have seminars, demos, crafts and awesome playroom happenings throughout the day. Be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to hear the amazing details as we get closer to the event!

We are giving away a Premium Family Pass to the expo (valued at $150). Enter your contact info below for a chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Sweetest Words

Back to school for my two girls. It has been a hectic week of drop-offs, pick-ups, client work, grocery shopping, homework review, and so forth. My first-grader started CCD yesterday after school. I am happy she is starting this program. It’s another activity to add to the schedule.

At a mailbox store yesterday, I joked with my four-year-old: “When I am older, you can help me out.”

She said the sweetest words to me an hour or so later: “Mom, I will love you when you are old.” This comment made me stop for a moment. It really touched me.

How often do you cruise through your day, rushing the kids out the door in the morning and racing to get them after school? Do you really listen to what they have to say or are you focused on getting them there and back on time?

Young kids can say profound statements. They will thank you for taking care of them. Try to slow down and listen to what they are trying to get across.

Life has its challenges such as job loss, a spouse’s illness, declining health of a parent… But when your child praises you for taking care of them, it lifts your spirit and carries you forward.

You want them to succeed, so you have to stay strong.

Stop comparing yourself to what your peers are doing on Facebook. It may appear as if your Facebook friends have perfect lives when you see photos of birthday parties, dinners out, lavish trips, etc.

One of my resolutions for the Fall? Spend less time on Facebook. Focus on my client projects and caring for my family.

What comments have your children said to you lately that have touched your heart? Later on in life when you are older, you’ll want to remember these small expressions of love from them.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

WAHM Tips I Follow

I have been a work at home mom (WAHM) since 2008 when my first daughter was born. It’s really the best fit for me as I enjoy having my own roster of author and small business clients.

Across the U.S., Moms are forging their own career paths, juggling home duties with client responsibilities. There are 10.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research. No statistics exist on how many are run by stay-at-home moms, but I’m sure it is growing in numbers. I’ve met many Mom bloggers and businesswomen in the Philadelphia area alone.

As I mentioned in my book Mastering the Mommy Track, both of my girls stayed home with me the first eighteen months of their lives until they went to daycare. I scheduled conference calls, deadlines and meetings around their feedings. That’s a benefit for a WAHM—you can stay home with the babies and work when they nap and are asleep.

Here are some guidelines I try to follow:

  • Work during your peak time. For me, this is the morning and early afternoon when I schedule media interviews, write and edit. I recently turned down an adjunct Communications role at a local university. I was flattered to be offered a teaching job, but the pay was not enough to give up my mornings three days a week for a semester.
  • Make sure you have signed contracts and upfront payment. I recently took on an assignment without payment upfront—the business owner wanted a release out right away, so I spent a part of my weekend writing the press release and sending it out to media. I usually don’t do this unless I receive payment first. Be careful you don’t get stiffed.
  • Be prepared to walk away. I have walked away from many assignments over the years. Time is money, so each offer should be reviewed closely. You can’t work for less than what you are worth. Long-term relationships are key. I check in with clients from time to time, which has led to more work over the years.
  • Be careful with phone calls when the kids are home. You don’t want to set calls with major clients when the kids are home. I try to set my calls in the morning and early afternoon. If I have a call before dinner, I will bring the girls over to neighbor’s house for 15 or 20 minutes so I can make the call without screaming in the background.
  • There’s always the evening to work. If can’t get it all done during the day, there’s always the evening after the kids have gone to sleep. Some of my assignments are deadline driven and I need to get edits done within a day. If I cannot get this done during the workday, it has to be done at night or on weekends. That’s how the publishing world works.

With technology today, WAHMs are able to build solid businesses, sometimes even from mobile devices at the playground. At the same time, they can manage the home front and accomplish the never-ending list of household chores that need to be done.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My Book

When I started writing this book, my daughters were ages three and one–challenging ages to say the least. I set out to talk to other moms who were struggling with the work-life balance as well as national experts who could offer solutions.

Mastering the Mommy Track is not a memoir, and I don’t share overly personal information about my family. I was fortunate to have no shortage of working moms who were willing to share their challenges during this down economy. My working mom contributors honestly shared their struggles and concerns. My expert contributors offered unique advice and knowledge. They helped me make this book a reality.

Research indicated no competitive books in this area, so I delved into it. I asked myself, “What are the 12 trigger areas that cause working mothers anxiety today?” These became my chapters. This was based on my personal experience, research, and feedback from friends and acquaintances.

I slotted the chapters into four core sections: (1) Home issues. (2) Health issues. (3) Parenting issues. And finally, (4) Work-Life issues. Then I arranged them so that the most fundamental issues came first: Mental health, communication, finances, and romance. These apply both to moms in committed relationships and those who are single.

I hope career moms across the US and UK will read Mastering the Mommy Track and take away insight that will help them improve all aspects of their lives–both personal and work related. It is a juggling act to balance home and work duties, and for a lot of women in 2012, it’s a walk on a tightrope–a fear their families will never experience the rewards (vacation, travel, time off) they so rightfully deserve.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net