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How to Co-Parent with an Ex: 3 Tips

Choosing to bring children into the world relies on a certain level of selflessness on your part. You need to be willing and able to put your own needs, desires and feelings aside for the good of the child. Not every couple will be able to make it work, and sometimes the best thing for them to do is to be apart; however, you will always be connected by that child, and so you need to be prepared to co-parent peacefully with your ex. This won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it. Let’s get into it.

Putting Aside Emotion

If the split was acrimonious or you don’t really get along with your ex, then there is likely to be a lot of residual emotion like anger, hurt or even just lingering resentment, and this needs to be put aside for the good of the children. It can be hard to cooperate when you are feeling a lot of negative emotions toward the other person, but it will not benefit your children. 

This isn’t to say that your feelings aren’t valid – of course, they are, but they shouldn’t impact your behavior. Avoid venting to or in front of the children. Coming up with practical solutions can help; if your ex throws out accusations like accusing you of infidelity or questioning paternity, then instead of engaging in an argument, you could simply get a paternity test. Post and prenatal paternity testing by AlphaBiolabs is really easy and accessible, and it immediately puts a stop to these types of questions and conflicts.  

Prioritize Healthy Communication

You cannot expect to co-parent well if you aren’t communicating with each other. However, not all communication is healthy. So, before you reach out to your ex, think about what you want to say and why you want to say it. Does it serve a purpose for your child’s well-being or not? The ultimate goal should be conflict-free, healthy communication, and this might mean texts, emails, phone calls or face-to-face communication. It can look different for different people. 

Try to avoid putting the kids in the middle and resolve issues privately, away from little ears. You should also make sure that you aren’t using the children as messengers; communicate directly whenever possible. Communicating with your ex can be hard, but it can be improved with a number of tactics. You could try to keep a neutral tone, make requests as opposed to demands, listen well and show restraint. 

Everyone disagrees from time to time, it is to be expected, and while you should be prepared for this, you will also need to think about how you can resolve these. What do they say? Manners cost nothing? Well, it’s true. A little bit of respect can go a long way. Even if you do disagree, you will still need to communicate with each other and if you simply can’t, then use a mediator – not your child. 

There are issues that are worth the debate and others that aren’t. Save your energy for those big discussions and try to let the other smaller things go. Lastly, you might think that you are right, but so will your ex! It is unlikely that one of you is going to yield completely; instead, it is far more likely that you are going to need to be able to compromise and look for solutions that make you both happy. 

Remember That You are a Team

 Even if you aren’t together, parenting still should be done as a team; it doesn’t matter if you like each other or if you can’t stand each other anymore. Cooperation and communication are the cornerstones of co-parenting. If you work hard to achieve this, then more often than not, making the childcare decisions together tends to be a lot easier. Whilst you might not always agree on everything, and exposing your kids to differing perspectives is healthy, establishing a base level of consistency is important. 

Work with your co-parent to come up with some basic rules that will be the same across households. It is also worth considering your approach to discipline and thinking about consequences that can be kept the same across households too. If the length of punishment crosses over between households, you should expect your co-parent to follow through as you should too. Lastly, there should also be a certain level of consistency in their schedules too because this can help to make the adjustment easier on the kids. 

When it comes to child-rearing, there are decisions that need to be made, and they should be done so with input from both parents. Decisions such as medical needs, education and financial issues. In some instances, it might be worth designating one parent as the default for contact, although, in those cases, it is then the responsibility of that parent to pass everything along to the other and open up the floor for discussion. 

The Bottom Line

Truthfully, when there are kids involved, you do not have the luxury of animosity. Children pick up on everything, and they will know which parent made the effort and which didn’t. By doing your best to work with your co-parent, you are making life much easier for your children, and one day, they will thank you for it. 


Top Tips to Save Money As a New Parent

New parents spend thousands of dollars a year for the first few years of their newborn’s life on medical bills, baby clothes, nursing equipment, and nursery essentials. Although nothing can compare to the wonders of becoming a parent and raising a beautiful baby, there’s no denying that they are expensive!

Whether you’re a new parent who has just given birth or you are currently pregnant and trying to plan ahead, getting your finances in order is important. Creating a budget and figuring out how much money you can spend each month on your baby will ensure you don’t overspend or buy unnecessary items.

Despite the cost of being a new parent rising each year due to inflation and the increasing cost of living, there are ways that you can cut costs and save money as a new parent. Here are some top tips to help you save money as a new parent so that you can minimize stress and worry around finances. 

Swap Clothing With Your Friends

If you have friends with newborns or young children, doing a clothes swap is one of the best ways to cut costs and reduce waste. Instead of throwing out your baby’s clothes when they grow out of them, swap them with a friend in return for larger or looser fitting clothing.

Ask around and see if any of your loved ones have spare clothing that they no longer need. If none of your friends have infants or young children, see if there is a local community-wide baby clothes swap for you to join. 

Stick to the Essentials

Newborns require a lot of different things, from diapers to formula to sleeping equipment. It’s easy to overspend when there is a long list of things to buy and several variations of each of these items.

But by sticking to the essentials, you can avoid spending too much money on unnecessary and extravagant items. Resist the temptation to buy anything and everything that you come across to keep your costs (and your clutter) to a minimum.

Make sure to stock up on the following essentials for your newborn:

  • Cot or crib
  • Soft blankets and fitted crib sheets
  • Clothing sets and onesies
  • Nightgowns
  • Hats, socks, and booties
  • Diapers
  • Changing pad
  • Baby wipes
  • Breast pump
  • Nursing bras and pillows
  • Breast pads
  • Infant formula
  • Plastic bowls, plates, and cutlery
  • Feeding bottles

Focus On Quality

Make sure you buy high-quality items that are going to last you a long time. Sometimes, the higher quality items cost a little more but it’s sometimes worth spending those extra few dollars to get something that will survive several months or years of usage.

For example, buying an organic baby clothes gift set will last longer than a cheaper alternative. Spending money on a sturdy cot and quality baby stroller means you won’t need to replace these items after just a few months.


How to Foster Creativity in Kids: a Mom’s Guide

Creativity is not just about art. It’s about thinking outside the box, problem-solving, being curious about the world, and being able to turn imagined things into realities. Sounds like your kid? Sure it does! Kids have a natural penchant for creativity, but to foster it, rather than suppress it, we may have to make a few little compromises. I’m not talking about letting them get away with sheer naughtiness, but I do mean giving them an opportunity to be kids, and sure, they’ll make mistakes and that’s OK too. 

The best thing about fostering creativity is that you don’t have to do an awful lot to get it right. The worst part is that you may have to hold yourself back at times and resist the urge to interfere or show them how to do stuff. 

Honor Their Creativity, Sense of Wonder, and Intellectual Curiosity

OK, I admit it. I didn’t coin that phrase. It’s almost word-for-word the slogan of a great private school in Connecticut. But you have to admit it, it’s food for thought. It can also be hard work: especially since creativity can lead to some interesting situations like Junior deciding that golden syrup would give the floor a nice sheen. So, it was funny. But he had to clean it up himself. Actions have consequences.

As for intellectual curiosity, any parent who has been through the “Why” phase of kiddie development will know that “Why” can be a tiring question when it’s asked over and over, and at some point, it’s tempting to just say “Because!”

As for wonder, it’s around every corner, and sometimes it just takes a little nudge on your part to prompt that “Wow” moment. Now, a few more thoughts on creativity.

Give Them Space

Unsupervised, unstructured play is a great way for kids to learn. It means prying them away from the gadgets and getting them to go outside, or to the playroom, and keeping themselves entertained. While there will be the occasional “Mommy I’m bored” gripe, the merest hint that they’d be less bored tidying their rooms is usually enough to send them dashing off to find something else to do. Maybe the jungle gym becomes a pirate ship or the doll house becomes a target for a dragon - but don’t ask too closely what’s going on or you’ll get the inevitable “Nothing” in response. The main thing here is space - both in terms of supervision and a place to play where they can make a mess if they like. 

Let Them Have Fun With Arts and Crafts

There’s been a huge debate based on the premise that arts help kids to do better in other subjects. A controversial study showed that it wasn’t so, but further studies have gone on to prove the benefits of the kind of creative thinking that arts stimulate. Some academics say that artistic activities promote focus and concentration, while others point out that envisioning something when confronted with a set of materials and then going on to make it encourages imagination and the ability to conceptualize. All I can say is that it’s awesome to see children totally absorbed in their art - and of course, I love the results. I’m no scientist, but I will say that I can almost see those little brains working away - which is more than they seem to be doing in front of the tv! 

Chill Out and Let Kids be Kids

I’ve read a lot of material on creativity and how to encourage it in kids - and I’m not convinced that everything I’ve read is good advice -  or even whether the people who wrote it have kids of their own. In fact, I’m betting they don’t! 

So, I’m just a mom, but in my opinion, creativity is there already, and our job is to resist the urge to suppress it. That means refraining from showing or telling them how to do absolutely everything, being less achievement-focused than we might be, allowing unstructured and largely unsupervised play, and letting kids get on with the business of being kids within the basic parameters of safe and decent behavior. 

How You Can Increase Your Baby's Iron Level

Though you may have stocked up on immune boosting foods for kids and babies already, you might have specific concerns about a few essential vitamins and minerals, especially when it comes to iron. Although it might not get as much attention as vitamin C, calcium or other nutrients, having adequate iron levels is essential to your baby’s overall health. Iron helps carry oxygen throughout the body and brings oxygen to vital organs, so getting enough iron is fundamental to healthy brain development throughout childhood. Additionally, low iron levels can even lead to anemia. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can help raise your baby’s iron levels to a healthier place.

Ask Your Pediatrician About Incorporating a Supplement

Perhaps the most straightforward way to get to the heart of the issue is by getting a Wellements baby multivitamin and supplementing your baby’s diet with iron. An exception, of course, is if you’re currently feeding your baby formula, which today is often already fortified with iron. Of course, because it’s possible to get too much of a good thing, you’ll want to talk with your family pediatrician about whether supplementation is a good route for your child. Your pediatrician might, in more severe cases, even be able to prescribe your baby iron drops to help get their levels up faster. 

Focus on Making Tweaks to Your Child's Diet as They Age

As your baby starts to get older and eat a more diverse range of foods, your options for tweaking his or her diet to include more iron become broader. With these new diet possibilities, you can focus in on making targeted changes in a number of different areas. Some particularly useful tweaks are:
  • Incorporating more vitamin C in your child’s meals, like pairing citrus with iron-rich foods such as beans, since it can help boost iron absorption
  • Providing your child with fortified infant cereal for breakfast or snacks, or using it as a cooked ingredient in some of your other prepared dishes.
  • Offering a range of foods rich in iron, including spinach, peas and raisins, and finding a way to work them into your meals

Double-Check Whether Your Baby Actually Requires More Iron

Though it may be tempting to jump to the conclusion that your child needs more iron, very young infants may already have adequate stores. It’s typically the case, in fact, that babies under six months of age are likely to have been born with enough iron. After the six-month mark, however, those stores could begin to get depleted, raising the need to incorporate iron-rich foods or supplements.

Even if it doesn’t get as much publicity as some other nutrients, iron is vital to your child’s brain development, and getting enough of it is key to preventing anemia. Though you might already have a well-balanced diet planned out for your child, ensuring your baby’s iron levels are healthy can feel tricky sometimes. By using some of these methods, you can help increase those iron levels to where they need to be for optimal health.


5 Tips For Instilling the Love for Learning Early On

We as parents have an all-encompassing role in instilling the love for learning early for our children. From getting them motivated in finishing their homework, participate better at school to learning to love any form of study, it’s all about proper conditioning and the right balance of encouragement and rewards.

Life requires us to learn new skills and gain knowledge, and it’s up to us to raise children that are ready for this challenge. Because learning starts when we’re children, it’s also the best time to foster a love of learning. Here are a couple of ways to help our kids love learning.
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Identify any learning barrier and plan ways to overcome them. It’s hard to love something when you struggle with it. Be vigilant about signs of issues that could impact your child’s ability to learn at school and taint their enjoyment of learning.

Issues could be social, emotional, or potential learning disorders. While teachers are on the lookout for these, kids sometimes hide it by overcompensating.

If you believe there’s a problem, talk to your child in a comfortable, safe environment. See if you can find any suggestions for stress or avoidance about a particular subject or activity. Questions to ask include asking what their favorite and least favorite part of the school is and why/why not, what are the hardest things they did and why.

Help them engage. Education experts believe that under-performance in school can be caused by a lack of engagement. There’s a plethora of strategies and reforms in place to improve classroom engagement, but parents have the starting reins to work on this lack of engagement at home.

Start by regularly asking your kids what they learned at school. This will help them be proud of their newfound knowledge. Many kids also relish the opportunity to teach something to their parents. This will also encourage them to think more critically about their learning in school, and to learn better. Your questions will need to be age-appropriate.

Make learning enjoyable. Check out your child’s curriculum, textbooks, and homework. There are many examples, but you should be able to find examples to use for activities. If you’re reading this during the current COVID-19 pandemic, then you’ll have plenty of time to revisit and try out more activities.

Assess your child’s curriculum, textbooks, or homework. It can be as simple as counting games, getting them to spell words from their favorite books. For older kids, assist them to discover their passions and interests.

Remove the pressure. We’ve all been there. Academics do put pressure on kids. This includes grades, peers, and parent approval. Giving them a hard time or punishing them for poor results can backfire and make them dread the learning process.

So instead of punishing poor performance, offer support both emotionally and academically. Allow them to be free to express their disappointments without fear of your judgment.  Speak with them, listen well, and collaborate to find ways to help them improve and enjoy school.

Choose the right learning institute. The kind of school where you enroll your child will serve as a beacon in developing many aspects of his or her character, which is why choosing an appropriate one is of paramount importance.

Some curriculum is better than others when it comes to the learner. For instance, expat children and those with international connections should prefer international schools. Consider schools that offer inquiry-based programs like GMP Montessori which not only fosters the development of cognitive, expressive and motor skills but also induces a sense of social responsibility, cultural awareness and environmental consciousness - all key components of GIIS's holistic pedagogy.

Encouragement during this stage must come from you. You need to walk the talk. The values you teach should also be present in you because your kids innately look to you not just for support, but for inspiration as well.

These tips can help to make the school what it needs to be for children — a fun, secure location, where they can learn about the world, themselves, and find out who and what they want to be.

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The Kid Files- When Your Child Has An Old Soul

Do you have a kid with an old soul? My son thinks and speaks like a 50 year old man most days. I guess when you're the youngest in a house full of adults, this is to be expected. The other day he was in his room with the door closed most of the way, and I knocked and asked him what he was doing. He told me he was playing with his toys. That seems like normal kid behavior, right? Well I noticed he had his radio on and a Zig Ziglar CD was playing. I said, "Did you feel like listening to Zig?". He responds, "Yes, I really needed some motivation". I was just like OH. I mean what do you even say?

This morning I was getting his breakfast cooked and he tells me that I need to eat too. I told him I wasn't quite hungry yet and he said, "It doesn't matter, you still need to eat now". I was also told that I had no excuse. Ugh, he's annoying 😅 Seriously, there's never a dull day around here. William always has something wise to say. I tell him almost daily that you're 8. Not 38, 48, or 58. Just eight. His favorite description of himself is that he is a 'professional man'. I fully blame his dad for that.

It's not unusual for him to walk up to me and put both hands on my cheeks and tell me, "Always believe in yourself". The funny thing is he does it at the time I really need it. It's like his spirit is in line with other people's feelings. He is a very special child. The bad part is when he loses his mind and has to be disciplined. I have to muster up all of my strength to be serious and not laugh. He asks for you to explain or elaborate when you are yelling telling him to cut out his foolishness.

As I am typing this post, he just yelled out from his room that his hand is itchy and he will be getting some money. You know what that means if you are old school. HA! William is a good trash talker. He will try to out talk anyone. He loves winning at everything. Don't watch sports with him. He gets super animated and yells at the TV. Also playing UNO with him is a trip. I don't know how he stays beating all of us and his celebrations are ridiculous. When he wins he says things like, "boom shakka-lakka, I am the champion!" and then does the whole superman shirt ripping thing and a victory dance.

Then there's the whole third child thing he has going on. This kid likes to ask about taking vacations and what resort we will stay at. He's very particular too. I think I can take the blame for that one. 😀 There are times where he attends gatherings with us, and any adult who comes in contact with him is usually blown away with William's words and mannerisms. Everyone agrees that he is most certainly not your average kid in any way.

William is an absolute joy and I couldn't imagine my days without having him around (even if it is 24/7 because of home school). Does your child have an old soul? I'm sure we aren't the only ones with an old man-child!

College Commuter Student's Perspective

Today's conversation is sponsored by the Michelin 

There is so much to think about when you are preparing to send your young adult children to college. Whether they are out of the state, in-state or local, there is a lot of planning involved. Both of our daughters attend college locally at the University of South Carolina, and commute back and forth. It was a united family decision that they both live at home at least for the first two years of college. It has been about 3 years now since my older daughter, Chardonnay started at USC and it has worked out with the commuting aside from the complaints of early wake-up times, traffic, or simply feelings of 'not wanting to drive today'. I've shared those feelings of not wanting to drive for many years (carpool pick-ups/drop-offs, sports, after-school activities, and more).

I asked Chardonnay to give me her personal list of pros and cons of living on campus vs off and here is what she came up with.

Pros of living on campus:
• Easy access to everything on campus, easier to get involved
• Easier to make friends because you have roommate, suitemates, people on your hall
• You can wake up 30 minutes before class starts and still be on time
• Don’t have to deal with traffic

Cons of living on campus:
• Might not have a car, so you might feel as if you’re stuck on campus
• More expensive to live on campus (cost of housing, meal plan, etc.)
• Limited meal options because of meal plans
• Not much privacy
• Homesickness

Pros of living off campus:
• More privacy and independence (depending on where you live)
• Home-cooked meals

Cons of living off campus:
• Have to get up much earlier to get to campus on time
• You can feel disconnected from campus
• Not as easy to make friends
• Spend more on gas
• Feeling of missing out

As a parent, I think that being there for your new college student both emotionally and physically are key to helping them make that transition. There were so many adjustments to be made during the first full year. One of them is when you decide to let you student have their own car. I'm sure my daughter must have been sick to death of me nagging about driver safety. An 18 year-old may think they know everything, but they have so much to learn when it comes to being responsible for their own car.

My husband had to go through so many details in regards to fueling up the vehicle, when you need an oil change or service, and using common sense to determine if there might be an issue with the tires or brakes. She has experienced a couple of minor fender benders, but seems to finally have a handle on being cautious and responsible when behind the wheel of a car. She never gets a single mile over the recommended oil change time, and gets her tires checked regularly. I guess on the perks of living at home is she can get assistance right away if there is any issue with the car.

Are you a parent of a college student or have a high school senior preparing for their next journey? You can share your stories or moments on social media using the #BeThereMoments hashtag and check out the stories on the Be There Moments website by Michelin. As parents, it is so important for us to simply be there for our college kids, don't you think?

5 Back to School Tips for Parents

Preparing your children to go back to school can be stressful for your son or daughter, but it can also take a toll on parents as well. Make sure you are prepared for the school year by following these 5 tips.
Image courtesy of taesmileland at

1. Get Organized
Getting organized is possibly one of the most important steps in preparing for a new school year. Take note of all information and dates you should be aware of and write them down. You definitely don’t want to miss out on meet the teacher day or other important events like parent teacher conferences. Also, take the time to get to know your child’s teacher and take advantage of any opportunities to interact with them. You definitely won’t regret having an open communication line with your child’s teacher.

2. Take Advantage of Sales
Shopping for back to school supplies can be somewhat expensive, but you can manage these expenses by finding the best deals and sales. If you are lucky enough to live in one of the states that offer tax free holidays, you can save a lot of money! Scope out the sales and make shopping lists. If you know your child will need more than just a few notebooks, pens, and pencils, go ahead and buy extra.

3. Set Schedules
Before school starts back, set schedules and make sure your child is aware of who will be picking them up and dropping them off at school as well as what time each day. By setting a regular schedule, your child will feel more comfortable.

4. Establish a Routine
Along with setting schedules, parents need to make sure that they follow a routine for each day. Set a time that gives your child (and you!) enough time to wake up, eat breakfast, and get ready for school each day. Of course there will be days that don’t go according to plans, but if a routine is in place, it will be much easier to stay on track each day.

5. Have a Discussion with Your Kids
Before your child goes back to school, make sure you take the time to talk to them about doing their best in school and motivate them for a great year! Also, take the time to talk to them about emergency plans, schedules and routines.

Here’s to a great school year ahead!

By Guest Author: Lauren Byrd

Lauren is a contributing writer and media specialist for Mavis Discount Tire. She regularly produces content for a variety of lifestyle and automotive blogs based around driver safety tips, auto service tips, and more. 

Keep Momming

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Shire. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

The relationship that exists between mothers and daughters is unlike any other. It has many unique moments, memories, and yes, even challenges along the way. The relationship dynamic can be even trickier when your daughter is in those tween-age years. What can be even more difficult is when some people dismiss certain behaviors as “typical tween girl behavior” when those behaviors can be symptoms of something more serious. Research suggests that girls are more likely than boys to report having mostly inattentive Attention- Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms. Since inattentive symptoms can be less noticeable than hyperactive and impulsive symptoms, it is important that moms know what to look for.

I’m proud to be joining forces with Shire, CHADD and Holly Robinson Peete to announce the launch of keep momming, a new public service initiative geared towards the moms of tween girls to raise awareness of ADHD.

The campaign is anchored within a new digital hub,, where you’ll find tips, tools and other go-to resources for moms, including a checklist to help recognize the symptoms of ADHD – inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity – and then encourages moms to talk to their daughter’s doctor. The keep momming initiative can help moms learn about ADHD and provide ideas on how to spark a conversation and stay connected with their tween.

Don’t miss Holly’s message about the keep momming initiative, and be sure to check out the website at

How times have changed when it comes to undergarments

I was chatting with my friend Krystel from ArmyWife101 the other day and we were discussing bras and undergarments for teens. We had both recently taken our teenage daughters to shop for new undergarments and were astonished by the choices. It seems like the bras of today are made for the bedroom (and I'm not talking pajamas) more than for the function it is intended for. We searched through bra after bra and it seemed like every single one was overstuffed with padding to make your breasts appear two sizes larger. Now my daughters are small just like me, but why on earth do they need a bra to make them look like they are a C? It's as if our daughters are not supposed to feel good about what they have and give the illusion that they are busty. I just don't get it. I was so tiny when I was a teenager that I literally wore a negative size. I didn't really wear push-up bras because there was nothing to push up! Now I understand that girls today are a little curvier than before but why do they need their boobs pushed up to their chin and add two more sizes? I have seem so many teens wearing bras that cause spillage and that is not cute!

I feel like it is a disservice to our daughters to purchase bras like this to make their breasts appear fuller than they are. I think it is the wrong way to go about teaching and encouraging high self-esteem. I do let my daughters have a say what they like when we are shopping for undergarments, but I do also put in my two cents. I used to be one of those very insecure girls growing up and even well into my adult years, thinking my breasts weren't big enough. I have learned to be happy with what I was born with and know that my beauty truly comes from within. Everything else is just a bonus. I really believe moms need to be involved in teaching our daughters about wearing the appropriate undergarments. This goes beyond the training bra years!  Don't even get me started on the underwear showing at the top of the super low jeans. I know I sound old-fashioned (because I am) but maybe we need more old-fashioned today!

What are your thoughts?
Shelly, Mom Files

Tips on battling boredom from a Veteran Mom

School is officially out for the Summer in our city and I think often to times when my kids would say, "I'm bored!" I have been mommin' it up for almost 18 years so I feel like I have a lot of experience dealing with these situations. I took it upon myself to make up a list of some very good tips on how parents can help their kids fight boredom this Summer. I can almost guarantee these will work!

When your kids tell you they are bored you can respond with:

  • How about going outside and pulling some weeds from the garden and alongside the house? Why not increase the fun by mowing the lawn? Um, you mean like out in the sun? Where you sweat? 
  • How about we go buy 10 Sunday newspapers and clip all the coupons so we can go out on and extreme couponing shopping adventure! They will quickly run away because they don't want to be humiliated pushing 6 carts through the store. 
  • Would you like me to have your dad sit you down for one of his lectures? If your husband is like mine, he can talk 'em to tears!
  • Go clean the baseboards, ceiling fans and kitchen cabinets. I think my kids would be rolling their eyes in their mind :)
  • How about going to the dentist? You can get a cleaning and see what else they find that can be taken care of! If you told me this I would RUN! 
  • Go bathe the dog and then blow dry him. Wet dog smell on a teenage girl? Not happening!
  • Go read a book. They get all huffy because they felt like that's all they did when school was in session.
  • Wanna help paint some rooms in the house? This starts off as fun and after a few swipes they usually start to whine. 
I have tested these out and they all worked the very first time. You can thank me later! ;-)

Shelly, Mom Files

Raising teen girls

I was having a phone conversation with a good friend the other day and the main topic of discussion was raising teenagers. Having 2 teenage girls at one time has been quite interesting to say the least. Lucky for them I remember very well what it was like to be a teenage girl. I would never want to go back to those years! So far so good with my girls though. They do go through all the emotional stuff and you watch their eating habits flip flop regularly. It is funny how when you are a teenager you think even the littlest thing is the BIGGEST thing in the world. It's as if life is going to end as you know it. I have to constantly remind them that obviously life goes on (I'm still alive and kicking!) They will look back at their teenage years many years from now and wonder why they were so worried over the most insignificant things. History truly repeats itself doesn't it? Some days I feel like choking them but most days I am beyond grateful to have such extraordinary girls! I often wonder what it will be like when William is a teenager. Then again, I can wait! Just let me get through the next few years...
Shelly, Mom Files

Do you really need money to have kids?

I have been chatting with friends online as well as over the phone lately and there seems to be this one topic that keeps popping up~ Finances and having babies. It appears the majority of people felt that you should be financially stable, have a house, vehicles, credit cards etc... before considering having children. I don't agree with that. I think that the number one thing you can give a child is unconditional love. Once you do that, the rest falls into place.

I am so glad I had the girls while we were young. Although we struggled financially, they never went without all the necessities. Our girls are so appreciative of anything you give them and have become very wise spenders. They are loving and compassionate individuals. William on the other hand has it all and then some. I still make sure to work just as hard to teach him all of the life lessons that we did with the girls. Now I also know some parents (ages 35+) that waited until they bought their house, acquired a cushy bank account and landed the job/career they desired. Guess what? 85% of them wished they had their babies when they were in their 20's. I have heard this from so many people I know!

My point is that babies need minimal "stuff" and a whole lot of love. I am not saying to be irresponsible and just have babies for the heck of it. Life has a way of working out no matter what your financial position might be.

What are your thoughts?
Shelly, Mom Files

From princess to diva?

I remember when little girls were referred to as princesses. They would be decked out in pink with ruffles and glitter. They were all things sweet and innocent. Of course times change...people change. Now parents refer to little girls (even babies) as a diva. If you look up the definition of the word diva you will find out that it means a celebrated female singer. Ladies like Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey are great examples of a diva. The word "diva" is also used negatively, to describe a celebrity in film or music who is extremely demanding and fussy when it comes to their personal needs or wants.

Now tell me something. Why on earth does a 6 month old baby girl need to be referred to as a diva? Am I missing something here? Little sweet girls are being called a diva like it is a badge of honor. I am not judging you if you do this so please don't get me wrong. I just need some understanding.

What are your thoughts?
Shelly, Mom Files

And why should kids pay attention?

I took this photo yesterday after seeing an adult ditch their shopping cart next to the cart return area. My guess is that it would have taken an additional 8 seconds to have successfully put it up in the right place. Behavior like this astonishes me. It's lazy and inconsiderate. This person had an older child with her. I guess that child will learn that doing things like this is okay. I know that this is a little thing but children learn from little things. It's our job as adults to be a good example!
These same "parents" are the first ones to try to start a fight with teachers when they hear their child is not listening or following directions in class. Sorry, I just had to vent my frustrations~ Thanks for listening, I feel better now!
Shelly, Mom Files

I am facing facts

I was having a little conversation with the kids yesterday evening and the subject was me. The girls were making comments how young I look and how I am the youngest mom in their group. This is probably why I don't have any friends, I never seem to fit in. Then Chardie informs me that I will probably be one of the oldest moms when William becomes school age. I felt like I was hit in the gut. Wow, to say that I am 37 I really do not feel that way. I think I feel more like a mature 20-something. I can just see all the young mommies in the carpool line in their Hybrid cars and then there will be me in my old lady ride.

The girls had the TLC show on called Four Weddings and started discussing their weddings. I was starting to feel sick. Weddings already? Trust me, I am very happy that they are looking forward to getting married but damn, it will be here before I know it! William turns 3 in March and I am still undecided if I will put him in public school or home school him. Why in the world am I feeling like my kids are going to be gone tomorrow? I guess time does go by way quicker when you are an "experienced" adult. I just know that I enjoy every second of every minute I have with my sweet family.
Shelly, Mom Files

Why I refuse to give my kids everything

I was talking to an old friend a couple days ago and the first thing she asks me was how our holiday was. Next question she asks is if the kids got a lot of stuff for Christmas. I told her no. She was puzzled and could not understand why. I told her that I refuse to stress myself out to buy a bunch of things for my kids just for them to have a lot to open on Christmas. I explained that there is indeed life after Christmas. She then goes on and on about all the fancy gifts her young child got as well as how much she and her family members got. Big freakin' deal. Can I afford to buy a bunch of things for my kids? YES. I just won't because these same kids will eventually be adults and will eventually get married and have their own kids. I will not do a disservice to my kids by giving them everything they want. I had plenty as a child and when I was on the streets at 17 (by choice) I did not know how to survive. I was clueless and broken. I had to learn to grow up very fast. I also had to learn that things would not be given to me, I had to make a living. I suffered greatly--walking to where I had to get to, learning to catch the bus, being approached by pimps and strip club promoters, not eating some days because I could not afford it, not having many clothes besides the 3 outfits I left home with. The spoiled girl who grew up like a princess in her designer duds got a rude awakening called "real life". Real life kicked my ass hard.

Even when I got married and we had the girls we still struggled. We had no help from anyone, it was just us. We did not have our own home, no car and Dwayne would work 2-3 jobs at a time so we could buy diapers and eat. We did whatever we had to for our family. We persevered and eventually were in a position to buy a home and really get established. It was a hard road but we have all that we need and then some. My kids don't have an iPod touch but never complain about their $30 mp3 player. They actually laugh at their friends who brag about their brand name stuff and what they paid. One of Brie's friends got some UGG boots for $150. Brie was bragging about her Aeropostale boots that were on sale for $25 and the fact that she was able to get 2 pairs. You see, my kids know the value of the dollar. They know how to spend smart as well as save. They both got a large amount of cash from Dwayne's parents for Christmas to buy whatever they wanted for themselves. The first thing they said to each grandparent was "Are you sure? This is so much money!" I took the girls shopping and they were very selective about what they were willing to spend on. They hit the clearance racks and got a ton of stuff at deep discounts. As a matter of fact they both still have a big bulk of that money left over. I can only hope that they will always be this smart and pass it on to their own children. I am very passionate about raising well-rounded children who know how to make decisions. I want to be able to let them go out into the world and know that they will do just fine. Real talk people.

Shelly, Mom Files

Busy is nothing without consistency

I was having a conversation with the hubby this morning over coffee and we were discussing how so many parents 'throw' their kids into way too many activities at one time. Some kids do multiple sports and also a musical instrument as well as school and parents think it is the right thing to do. They feel that kids should be kept busy at all times. Now what good does busy do a child if there is no real consistency involved in their day to day? When a child lives a sporadic life at such a young age it seems to me that this can lead to disorganization and chaos. Of course I am no expert so I can't say for sure. Dwayne and I just think kids of today do way more than they should and this leaves less time for them to learn the most important life lessons and life skills that should come directly from their parents. We have made it a point to spend more time individually with our children. Don't get me wrong, our children are involved in activities but are limited to how often and how many at any given time. I think it is imperative that our children are taught about things like finances, paying bills, keeping house and even cooking. After all, what sport will teach them these things? What are your thoughts??
Shelly, Mom Files

I want my toddler to stop taking naps

Sounds crazy doesn't it? I really want William to stop taking a nap each day. This kid tends to take his nap between about 2:00-3:15 (during afternoon school pick-up). Don't get me wrong, it is probably the most peaceful part of the day but the problem begins at night. The boy thinks that 10:30 and 11:00 are acceptable bedtimes. He in turn stays down late the next morning and repeats the process. I would much prefer that he wakes up at the crack (I love getting up early) and goes to bed by 8 or 9. He really does not act any differently without the nap. I guess I will just have to see how things go over the summer since the girls will be around more. He changes when others are home in the daytime so I guess time will tell!

Question: At what age did your child stop taking afternoon naps?
Shelly, Mom Files

This really makes me mad

Why in the world does William not listen to me? If Dwayne is around William dares not to try any stupid stuff. The boy will look around the corner to be sure Papo is not around if he is about to do something. When I am reprimanding his butt he looks at his dad the whole time. It really makes me mad because I spend all my time and energy on him. I can tell him "NO" fifty thousand times and it is irrelevant. Papo tells him once and that is all it takes. It really makes me feel so powerless and weak on days that I feel like I am screaming and yelling to make him listen. Ugh, it's been one of those mornings already :(
Shelly, Mom Files
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