Welcome to Kira's Blog

Welcome to My Blog

Life with young children can be challenging, but with the support and advice of friends, we can feel empowered and thankful for the blessing of being a Mom.

My musings are those of a self-proclaimed attachment-parenting Tiger mom, who juggles full-time mommying with a small (but growing!) baby-related business. I hope some of my thoughts help you
Enjoy your day, Enjoy your night, and Enjoy your kids!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Must-See for all 21st Century Mommies

Welcoming your discussion on this video - chock full of "food for thought" (pun intended).

Thursday, November 27, 2014

New Baby Must-Haves

We live in a consumer society where buying for baby is the #1 consumer splurge, nation-wide. Any baby store will list between 60-100 items that are "must-haves" for when the little guy or gal joins your family. Truth be told, many items truly are necessary - diapers, wipes, a stroller, and baby shampoo, to name a few. But many items can either be purchased on sale or second-hand... or skipped entirely.

Here's MommyingIdeas' official Newborn baby list of items to buy in a store, as well as suggestions of "ok for hand-me-downs".

Buy new:
Disposable products (diapers, wipes, baby shampoo)

Ok for hand-me downs or to buy used:
Everything else, as long as within safe parameters (used car seats, for example).

From experience, my advice is to buy *as little as possible* before baby arrives. Because, I have found, you truly won't know what you will want until baby is safe and sound in your arms. For example: think you'll need baby bottles? Think again! Some babies refuse many different brands and some won't take the bottle at all if you're a breastfeeding mom. What to do? Borrow a few different models from friends and family or buy used. Boil and clean thoroughly and know that you didn't waste money on a new one just to toss aside.

Crib? Get a pack n play with a bassinet top instead. Or better yet: ask to borrow one or buy used.

How about swaddlers? Some babies are quite the mini-houdinis and what looks nice before baby arrives may fall short of his actual needs once he's all folded in.

A stroller, you might ask? Even a stroller is going to be humongous for the infant AND it's best to see what kind of stroller you want once you see how mobile you are after baby arrives. Again: borrow and try out friends' models before you go buy.

SO - what do you do with the money you've saved? Hire help.
Cleaning help.
Cooking help.
Laundry help.
Grocery-shopping help.
Baby-nurse help
Coffee-delivery help.
...you get the gist.

No joke: paying someone to take care of you and your baby is infinitely more valuable than any newfangled contraption you think you "must-have" for the new guy or gal.

Think ahead - you will need fewer items and more help than you expect. Make sure your budget is planned accordingly.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Stranger Irony

We set our kids up to be lured into traps with strangers. And we don't even know it.

We do it All. The. Time.

Here's the scenario:
A young child is sitting in the cart seat at the grocery store. An elderly man approaches. "Hello, pretty girl! You are adorable. What's your name?"

Child looks to Mommy for a moment, puzzled with how to proceed. Most of us will nudge our child to answer. "Go ahead, tell him your name!"

"And how old are you, sweetie?"

Child cowers and avoids looking at the stranger. Most of us will answer for our child. "Oh, she's 3. Her birthday was just last week."


We've just taught our child to openly speak with strangers, and if they ask for personal information, the polite and correct response is to reply directly and honestly.

...and then we tell them at home "never talk to strangers, right?"

This is a classic case of *saying* one thing, but *doing* another.

In public places: grocery stores, shopping malls, even playgrounds, strangers approach vulnerable, young children constantly with a barrage of smiles, winks, and invitations to play or joke with them. And we adults typically entertain these gestures as if it's normal and ok to smile back, give a high-five, and yes - even take that cookie and enjoy it.

But we don't realize that we are sending our children entirely mixed messages that can potentially lead to the worst-case-scenario.

"Hey little guy, what's your name?"

"Awww that's so cute! Did your mommy get you that adorable hat?"

"Hi pal, is that your baby sister in the car seat?"

At the risk of coming across as rude (and consider, dear reader, why you *care* if the cashier or elderly grandmama thinks you're rude?) the wiser choice is to firmly inform, "I'm sorry but we don't talk to strangers" and show your kid that you live by your word.

Teach by example. Don't talk to strangers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

You are NOT my friend

Most of us want to be known as nice people. Caring friends. Neighborly neighbors. Good Christians. We throw dinner parties that exhaust us. We volunteer with the PTA. We donate to charitable causes. We chit-chat with friends and family, often entertaining conversations that lead nowhere about mundane topics of little interest. We do it to be liked, to be accepted.

We also live in a world which values smiles above-all-else. "Don't Worry, Be Happy" seems to be not a goal but a dictate. As if, God-Forbid someone actually NOT smile and be happy.

Unfortunately, in the modern world, our desire to share smiles and joy *at all times* often goes too far, especially vis a vis our children.

See – our children need us to care for them, raise them, and teach them. They need to learn how to be respectable members of society in their own right. We are their primary source of sustenance and protection, until they leave home and explore the world-beyond.

But modern parents have gotten confused. They are grossly conflict-averse (since conflict may actually challenge that ever-present smile), and so rather than demanding reverence from their children, in today’s world of blurred boundaries, they seek friendship and acceptance. Rather than be their children’s firm coaches, feared teachers, and respected elders, they are chums and pals. They share intimate secrets, inappropriate conversations, and enjoy pop-culture together.

Our children are learning that they need to respect no one, seek acceptance from nobody, and therefore suffer from a catastrophic lack of ambition that has never been seen in history. Why be motivated to do anything when your parents will dote on you, even if you sit on the couch all day? Why strive to excel when parents are equally impressed with mediocrity? When parents slap on a smile to every-single-report-card, children eventually lose interest.

Parents: your children are not your friends. They need to be taught. They need to learn discipline and responsibility. They need to experience your disappointment and frustration when they don't live up to who they can and should be. By coddling your child with friendship, you do him and all future generations a great disservice.

Step up to the plate and find your friends elsewhere - your child will be the stronger for it.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sneaky Chocolate Milk

It started very simple. I was thirsty and wanted to enjoy a bit of sweet chocolatey yum - in the form of a chocolate milk box. My daughter was playing quietly in the room next door, and I had just finished washing dishes. I walked over to the pantry and reached for the milk box with a cartoon of a cow on the front, when suddenly a small voice behind me said "Moo?"

She had caught me.

"Moo? Moo!" She cried, and her face lit up. She pointed to the milk box, easily identifying the picture of the cow. "Moo! Moo!" as she reached up toward me with eager arms, smacking her lips in anticipation.

I was torn. Panicked, really. I had just taught her that these chocolate milk boxes were special for weekends-only. These were treats, not to be simply grabbed and punched open at-will. The weekday drinks were milk, juice, or water. Not chocolate-milk.


She was starting to get confused - why was I delaying handing her the treat? After all, it was *in my hands*!

This was a clear predicament. I couldn't explain to my 15-month-old daughter the difference between MY treat and HERS. No, she was too young to understand the difference. To her, whatever I had, she wanted. Wherever I went, she followed. Whatever I ate, she ate as well.

I had to step up to the plate. I had to be the role model.

"No - no Moo today." I said, putting the box back on the shelf.

She cried. I comforted her and offered other drinks. She shook her head, crying "Moo! Moo!"

I hugged her close: "I'm so sorry, baby... I won't do that to you EVER again." And I didn't.

We parents have to understand that the FIRST rule of parenthood is to Be A Role Model. If you want a treat, your kid is allowed to want it too. We need to act with integrity and set our children to the standards we set for ourselves.

All too often, we fall short, but we don't give our children the "wiggle-room" we grant ourselves.
How many of us do the following:
-Shout at your child to "Stop Yelling!"
-Linger to chat with a parent after a playdate and then berate your child when he wants "just another 5 minutes? please?!"
-Snap at your own parent and then tell your child "you need to respect Grammy!"
-Leave a mess in the kitchen, but insist your child carefully pick up his toys
...and the list goes on.

We are human and won't be perfect. But remember that your child is watching you - imperfections and all. Strive to be better and he will too.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Healthy Touch

I recently read a study (sorry- I can't remember where) that discussed the importance of physical contact* with your child - a hug, a high-five, or even just a pat on the back. Touch is a subconscious reminder of the intimate connection between parent and child. Both benefit from this contact, as it calms and focuses their attentions. Parents are more understanding and patient, while children feel supported and accepted.

Unfortunately, older children - and especially teens - can go days without being touched by their parent(s). Babies are coddled and constantly shown affection, but the relationship with older children becomes primarily verbal - in some cases exclusively so. This is especially true of father-daughter relationships, as Dads become uncomfortable showing any sort of physical affection while daughters grow and change. According to the study, this often has an impact on daughters, who are more likely to seek physical male affection elsewhere (!)

For some of us, it takes some effort to touch our children, even in some small way, daily. Did you give a kiss before he headed to school? Did you rub her shoulders as she was sitting doing homework? Did you tousle his hair in congratulations for a job well done?

In fact, this same principle holds true for spouses and close friends - a welcoming hug, a high-five, or even a pat on the arm, create a sense of solidarity and connection.

As children grow, they continue to learn from their parents, especially with regard to relationship-building and maintenance. Parents who continue to provide physical contact with their children encourage them to feel comfortable with their bodies and also appreciate the subtleties of different forms and styles of touch. In contrast, those parents who withdraw physical touch fail to teach their children about healthy adult (non-sexual) physical interaction. After all, when all touch is "taboo" then a naive teen will easily misinterpret a handshake, a tap on the shoulder, or a hug. Healthy touching leads to more confidence in teen years and a better understanding of what is "ok" and what is not.

Pay attention to how often you touch your child - and challenge yourself to increase it and see how it affects the relationship. I'd be glad to hear what happens...

*It goes without saying that this post refers to affectionate and absolutely *non-sexual* contact. Obviously, anything breaching that would constitute abuse.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Secondary Crises - a "not-your-average-parenting" post

A country is at war. People are fearing their lives. They run from the bombs, seeking shelter. The main crisis is clear: war.

But there are secondary crises that are often overlooked: the wives and husbands of soldiers who are now single-parents - either temporarily or (sigh) permanently. The children who are panicked, the families torn apart. The refugees, the displaced, who must how rebuild their lives. The merchant who suddenly cannot make a living, since nobody is brave enough to go out on the streets and visit his shop. These "secondary crises" aren't often in the news - they aren't front-page material. But they are painful realities that need to be addressed.

Similarly, when a family is told that their child has an aggressive tumor, most people think of how to help with the primary crisis: cancer. They clearly understand the idea of fighting for life and many rally to support.

But there are secondary crises that are also painful. How to balance work/life in this new climate? How to take care of other family needs? The strain is especially hard on parents who must handle their own emotions while also getting through the practical daily chores *and* supporting their child/children in their own unique ways. Who is there to support these parents and siblings during the crisis?

Cancer and similar life-threatening conditions are not a short-term battle. They are a long-term war. The battle cry at the front is heard loud and clear, but what about those suffering behind, overlooked yet still scarred from the experience?

It's not as exciting to tend to secondary crises. Going out of your way to purchase products from people in a war zone doesn't have the cache that tweeting "go team" does. Likewise, caring for a sibling or parent of a sick child doesn't feel as meaningful. But it means the world to those who are not on the front but feeling the pain from behind.

...and how does this relate to parenting? Those of us who overlook secondary crises may likewise neglect our children's subtle, less-exciting challenges. We pay attention when the battle gets bloody (figuratively or literally!), but we don't pay attention to the pain that may be lingering underneath. Take time to consider how to support your child through his/her secondary crises - this is key to winning the Great War of Parenting.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Most Horrible Feeling

Many of us moms experience highs and lows of parenting. The highs: smiles, adorable phrases, warm sense of pride in developing new skills and new friendships. The lows: tantrums, homework, "normal" or "special" behavior/development issues, sleep-deprivation. For the most part, we encounter similar challenges and find familiar voices among friends and neighbors.

But some challenges are different. Being told "your child has cancer" is different.

Usually I blog about the "normal" challenges that we all face. Today, I share a different voice.

You see: today, my son heads to Boston for his 7th intervention to rid him of aggressive, horrible tumors that would have killed him if we hadn't found them in time 2+ years ago. Today, I said goodbye to him, despite his tearful plea not to go, because he knows what awaits: needles, foreign rooms, pain.

And today I so badly BADLY wanted to keep him safe at home.

Most of you don't know that feeling. Most of you are lucky not to give your child over to doctors who promise to do their best, while your child cries from fear.

When he is headed for the hospital, I always have the same feeling: I want to grab him and run away. I want to keep him safe. Desperately. Oh, so desperately wanting to keep him as far from the hospital as possible. But where to? Where can I take him to be safe from these tumors? There is nowhere to go. It is the ultimate feeling of defeat.

"He has cancer." "Are you sure? Could it be something else?" "No. We are sure."

Most of you don't know what it's like to awaken in the morning to the piercing reality that your baby, your joy, may not live through the next month or season. I cannot possibly express in words this worst-feeling-ever. The pit in my stomach. The rage in my mind. The weighty feeling throughout my body - like it will take a crane to pull me out of bed.

I have imagined his funeral so many times in my head. I have imagined how I will break the news to his siblings, and how we will get by with his memory.

"Think positive - things will work out!" "God is good - you are only given what you can handle in life." People who have never felt this worst-feeling-ever have no idea how empty these things sound to me. There is no "think positive" when you wake up in horror of what will be. And as for getting what I can handle? I'm not so sure I'm handling it, and I'm pretty sure this is why divorce rates are high among parents of children with cancer. No - some of us just can't handle it. Our other children suffer. Our marriages suffer. We are barely functional as a friend or employee.

And even now that things are better - now that he's not fighting for his life like before... the reality is that we have been through hell and are not back yet. We still have to go to the hospitals and scans. We still are never sure if the tumor will suddenly appear by his heart or lungs or spine or other "vital structure"... we still want to grab him and run away.

It's the most horrible feeling.

Most of my blogs are about universal truths or ideas about Mommying. In contrast with the others, I hope this one sounds completely foreign to my readers.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Conversations with my Sister: Making Tough Choices

My sister heads back to work, after a nice, long leave of a year to be with her adorable baby girl. It's thrilling, exciting, and also awful at the same time.

She is so happy about her new job.

And she's devastated about leaving her daughter.

I find myself jealous that she is forging on with her career, making a nice living, feeling professional and respected. Meanwhile, I'm stuck with laundry, dirty dishes, stained clothing, and the occasional diaper that's leaked through.

And then she tells me how difficult it is to leave her daughter. What if she doesn't do well at daycare? Should she look for a nanny instead, at twice the price? What if the daycare isn't as great as it seemed? What if her daughter doesn't sleep well or doesn't eat enough?

... and then I'm not so jealous of my sister. I look to my side and see my tots playing and giggling together, so full of joy. I can swoop down for a hug and kiss whenever I want. I can play and sing with them all day. I never miss a new word or a new tooth budding.

I wish I could build a career for myself, something respectful and helpful to others. And yet I want to be with my kids all-the-time. My sister wishes the same.

We have tough choices. I've blogged about it before, but it's worth repeating: whoever said "you can have it all" was clearly not a modern mommy. There are constant sacrifices, and we are always looking over our shoulders, keeping tabs of the other mom who seems to juggle her world better. But we never know what is in her heart, what tears she sheds at night and what challenges she faces.

Let's be there to support each other and make the most of those tough choices that really, truly we all have to live with.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Selfish-Brat Mom

Generally I think we Moms can do a better job of supporting each other.

But there are some Moms who are beyond my comprehension: those Selfish-Brat Moms who think the world revolves around them (and maybe their kids).

I encountered such a mom this week while teaching with Tuney Tots. She was so incredibly self-centered, she spat curses at the librarian who was politely asking her to follow the library rules (no lollipops during class, for example). It started me thinking - maybe we can learn from such moms - learn how NOT to behave, in public or in private. Here are some tips:

Rules of the Selfish-Brat Mom: a brief introduction:

1. Remember that the world revolves around you. If you want something, that's the most important thing right now, immediately. This holds true also of your kids: if you need them to do something, you will coerce, manipulate, threaten, or punish in order to get your way - even if it's something ridiculous to expect (like your 2 year old putting himself to bed each night).

2. Assume your kids have done no wrong. Ever. If accused that your child hit another child, shrug it off and ask "can you prove it?"

3. Rules are made to be bent. School policies aren't so important, or carpool lanes. Modes of conduct will follow whatever you think *should* be, rather than what other parents have agreed are best for the community. For example: at the local synagogue or church, your child may eat whatever he wants, wander off wherever he wants, talk loudly during the services, etc.

4. Take breaks as often as possible. Hire nannies, send off to daycare, and coerce family into taking care of your kids as much as possible - weekdays, weekends, holidays, or whenEVER. You shouldn't have to work - you did enough just carrying the fetus for 9+ months, right?

5. Scheduling works around your needs, not your kids. This is true of any therapy services, school programs, nap times, etc. For example, if your child needs speech therapy, make sure it doesn't conflict with your weekly manicure, massage, and lunch out with the girls! (The therapist will have to work around all those things, after all). Your child will learn to sleep when its convenient for you, or just crash from exhaustion after being schlepped around. That's ok - quality sleep for kids is overrated.

6. Love can be bought. If your kid is acting needy, clingy, or whiney, buy her a new toy and tell her to go play, since her behavior is downright annoying. If you can't get to a toy quickly, a candy or ice cream should do the trick. Then, you can get back to your texting.

7. When in doubt, blame someone else. You can't possibly be at fault.

Sound familiar? Sadly, many moms fit the bill. Some moms allow their kids to terrorize others and don't care (it's *just too hard to discipline them or teach them appropriate behavior*). Some moms are checked-out on their phones and tablets all-the-time, leaving their kids to fend for themselves at much too-young an age. It's a sad state of affairs, my friends. Sad sad.

***Please share your anecdotes of interactions with Selfish-Brat Moms in my "Comments" section!***

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Conversations with my Sister: Checklist Practicum

Generally my blog is about concepts, ideas, and a smattering of practical advice. My sister has brought to my attention that I need to *make it come alive* more.

So here's some thoughts about checklists. Beginning with: make them. Lots of them.

Start before the baby is born. Start with your hospital visit. What do you need in your bag? And does your husband know what to do if you forget something? What projects are you currently handling that may need someone else to take over while you recuperate: make a checklist of these projects, including contact names and numbers of important people who are involved.

And when you get home: you will have checklists for this stage, probably from your doctor, and probably involving the baby's sleeping, eating, and peeing/pooping cycles. Why do you need them? Because you will very possibly NOT NOTICE that your baby's cycle is off unless you keep the checklist! Believe it or not, your baby's basic needs require: a checklist. Your maternal instincts won't cut it. And neither will your memory or your multi-tasking talents. Get used to it.

Next checklists: daycare, babysitter, or other baby-care. What does the caretaker need to know? What products do you need to send with baby so s/he has everything s/he needs? Food? Clothing? Diapers? etc.

The checklists don't end there, oh no! When kids get to school there are after-school checklists (to stay on-target and not overlook important events, assignments, chores, etc.), getting-ready-in-the-morning checklists (did you forget your underwear? brush teeth?), homework checklists (usually provided by the teacher), and more. Some families have meal checklists, to make sure they have ingredients they need for the dinners they plan (ahead of time, if they are wise).

Children are more confident when they have an organized, predictable, peaceful household environment. This doesn't mean that spontaneity is forbidden, but when parents have already planned ahead and have their children's needs covered, they feel assured and loved. Yes: checklists convey love. They give the child a solid message of, "I planned ahead, because I care..." or better yet "WE plan ahead because WE care..." about each other, about the family, mutually-respecting and anticipating each other's needs.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


We mommies have a tough time getting things done. Its not because we're completely incompetent – on the contrary, many of us have advanced degrees, many of us hold senior positions in companies large and small, and many of us have managed to multitask successfully in the past.

The challenge we face is due to the fact that, prioritize as we may, we are often interrupted tens or hundreds of times the day with a barrage of whines, screams, hugs, tickles, tears, tantrums, questions, and more. Each child demands *immediate* attention with *urgent* pleas. We then get off track, off balance, and quickly forget what we came upstairs to do or why we dialed our friend on the phone.

Having read the book The Checklist Manifesto, I've realized that we mommies are actually NOT crazy, frazzled, or otherwise unreliable. On the contrary, it appears that all humans overestimate our capacity to remember to-dos and necessary steps - and lives are lost as a result! Dr. Gawande invites all of us to maintain checklists and not rely on memory to take care of what we *think* we won't forget to do (but we actually will).

Phew. Relief.

I'm so glad that it's not really "mommy-brain" that's taken over, but rather a dose of reality that: yes, I'm human and yes, I forget. So I'll rely on checklists to keep myself and my family in-line... as long as I don't forget to put together the checklist in the first place, of course!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Conversations with my Sister: Snack Attack

My sister is encouraging me to write in my blog some of the advice I give her in our phone conversations, which she says are helpful and practical. Indeed, this blog is intended for all moms, especially those who may not have a sister, parent, or other relative or close friend to give her the myriad "tips so you don't tip" as a mother.

The story is familiar to all families: at some point, your kid needs to head to school/daycare/camp/activity with a snack. And many of us want that snack to be healthy, easy, and not too pricey. Here is my advice to her, mother of a 13-month old heading to daycare:

1) Smoothie Pouches. These are the worlds.greatest.invention.for.moms!!! You can get the original GoGoSqueeze brand of applesauce with or without a zip of cinnamon, strawberry, or other flavor, or you could opt for one of the new mixes coming out by new brands (seemingly daily!) - I recently bought an apple/mango/kale mix which was fantastic and filling (even for my husband on-the-go - shhhh don't tell anyone but they can be a quick-fix for adults too). If you shop around, you can find specials, sales, and jumbo packs to make them a bit more economical, since some of them run upwards of $2/pouch.

2) Cheese Puffs. Like Cheetos but much healthier without the artificial colors, flavors, etc. They've got lots of crunch, without the calories and artificial colors, flavors, etc.

3) Cheerios. Old Standard. Don't we wish they made single-use packs for those of us working-moms? Hmmm.... maybe I'm onto something here?! Meanwhile, you can quickly stuff a handful in a baggie or any reusable container (they aren't particularly messy, just a bit of wheat-dust to wipe down after use).

4) Fruit Leathers. Just like the fruit roll-ups which were so popular when I was growing up, fruit leathers are thicker and smaller, easier to manage as long as your kid is old enough to bite and chew well.

5) Cheese Crackers. There are lots of organic, multigrain, and otherwise healthier alternatives to cheezits nowadays. But if you go for the original brand, try the white cheddar flavor which at least doesn't contain the added food colorings.

6) Yogurt Tubes. Another great concept in packaging for kids... although they aren't so easy for little tots to manage, they are definitely less mess and smaller quantity than a cup of yogurt. And the organic brands all have their own flavors and packaging.

...of course, steamed veggie cubes or cut up fruit are great to throw into a container, but some days (and some moms) just won't be able to fit that into the schedule. So give yourself a break and head for some of the items I mentioned - your child will be eating full, balanced snacks/meals without a lot of work for you.

Note on drinks: you can send your child with a sippy cup or a water bottle virtually anywhere these days, but you'd do well to clearly mark if the product needs to be refrigerated, and/or the contents inside. If you opt for drink boxes instead, you'd be wise to teach your child to hold it "by the wings" by pulling up the side corners of the box so that it doesn't spill when (always accidentally) squeezed for the first sip.

Note on clean up: I'm a firm believer that the chemicals in diaper wipes are NOT meant to wipe faces, mouths, or hands. In fact, they work great as stain-lifters on your clothes, so you gotta wonder if that's what you want your child wiping her mouth with for quick clean-ups at daycare or summer camp? I'm a big proponent of constant hand-washing with old-fashioned soap and water, instead. When sending your child away, find out what they use to clean hands and faces and make sure you are comfortable with the answer. If not, you can provide your own wipes of water with a little dish soap (easy to make with paper towels and a baggie) or go ahead and splurge on Sani-Hands for kids. It's worth the peace-of-mind.

As always, I welcome your thoughts/feedback - what else do you think is helpful advice for a mom & child on-the-go?!

Friday, March 7, 2014


Possibly the biggest problem facing modern families is that of raising our children with a sense of entitlement. Our children have well-beyond what they need and, by the time they enter the work force, have little sense of solid work-ethic and drive to excel. They have been raised in a world where life is easy and if you don't get exactly what you want, you get something at least pretty close.

Just read the latest court case in New Jersey and you should get a sense of what I mean *see link below*... so she may not go to college? how is that different from millions of people (especially women!) who cannot or have not gone to college, because they needed to (gasp!) work for a living to (gasp!) support the family?!

CNN article here! http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/05/living/nj-teen-sues-parents-for-college-education/

The problem is sinister in its subtlety - it starts with doting on your infant in a natural and healthy, caring way, but then evolves through taking care of your toddler's needs, to making sure you "make time for your kid's homework" and then protecting your teenager from any distractions (read: volunteer work, employment, or even household chores) from her academic pursuits or extracurricular activities. By the time such a child hits the job market after college, he has: a) never held a job, b) never had a boss, c) never considered those who have less than perfect lives and d) never considered he may fail in anything in life. He has been coddled and comforted to the point of absurdity. He has been stamped with entitlement.

What is there to do about this problem? Here are a few pointers to keep your children fresh with understanding life doesn't come on a silver platter:

1. Make sure they fail - Allow your children to be less-than-perfect. Embrace their weaknesses - don't cover them up or over-protect them from feeling the "burn" of failure. Let them sometimes lose. And cry. And then provide the band-aids as they learn to wipe themselves off and move on.

2. Make sure they work - From chores to public service, children need to move and work. They need to learn about achievement beyond their classrooms. They need to know that practice-makes-perfect and what it means to be satisfied by a job well done.

3. Make sure they unplug - With increasing technological advancement, children are receiving "devices" at younger and younger ages, which translates into a micro-world revolving around them. The more they are plugged in, the less they are attuned to the world at large. Get offline, focus on interacting with the real world around them.

4. Make sure they meet others - One of the most valuable life-lessons for a child is meeting someone who has life-challenges that they hadn't considered. Volunteer with the needy or take your child to visit someone with a chronic illness. Donating goods doesn't cut it - while there's value in the idea of the donation, the face-to-face meeting is what will speak to your child's heart and make the difference in his world.

Many theorists believe this Generation of Entitlement is what could lead to the downfall of America as a world leader. Help spread this blog post and make a difference!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Myths & Facts #4: Having it All

Myth: "Women today can have it all."

Fact: Something's gotta give.

Explanation: You can't have a successful career, be a completely devoted wife and mother, attend all PTA meetings, and also pay your bills on time. We all have 24 hours in our day and can fit only so much into those hours. Juggle too much and it will all come crashing down, repeatedly. Juggle a few, and you can keep up a nice balancing act which will feel natural over time. Start small when you have your first child and slowly gain your new sense of balance. Give it time and practice - don't expect a perfect fit overnight. And sometimes expect one of the balls to fall - that's ok.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Myths & Facts #3: Perfect Parents

Myth: "I never shout or lose my tempter. I make sure to always treat my child evenly and calmly."

Fact: We all lose our cool. It's just a matter of life.

Explanation: We are humans. Not angels. We are not meant to be perfect and be "always" anything, really. We constantly change and grow, just as our kids do. This means that even if we are usually calm and even-tempered, we sometimes will not be.

More importantly: imagine a child who has never heard shouting, a mistaken rebuke, or anything but calm, polite discourse. Such a child, in my estimation, would be ill-equipt to lead a balanced life when he hits elementary school, much less adulthood. We all face challenges and imperfect lives. We need to know how to deal with adversity, mistakes, and hardships. Perfect parents are a myth, and aren't we so glad that's the case?!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Myths & Facts #2: Clean Up Time

Myth: "My kids always clean up diligently after they play. I have a tidy, organized play space."

Fact: Most kids, like most adults, are less excited about clean-up than about mess-making. Diligent clean-up is a fairy-tale, unless there is a housekeeper involved.

...So what do we do? First of all: lower your expectations! The main point of teaching your child to clean up is just that: teaching. It's not about the results, but rather the process. Do not expect a cleared, organized space, but rather a child who understands the principles of responsibility and respect (for her space, other people's needs, etc.) This doesn't mean you should clean up for a minute and move on, of course. But it does mean that you need to remember that it's about your child's growth and education and not your well-kept home.

And the best way to teach him about clean-up? As Mary Poppins pointed out: "...find the fun and snap! the job's a game". There are many tips on how to bring out the fun involving clean up. Here are some ideas, but you need to embellish and see what works for you and your kids:

-Crank up the music. Make it into a hip-hoppin' dance party, where the toys are props that are tossed into their boxes to the beat.

-Find the hidden pennies. In big messes, you can hide pennies (or M&Ms, stickers, or other prizes) and create a challenge to see who can collect/find the most hidden treats while tidying.

-Get down with it. A great way to encourage your kid is to work alongside with him. Have a conversation, transfer clean-up time into an opportunity to chat about your day or tell a story.

-Sportscast the "game". Grab a spoon as the microphone and pretend to give a "play by play" account of the clean up, filled with jokes and silly commentary.

-Race. Keep tabs on how long it takes the child(ren) to clean a room and try to beat your own time OR race against Mommy to see who can clean up fastest/most etc.

-Create excitement. Make up a story of why it's "so important" to clean up "right away" - for example: "oh no, little bear wants to go to sleep! We'd better clean up the room so we can take him upstairs!"

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Myths & Facts #1: PottyTraining

Myth: "My kid was potty trained in a week at age 13 months old! No hassle, no mess!"

Fact: Some kids will take *years* (no joke!) to finally go without accidents. And it won't matter much what age you introduce him to the wonderful poopy-swishing machine. (Especially if you include night shifts in the bargain).

Explanation: Kinda like childbirth, the truth is that this is less of a one-big-intense-moment and more like a long-drawn-out-haul. You can plan all kinds of perks and prizes to help encourage your tike to "do it, do it, do it on the toi-let!" but the truth is he will very likely sometimes do-it-right and sometimes do-it-whenever/wherever he wants, even after months of knowing where the toilet is and how to do-it.

...So be patient. Choose when you want to make the introduction, probably based on when your kid heads to school or daycare - either for your ease-of-mind or mandated by the age/class of the school. Go ahead and make it fun or amusing, but *take it easy* - don't sweat if your kid doesn't embrace the new system 100%. Plan ahead with lots of baking soda to throw into messy laundry (get comfortable with the "soak" cycle) and buy some thick underpants and extra plastic-mats at your local baby store to carry you through the nights. As with everything else in parenting: consider this a test of your endurance - go for the Gold!