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Motherhood and Success, the Perfect Partners: You Don’t Have to Choose Just One

Mother and workingWhich is more important, your career or your kids? Dumb question right? There are very few parents who would say that their career was more important than their kids. As a matter of fact, that’s the whole point of this article. It is a dumb question, with the answer almost always being the same, so why is that form of questioning even a factor in so many conversations today in regard to working women who are mothers?

This type of questioning often leaves mothers feeling guilty about perusing a career. I believe that motherhood and a successful career are perfect partners. I mean, what better way to show your kids how to be successful at something than by doing it right before their little eyes?

If you are in this situation and you find yourself struggling with juggling both, don’t get discouraged. The fact that you have children is even more reason for you to push yourself to the maximum of your potential. Your kids will thank you later. One of the best pieces of advice that I can give that has worked for me, is to find yourself a support system. You may need a good friend to take your kids to the park while you finish that report or a sister or aunt who can help you with taking the kids to doctor’s visits. If you’re like me, and you don’t have a lot of family around, check out websites like care.com to find sitters who are more than willing to help you with errands or to just get a breather.

The main thing is to never give up on your dreams. You really can have them both. You and your children are well worth the struggle and trust me, it does get better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Previously published on successfulsingleparents.com/ another website owned by Diathe Garnes LLC

“Image courtesy of [khunaspix] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

 

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The Importance of Parenting Partners

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Back in the day it was acceptable for a village to raise a child. But, somewhere along the way it became more and more difficult to trust the village. Parents began to rely less and less on others for assistance and guidance in raising their children. When the village began doing more harm than good by exemplifying negative behaviors and beliefs that were out of the control of the parents, many switched to the mindset of don’t tell me how to raise my kids or don’t dare say anything to my children. I was raised in a time where the village mentality was alive and well and I can remember getting chastised by neighbors and family friends for bad behavior when I was away from home. Now that I’m raising my own kids I wish that there were more people I could trust to keep an eye out for my children during those times when they are out of my eye and earshot.

Once upon a time, if someone saw a child acting in a way that opposed how they were raised they would call them out and either take them home or call their parents to rat them out. It seems that today, the same people who would look out for your kids back in the day, would now rather call the police on them or simply ignore any situation.

Now more than ever we need parenting partners who can look out for our children when we are not with them. For instance, teachers, coaches and parents of children who attend school with our children or play sports with them can be valuable parenting partners. Although it may be a bit harder today to figure out which parents can be trusted, it’s worth the time and energy to get to know those that give the impression that they could be helpful.  Forming relationships and open communication with them is an invaluable asset.

Recently, I formed a relationship with a parent whose son played basketball with my son. We found that our parenting styles were very similar and we are raising our children with the same values and beliefs. Because of this, we each feel that our children are safe with the other. Now, we take turns dropping off and picking up the kids from practice and the relationship is mutually beneficial. Look around and find trustworthy parenting partners and form your own relationships that are mutually beneficial to all involved, especially the children. It still takes a village.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Creating A Legacy of Love: Teaching Children the Power of Loving Others, Regardless of Your Family Structure

ID-10079951 (1)There are many types of family structures for children to grow up in. Nuclear, Single Parent, Extended, Blended and Stepfamilies are just a few of the types that exist today.  With all their differences, the one thing that should be a common factor within every family is an abundance of love. If every family were grounded in love, our society as a whole would improve. Of course, we don’t live in a perfect world and unfortunately, loving family bonds cannot be found in every home. But as a society, we can take steps to change this –­ one family at a time.

The nuclear family (one with two parents and children) has long been seen as the most traditional and most ideal for raising children, since these children are more likely to receive mental, spiritual and financial stability from two parents.  Although many would agree that the nuclear unit is indeed the most ideal for raising children, most would also agree that when it comes to family, the structure matters not as much as the love within the structure.

As a single mom, I know that it’s extremely important for my children to know how much they are loved and for them to love their family and others. Still, during difficult parenting times it can be tempting to think that love just isn’t enough. Fear that the negative factors of less traditional families will hinder the children within those families can take over. But remember, love is always enough — we just need more of it.

The reality is that we can’t always guarantee that things will work out perfectly in relationships and unfortunately, broken families happen.  But, the bigger focus should be on how every family that desires to, can leave a legacy of love for their children.

Here are some tips to help you leave a legacy of love by teaching children the power of loving others, regardless of your family structure.

  1. Love by example: Show love to those who are not easy to love. Neighbors, exes, in-laws, and the grumpy person behind you at the grocery store all offer you the opportunity to lead your children in their love walk by first walking in love yourself.
  2. Say, “I love you” more often. Make every goodbye, goodnight, etc.… an opportunity to say I love you. These three little words can go a long way during those times when you’ve said and done everything else wrong. Children will remember how often you said, “I love you” or how often you didn’t.
  3. Take lots of pictures. Nothing shows love more than photos of happy moments together. When you’re long gone, the photos that you take now will be treasured reminders of your love for your family.
  4. Write love letters. I write my children love letters to be given to them later. With technology taking us far from pen and paper, one great trick to use to chronicle your love story for your kids is to create an email account for them (if they are too young to have their own) and email their letters to them. Keep the login information in a safe place so that they can access the letters later.
  5. Speak kindly of one another to others. How many times have you been tempted to complain about your children, spouse or another family member to a friend or co-worker? If you’re like everyone else, probably pretty often. Make an effort to mention your love for the person you are complaining about as often as you indicate your grievances about them. Better yet, try not to complain at all unless with your most trusted advisor or friend who is probably well aware of your love for your family and won’t take your complaints to heart.
  6. Say I’m sorry. We all make mistakes and do and say things that hurt the people we love. Even if you’re right, if you hurt those you love, say, “I’m sorry.” These two words can speak volumes toward showing just how much you value the other person and their feelings.

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Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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7 Apps to help you be a more uplifted (and less frustrated) parent.

ID-100249674With so many aspects of our lives being made easier through the use of technology, it should be no surprise that even parenting can now be simplified through the latest trends in technology as well. Regardless of whether you believe that technology is a gift from God or a device of the devil, on those parenting days when you are feeling less than uplifting and can use all the help you can get, parenting phone apps can be surprisingly helpful.

Depending on the age of your children, your schedule and your parenting needs, you will have apps that are at the top of your favorites list. These apps range in price, with many of them being free. Make sure you check pricing before you download.

Here are my top seven favorite parenting apps.

  1. White Noise Baby: This app is great for helping babies (and moms) relax and fall into a more peaceful sleep. Place your phone next to the sleeping baby and let the app do the rest.
  1. Cry Translator (iphone) Baby Translate (android & Google Play): Nothing can replace good, ole fashioned mother’s tuition. But, for those late nights or busy days when frustration at not knowing why your baby is crying takes over and your intuition is just not kicking in, this app can feel like a life saver. This app is reportedly surprisingly accurate and although the price for it varies, you may agree that it’s worth it. I admit that I’m not always sure that the translation of my son’s cries are accurate, but this app still made my list because of those times when it seemed pretty darn close to what I expected. Plus, it’s just fun.
  1. Phone Aid (iphone) First Aid-American Red Cross (closest thing on android & Google Play): If you’re like me, you probably took your last First aid, CPR class praying the whole time that you’d never have to use it. As the saying goes, if you don’t use it you lose it. This app offers demonstrations on how to perform CPR, the Heimlich maneuver and other first aid processes and is great to have at your fingertips just in case.
  1. Dinner Spinner: This app is great for those nights when you are all out of ideas for quick, tasty recipes to prepare for your family. With this app, you can search for recipes based on ingredients, prep time or use your recipe box of favorite recipes to find a recipe that works.
  1. Take me to my car (iphone) My car locator (android & Google Play): A quick shopping trip with the kids can quickly turn into a headache when you forget where you’ve parked your car. It’s happened to the best of us. This app can quickly lead you back to your car with all your bags and kids safely in tow.
  1. Sex Offender Search: This app allows you to better protect your family by providing information on sex offenders living in your neighborhood. This app should be on the phone of every parent with children living at home. Children who are away at college can use it to have a better awareness of their surroundings as well.
  1. PBS Parents Play and Learn (iphone & android): PBS’ first app designed specifically for parents provides numerous games parents can play with their kids. This app is designed specifically to help connect math and literacy skills with everyday activities such as a trip to the grocery store, a ride in a car, helping out in the kitchen, and many more.

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Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles]/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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10 Quotes to Help You Fight Bad Mommy Days

ID-100233538Have you ever had one of those bad mommy days? You know, those days when you seriously question your ability as a mother and your sanity for ever thinking you could pull off this whole mother thing without some major hitches. As moms, we’ve all had them. Any mother who says she hasn’t, well, she’s just not being honest with herself.  For me, these days became a bit more frequent when my son magically morphed into that creature that I no longer recognized or related to…the teenager!

As we muddled through more and more bad mommy days, I realized that having them is okay. It just means that Supermom is actually human too. So, that is my message for you today. Having bad mommy days doesn’t mean that your supermom powers are any less magnificent or that you’re not a great mom. Problems only arise if you stay stuck in those moments and begin to remember only those days and emotionally file away all the good days with your kids.

Being a mom is an amazing adventure full of great moments that can be life changing and heart stirring…most of the time. For the other times, when it’s a pulling your hair out by the roots or staring blankly while toddler throws a fit  experience, here are 10 quotes to help you move out of those times with more grace and less yelling.

By the way, congrats on being an uplifting mom! Cherish the moments and read these quotes when you need a reminder of what power you hold and marvel at just how wonderful it is to be someone’s mom/mommy/ma/mama etc…

 

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Lesson Learned While Watching Cartoons…Really

ID-10034395Have you ever complained about having to sit through hours of Saturday morning cartoons with your kids? I know I have. So, one Saturday morning when my son suggested that we watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles together I admit that I wasn’t very excited. To be honest, I was really looking forward to catching up on my favorite inspirational programming that waited on my DVR every Saturday morning, and boy did I need some inspiration after a long week.

Never wanting to miss an opportunity to spend some QT with my son, I reluctantly curled up on the sofa to watch the show with him. Besides, I was happy to see that there was a hyped-up version of a cartoon from back in the day still on the air. I went on about how the TMNT movies that I watched growing up were probably better than the newer version. Of course he assured me that the current version, which he refused to miss each week, was much better than the old fashion one. I wasn’t convinced but I was happy that we shared an appreciation of green amphibious ninjas and tried to enjoy the moment.

Always trying to stay on top of things in my home, this was also another opportunity for me to see what types of things my son was watching on TV. And, I was having fun with him. Deep down though, I was still looking forward to getting back to all the non-cartoon shows that I looked forward to catching up on every weekend. After all, I didn’t waste my time looking at shows unless they were ones that I could actually learn life changing lessons from. Well, for the most part anyway.

In the middle of thinking of a good way to excuse myself, I noticed that the turtle’s trainer and father figure, Master Splinter (who happens to be an over sized rat by the way) was in the middle of giving a compelling lecture to hot head Raphael who was constantly losing his temper. “Anger is self destructive,” Master Splinter calmly stated with his hands behind his back in a formal Ninja Master stance. “When you let someone anger you, it is you who allow their words to become weapons. You make that choice.”  Wow! How many of us need to hear that?

Wisdom from the mouth of a rat? My inspirational senses were peaked and I hoped that my son had learned something from good old Splinter. I asked him if he had paid attention to Splinter’s lecture. “Yeah Ma! I told you. Ninja Turtles is a deep show,” he said smiling from ear to ear. Okay, so he was right about this one. Now if I could just get him to watch repeats of my inspirational shows with me.

 

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Image courtesy of [photostock]/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Simple Back to School Guide for Busy Moms

ID-100116189Summer break is over and it’s back to the rat race. Growing up, I watched curiously each year as the stay at home moms, grandparents and other caregivers in my neighborhood celebrated back to school every September while my friends and I sulked and wondered what there was to celebrate. I figured that one day when I had my own kids I’d feel just as those grownups did and celebrate the occasion as well. But, times have changed and I, like many other busy moms, don’t have the luxury of being a stay at home mom. So, for many of us, Summer means we get to sleep a little later, rest from the jobs of checking homework and monitoring bedtimes and enjoy weekends just a little more. As we adjust to our kids being back in school,  it’s just as important for us to be well prepared for the school year as it is for them. Here are a few tips to get busy moms and their families off to a good start and a great school year.

1. Make sure that after school accommodations fit your schedule and that you have a backup plan. If you don’t get off work until 5:30pm and your child has to be picked up from daycare by 6pm, there could be a problem if you get stuck in traffic or delayed at work. Ask someone you can trust to serve as your backup in case you’re delayed in picking up your child. Also, search for private or public daycare centers that have extended hours.

2. Start routines early. Don’t wait until the first week of school to begin the school year bed times and wake up times. Get your child used to going to bed and getting up early at least a week ahead of time. Start routines such as ironing, packing lunches and laying out clothes early as well.

3. State expectations to your child. Don’t just assume that your child knows what you expect from him or her. As your child gets older, their expectations of the freedoms and flexibilities they should be allowed may be different than they were the year before. For instance, it may be okay with you if your child spends time with friends after school, but you may have specific expectations on how long these visits last and what they are allowed to do during them.

4. Attend back to school night if at all possible. This way you can meet your child’s teachers and get a feel for their personalities. This can be a good indication of how they will mesh with your child. Also, you can talk with teachers about what you expect from them and learn what they expect from you as a parent.

5. Take advantage of access to school online systems. Set up passwords and usernames for online school grading systems so that you can monitor your child’s grades throughout the year. Also, if available, take advantage of the ability to fill out school forms online, which can save you time later.