Momagama SOMA Community for South Orange, Maplewood, and Millburn, NJ moms. Wed, 04 May 2016 14:37:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Spring Is In The Air Mon, 21 Mar 2016 14:07:34 +0000 Once again  it’s that time of year, when Spring is slowly making it’s way through.  The air smells fresh, the birds are chirping and everyone is ready to start fresh.  This might be my favorite time of year because it brings forth feelings of peacefulness and hope and Mother Nature actually lets us enjoy her again. That being said, in order to renew and start fresh we must declutter, simplify and fill in where we need so we find peace of mind and enjoy the new warmer seasons to come!  Clean out and clear out those closets because there are some amazingly fun Spring trends for 2016 and you’re going to want to try them all!


athliesure 2 3-1-16
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Here are 5 of my favorite new trends for the upcoming season:

  1. Cold Shoulder Tops:  Not completely off the shoulder but just baring the actual shoulder or a sliver of the arm is still running huge through Spring.  It  gives that feeling of showing a little skin but it’s slight so can transition from day to night effortlessly.

2.  Fringed denim: No need for hemming ladies this is another one that has been seen a while and will be going strong wether it’s on a skinny jean, ankle       flare or girlfriend silouette, just cut the bottoms, let them fray or buy them that way!  This is giving us a much more low key relaxed denim look but also       looks fab with a heel.  Try it out!

3. The not-so-basic white shirt:  Take the basic crisp white button down to a whole new level of flirty!  Wrap blouses, lower cuts, shorter lengths are all           giving this old tried and true trend a little more va va voom, while still remaining the perfect color for warm weather and the perfect palette for bright             accessories.

4.  The bold stripe: some call this shirt stripes but theyre not just on shirts, they’re being shown on skirts and pants and shorts and giving  those preppy             summer stripes a whole new feel with that thicker line.

5.  Athleisure: this is not going away anytime soon and Spring is the best time to have fun with it!  Sweatwear, sneakers (hightops preferably), anything          athletic inspired is bigger and better than ever.  There’s a sexiness to the sleek confident vibe it exudes.  Have fun with this one.  Go all athletic head to      toe or rock it one piece at a time, but mostly enjoy the comfort and ease of this trend.

As always happy shopping!


By Maya Gerson of Personal Styling by Maya


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We are listening to our kids, but are we understanding what they are trying to say? Thu, 18 Feb 2016 13:40:50 +0000 When I became a mom in 2001, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, by Tracy Hogg, had just come out, and I remember it helping to soothe my new mom anxieties. It was a huge relief to find a guide that was aimed at helping me understand what my non-verbal baby was trying to say (based on his cries and other cues).

Fast forward a few years to when my son started using actual words like, sad, happy, sleepy (ok, he never said sleepy), hungry, etc., and I thought I had it made. Now it would be so much easier to understand him and know exactly what he wanted and needed.

But as you probably know, kids are a bit more complicated than that. And even kids who have language don’t always know how to communicate their feelings in a particular situation, or even feel safe saying exactly what they are really feeling. (Heck, I’m still trying to figure out how to feel safe and how to be clear communicating in certain situations.)

In the book Unconditional Parenting, Alphie Kohn talks about the importance of listening to our kids compassionately and really trying to understand what they mean (going past what they are saying), rather than jumping to conclusions based on their words or actions. He sites an example of a father whose daughter comes home from school and drops a bunch of snacks all over the floor. When her father asks her to pick them up, she refuses. At first he thinks she’s challenging his authority, but when he asks her why, she says simply that she doesn’t want to pick them up because she wants to eat them. He is able to calmly come up with a solution that they are both happy with. She gets to eat the snacks after she picks them up.

My kids say horrible things to each other (and sometimes to us) in the course of a day. Things like, “You’re stupid!”, “You’re being lazy!” or “I hate you!” — these are things my husband and I would never say and it drives me crazy because I personally have a real problem with language that can negatively affect someone’s self-esteem. Often, I can be heard saying things like, “that is not how we talk to each other in this house!” which usually has extremely little effect on the current offender.

But after reading some of Unconditional Parenting, I started observing what was going on more closely. The other day, one of my kids came up with an idea for a present for one of their relatives. His brother countered, “That’s just stupid! Why would we give something like that?? That is a terrible idea.”

I could see how much he hurt his brother, but instead of jumping to my usual, “Why are you speaking to him like that?”, I took a step back. I realized that the feeling behind his angry comments had to do with some embarrassment he was feeling about the gift. He did not want to be associated with a gift that he didn’t feel right about. Knowing that, I was able to diffuse the situation in a much calmer way.

I’m not saying feelings weren’t hurt, and more insults weren’t slung by the kids before we were through, but having a better understanding of the “why” helped me to remain clearer and more detached, and that helped me to support them through their feelings around this conflict.

It’s not easy to take a step back during a conflict, especially at those times when you are one of the participants (and not a bystander) in the event. It takes effort, energy (which for parents can be in high demand and in low supply), and sometimes a pause and a deep breath. But, as Alphie Kohn points out, compassionate listening––exploring what your child really is trying to communicate in the moment––can help your child feel more respected and loved unconditionally. And if it can help us, as parents, to be more aware, help us to diffuse our anger and frustration, stop us from doling out words or behavior modifications that aren’t warranted, I think it’s worth giving it a try.

What do you think?

Stacey Houghtaling is a certified life and parent coach who helps parents transform their parenting, reduce their stress, and raise happy, healthy, confident kids. Her free newsletter, articles and client testimonials are available on

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Nutella: The Cure For Everything Tue, 09 Feb 2016 14:05:26 +0000 Warning: this post is about medical stuff and science. Although it might not be what you want to read from a blog that’s supposed to be relaxing and not headache inducing, you will learn valuable information that will change your life. So if I were you, I would put my glasses on and take notes . . .

Wouldn’t it be great if one medicine could cure most daily ailments? No need to wonder whether to consult, what to do. Just take the magic pill and all is better. Well, such thing exists, in the form of this . . .


Before you dismiss this as total nonsense, just hear me out. I did extensive research, in the form of eating a lot of the stuff myself, and have found that it is a wonderful remedy for the following:

  1. Feeling down. You know, when you want to do nothing other than lie on the sofa and feel sorry for yourself. We all agree that’s not good for you. Nutella can really help because, although you will still feel sorry for yourself, you’ll have to get off the sofa and grab a jar and a spoon. If that’s not a step in the right direction, then I don’t know what is.
  2. Feeling too skinny. Yes, that’s a problem that some people have. And it’s not nice! But thanks to Nutella, you can move on. Because there will be no such emotion if you keep your pantry well stocked.
  3. Feeling too fat. What the heck! Have another dip. What difference will a spoon of Nutella make in the big scheme of things, huh?
  4. Struggling with a diet? Don’t beat yourself up. Step 1: Eat the Nutella without the bread. Step 2: Stick with step 1 for a while, until your body gets used to it. Step 3: I wouldn’t cut on the Nutella because you might experience withdrawal syndrome. Instead, just suppress the spoon and stuff your face in the pot. Don’t feel bad, that’s why they make the maxi jars.
  5. Feeling old. YES, you think I’m crazy, but listen. If you really, really, really eat a lot of it, you will get a lot of zits that can only be mistaken for juvenile acne. Who gets juvenile acne? Teenagers? Ha! You are welcome . . .
  6. In addition to these undeniable health benefits and moral boosters, Nutella also sorts out all your cooking headaches. You can serve Nutella for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It spreads on everything, bread, crepes, fruits, even on the palm of your hand. It’s got proteins, skim milk (in case you are worried about calories), hazelnuts which are known for their many benefits, like, making Nutella taste good.

The only slight downside to Nutella is that it talks. I swear, whenever I pass my pantry, I can hear it say, “Eat me! Eat me!” Sometimes, I hear it at night as well, but I am telling you, it’s well worth getting up for.

I love you, Nutella. I love you.

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DIY Valentines Thu, 04 Feb 2016 14:00:24 +0000 hearts

Valentine’s Day is coming, and it’s a day to not only let your significant other know how much you love them, but also a time to let your children, friends, extended family, etc. know that you are thinking of them. In my opinion, while flowers and candy are lovely, there is no better way to do this then by giving them something that is homemade.

You might be thinking to yourself – “I don’t have the time, expertise, patience, etc. to make something.” I promise you that you can! Here are a few easy ways to celebrate Valentine’s Daywithout spending a lot of time (and money):

Homemade cards – This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to show the people in your life that you care. Have your kids make homemade cards for mom, dad, grandma or grandpa (a cute idea is having them trace their handprints on the card). Another idea is to create your own card and “coupon book” for your significant other, filled with coupons for everyday things that will make them smile, such as “One coupon for taking the kids out for breakfast on the weekend so you can sleep in” or “One coupon for doing the dishes every day for 2 weeks.”

Pinterest – I am a Pinterest addict – seriously! It is the perfect site for finding DIY Valentine’s Day craft projects. Create a Valentine’s Day board and pin all of the things that you find onto the board so you can go back to them when you have the time. It’s free to sign up (, and very easy to use. Just type “Valentine’s Day” into the search bar and check out all of the awesome possibilities. Some great ideas I found include a DIY Valentine’s Day card holder for the classroom, heart puppets using brown lunch bags for the kids to make, and handmade heart “pockets” to fill with candy or small toys that you can personalize.

Food – You don’t have to be a trained chef (or even a good cook in my case) to make cute treats for all of the Valentines in your life. Before the kids go to school, why not make them heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast,

or pack a heart-shaped sandwich for lunch (either using a heart-shaped cookie cutter or just free form!). Make your significant other their favorite dinner, or make chocolate-dipped strawberries together. Very easy and romantic!

When it comes to creating a heartfelt Valentine’s Day without spending a lot of time and money, the possibilities are endless!! Even if it is just giving youBVr loved ones a big hug and kiss and telling them how much they mean to you, you really can’t go wrong with ideas from the heart.

Erica Barton is a stay-at-home mom who lives in South Orange with her husband and two kids, Ally, 6 and Josh 4.

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Can I Be Mindful Without Meditation? Tue, 02 Feb 2016 14:01:09 +0000 By Cara Maksimow, LCSW, CPC

swimmingMindfulness seems to be everywhere lately. Just today I read on the Action for Happiness Facebook page and that the UK became the first country to publish an all-party parliamentary report on the benefits of mindfulness. That is huge!

Just a few weeks ago my 11 year old was excited to tell me they had a mindfulness meditation practice in gym class!

In my small corner of NJ that is also pretty huge! Funny how when mommy suggests meditation, I am usually met with that infamous “tween” eye roll…

My journey with mindfulness is a relatively recent one. After leaving a long career in Sales Training and Sales Management I returned to my very first passion, Social Work. I began practicing as a clinical therapist using skills from my Columbia University MSW in the 1990’s as well as more recent training and coursework in Positive Psychology. Meditation and/or Mindfulness has become a significant part of my work, yet it was something I found challenging personally.

I am a thinker and a worrier.

As my husband often tells me “It must be exhausting being in your head all day”.

He was right. It was.

It took me a while to get to where I am now, practicing meditation fairly regularly. That means around 5 out of 7 days per week, approximately 10 – 20 minutes a day. For me, that’s awesome! I am careful not to judge myself or get frustrated when I miss days here and there.

I have learned to focus on my progress instead of on when I fall short. For me, for now it is #mindfulenough.

Feeling and experiencing the subtle changes that mindful meditation has brought into my life I try to encourage it with others however not everyone is open to the idea. That got me thinking about mindfulness a little differently. In ACT, which is a part of my work, mindfulness does not need to be connected with formal meditation. It dawned on me that I had been using a form of mindfulness as a child when I would swim. Being on a competitive swim team throughout my childhood I can remember hours and hours of swimming laps in the pool. I would see swimming as a way for me to relieve stress and “clear my head”. The silence of being under the water and the rhythmic movement of my stroke gave me with a sense of comfort and calm even though I really did not understand why at the time. I would breathe every third stroke and would often find myself saying to myself “1…2…3… breathe…1…2…3…breathe” over and over as I practiced.

I was using mindfulness and not knowing it. I bet you may be too.

For those of you with a curiosity about mindfulness but not really sure if you are ready to introduce something new into your life, here are just a few of many ways that may help you start to be more mindful without meditation, similar to the experience I used to have when swimming:

  1. Exercise

Like in my experience, repetitive exercise like swimming, running or yoga that requires you to focus on your body and on your breathing can be a way to practice mindfulness.

  1. Creativity & Art

Painting, drawing, coloring or other creative activity where you can focus your full attention on making something beautiful can be a great way to recharge your batteries and reduce the chatter that goes on in your mind.

  1. Nature

Getting outside and take a walk. Notice the trees, flowers, breeze and use all of your senses to take in nature and the beauty around you. Notice the way the wind is blowing, the smells, the temperature and the sounds.

  1. Music

Listen to music without distractions. Take time to fully hear the different instruments playing, lyrics and notice the feelings or emotions that come up as you listen.

  1. Journal

Daily journaling or writing can be another way to be mindful. It could be a gratitude journal or other type of writing or just simply jotting down your day. My grandfather used to keep a daily journal and after he passed away my cousins and I would read through them and wonder why he would write every day, even the most simple, uneventful and mundane things. Now I better understand the benefits of his writing.

  1. Be Intentional

Find a few tasks you do every day, like brushing your teeth, taking a shower or washing the dishes. Stop multitasking and focus on those tasks with curiosity and wonder as if you had never done them before. What does the water feel like, what sounds do you hear, what other senses can you engage as you perform this task?

Whatever time you have, make the most of it by looking to add a little more intention and mindfulness to your day. Start small. #mindfulenough.

If you want more information on the work that I do please go to my website and feel free to reach out! If therapy or coach
ing is not right for you, you may want to check out other blog posts, explore products, attend a workshop, sign up for my newsletter or connect via Facebook or Facebook group.

This article was originally published on Momagama Madison,


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Three Simple Ways to Eat Better in 2016 Thu, 28 Jan 2016 14:05:41 +0000 The New Year is here!  I don’t know about you, but I find the fall to be the craziest time of the year – school starts, the Jewish holidays follow close behind, then there’s Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the non-stop December celebrating (which for me also  includes one of my daughters’ birthdays!).  In the midst of the craziness, I always find it hard to stay on top of feeding my family well, and so the New Year is the perfect time to take a deep breath and regroup.  For those of you feeling the same way, I wanted to share three tips for simple ways to upgrade your eating and feel your best in 2016.


1. Read ingredient lists.

If you want to do one thing to improve the quality of the food you eat, start by reading ingredient lists.  The only way we can eat better is to know what we’re eating in the first place!  I remember being blown away when I started reading ingredient lists – some “foods” have lists a mile long, with very few recognizable ingredients.  And the more I learned about these mysterious ingredients, the more I realized that they really had no business being in my diet on a regular basis.  Did you know that the FDA does not require independent safety testing for new additives?  Food manufacturers are allowed to self-certify that their ingredients are safe, or simply start using them without even notifying the government.  And once an ingredient is suspected of being unsafe, it can take years to have it removed from the food supply, if ever.  The result is that there are thousands of ingredients out there which we know shockingly little about.  Many might be perfectly safe, but we just can’t say for sure.  Which is why my preference is to stick to recognizable real food ingredients that have been part of our food supply for generations.  What you DON’T need to read are health claims and nutrition facts labels (with one exception – see #2!) which can both be easily manipulated by food manufacturers.  If you are eating real food, the rest will take care of itself.  So this year, get in the habit of reading ingredients lists – the more aware you become, the better you will be able to make educated decisions about what to eat.


2.  Watch the sugar.

Sugar is delicious, no doubt about that.  Unfortunately, more and more research is suggesting that added sugars are not just empty calories, but actually damaging to our bodies and even addictive (read about my own addiction here!).  So while my first tip was to read ingredients and ignore nutrition facts, the sugar content is the exception.  Here’s what you need to know: there are 4 grams of sugar in a teaspoon, and the American Heart Association recommends no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar per day for men, 6 teaspoons for women, and 3-4 for children.  So that means a piece of whole wheat bread with 4g of sugar has a teaspoon – a sandwich with 2 pieces of bread is already 1/3 of women’s daily allotment and more than half for kids!  Sugar sneaks into way too many foods (and hides behind over 20 different names), which is why it’s not surprising that despite recommendations, the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day!  Given the risks, sugar is something we need to be paying much closer attention to.


3. Cook more.

Cooking is one of the best things you can do for your health, since when you cook at home you are much more likely to use real ingredients, moderate levels of salt, sugar, and fat, and eat appropriate portion sizes (plus it’s generally cheaper, better for the environment, and tastes better!).  So if you currently don’t cook at all, try making just one meal a week from scratch, even if it’s as simple as whole wheat pasta with a good quality jar of sauce and roasted veggies or a salad.  If you cook regularly but are dependent on processed ingredients like soup mixes, marinades, and flavoring packets, try converting one of your favorites (like tacos) and build up from there.  And if you’re already mostly from scratch, maybe you’re ready to start making homemade snacks, breakfast foods, breads, or even broth.  Wherever you are, pick one change to make, and don’t pick another until that one change is mastered!

While these three tips are simple, I know they are not easy!  Reading ingredient lists takes time and is virtually impossible when shopping with kids; sugar is hidden in EVERYTHING and is really hard to avoid even with the best of intentions; cooking from scratch takes a level of planning you might not be accustomed to.  But it’s worth it to make small changes, one at a time, at a pace that works for you.  And if you need help, feel free to get in touch – I’d be happy to help you on your journey towards eating well!


Alissa Stoltz, MA, is a Certified Health Coach, Food and Nutrition Expert, Cooking Instructor and founder of The Simply Wholesome Kitchen.  She teaches and empowers busy moms to feed their families delicious and nourishing food without feeling stressed out or overwhelmed.  More information and recipes can be found

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How to merge In NYC Tue, 26 Jan 2016 19:27:39 +0000 Winter had finally arrived.

woman train musicI sat on the train facing forward. The man sat across from me and had his legs straddling mine. An odd position to be in with a stranger. I moved my legs to the side but one knee still touched. We both pretended that we didn’t notice. His girlfriend’s legs straddled the woman next to me. The woman next to me wore a hot pink blazer, large, round sunglasses, a silk ascot with sailboats on it and small gold hoop earrings. She sat in the window seat so I had to look over her, past her, to see out the window. But every once in a while, I glanced at her in the reflection, took note of her graceful stature, her well-matched jewelry.

And I suddenly noticed how slouched over I was and lifted my shoulders to sit up straighter. My ticket fell from my pocket and the man across from me picked it up, smiling slightly at my eyes as he handed it back to me. I joked that I had put it in my pocket because I didn’t want to lose it and had now dropped it twice. He laughed easily. His girlfriend laughed. The woman in the sailor ascot laughed. We all laughed for a moment. Felt a simple camaraderie. For a moment.

And then the woman in the ascot looked out the window again, the man looked at his girlfriend and I began to rifle through my purse. I wasn’t looking for anything. Just wanted to break the silence that now seemed loud after our laughter.

The man had a tattoo on each finger. Symbols? Letters? I couldn’t tell without really looking at his hands which I thought would be rude. I considered asking him, but wasn’t sure how to say it so that it would come off as curious and complimentary at the same time. I was also afraid of the answer. If the answer was something inspirational and bright, I could simply say “that is cool.” But if it was too sad or too intense, how could I make sure my reaction would be appropriate? Big enough for the intensity but quiet enough to give to a stranger. And how could we go back to being strangers on a train after we had shared a moment of meaning together. Would we just stare out the window the rest of the ride? Would I say goodbye with a small smile that let him know that I was glad he had shared with me? Or would I just walk off the train like he had never told me anything at all? So I didn’t ask. I just wondered what was so meaningful to him that he wanted to see it with every movement of his hands. I wondered what would be so meaningful to me.

Every few moments he would lean over, remove his girlfriend’s headphone from her ear and whisper something softly to her or gently kiss her hand. I figured they must not be married. Still in the beginning stages of their relationship where they barely notice that while it is cold outside, the train is too hot, the people too loud. They are in a slow motion scene that involves only the two of them, blissfully unaware that they are enjoying the lack of responsibility that comes with early love. Before she begins to get annoyed that he keeps spending his money on tattoos and he finds it less adorable that they had to run to the train because she couldn’t find her jacket. Again.

I put my music on to shuffle the songs and look out the window to the sounds of Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers, Dido, and various children’s tunes from They Might Be Giants. The girlfriend is listening to something that has her bobbing her head slightly. I am curious as to what it is. What music defines her world, making her feel whole, speaking to her in ways that standard communication fails at?

We are all looking out the window now. Storage containers clog the skyline until the city comes into view. Beautiful, strong, NYC. The sun is high and unblocked and NYC’s silver skyline is a glistening backdrop to the passing patches of pavement, the rows of straight backed brown grasses and the sparkling water calmly swirling under thick Cobalt bridges.

The winters of NYC are filled with beautiful desolation. You can see the crisp coldness in the air. You can feel it in your body.

We all look out the window together until we go underground, the walls of the tunnel blocking our view. At the moment when the sky ends and the tunnel begins, all we can see are our own reflections-the man and his girlfriend, the woman in the sailor ascot and then, me, the one in whatever categories they have fit me into. As our eyes register the change, and we can only see each other, we all look away. Looking at our IPads. Our phones. Our hands.

The train stops. I smile at the man and his girlfriend as I get up to leave, but they don’t notice so I just hope that no one else did either. It makes me feel naïve to have smiled. And then the woman in the ascot catches my eye and smiles. She had noticed. She tells me to have a nice day. I am grateful for this interaction and I wish her the same.

We all stand up, fixing our jackets, putting on our hats, ambling toward the train doors. I step over the small gap between train and station. One two person broken escalator awaits us all. We are hundreds of people, a bustling crowd on a cold winter’s day-our coats scraping against each other, we gently but assertively push forward. And one slow step at a time, we merge. Two by two, up the escalator.

And I think to myself, we do know how to merge in NYC.


Check out the original posting of this article and my other writings at  Like, share, tweet me. I would love to hear from you.

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Preparing For A Winter Storm Fri, 22 Jan 2016 17:30:59 +0000 Snow_womanAs we approach a massive snow storm, here are a few tips to get ready:

1. Check the weather advisory

2. Shop for more than basics which includes:

A. Bread, Milk, Eggs, Toilet Paper
B. Diapers,Baby necessities
C. Emergency Kit, check if anything is missing
D. Batteries for flashlights and buy flashlights if you don’t have some
E. Ice melt and snow removal gear

3. Get your car ready. Park it in the garage if you have one or away from trees and have it refueled

4. Keep temperature few degree higher and freezer a few degree cooler to prepare for power failures. You might also want to charge your phone, computers etc for the same reason

5. Leave water taps dripping a little so that they don’t freeze over

6. Check your stock of bottled water, cans of basic food, blankets for emergency use

Here is an excellent and extensive list made by the CDC.

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The Perfect (Parenting) Day Tue, 19 Jan 2016 14:00:55 +0000 Mother and DaughterAfter reading “The Sweet Spot” in Huffington Post Parents, I started thinking about why many of us are obsessed with the perfect parenting day. You know the one, where everything goes right, there are no conflicts, no scrapes, no sibling rivalrys, no heartaches, and everyone goes to bed on time.

You know the day I’m talking about? Yeah, me neither.

As a parent coach and mom, I help parents with tools that make their lives easier, I help them handle strong emotions and conflicts that come up. And I’ve never had “the perfect parenting day” and as far as I know, neither has anyone I’ve worked with, or even know.

Not to say there aren’t good days. That there aren’t amazingly, wonderful, you can’t believe this is your life, days. Those are great. But there’s never been that perfect day.

And yet, I think we often strive for that “holy grail.” We wake up every morning thinking this will be it. The day when it all comes together. We crave the ease and order of our pre-kid lives. And we think, what I remember thinking right before my first son was born, “how hard can it really be??”

I get it. I really get it. But maybe we need to reframe the way we are thinking.

To my point, John Gottman references in Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, that “Behavioral psychologists have observed that preschoolers typically demand that their caretakers deal with some kind of need or desire at an average rate of three times a minute. Under ideal circumstances, a mom or dad might respond cheerfully. But when a parent is stressed or otherwise distracted, a child’s incessant, and sometimes irrational demands can drive a parent wild.”

That adds up to a lot of demands and needs over the years, and a lot of us being “driven wild,” don’t you think?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should stop doing the hard work of supporting our children, as best we can, on a daily basis. And we should still strive to support ourselves, so that we react less often when the going gets rough.

What I am also saying is maybe we could stop pretending parenting isn’t, at times, a huge, sometimes messy, sometimes devastatingly frustrating and complex job. And that it might make more sense to break it down into “the perfect 15 minutes” a bunch of times a day, as opposed to “the perfect day”.

Let’s work on transitioning from the “perfect parenting day” to the “I did my absolute best under the circumstances day.” I think we’d all be a little less stressed.

Who’s with me?

Stacey Houghtaling is a certified parent coach who helps moms, dads and caregivers parent more peacefully, feel more connected, and reduce their stress levels, so they can feel more confident in raising happy, healthy and more well-adjusted kids. Articles, client testimonials, and contact information, are available on

Or you can sign up for her free newsletter at

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Women Are From Earth, Men Are From . . . Wherever Fri, 15 Jan 2016 14:08:37 +0000 Women are generally a lot more practical than men. When presented with a situation, we don’t tend to procrastinate over the whys, hows, and what ifs. We just get down to business and deal with whatever needs dealing with.

Don’t believe me? Try to do your tax return with your husband next time around. And you’ll see. While you are rummaging through the house drawers to gather all necessary paperwork, your husband will be updating his softwares, ordering whatever it is that he has always, always wanted but never had time to buy. While he is at it, he will check how much the neighborhood houses are on the market for. Oh, and why not skype the whole family, parents, long lost aunts, uncles and their kids?

Modern technology brought a lot of good things, like an alarm clock that reminds the kids to brush their teeth and get dressed . . . Only kidding, kids will never remember to accomplish such unusual acts. No technology can ever change that.

But other than that, technology is pretty helpful. Especially ipads, when it comes to taming unruly kids – not speaking from experience or anything… But there is one thing that technology has made worse, and that’s men total lack of practical sense, which peaks when it comes to navigation systems. If you live with a guy, you know: nothing beats the craziness of directions.

I think the problem comes from a superiority complex that men have built up over the past decades, or centuries even. YES, they are better wired to read maps. If my husband ever wants to make me feel completely useless, he just gives me a map. Then he sits back, relaxes and enjoys the show. Maps were probably invented by men to confuse women, and job well done, guys!

But then, GPS came, and with that, no more reason to brag. Because who cares if you can read a map or not, a computer is doing it for you. It’s not perfect, far from for it, but it’s definitely better than driving around in circles, with a map on your lap, crying hysterically and biting everybody who dares talking. Now all you do is follow the instructions of the annoying lady with a nagging voice. Sometimes, you have no choice, you have to listen to her b*tchy comment, “Make a U-turn!” Yeah, whatever. . .  But like I said, better to arrive somewhere than to never make it and collect a nervous breakdown in the process of not achieving anything. So in a nutshell, I like GPS. Easy, life-saver, and practical.

My husband? Well, that’s a different story. When he wants to go somewhere, here’s what happens:

  • He researches what’s the best route to take. That’s one evening wasted on the internet. One route is not enough. He needs at least two or three different options.
  • He puts the address in the GPS and fiddles with the thing for fifteen minutes, God knows why…
  • He gets his phone and puts the address in his google map. I don’t pretend I understand, because I just don’t.

Now, we have two annoying voices giving instructions. And funnily enough, although they are supposed to take us to the same place, they never agree on anything.

  • Finally, he inputs his destination in Waze. Because “That’s the best way to avoid traffic”. And still quite  surprisingly, Waze disagrees with both the GPS and google map.

So basically, we are in the car, with three nagging voices, shouting at the same time different instructions “Turn right!” ‘Turn left”, “Don’t turn!”, which makes everybody very confused. You’d think it’s a good thing. After all, regardless of what you decide to do, you cannot be wrong. But you would under-estimate my husband’s impractical character. After hearing instructions from Mrs GPS, google and Waze, he ends up not listening to any of them because “I know the way anyway”. And I’m sure you don’t believe me, but it is true.

Never go on a road trip with my husband. You will lose your sanity.


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