Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ready For Another Kid?


I honestly hate when people ask me this.

My son is only 13 months old. He's our first, and we wouldn't trade him for anything in the world. But at this point in time, am I ready to have another child?

And I ready to go through another nine months of pregnancy with all the marvelous bells and whistles that come attached to creating another human being? Morning sickness, odd cravings like pepperoni wrapped in sour gummy worms (don't knock it til you've tried it), heartburn that could make even the biggest, meanest trucker cry....

And then a newborn while my first is still in diapers? Most likely tandem feeding as well. And Bruce already squirms and kicks, performing "gymnurstics"...and I ready to break up sibling booby fights?

The answer is no. Very simply, no.

The thought of two babies in diapers simultaneously, terrifies me. If you've ever fought the poop-explosions, then you know why I have this legitimate fear. So then when would be a good time to have another one?

It seems like in the last two months, I'm asked this question more often. Maybe once you hit the first child's first birthday, you're due to have another one? I don't know. But I do know that I'm not quite ready to begin the newborn stage a second time, just yet. I find it rather humorous that I'm asked that alot. As if the person is secretly hoping I'll actually pause to think about it and say, "You know, I never thought about it! Thank you for bringing it up! I think I will start on that immediately! Of course I want another baby! But first, I need to get this one off the coffee table he just learned to climb on top of..."

I'm still enjoying my first child as somewhat a baby. He's still very young. Very cute. Very much still a baby, even as we progress into the toddler stage.

And the farther we get away from those cluster feedings, crying fits, and completely sleepless nights; the less I miss those trying times. Sure, I miss my little guy being so tiny and new. But I love how much more interactive and responsive he is now! I fondly remember my husband holding him at a week old, questioning me about how long he would have to wait before Bruce began laughing and playing with him. Now, he is able to giggle, and play with toys, and have conversations. Granted, it's baby babble with few words, but it's still (for my husband's benefit) better than a blank stare and confused eyes.

Maybe one day, when he's a lot older, and I have baby blues, we will want another little one crawling around. But for now, we can let Bruce be the only one. And he's going to be a baby for a while longer.

I enjoy getting him to bed at a decent enough hour (even if he doesn't stay). I'm enjoying him being able to entertain himself for a few minutes so I can get things done. I'm not ready to begin all over with another in tow. I don't know when I will be. I just know it's not right now.

It seems like I usually get this question when bruce is throwing a tantrum or being especially fussy. Then I wonder if it's a secret joke that parents of more than one child share with each other. Like a bet made amongst themselves that I'd never be willing to pull it off again, if I even have by now. And that's a pretty sad thought. Having a baby is hard. And raising a baby is hard. And while we can make jokes about getting (sometimes slightly) painful/permanent things done like tattoos, plastic surgery, or (gulp) marriage, and say "Oh, I bet she'll never do that again!"...having kids shouldn't be one of those kinds of jokes.

The size of my family only matters to me, no one else. And the opinions of others aren't going to make me drag my husband into the bedroom to make another one (although he'd probably like some of that plan). Your role as a parent isn't defined by how many children you have. And you're allowed to take as much time as needed in between making them...or not.



Thursday, August 18, 2016

Too Many Irons In The Fire

I don't know who, if anyone has noticed, but I have been very quiet on the blog lately.

As it sometimes does, Life has a way of derailing things; goals, plans, and opportunities. Here, it's really just been taking my attention away from writing and putting it elsewhere. But, when you take a break from certain things, that's when your creative juices have time to start flowing, and ideas form.

Ideas, I've plenty. Time, however, is another issue.

Our little boy keeps us very busy. Play dates, family visits, and adventurous outings, keep us going a lot. So when we do have a quiet day at home, it's cherished. My husband has new career opportunities he's pursuing, and with them come the anxiety of moving to a new city. So between keeping the 13th month old busy, spending what time I can with my husband, and running a household in "on stand by to stand by" mode, at the end of the day; I'm exhausted. All I want to do is veg out, watch trash tv on my tablet, and procrastinate about finishing those four other articles I'm supposed to be writing.

It's important to not allow yourself to be "spread too thin." Even more so as a parent, and a partner. I hate not being able to commit to things as much as everyone wants, but sometimes, that's just the way she goes.

First, I'm a parent. That's a given. Secondly, I'm a wife. And my marriage requires a certain amount of upkeep that demands attention. My friends, hobbies, passions, and Bachelor reruns come last, if at all. If I'm really lucky, I'll do my nails while I'm watching Bachelor. I'm usually not that lucky,

So it's pretty safe to say, I sometimes forget to call that friend back for a nice phone conversation. I may cancel plans for lunch, and I may totally space out booking another get together. But I know what happens when I try to take everything on.

I become too absorbed in trying to accomplish it all, and then frustrated when things don't work out exactly according to plan. In the end, nothing gets done and I feel even worse, as if the day was wasted.

It's much easier for everyone, but mostly me, if I delegate responsibilities as I can, and even decline offers when I know I probably should. Even if this means not touching my computer for nearly a month to finish a blog post. It'll always be there. But some things, like my family, are more important.

In the time it's taken me to write this, Bruce has gotten up three times and decided he was NOT going to be sleeping in his crib, and has succumbed to sleep on the couch next to me. I'm afraid to move him, and since sleep is so important, I will be snuggling him here. I'll at least get a trash tv buddy.

It's too easy to let life overwhelm you when you have so much on your plate. You have to just, as hard as it is, relax a little and think about what's more important: When you find yourself just carrying the baby all the way upstairs to only get half-way down before they realize you've abandoned them to their own bed, and you don't want to continue this routine five more times that night; then don't. I believe it's ultimately more important that you and your kid both have rest, and sanity. If you can let them camp out with you in your bed (or couch), and you both get rest, then do that. It's not worth stressing over.

Because let's say I continued the song and dance-we will go back and forth all night, until he catches a second wind and then can't go back to sleep. We will both get up tomorrow cranky. I have a cocktail party on Saturday I have to prepare for, which means cleaning/organizing the house, and a shopping trip to the grocery store planned around naps my son will now, not be taking because he's cranky. I'll forgot to call my guest list because I'll be rushed. I'll snap at my husband for putting grease and oil stained clothes from his car project, on the newly mopped laundry room floor. He won't help Saturday when I really need Bruce entertained as I cut up cheese, because I yelled at him. Bruce, who was cranky the day before and will most likely have fought good sleep again throughout that night, will become the top contender for the 'Clingy Baby Award' and during my hundredth attempt to placate him with a toy;I'll remember that I never called my guest list, and wonder why I ever bother to agree to hosting cocktail parties.

It seems like I can avoid a lot of that stress by just not worrying about the upcoming tasks at hand, or even how early I must be up in the morning. And just snuggle this spoiled  little Goober on the couch, watch tv until I know he's passed out enough to put in his crib, and try to slowly take each minute of the day as easily as possible. If I get something done, great. If not, then the oil and dirt streaks on the floor will make a great conversation piece during my cocktail party, that my husband will actually attend because he won't be pouty. That's if anyone shows up, because I'm not going to worry about calling them. That's what facebook invites are for.

It's not good for anyone to have too many irons in the fire. So I'm only going to pick out the hottest to deal with.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Making A Marriage


The following is a guest post by Brittany Dyer on the topic of Marriage. Marriage, including making one work, means something different to us all. I love her take on the subject, and I hope you do too! Don't forget to check out her website, Follow The Dyers

My husband and I have been married for 9 years this month. We have 2 beautiful children, ages 2 and 3. Yes, crazy, I know! My background is counseling, but I am currently a stay-at-home mama and pastor’s wife, originally from Tennessee, currently residing in Bangkok Thailand. We love this crazy journey and crazy marriage God has given us.

My husband and I have decided to make marriage a priority. First is God, then comes our marriage. We even place our marriage above our children. With children, this concept is a challenge, however, especially with littles because they are always wanting attention, but we know if we have a solid marriage, then our children will feel more loved and have a good example of what marriage and stability looks like. If my “wife cup” is full, then I will be better able to love my children. Therefore, marriage is our #2 priority in our lives right behind our relationship with God.

How do we keep our marriage solid? Well, we access our needs. We determine what we need from the other partner to feel loved. Despite what some people seem to believe, people evolve, and, therefore, so does marriage. I believe it is a good idea to access your marital needs about once a year to make sure your needs are being met in appropriate ways. This list should not be exhaustive and long, but maybe list the top 3 things each of you needs in your marriage and work toward meeting those few needs well. For example, my Love Language is physical touch, so I need affection from my husband. That need would be discussed when we talk about our marital needs. Let’s be real ladies, our husbands need sex, so be prepared for that one to be on his list! Not only does sex help men feel loved like affection does for women, but they are biologically created for and need sex. Commit to each other to work on these top 3 needs in your marriage, no matter what it is the other person needs.

We try to compliment each other often. Providing compliments builds up the other person’s confidence and self-esteem. It also allows them to feel loved, so make sure you are investing in your marriage by complimenting your spouse!

We talk about our issues. This concept is not always easy, but we try to come to a compromise on issues we fight about, and sometimes getting it off one’s chest can just make you feel better. By talking about a problem, we can usually come to some sort of a conclusion to move on and not continue to be upset about it in the future. This idea is not always foolproof, but we try!

We do not use the past against each other. We do not bring up arguments in the past in order to hurt one another. We do not bring up things in each other’s past that will cut each other deeply. We give each other grace, and we move on after an argument is resolved, and our marriage remains much happier because of it!

We remember the good times. We remember that trip to Florida we went on when we were dating to watch the UT/Florida Game, where I traveled and slept in a hotel room with 3 other guys and never told my family about it. We remember leaving our wedding and driving 1 ½ hours and all the craziness that went along with that drive (think lubricant all over the entire car-thanks to my husband’s buddies!). We remember the good times often and try not to get so caught up in the negative moments of life.

My husband and I keep our marriage exciting by allowing it to be adventurous. We invest in our marriage by going on dates, vacation and doing spontaneous things, even with our children in tow. In addition to the spontaneous things we do, we also have traditions that make life more fun because of the things we look forward to doing. Excitement and adventure keep marriage fun!

We try to forget expectations others place on us. The world places some pretty harsh expectations on marriages. Fairy tales, television sitcoms and romantic comedies all place this ideal man or ideal woman in our head that are completely unrealistic. It is important to realize these are television shows and movies for a reason-they are NOT real life! We have to accept our husbands for who they are and leave the expectations in the movies! Otherwise, we place unrealistic standards and expectations on our husbands that will always leave them falling short to achieve, and we will always be disappointed.

For all of the reasons, I remain secure in my marriage. We can overcome any difficulty in our marriage with the information given above. Enjoy and happy marriages!

Brittany is a pastor's wife, living in Bangkok, Thailand. She is a former counselor, and now a SAHM to two wonderful children. You can read her blog, about Christianity and Parenting, at her site, Follow The Dyers.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

What Makes A Real Parent?


Being a parent depends on very few things.

Of course, it requires Love. Care. Devotion. Nurturing. And that's pretty much it.

Certain things like DNA, actually don't matter as much as some would like to think. You don't have to share DNA to be considered a parent of a child you raise and love.

I have one son. While I do Love him, give him the best of care, devoting and nurturing, I have actually contributed to his DNA. Most days it doesn't appear so, because he is a carbon copy of his Dad, but I'm pretty sure some genes are in there somewhere.

I attended a jewelry party not too long back this year (for those that don't know, they are much like the old school tupperware, or the new school "wrap" parties, but much more fun), and it wasn't long before I had one of the more insensitive comments about 'family size' directed towards me, that I have yet to have trumped.

During a casual conversation that had nearly each woman commenting on how many kids they currently had, and whether or not they wanted more, I replied while sipping a glass of chardonnay that "I already have one, and he's more than enough right now."

That's when an acquaintance looked me directly in the eye, and without any hint of humor (or even a light tone) explained that, "You are not a parent until you have two."

You are not a parent until you have two.

And she was dead serious and went on to explain. "That's what someone told me, and they were right."

"Well, I guess I'm not a parent then," I laughed into my glass, still trying to comprehend exactly what I just heard. This woman went on to explain that until you have to play mediator between two fighting toddlers, or break up a fight amongst four children over a Barbie Doll, that "...you have no idea what it means to be a parent."

So being in labor for over 30 hours, to give birth to the sweetest little boy, who made my heart want to explode, didn't make me a parent. Having panic attacks while watching him sleep at two days old, finding myself in literal fear for questioning my own ability to be able to give him everything I thought he needed, didn't mean I was a parent. Cluster-feeding a 3 month old with a fever, putting aside my own hunger and sleep-deprivation, in order to do whatever it took to ease his pain, meant nothing. The fact I would give my life for my child was pointless...because I hadn't done this twice.

It was everything I could do to bite my tongue. Any retort would have fallen on deaf ears. And as the mother of a only child, I know I can't possibly be the only one who has heard these types of comments. One of my favorites (that this person did later use to me) was, "You don't want them to be spoiled."

Well, I can blame his grandparents for that. He was spoiled before he was ever born. So since the damage was already done, I don't think purposefully making another little human being they can spoil again is going to solve anything.

So the question is then; what am I?

Since raising a child as their mother, loving them unconditionally, giving them everything you have and more, doesn't qualify you to be a parent-then what does? Is there a magic number of children required to ensure the title of "parent" bestowed upon someone?

Well, I guess there is; two.

Well, right now I have an almost 13 month old. I'm not ready to have another one. And I have no shame about it.

But I would like to think that qualities like compassion, understanding, even just being charitable and uncritical of people, should be a higher requirement of what it takes to be a parent.

But, what do I know? While I might be the only thing that calms my fussy baby at the end of the day, I'm not a "parent." Not by these standards. But I do know that I love my little boy, and will do whatever it takes to keep him happy, healthy, and safe.

And that should be all that it takes.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Kissing Kids? Return of the Sanctimommy



Everyone has their different styles of parenting, and showing affection. Unless it's defined as actual abuse, no one is really better than another. That doesn't stop the sanctimommies from poking their noses where it doesn't belong, but then again, what really stops them from doing that?

One topic I've noticed the Dementor-like sanctimommy focusing on? Parents who kiss their children on the lips.

Now, if you know me, you'll know I actually don't do this. And before you judge me for that, first pause, and read on. I'm not sexualizing kissing my son (eww..I'm offended that you might have thought that I was, and that's my reason for not doing it!). But my long-term thinking is this; I kiss my husband on the lips because that's my husband, obviously. My son is going to grow up knowing what type of affection that is. He is going to see Mommy kiss Daddy on the lips, and know that's what people do when they're in love. He will get kisses on his cheeks and owies from the both of us, and know that is how we show affection for him as his parents. I want him to know that kissing certain places is for certain people. His grandparents give him kisses on the cheek. His aunts.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, I want my child to understand that getting a peck on the cheek is normal. But should he be at a friend's house for a sleepover, or another situation, and an adult who is NOT his cheek-kissing reative try to kiss him ANYWHERE...I want him to know that, isn't ok. And he needs to tell me. It's not sexualizing as much as it's about boundaries.  Call me a helicopter parent if you want to, but that's how we choose to face the topic of kissing kids on the lips.

Not to mention the germ factor - if I have a cold, the last thing I want is to give it to my child via the mouth. So no lip kissing, or sharing drinks, or anything like that.

But this isn't a post about the reasons why I chose not to kiss my kid on the lips. It's a post about why you shouldn't shame another parent for choosing to do that.

As I mentioned before, everyone parents in a different way. And if you choose to show affection to your child in that manner, not only do you have the right to parent as you see fit...but I, nor anyone else, really has the right to say anything about it (unless, of course, it's literally abuse). It's sad that some people have to poke around and look for something so innocent to get bent out of shape about.

Notice as I did explain my reasoning, that I didn't put anyone else down? While I have my reasons for doing as I do, I'm certainly not going to tell anyone else why they should or shouldn't do something. You are the parent, it's your choice. I honestly don't care how you choose to kiss your kids goodnight.

And what does someone get out of shaming a fellow parent for doing anything they don't choose to do? You called that mother "gross" because she kissed her daughter on the lips. Okay...so what did you really accomplish, other than looking like a self-righteous jerk? That mother is probably going to kiss her daughter goodnight anyway...and probably on the lips. As long as it isn't hurting you or your family, does it matter what another family does?

As I mentioned in a previous post, some people are quite like Dementors - they love to suck the love and joy out of someone, for any reason possible. Don't let them. You show affection how you want to with your children. You don't owe anyone an explanation.

And in case there are any around now...seriously, each time ya'll try to comment to me that "well your child isn't going to think you love them when.." or whatever you think you absolutely have to say to me; I'm gonna cast my Patronus on you. And then eat chocolate.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Open Letter To That New Mom


Dear New Mother,
First, congratulations on your bundle of joy! Right now, they may not seem very joyful, but trust me, they are.

They may seem like screaming, inconsolable terrors from the depths of insanity. You might feel like nothing you do is right. You probably feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and as if you've bitten off way more than you can chew.

It's ok. Almost every mother feels like this-a lot! This won't be the last time you feel this way either.

You may even feel lonely and afraid as you adjust to the new weight of the unimaginable responsibility of caring for another tiny, helpless human being. This is ok too. 

Just know that you aren't alone.

It does get easier...but then it becomes hard again. Just like Life itself. But what you are doing is a Great thing, And believe me, it is worth it. Even at 4am, running on 3 hours of sleep in the last two days, overwhelmed by teething and fevers and God knows what else that could possibly be wrong....it is worth it.

Your baby will look at you and smile. Snuggle up and coo so softly. Laugh at your presence. And all the anger, frustration, stress will (maybe even just temporarily) melt away. And you'll see.

Don't let the difficulties get the best of you. I know this is hard. I know this seems impossible sometimes. But we all have times like this.

Don't let the stories of those "perfect mommies" make you feel like you're failing somehow. Trust me, that seemingly "perfect" parent who's child goes to sleep (and sleeps forever), eats all their veggies, hits milestones early, and is portrayed as the picture perfect baby-does something that makes that Fake Untouchable Parent cringe and want to pull their hair out. They just aren't going to tell you about it. *wink*

But all the messes, meltdowns, and missed opportunities you gave up for your child, are all worth it in the end. They really are. And don't for one second think that you are the first one to spend the day with dried puke (or pee..or even poop) on their clothes, too spent to think about changing, walking throughout the house with a squalling child just begging for a break. We've all done it. And anyone who isn't sympathetic to that is not only untrue to themselves, but not worth wasting any energy on thinking about.

Find mothers who keep it real to form your tribe. It'll help you keep your sanity, and you might even learn some things along the way.

Keep trekking. The Journey is long, but oh so worth it.

Sincerely,
Another Mom.



Guest Post: When Your Husband Is Trilingual (And You Aren't)

Today I have a guest post running on Working Mommy Abroad (one of my favorite blogs!) about a very prevalent situation in our household. it's growing by the day, and it's something to look forward to.

My husband speaks three languages and will be teaching them to our son. I, however, do not.

So head over there and check it out, as well as other posts!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Learning to Love Myself


People are made in all different shapes and sizes. Diversity is not only a very beautiful thing, but a very common and normal part of life.

I think it's awesome that we live in a world where everyone looks different, and unique. It could be much worse-we could live within an episode of Star Trek where everyone looks exactly the same, and it's boring and bland...

I've written about the "unwritten mom-wardrobe code" and  body shaming before, but today I'm going to focus on why I've stopped putting myself down for my looks, and my plan to learn to love myself.

I've been my size pretty much my whole (nearly 30 years) life. Expect for pregnancy, and I naturally lost all the baby weight. I'm not a work-out fiend. I wish I were, and I get excited about trying a new ab challenge every once in a while, but it's always the same; I put it off until tomorrow, and then before I know it, it's taco tuesday and I'll start that 30 day challenge next month. I'm lazy. No shame.

Do I wish I had bigger breasts and a bigger butt? Of course. Who doesn't want their body to look better? I don't think anyone is completely happy with their looks. We all want nicer bodies, hair, nails, whatever. I honestly hate being skinny. Whoever made up "thin privilege" has never went to the mall with me. I'm lucky if I find anything I like in my size. Although, I think that's a universal woman problem, regardless of size...

And it does really upset me when I hear stories of people who have felt such pressure by peers, or celebrities they admire, that they began to hate their bodies. It's a terrible thing to know that somewhere, there's a 15 year old girl starving herself to look like the model on the cover of Cosmopolitan. There's a 16 year old somewhere who thinks she needs breast implants and butt injections in order to feel beautiful. And it kills me to know that even a few people I personally know went to extreme lengths to look as skinny as I do (but really I was sitting on the couch eating nachos and not exercising).

When I receive those comments that, "Not all of us look like you!", I used to explain that it's always been very hard for me to gain weight. I have health problems that seem like a blessing in disguise to some. But my weight isn't something I can, unfortunately, control.

But since I can't control it, I'm not going to downplay myself to put anyone else at ease. I used to say "Oh, I got that dress in a size (3 sizes bigger) because it didn't fit," just to make a friend feel better. I'm not going to admit to working out like crazy four times a week, when I know that I spent that time vegging out on the couch once the baby was asleep. I'm not gong to agree with someone's assumption that I just "Don't eat a lot" when most days, my plate is bigger than my 250+ pound husband.

I don't feel like lying is helping the issues that someone else has with their appearance.

We need to teach people, young and old, that health is all that matters. Not striving to be like the cover of a magazine, or comparing yourself to someone you know-but to just try to be healthy. And don't look to your peers and the beautiful people on TV to be your comparison. Motivation is one thing, but when it becomes dangerous to your own self image, it needs to stop. And by lying, you can inadvertently create an image that may cause someone trying to replicate what they think is real, to spiral out of control.  

Not to mention, it just isn't fair to me. If I can wear something, I'm going to. If I don't feel like going to the gym, I won't. It's not up to me to be a spokesperson for my type, or to encourage anyone else to strive to be like me. I'm just myself.

And with that in mind, I'm going to learn to love myself. Other's might not like me, but that doesn't mean I don't need to. I need to learn to love my body (and hair, and personality). Every woman needs to learn to love themselves. Because no matter who you are, someone somewhere is envious of you. Differences are what makes us all unique. And the fact that someone is envious of a quality about you that they wish they had, that needs to be motivation enough to love yourself. And at the end of the day, if all you receive are haters, jealous because of the qualities you have and they lack-then if no one else is going to love you, you really need to love yourself.

So embrace what you have-because I'll bet you anything that whatever it is, someone else wishes they had it. And the only opinion that matters of how you look, is yours. I will no longer make up excuses, or put myself down for how I look, to appease others. I only need to appease myself.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

3 Reasons Self-Care Is Crucial For Moms

We have an awesome guest post, written by Lisa Benavidez, on the importance of Self-Care as a Mother. If you don't take care of yourself, it really is hard to care for others. I really enjoyed this, as I hope you all will too. Don't forget to check out her blog!
It’s 8 pm, you’re getting your kids ready for bed and preparing for tomorrow. You’re exhausted, glad the day is over, and trying to decide between enjoying some quiet time or going to sleep.

I get it. I’m a mom too!

We go and go all day for our family. From cooking to cleaning to driving around from soccer to ballet. Some of us work or have a business too. We are supermoms, there is no doubt.

But being supermom doesn’t mean you have to do it all, all the time. Being a real supermom means you know that you are an important part of your family and they really do need you. And part of your role is making sure YOU are taken care of so that you can take care of your family. Right?

You hear the airline video tell you to put on your oxygen mask FIRST before helping others. As a mom we might think “No way! I have to make sure my kids are ok first!” But really, this is so important. If something happens to you, who will be able to care for them?

And I know what it feels like to put your oxygen mask on last. A few years ago I got rheumatoid arthritis and started a whole new journey. I had to take a break from parenting because I physically could not do things. I quickly had to learn that my health was important. I had to take care of myself if I wanted to start taking care of my kids again.  You can read more about my story here.

What I want to share with you is how important self-care is especially for moms! Here are 3 reason why it’s crucial for moms to take care of themselves.

1. YOU CAN’T SERVE FROM AN EMPTY CUP. If you are not at your best, how are you giving your best to your family? Stop half-assing (sorry for the language!), and take care of yourself so you can be 100% for the people you love!

2. CHANGE YOUR MINDSET.  Self-care is NOT selfish! Taking care of YOU is taking care of your family. You are part of your family. And to be a little harsh, if you don’t take care of yourself, who will? Flip the language mama…it’s ok to make sure you are taken care of!

3. MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO. Your kids are watching you. If you take the time to show you’re important and deserve to be happy and fulfilled, they learn to do the same. Teach them to love and care for themselves too!

And a bonus reason is that when you are taking care of yourself, you are a happier mom. When you are a happy mom your family feeds off that energy and is happier too!

So what will you do today to start taking better care of YOU?


Lisa Benavidez is a wife, mom of 3 girls, coffee fanatic, lover of life and a Happiness Coach for moms! She helps busy moms who struggle with finding the time to enjoy life and feel like they’re losing themselves in the process, to instead create balance and ditch the mom guilt by implementing clear boundaries and changing their mindset, so that they can finally step into the best version of themselves and live their dream life!


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Decline of Etiquette

In today's society, etiquette is totally lost.

Maybe it's from the new inventions of smartphones, internet, and social media. Maybe it's lessons, that were once passed through the generations, lost in translation over time. But it seems like people today, lack the basic mannerisms and proper etiquette that was once considered a norm.

For instance: when did people stop RSVP'ing? It used to be that when you received an invitation, you sent back an RSVP (if you were coming), or politely declined. All of this was done by paper mail 20 years ago, but email and social media has made it incredibly easier to plan events and invite guests. But the correspondence between the hosts and the party has declined...most don't ever respond with a 'yes' or 'no', making it harder on hosts to determine who's actually coming. And even if they did, you can't always go by the guest list of those who sent back their RSVP, because half of them don't follow through (and you can't depend on them to tell you when plans change.) All too often we have heard of Newlywed's missing most of their guest list because of lack of communication (or even too many guests showing up unannounced!) and children's birthday party's becoming lonely events because someone couldn't decline properly. It's a headache for hosts, to plan for one number of guests or another, to have the outcome be as unexpected, not to mention the financial strain of paying for those who don't show (and those who do that didn't say they were coming!).

Then there are the types who can't make a "plan." I'm a plan person-call or message me ahead of time (and by ahead I mean not an hour before...like maybe a few days at the shortest notice) and let me know what's going on. I'll tell you whether or not I can make it. if something happens, I'll let you not not to expect me. But so many people I know want to get angry because I won't commit to something you invited me to five minutes before it was time to go. I get angry when I don't have enough details to make a decision ("come hang out" isn't a plan. I need details-where we going, how long will it take...people with kid's need to know these things. One: for babysitters, Two: In case of emergencies so others know how to contact us!), and people get offended that I didn't commit to vague plans. Once you have kids, you can't just "see where the night will take you." Your night isn't ever that long, and you usually have things to do afterwards (again, I need details because of other plans...like my responsibilities). "The Hangover" was a funny movie, but no one needs it as a reality.

And when you do go out, be polite. Try to interact with other member's of your party, even if you don't know them. As a member of the RBFC (Resting Bitch Face Club), people often think I might be standoffish or stuck up, so even when I try to say 'hello' to strangers or acquaintances I don't really know, while amongst friends; they don't talk to me. They don't have to. But I have to at least try to initiate conversation. That's being polite. or you are standoffish and rude. Too often I've had friends of mine say "Well, the only one I know here is you, so I'm not talking to anyone else." And they scowl. And play on their phone. And refuse interaction. If you don't want to talk to me after I've introduced myself,smiled, and was polite, then that's on you. But I can't blame anyone for not wanting to talk to someone who shows no interest in the other's around them and acts like they don't want to be there. Anxiety is one thing...being rude is another.

Speaking of rude, what ever happened to 'Please' and 'Thank you?' I see it in adults, and especially children. No one ever remembers these simple polite etiquette terms. They ask for something, like where the soda's are or if they can have a cupcake-without ever saying Please. And take...without ever muttering Thank You. Children who are never taught this, become adults who have never learned it. And it just becomes part of the great Circle of Life we all know and love.

It's sad, but it's true. Some people just don't know how to socialize in a kind and polite way. It can be inconvenient, disheartening, and downright infuriating at times. That's why I think it's important to practice being courteous-and teach courtesy. You can change a room's atmosphere with your presence. And maybe if you are nice and polite enough, you can encourage others to be. One can hope, anyway...

I'll start with my child. Maybe if enough people teach their kids and practice manners themselves, we can pull out of the etiquette slump.