Embrace Your Strengths and Encourage Other Women to Do the Same

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I am in the middle of my daughter’s elementary years, so I am seeing a whole new side of the mommy wars than I did when they were little tots. Yes, the mom comparisons start early – even when babies are in the womb! But I’ve found they ramp up in the elementary years.

Where you once worried about your choices about working or breastfeeding, now you deal with comparison syndrome. As your kids get older, they become more aware of how other families are different from yours. They see and hear about how different moms celebrate the holidays and birthdays.

And, if you aren’t careful, you can get caught up in the comparison game and become competitive, falling into the trap of believing your kid needs “just as much” or “more than” little Jenny.

But something wonderful also happens during the elementary years. Your kids are older, so you have more years of being a mom under your belt. You are not flailing quite as much. And, as the kids get older, so do you. You know yourself better, which means you have all you need to nip the comparisons in the bud.

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Stop Comparing and Start Embracing

First things first, you need to stop comparing yourself to the other moms and start embracing your own strengths. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” If you get caught in the comparison trap, you will be miserable. Why? Well, there will always be someone who can do something a little bit better, has a little more money, looks a little younger, etc.

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Every Mom is Good at Something

Instead, recognize your own strengths. Every mom is good at something. You may struggle with packing elaborate bento boxes, but you may tell amazing bedtime stories. Rather than waste time comparing yourself against another mom’s strengths, find what you do well, and embrace it. This will look different for every mom!

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Her Thing May Not Be Your Thing

Now, you can recognize every mom has her own strength, but you can still struggle and feel like you need to do what she does, or you may think she is silly for being “extra.” Stop. Don’t begrudge her gifts, and don’t try to make her thing your thing. For example, some moms are birthday party moms. They love planning their kids' extravagant parties. You hate it. Don’t begrudge them for doing what they love (and doing it well), and don’t force yourself to do it. Instead, remember these words by Amy Poehler: “Good for her. Not for me.”

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You Do You

Instead, you do you. Find what you do well as a mom and go all in. For instance, you may not be the mom who is the fashionista with kids always decked out in the latest and cutest styles, but you may be an excellent gift giver and know how to find the perfect gift for your child. The point is to recognize your strengths and go all in.

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No One Mothers Like You

Lastly, remember that no two mothers parent the same way. We are all unique moms with different gifts. Only you know what works best for you and your kids. Your home functions according to your own rhythms, so don’t try to dance to someone else’s beats.

15 Fall Date Ideas That’ll Make You Feel Young Again

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As a married working mom, I know how difficult it is to find time to go on a date with your spouse. But it is incredibly important. According to Dr. Dianne Grande, “[Date night] is not really a luxury after all. Consider it a necessity for a happy and life-affirming relationship.” It. Is. A. Necessity!

But, again, I know how hard it can be. That’s why I have come up with 15 different types of dates for NYC couples this fall. They cover a variety of budgets (which is important if you need to pay a babysitter) and lengths of time. Some couples will have to squeeze in time while others may be able to pull off a whole weekend away. The point isn’t to compare. It is to find time to do something fun with someone you love – no matter how much money or how much time you have.

Plus, these dates will remind you of what it is like to be young. And who doesn’t want to feel young and newly in love again? Fall is the ideal time for dates that take you back to your youth. Take a look.

1. Go Apple Picking.

Head to an apple orchard and pick some apples together. You’ll enjoy just being in each other’s presence, and you’ll leave with a bushel of apples.

2. Spend Time at a Tailgate.

If your youth involved tailgating, make plans to tailgate with your spouse. If you can’t tailgate at your school or for your favorite team, then choose the next best thing and cheer on the home team.

3. Carve a Pumpkin.

Be a little creative and carve a pumpkin. This date night works even if you can’t find a babysitter. Wait until the kids are in bed, turn on some music, pour your favorite drink, and get busy – carving a pumpkin, that is.

4. Visit a Brewery or Winery.

To me, fall screams beer and cider. Head to a local brewery and get a flight. If beer isn’t your thing, then head to a nearby winery and do a tasting.

5. Start Christmas Shopping.

If you have kids, then you know how chaotic the holiday season is. Beat the rush by going to the toy store now and get a jump start on your Christmas shopping.

6. Volunteer Together.

If you want to give back, find a local organization that you’d like to support and volunteer on the weekend. This is a great way to bond with your spouse.

7. Make S’mores by a Bonfire.

Enjoy a backyard fire pit or bonfire. Buy special goodies to make creative s’mores to enjoy together.

8. Put on a Brave Face in a Haunted House.

Before October ends, head to a haunted house together. You will find yourself clinging to your man like you use to.

9. Pack a Picnic for the Park.

A lowkey picnic is a perfect fit for the couple that is always busy. It is a great way to slow down, but it is easy to plan.

10. Go Camping (or Rent a Cabin).

For those lucky parents who have grandparents willing to babysit overnight, go camping. If camping isn’t for you, then rent a cabin. Fall is the best time of year to be outdoors with the one you love.

11. Cuddle and Watch a Scary Movie.

Take advantage of all the free horror movie marathons happening around Halloween and watch one late at night with your spouse. It is the perfect excuse to cuddle up close on the couch after the kids go to bed.

12. Hike Together.

For active couples, the cooler weather makes it a wonderful time to go hiking together. You will both work to overcome challenges and grow closer in the process.

13. Spend Some Time in the Kitchen.

Take all the apples you got when you went apple picking and make candy apples together. Or, bake an apple pie. Or make apple crisp. Here’s a list of 65+ easy apple recipes.

14. Take an Autumn Road Trip in New York.

Book a babysitter for the day and take a road trip through New York to look at the beautiful changing leaves. Remember, it’s about the journey, not the destination.

15. Try Not to Freak Out on a Ghost Tour.

NYC couples have their pick of spooky ghost tours. To find the one that sounds best for you and your husband, check out Time Out’s The Best Ghost Tours NYC has to offer.

What is your favorite fall date? Tell me in the comments!

How to Take Perfect Fall Photos for Your Holiday Cards

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It’s that time of year again – family photo season. Whether you love or hate getting your family’s photo taken, it has become a yearly tradition for many. Why? Because Autumn offers brilliant color palettes for photos. And also, because it is the right before you need to start addressing and sending all those photo Christmas cards.

At this point, fall family photography has become an art form. It can be overwhelming and stressful – especially for moms who tend to do all the planning when it comes to family photos. To make your lives easier, I am highlighting some of my favorite fall photo session tips for families.

Start with the location.

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Before you do anything else – I mean anything – pick your location. Everything else for your photo session depends on where your picture will be taken. It will determine the type of photographer to hire, what to wear, etc. But don’t worry! The reason fall is so popular for family photos is that the season offers numerous optimal locations. For example:

  • Pumpkin Patch – By far, one of the most popular options is to head to a pumpkin patch.

  • Autumn Woods – If you are over the pumpkin patch, consider a wooded area where the autumn leaves are bursting with color.

  • Orchards or Fields – Apple orchards and harvest fields also make great photo session locations.

Book a professional photographer.

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Yes, I know you’ve gotten pretty good at taking pictures of your kids with your phone’s camera. But, if you want a photo that is going to appear on holiday cards and various walls in different homes, then you want to put the phone down and hire a professional. Plus, professional photographers know what they are doing when it comes to fall family photos! They know the best time of day to shoot and how to capture your kid’s personalities on camera.

Choose Mom’s outfit first.

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In your family, who is typically the hardest to dress for a special occasion? I’m guessing it is you, Mom. Since you are the queen of the home and the one planning this whole thing, choose your outfit first. The more comfortable and beautiful you feel, the more relaxed you will be. And, once you have chosen your outfit, you can easily find outfits for everyone else.

Pick clothes for the rest of the family.

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After Mom’s outfit has been selected, it is time to choose outfits for the whole family. You do want to coordinate, but there are some dos and don’ts.

  • Avoid trendy pieces. I’m all about fashion trends, but I recognize that what looks great today might not look so stylish years down the road. Since family photos are meant to last, go with more timeless and classic looks.

  • Do not go matchy-matchy. You want your family’s outfits to coordinate with one another – not to match. Matching colors and matching outfits are a thing of the past. Plus, it doesn’t look as good in photos as coordinated ensembles.

  • Use subtle patterns only. You absolutely do not need to stick with just solids and avoid patterns. Embrace the patterns – just make sure they are subtle and not big or flashy.  

  • Choose a color scheme. Decide on a color scheme before shopping. However, this does not mean you say everyone wears blue. Again, that is too matchy-matchy. Instead, select a palette of coordinating colors for different family members to wear.

Have picture ideas before the day of the shoot.

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Finally, have ideas for some of the types of photos you’d like to take before the photoshoot. Spend time on Pinterest and send your photographer some examples of things you’d like to try at the shoot. Don’t try to remember the day of the shoot – trust me, you’ll forget.

Real Ways to Observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month (also dubbed Pinktober). Breast Cancer Awareness Month is “an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.”

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The older I get and the older my followers become, the more likely it is that we will know someone who will be affected by breast cancer. That’s why I feel it is important to talk about breast cancer. Some of you reading this may have had a friend or family member diagnosed with breast cancer, or you may have been yourself.

Understand the Risks

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According to CNN, “The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 271,270 new cases of breast cancer in 2019, 99% of which will be diagnosed in women.” Outside of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women. The CDC reports that “more than 40,000 women die from the disease.”

Additionally, “most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women. About 10% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age.”

While it is impossible to predict your risk by 100%, you may find it worthwhile to use a Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool.

Know the Signs and Symptoms

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It is also wise for women to know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. According to CNN Health, “Many women are taught to look for new lumps or masses in their breast tissue but it's important to be aware of other abnormalities. Skin swelling or redness, change in breast shape, nipple discharge (other than breast milk), pain in or on the breast, and skin flaking or dimpling can be other possible warning signs of breast cancer.”

Donate Money

One of the best ways to observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to donate to a reputable organization, such as the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc, where your donations go towards raising awareness of the disease and providing mammograms for women who can not afford them.

Wear a Pink Ribbon

Obviously, wearing a pink ribbon or a pink t-shirt will not cure the disease, but it will inspire hope for those battling the disease and their loved ones fighting alongside them.

Share Your Breast Cancer Story

If you or one of your loved ones has had breast cancer, tell your story on your social media outlets. Often, people fall into the trap of believing breast cancer will never happen to them because it hasn’t happened to anyone they know. By bringing awareness, you may inspire another woman to look for symptoms or schedule a mammogram.

Purchase Products That Give Back

Again, buying a pink breast cancer awareness product will not cure the disease, but many of the products being sold during October do give a significant portion of the sales directly to breast cancer organizations, which are providing funds for research. I love People’s Breast Cancer Awareness Products That Are Giving Back in a Major Way article.

Schedule a Mammogram

Last but certainly not least, if you are 40 or older, you need to schedule a mammogram. Here are the age recommendations from the American Cancer Society:

  • Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast) if they wish to do so.

  • Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.

According to Susan G. Komen, “Mammography is the most effective breast cancer screening tool today for most women.”

Family-Friendly Things to Do in This Season of Spooky Fun

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With October’s arrival, the spooky fun can begin! If your family loves Halloween, you will be happy to find there are tons of Halloween events that are not-too-scary for even the youngest kiddos happening all around New York City all month long. Today, I am highlighting the many different ways New York City families can celebrate Halloween during October.

Trick or Treat

The first (and most obvious) way NYC families can celebrate Halloween is to get dressed up in costumes and go trick or treating. If your neighborhood or apartment building isn’t Halloween-friendly, take your kids to a trick or treat event such as Trick or Treat at the Terminal at Grand Central Station.

Halloween Parties

Throughout the month of October, there are several Halloween parties for kids, including the Hip Hop Halloween Celebration (October 12th, Rockaway Queens) and the Halloween Boo Bash (October 31st, Randall’s Island).

Halloween Parades

New Yorkers love parades, so we take any excuse to throw one – including Halloween! There are numerous Halloween-themed parades beginning this weekend and continuing until October 31st. Families can enjoy the 34th Annual Bronx Halloween Parade or the Coney Island Children’s Halloween Parade.

Harvest Festivals

With the cooler temperatures, the autumnal colors, and the pumpkins, the month of October is the ideal time to celebrate fall. And what better way than a traditional fall festival? NYC families will have their pick of harvest festivals in their communities. Typically, these festivals include food, entertainment, and kid-friendly activities.

Pet-Friendly Halloween Events

If you have a dog, then you definitely should take advantage of the dog-friendly Halloween events happening around NYC, such as the Halloween Howl & Healthy Hound Fair and the 21st Annual Great PUPkin Dog Costume Contest. Even if you do not have a dog, these events are fun to attend because you get to see all these adorable dogs in costumes.

Events All About Pumpkins

If your favorite thing about Halloween is all the jack o’ lanterns, then take your kids to check out the intricately carved and decorated pumpkins at the Spooky Pumpkin Garden at the New York Botanic Gardens taking place all month long. PS. This is the perfect place for Insta-worthy pics! If you are a pumpkin carving pro, then consider entering your carved pumpkin in the 5th Annual Carved Pumpkin Contest in Tribeca.

Boo at the Zoo

An annual family favorite is Boo at the Zoo happening at Bronx Zoo weekends all month long through November 3rd. This fun event includes a little of everything – trick or treating, pumpkin carving, entertainment, storytime, and more.

Host Your Own Kid-Friendly Halloween Party

Last but not least, consider hosting your own kid-friendly Halloween party. I think these are one of the easiest parties to host because the kids are happy just to be dressed up in costumes, so you don’t have to do too much entertaining! Plus, the rules about healthy eating are forgotten for one night only.

For more specific NYC events for families, check out Mommy Poppins Halloween Event and Activities Guide.

Make the Last 3 Months Better Than the First

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Last year, I heard a lot of women talking about the #Last90Days Challenge that popular self-help author and speaker Rachel Hollis, who wrote the bestseller Girl, Wash Your Face, was promoting. On her website, she writes, “What if you committed to living your last 90 days of this year as hard as you are committing to living the first 30 days of the new year? What if instead of a downhill slide into 2019, you are ramping up!”

As intriguing as I found the idea, I was already behind having heard about well after the 90 days had begun. But this year, I am prepared and ready to prepare you, too! That’s because the last 90 days of the year is here – it runs from October 2nd – December 31st meaning you have time to figure out your #last90days goals and put a plan into action.

If you aren’t ready to commit to the challenge, here are a few of the reasons I think you should.

Because You’ve Already Dropped Your New Year’s Resolutions

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I am not shaming you – I dropped some of my new year’s resolutions before January was over! The truth is keeping New Year’s resolutions is hard work, and we can beat ourselves up when we believe we have failed. This is the perfect time to pick it back up or reevaluate and go about achieving your goals in a more effective way. The last 90 days is the perfect time to start back!

Because 3 Month Goals are Better

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While I am all about New Year’s resolutions, they are hard to keep, and many people have found that setting shorter goals is more achievable. For one thing, it feels like much less pressure to commit to something for 3 months instead of 12. Plus, setting 3-month goals is way more productive than setting 6 months goals or yearly goals.

Because You Want the Holiday Season to Be Less Stressful

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The last 90 days of the year include the crazy holiday season, which we all know is one of the most stressful times of the year. It is the time of year when we tend to overindulge and feel overwhelmed. Imagine how different the season would be if we were more mindful about our goals and behaviors! As Rachel Hollis says, “The last three months of the year are typically when we make the worst decisions regarding our health. We eat more, drink more and move less. If you don't have a plan, you'll reach for bad coping mechanisms.”

Because You Want to End 2019 and Start 2020 on a High Note

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Finally, you want to join the #Last90Days challenge because you want to end the year on a high note rather than dragging yourself over the finish line. Instead of waiting for January 1st to start making self-improvements, go ahead and start now! If you stick to your self-improvement goals the last 90 days of the year, then you will end the year and start the new one feeling positive.

Tips for Choosing Your Goals for The Last 90 Days Challenge

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If you are up for the challenge, here are a few simple tips for choosing your goals for the last three months of the year:

  • Only choose a few goals. If you choose several, you will fail.

  • Choose goals that are realistic and attainable. For instance, if weight loss is a goal, don’t strive for a weight loss that is impossible for that short amount of time.

  • Invest in a goal planner or journal to help keep yourself motivated.

Why Beaches Turks & Caicos is a Dream Family Vacation

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Yes, summer is over. But, if you are already dreaming about your next family vacation, I have just the right place. Right before school, my family visited Beaches Turks and Caicos and IT. WAS. AMAZING. If you have never visited a Beaches resort, it needs to be put on your bucket list. For families, the Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort is a dream family vacation. It is 100% worth every penny.

Before I move on to telling you why it is so dreamy, you need to know upfront that Beaches Turks & Caicos is an all-inclusive resort. This means all your room, your meals, your drinks, and your fun activities are all included in the booking price. To put it clearly, Beaches tells guests food is “Always Included. Always Unlimited. All the Time.”

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If that is not enough to get you ready to book your tickets, here are a few more reasons why Beaches Turks & Caicos is so fabulous.

Absolutely Beautiful Scenery

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Turks & Caicos is absolutely beautiful with crystal clear water and white sand. Beaches Turks & Caicos takes advantage of its location by making sure the resort offers beautiful views of the beaches and gardens from rooms and restaurants. Additionally, the scenery of the resort is stunning. The resort is composed of five villages, including themes like Italy, France, Caribbean, and Key West.

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Delicious Food and Drinks

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On vacation, I do not want to worry about cooking or doing the dishes. At Beaches Turks & Caicos, not only do I not have to do these two things, but I also get to enjoy delicious meals whenever I want since they are all included in the booking price. Think all-inclusive means you have just a few, limited options? Wrong! Beaches Turks & Caicos has 21 restaurants with high-end cuisine and kid-friendly dishes, as well as food trucks by the waterpark.

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A 12 Mile Beach and 10 Pools

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I’ve already mentioned the beautiful scenery at Beaches Turks & Caicos. Let me explain further. Beaches Turks & Caicos includes a 12-mile beach. That’s 12 miles of stunning crystal-clear beaches and white sand. Plus, guests get to enjoy included water sports like scuba diving! Additionally, Beaches Turks & Caicos has ten pools and a giant waterpark.

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Over-the-Top Kid-Friendly

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Best of all, Beaches Turks & Caicos is designed with families in mind. There are so many fun things for kids to do at the resort that they will be begging you not to leave! You can easily fill your days and keep your kids entertained for your entire vacation. Here are some of the amazing kid-friendly features of Beaches Turks & Caicos:

  • Sesame Street Fun – The resort features popular Sesame Street characters and interactive events including kid’s favorite characters from the show, such as dance parties, stage shows, Storytime with Elmo and Baking with Cookie Monster.

  • Pirate Island Waterpark – The resort is home to a 45,000 square foot waterpark with eight waterslides, a lazy river, splash pads, a surf simulator, and a kids-only swim-up bar.

  • Supervised Kids Programming – Beaches Turks & Caicos also offers daily Kids Camp programming, offering supervised activities from morning to sunset. Plus, they offer a special needs program including heading to a sensory-friendly location.

  • Live Family-Friendly Shows – The resort is home to Voila, a set of family-friendly live shows featuring shows like The Jungle Book Live, Alice in Wonderland, and Treasure Island.

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What are you waiting for? Go ahead and book your trip to Beaches Turks & Caicos for the next school break!

Have Mom Brain? Here’s What I am Doing to Improve My Focus and Memory

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I don’t have to tell you that being a working mom is challenging. But I may be able to tell you something to make you feel a little bit better. If you are feeling forgetful and distracted, you are not alone. And you are not going crazy. Moms everywhere forget to sign field trip forms, can’t seem to focus for long periods of time, and struggle to learn their child’s playmates names. If this sounds familiar, science has your back. There is a real reason why you feel this way. And, there is a way to feel better.

Yes, Mom Brain is Real

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There is a long-held belief in something called “pregnancy brain.” This occurs when a typically smart woman suddenly has difficulty remembering things, like where she put her car keys, when she is pregnant. There is scientific evidence that proves momnesia is real! As one doctor explains to WebMD, “It’s 100% normal to have memory lapses or be forgetful when you’re busy, stressed, or short on sleep.” That describes every working mom I know!

The article continues, “Women accumulate up to 700 hours of sleep debt in the first year after having a baby, and that causes the brain not to be at its best for things other than caring for the baby.” See? You have a very good reason for being forgetful!

Tips for Improving Your Overall Brain Health

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While it has been proven that mom brain does exist, that doesn’t mean women should just sit back and let their brainpower weaken. Instead, we need to take extra efforts to keep our brains sharp, so we can be the best moms, employees, and friends possible. Here are some proven ways to strengthen your brain:

  • Exercise – Exercise has been proven to strengthen cognitive abilities, so make a point to exercise regularly.

  • Sleep – It seems impossible with kids and a busy work schedule, but you must make sleep a priority. As Schiff Vitamins explains, “While you sleep, your brain is hard at work restoring information and memories and preparing you for another day.”

  • Eat Healthy – The way you eat also affects your cognitive abilities. Therefore, it is important to eat healthily.

  • Work Your Brain – There is a reason why senior citizens do crossword puzzles and play sudoku – it’s to work their brains and keep them sharp! Likewise, moms should find ways to exercise their games. For example, look for games and activities that will help you improve your focus, learning, memory, concentration, and accuracy.

I also like the tips from Dennis Kravetz on the HuffPost article 10 Ways to Boost Your Cognitive Fitness and Longevity because they include fun ways to boost your brain activity such as going to museums, which is easy for those of us calling NYC home to do.

What are you doing to help you deal with mom brain? Let me know in the comments!

Tooth Fairy Hacks Every Mom Needs to Know

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We are at the age when the tooth fairy has started to visit. And, shortly after the first tooth was lost, the magic was over. I no longer want the tooth fairy to sprinkle glitter on the pillowcases to leave behind tooth fairy evidence. I’m over the tooth fairy leaving a note and more than a dollar bill. My kids are lucky if the tooth fairy even remembers! Since I have heard from other mom friends that their tooth fairy is as forgetful as mine, I have done some research to help moms everywhere.

Set an Alarm

My first tip is to set the alarm. Let’s face it. If you don’t set the alarm, the tooth fairy will miss her visit. Just make sure the alarm is set late enough for the kids to be asleep and you to still be awake.

“Under the Pillow” is Old News

One of the trickiest things a tooth fairy has to do is find the tooth hidden under the pillow. Not only is it difficult to find in the dark, but it is also a quick way to wake up a sleeping child. If your tooth fairy is still using this method, urge her to try something new ASAP. Purchase a tooth fairy pillow or stuffed animal that will make the tooth fairy’s job easier. Even better – hang a tooth fairy pillow on the outside of your child’s door.

Keep Petty Cash

No one ever seems to have cash when they need it, such as when a kid randomly loses a tooth. So, keep some petty cash in your home just for these special occasions.

Lies to Tell Your Kids if the Tooth Fairy Forgot to Visit

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At some point, the tooth fairy is going to forget to visit, and your precious little one will be heartbroken, and you will be plagued with mom guilt. To help you move past this moment, here are some lies you can use:

It was raining…

Did you know tooth fairies cannot fly if it is raining because their wings cannot get wet? Or, if it is too windy, they have to wait until it is safe to fly.

The bedroom was too messy…

If a child’s bedroom is too messy, it is 1) too difficult for the tooth fairy to find the tooth or 2) too unsafe for a small tooth fairy.

You went to bed too late…

If a child does not go to sleep early enough, the tooth fairy may not visit because she was already fast asleep before the child was.

She was so busy at night…

If the tooth fairy misses her nighttime visit, that’s probably because she was too busy visiting other kids (or taking care of her own). But, if a tooth fairy is too busy at night, she CAN visit during the day while kids are in school.

Lies to Tell Your Kids If They Try Trick the Tooth Fairy

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There may come a time when your child tries to trick the tooth fairy to see whether or not she is real, like this kid did to his poor parents by not telling that he lost a tooth and put it under his pillow. If your kid pulls something similar, here are two more lies you may find useful:

Parents Need to Contact Her

Parents need to contact the tooth fairy to let her know there is a child in the house in need of a visit.

Parents Have to Turn Off the Security System

The tooth fairy cannot visit your home safely if your parents don’t turn off the security system; therefore, kids must tell their parents so they can make sure she can get in the house unnoticed.

Is Your Family Prepared in Case of an Emergency?

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The heartbreaking stories coming out of the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian has got me thinking about what my family would do if we were in a similar situation. While New Yorkers typically don’t deal with hurricanes, we do face plenty of other emergency situations. Therefore, it is wise to have a family emergency plan in place.

I know it feels scary to think about, and it feels overwhelming, but taking a little bit of time today to prepare for an emergency tomorrow can make all the difference. And, for those working moms who already don’t have enough time, I am attaching links for as many pre-made tools as possible.

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Sign Up for Emergency Alerts

First, be sure to sign up for emergency alerts on your cell phone. These alerts are lifesavers. You will receive notifications for any potential emergency, including tornadoes and winter weather. You can do a quick Google search for your town and the word “alerts” to find the one for your area and opt-in for alerts.

Write Out Emergency Contacts

If you are like me, you don’t have very many phone numbers memorized. With cell phones, memorizing numbers is a thing of the past! However, in case of emergency, it is helpful to have your emergency contacts written out – and it is especially helpful if you have children. I like FEMA’s Family Emergency Communication Plan form, which also has space for email and social media handles. All you need to do is write out all your important phone numbers and save it.

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Have an Evacuation Plan

Next, give thought to where your family would meet and go if there was an emergency. Then, communicate this plan clearly with your family and anyone else it involves (such as evacuating to a different family member’s home). The American Red Cross has an excellent Family Disaster Plan template. Likewise, it is important to have a fire escape plan for your family. For an example and checklist, see the National Fire Protection Association’s Home Fire Escape Plan.

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Store Important Documents Safely

It is also important to store your family’s important documents safely. You want to place documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and passports in a fire safe and waterproof storage container. Use The Spruce’s guide to The 8 Best Fireproof Safes of 2019 to help you shop.

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Prepare an Emergency Kit

Last but not least, it is wise to prepare a family emergency kit. This kit should include the essentials for your family in case of an emergency. Ideally, the items should be stored in a duffle bag or storage container that is easy to grab and go in the event of an emergency. If you want to pack your own emergency kit, see FEMA’s Emergency Supply Checklist. If you don’t have time to put one together yourself, you can purchase a pre-made emergency kit from the American Red Cross, which includes first aid supplies, emergency food, and other essentials.

Remember – a little planning today can make a huge difference tomorrow. Here’s hoping your family never has any need to use your family emergency plans.