Disclaimer – I have a material connection because I received a gift or sample of a product for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

VTechConnecttoCell

My Vtech phone in my beautiful tree house/office

I love my home office and being a Work at Home Mom (WAHM). I look out over the woods and have my very own “tree house.” I’m truly the multi-tasking queen and no one ever knows that I’m usually sorting laundry or cleaning a toilet while I’m doing a conference call. The only challenge I have – and I’m sure I’m not alone – is the dead zones around the house for my cell phone. My cell phone is my lifeline to the outside business world and the only problem I run into is when I’m walking around the house and calls get dropped or I miss what someone says. Also, I’m notorious for leaving my cell phone in one room and having my home cordless in another so I’m always racing about trying to find the right phone to answer. Vtech has created a great product that eliminates these problems – the VTech® Connect to Cell™ Answering System. Now, when I’m home, my cell calls go directly through to my land line. The voice quality is great and two separate cell phones can be connected so my husband, who’s also my business partner, can also get his calls on the land line. It’s got all the typical features you would expect – digital answering system, handset speaker phone and caller ID/call waiting – and it can download and store the cell phone directory from two different cell phones.This is the perfect gift for the multi-tasking mom!

As I’ve mentioned in my Facebook and blog postings, I’m slightly apprehensive to start anything called Boot Camp – especially when it comes to clearing out clutter.  But I was given the opportunity to sign up for Buttoned Up Boot Camp and I figured it was a sign that it’s high time I start getting myself organized.  I readily admit, I could never do this onmy own, I need someone “gently” (OK, kicking my ass) to stick to it.

I’d already put it half out of my mind when I woke up this morning.  My general routine is to get up around 5:30 and check e-mails before the kids get up.  And there it was waiting for me – my first cheery e-mail about my task for the day from the Buttoned Up Boot Camp team. What I like about this program is they let me break it down into small, manageable portions.  As a full-time working mom, time is precious item.  So, everyday, I just need to spend 30 minutes.  I can even set a timer.

Today is Detox – not trying to organize, simply throwing out stuff I don’t use.  They’re even giving me a pass on recycling – just a massive toss.  Considering I couldn’t locate my second slipper this morning since it was buried under a pile of shoes that are old (OK, half are my hubby’s so I’m not going to take the full blame) I figure this is a great place to start!

Stay tuned….

 

Bloomberg Trying to Restrict Baby Formula in NYC Hospitals

The movement towards restricted formula use in 27 New York hospitals has women across the nation angered. It seems that this is almost an insensitive infringement onto the rights women have to feed their newborns formula.

This initiative will keep formula locked up in storage at hospitals in order to better monitor its use and discontinue free infant formula being distributed at the time of discharge, disallow the display of formula promotional materials in hospitals, and ensure the greater implementation of regulations forbidding the use of formula on infants unless medically required.

While breast feeding babies is undoubtedly the healthiest choice, and should always be urged as the first choice, the fact of the matter is that sometimes it just is not physically possible to nurse.

In speaking with other moms and their experiences nursing, it is apparent that many people do, in fact, suffer from desperately yearning to nurse their babies but simply not being able to.

“I knew it was ‘best’ to breast feed so the guilt I felt when I gave up at two weeks was awful,” said one mom about her painful experience – where her nursing attempts were hours long because her son could not latch on. Come to find out, her pediatrician ended up recommending formula because of allergic reactions her baby was having to her breast milk.

Another mom reported the intense pressure she felt in the hospital to breast feed her twin boys upon their birth. “They had the nerve to tell me I was ruining my boys’ lives,” she says of the nurses, sharing that she had a high fever and infection following delivery.

Clearly, in situations like these when mothers have been educated on the benefits of breast feeding and actively attempt to nurse their babies only for it to prove impossible, the criticism from nurses and hospital workers does nothing but catalyze stress and guilt in these new moms.

With that said, what are your thoughts on NYC’s “Latch on NYC” initiative? What have your experiences been with breast feeding, and furthermore, how would you feel if the hospital you birthed your child in had these same rules?

Mom, Wife, Caregiver….Circus Performer?  I Didn’t Pack Enough for This Guilt Trip

People often read about my story as The Safety Mom and say to me, “How do you do it?” What they are referring to is the fact that my son has special needs, my first died of SIDS, my husband has Multiple Sclerosis and my father has Alzheimer’s and oh yeah….I work full time.

I’m not that special. There are a million women out there with similar stories that none of us had anticipated. We definitely are part of a sisterhood. Just this week I was at a meeting with a business colleague and we started out our conversation with the typical pleasantries. One of us mentioned the issues we’re dealing with in regards to our aging parents and very quickly the conversation turned into a quasi-therapy session about how we so often feel overwhelmed, frustrated and GUILTY!

Here we were, two intelligent, capable and accomplished women who were sharing stories of how we feel inadequate and that we are constantly letting someone in our life down – not spending enough time with our husbands, forgetting some activity at our kids’ schools or not doing enough to help our parent. We expected to have the roles of mom and wife, but all of a sudden we were thrown into the role of caring for our parent and we weren’t prepared. We hadn’t considered where they would live when they could no longer live alone. We didn’t expect the frequent phone calls when they had fallen or gotten into yet another car accident and we now needed to have “the talk” about taking away the car keys.

But as we’re trying to do deal with those issues, we’re also managing our role as mom. Whether your child has special needs like mine or not, we are trying to advocate for our kids as best we can and that in and of itself can be a full time job. (I’d rather not admit to how many times I forgot about the gift for teacher appreciation day or the deadline for the field trip permission slip.)

THEN our husband wants our attention! ….really? I’m sorry, but romance often flies right out the window when I’m trying to cook a meal, check homework and do a load of laundry at 9P at night. But of course then I feel guilty about that too.

The circus music continuously plays in my head as I try to keep all the plates spinning. But holding that suitcase for my guilt trip in one hand makes it even harder.

The first point I want to make clear here is that my husband gives great gifts.  He usually knows exactly what I would like and the gift is always very thoughtful.

But, being the control freak that I am, I’m not into surprises.  I mean, if you’re going to get a gift it should be something you really, really, want.  So, when it comes to those “romantic” gift giving times like Valentine’s Day and anniversaries, I want to be sure I know what’s going to be in the box.  Vague references to jewelry, a romantic dinner or a weekend getaway could mean very different things to my darling hubby than what I had in mind.   This can especially be the case when he’s “pressure shopping,” an affliction most men seem to have. Why is it they wait for the last minute to go shopping and then grab whatever they can because they’re running out of time?  I mean, it’s not like they don’t realize Valentine’s Day or our birthday is coming up.

So, last week, when I started to begin planning my trip to the mall to find the gift I wanted for Valentine’s Day, a gift fell into my lap.  I received an e-mail from my friends at my favorite organizing company, Buttoned Up   asking me if I’d be interested in checking out the gifting site Red Envelope .  I’ll admit, I had never heard about Red Envelope up until this point but a friend  of mine had said she had received a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a vase from her husband through them a while back and loved it.  So, given that Red Envelope was willing to give me a coupon to try the site out for free and order myself a Valentine’s Day gift, I figured I had nothing to lose and I was able to check a “to-do” item of my list at the same time (always the multi-tasking queen!)

Red Envelope literally has something for everyone and I like how it’s organized in a variety of ways, from Gifts For Him, Gifts For Her to Categories such as Jewelry and even Home & Garden.  There were some gourmet items on there such as Valentine’s Cake Pops that I know my kids would love but, sorry, this was about Mommy – I was going shopping on the jewelry page!  I know this sounds a bit crazy but even though I was picking it out I had every intention of giving it to my husband to wrap so that I could open it on Valentine’s Day. 

I chose this beautiful necklace which definitely is me.  When it arrived – only 2 days later – it was in a beautiful box (hubby wasn’t even going to have to wrap!) and it was exactly what I thought it would be.  So ladies, show this blog to your husbands, point them to Red Envelope and make their life easy this Valentine’s Day while getting something that you really want.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a gift certificate from Red Envelop to purchase this item but, as always, the thoughts and words are my own.

Guest Blog Post by Rebecca Fisher

Every day I wondered if I would have enough money for gas or groceries. Every month I worried I might not be able to pay the utilities, car payment or the credit card that helped us get by when there just wasn’t enough money to go around. And every year, around the middle of November, the slow churn of anxiety began over the obligatory Christmas gifts. I knew I wouldn’t be able to give my daughter everything she hoped for, which wasn’t much when she was younger, but our holiday culture demands every last penny be spent on gifts, and when our pennies run out, there’s the plastic card that makes it all possible.

Like most parents, I cherished Christmas mornings, when my daughter would spring from her bed, waking me with the sky still dark, and behold the wonder of Santa Claus. I wanted it to be perfect, which seemed impossible on my bare budget.

To combat the anxiety and guilt over the impossible, I focused on what I could control. The following are ideas and suggestions made to me by other mothers that helped make Christmas our favorite holiday of the year without the anxiety, guilt and insurmountable debt.

1. Keep Christmas.  The best antidote to the consumerism Christmas we’re all bombarded with is Christmas itself.  Every year my family celebrates the greatest gift of all, Jesus – a gift of selfless sacrifice full of love and hope.  We read, sing and watch His story together.  The only literal gifts involved come from the magi, who offer all they have in thanksgiving and praise. When filled by that story, an iPod seems pretty petty.

But, alas, we are human, and part of our Christmas culture is the gifts. So unless I was going to cut that out entirely, I had to get creative. And I did, by sharing.

2. Share the list. I am blessed to have a large family and wonderful friends who love my daughter and help me raise her up.  They are my village and they often ask what my daughter wants for Christmas.  This is when I pull out the list and tell them exactly what she wants.  Her grandparents often ask to buy the more expensive items.  Of course, I agree.  I have no interest in taking all of the credit.  Most of it goes to Santa anyway.

3. Communicate with the other parent. While some ex-spouses are still busy trying to throw a wrench into every wheel of your life, some are more cooperative. With the latter, discuss what gifts your child wants, who will buy them and how they will be presented to your child. Why buy two of the same thing? Your child doesn’t need it and no one can really afford it. Work together.  It will make for a much merrier Christmas.

4. Be honest.  The older my daughter gets the more honest and realistic I can be with her when it comes to money.  While we don’t need to burden them with all of our financial woes, it’s important to teach them the limits of money. We came up with a budget and she would prioritize. Did she want one large gift or multiple small ones? She gets to decide what she really, really wants and I get to give it to her, though she still thanks Santa…out loud, sitting right next to me with a big smile.

The older my daughter gets, the more she focuses on giving gifts rather than receiving them. I watch her experience the joy of giving and making someone’s day a little brighter.  It’s a beautiful thing. Christmas became an opportunity to show her what’s really important about the day and to focus more on it myself.

Rebecca Fisher graduated with a B.A. in English and an M.S. in Education, and teaches high school English. Her own experiences living in a mortuary in Northern California and raising her daughter on her own serve as the inspiration for the many macabre and eccentric encounters in her novel. She lives in California with her husband and two daughters.

All the Wrong Places is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble online, and the Rebecca’s website (www.RebeccaFisherBooks.com) in both paperback and e-book format.

1. Instill Confidence: When you comment on internal qualities you instill self-assuredness in your child. Use phrases such as, “You are really good at….” Or “You seem to really know…” Reward effort and completion, instead of outcome.

2. Encourage Movement: Find a physical activity that your child enjoys, and focus on how being active makes your child feel. Promote the health benefits of exercise, without emphasizing weight or the value of leanness.

3. Be Aware of Influences: Monitor the sources that are influencing your child. Check out what your kids are reading though the media and Facebook, and listen closely (without intruding) to the conversations they have with their peers. Encourage your child to discuss what is going on around them, and to have a healthy critical mind of what they have seen or heard.

4. Be a Good Role Model: Eliminate the word “diet” from your vocabulary, do not discuss how much weight you want to lose, or how what you have eaten will impact your appearance. Be brave enough to remove the scale from your home.

5. Develop Positive Self-Beliefs: Help your kids to set realistic standards in evaluating themselves. Praise achievements. Identify areas where they can grow, and give them positive, accurate feedback on their performance.

6. Find Balance in your Kitchen: Offer a variety of nutritious and “junk” foods in your home for your children. Establish healthy eating habits. Help them to choose foods based on what their bodies need to give them energy. Do not limit portions or ban foods, and allow them treats as appropriate.

7. Be Kind to Others: Avoid speaking negatively about other people’s appearances and weight. First, it’s just not nice. Second, your child will wonder if you critique them, and may become fearful of being judged too.

8. Give Your Child Too Much Love: Consistently show your children how much you care about them. Give them physical affection, leave notes in their lunchboxes, offer praise frequently. But, be honest. Your kids will know if it is genuine!

9. Remember the Joys of Puberty: Weight and shape may fluctuate with growth and maturity. Normalize changes, and make sure your child understands that these fluctuations are a natural progression of growing up, and not necessarily indicative of the future. Everyone has an awkward stage!

10. Ask for Help: If you notice any concerning behaviors, seek the help of a professional as soon as possible. The quicker you can catch any blossoming disordered behaviors, the sooner you can help to resolve them!

Guest blog by Lyndsay Elliott. Lyndsay Elliott, PsyD is a Clinical Psychologist and maintains a boutique practice in Newport Beach, California. Dr. Lyndsay specializes in food and body image issues, and has been an expert in the field since 1996.

 

Usually when I’m asked to review products it’s an item for the home, a book, a safety device or something for kids.  So when The Balancing Act asked me to review The Contour Belt, I was a little apprehensive.  The Contour Belt utilizes Electro muscle Stimulation (EMS or eStim) to stimulate abdominal muscles.  Hmmm, would I somehow electrocute myself or look like I was the victim of a Punk’d episode?   But what full-time working mom who last saw the inside of a gym at least six months ago wouldn’t want to try a device that promises to tighten your abs while you work at your computer?  Being a little apprehensive, I figured I’d give it to my hubby to try first.  My kids are usually my guinea pigs for testing products, so I might as well get him involved too.  And, I figured that helping him find his “six pack” buried underneath his love handles would be an added bonus for me!

He offered (OK, I insisted) and tested it out.  I was downstairs folding laundry when I first heard a scream of “Whoa!”  I assumed that meant The Contour Belt was doing its thing.  So, since he seemed none worse for the wear, I figured it was my turn.

Day 1

Setting up The Contour Belt is easy and the directions are very clear.  The manual gets confusing, however, with diagrams and explanations about Active Recovery Frequency Table, Potentiation Program Frequency Table and other graphs.  But, I’m the type that tries something and reads the directions later so I put it on and cranked it up.  You can set the intensity so I figured the first day I’d try 20%.  The recommended time is 45 minutes.   It definitely felt strange.  The Belt goes through a series of stimulations, from pulses to vibrations.  As I sat working at my computer and then getting dinner ready I was congratulating myself that I was working my abs at the same time!  After the session I didn’t feel much.

Day 2

I decided to up my game and set The Contour Belt to 30% – this I definitely felt!  In fact, there were times I felt a little twinge/cramp on my side as it went through the stimulation but nothing really painful.  After this session I really felt as if I had gotten in a real abs workout!

Day 3

Woke up and could still feel the effects from yesterday’s session.  A great feeling as if I had done about 100 sit ups.  I had an early-morning TV segment to do, followed by a bunch of conference calls and a trip to the pediatrician for my daughter’s physical.  These are typically the days that a work-out is definitely out of the question and I probably wouldn’t even be able to fit in a walk.  So, as I made breakfast and prepped for my segment I strapped on the Contour Belt.  I kept the intensity at 30% because I wanted to get used to it. 

Day 4

The Contour Belt is definitely working my abs!  I can feel the tightness the moment I get out of bed.

Is it worth it?

I’m a strong believer in a regular exercise routine for emotional well-being as well as physical.  But, as a full-time working mom, there are just those times I can’t get in a work-out or even a few minutes for yoga.  The Contour Belt is a great addition to a regular exercise routine, especially for a multi-tasking mom!