How to prepare your kids for summer camp

May 16th, 2017 | no comments

As parents you have the final say on where your child goes to summer camp. In the end you know best, and you should never send your child to a camp that you don’t feel 100% comfortable with.

Having said that, it’s vital to talk to your child and let them be a part of the process. They’re the ones that are doing the camping after all, and without their input you may be setting them up for a less-than-optimal experience. Here are some tips on what to discuss with your child when picking a summer camp that’s perfect for them.

What kind of stay are they comfortable with?

Summer camps fall into two categories in terms of stay – day camps and sleepover or overnight camps. With day camps, your child will participate in activities every day but you’ll pick them up before nightfall. With sleepover camps, your child will be at the camp site 24/7 for however long they stay.

Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and some children do better at day camps and some do better at overnight camps. Sleepover camps allow for kids to experience an immersive experience and helps them to foster their sense of independence. Day camps allow kids not quite ready for overnight camping the opportunity to experience a good amount of what summer camp can be. You should always encourage your child to take risks and confront trepidation, but you should never force them. Make sure your child says they are ready for a sleepover experience before shipping them off.

Also remember to discuss length of stay. If it’s your child’s first overnight camping experience, you may want to opt for a few days or a week – even if the full camping package last for two weeks or more.

What are they interested in?

Apart from type of camp stay, the most important question concerning summer camp is whether your child wants to go to a specialty camp or a general camp. The former focuses on one or two specific activities – think dance, music, horseback riding, sports, archery, etc. The latter tends to have kids participate in a wide range of activities.

If your child is obsessed with dance, for instance, they may do better at a camp that focuses on what they love. Anything else may be a distraction.

If your child doesn’t yet have a specified interest, sending them to a specialty camp in the hopes of developing an interest may backfire. General camps allow kids to experience many things, and can help them figure out what they love for themselves.

Don’t shy away from the “homesick problem”

You might think that as soon as you mention the word homesick, you’re setting your child up for failure. But according to Christopher Thurber, PhD, co-author of Summer Camp Handbook, and a spokesperson for the American Psychological Association, that’s simply not true.

“There’s a conventional idea that if you mention homesickness, you’ll just make them focus on it. But it doesn’t work that way. Have an open discussion with your kids about how they feel about going away. What’s most important here is that the parent gives the message that he or she believes the child can handle the stress of being away, that the child is competent at handling temporary, uncomfortable feelings,” he tells WebMD.

The more your child feels like they have a say in the decision making, the less likely they are to be overcome with feelings of homesickness when away.

Camp can be a great way for your kid to make new friends and learn new things while they’re off from school. However, if they have been struggling in a particular area of study, looking into summer tutoring services as an alternative is not a bad idea either.

 

Thank you to our guest post from Alex of Safeytoday.org !!

More than milestones – your free guide!

May 12th, 2017 | no comments

What a phenomenal summit. I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did!

As promised your Thriving as a Busy Mom – Essentials guide will kick-start your journey to managing your home, work, kids, your partner and yourself with ease. I’m so happy to share with you:

  • 3 healthy and easy recipes
  • Shared Google calendar that will save you and your partner time
  • Evernote app tips to help get your life organized
  • Mama Self-Care Planner (printable) to get more “me-time” in your life
    • Mindfulness video that can quickly recharge your energy from anywhere

Subscribe below to receive your FREE guide!!

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Pumping At Work: Could We Make It Any Harder?

January 25th, 2017 | no comments

I’m honored to have Romy Newman of Fairygodboss share this article with the ThriveMomma community! It’s also a thrill to announce that I’ll be writing for FairGodBoss soon!  Take it away Romy….

Imagine you have a busy work day.  You are just back from maternity leave and you’re trying to show your boss and everyone around you that you are still committed to your job, and can do your job as well as you did before you had your baby. On top of that, you have to get home to your kid/kids as early as possible – so you’re feeling even more pressured to get a lot of great work done in an ever shorter amount of time. And you’re probably sleep deprived because most infants don’t sleep through the night.

 

Now, imagine that you need to take two thirty-minute breaks – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – to pump milk. During these breaks, you need your hands (unless you’ve really mastered the hands-free thing in a way I never did) and you can’t talk on the phone, so you can’t really be productive at all. One more lost hour in the day – and worse yet due to biological demands, it’s not during the lunch hour when things are quieter…it’s when other people are looking for you and expecting you to be in meetings or available. (But you’ll definitely need to use your lunch hour to catch up.)

 

Under the very, very best scenarios, pumping milk after you return to a corporate job is no easy task. It takes you away from your work at awkward times, it can be messy, emotional and even painful. Under the worst scenarios, it can be downright onerous and humiliating – in a room that’s ill-suited for breastfeeding, a long way away from your desk, or where there is little privacy.

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends unequivocally that mothers exclusively breastfeed babies for six months. There is a litany of health benefits that are connected to breastfeeding for both the child (less illness, fewer hospitalizations) and for the mother (reduced risk of pre-menopausal cancer). In 2011, a government agency report reported that of women who take maternity leave, the average leave taken is 10.3 weeks. (An astounding 30% of employed women reported not taking any leave at all.)

 

So that implies that women who aim to comply with AAP recommendations need to take on the challenging and arduous arrangement of carving out that extra hour every day for on average 16 weeks.

 

And yet, the deck is stacked against them in almost every conceivable way. It is no surprise that 77% of mothers start breastfeeding after birth but only 16% of those mothers make it to that recommended six month mark.

 

First, being away from her desk for one hour or more away daily is problematic for even the most generous boss and the most committed mother.

 

Further, while there is federal legislation that requires employers to provide reasonable (but not paid) break time as well as a place other than a bathroom for employees to express milk, this rule is vague enough to contribute to the problem. And, employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempted from these regulations if they impose “undue hardship.”

 

Lactation rooms can be few and far between. Even large employers have just one for thousands of employees, so women must jockey for time in the pumping room and often wait their turn. Further, pumping rooms are frequently located farther from an employee’s desk than is convenient. I’ve heard about women who have to travel for up to 15 minutes to arrive at their lactation room, thus tacking on another hour to their daily pumping time.

 

And, if there is no sink in the lactation room/area, women are forced to clean their pump parts and supplies in either the public kitchen or bathroom – alongside other co-workers, who are inevitably making small talk as the woman blushes.

 

Then of course, there’s the telltale, outrageously loud groan of the pump – which, unless the walls are really thick, announces to anyone within a 20-foot radius exactly what you’re doing.

 

Having pumped milk at work myself for more than 12 months in total (after two pregnancies), I can tell you that if you want to successfully fulfill your breastfeeding goal, ultimately you just have to pretty much dispense with your dignity.

 

In my case, I couldn’t be troubled with the commute to the “official” lactation room (just 5 minutes, but it adds up to 20 more minutes a day in total) so I just parked myself in an empty visitor office nearby where everyone around me could hear the pump. Every time I went into or out of the room, the best I could do was flash a sheepish smile at my many male colleagues whose offices were just feet away from the room.

 

Another woman reported pumping in her office, which had a door that closed, but did not lock. And walls that were shared on either side by male co-workers who could hear whenever she pumped. Apparently, however, the noise was not enough to secure her privacy. Although she placed a big “do not disturb” sign on the door and a chair behind it, one day a male colleague still knocked insistently and almost barged in.

 

The cherry on top of all of this is the extra 15lbs in your bag, which you then must carry to and from work on the subway. And that’s in addition to your laptop, because you’ll inevitably have to do work after the kids go to bed to make up for the time you missed because you were pumping, and because you ran out before you were done to pick up your kids from daycare or just simply to get to see them before they fall asleep at 7 pm. Cue the back problems.

 

So while almost everyone agrees that breastfeeding is best for our children, the path to supplying breast milk after mothers return to work is ridden with obstacles and humiliations. There has to be a better way – through better facilities, more support and less shame. So let’s call on employers to think of ways to make this difficult enterprise just a little easier for those new mothers returning to work.

 

Romy is co-founder of Fairygodboss and is passionate about helping women succeed in the workplace. She previously worked for 7 years at the Wall Street Journal in a variety of executive sales and operating roles, most recently as head of Digital Advertising. At Fairygodboss, Romy wears many hats — one of the consequences of working at a startup — and never experiences a dull day. Whether it’s talking to employers about Fairygodboss’ mission to improve the workplace, plotting out the product roadmap, or speaking to women about how they engage with our community, Romy maintains her sense of fun and infuses our company with her optimistic energy. Romy graduated with an MBA from the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University and holds a BA from Yale University. She is the mother to two amazing children and wife to an extremely supportive husband.

Creating a theme for 2017

January 7th, 2017 | no comments

As we enter a new year there is pressure for resolutions, changes, improvements or somehow stating to the world that you are dissatisfied with your current state. I’ve never been disciplined enough to keep a resolution top of mind for 365 days straight…who does, really?!

So, instead, this year I’m gonna roll with a theme because it’s more of an intention. And intentions are not so restrictive, limiting or have so much pressure attached. I’ve got enough pressure in my life, thank you very much!

This year for me it’s, FLOW. Ahhhhhh, I even relax just saying it. I don’t mean roll over and take all the crap that rolls your way this year. No. It’s not about inaction. This is coming from a place of intentional action. I interpret FLOW as a willingness to not judge the present and just go with it, pivot, embrace, fight, dance with it, ect. Because, after all…

“What you resist, persists.”

I wrote on my Instagram feed:

My theme for 2017!

Flow.

As in EASE.

Allow.

Be in the moment.

Delight in synchronicity.

Go with the flow.

Yes please! All of it and a side of 🍟!

Being in the flow probably feels a bit foreign for a “go-getter”, for a professional woman climbing the corporate ladder or a mom who’s just trying to figure out why her baby is crying so much!

This state of being is not an American value. Could it be perceived as lazy, bad mom, not career-oriented? So don’t feel bad if FLOW feels weird. We were not raised like this, this behavior is not rewarded in sports, taught in school or promoted at work.

But I argue that it’s the strongest place that a working mother can operate from!

  • Flow cuts out worry, anxiety, not-enoughness, or keeping-up-with-the-Jones syndrome.
  • Flow frees you to accept and then in turn, like the situation you are in.
  • Flow expands possibilities
  • Flow says “I’m okay”, “I’m a good mom right now”, and “I’m enough.”
  • Flow strengthens resilience
  • Flow doesn’t judge
  • Flow helps conserve your energy
  • Flow frees you up to experience life

How do you stay in the flow?

  1. Keep faith that everything will all work out. Trust that life is working FOR YOU not against you.
  2. Have awareness of yourself in each moment
  3. Don’t judge yourself or your circumstances
  4. Allow and don’t label it as good or bad
  5. Ground and center yourself so you have a clear head
  6. Protect your energy and keep going!

I’ll keep my #flow2017 vibe alive on Instagram and I hope inspire you to to keep your intentions going all year long too.

Leave a comment below about how the word FLOW feels for you?

How to thrive as a working mom podcast interview

January 7th, 2017 | no comments

It was a privileged to chat (and later nosh at Cafe Gratitude) with Jessica from The Superwoman Project about our current state of working motherhood, how companies can’t ignore half their workforce and what it means to thrive after maternity leave!

Her podcast in so rich with inspiring women, you must check it out. She can help you run your career like a BOSS!

In our conversation we covered:

  • Transition coaching for working mothers
  • Corporate consulting for greater employee retention
  • Challenges facing working moms from returning to work after maternity leave and managing their energy

Thanks for listening!

Maternity Leave planning interview

September 28th, 2016 | no comments

 

I’m honored to be Tina’s inaugural guest on her Third Thursday’s  Interview series. We talked maternity leave and how supporting new moms is good for business! Tina is my soul sister who is a fabulous interior designer who specializes in pump rooms and wellness spaces for corporations. How amazing is she?!

Please go over to YouTube and give her some likes!!

Empowered Summit Live interview starting Oct 3rd

September 20th, 2016 | no comments

 

I’m thrilled to be a speaker on this FREE online summit! Cathy has brought together all the right women who can Shifting the conversation from Momma Illness to Momma Wellness. The focus will be on self-care, prevention, and how new moms can take-charge of their own postpartum health!

Empowered Mama Live

In my interview we covered maternity leave planning, how to define your “new normal” as a mom and how to deal with the overwhelm of motherhood.

What you can learn from the interview series:

  • How to spot the warning signs when what you are experiencing is more than just the baby blues, and how to get the right help
  • Time management tips and preparing for the transition back to work for working moms (including ‘the pumping conversation’ with your boss)
  • How to rediscover yourself after the new mom identity crisis
  • Mindfulness tools, self-care practices, rituals, and ways to prioritize your own needs not only for yourself but also for your beautiful baby
  • Tips on how to best plan for the postpartum and experience ease in the 4th Trimester!

Learn more here! Or check out her video!

 

25 Working Mom Tips

June 26th, 2016 | no comments

The struggle is real for working moms! Lack of time, meal planning prep and the relentless giving of our time, our and energy to others. That is why this blog round-up from Thoughtful Journey Counseling of some of my most favorite mom-support experts is a keeper. I was honored to contribute a nugget about how to master the morning routine. Hope you enjoy them all!

25 Tips for Working Moms guest blog!

25 working mom tips

Is There a Better Way to Return from Maternity Leave? One Lawyer Mama Argues YES!

June 11th, 2016 | no comments

This week I’m honored to have Lori guest blog about her experience as a successful lawyer and how to do a better return to work! I had the pleasure of meeting her (over the phone) I was blown away at the depth of her knowledge and how she helps so many women gracefully return to work through her online course experience.  She is on my Resources list for a reason. Also subscribe to her newsletter for the Saturday secrets…they are super helpful. Welcome Lori!!

 

thrivemomma lawyer return to work

As a lawyer, I’ve been trained to think and write in a logical manner.  Explore options; think through arguments; marshal facts; present them in a way that makes sense.  This type of thinking suits me:  I love order.

Enter, motherhood.  A baby who cries for who-knows-on-earth what reason, or refuses to drink from any of the 15 bottles you buy him.  A house that seems to self-destruct simply by your stepping in the door.  And a schedule so unpredictable you never know when you go to sleep one night whether you’ll make it to work the next day, or if the next superbug from daycare will suddenly attack.  THIS is not logical.  THIS is an order-lover’s nightmare.

After having my first baby, I learned to go with the flow a bit better, more or less coped with my return to work, and picked up some serious prioritization skills through my parenting adventures.  Enter baby number two, though, and I just couldn’t seem to hold it together after my maternity leave ended.  1 child + 1 child felt like 85 children, no one was sleeping (ever, it seemed!), the to-dos on a daily basis weighed down my mind and my spirit, and I was a mess.

Though I worked in an office where plenty of women had gone out on and returned from maternity leave, no one seemed to be talking about how hard the experience was or what we should be doing about it.  And though there seemed to be an educational curriculum for everything about new motherhood (how to write a birth plan, how to massage your baby, how to puree baby food…), I hadn’t found any robust educational information about how to plan for and return from maternity leave without losing your mind.

Determined to fill this gap and help new moms re-frame their leave experience, I put on my logical lawyer hat and got to work reading and researching ways we can do this leave-and-return thing differently.

My mission?  Find a way for new mamas to view their maternity leave and return as a career and leadership opportunity, instead of a career impediment.

And find a way for them to feel calmer, happier, and more confident in the process.

The results of this research led me to develop a four-pronged approach to a calmer, more successful maternity leave, and to create a course called Mindful Return that brings new mamas together in an online community to work through these four prongs together:

  • Creating a Mindful Mindset for Return: Learning how to BE with my children when I’m with my children, and BE at work when I’m at work has been critical both to maintaining sanity and to feeling competent in each of these two spheres of my life.  Mindfulness is about being aware, awake, and present in your life, and starting habits like a gratitude practice (writing down 5 things I’m grateful for before bed each night) have really helped me to be more calm and present.

 

 

  • Turning Leave into Leadership: I’ve grown frustrated with workplace cultures that seem to encourage us to apologize for taking time away (to do a normal human thing like have a baby), or somehow make us feel less committed, less competent, and/or guilty for being back (sometimes all at the same time).  As working mamas, we are *powerhouses* of leadership skills.  We’ve learned to prioritize like nobody’s business, anticipate (reasonable and unreasonable) client demands, roll with the unknown, and problem-solve on the fly.  One key to getting my own head in a better place about leave and return was learning how to identify and tout these skills and believe in my own ability to be a leader.

 

  • Staying in Community: This is the biggie, mamas.  Sitting alone on my kitchen floor wondering how I was going to get everything done wasn’t a smart or healthy way to approach my own sense of overwhelm.  I’ve since learned the immense power of relying on both in-person and online communities for all aspects of life, but especially for massive life changes like bringing a baby into the world.  Committing to connecting with friends and colleagues convinced me that the power of “me too” is a life- and sanity-saver.

When I set out to fill this returning-to-work educational void, I had a strong hunch my four-part approach would work for others, given how much it had transformed my own thoughts about going back to work.  Now I don’t just have a hunch, though, I have evidence – every lawyer’s dream! – that this approach truly makes new working mamas’ lives better.  By being in community with others going through this transition at the same time, I’ve watched new mamas gain the confidence to ask for the type of schedule they want.  Spend more time during their leave enjoying their babies instead of worrying about their return.  And I have felt the power of giving a common language to mamas’ concerns.

So to conclude, my argument is YES, mamas.  You CAN do this maternity leave and return thing in a calm and empowered way.  You don’t have to just survive this period, but there are things you can learn that will help you thrive in the process.

I rest my case.

lori minful return

Lori Mihalich-Levin is the founder of Mindful Return and the creator of the Mindful Return Course, which helps women plan for and make the transition back to work after maternity leave. She runs the 4-week, online course every two to three monhts, and women from all over the world have joined the supportive Mindful Return community to reduce their stress in the maternity leave and return period. Lori is also a Partner in the Health Care practice group at an international law firm called Dentons and is also mama to two beautiful red-headed little boys.

Mother’s Day Gifts Working Moms Really Deserve

May 8th, 2016 | 2 comments

Happy Mother’s day! You deserve a day of pampering, filled love, appreciation and joy! In honor of you I’ve gathered some of my favorite women to share some of their gifts that you really deserve. While most of them fit into a gift-wrapped box they are gifts you can give yourself every day of the year.

I hope you are inspired by these these self-care tips, practical advice and divine goddess wisdom. Happy Mother’s Day to you mama! Enjoy your day and take a little time to nourish your soul,Cheers!

mothers day gifts we deserve ThriveMomma

 

Gift of Support

Busy career women need a strong partner. Not just to open that jar of spaghetti sauce but a true ally in the day-to-day raising of children, managing the home and in support of their careers.  Emily of Women, Work and Life mentions ways how men can support women in their career and it’s a beautiful thing!

Men Take Note: What women really want for mothers day

 

Gift of time

So not all gifts come in a Tiffany box, but giving yourself the gift of time and freedom from stress is almost more valuable. Monica at Redefining Mom never holds back and her five tips on how to manage your busy mom life are the best. So go ahead and give yourself the gift of sanity.

5 Practical Time Management Tips for Working Moms

 

Gift of Recognition

And don’t forget the other working moms at your work. They deserve a little props for all the work they do too. Lori of Mindful Return gives some great suggestions on how you can recognize and appreciate other working moms you work with!

Celebrate your mother colleagues this Mother’s Day

 

Gift of Love

When we give love we get so much more in return. Courtney’s moving love-note to her cutie daughter Madeline is a great reminder of why we endure this motherhood thing, after all. It’ll make you wanna hug your little cutie a little bit more.

Celebrating my daughter on Mother’s Day

 

Gift of Peace

Life is stressful. Sometimes stress is thrown at you like when your child has a 102 degree fever or when your business goes through a reorganization and you don’t know what’s gonna happen to your job. Whatever life challenges us with, the key to finding PEACE among the chaos is about how we DEAL in the moment that counts. My Mother’s Day Momtra (mantra for moms) is a simple tool to help you relax IN THE MOMENT!

Mothers Day Momtra

 

Enjoy your special day today Mama! You deserve it!

What gifts are you looking forward to getting today? Leave comment below!