Back to school typically means back to structure. As Moms, we tend to breathe a sigh of relief and accomplishment once the kids are off to school. And, many times, we need a vacation from our vacations! So, when the kids excitedly or drudgingly go back to the classrooms, take this time to reward yourself.
I say, within the first week of school, do something for yourself… schedule a massage, mani & pedi for your nails, take a different yoga or dance class you’ve never done before or read all the inspiring stories in The Balanced Mom Magazine! Do something for you.
Not only will you and your soul enjoy the time, but it will also prepare you for the school year. I see it like a trade-off. The kids get school supplies and new shoes, while you get pampered by doing something just for you.
Here’s to the next school year! Remember to breathe, love yourself, prioritize and pick your battles.
Enjoy your Fall issue!
by Monick Halm
The most important factor for making, having, and growing money has nothing to do with techniques or know-how. Your money mindset has the biggest influence on your finances. In other words, how you think about money is the biggest determinant of how you create and treat the money you have.
The money lessons that you receive as a child often dictate your money mindset (for better or for ill). As a mom, it’s particularly important for ourselves and for our children to have the healthiest money mindset possible.
The lessons I learned from my mom around money were: “Money is very stressful to deal with.” “If you have a good job, you’ll be fine. That’s all you need to know about money” “Money is for spend- ing, and so are credit cards.” I never heard mention of saving or investing.
So I worked hard and went to great schools and got a very high-paying job as a law firm lawyer. I made lots of money, but because I believed that “money was so stressful to deal with” I avoided dealing with it. I left my mail unopened and typically would not pay a bill until I received notice of a late fee. Despite my nice six-figure salary, I managed to spend every penny and then some. I was living paycheck
to paycheck and carried debt. My financial life was a mess.
At one point I spent $600 on a financial planner to help me get organized. He made me a binder with lots of beautiful and colorful charts showing where my money was currently going and where it would go if I started saving and investing. He did nothing to work on my mindset. This binder collected dust in my office. With my mindset as it was, I could not stick to my budget or manage to pay my bills on time.
When I got engaged I decided that I didn’t want to bring my financial issues into my marriage. Money problems are one of the main killers of marriages and I knew my money habits were a problem. So, I started to study and take courses in finances. I got many skills, but still could not get myself to follow through on what I now knew I “should” be doing. It was only when I got pregnant with my daughter and studied to become a money mastery coach, that I realized that I had to deal with my mindset. The work I have done has shifted things tremendously for me.
Now I want to share with you 5 things I learned that you can do today to create a more prosperous money mindset.
Recognize and challenge your limiting beliefs about money: Take a minute and close your eyes. What phrases come to mind when you think about money. What did you learn as a child about money? Write these beliefs down in your journal. Some of the things you wrote down may have been “money is the root of all evil”, “Money doesn’t grow on trees”, “Money cannot buy happiness”, and “Time is money”. These are probably the most common. Is this how you think about money?
If so, you are limiting your ability to easily receive money and to have a more positive experience with money. Know that the beliefs you wrote down are not necessarily true. Be willing to challenge and relief beliefs that do not seem to be serving you.
Visualize yourself in a most abundant life: Your brain thinks in pictures; it doesn’t know the difference between imagined thoughts and what you are seeing. The same parts of your brain light up when you are imagining as when you are actually seeing/ experiencing something. When it sees it, it will work to make it come true. Visualize yourself with $1 billion. What will you do with it? How would it feel? Get into the feeling place of it being done. Really put yourself in the shoes of your billionaire self. How would this person look, feel and think? What advice would your billionaire self give you? If any anxieties come up when you think about this amount of money – go back to Step 1. Those are your limiting beliefs showing up.
Pay attention to your money in a pleasureable way, and make that time of interaction an honored and sacred interaction. Have a weekly money date (or more if you’re called to). Start by keeping your receipts in your wallet along with a few index cards. Once a week (or more if you are a big spender set aside 5 minutes. Find a quiet place. Light some candles and incense. Pour a cup of your favorite tea or a decadent hot chocolate. Take some deep breaths, relax, and then list out on an index card everything you spent your money on this week. Next take your bills and pay with love, joy and gratitude. Be grateful that your creditors trust you to pay. I write as I pay or receive any money “This money is but a symbol of the inexhaustible supply of the Universe. I give thanks that 10x10x that much is now on its way to me and manifests quickly in perfect ways.” Any interaction with money (receiving or spending) is an ability to grow more abundant in your mindset. Pay attention to your money in a pleasureable way, and make that time of interaction an honored and sacred space. Afford money the love and respect that it deserves, and it will love you back.
Rejoice in others’ good fortune. If you think of wealthy people as THEM or you see someone have something you want and are jealous, then you are blocking money from coming to you the way you want. If you find that someone has something you want (material or otherwise), say “Hurray! This is showing up in my experience because it’s coming for me too!” This is an abundant and limitless universe, no one can take your good. Our Universe is not a pie with limited pieces. When we receive, the pie gets bigger. There is no lack of resources, just lack of resourcefulness. When someone else receives, look at the ways in which they are being resourceful to do so. You will learn from them and open yourself up to more.
Recognize your prosperity/be grateful – we so often focus on what we lack that we fail to take note of how much we already have. What you appreciate and focus on, appreciates. I engage in a nightly gratitude list. Focus on what you have to be grateful for monetarily (from that penny you found on the street to your job to the money in your savings account). Also, be grateful for all the things you have that money can’t buy. I for one and going to write down tonight that I’m so grateful for you and that I was able to share this information with this amazing audience of moms.
Let’s explore a typical day for the mom who works outside of the home. Her “To Do” list includes: waking up, getting herself ready, wakes the family, makes sure the lunches are packed, homework is finished, paperwork is signed, gets the kids to school, puts in a full day’s work, runs errands on her lunch hour (with lunch usually on the go), picks the kids up from school, drives them to their sporting event, remembers that she is scheduled to bring the team snack, runs to the grocery store, runs back to the sporting event, gets everyone home, prepares dinner, makes sure that the kids do their homework, makes sure everyone has their bath, takes out the trash (because she is tired of reminding someone else to do it),cleans up the kitchen, does a load of laundry, puts the laundry away, cleans the house, maybe has time for her favorite TV show, falls into bed and wakes up and starts all over the next morning.
Let’s explore a typical day for the mom who works from home. This mom has her own business and is believed by everyone to have the best of both worlds! She is able to schedule time off to attend her child’s school play, dentist appointments and doctor appointments. She can help in her child’s classroom and volunteer to attend school field trips. By many, she is considered the “Have It All Woman!”
Let’s look a little more closely at the mom who works from home. Her “To Do” List includes: waking up, getting herself ready, wakes the family, makes sure the lunches are packed, homework is finished, paperwork is signed, gets the kids to school, drives to her home office, puts in a load of laundry, exercises, checks emails, responds to emails, checks with employees to see what matters need addressed, attends a networking function (a two-hour function with a half hour drive time to and from), gets back to her office, takes care of the work at hand, puts in a full day’s work, runs errands on her lunch hour (with lunch is usually on the go), picks the kids up from school, drives them to their sporting event, remembers that she is scheduled to bring the team snack, runs to the grocery store, runs back to the sporting event, gets everyone home, prepares dinner, makes sure that the kids do their homework, makes sure everyone has their bath, takes out the trash (because she is tired of reminding someone else to do it),cleans up the kitchen, does a load of laundry, puts the laundry away, cleans the house, maybe has time for her favorite TV show, falls into bed and wakes up and starts all over the next morning.
If you are a working mom, can you relate to any of this? If so, my question to you is this; “Where do YOU list yourself on your To Do list?”
When do you schedule:
• Your doctor appointment
• Your dentist appointment
• Your lunch hour
• Your break time
Or, when was the last time you:
• Had a manicure/pedicure
• Got your hair cut with an updated style
• Updated your wardrobe
• Talked on the phone (because you had time to chat)
• Had a leisurely lunch to yourself
• Had a leisurely lunch with a friend
• Had time for a date with your partner
• Saw a movie that wasn’t animated
• Went out to dinner somewhere with cloth napkins
Are you starting to get the picture? Too often, moms forget to put themselves on their own “To Do” list and then wonder why they feel tired and burnt out. From the day we become moms, we begin to put the needs of others before our own as we find ourselves doing “just one more thing”. Before we know it, gradually, over time, we have lost ourselves to the demands of others in our life. Yes, we are happy to be a mom, taking care of our babies, our children, our partners, the house, the job, the cleaning, the laundry, the grocery shopping, and the list goes on. Over time, we find a way to “Do It All” and find we have lost our “SELF” somewhere along the way.
When you fly on an airplane, the flight attendant will announce that; should cabin pressure drop and the need for oxygen masks become necessary, you should place your own mask on your face before you place the mask on your children’s faces. At first, this may sound backwards because, as a mom, we always think of our children first. But if you think about it, if we pass out or become unable to care for our children, we are no good to anyone. The same thought process holds true in your everyday life. If you never take the time to put YOU on your To Do list, how can you possibly be the best YOU that YOU can be? If you are tired, run down, unhealthy, out of energy, have mood swings, don’t like your body, or sick and tired of being sick and tired, what value are you to yourself, your clients, family, or the people in your life? How can you create a successful business if you lack the energy to cope with simple day to day tasks?
All women have a fierce strength may not even realize inside of them and it. From the time we get up to the time we go to bed, we’re always doing “one more thing”. Whether it be for the kids, the boss or the brownie troop, we have a resilience inside of us that keeps us pushing on, and we don’t even know where it comes from. We don’t look at this kind of tenacity as strength, but it is! Every woman has an Inner Strength, that strength that she pulls from to be the Have It All Woman.
For some women, putting herself before others may seem selfish. Let’s begin by changing our thought pro- cess and substituting the word “selfish” with the word “self-preserving”! You can Have It All, simply consider the fol- lowing statement: “to remain the Have It All lifestyle I have created, I will be self-preserving and include “ME” at the top of my daily To Do list!
Here we are again and you are probably shopping for school supplies with your kids to get ready to start a new grade and/ or adjust to a new school. There are many transitions when kids go back to school such as, having new expectations from their new teacher(s) and meeting new friends.
However, they are not the only ones getting ready for these transitions. Mothers/parents everywhere are trying to prepare themselves for this new beginning as well.
So are you happy with back to school time and all that comes with it?
Here are some tips to help you and your family manage this time of the year:
- Talk to your kids to see how they feel about going back to school and if they have any concerns you want to address with them.
- Review with your family what you did last school year and what changes you would like to make in order for it to be more enjoyable for your child and the entire family.
- One or two weeks prior to your child going back to school, start setting their bedtime and wake- up routine.
- Have your child participate with getting their backpack ready for school and organizing specific places for their school items.
- Discuss your expectations of them and how that will affect what activi-
ties they plan on participating in.
- Discuss and review your expectations of homework time with your kids.
- Discuss with them chores and your expectations of them on a daily and/or on a weekly basis.
- If your child is going to another school which makes it difficult for you to drop them off, start looking at your support system and see if you can coordinate with another parent to help with drop off and/or pick up.
- If you have more than one child and they need to use the computer to do their homework, schedule timesfor each child to use the computer.
Remind your child that you love them unconditionally.
Here are a few tips for mothers to get ready for back to school time:
- Plan ahead by buying school materials and or clothes.
- Have your child pick their clothes out the night before.
- Discuss the school lunch menu with your child and see what days they would like home lunches.
- Prepare lunches the night before.
- Give your kids enough time to get ready for school by waking them up earlier than usual.
- Plan ahead and be mindful of your own schedule for that week and see what you can do to make your week less stressful. For example, gassing your car the day before, getting your brief case ready the night before, having your clothes ready the night before and maybe getting up a little early to sip on some hot coffee/tea before the kids get up.
- Be mindful of the voice you use when waking up the kids. Instead of yelling, be excited for them.
- When the kids are ready and in the car, give them a high five as a morning routine to acknowledge their help in getting ready for school.
- Make sure they know how much you love them every day.
- Make sure to treat yourself to a smoothie or something for planning ahead and making your transition back to school as smooth as possible.
Lastly, routine is so important to maintain a happy home so kids and parents know what is expected of them. Be involved and know what your child(ren) are learning by connecting with their teacher and helping them with homework.
Remember that schoolwork comes first before extracurricular activities and it is important not to over schedule children if they cannot get their tasks completed without losing sleep time. In addition, try to set limits in your home regarding watching television, computer, video games, cell phone usage, and other high tech gadgets. A common phrase is “square time”. Time that you allot on a daily or weekly basis as it relates to the use of electronic devices.
Finding balance as you prepare for this transition back to school is a daily event. Know what you are expecting of yourself and whether it is reasonable or even possible. Moms are always full-time moms. So, be aware of how much you are taking on and if it is too much. For example, if you want to volunteer in the classroom, but time does not permit, find another way to connect with your child and their learning. Knowing what you can and cannot do…and being ok with it is key. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or support. It is necessary. When you feel more balanced, your family will too.
Fall is here, which means it’s time to shake off the summertime cobwebs, and slowly begin to re-establish the rituals and routines of the new school year. And if your household is anything like ours, this will definitely include ridding ourselves of the summer junk food fare and re-establishing healthy eating habits and regular family mealtimes.
Research shows that children who consistently eat dinner with their families do better in school, develop better lifelong eating habits and are less likely to abuse alcohol and drugs. Family mealtimes also becomes a great opportunity to reconnect with each other about the day.
But although this may sound wonderful in theory, we parents know that the challenges always come in the practice (which is why it’s such a common topic of discussion in my mindful parenting classes). For example, what happens when when our three year-old takes two bites of this healthy meal we so lovingly prepared and then gets up to go play? Or when our nine year-old yells, “Yuck, I hate this!” In other words, how do we put our mealtime vision into practice?
The first place to start, as always, is knowing our children’s needs and temperaments and our own family values and boundaries. For example, is our three year-old really hungry or did she just have a snack not long ago? Is she naturally active, and typically just needs to move after a few minutes, regardless of what is being served? As far as the nine year-old, what is allowed and not allowed to be said during mealtimes, based upon your values? And what are the rules/ boundaries you want to establish around trying new things?
One of my favorite authors to help us establish a healthy eating philosophy is the nutritionist Ellyn Satter, whose basic tenet is that eating is a division of responsibility between children and parents. The parent is responsible for what is eaten, when it is eaten and where it is eaten. This includes deciding what food is prepared, providing regular meals and snacks, making mealtimes a pleasant experience, and helping children learn about food and mealtime behavior.
The child is responsible for how much is eaten and whether to eat. Satter contends that if we as parents do our job, then children will do their job including eating the amount they need, increasing the variety of food they eat, and learning to be joyful and appropriate in eating.
Satter’s books also reinforce the concept that if families sit down together and parents take responsibility for deciding what is served, we are less likely to turn into short order cooks, where different things are made for different people. This approach has helped me send the message that just as my boys have the choice of deciding how much to eat, they also have the choice to wait until the next meal, as this is what is being served now. No separate meals.
As the boys have gotten older, we have also developed a routine where everyone chooses a meal once a week, and sometimes help to shop for and prepare the meals as well. These guidelines have enabled all of us to become more open to a variety of things we otherwise may not have tried, and it also helps them learn lifelong skills like planning for and cooking meals.
Finally, Satter suggests that instead of looking at our children’s food and nutritional intake on a daily basis (which we know can vary depending on schedule, mood, and other factors) we look at it over the course of an entire week. This can really take the pressure off trying to make every mealtime nutritionally sound. If we know there are times, like on a busy weekend, when more junk food was consumed, we can decide to serve more fruits and veggies in the course of the next few days to balance it out.
It’s what I call “The Very Hungry Caterpillar philosophy” towards healthy family eating. Any of you who have read this Eric Carle book will recognize the overall message, that food, like other pleasures
and necessities in life, should be enjoyed and appreciated, with both moderation and awareness.
So just as the caterpillar in the book eats the nice green leaf on the Sunday after his Saturday junk food binge, whenever anyone in our family comes back from an event where we have overeaten, I try to discuss how we probably had too much cake/soda/ In-n-Out burgers, and that’s why we have this stomachache/headache/ fatigue.
We try not to judge food as good or bad, as I don’t want my boys looking at any type of food as the much sought after “forbidden fruit”, but I also hope they will develop an awareness of what they are eating and what the consequences are for their bodies and well-being. My long term hope is that the boys will make healthy eating a life choice because they see the benefits of it, and not just because I am making them do it now.
Overall, like anything else, the more mindful we are about the vision we have regarding our children’s relationship with food and their understanding of healthy eating, the more we can hopefully increase the pleasure and enjoyment of our family mealtime experiences during this new school year, and beyond — Bon Appetit!
by Jamie Leff
I am loving Michael Pollan’s book, Food Rules – an Eater’s Manual! If you have not read it, I cannot recommend it enough. He is a man after my own heart – searching for ways to make nutrition simple. He tells it like it is, and weeds through all of the bologna.
In case you haven’t heard of the Happy Meal Experiment, I have done it. I have a Happy Meal that I bought back in October 2009. That means it is coming up on it’s 4th birthday! The thing looks just like this picture (which happens to be of a fresh one). Nothing has grown on it, the meat did not rot, the bread did not mold… there is something really wrong with that! Your food should not out-live you! In fact, I had to place it in a box because the bag it came in deteriorated thanks to the oil.
Why do I bring this to your attention? Because even well meaning moms can sometimes be a slave to fast food, drive-thrus and things in little packages that have a shelf life older than some of their children.
School is back in session, which for many of you means packing lunches quickly to get out the door on time, grabbing a quick lunch for yourself in the middle of the day in between mommy duties, or driving through the closest place you can find between school and soccer practice. More often than not, health takes a back seat to convenience. Do not let yourself get caught in the trap!
Here are some tips to help you get quick and easy meals, without having to sacrifice your health:
Burger Places: Most places now offer salads, grilled chicken sandwiches and turkey burgers. If you absolutely must get a burger, get a regular hamburger. Instead of french fries, opt for a side salad, yogurt or fruit.
Sandwich shops: Avoid mayo or items made with mayo such as tuna or chicken salad. Order your sandwich on wheat bread vs. white bread and ask for extra vegetables. Again, most places now offer fruit or yogurt in their value meals instead of chips.
Mexican Food: Avoid items that are fried or contain nacho cheese sauce, sour cream or the word “Supreme” in the title. Ask them to hold the cheese and add extra salsa.
At any restaurant, always order water or unsweetened Ice Tea vs. soda.
Starbucks: Instead of grabbing a scone or bagel, which can have around 700 calories, opt for the “protein plate,” which has a hardboiled egg, a whole wheat roll with Almond Butter, some grapes, and a few pieces of white cheddar cheese. Another option would be the oatmeal or the egg, spinach and feta wrap. Pass on the blended frozen drinks or flavored lattes and get a coffee with creamer instead. Bring your own Stevia packets from home if you need a little sweetness.
Another option is to keep snacks in your car or pack a cooler the night before with things you can grab in a hurry. This is an easy way to make sure you are getting adequate nutrition from whole foods throughout the day, without having to worry about where your next meal is coming from.
These snack ideas are great for kids too!
Fruit: I’ve said this before… wash fruit the minute you unpack it from the grocery bag. The faster you can grab it in the morning, the more likely you will do it. Another option is fruit cups with fruit that is packed in water vs. syrup.
A final option … organic baby food! Hear me out… have you seen those pouches where your kids can just squeeze and suck the fruit right out? For the ones I’m talking about, if you look at the ingredients, it should just say organic fruit and vegetables. True story, I was waiting in line at Babies R Us to purchase a baby gift for a friend. I was starving and happened to look over and they had about 10 different flavors of this organic baby food in those easy squeeze pouches! I picked up the
sweet potato pumpkin and sure enough, the only ingredients were organic sweet potato and organic pumpkin.
Let me tell you, it was delicious and totally held me over until I got home!
Nuts: You can now get pre-portioned packs of nuts, or just buy snack baggies and make them yourself. Nuts are a great thing to keep in your car or purse for those emergency
situations when hunger strikes and the only thing for miles is a Taco Bell.
String cheese and Apple
Cut up Vegetables: Try celery with peanut butter or raw sugar snap peas
Peanut Butter and Jelly or Turkey sandwich: Or whatever sandwich you decided to put in your child’s lunch that day. When you are packing their lunches, make an extra one for yourself!
All it takes is a little prep work and a conscious thought to make healthier choices when you are out and about, but it is possible to get fresh and healthy foods on the go. Don’t get stuck eating something that goes against nature!
by Kenia Hernandez-Cueto
California is one of the most sought after destinations in the world for travelers. Its landscape is as diverse as the popula- tion inhabiting it. With its increasingly growing ethnic groups, California has grown to be the melting pot of the world. Families flock to vacation spots throughout the state to seek multiple cultural experiences in its diverse demographic make-up the likes of a trip around the world. They could experience the refreshing touch of the expansive California Pacific Ocean Coast, the rugged terrain and swelter- ing heat generated from the hot desert landscape, or the crisp freshness of high mountain resorts all in an amaz- ingly close proximity to one another. Newcomers are also pleasantly sur- prised to find added access to com- munities much different from their own, which share rich cultural traditions and nuances from countries miles away.
The beauty of cultural diversity and rich traditions tend to get lost in the chaos of life here in California and, for this reason, some parents take on the task to weave the teachings of cultural awareness and understanding into their every day life lessons. How can more parents expose and share diverse cultural treasures with their children that are not so hidden within our midst?
Parenting with a purpose allows one to focus on specifics they believe are important in the development of a child’s formation. Teaching and modeling values, morals, and religion are some of the fundamental building blocks that guide children toward a purposeful beginning. Within these morals and values are cultural acceptance, understanding, and respect towards human kind.
In addition, exposure to diverse experiences enhances life involvement and further exploration of ones own uniqueness. Self-awareness is enhanced and curiosity into ones own personal history and lineage becomes heightened. Making time to follow ancestral heritage allows families to recognize familial and traditional distinctions that best explains who they are. The process of self-discovery through cultural awareness could well be the motivating factor to further multicultural discoveries.
Although children are born with their own personalities, traits and individual idiosyncrasies, parents have the ability to impart purposeful teachings their children could carry throughout their lifetime.
Multicultural Experiences in California
Access to the multicultural experience in California can be within reach and free of charge. Outings to ethnic markets, cultural events and museums are bound to create a blend of curiosity, enlightenment and intrigue. Education takes its course as new cultural experiences overtake the natural learning process.
As working and stay-at-home moms find themselves hungry for new ideas on keeping their children entertained and motivated during the summer season, it is natural they search for already planned summer programs or camps that most likely require
a hefty out-of-pocket commitment. Participatory programs that welcome parent’s attendance aren’t readily available unless the parent is a volunteer, therefore, begin the search for free summer camps or events through local city community parks and recreation departments, schools, churches, clubs or organizations such as Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts or YMCA. Many programs aren’t specifically geared to focus on teaching diversity, however; one can make a concerted effort to search for programs that carry within their mission a sense of community, service, respect, humanity and equality.
Planning and thinking out-of-the-box for free summer activities that will entertain, enhance and teach are well worth the time. Although an “all hands on deck” approach may be essential, at the end of the day, parents will find that memorable moments outweighing their exhaustion. To add multiculturalism into the experience, research into the culture and location of the event beforehand. Allow the children to share their curiosity, concerns and comments before, during and after the activity. Open conversations are a healthy way to evaluate their cultural experience.
Become a Proactive in Your Community
There are plenty of non-profit organizations and events within your community that pursue a diverse mission therefore, searching for the best fit may feel somewhat overwhelming. Membership costs and time commitments may overshadow the added benefits a family receives. Researching the pros and cons of participating in a small event versus becoming a member of an organization will pay dividends. Families may find themselves best suited in making a difference in the lives of others and also learning about the diversity within the community by participating in multiple events versus joining one or two long-term organizations. Becoming a member of an organization could also make a positive lasting change on those around you.
Understanding humanity through service allows children to learn about the needs of human kind and the diverse ways in which they live. Traditions are also rich with unique customs, foods, music, and colors. They also learn about love, sharing, giving, commitment, understanding and much more. Neglecting to educate children about multiculturalism is to literally take away their global perspective and understanding of human life therefore, finding a balance to parent with a cultural purpose is critical.
As a Mompreneur myself, I totally understand how crazy busy life is ALL the time. Unfortunately, this usually means that we don’t spend very much time with our partners. The biggest complaint I hear from friends and clients is “We don’t have any time to spend together.” None of the people in my life are lying about this. As a Mompreneur, it is so insanely easy to get caught up in the constant chatter that we hear about what we “should” be doing with our partners, children, and business. Mompreneurs are taught to feel guilty about devoting any of their time and energy to their busi- nesses, thus taking time away from their families. The reality is that trying to be everyone’s hero only leaves you sad, unfulfilled, lost, and lonely.
Here’s the good news. With a few minor changes, you can have a successful career AND a passionate, fulfilling love life with your partner. Here are a few quick and easy tips to help you keep the fire burning in your relationship.
The majority of us have the most time to spend with our partner at night. The morning is usually riddled with rushing around trying to get ready for the day, get everyone fed, and make sure everyone has what they need for the day. Then it is off to the races, right? The day tends to fly by, often times without any communication with our partner other than “What’s for dinner?”, “Can you pick up the dry cleaning on your way home?” and other various conversations about chores or the kids. So, here’s the first easy tip: change the Nature of Your Daily communication with Your Partner through text messages.
From this point forward, ban mundane text messages like “How are you?” and any chore or kid related texts from your relationship with your partner. If you need to discuss these things, do it over the phone or through email. Going forward, choose to send only purposeful, passionate texts. Why? Because this is the one way that you can easily stay connected to your partner in a more intimate way throughout the day.
So, what is a purposeful, passionate text? Take a moment to think about something that your partner does on a daily basis that you really appreciate. It’s very easy in our daily grind to forget to show our partner appreciation for the things that they do. My husband empties the cat box every day (Ew, gross!) because he knows that I hate to do it and that I really appreciate it when he takes care of that for me.
I show him my appreciation of this by sending him a text like, “Babe, thank you so much for always emptying the stinky cat box. You are the best husband!” Now, this may seem like something small, but if he is having a rough day, he can read over this text relentlessly to remind himself of how I appreciate him.
If you want to take it one step further, you can even send spicy texts. You could start with something mildly romantic, like texting your partner a detailed memory of your first date or first kiss. If you are really feeling wild, you could even text your partner about what you might like to do to them later. That would really knock them off their feet!
This brings me to my next tip; implement the You Go First Principle in your relationship. When you want something to change in your relationship, be the one to make the first move. For example, if you are unhappy with the passion and connection in your relationship, try sending one of the texts that I suggested above to begin changing the nature of your communication with your partner.
Many people are not successful in the You Go First arena. Here’s why. As a Mompreneur, I am guessing you often come in contact with potential referral partners? When you meet someone that you think could be a good connection for your business, do you contact them once and then give up? No! Persistence pays. All good marketing and sales execs will tell you that your chances of making a sale increase significantly after you have made five connections with a potential consumer. So, the secret to the You Go First Principle is to be persistent! If you try something new with your partner and you don’t get a response immediately, don’t give up!
My final suggestion is a real quickie.
As I mentioned above, most of us have the greatest opportunity to spend time with our partner at night. Sadly, we often don’t take this opportunity. Sometimes we don’t take the time because we still have things on our to-do list or maybe we just had a rough day and don’t feel like putting forth the effort to connect.
The key to setting the tone for a great night with your partner (the kind of night where you just can’t wait until the kids go to bed so that you can be alone!) is connecting immediately when you come home together at the end of the day. There is a huge window of opportunity to connect with your partner during this transition at the end of the day. Here’s my suggestion: No matter What You Are Doing, stop everything and take Five minutes to Greet Your Partner and connect with them.
I have heard every excuse in the book as to why this is not possible. So, let me just tell you right now, you don’t have time to NOT nurture your relationship and your connection with your partner. Divorce is way too expensive. In order to be able to have this 5 minute window with your partner, you may have to explain to your kids that this is Mommy and Daddy time. Prioritize your relationship with your partner. The key to a happy family is that the parents are connected and on the same page.
I hope these tips were helpful! Feel free to get in touch if you have questions or need more tips.
Father of his 1-year-old son, Chad Stamm shares his joys and challenges as a first time dad, how he incorporates his business life at home and what he does to balance it all.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a father of a 1-year-old boy and have been living in Boulder, Colorado for about six or seven years now. Prior to that, I had been living in New York for a while and loved it. It’s a very different place to live. But when my wife’s sister and mom moved to Colorado, we saw the opportunity and decided to make the move knowing that starting a family was imminent.
The lifestyle here is great and it’s a great place to raise kids. There’s a little bit of a lack of diversity in Boulder, but we hope to mitigate that by taking our kid out to travel and expose him to things. That’s a big reason why we’re here.
Also, when I was younger, my dad took me backpacking out West in the summers. Since he was a teacher, he had the summers off and we’d pile into the camper and literally drove around the West to hike and backpack in places like the Grand Canyon, Bryce and Rocky Mountain. I really fell in love
with Rocky Mountain National Park, which is about 35 miles from Boulder.
My wife and I have been married for 7 years now. We met at the University of Florida where we are proud and happy alums. We actually went back to our college town to get married and get our pictures taken across the campus, including the 50-yard line of the football field.
A couple of months after we got married, we quit our jobs in New York and traveled to Europe for six months which was how long the money we saved up lasted.
Now that you’ve been a father for a little over a year, what has changed or happened that you didn’t expect?
When were pregnant with my son, so many of our family and friends already had kids. So, everybody told us what to expect and they all had an opinion on things. But, the one thing that nobody told me about, which was the biggest surprise, was how much comedy is involved with a kid. I’m laughing constantly. There is a constant source of entertainment and I feel like I could probably write a sitcom.
What is the most recent thing your son has done that surprised you?
Apparently, he has a thing for brunettes. We were on an airplane flying back to see my family and we were sitting next a young brunette girl. My son is kind of going through the phase now where he doesn’t like
to go to anybody else but mommy and daddy. So, we were shocked to see that all my boy wanted to do was sit on her lap and crawl all over her. He just wanted to hang out with her and didn’t want to be away from her.
Then on the return flight we had a very similar experience with another younger brunette girl who was sitting across the aisle from us. My son wouldn’t stop playing peek-a-boo with her the entire flight. It was sort of weird.
What do you enjoy most about being a father?
At this point, I think just seeing the light bulb go off in his head. Understanding that he has made a connection with something whether it’s vocabulary, an emotional thing or just a sense of enjoyment. To see that light bulb go off makes all the work worth it. That’s the rewarding part, such as the first time we put him in the swing and seeing how big his eyes got. Taking him into the pool the first time and just watching him realize that he was in a much bigger bathtub than he was used to.
My wife and I really value travel and we spent a ton of our savings doing that, as opposed to other things like buying houses. I can’t wait until he gets to the point where he understands where he’s at and where he’s going. Now it’s more of the audio-visual sensory type of thing, but once he starts connecting places, I can’t wait to travel with him.
As far as the travel stuff goes, I’m an active member of Rotary International and I actually chair the Rotary Youth Exchange Committee for our club, as well as serving on the District Committee as Country Contact for Austria,Germany and Switzerland. I’m heavily involved with the Exchange Program. One thing that we want to do is expose our son to other cultures and places. He’s going to have exchange brothers and sisters from around the world, which is going to be a big part of what we do with him.
What is your biggest challenge as a father at this point?
Interestingly enough, it is balance. Especially going through this for the first time, I didn’t really understand the workload involved. Even though we have a very easy baby, he’s still a lot
of work. In addition, add the work of starting a business, I have to balance all that. The one part, which gets put on the back burner a lot, is time between my wife and I to make sure that we’re doing things that we need to do for each other.
Another challenging part is to take some time out for myself. This is something I have to encourage my wife to do more, because she’s hesitant to do that as a mother. I believe she has to take time for herself and go out, whether it’s to go running, go meet coworkers at happy hour or whatever it might be.
I’m a creative person so I know how much I value that time and I have to haveitorIgocrazy. Asahobby,Ioil paint and write fiction. That’s my time.
It’s tough for me because my office is twenty steps from my bedroom, and I have to make sure that I put that barrier up so when I walk outside my office door, it’s family time. I have to make sure what stays in the office, literally stays in the office and it doesn’t invade my private life.
That’s certainly something that I struggle to balance with especially because he’s still young and is at home during the day. Over the next year or so, we’ll start putting him into day care. Since
the very beginning, I take Tuesdays off and spend time with my son, which I call, “Tuesdays with Sharkey.” My nickname for my baby is Sharkey just because he eats everything.
Now that he’s getting older we’re starting to do more things. This past Tuesday we went for barbecue together, which is one of my favorite things in the world. My son loves art and paintings. So, we go to the Denver Art Museum and the Van Gogh Exhibit, which was pretty special for me. We took him out of the stroller and walked into this amazing exhibit of Van Gogh paintings that we had here in Denver. We walked through the doors and I started to choke up a little bit. It was kind of cool just carrying him around, and watching him stretch his arms out and make grunting noises when he sees something that he likes. Next weekend we’re going to the Rothko Exhibit, a mid-20th century painter famous for big blocks of color and juxtapositioning reds and oranges. I think it will be a good way to teach him color.
Share with us what your business is all about?
The business name is Sitters4Charities.org and we provide parents with access to babysitters, nannies and au pairs. In the process, we make a donation to one of four charities, which the parent selects when they sign up.
Between my business partner and myself, both of our wives have always encouraged us to follow our dreams. We didn’t just want to build a company, but do something that makes a difference at the same time. We want to provide a great service and a worthy product, but also give something back to the community in the process.
Especially as a new parent, you realize quickly that many times your social schedule revolves around your child care provider’s schedule. If you’re babysitter isn’t available, then you’re not going out that night. That’s just the reality of it.
When we were creating Sitters4Charities.org, I was four months into fatherhood and started to realize the value of high quality childcare.
What does living a balanced life mean to you?
As a father, I think there are different aspects. It’s about all the requirements that come with fatherhood, being a husband and being a career-minded entrepreneur while making sure I take time for myself as well. I do my best to spend equal time on all of them. Obviously, at some point, work may take over or if you have a sick baby, the childcare takes over. It’s basically about making sure that the time spent and the emotion put into those things are equal.
What are the things that you like to do that help you maintain a sense of balance in life?
Particularly in the summertime, my wife and I just like to put the baby in a stroller and take walks around town. We are about a ten minute walk up and over the hills to downtown Boulder, CO. We enjoy the walking lifestyle. It allows us to spend time as a family. As husband and wife, we can have discussions and be present, and the baby is with us.
Also, I always like to be on the move. Travel is important for us. Taking a walk around the neighborhood isn’t traveling, but it still, in some strange sense, quenches that thirst to move, look around and explore.