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As we say every year, “Wow! I can’t experiences that shape us to believe the holidays are near!” grow and take us to another level I’m always amazed on how time of love, compassion, empathy, seems to fly by each year. For me, confidence and self-worth. All this time comes with feelings of elements that make our world a celebration and disappointments. better place. I look back and see how far my businesses have developed, my Last Fall we had our 2nd Annual family has grown and the lessons Mom Entrepreneur Success I’ve learned from my experiences. Conference. It was such an inspirational and heart-filled day.

For many, the tendency is to to see so many hard-working look at what wasn’t completed or accomplished and not really celebrate what went right. I think it’s good practice to see where and why we fell short in reaching some of our goals, but I also believe that reviewing the accomplishments is just as important. In addition, being thankful for the journey that shapes us into becoming the type of person we are meant to be in this world is the foundation of an abundant and happy life.

This year, let’s celebrate our journey for what it is..and passionate business people connecting and growing to take their lives to another level.

In the opening ceremony, we displayed one of my favorite quotes that capture the core of my message.

A strong woman knows she has strength enough for the journey, but a woman of strength knows it is the journey where she will become strong.” – CJ Lewis

NAFBM wishes you a fulfilled and blessed holiday season!

Jennifer Griner, Editor In Chief

My Baby's Smile

by Nancy Mueller

I remember the first time my baby smiled at me; it filled me up in a way that words cannot describe.

As my baby got older, my most important goal was to make her life happy. I soon realized that there were many things I would have to learn to be the best mom I could be.

I had to learn about nutrition, fevers, happy tears, sad tears, fears, wants, needs, when to give in, when to stay firm, but never how to love; that came easy.

The job of “mom” can be rewarding, challenging, exhausting, frustrating, surprising, and even insightful; but it’s that smile on your child’s face that makes it all worthwhile.

I heard a story about a famous research scientist who had made several very important medical breakthroughs. When interviewed by a local newspaper, he was asked why he thought he was able to succeed so much more that the average person, to be so much more creative than the average person? In other words, what set him so far apart from others?

He responded that, in his opinion, it all came from a lesson his mother taught him when he was 2 years old. He’d been trying to take a bottle of milk out of the refrigerator, when he lost his grip and spilled the entire contents on the kitchen floor. His mother, instead of scolding him, said, “What a wonderful mess you’ve made! I’ve rarely seen such a huge puddle of milk. Well, the damage is already done. Would you like to get down and play in the milk before we clean it up?”

Indeed he did. And, after a few minutes, his mother continued, “You know, whenever you make a mess like this, eventually you will have to clean it up. So, how would you like to do that? We could use a towel, sponge or mop. Which do you prefer?

After they were finished cleaning up the milk, she said, “What we have here is a failed experiment in how to carry a big bottle of milk with two tiny hands. Let’s go out in the backyard, fill the bottle with water and see if you can discover a way to carry it without dropping it.” And they did!

Nancy Mueller

What a wonderful lesson! The scientist then remarked it was at that moment he knew he didn’t have to be afraid to make mistakes. Instead, he learned that mistakes were just opportunities for learning something new – which, after all, is what scientific experiments are all about. I am so happy I read that story while my daughters were growing up because it reminded me that no amount of spilled milk or failed experiments were worth taking a chance of damaging a child’s self-esteem.

Teaching our child a high sense of self-esteem is a gift that will take them through their lifetime AND keep that beautiful smile on their face.

My daughter is now a mother herself, and from the first time my grandson smiled at me…

by Shaila Saint, M.ED and Mollie Bennett

We are in the final days of September as this article is submitted. So let’s see…kids back to school?…check. Some sort of a system and schedule in place for extra curricular activities?…at least half a check. So can we take a breath and get to know our new driving routes, before being lured off the road to buy Halloween costumes, turkey roasters, and Hanukkah napkins?

Not likely. The unrelenting marketing madness has begun, and it can make us feel like we’ve fallen behind, we will never get it all done, and we will always be out of balance. Add the anticipation of out-of-town guests or long travel days, financial constraints, and family drama, and ho ho NO , the bells don’t sound quite so jingly. Ideally, this out-of-sorts feeling is not the way we want to start the season.

While we may never be totally immune to the pressures surrounding the holiday rush, if we remember 3 simple yogic principles for balancing in a tree pose, and apply them to checking in with ourselves this holiday season, we may be surprised at how clear and connected we may become to our own values and to what truly brings us joy this time of year.

1. ESTABLISHING OUR FOUNDATION (ROOTS):

In order to balance physically, we start by setting a strong foundation in our feet, rooting them in the ground, which establishes and supports the rest of our body from our legs, on up. To establish our foundation during the holiday season, start by asking yourself, “What are the foundations, roots, and traditions for the holidays that are firm and that I want to remain strong?” “Are there some simpler ways that I may have celebrated the holidays in my early life that I want to reestablish with my family now?” These types of questions can really help you stay grounded, mellow everything out, downplay the commercialization and “up” play the quality time and creativity. Plus, very often, children are fascinated by something they know mom or dad did as a child. So break out those felt and sequin ornaments from when you were the 3rd grader!

2. FINDING OUR CENTER (TRUNK):

To find our center to balance physically, we work to engage the strongest part of our body–our core- -for added strength and power. To find your center during the holiday season, ask yourself, “What do I know to be true for my life/my family at this time of year?” When focusing on our center or truth, it’s important to tap into the values and traditions you’d like to continue with your family, while gently letting go of the ones that don’t work. Taking time to reflect on your truths may bring up a variety of thoughts and feelings, because we know that not all family and holiday memories may be positive ones. Setting boundaries, while sometimes difficult, can be the difference between sanity and insanity at this time of year. Not every party needs to be attended, not every acquaintance needs to receive a perfectly wrapped gift, and not every need of your high maintenance cousin needs to be catered to! Remember that we are in charge of shaping this experience for our families now, and sometimes owning that can be difficult.

3. KEEPING OUR FOCUS (HIGHER BIRD):

Finding our focus when we balance physically, means finding an immovable point or spot beyond us in which to hold and steady our gaze. To find and keep our focus this holiday season, envision the end goal or big picture by asking, “What do I want my family to remember about their holiday seasons in our home? If you were a bird, flying over your holiday “tree”, what would you see now, and what would you like to see? Start making small changes based on that higher viewpoint. No rush or pressure, you’re just gradually creating what you envision for your family.

Finally, here are a few concrete ideas to think about for maintaining balance during the holidays:

If your children are chomping at the bit for the newest toys and video games they are already seeing advertised, then why not start that wish list nice and early? They can edit for a while, working out the urgency they feel for each thing they see, and deciding what they want the most. It will help you spend your hard-earned money as effectively as possible.

Eating, cooking together, sharing family recipes, and any activity surrounding food is such a great way to bridge the age gaps. A low tech and tactile experience like a cookie making party (with as many generations as possible in attendance) makes for wonderful memories and natural learning opportunities.

Forgo the impeccably wrapped presents. Choose one or two basic papers or gift bags, and one or two coordinating ribbons, and let your kids go at it. The perfectionist in us may cringe a bit at the results, but honestly, we all know Grandma will love their creations much more!

So when the holiday frenzy starts to bombard you, remember that you can always focus back on the three fundamental elements of balance – your roots, your trunk, and your higher view of your family holiday tree. We hope this will help you clarify and create what is most important to you this season.

Joyful balance to you and yours!

Lacy Arnold - Holistic Fitness

by Jennifer Griner

Although, Lacy Arnold struggled with becoming a mom and with her weight, she candidly shares her journey that led her to win a bikini competition and a thriving wellness business as a mom.

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.

Lacy ArnoldI grew up in a large family and I always wanted babies from the time I was about 2 years old. My biggest dream in life was to be a mother, but that didn’t easily happen for me. I had years of struggle and infertility. But now I am a mom of 3 wonderful kids.

One of my passions is health and fitness. I have a degree in Health and Wellness and I am certified as a Personal Trainer and Nutritionist.

I was always interested in that field. I love being in the outdoors and being really active.

I own LeanMoms.com, which is a company for moms that provides a holistic healthy lifestyle program. And I’m also a co-owner of a meditation company called, Sculptations.com, a scientifically engineered audio tool that anyone can use to sculpt the life he or she wants. I help write the scripts for the guided meditations.

WHAT WAS YOUR JOURNEY THAT LED YOU TO CREATE YOUR HEALTH AND WELLNESS BUSINESSES?

Lacy ArnoldIt was kind of a long process. Before I had children I got into the health field, earned my degree and certifications. I was fascinated about how women’s bodies function differently and why they need special care, especially after they have children.

For me, after undergoing through years of infertility treatments, it took a toll on my self-esteem as well as my body image. I’d gain 10-20 pounds, then I’d lose some and then gain them back. Finally, after 5 years, I finally got pregnant.

During that time, I wanted to make sure I did everything right, even though I wasn’t sure what that was. So, I ate a lot, because I felt I needed to feed the baby also. I ended up gaining an additional 65 pounds through that pregnancy.

At that time, my main focus was to get pregnant and have the baby. My perception of a mom growing up was that after you have a baby, your body is just shot and you would be fat forever and that’s just the way it is.

Even though I was so ecstatic to be a mom, I remember looking in the mirror one day and just feeling depressed with what I saw. I didn’t feel good. I didn’t have enough energy and I wanted more. Then I felt guilty for feeling bad, because I wanted to be a mom so badly and I had what I wanted.

I started researching and doing different weight loss programs. A lot of them were unhealthy ways. And as a mom, I was stressed out and displayed a lot of emotional eating behaviors.

Then I went on to have two more babies through IVF. As a result, my body was just shot by the time I had my third baby. I felt like I was 60 years old. I really wanted real and lasting change. So, I just took the bull by the horns and decided that I needed to create a way for moms to feel better.

I formulated and followed a health and fitness program, competed in a couple of bikini competitions and won one of them, which was huge for me because I started at over 200 pounds and ended up winning an NPC bikini competition!

So, that stirred up my passion and showed me that moms can be fit, lean and sexy. The question was how to balance it all correctly. It doesn’t have to be something that takes you away from your family or is another task on your to do list per se. You can incorporate all these things that I teach in my Lean Moms program into your everyday life.

WHAT DOES LEAN MOMS OFFER?

Leanmoms.comLean Moms is a company based on a holistic program for busy moms. We are just in the process of launching a new program, which has 4 parts and starts with resetting their bodies by doing a detox cleanse. The second piece is reintroducing nutrients for moms specifically, because their bodies get so depleted through childbirth and everything. It’s based on following a whole foods meal plan. Thirdly, there are 15 minute fat- burning workouts you can do at once or break it up throughout the day for amazing results.

My philosophy is going back to our primal state when fitness was incorporated into people’s everyday lives.

Lastly, my favorite part is the mindset component, which is one of the pieces that gets overlooked when striving for a healthy lifestyle. The mindset component is meditation based on MRT Technology to retrain your brain. I have one on emotional eating, ideal body image, as well as, a relaxation one before going to sleep and when you wake up.

TELL US ABOUT SCULPTATIONS.COM.

My business partner and I create audio meditations using MRT technology, which is a unique combination of binaural beats, heartbeat, and breathing technology along with empowering music that are all specially engineered to train your brain for success.

Each MindSculpting Track is scientifically proven to affect brain wave patterns to induce positive effects. This includes laser-like focus, enhanced creativity, greater problem-solving capabilities, and an accelerated learning capacity.

My business partner writes the harmonic meditations and I write the scripts for the guided meditations. We launched the company, because we felt that a lot of people didn’t really understand the benefits of meditation and we wanted people to benefit from this type of technology.

We offer various types of guided meditations for every aspect of your life, such as wealth, health and relationships. And we also have a kid series, which I’m very excited about, because I’m passionate about finding different ways for kids to feel healthier. My own kids had anxiety issues and so meditations help with self-esteem and relaxation at night.

WHAT TOP ADVICE WOULD YOU SHARE WITH MOMS WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH GETTING HEALTHY AND/OR FEELING GOOD ABOUT HER BODY AND HERSELF?

Lacy ArnoldMy best advice is to just start. Just to do one thing. It could be no soda this week. Sometimes starting an entire health regimen can be so overwhelming. I know about that because I’ve been there. However, a little bit of progress is better than no progress. Set short time goals.

You can start small and as you start to see some results, it’s going to change the way you feel. You’re going to like it and continue doing it. Many of us just tend to dive in where we have to do something perfect or nothing at all. I always tell my clients that if they mess up, like eat something

they weren’t supposed to or didn’t do that workout, to start over right then instead of waiting to start again on the next Monday or tomorrow.

People say everyday is a new day, but my philosophy is it’s a new hour. You always have the new time in front of you to shift, forgive yourself and get back on track.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO A MOM WHO JUST HAD HER FIRST BABY AND IS STRUGGLING WITH HER BODY IMAGE?

I would say to be patient with yourself, but do something. You can start slow and know that your skin will return somewhat normal. You’re always going to have some scars or marks from pregnancy, which I call badges of honor. Your body is just different after having a baby.

My new program is based on what happens after you have babies. Your fat cells multiply and your hormones shift. So, you’re more apt to store fat. Some moms lose weight when they are nursing, but they also need to be more careful when they stop nursing.

There’s a way around it where you’re not starving all the time and you don’t need to work out for 2 hours a day. You can have a lean body after your baby.

Be patient and love yourself. Be proud of the accomplishment you did with having your child. Enjoy that time.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO LIVE A MORE BALANCED LIFE?

There are a couple of things to avoid entrepreneurial meltdown or Mommy meltdown. Make sure you set boundaries for yourself. So often we just let everything happen.

Lacy Arnold

Some of my boundaries are no technology or electronics on Sundays. We’ll spend time reading together, go on hikes or go to the Farmer’s Market. I admit that it’s hard for me to go without technology, but I learned the hard way.

My other is that I refuse to miss my workouts. Maybe I’m strapped to the computer all day, but I’ll take breaks every hour and do 50 squats or 25 push-ups. I have to fit it in my daily life.

Also, I make sure I’m present when I have dinner with my family and to tuck my daughters in bed at night. These are things I refuse to compromise on no matter how busy I am or what’s going on in my life.

SHARE SOMETHING DIFFERENT OR UNIQUE ABOUT YOU THAT MAY SURPRISE PEOPLE WHO KNOW YOU.

When you’re in a health business, people always think that you don’t have moments where you don’t eat well, but pizza is my huge weakness.

My weight fluctuates too. I don’t let it get out of control, but there are times where I just let my hair down. I don’t always look as perfect as I do on my website.

Ashley Arn

by Dr. Ashley Arn, PsyD

The holidays can be an amazing time for relationships… and simultaneously a disastrous time as well! Some of us moms relish in the idea of family time, while others would prefer to get away to Hawaii. Family get-togethers can quickly become intense, hostile, and overwhelming if you and your partner are on different pages about the holidays.

One of the most important issues to address first is the topic of family traditions. Many couples struggle each year with the age-old dilemma of whose family they should see on which day, when, and how. Sometimes just the idea of managing the holidays can feel so overwhelming that we quickly prefer to just hibernate and pretend like they will never come. I have literally seen these types of arguments result in all kinds of hurt feelings and sometimes even long-term wars between family members.

The holidays can be such an amazing time to connect with your family and create memories that will last a lifetime. The secret to holiday bliss is staying connected to your partner, regardless of the inevitable ups and downs that will likely ensue. By just simply putting a couple of small steps into place, you can easily stay connected to your main squeeze throughout the holiday season.

Here are some ways to ensure that you and your partner can enjoy the holidays together and make them as special for your family as possible.

Step #1 Acknowledge & accept each other’s values

Many people differ in terms of the importance of family traditions. There are those that want to celebrate the holidays just like they did as a kid. There are also people who want to create their own traditions with their new family unit. Implementing new and old traditions in your family can be the perfect solution. Have you ever sat down and talked with your partner (not argued) so that you could really understand what pieces of the holidays are the most important to them? It’s worth a conversation. Arguments, specifically surrounding family traditions, usually happen when we try to meet our partner’s needs in the way that we get our own needs met. Basically, this means that we assume that our partner wants just what we want and that’s what makes them feel good. However, especially when it comes to family traditions, it is essential to really understand what values are important to you and your partner so that each person can get their holiday needs met.

I hear many couples say “The holidays are all about the kids.” Well, yes and no. Both parents being happy in their intimate relationship is the cornerstone of a happy family. If you and your partner are distant or arguing, the entire family feels the tension. In order for you to have a memorable holiday experience, you and your partner have to be on the same page.

The type of conversation that I am suggesting can be very simple. Plan ahead. As soon as you read this article, ask your partner when the two of you can sit down for a quick chat about how you would like the holidays to go.

During this meeting, you can ask these questions:

  • “What are the most important parts of the holidays for you?”
  • “What would you like the holidays to look like?”(as in spending time with who, when, and where)
  • “How can we make sure that we have some time alone with just our family (you, me, and the kids) and how can we make that special?”
  • “What time can we set aside just for you and I?” I am suggesting that you prioritize

I am suggesting that you prioritize your immediate family, but I am also aware that of course you are going to want to do your best to keep both partners extended families happy as well. Melding the values of different generations can be complicated. Parents, grandparents, and other family members often seem to want something far different than what feels important to us. Sometimes it feels so hopeless that we quickly end up giving into to certain family traditions even though we dread the event and then end up having a bad attitude the whole time we are there.

Start by appreciating and accepting differences between the generations. This will set the tone for a renegotiation of what is important in the present.

Once you have determined how both of you would like the holidays to go, strategize a plan and work together to do your best to make sure your plan happens. At the same time, it is also important to be realistic and flexible. As long as you are both doing your best to meet one another’s needs in the way you agreed upon, it will be much easier to work together as a team through any obstacles that come up throughout the holiday season.

Step #2 Emotionally connect no matter where you are

Acknowledging reality, you may end up in a boring situation together over the holidays. When things may feel a little stressful or boring, you can still maximize your connection with each other. Take a moment here or there to share a laugh about something funny or to flirt a little.

I know that I am always harping on the awesomeness of text messages, but when you are in a non-ideal holiday situation, you can really use text messages to your advantage.

You can text your partner something romantic, funny, what you wish the two of you could be doing, or simply just a text of appreciation. This can also be a great opportunity to make your partner feel special when you are in a crowded room of people.

The fact that the text message is just between the two of you makes it a secret, which creates an instant emotional connection.

However, if text messages aren’t your thing, you can always make up a random excuse to pull your partner aside, give them a quick kiss, embrace, or whisper a sweet nothing. Staying emotionally connected will continue to fuel the love and passion in your relationship.

Step #3 Practice mom-care

In addition to making sure you set aside time together, it is also essential that you practice mom balance. Self- care is critical through the holidays and will keep you the healthiest possible. Take a couple of minutes now to think about what truly makes you feel good and relaxed. Maybe it’s getting up before everyone else and having a cup of coffee and a little alone time (I know that is one of my favorites!). Maybe it means setting aside time for a workout. Don’t give into the hype of what helps other people relax, genuinely focus on what makes you feel good. If you just add “self-care” exercises that other people suggest to your to-do list you will just end up more stressed out. Setting aside even five minutes a day to rock out to your favorite music, take some deep breaths, or focus on what you are grateful for will help keep you calm and focused.

These three simple steps are a recipe for holiday success!

I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season!

by Nancy Mueller

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!

About the Guest Author:
Nancy MuellerNancy Mueller is a published Author of Chocolate or Vanilla, Life Is All About Choices, a Motivational speaker and a success coach for Women. Whether it’s in life or in business, Nancy shows women how to create New Beginnings. As a student and teacher of the Martial Arts, she utilizes the philosophies of the Martial Arts to enable women to tap into their inner strength and then… step into their power. Nancy believes that once a woman begins to realize the power from within, she will start to ask herself, “If I can do that, what else can I accomplish?” The possibilities then become endless.
Nancy looks forward to contributing to your success; simply contact her at NewBeginningsWithNancy.com

by Emma Santizo, LCSW and Tara Farajian, LCSW

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. One or two weeks prior to your child going back to school, start setting their bedtime and wake- up routine.
  4. Have your child participate with getting their backpack ready for school and organizing specific places for their school items.
  5. Discuss your expectations of them and how that will affect what activi-
    ties they plan on participating in.
  6. Discuss and review your expectations of homework time with your kids.
  7. Discuss with them chores and your expectations of them on a daily and/or on a weekly basis.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Remind your child that you love them unconditionally.

Here are a few tips for mothers to get ready for back to school time:

  1. Plan ahead by buying school materials and or clothes.
  2. Have your child pick their clothes out the night before.
  3. Discuss the school lunch menu with your child and see what days they would like home lunches.
  4. Prepare lunches the night before.
  5. Give your kids enough time to get ready for school by waking them up earlier than usual.
  6. 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.
  7. Be mindful of the voice you use when waking up the kids. Instead of yelling, be excited for them.
  8. 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.
  9. Make sure they know how much you love them every day.
  10. Make sure to treat yourself to a smoothie or something for planning ahead and making your transition back to school as smooth as possible.
  11. Enjoy!

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.

by Dr. Ashley Arn, PsyD

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.

Chad Stamm - Dad's Point of View

by Jennifer Griner

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.

Chad Stamm and familyThe 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?

Chad Stamm's sonApparently, 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.

Chad Stamm and familyMy 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.

Chad StammNow 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?

Sitters4CharitiesThe 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.