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Self-Improvement

Moms Play Many Roles – And Make Great Employees Because Of It

Getting Real With Tiana Green

Moms make great employees. As natural multi-taskers, we can get a lot done in a small amount of time. We are reliable and can remain focused on the task, getting things accomplished quickly and efficiently amidst complete chaos.

Moms are used to juggling many different jobs and playing many roles. We work full time, part time, in the house, out of the house, do laundry and dishes, provide taxi service and house cleaning, provide medical care, cut hair, and do just about anything else that comes our way (often without too much complaining)!

Honestly, there were definitely times when I went to work and it was actually a relief! My “real” job was much less stressful than the jobs that I had to do at home!

It is kind of ironic, really, when I was working full time and really had to stay on top of things, it almost seemed easier to be organized and I was able to accomplish a lot!

It is important to find a balance between work and motherhood, while still squeezing in some time to be a woman. For some women it is important to have a job outside of the work at home with the house and kids. For others, it is just as important to be able to be home and focus solely on the family and children.

What is most important is figuring out the best balance for you. Each woman is different and there are many options available. As women, we need to understand that the definition of that balance is different for each woman, and support each other’s choices rather than judge them.

We need to be supportive of each other, regardless of what that balance means to each individual. That is part of what is so awesome about our lives as moms and women: we have the power to choose and make the best decision to fit our own families and lives.

Categories
Let's Talk Stress Management

Guilty Pleasures

Guilty pleasures. I guess we all have a guilty pleasure or two. A guilty pleasure can be anything from taking the time to get a manicure or pedicure, to curling up with a good book in the afternoon and ignoring the mountain of laundry, to that little pint of ice cream hidden from sight of the rest of the family. It could even be taking time out of your day to read your favorite blog! Regardless of what defines your own guilty pleasure, it is just that little thing that makes life a little sweeter; a quick escape from your reality. I can admit it. I have a few guilty pleasures of my own. I love getting a pedicure. There is just something about sitting in that massage chair being pampered, and coming out with soft feet and cute toes!

My latest guilty pleasure (if it hasn’t actually crossed the line to obsession) is watching American Idol. I look forward to it every Wednesday night to watch the performances, and every Thursday to find out who will be voted off. I don’t know if anyone else out there has been following the show this season but there is so much amazing talent!!! It has actually become quite a family event in our house. We record the show so we can fast forward through the ads and I think the kids actually look forward to it just as much as I do. Guilty pleasure or not, it has brought our family close together those two nights of the week. We all have our favorites and the competition can get pretty intense but it is a time that we all look forward to every week. I know we all love the show but I think we love the time that we spend together at least as much if not more.

We all need to have things to look forward to. There is so much worry and stress in our lives it is important to find the little things that give us that reprieve. Sometimes it is the little things that mean everything and that help us make it to the next day. If you don’t already have a guilty pleasure then finding one should be at the top of your list of priorities!

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Kid Safety Let's Talk

Driving Safely

Safety is something that we often talk about with our children. We tell them not to talk to strangers and look both ways before crossing the street. I have always tried to be a good example for my children and show them that I do the things myself, that I ask of them. As time goes on and things change in the world, so do the things that we have to teach our children about especially with regard to being safe.

As unbelievable as it may be to our children, we did not have telephones with us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week growing up. Our parents did not have to talk to us about the dangers of operating a motor vehicle and using the phone, or more importantly texting while driving. I am quickly approaching the time that I will have a teenager in the house anxiously awaiting to take the step into the dangerous world of being able to drive. Ok, so she has already begun the countdown but I am just not there yet!

With this idea soon to become a reality in our house I have realized that I must set the correct example for her now. We have all answered the text or answered the phone while driving. What we have to remember is that it can happen in that split second. Maybe not the first time or the second time but the point is that we never know. Texting and driving is nothing short of deadly. What message would I be sending to her if I was telling her not to use the phone and text while driving if I were doing it myself?

There are a lot of messages, movements, and public service announcements that talk about not texting while driving. But just like so many other lessons in life our children learn what they see. As much as we may doubt it at times our children learn the majority of life’s lessons from their parents and watching what they do and say. This is one lesson that I have committed to leading by example for my children. NO TEXTING WHILE DRIVING. Our lives and the lives of those around us depend on it!

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Let's Talk Stress Management

Friendship

Friends are important in everyone’s life but I think it is especially important for women to have friends to help put things that happen in our lives in perspective. We need to feel connected and have someone to commiserate with about life. Talking with close friends has always helped me work through various different stages in my life. I have friends that have been through so many things with me, from divorce and becoming a single mom, to entering the dating world that I had never previously experienced prior to my marriage at such a young age. Friends truly make the world a better place.

I don’t believe that I ever took my friends for granted, but when I moved to another state I realized the important role that they have always played in my life. Relocating my entire life has brought about so many changes. Almost all of them being amazing and great, but changes just the same. The one drawback has been leaving my friends and everything I knew as my life. I have met a few great friends here as well but it is not easy to build new friendships after being in the same place for so many years. I had friends at work, in my neighborhood, and I rarely went somewhere that I didn’t see someone that I knew. There was always someone ready to go shopping or out to lunch. So many friends and so little time!

Regardless of gender, age, or location, developing and maintaining solid friendships is important to our health and well-being. Having good friends, as we all probably know from experience, helps lower stress levels and promotes overall good health. It may not always be easy to forge new friendships but it is a necessity to achieve the happiness and sense of belonging that only true friendship provides. And the payoff is immeasurable!

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Let's Talk Teens and Tweens

Inheriting Teenage Stepchildren

When you marry into a family and inherit teenage stepchildren, you will encounter a different set of challenges than if you marry into a family with younger children. Older children, particularly tweens and teens, are already struggling to establish an identity of their own and establish a place within the family that is more concrete and individual. When you come along as stepparent and rock the boat, it can cause a great deal of stress for the teen.

One thing to realize when becoming a stepparent to a teenager is that the more you can respect him or her as an individual and the better you are able to treat him or her like a person separate from the biological parent you have married, the more likely you will be to gain his or her respect.

Talk to and treat your teen stepchild the way you wish to be treated and talked to. Teens, biological and step alike, are notorious for being experts at making adults lose their otherwise even tempers, but the better you are able to remain calm or even walk away when you have to, the easier you will be able to manage a real relationship with your teen stepchild.

You have a real opportunity with your step children to develop the relationship that will take them into adulthood. Teens struggle with so many things — peer pressure, future life, self-esteem, school — that another positive role model in their lives can be very helpful. However, most teens will initially feel threatened by your presence, so be straight with them. Let them know that you respect them and aren’t there to interfere, that you want to be a part of their lives but that you don’t expect them to think of you as Mom or Dad.

Don’t try to win their admiration by being the “cool” parent who provides alcohol or lets them get away with everything. Be clear about supporting the expectations of the household, but be there, too. Be patient and allow the relationship to build slowly. Step parents are often the “safest” people teens have to talk to — and they may turn to you for advice on everything from relationships to school problems if you give them the chance.

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Let's Talk Travel

Family Vacations

I will always remember the summer vacations that I took with my family while I was growing up. Not only did we get to go to some really neat places, but it was a time when my dad was not working and we were just spending time together as a family. I always looked forward to our summer trips. It didn’t really matter where we went or what we did as much as the quality time that we spent together. I will admit, however, going to the beach, Knott’s Berry Farm, Disneyland, and Hollywood were some pretty awesome places to go on a family vacation!

Regardless of where you go or what you do, family vacations are an important part of a child’s life. It reinforces what you value as parents as well as family values and traditions. We always went to Southern California to visit my wonderful grandparents. I can feel the anticipation of our arrival at their house like it was just yesterday. I feel the excited butterflies in my stomach just like I did all those years ago. My grandparents always made sure we had the best time while we were there. I loved my grandmother’s cooking, our trips to Del Taco and the arcade at the mall with our dad. We had so much fun!

For my family, we are Nascar lovers. Just after my husband and I got married he took me to my first race in Las Vegas. Once you see a live race, nothing can compare! So, we have chosen to make it a family tradition to take our children to that same race every year. Near the end of February or the beginning of March we load up in the van and enjoy a long weekend of fun enjoying the Nascar race and all of the other fun family attractions Las Vegas has to offer. Hopefully we are creating the kinds of memories for our children that they can look back on, as I do, of our fun family vacations!

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Let's Talk Making a Difference

Appreciation

Showing appreciation for our friends and family is one of the most important things that we can do for ourselves and those we love. When we show someone how much we appreciate who they are and what they do it makes everyone feel so good. In our busy lives it is so easy to take the special people in our lives for granted, it is more important than ever to put in the extra effort to let people know they are appreciated. The more positive things we do and express to the people in our lives the more positive the energy becomes all around us.

Our attitudes and how we express our feelings can play a huge role in our personal happiness and the happiness of those around us. I really believe it is all of the little things that really count. I always try to start the day with a smile, especially when I greet my husband and children for the day. I think this small effort on my part makes a big difference in the way our days begin! Trust me, it is not every morning that my children wake up with big smiles on their faces but when they see me smiling it makes it a little bit harder to greet me with a frown in return.

I want everyone in my life to know how much I appreciate the fact that they are a part of my life. I don’t ever want to lose someone that is important to me and wonder if they knew how much I appreciated them. I think when you lose someone close to you it makes the importance of appreciation of the time that you have had with them and others in your life become much clearer. If everyone, every day, tried to do something to show appreciation for someone in their life I think everyone would be much happier. Show someone you love an extra bit of appreciation and see what a difference it can make!

Categories
Let's Talk Parenting

Differences in Our Children

Not all children are created equal. We have five children and each one of them could not be more different from the next. One of our children in particular is extremely head-strong, stubborn, and a challenge at every turn. We try to embrace their differences and encourage their individuality. Some days are easier than others.

One thing I try to keep in mind is that some of the qualities that make children a challenge to raise and parent are the same qualities that will make very successful adults. Having a strong personality and knowing what you want and how to get it can be qualities that will ensure success in a career and other adult relationships and avenues. That being said, these kinds of personality traits can be extremely difficult to parent and manage as we navigate through the teenage years. I try to remember that the differences that are present in each one of our children, both positive and negative, are part of what makes them who they are. We love them and the little people that they are, with the promise of their impending adulthood that is sure to come.

Being a parent is by far the most difficult job I have ever taken on. I do my best every day and hope that the love and guidance that we provide to our children will pay off and give them what they need to make good choices for their lives. It is amazing how fast they grow and change from that tiny little infant that depends on you for the smallest things, to the young adults that begin making decisions about the direction they want their lives to go. Being a parent is an amazing, life-changing journey that I treasure every day of my life.

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Doing it Alone

A new relationship…..

Starting a new relationship as a single parent can be quite a challenge. You have to balance your own wants and needs with that of your children. There are scheduling conflicts and challenges. And then there is the issue of the children’s other parent and the input that they often like to have; whether they are solicited opinions or not. Roll all of that into one and you have a big jumbled mess that can take quite a lot of skill to maintain. Unfortunately, for most people that skill is learned through trial and error.

You’ve been a single mom for a long time, raising your children, sharing the duty with their biological father, and now you’ve finally met someone special with whom you want to share your life. You’ve been cautious about exposing your children to the men you date, but this is “the” one, so now your fiancé/new husband is developing a relationship with your child.

These first steps in introducing your choice of new partner can be very strenuous on everyone involved. You want your children to love this new person as much as you do. Hopefully, if there are children on both sides they will like each other and get along well. There are so many different layers of the relationship and family that have to blend and fit to make a solid cohesive family unit. It is one of the most challenging aspects in the beginning of a new life and love. But with a lot of work and perseverance it is also the most rewarding.

The way you behave in this situation will have a remarkable impact on your children.  You have the opportunity to teach your children to be respectful, to accept change gracefully. You will show them that no matter what happens in life and no matter what changes occur, you love them enough to handle it and be there for them and that in many instances life will be even better than before.

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Doing it Alone

Single Parent and Dating

Being a single parent in the dating world can be a very difficult situation. You are faced with balancing all of the responsibilities you have as a parent with the needs and desires of an adult looking for someone special to spend your time with. Of course you always want to make your children the first priority but sometimes that is a lot easier to say and a lot more challenging to accomplish.

I think most parents really want to focus on their children and make them the first priority, but let’s face it; we are also adults with needs and wants as well. It is extremely important to find and maintain the balance of these two very different worlds in a way that works for your situation. When I was single, it almost felt like I was living two completely different lives. I was only dating when my kids were at their dad’s house, which averaged out to be about 6-8 days in a month. What makes these kinds of situations difficult is when you meet someone that you really want to spend your time with.

This is where the balancing act really comes into play. You have to decide at what point you will allow someone to be around your children. How long do you date someone before you will allow that to happen? In what type of setting will the introduction take place? Do you wait until you are in a potentially more serious relationship? I wish I could say that I have the magic answer but I don’t. You have to do some real soul searching and look at your children and their personalities, ages, and the length of time they have had to adjust to your divorce. Try to think of the situation from their perspective and take their feelings into consideration before making this decision. You must be mindful and realistic to your children’s position, feelings, and point of view in this delicate situation. With your loving care and guidance this can be done successfully!