Stairway to Awesomeness!

1173761_525274937543424_65570806_nToday, I would like to share the story of a truly awesome woman who turned her life around and is now sharing her stories with the world through her book, Stairway to Awesomeness.

Are You Being an Awesome Person?

Life is hard and it isn’t always fair. And sometimes… life isn’t just hard, it’s downright INSANE! Being a parent presents a whole new set of challenges, responsibilities and insanity. Sometimes trying to cope with all of the stresses of parenthood can really wear you down and it can seriously affect your mental health and well being. Especially if you are struggling as a person to begin with and this is something that I experienced for many years.

Throughout the challenges of my life, I experienced many of life’s seemingly insurmountable blows. For many years I lived a dark, disturbing, depressing, miserable and reckless existence as a result, even as a parent. I was an angry, negative person that kept blaming and justifying my self-destructive words, actions and behavior on the crappy hand that life dealt me instead of accepting accountability. Then… I hit rock bottom, took a life time-out, figured out what I had to do to get back to good and reinvented myself into a strong, happy, positive and “awesome” person, parent and role model.

My book, Stairway to Awesomeness, is my tragedy-to-triumph life story that I wrote in an effort to inspire people to live a life of “awesomeness”. The 30 fundamental steps that I write and illustrate about are all about:

  • Teaching people how to embrace the insanity of life and focus on the positive lessons, the blessings and the humor…even in the face of adversity.
  • Learning how to think before you speak/react and living with an accepting open mind.
  • Learning how and why you should change your way of thinking about many things we have been conditioned to believe so you stop setting yourself up for emotional failure.
  • Learning how to communicate and release anger, negativity and toxic drama in a positive way. And
  • Learning how to ultimately being an awesome role model and encouraging others to do the same.

So it’s not a book about parenthood. However, it will teach you about how to be an awesome person in life, which in turn will certainly and ultimately help you be a better parent.

I often hear parents say that they don’t take time for themselves, take care of themselves and/or reward themselves. Yes, children are a great priority. But just because you are a parent, it doesn’t mean that you forget about your own happiness and living life to the fullest. Taking time for yourself, taking care of yourself and rewarding yourself is not selfish. It is important and necessary. It is essential for your mental health. This is something else that I focus on in the book a great deal.

Cynthia Sue LarsonMBA, best-selling author and intuitive life coach advanced reviewed my book and said: “”This is the perfect book for every parent to keep in their own time-out room…Highly recommended!” So if you aren’t living life to the fullest and you are struggling with some of the things I have mention above, please do take a time-out to read my book and discover your own awesomeness so you can ultimately be an awesome parent! =)

Stairway to AWESOMENESS! Buy the Book! http://amzn.to/16JTp0b

VIDEO Book Trailer!http://youtu.be/nDdJy_9Ce7Y

Enter the Comic Strip Mama™ Blog Tour of AWESOMENESS Extravaganza Giveaway for your chance to win some AWESOME prizes!

http://www.comicstripmama.com/STAIRWAY-TO-AWESOMENESS.html

 

The Power of Touch

download (5)I recently read an article about an Australian woman who prematurely gave birth to twins, and while one of the twins was fine, the other was pronounced dead after the doctors worked on him for twenty minutes. The mother unwrapped her lifeless baby from his blanket and held him against her skin, cuddling, kissing and talking to him. Miraculously, after two hours of skin-to-skin contact from his mother, the baby began to breathe and open his eyes. There is a lot of talk about the importance and benefits that come from skin-to-skin contact between mothers and newborns, but this instance of healing power is simply astonishing!

According to www.unicef.org, skin- to-skin contact between newborns and their mothers can have the following, and other additional benefits:
• Calm and relax both mother and baby
• Regulates heart rate and breathing in the baby
• Stimulates digestion
• Regulates temperature
• [Provides] protection against infection

And I have a feeling that the importance of a loving touch never fades as your child grows up. For example, what does your child need when he scrapes his knee? A band-aid and a kiss on the boo-boo usually can wipe away the tears. And as adults, even we find comfort and a slight release of stress after being held in a good, long embrace. There is definitely something to be said about the power of touch.

Holding and snuggling your little ones is easy when they are babies, but as they become older, it may be challenging. Try setting aside special snuggle time each night before bed; a time when the two of you can cuddle up and read, sing or talk about your day. This may be a great routine for a few years, but older kids, aka “young adults”, may present even more of a challenge. However, you can sneak around their “too cool” exterior and make it a point to give them a hug when they come home from school each day, and before they go to bed each night. As long as their friends don’t know about it, you should be fine. In short, just remember to hug and kiss your kids as much as possible, no matter how old they are, because it just may be good for their health.

Article: http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/06/mother-brings-baby-back-to-life-with-two-hours-of-loving-cuddles-after-doctors-pronounce-him-dead.html?m=1

Reference: http://www.unicef.org.uk/BabyFriendly/Resources/Guidance-for-Health-Professionals/Learning-about-breastfeeding/Skin-to-skin-contact/

Cut the Chord, But Don’t Lose Sight

Kids-walkingWhile walking around the zoo, or anywhere in public for that matter, you can’t help but take notice of the people around you, how their kids behave, and how they respond. You tend to secretly judge the parents who are too busy gossiping to notice that their kids are running amuck, and pangs of envy hit you when a family of perfect angels walks by as your child decides to throw a fit. You see some parents who opt to put their kids on leashes rather than chase them, or teach them to stay near. Then other parents struggle to push their eight-year-old in a stroller which had been outgrown years ago. Unfortunately, those situations are probably just glimpses into how these parents deal with their kids on a daily basis, and the thought of what kind of adults those kids will turn into makes me shudder. The good news is that there’s a solution; find the middle ground.

Children should be encouraged to be independent, but you can’t just let them go, and you can’t hover over them either. Kids need to be given guidelines and boundaries, and to be taught right from wrong. Maybe more importantly, they need the opportunity to try things out, make mistakes, and then learn from those mistakes. As a parent, it is your job to A) know that your kids aren’t getting into harmful sorts of things, B) support and applaud their good choices, and C) be there when they make wrong choices and teach them why they were wrong. In short, independent, well-adjusted kids are raised by parents who are actively involved in their lives, but who also allow them to explore life in their own way. If we do our best to raise our children to rationally think, and appropriately act on their own accord, then they actually may make this world a better place.

The Fence

580329_501216786604196_979449597_nI came across this on the web and wanted to share. Sometimes our kids need to physically get their frustrations out and sometimes they need a visual to truly understand what they have done. The sooner we teach our children respect, control, and compassion, the sooner we heal and change our world.

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.Over the next few weeks as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily, gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.


Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said “you have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.” You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there. Make sure you control your temper the next time you are tempted to say something you will regret later. ~Author Unknown

The Golden Rule

imagesCAYVGU0BThis week the Supreme Court ruled that the federal act DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) is unconstitutional. In short, this now means that gay couples who marry are now not restricted from the rights that straight couples have. These rights include, but are not limited to, not being taxed for their partner’s health insurance, Social Security benefits, and spouses can now sponsor their foreign partners in becoming legal citizens.

When the DOMA ruling went public, social media was flooded with comments of support and praise, but also with hatred and condemnation. What bothered me the most was that the comments against the ruling were not political in nature, they were ugly, hate-filled, ignorant comments aimed towards the people this ruling affects. The same type of hateful comments can be seen when the topic of immigration laws come up. Where does all this hate come from, and why do people want to spread it? The fact of the matter is that hate, ugliness, and rudeness is taught in the home, and maybe not always directly. Kids tend to pick up on and imitate the words used, and actions taken by the adults around them. Luckily, the same is true for love, acceptance, politeness, and basic human decency.

If we want our world to be a better place for our kids, we need to make them better people. We need to teach them that please, thank you, and general politeness go a long way. We need to teach them that they can be strong without being violent, opinionated without being hurtful, and that being kind and caring do not make them weak. We need to teach them that everyone is different, and that’s okay. And although we may look, act, speak or love differently than one another, we are all people and deserve respect.

So even though you may have had a rough day at work, take the time and make a conscious effort to be polite at home. Give your child a hand cleaning up his toys. Say please and thank you rather than barking out orders to your kids. While you are out you can offer your seats on the bus to an elderly person or pregnant woman. Take a few extra seconds to hold the door for someone you don’t know. These seem like small actions, but they will go a long way in teaching your children how to be decent human beings.~Jamie, WWP

Dinner and Memories

Large Hispanic family in kitchen preparing foodWhile driving home from my in-law’s house, I thought about the best parts of the day, and they all circled around the kitchen table. Wherever we went the most vibrant conversations, the most laughter, the most connections, and the most memories were shared and made while everyone was sitting together at the table. What is it about sitting down to a meal that just opens up the floor for good conversation? Is it the food? The drink? The people? Maybe it’s the fact that you are able to see everyone, and no one can get away. Whatever power it possesses, the kitchen table always seems to bring us together, and help us create memories.

The magic of the table isn’t just for special holidays; it should be used as often as possible. Having meals together is an important part of your family’s health and happiness; and it is important to your child’s development. Meal time is a time to talk, learn, love and listen to one another. It’s a time to bond as a family, and open the lines of communication so your children know they can talk to you about anything. And with all the issues that children have to deal with these days, open communication with them is key to helping them stay safe and make the right choices in life. Busy schedules, for everyone in the family, make it hard to sit down together. Sometimes it just seems easier to grab some food on your way to or from activities, but you can start small. Just set aside at least one meal time a week, every week, when you will all be present, and see what kind of memories you can make.~Jamie, WWP

We All Feel Bad Sometimes

mother pulling hair out with forlorn child in backgroundHave you ever felt just utterly overwhelmed by all the advice about being a good parent and how to raise worldly, well-rounded children?

Everyone seems to have an opinion about how to do it better, or which new products are must-haves if you want your kids to succeed.

While most of the articles you may read actually contain useful advice, there are a good number that just make you feel like crap. Your child is three, and you don’t have him signed up for piano lessons and learning French yet?!

Sometimes it all just seems like too much, and after reading an article looking for help you end up feeling less awesome than you are, and more lost than before.

Steve Wiens’ article, “To The Parents of Small Children: Let Me Be The One Who Says It Out Loud”, is one refreshing article that stands above the rest, helping to give an insight on what it really feels like to parent.

Parenting is a tough job, and no one is perfect

It’s a 24/7 career that consists of a thousand little jobs that all need to be done at once.

To name a few, a parent must be a:

  • cook
  • teacher
  • chauffeur
  • janitor
  • disciplinarian
  • activities director
  • nurse
  • mind reader (at least until they learn how to talk)

.
It’s exhausting, and sometimes you just want to hide in bed under the covers until it all goes away.

And that’s okay because being a parent doesn’t make you super human; you still have physical and mental limitations, and when they are pushed or crossed you may feel like you are failing as a parent.
The next time you are overwhelmed by advice about how to be perfect, or you want to scream because your kids are driving you nuts, take a deep breath, read over Steve Wiens’ article, and take solace in the fact that you are not alone.

And if that doesn’t work, give us a call and we’ll help you put together a plan that will teach you the parenting skills needed be the parent you always wanted to be.

A Routine Stop

imagesCA35R6TKMy husband and I went away for a long weekend, so our two-year old got to spend four nights at his grandparents’ house. I sent him off with an instruction manual that outlined his daily schedule and routines. I understand that being in a different house, with different people, things cannot be exactly the same, but I still expected his schedule and routines to be followed the best that they could. I know that the instruction manual may have been a bit controlling of me, but I worked hard at getting my son on a schedule that works for both of us, and I know how difficult he can be if he doesn’t get enough sleep.

Long story short, when he came home he was a wild man, it seemed as if he hadn’t heard the word “no” all week, he was difficult when we tried to go about our regular day, and he had issues going to and staying asleep at night. Needless to say, the next few days were a re-training boot camp; sleep training again, engraving “please” and “thank you” back into his brain, and relearning the rules and boundaries of the house. It was a lot of work, again, but eventually we got back to normal.

Sometimes life gets in the way, and schedules and routines need to be shifted a bit, but they are of the upmost importance in a child’s life! Children crave routine because it creates a safe environment by allowing them to know what to expect and when to expect it. Rules and boundaries add to that safe environment by allowing a child to know how to behave, and how they can expect others to behave around them. But after all your schedules, routines, rules and boundaries are set, they must be consistently followed; otherwise, the just don’t work.

 

Food for Thought

From the discovery of “pink slime” in ground beef, to the recent petition by the dairy industry to add aspartame (a controversial artificial sweetener) to milk and not add it to the label, people are becoming more aware and concerned about what actually goes our food. However, living in the busy world we do, convenience is the name of the game. But at what cost? Pre-made, packages food and meals, including baby food, can contain fillers, preservatives, and trans fats. All of which are not the best for our bodies. So what’s the alternative? Cooking meals made from fresh items at the store is your best bet. No time to cook? Think again.

Ever since my son began eating real food, I have made his food from scratch using fresh vegetables and fruits. All I needed was a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday when my husband could watch the baby and I could be in the kitchen. When I was done, I had filled ice cube trays with the fresh purees I had made so they could be frozen in perfect serving sizes for later use. For the few hours of cooking, I had enough baby food to last a couple of months! Not only was this a healthier option, but it was cheaper too! Jarred baby food goes for $0.58-$0.88/jar, and a pureed $1.15 sweet potato can easily fill 8 of those jars (that’s less than $0.15/jar). This cook and freeze method can work as your family grows too. Make a few meals one day and freeze them so they are ready to cook on a later date. Crock pot meals are another healthy way to cook when you’re short on time.

The point is, choosing to take the time to prepare healthy food for your family, and yourself, is a smart choice. Presenting a variety of healthy food options now will allow your child to develop a taste for good foods. And healthy eating habits learned now will lead to them making smart, healthy choices later in life. Eat well! ~Jamie-WWP

Don’t have time to do it yourself here is a local resource for you in Columbus, Ohio. Check out Nummie Tummies, fresh, organic baby and toddler food for more information visit: www.nummietummies.com

You’ve Had a Long Day?!

Relieve the Stress and Get ResultsHave you ever heard the anecdote about the husband who came home from work to find his house a mess? When he arrives home, the dog and kids, still in their pajamas, are running around the house, toys seem to have exploded all over the place, the kitchen is a mess of leftover food and used dished from breakfast and lunch, and he finds his wife sitting in a chair reading a book. Upon inquiring about what happened, she simply replies, “Remember how you asked me what I actually do all day? Well, today I didn’t do them”.

Luckily, my husband is smart enough not to ask me what I actually do all day, but when he says, “I’m just so tired,” or “It’s been a long day,” I find myself cringing just a little. I have no doubt that my husband’s job as the manager of the major sales rep team is challenging and tiring. However, he works in the grown-up world; a world that allows you to have lunch breaks, privacy in the bathroom, adult conversation, and time that is yours (quiet if you will) to think and work alone. I feel as if he doesn’t quite understand what my days are like.

I care for two toddlers who live to explore. I make meals, clean up, play, play, play, I break up wrestling matches, and try to teach the concept of sharing. My conversations revolve around the entire list of zoo animals we saw at the zoo (two weeks ago), and I am followed everywhere I go. I can’t even get two minutes of privacy while I use the restroom. “But don’t they nap?” you ask. Of course they do, but that’s when I vacuum, do laundry and dishes, repair broken books and toys, eat, and try to squeeze in a short workout. Then they wake up, and hopefully it’s nice enough to go to the park for a while; but with two toddlers, that’s a monster of a task in itself. Finally, dinner and bedtime roll around, and then, after my twelve-hour day, I’m the one who’s tired. ~Jamie – WWP

How many moms can relate to this story? The hardest part is that our job as a mom never stops. Many of us still need to wake up in the middle of the night because our little angels are crying or having a bad dream. Or how about those nights that they are sick. We are the ones they need and want the most. However, even though it’s lots of work and can be exhausting we wouldn’t trade it for anything. Being a mom is the most rewarding job in the world! I strongly encourage every mom out there to make sure you are taking care of YOU! You are your family’s foundation and you need to make sure you are taking care of your emotional, spiritual, physical and mental health needs. It is extremely important for you to mark it in your calendar and make it priority! You are just as important as your kids and spouse. Life wouldn’t be the same without YOU! So do yourself and you’re family a favor and invest time for YOU! ~Terry – WWP