Sunday, April 27, 2014

An Expecting Couple Takes a Picture For Each Day of the 9-Months and the Result is Truly Spectacular

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, it seems only right to share this video. A couple had a simple idea that turned into something truly spectacular. The expecting couple took a photo each day of the 9-month pregnancy and through the birth. The video brilliantly highlights the beauty and joy of both pregnancy and childbirth. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Best Gift Ideas for this Mother's Day: Brought to You by Real Moms

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, coming up on May 11th, and now is the time to start searching for that perfect gift. There are always the traditional gift ideas like breakfast in bed, a massage gift certificate, flowers, and so on but this year if you are really trying to do something different- look no further! After asking real moms what they would choose if they were giving their own Mother’s Day gift, we have generated a list of unique ways to say “I love you and appreciate all you do for me” through thoughtful and creative gifts. For many people the perfect gift has nothing to do with the price tag, and for mothers this is especially true. It is about how much time and thought went into it…so don’t wait for the night before, get started now! 

Gift Ideas For Mom Brought to You By Moms:

1. A scrapbook or photo album of current pictures of you and your siblings 
-As we get older we tend to take less family photos, but this doesn’t mean they don’t get less important, so snap some nice pictures of you and your siblings for your mother to enjoy.

2. A framed list of all the reasons why you love and appreciate you mom
-We all loved our mothers and appreciate all the things they have done for us, but don’t always tell them. Seeing a written out list of all these reasons will mean a lot to her. And actually seeing them on paper will serve as a nice reminder of why you love your mom too- and after all that is what Mother’s Day is about. 

3. Clean her house for her
-Most moms love a nice clean house but usually that means they are the ones who have to keep it that way. Taking this off her hands for a day will give her time to relax and do something a little more fun. 

4. Surprise her with a Netflix subscription
-If she doesn’t already have one, a subscription to Netflix is a perfect gift for any movie or TV lover. 

5. A collection of her favorite songs that she played throughout your childhood
-When I hear certain songs, they immediately remind me of my childhood because my mother would play them all the time. Making her a mixtape of these songs will serve as a nice flashback for both of you.

6. Take her car to the carwash, have the interior vacuumed, and fill the tank
-Car maintenance is one of the biggest (and most expensive) hassles. It will make her week to have this taken off her hands and have a shiny, brand new looking car to drive around. 

7. A floppy hat and sundress to match
-If your mom loves the beach and the sun as much as mine does, a trendy floppy hat and dress will be an awesome gift to make her the most stylish one on the beach this summer.

8. A smartphone wallet
-I am pretty disorganized, and I’m sure I’m not the only one out there. A stylish smartphone wallet is a cute and convenient way for her to keep all her things together. 

9. A “Learn to Knit Kit”
-If your mom has any interest in sewing, knitting, or wants to take up a hobby, a knit kit might be the gift for her!

10. A Custom Picnic Basket (made up by you not by the store)
-Find a nice, good sized picnic basket then fill it with her favorite things. Her favorite bottle of wine, cheeses, chocolate, tea, spices, breads, and so on. Get as creative or fancy as you like! 

Now, you’ve done the preparation and Mother’s Day has arrived. First, let her sleep in as long as she likes. It probably won’t be very late (it seems after a while mothers just naturally wake up early) but it is knowing that she doesn’t have to get up for anything or anyone that counts. Then when she is ready, bring her in a cup of coffee or tea followed by a tray with her favorite homemade breakfast decorated with a small flower in a vase. When she is done with her breakfast, clean the kitchen and put everything away. Then pick a family activity that you know she enjoys that you can all do together- or if she would prefer to relax and read her book all day in the sun let her do that, after all it is her day! 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Could You Do the Toughest Job in the World?

Out of the 2.7 million people who saw an advertisement for a job opening in Boston only 24 replied, which is most likely due to the crazy requirements and skills the job was asking their applicants to be able to perform. Some of the tasks on the list included being available 24 hours a day 7 days a week, having the ability to manage up to 10 tasks at one time, flexibility, demonstrated knowledge in negotiating, counseling, and culinary, frequent travel, ability to work in a chaotic environment, crisis management skills, willingness to forgo breaks, ability to stand for long periods of time, unlimited patience, understanding of social media, positive disposition, and much much more. 

Watching the hopeful applicants who are willing to sit down for an interview for this job is both eye opening and thought provoking. So what do you think- could you do the toughest job in the world? 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Universal Truths of Motherhood

Being a mother and raising a child is something that can only truly be understood by a mother herself-but does the definition or experience of motherhood change from one place in the world to another? Are there aspects of parenting that are universal across the globe? Shawn Fink, nicknamed the Yoda of Mamas, would say yes to this question, that there are elements of motherhood that are the same no matter how big your house is, how much money you have, or where in the world you live. 

To find these truths, Fink searched all over the world in countries like New Zealand, Australia, England, Trinidad, Norway, Iceland, Canada, Japan, Germany, Scotland, Malaysia, and almost every state in the United States, getting to know mothers in each place and learn about their worries, their joys, their daily routines, and their general experiences as parents. Her findings included that there was no doubt that there are characteristics of being a mother that overlap, no matter what corner of the globe you are raising your child in. She calls these the “Truths of Modern Moms”. 

Truth #1: All mothers are perfectionists.
Fink says that no matter who you are, as women and mothers we crave perfection. We dream of the perfect house, the perfect marriage, the perfect family. It is in our nature to desire more. More joy, more family time, more personal time, more money. This seems to be true whether you are raising a child in Arizona or Tokyo. 

Truth #2: All mother seek a balanced life.
As true as it is that we all seek out a balanced life, it is equally true that such a life is difficult to achieve. But Fink says that this reality is okay- that it is all about effort, adjustment, and reassessment. “Balance is a journey, not a destination.”

Truth #3: All mothers yell sometimes.
The reality is as much as we don’t want to yell, all of us do sometimes. It doesn’t matter that we know it isn’t helpful, sometimes it just feels necessary. Fink describes stopping yelling is like trying to break a bad habit, but once we do learn to stop we discover how calming and empowering it can be.

Truth #4: No one has enough Mommy-Time.
It became very clear to Fink that finding, taking, and cherish personal time when you a a mother is a challenge no matter where you are in the world. But what became just as clear is how important it is to at least try to find that time.

Truth #5: All mothers get lonely.
No matter who you are, when you’re a mom there are going to be times you would do anything to get some alone time- and other times where you feel terribly lonely. Especially when you have an infant, motherhood can feel pretty isolating sometimes. But next time you feel lonely, remember every other mother in the world knows how you feel.

Truth #6: There is no such thing as an expert.
There is no such thing as a perfect parent. And this fact doesn’t change if you go to New Zealand, Australia, Iceland or any other place. Every family has different systems that work for them. Every child has a routine that works best for them. And this system or routine might be a disaster in another household. Even within a household, what worked with your first child might not work with the second. Parenting is a continuous, never ending learning experience. And that’s okay- embrace it.

Truth #7: All mothers fear making mistakes.

Any mother, anywhere will tell you that one of her biggest fears as a parent is making a huge mistake or messing up somewhere along the way. The fear of judgement from teachers, neighbors, friends, or other mothers is something that many women stress over constantly. But guess what- you aren’t perfect, you’re human! And as a human being, you’re going to make mistakes. Next time you are comparing yourself to the other classroom mom who just seems to always have it together, remember that she is human too- and might have had a mommy-meltdown ten minutes before walking into the classroom. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Children's Response to a Pregnant Woman's Worries Sends a Powerful and Heart Warming Message About Down Syndrome

A video titled, “Dear Future Mom” has gone viral, receiving over 4 million views on YouTube- and rightfully so. The powerful and touching 3 minute clip features a group of children diagnosed with Down Syndrome addressing and challenging the fears and perceptions regarding the condition. 

The idea for the video began when a pregnant woman, who had just learned her child would be born with Down Syndrome, emailed the National Association of People with Down Syndrome, expressing her worries about the kind of life she should expect her child will have. Her concerns were met with a video response featuring children with the condition reassuring the woman that she should expect that her child will lead a happy and full life, just like they all do. 

The video was released in time for World Down Syndrome Day, a day that works to advocate for the rights of those with the condition as well as raise awareness in hopes that we can all be equals in our journey towards good health and overall wellbeing. 
The message of the video was simple yet very powerful; “Dear Future Mom, your child can be happy. Just like I am. And you’ll be happy too.” 

Click here to watch the beautiful clip, “Dear Future Mom”

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How Social Media is Changing the World of Sports

It’s hard to deny that social media hasn’t impacted many aspects of our lives. Something that began as a way to connect with friends has rapidly woven its way into businesses, schools, long distance relationships with family or significant others, and much more. And now social media is changing the way we do sports. Within the last few years social media has become a big part of the lives of both the athletes and the fans. Statistics have shown that more than 80% of fans monitor various social media sites while watching a game on television, and up to 60% check into social media while at the game itself. Fans are using social media to check stats and scores, chat with other fans, and reach out to their favorite athletes. And the athletes are capitalizing on the social media buzz to increase their following, share information, and communicate with their fans. Football player Tim Tebow now holds the record for most tweets per second with a staggering 9,420 tweets every second- which is why even if you hated sports you’ve probably still heard about him. 

Social media’s use within sports doesn’t end at the professional level, but in recent years has begun to be increasingly popular for high school and college athletes as well, beginning right at the business of recruiting. Sites like Facebook and Twitter has helped coaches seek out, monitor, and eventually recruit many high school athletes when the only strategy for doing that used to be through mail or phone call after phone call. Social media has assisted countless college athletes into almost a celebrity-like status, some of them having thousands of followers on Twitter alone. 

But with this new-found online fame comes with it a lot of new responsibilities as well. Student athletes need to be wary that at all times they are representing their team, their school, their coaches, and themselves. Some coaches ban the use of social media altogether, but in recent years many of them have accepted that such strategies aren’t as realistic anymore. So now coaches work with athletes to teach them what is acceptable “social media behavior” and what isn’t. The NCAA is also on board with this, holding conferences to educate student athletes about the best ways to use social media, with a special emphasis on Twitter- which is home to the most sports-related issues. During the conferences they explain to the athletes strategies for maintaining a positive image online at all times, including not trash talking teammates or coaches, avoiding conflict with members of opposing teams, and avoiding any profanity or pictures that can potentially send the wrong message. 

When used appropriately, social media has opened up a whole new world for both athletes and their fans. And I expect as the years go on this is a trend that will only continue to grow in both its importance and popularity.