parenthood

How to Make Gratitude a Daily Practice to Feel Happier, Healthier & More Connected

If you’ve been on social media lately, I’m guessing your feed has been inundated with three things in the last week:  Halloween photos, midterm election posts, and 30-day gratitude challenge posts.

By now, the Halloween posts are probably waning.  The election posts--or political posts in general--don’t show any signs of stopping though.  But, at least right now, there are more celebratory posts than angry rants, right?

And if you haven’t seen any gratitude posts on your feed, then you’re clearly not following me on Instagram or Facebook, because I’ve been posting a video each day sharing one thing I’m grateful for.  So far, I’m really loving this challenge. And I’m seeing others post things they’re grateful for too, which is a lot of fun.

And actually, that’s right in line with what I want to talk to you about today:  How and why you should start a gratitude practice.

Honoring the Baby You Lost

Maybe you need catharsis or maybe you just need a way to connect with joy rather than sadness when you think of them.  It might be something you do once and never again or it might become an annual tradition. Maybe it’s a very private, intimate thing or maybe it’s surrounded by your most important support people.  Maybe it’s something you even do publicly with the intent of connecting with others to heal together.

The point is, there are so many ways to do it and there’s no timeline for this.  When you’re ready, I want to encourage you to find a way that feels good to you.

4 Things to Know About Grief

Grief affects every one of us sooner or later.

I’ve been talking all month about the specific grief that comes from losing a pregnancy or losing your baby.  There’s no other kind of grief that is quite like it.

And, unfortunately, it’s a quiet grief.  It’s not one we talk about much. There are so many reasons why.

But I also want to acknowledge that grief is something we all come to understand.  Like it or not, it is a part of life. In a way, that creates room for empathy in every one of us, even if our grief is different from someone else’s.

Resources for Parents Grieving a Miscarriage or Baby Loss

Last week, I talked to you briefly about how October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.  1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage or lose their baby. This means that you definitely know someone in your family or social circle who has experienced this.  

So, today, I want to share some resources I rely on with you that might help you if you’re struggling with this or know someone who is.

Dealing With the Grief of Miscarriage & Baby Loss

October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month.  This is so important for every one of us to be aware of--because even if you’ve never experienced this yourself, I can almost guarantee someone close to you has.

Of course, my hope is that this kind of tragedy hasn’t happened to you. But whether it has or hasn’t, this impacts you.  And because of that, I wanted to share some thoughts for both the parents who have lost their baby as well as to the loved ones who want to be a support.  Because we don’t talk about these things enough--in fact, it’s hard to know what to say. No one wants to say the wrong thing.

Are You Spending Enough Time with Your Kids?

More and more, I hear from moms that they worry they aren’t spending enough time with their kids.  

And, I mean, it makes sense.  Many of us moms work, which means someone else is doing the caregiving for a significant portion of the day.  And then, we come home and it’s boom-boom-boom. We have to do the whole dinner, bathtime, bedtime routine, with the rush hour commute in between.  It often feels like there isn’t much time to “just be” with our kids.

But, it’s not just working mothers.  Stay-at-home moms feel it too.

Life Hacks for Parents: Solving the "What's for dinner?" Dilemma

For years, I'd say the worst question anyone could ask me is "What's for dinner?" 

I know I'm not alone in this.  Whether you love to cook or not, it's the deciding what to make that is the most exhausting.  And it's only made worse when it's followed by groans of "Ew, not that again...." 

Now, there are a variety of ways to solve this problem in our modern world.

Surviving Road Trips with Kids

Today is the 4th of July, a day for celebrating freedom and independence.  But when you’re a parent, our experience of freedom changes a little bit, doesn’t it?  It’s suddenly not quite so easy as hopping in the car spontaneously and driving for hours and hours.

But, still, road tripping with kids can be done.  It just requires a little more planning and different expectations.  In fact, our family takes a road trip this time of year every year.

Trouble Sleeping? This might work for you!

We all know the magical powers of sleep.  And we all know that most of us--no matter who we are or what we do--aren't getting nearly enough. 

We're all just so busy.  We're overbooked and overstretched.  We give too much.  We spend too much time staring at screens, taking in a constant flood of new information. Our nervous systems are constantly bombarded with things to process and not enough downtime to actually process all the things.  This causes wear and tear on our brains and hormones, among other things. 

Dads Interview with Quentin Hafner

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you’re probably familiar with my Momma Interviews series.  I’ve loved doing them and I frequently get positive feedback from readers saying how much they look forward to them.

But I feel like we’re only getting half of the story.  

I’ve been wanting to do a series of Dads Interviews for such a long time.  And today--just in time for Fathers Day this weekend--I’m so excited to kick off the Dads Interviews series with Quentin Hafner!

*FREE HOME LIFE SPREADSHEET TEMPLATE INSIDE!

Catherine O'Brien Featured on PsychCentral Offering Top Tips on Toddler Discipline

When our babies are small, it can often feel like we’re trying to crack some mysterious code.  “Why are you crying? What do you need? What are you trying to tell me?”

Often times, we find ourselves thinking (even if only for a flicker of a moment), “Life will be so much easier when they can get around on their own or tell me what they need!”

….And then, toddlerhood happens and we’re completely eating our words.  Toddlers have BIG emotions, don’t they! And very strong opinions! That brings a whole new set of challenges.  

 

How to Use Google Calendars to Connect with Your Partner

In my last blog post, I talked about the importance of scheduling time to connect with your partner.  I talked about how couples need time for both check-ins (the daily and weekly logistical and schedule-based stuff that keep your household running) and connection time (date nights and hangout time to reconnect and forget about the logistical stuff).  And I also talked about the importance of self-care.  All of these things need to be scheduled. 

As the saying goes, "What gets scheduled is what gets done."

Making Time for Connecting with Your Partner

One of the biggest concerns I hear from couples that call my office is: How do they find time to spend together as a couple with everything else they have to do in a day?

As a parent and partner to my amazing husband, I have to say I know this concern all too well.  I feel like there are a lot of different things we need to contend with.  We have to take care of our child or children.  We have jobs.  We have to grocery shop, clean the house, take care of our own needs…  The list, quite frankly, is never ending.  So, usually spending time together comes last. It’s right down there with taking care of ourselves.  Both should really be much higher on the list of priorities.

Best of the Blog: Here are the posts you loved most in 2017

Well, moms and dads, it's been another interesting year!  To honor the work we've done over the past year and to help usher in the new year, this week I thought I'd highlight the most popular blog content we've put out in 2017.  These are the posts you've read and loved the most! 

Parents, What Do You Want More of in 2018? A Call For Your Input!

Parents, I need your help!

It's the end of the year and that means I'm deep into 2018 planning mode.  I really want to make sure that I'm providing you with helpful information that you actually want and need.  So, I'd love your input!

I've created a super short survey for you, dear reader.  I promise it will take you less than 2 minutes.  Will you help me out?

6 Ways to Stop Taking Things Personally as a Mom

When you’re a mom, the unsolicited advice and passing criticisms from others can come out of nowhere sometimes.  

 

Because the holidays tend to bring about more family gatherings and social events, this can set us up for a lot of opportunity to to be on the receiving end of those comments.  Not to mention, with all the added stress and hustle that the holidays often bring with them, we might be feeling just a bit more frazzled or sensitive than other times of the year.  As if being a parent to babies and small children isn’t challenging enough.

Slow Down to Stay Flexible this Holiday Season

Recently, I had a conversation with another mom about that tricky phase many of us go through when we parents are trying to determine whether it’s time to drop a nap in our little one’s sleep schedule.  Sometimes babies and toddlers can be really good at sending us a mixed bag of signals--particularly when it comes to naps.

And now that we’re in the full throes of holiday season, I think this topic is especially important since many of us spend time traveling or going to holiday events that also can bring about disruptions to our little ones’ sleep schedules (among other things).

Owning Your Confidence as New Parents When Others Have Opinions

ast week on the blog, I talked to you about managing outside expectations on your family for the holiday season.  If you’re wanting a quieter, simpler, more peaceful holiday season without the rushing around from this party to that dinner… First of all, I don’t blame you.  Doing all that with a brand new baby or even a toddler can sometimes just be way too much.  Especially if you’re only doing it because you feel like it’s expected of you.

But also, I do realize that telling you to set those boundaries with friends and family is kind of easy for me to say.  I’m not the one that has to look them in the face and say it for you.  So, I understand the anxiety that comes along with that.  

Setting Boundaries as New Parents for a Peaceful Holiday Season

Well, the holiday season is upon us.  Thanksgiving is a week away and I swear it sneaks up on me faster and faster every year.  The holidays can be stressful, chaotic, busy for everyone.  This can be especially true for new moms.

I have couples tell me all the time how stressful the holiday season can be with a new baby at home.  They share that they feel obligated to make the rounds.  I always tell them that they don’t need to do that.

How to Parent When Your Heart is Broken

Parenthood is never easy, even when life seems perfect.  And those times when life is not so perfect?  Harder.  And those times when loss, tragedy or trauma happen?  The hardest.  Lately, it’s hard to listen to the news log onto social media.  It seems like there’s a new natural disaster or political mess every single day.  It’s starting to feel normal, even though we know nothing about any of this is or should be normal. 

With details about the Las Vegas Shooting coming out nearly a week later (and will probably continue to roll out in the weeks and months to come), we might be in for a rough emotional ride.  Especially because of how particularly senseless or inexplicable this event feels.  Especially especially if you know someone was there or otherwise feel some connection to that particular place.