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Marina

My Journey

How To Find Yourself Again After Becoming A Mom

Mothering a child is literally miraculous. As your life perspective changes, so do you. Maybe not at first, but slowly it happens. You start losing your previous identity and start to be known to the world as X’s mom. One day you realize that no one finds you intimidating and strangers feel way too comfortable asking you for directions. As wonderful as it is, there comes a point where you will start to miss the older, slightly tougher version of yourself. For everyone it comes at a different time in their lives. But it will come.

How to find yourself after becoming mom

So how can you reclaim yourself while not giving up your devoted Mama status? Check out these insightful tips to get that part of yourself out of hibernation mode. The best part is that it will be fantastic for your children to see their mom making her needs a priority for once.

Get Healthy

Are you too exhausted to exercise at the end of the day? Do you eat leftovers off your child’s plate instead of making dinner for yourself? You can change your health habits slowly and effectively by marshalling resources around you. Take advantage of babysitting grandparents so you can go to a spin class. Ask your partner to help by preparing something healthy to eat.

In addition, there are so many websites offering support and tips to help keep you on track. One of my favorite ones is Authority Health – I go there to find all kind of tips and advice concerning health, weight loss and exercise.

As a bonus, cooking better for yourself will result in healthier meals for your family as well.

Leave Your House

Whether you stay at home or work outside the home, that decision is up to you. However, like everything in life, the moment you step away from something, the more you appreciate it. Much has been said and written about the work-life balance, but perhaps the most eloquent and inspiring is by Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Read her excellent piece on how she has juggled her family and her career. The way she describes how having a baby while in law school helped both her studies and being a mom is a must-read for anyone grappling with their own struggles in the matter. Time with your children is more precious when you also make time for your mind. Having work time and home time, while not easy, is immensely rewarding.

Again, everyone makes the choice depending on the needs of their families but sometimes pushing yourself out of the house can help give you a jolt of confidence and respect that is not always found at home.

Rediscover Hobbies

I know, you’re thinking, ‘Who has the time for this?!’ and you would be right. However, it’s amazing how many hobbies can be turned into practical projects for your family. Want to bring out your artistic side? Learn how to decorate a castle cake for your daughter. Does your bookshelf need updating? Try a cute and affordable idea on Pinterest. Doing something to recharge your creative batteries will give you more energy to tackle the less attractive tasks you’ve been pushing off for weeks.

Reconnect With Friends

Adults need play dates, too! Instead of texting your friends all day long without really connecting with them, put down your devices and meet them for drinks. It’s not a myth that your body feels better when you are relaxed and happy. Meeting a good friend for half an hour will do wonders for your mood and give you extra patience for those times when your toddler decides to crack a dozen eggs all over the floor.

 

So, think about the you that gets lost over snacktime, dinnertime and lunchtime (why are they always so hungry?!) and try one of the ideas here. Let us know in the comments how it works for you!

Ideas

How to Have Fun With Kids on a Budget

 

I often have a hard time when thinking about how to have fun with kids on a budget. It’s getting harder to find worthwhile things to keep them entertained. While it’s nice to get them outdoors and active, signing kids up for team sports or music or art activities, can add to an already slim budget.

fun with kids on a budget

Fun and Affordable Things To Do To Have Fun With Kids on a Budget

1. Random Acts of Kindness

Teach your kids that not everything involves spending money and people can do things out of the kindness of their hearts.

Bake some cookies and bring them to a nursing home.
– Volunteer at a local soup kitchen.
– Help a neighbour to clean up the garage.

Acts of kindness cost very little but have a huge payout that sparks happiness and a sense of personal growth in your child.

2. Nature Scavenger Hunt

Go for a hike at a local park and create a list of items that your child has to be on the look for. Things like acorns, a maple leaf, squirrels, birds or anything you can think of. The first child to find everything gets to pick where everyone goes afterward such as ice cream or hot chocolate.

You can even find some cool printables online you can use for your own nature scavenger hunt.

summer-camp-scavenger-hunt-791x1024

3. Recycled Inventions

This is great if you have some creative geniuses in your home. Pick something out from the recycling bin for your kids to transform into something useful. Things like turning milk containers into bird feeders or turning boxes into forts will teach kids about sustainability while they have a great time.

4. Design A Graphic Novel Or Comic Strip

You don’t have to be an artist for this one. Sometimes the crude drawings make the comic more interesting. Brainstorm some story ideas and characters with your kis. If they’re too young to write, you can fill in the captions for them. It’s a great activity to have fun with kids on a budget.

5. Weekly Library Trips

Once a week, go to the library and let everyone in your family pick a book for them. Libraries here have great study sections, children’s sections, and a room where you can watch movies. They often organize interesting lectures you and your kids will definitely enjoy.

And at home, you can organize your own family book club where you can all discuss a book you’ve read. Of course, you will have to read children’s books, but that can be fun too!

There are so many other activities you can take part in with your child that isn’t going to cost you an arm and a leg. Simply taking them to the park and throwing a ball around can be fun as well.

Tell your kid stories about when you were their age and their attention span will move from their phone to you.

See, there are so many things you can do to have fun with kids on a budget. What is your favorite budget activity?

My Journey

NO, I AM NOT A BAD PERSON BECAUSE I WILL ONLY HAVE ONE CHILD

Mum’s with only one child faces this particular question most of the time, “When are you having another”. Such questions tend to throw mums off balance if they plan to have only one child. I am literally about to say something that might piss some people off, but in reality that will be the truth. Let’s face the fact for a second; only child is a lot easier for parents to take care of then two or more children. Most people think that having only one child seems selfish but the truth is there is no right answer to the debate of having one child or two children.

one child

Parents who have only one child tend to give their attention, time and all the necessary benefit accruing to that child. With that, they receive criticism from friends, neighbours, and strangers who have no qualms suggesting how to live their family life. Most likely these attacks will not stop until they have reached menopause or too old to have another or adopt one. This happens because most people are of the idea that lack of sibling means your child will turn out to be selfish, or spoiled. Well, that’s not true. However, having one child gives more controlled environment and such family seems to be happier than those with more than one. Parents-to-one child family seems very peaceful, giving them more room to be attuned with the child’s emotional needs. Here are some stats which have shown that there are steady rise in one child family in most developed countries.

  • 46 percent of families in England have one child
  • A recent US census conducted state that 22 percent of families have one child and 30 percent in metropolitan areas
  • One child families represent 30 percent in Portugal and Spain.

Susan Newman, a social psychologist in her book ‘Parenting an only child’, stated that the number of one child families is rising because

  • In this economic times, the cost of child care is of most concern
  • Both parents are working and may find it difficult to take care of more than one child
  • 50% of families divorce before they have another child

New Pew Research Center discovered that women are now reluctant on giving birth; A decrease in birth rates were most experienced between 2007 (before the recession) and 2011 (the latest data available).

One child parents are they really selfish?

Children without siblings are said to be lonely, bossy and spoiled but studies have shown that they are not different from their peers. 65 percent of mothers with kids work to support their family. They find it stressful and difficult to work while raising their kids. The impact of losing your job to take care of your kids in these current economic times can be devastating and that tends to dissolve the idea of having more kids. It’s not selfish to choose to give birth to one child because of individual concerns like finances, health and jobs. That is being realistic.

Tips&Tricks

Benefits of Exercise during Pregnancy

Physical exercise improves as well as maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness of a person’s body. That’s why exercise during pregnancy is so essential, for it helps with preparing your body for labor and delivery and manages common discomforts during the pregnancy. Several studies have shown that exercising for 20-30 minutes a day or several days a week boosts you and the baby’s health.

Benefits of Exercise during Pregnancy

Benefits of exercise during pregnancy

Common benefits of exercise during pregnancy include:

Promotes muscle tone, strength, and endurance

Exercising tones your muscles, therefore you do not need to put much effort while going on with your daily tasks such as grocery shopping. Exercising three to four times a week gives you strength and endurance. The strength and endurance that you gain may ease labor and even shorten the time it takes to deliver your baby. You are able to withstand labor pains and get through delivery fast.

Helps you sleep better

Sleeping during pregnancy at times can be difficult for example finding a comfortable sleeping position but exercising tires you out enough to lull you into a deeper restful sleep.

May help prevent or reduce gestational diabetes

Several studies show that exercising during pregnancy can lower the risk of developing gestational diabetes. If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes it is important to consult with your healthcare provider about exercising. Your condition and how far you are in your pregnancy will determine the exercises you can do or not. A certain major study revealed that regular exercise for women with the condition reduces the risk of having very large newborns by 58% which in turn led to 34% lower risk of caesarian delivery.

Boosts your energy

Regular exercise can help you get through your daily activities more easily. This is because exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system thus ensuring you do not get tired easily. Also check out our picks for best pregnancy foods.

Gets your body back faster after childbirth

After maintaining good posture, muscle tone, and strength all through your pregnancy, your body has an easier time shedding the baby weight after you give birth. Exercising also assists in gaining less weight during the pregnancy.

Helps reduce swelling, bloating, constipation and backaches

The stretching and joint movements done during pregnancy improve blood circulation all around the body which in return minimizes backaches, and feet swelling. It also helps to prevent constipation and bloating which is due to the high progesterone levels and a growing uterus. Exercising along with a high fiber diet promotes better digestion.

Improves your mood

Exercising gives you a sense of accomplishment and confidence that spills over to the rest of your day. The lifted spirits ensure good interactions with people in your life.

If you were physically active before getting expectant it is advisable to remain active during the pregnancy, and if you were not active before, it is also advisable to start exercising. The activities you choose to take part in should not pose any danger to yourself and the fetus. Exercises that involve falling, jumping, waist twisting, bouncing while stretching, hopping, holding your breath and exercising during humid weather should be avoided. Be sure to wear comfortable exercise gear and hydrate for a better exercising experience and safety.

Remember it is best to talk to your healthcare provider before choosing an exercise.

Ideas

35 Lunchbox Recipes For the Whole Family

 

Did you know that the world was celebrating ‘Pack your lunch day’ on March 10th? Oh yes, that is for real. But hey, who doesn’t like celebrations? So, to celebrate that, I collected 35 best lunch box recipes for your little one (and the rest of your family). Share yours in the comment and I will add it to the list!

lunch box recipes

The best thing about these recipes is the fact that they are perfect for your kids, but also you! Take this to work and you will feel energized all day long.

First – lunch box tips and tricks!

1. Choose fresh food. Not only are fresh foods better for you and your kids, but they even taste better.

2. Freeze what you can. You can prepare your snacks when you’re free and then just freeze them. It will save you time when you’re busy from work.

3. Keep your food safe. Choose an insulated lunch box or one with a freezer pack to keep the lunch box cool. You should pack food like eggs or dairy products if just cooked. First cool in the refrigerator overnight.

4. Go vegetarian at least two days a week. Replace it with a plant-based protein-rich food that will also fill you up.

5. Let your kids pack their own lunches. You will save time and they will not complain about their lunch.

And here is a list of 35 lunch box recipes from around the web you can choose from.

1. Baked Parmesan Zucchini Chips – Vegetable chips can be really tasteful. This is amazing!

baked zucchini chips

2. Ham & Cheese Muffins – Ham and cheese, how can you go wrong with that?

 

ham and cheese muffins

3. No-Bake Granola Bars – Perfect recipe for when you don’t feel like baking.

no bake granola bars

4. Rice Puff Bars – Kid of all ages just adore rice puffs. Try to make your own!

rice puff bars

5. Raspberry Almond Lunch Box Waffles – Cute and interesting!

Raspberry Almond Lunch Box Waffles

6. Monte Carlo biscuits – This is yummy classic!

monte carlo biscuits

7. Pinwheel lollipops – This is one of my favorites!

Pinwheel lollipops

8. Fruit Kebabs – One really simple idea and the cutest one!

healthy fruit kebabs

9. Cheese Puffs – It’s called cheese puffs, but it’s full of veggies!

cheese puffs

10. Peanut Butter Brownie – For peanut butter lovers!

peanut butter brownie

11. Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – Healthy version of cookies!

12. Banana Molasses Granola Bars – Granola bars are perfect for a quick burst of energy.

13. Acai Bowl – Time for superfruit!

acai bowl

14. Carrot & Oat Breakfast Cookies – Cookies with carrots!

Cookies with carrots

15. Homemade Parmesan Potato Chips – Potato chips are not really healthy, but why not try homemade option?

potato chips

16. Chicken Roll Surprise – Stuffed chicken!

17. Mini Quiches – Who doesn’t like quiches?

mini quiche

18. Fruit and Yogurt Parfait – You can put it in a jar! Love that!

packable breakfast

19. Baked Quinoa Burgers – This is one of my favorite veggie burgers!

20. Savory Spinach Rolls – Don’t worry about spinach, your kids will love this!

Savory Spinach Rolls

21. Rice Balls – Cute and simple!

22. Pea Fritters – Wonderful and tasty lunch for your kids!

pea fritters

23. 3 Ingredient Mini Muffins – Just three ingredients!

mini muffins

24. Peanut Butter & Jelly Sushi Rolls – Coolest idea ever!

25. Roasted Eggplant Sandwich – Different type of sandwich.

26. Veggies Stored in Dip – Simple and you don’t need to cook!

27. Tuna Dippers – You can prepare it a day before!

28. Zucchini Slice – I adore zucchinis and this is the next on my ‘to cook’ list!

29. Vegetable Muffins – Healthy muffins!

30. Holy Guacamole Sandwich – I can’t wait to try this sandwich!

31. Banana Bread – You can’t go wrong with banana bread!

32. Wheat and Refined Sugar-Free Carrot Cake – One of the healthiest cakes I’ve ever seen.

carrot cake

33. Sandwich Sushi – Looks so interesting!

34. Raspberry Baby Muffins Sugar-Free – Muffins without sugar!

raspberry muffins

35. Veggie Wraps – Veggies are always the best lunch choice!

Which one is your favorite lunchbox recipe? Feel free to share your recipe in the comment section!

Tips&Tricks

How to Handle a Toddler Saying No to Everything

NO! NO! NO! This is the only word I heard from my daughter since she turned two. Although it can be very stressful for a mom, saying no is a natural stage in your child’s development. Toddler saying no is just a way for your toddler to gain self-confidence by feeling like she has some control over her life too. As parents, we can’t prevent the annoying “no” stage, however, we can learn how to handle it.

How to Deal With Your Toddler Saying No V2 -01

Here are a few strategies to help you deal with your toddler saying no all the time.

How to Deal With Your Toddler Saying No All the Time

Provide controllable alternatives 

It is easy to say no to a no/yes question. However, when there is a choice, your kid will be more willing to choose at least one option. Instead of fighting with your picky toddler over the breakfast, give her a possibility to choose her morning meal on her own. Ask if she wants cereals or toast. You will be surprised how easy your child will make a decision and how happy she will be with her breakfast. What is more important, there won’t be any “no”. By giving your child an opportunity to choose between several alternatives that you control, you engage her to take part in a decision-making process, therefore, creating no need to for her to rebel.

Give reasoning and show how much you care

Providing simple short reasoning to your request, using friendly body language and child’s vocabulary, can help you to make your toddler agree. The best reasoning is the one that shows your empathy as every child wants and needs to feel loved and cared. You don’t really have to be strict all the time. If your child refuses to take his cold medicine, answer saying “I know it does not taste good, but if you don’t drink it you will stay sick and won’t be able to go play outside with other kids. I want you to drink this medicine to get better because I love you and I don’t want you to be sick”. The child will be more inclined to listen to you if she understands the reasons for your request and feels that you care about her in the first place.

Try to avoid using no around the toddler

Have you noticed how many times a day you say no to your child? Your toddler is tired of you saying no as much as you are tired of her refuses. If a parent continuously uses “no” in her requests, the child starts to associate this word with a voice of authority. Hence, when struggling to establish her own rules, your toddler will also use “no” in order to take power and control a situation. Try to avoid using no around the child. Tell your kid what you want, rather than what you don’t want.

 

Be firm when giving instructions

In some situations, you will have to be firm without giving choices, without providing reasoning and definitely using no. When your child is two or three years old she only begins to learn how to express her opinions and make decisions. However, a toddler cannot be completely responsible for herself. As a parent, you have to make sure your child understands when she can negotiate and when she has to obey. If the toddler stops in a middle of a crossroad and refuses to move, you have to be firm and get her out of the car way quickly, leaving the explanations for later.