Blog Posts by Parentables

  • How to Overcome the Fears that Are Holding You Back so You Can Live Bigger

    Don't look down.I was raised to be fiscally conservative in every sense of the word. Be frugal, get a solid, corporate job and cling to that corporate ladder for dear life. When the economy shakes you off the ladder, climb it again.

    Some of the lessons we learned growing up are worth keeping around. However, once we hit bumps in the road that make our lives, perspective, and choices truly ours as adults, some lessons we were taught as youngsters hold us back rather than hold us up.

    It can be tricky to navigate these bumps when our old ways of thinking make us afraid to solve a problem by trying something new. So what can we do to get over it when we're fearful of taking on much-needed change?

    5 Scary Changes That Will Make You Happier

    1. Focus on what you want, not on what you don't want.

    When we're freaking out about something, we often worry without direction. Our minds flicker to what we're trying to avoid, we feel unsettled and don't know how to ease our anxiety. I felt like this

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  • What It's like to Deliver a Baby at Home

    Katherine Martinko.Both of my babies were born outside the hospital - one in the back of a midwifery clinic in Toronto, the other in our living room. The decision to do so was made consciously. After hearing many horror stories about hospital births, unwanted interventions, nasty doctors, withheld information, and pressure tactics, I preferred to go a more natural route.

    Read More: Real Moms Weigh In: The Pros and Cons of Home Births (Video Blog)

    According to Mary Newburn, Head of Policy Research at the National Childbirth Trust, in a 1999 article in The Independent, there are two basic models of childbirth:

    The "midwifery model" is based on the belief that childbirth is a normal physiological process, for which women's bodies are well designed. Midwives and doctors educated within this framework believe it is important for women to feel confident about their body and their ability to give birth. They believe the environment and the things done to women can help labour go smoothly or

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  • Please Mom, Don't Force Me to Sleep Over

    Princess bed."Mommy, please don't force me to go," my six-year-old daughter, Maia, sobbed into my chest the night before a weekend visit with her dad. She had a cold and just wanted to stay home in her room.

    "You have to go," I tell her. "Your dad misses you. He wants to spend time with you." Then, we go over the fun stuff they have planned. I don't add that there is nothing I can do. Maia spends two weekends a month at her dad's house. She knows this, but it doesn't stop her from asking.

    Read More: You Can't Tell Me What to Do, You Are Not My Mother

    Can't you just talk to him, she'll say. You used to be married-- Maia references photos archived by my mother for her to keep as she grows up. There are shots from our wedding, vacations, past Christmases, basketball tournaments, road races and hiking trips. In them, Maia sees our messy apartments and Emma, the dog she knows as her own.

    This is the only way Maia knows her father and I as a couple. She's never lived with him; we split

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  • 19% of Brits Think Alcohol Makes Them a Better Parent

    Bottom's up.When British Prime Minister David Cameron left his 8-year-old daughter in the pub, there were no doubt plenty of snide remarks made around the world about us Brits and our alcohol intake.

    A new study by British charity 4Children is only likely to add fuel to that fire. Entitled Over The Limit: The Truth About Families and Alcohol, among the report's findings were the following troubling statistics:

    • 22% of children live with a parent who drinks hazardously
    • More than a third of all domestic violence cases involve alcohol
    • 19% of parents believe that drinking alcohol has a positive effect on their parenting

    This last statistic particularly caught my eye - because depending on how the question is worded, I might actually be one of the 19%.

    Read More: Real Parents Weigh In: Would You Serve Alcohol to Your Teen At Home?

    I do not, for a moment, suggest that I am a better parent after I have had a drink - but I am not sure I am a worse one either. I do think

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  • Michelle Duggar on Life, Death, and the "Bambi" Problem

    Is it over yet?The other night, we picked Bambi for movie night for the younger kids. It's so sad in the beginning when Bambi's mother dies, but the kids were really sweet about the way they handled it.

    They were watching the movie, and it came to the part where the movie looks so real and the music is very dramatic. I was standing in the kitchen doing something at the sink (our family area is very open so we can all be together) when Hannie, my 6 year old, came running over crying. She grabbed a hold of me and buried her face. She said, "Mommy, I don't like this part of the movie." And I told her, "Oh, Hannie, you know what, if you don't want to watch that part, you hang out over here. Keep your head turned the other way. Or you can go color in the office over there until it's over."

    Read More: Michelle Duggar on Helping Her Kids Through a Crisis

    That's okay for the little ones. I know that sometimes the music in the part of the film where the mommy dies can be too much, and they

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  • How Do You Involve Your Kids in Household Chores?

    Squeaky clean? Or redo.Here's how the child labor breaks down in our house: Ava, who is 14, is in charge of taking out the trash, setting the table, and vacuuming the house once a week. Chet, who is 11, takes out the recycling, clears the table, and Swiffers the bathroom floors once a week. Allowance is five dollars/week, and though they sometimes complain, and we prod and remind, prod and remind, the chores do get done.

    Read More: 3 Reasons My Kid Love to Do Chores Without Me Even Asking

    Chores for our 6-year-old, Maia, have been a work in progress. She was assigned to sweeping under the kitchen table after dinner. But the little pile never seemed to make it from the dustpan all the way into the trash. This is the problem with assigning chores to the little ones. I like the idea of her contributing and feeling like she is a part of the work of the household, but often I wind up having to re-do the "work" she does, so when I'm feeling tired, it's easier to just let her off the hook.


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  • Parenting Through Problems Pooping

    Potty time."Kids do not poop in school (humph). That is just gross," I heard my 11-year-old stepson, Chet, advising my six-year-old, Maia.

    Maia came home from school yesterday with a bellyache from withholding poop. She feels it is inappropriate to poop in school, and apparently so does her brother.

    Read More: The Poop O-Phobe's Guide to Successful Potty Training

    Years back, potty training went smoothly once Maia decided she was ready to soil the Dora toilet. But around the age of three, she developed terrible constipation. The doctor advised drinking gallons of water, cutting out bananas and using enemas. My poor child would become so impacted, she'd sit screaming on the toilet, eventually passing blood-streaked stool. Sometimes I'd have to help with a Vaseline covered finger. Filed away in my mind as another thing "I never imagined doing for someone until I had kids."

    I started to wonder if Freud was right and my child was becoming an "anal retentive" personality, trying so

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  • What It’s like to Be a Work-at-Home Mom

    Laptop picnic.I was a full-time working mom for a few months after my daughter was born, and let me tell you, it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I was prisoner-of-war exhausted. That time was a blur. A highly unpleasant blur: sleepless nights followed by commuting, working all day, commuting home, washing breast pump parts, packing daycare bags, more not-sleeping... I was going off the rails on a crazy train, to borrow some prose from Ozzy Osbourne. When I was laid off from my job, after the shock factor faded, I was left with pure relief.

    Now I stay at home with my daughter while I work. I'm a freelance writer. I'm also busy launching my own business, which will inspire others who are considering getting off the crazy train of fulltime office work in pursuit of a more fulfilling lifestyle.

    So What's it Like to Be a Work From Home Mom?

    Physically, it feels great right now. I'm getting enough sleep (except when I stay up too late of my own volition.) I'm getting regular,

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  • Michelle Duggar's Secrets for Getting Musical Instruments on the Cheap

    That's a tiny violin!We have been playing instruments for quite some time, and when you've been involved in music for a while, you develop many contacts that are teachers who know what is best for their students. When we acquired our first piano years ago, we didn't know anything about purchasing a piano. We were able to ask teachers, some of whom had more than 30 years of experience, "What would be your favorite piano that would not take up a lot of space, but still have good sound?" They were glad to give us their input.

    Read More: The Duggar's Instant Stress Buster: Music

    We spent several months looking through the newspaper, trying to find the right one. One day we got a phone call from a piano teacher that knew of our search. They had found a really nice piano for sale from its original owner at a great price. That's how we got our first piano!

    Read More: Movie Night at the Duggar's

    It may not be immediate gratification like when you buy something you want on credit. With credit

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  • Black Hair Versus White Stepmom

    Pretty.My step-daughter, Ava, just turned 14. When I met her at nine, she rocked a gorgeous, voluminous Afro. Back then, her dad deep conditioned and picked through Ava's curls once as week in front of the television.

    Read More: Gabby Douglas: A Hero, Her Hair, My Heartache

    As she got older, Trey tried to get Ava to take over some of the work of caring for her hair, but Ava said she'd rather have someone else do it (wouldn't we all). Enter stepmom in training. Once in a while, Trey would ask me to condition and blow dry Ava's hair. But anyone who knows me understands I'm not much of a hairstylist. I am a white woman with tangled, wavy hair that is getting less blonde each day. I get haircuts and highlights 3-4 times a year if I can afford it.

    Still, Trey said, "Come on, you know about this girl stuff."

    Read More: How Do We Respectfully Teach Young Girls About Beauty?

    Ava only wears her hair free on the weekends. To go to school, she insists on a tight bun with a

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