Blog Posts by Parentables

  • How Switching to SLS-Free Shampoo Drastically Improved My Hair

    Photo: ktpuppWith thick, frizzy, uncontrollable hair like mine, I've had my fair share of bad hair days - and we all know how bad hair can make a day go downhill! Ever since I changed the shampoo I use, though, my hair has improved drastically. It's been almost two years since I eliminated all harsh, petroleum-derived detergents and phthalates from my shampoo and the result has been softer, less greasy, and healthier-looking hair that requires fewer products and less work to manage.

    Read More: Why You Should Stop Washing Your Face

    Most drugstore-shelf shampoos contain sulfates, chemicals that are cheap and easy to produce and good at dissolving oil and dirt. According to Gillian Deacon's book, There's Lead In Your Lipstick (2011), sulfates such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) create the foam that we erroneously associate with cleaning power, but they disrupt our brain, nervous, and reproductive systems, while drying out hair and irritating the scalp. The Environmental Working Group classifies SLS

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  • Bedtime with the Duggar Kids

    Image: DCLQuestion from a "19 Kids and Counting" fan: Did any of your children have issues with settling down at bedtime or staying in their own bed for the night?

    There's a difference between a little one with a bad attitude who doesn't want to stay in their bed for bedtime versus a little one that wakes up in the middle of the night and wants to cuddle up with daddy and me.

    I am not a stickler about them staying in their own rooms at night; I've never been really rigid about it. If one of mine wakes up in the middle of the night and comes pitter-pattering down the hallway to climb into bed with daddy and me, I love it. I don't mind that a bit. I just let them come and snuggle with dad and me, and we all wake up in the morning smooshed all over the bed. Usually there are two or three in there by the morning. At night, you'll hear all these little feet pitter-pattering across the floor.

    Read More: Teaching Your Toddler to Communicate with Sign Language

    If it's more of an issue of having an

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  • Are You One of Those Mothers?

    Image: Patrik Giardino/Getty ImagesWith the kids being on school vacation, we decided to head to the Boston Children's Museum on Monday. It was loads of fun, but also pretty chaotic with so many kids out of school in our area. A friend decided to join us since she had the day off too. She doesn't have any children but is expecting her first and is a doting aunt who is quick to get involved in entertaining the kids. But we weren't at the museum for ten minutes before she looked at me and said, "Do other moms drive you crazy?" And while I felt bad saying it, my honest answer was "yes."

    Read More: 6 Things to Eliminate from Your Life so You Can Focus on What Matters

    Don't get me wrong, not all other mothers drive me crazy. But when you are in a busy place and there are dozens of high-strung mothers circling, they can ruin everyone else's good time. I understand that keeping your eye on your little ones in a busy public place is a big deal, but bowling over everyone in your path with your stroller to reach your child who

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  • Teaching High School: The Hardest Job Ever

    Photo: alamosbasement / Creative CommonsSeven years ago, I took a position as a semester-long substitute for a teacher on maternity leave at an inner city public charter school in Washington, DC. I expected to be a good teacher. I think many recent college graduates regard teaching this way; at least for women, teaching, like mothering, is something you do instinctively. Maybe this is part of the reason we don't pay our teachers as much as our plumbers or our accountants; I know I cannot find my way around a tax return or fix a toilet.

    Read More: 5 Documentaries that Just Might Change Your Views of Public Education in America

    For many of my friends, a teaching stint provided an intermediary step before they took on "real jobs" as lawyers and doctors. During graduate school, I taught writing at local colleges. And I assumed teaching high school wouldn't be that different from teaching college. Some of my college students were 18 years old, while others were adults returning to school. But all of them wanted to be there.

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  • Could a Small Breed Dog Be a Good Fit for Your Family?

    Photo Credit: Last summer my daughter turned 10, and reminded me for the umpteenth time that I had promised her that we would consider getting a small dog when she was old enough to take care of it. Her longing for a small dog began when she was four, and she had religiously pestered me ever since.

    I have always been a big-dog person, and personally have never really found much use for small dogs. Although I had my doubts, I looked carefully into area breeders and shelters, and after looking through many varieties, pure breeds, and mixes, settled on what I was told was a "designer" dog- the Malti-Poo. Since Jack has entered our home, our hearts have never been the same. From the minute we met him, we were completely taken by his teddy bear cuteness, his intelligence, and his love and devotion.

    Read More: 4 Ways to Help Your Toddler and Dog Get Along

    The thing I love most about Jack aside from his winning personality, is his portability. I hated the idea of getting a dog that would stay home all

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  • 5 Shocking Lessons I Learned in Two Months Without Booze

    Photo Credit: Aziz J. Hayat / Creative Commons. Article by Katie Morton of TheMonarchCompany.comI was astonished when a post I wrote in January called 5 Amazing Lessons I Learned by Giving up Alcohol for One Month got a major response. I've been publishing content to the internet on a semi-regular basis for 8 years now, and never has a piece I've written generated so many personal and heartfelt emails thanking me for sharing my story and for motivating others to make changes in their own lives. Hundreds of people signed up to receive my free eBook and newsletter, many of them emailing to let me know they intend to follow my story of one year without alcohol in hopes of gaining personal inspiration.

    Read More: 5 Amazing Lessons I Learned by Giving up Alcohol for One Month

    As a result, I intend to write more posts in 2013 with what I've learned and some discoveries about how life can unfold when one ditches alcohol for a year. Here is your February edition of lessons from month two.

    1. A LOT of people want to learn how to cut back on drinking but are afraid to talk

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  • 3 Phrases I Need to Eliminate from My Mom Talk

    Image: Stockbyte/Getty ImagesLately, I've been finding myself cringing as certain phrases come out of my mouth when speaking to my children. It's not one of those situations where I'm saying things my parents said that I swore I never would. It's that I'm saying things that either I know aren't really accurate or that may be something I want in that exact moment, but not things that I want to instill in my children for the long term. Here are three phrases I'm trying to eliminate from my repertoire when speaking to my kids so that I don't scar them for life.

    Read More: STOP YELLING AT ME! And Other Things Our Kids Pick Up from Us

    1. "Stop asking so many questions." My son is VERY inquisitive. I don't mind answering questions about the way things work or why we need to go somewhere, but he wants to know every detail about everyone's life whether it is about friends or why my phone just dinged to alert me that I had an email and who was it. "Why can't they play today? What are they having for dinner? Who called?

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  • Snowbound? 3 Indoor Activities to Entertain Little Kids

    Stephanie VuoloIt takes a lot of effort to keep a small child engaged and focused throughout the day, especially when it is too cold or wet to get outside to break up the day during the winter. I've found a few activities that my daughter is excited to do any time I suggest them. They provide great tactile stimulation and require her to further develop her motor skills in the process. Use these as a starting point to keep your little ones in good spirits even if the weather outside is frightful.

    Read More: 3 Ways to Entertain Your Kids While Exercising at Home

    1. Take advantage of how fun water can be to play with. We use a lot of water-based activities even though we are inside more during the winter months. The easiest way is to get my daughter on her step stool and set up at the kitchen sink. I fill a large bowl with warm soapy water and supply her with a sponge and tools like spoons and measuring cups to play with. She spends a lot of time exploring all the options presented, such as squeezing

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  • How the Duggars Share Love on Valentine's Day

    Photo credit: DCLQuestion from a "19 Kids and Counting" fan on Facebook: Do you celebrate Valentine's Day, and if so, how?

    Our family celebrates Valentine's Day a little differently with our friends, the Query family. My dear friend Debbie Query is a widow with four children. Her husband was tragically killed in a car accident when their youngest child was 2 years old. Every year, she puts together a special luncheon for women who are on their own because of tragedy, divorce or even abandonment. She felt like it was a time of year when single women needed to be encouraged and loved. It's common to feel like a fifth wheel when you are alone, especially at Valentine's Day. It's a time when couples will usually be getting gifts for each other or going out for a Valentine's meal. Debbie and her family reach out to women that don't have a Valentine, and host a special Valentine's banquet just for them.

    Read More: Favorite Indoor Activities at the Duggar Home

    The banquet is a lovely luncheon

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  • How it Feels to Be in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship: An Insider's Perspective

    Photo Credit: Lieven SOETE"The quickest way to give away your power is to think you don't have any."

    I had never even considered that I was in an abusive relationship. I feel reluctant to admit that I stayed in one for so long, and I'm even more embarrassed to admit that I was unaware that there was such as thing as what I was experiencing at home: emotional abuse.

    Read More: Schedule a Regular Date Night With Your Sweetie

    When it was finally pointed out by my therapist, I was in denial. How could this be? I was well educated, socially connected, successful in business, and considered myself "aware." It took months for me to fully absorb the information and see my situation from a new perspective.

    I've learned the most difficult thing for a woman is to understand how the abuse could have happened without her really realizing it. I've heard it likened to a frog being boiled alive. The idea being that if a frog is floating in a pan of lukewarm water, calm and relaxed, and the temperature is

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