The truth is, I hate speaking in public. I hate it. You would’t think I do being in such an outgoing industry. Most recently, I spoke at Social Media Week Miami in February and my stomach was in knots until I opened my big mouth. I’m a chatter box who enjoys putting others in the spotlight…
Saskia David, the mother of Samier Bush, the toddler who was videotaped being put into a commercial washing machine, told the Today Show she would press charges against the babysitter who was responsible for him at the time. “I just want to tell Sandra,” David told Ann Curry, “This is not over because everybody said on the news that I wasn’t pressing charges, and I am.”
The incident occurred on May 11, but was not widely reported until a surveillance video of the child being loaded into the machine went viral on the Internet earlier this week. The machine automatically locked and began to cycle but was disabled by a swift thinking employee of the laundromat. Initially, the people in the video were thought to be Samier’s parents, but yesterday, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office identified them as a babysitter and her male friend.
My two-year old son is vegetarian since birth although most days his diet is vegan. He has very little dairy and never has had eggs except for those in the occasional cookie. He drinks almond or hemp milk usually (amino acids, protein, EFA’s) and we’ve opted for organic greek yogurt because of the probiotic benefits and is also nutritionally rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamins B6 and B12.
I make a weekly pot of lentils (red, yellow, black or green) because they offer the highest amount of protein in comparison to other legumes. I add carrots, celery, onion, chopped spinach, kale or collard greens, sweet potato, potato and anything else I can find - this is no watered down soup! The hearty stew usually becomes porridge-like once I add quinoa at the end or on some occasions brown rice or couscous. My son LOVES it anyway I make it and so do I! This is his daily lunch, sometimes dinner unless he eats whatever I’ve cooked for that night.
I grew up in a carnivorous Cuban family. Chicken, beef and pork took up half my dinner plate along with white rice and (usually black) beans. McDonald’s was a weekly occasion and how can I forget Taco Bell, my mom’s favorite. Now as an adult, I still struggle with these temptations despite how gross I KNOW they are. My tastebuds and anxious eating habits sometimes look the other way. However, as an adult with access to infromation my parents didn’t have (Thank you, Information Age!) it is up to me to make better decisions for myself and my family. Breaking the cycle of unhealthy habits is difficult but as a parent, I am taking responsibility and doing the best I can to feed my son only the best.
The vegan diet based in whole-foods has been proven to prevent death from heart disease, reduce “bad” cholesterol levels, and lower blood pressure. It’s also associated with lower body weight, lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Sounds like the solution to most of America’s health problems, doesn’t it? While the science is consistent on these benefits, “experts” in the media are instilling fear in parents by warning them not to omit the meat and dairy products that have made people – and children – sick for generations.
As a dietitian, I know just how crucial it is that children learn the importance of healthy eating at a young age. The earlier kids start loading up on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, the earlier they start reaping the benefits of a diet rich in fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients that fight disease.
Plant-based diets are beneficial for children, as confirmed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), the largest nutrition organization in the world, and arguably one of the more conservative with dietary advice. Not only does this organization say that a vegan diet is appropriate for all stages of life, including infancy and childhood, it also says that a plant-based diet helps prevent dying from heart disease, reduces cholesterol levels, lowers blood pressure, and well, you know the rest.
In addition, the animal-based foods do not provide the benefits to children that have long been advertised. For example, a study recently published in theArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, showed that dairy products and calcium do not prevent stress fractures among active, adolescent girls. In fact, girls consuming the most calcium (primarily from dairy products) had more than double the risk of stress fracture, compared with those getting less calcium. These findings are in line with a 2005 scientific review appearing in the journal Pediatrics that showed dairy products do not promote bone health in children and young adults.
Given the wide variety of plant-based foods that are available, it’s easy to make healthy vegan versions of favorite family meals. Further, children eating a well-balanced vegan diet create a pattern of healthful eating that they can carry into adulthood.
Here is a list of 15 things which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy – we cling on to them. Not anymore. Starting today we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. Ready? Here we go:
1. GIVE UP YOUR NEED TO ALWAYS BE RIGHT
There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?”Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?
2. GIVE UP YOUR NEED FOR CONTROL
Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.”Lao Tzu
3. GIVE UP ON BLAME
Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.
4. GIVE UP YOUR SELF-DEFEATING SELF-TALK
Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.
“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” Eckhart Tolle
5. GIVE UP YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS
about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!
“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind”Elly Roselle
6. GIVE UP COMPLAINING
Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.
7. GIVE UP THE LUXURY OF CRITICISM
Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.
8. GIVE UP YOUR NEED TO IMPRESS OTHERS
Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take off all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.
9. GIVE UP YOUR RESISTANCE TO CHANGE
Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it. “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” Joseph Campbell
10. GIVE UP LABELS
Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open. “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer
11. GIVE UP ON YOUR FEARS
Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place. “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
12. GIVE UP YOUR EXCUSES
Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.
13. GIVE UP THE PAST
I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.
14. GIVE UP ATTACHMENT
This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another, attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.
15. GIVE UP LIVING YOUR LIFE TO OTHER PEOPLE’S EXPECTATIONS
Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves. You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.
Redesigning my son's room... because I don't have enough to do.
I recently received a great hand me down gift from my mom’s friend. A beautiful lighthouse floor lamp that just made me melt. I loved it for my boy’s room. Except we had a different theme that wouldn’t match it all. (It’s ok, we can change out the theme because mama’s got so much time on her hands nowadays. Yeah right.)
I couldn’t help it, it was just gorgeous. Along with the lamp, we were given some adorable nautical themed towel hooks which were perfect as well.
Here’s the commercial shot of the not-so-current theme:
And what it really looked like:
Since our move a year ago, his room looks different but this is the most recent picture I have of his nursery bedding. (I’m looking at these pictures taken during my nesting craze and I’m in just in disbelief at how fast time flies!)
I LOVE this theme but I was ready for something different that allowed for more variety in our color palette. The chocolate brown and blues were cute and sweet for a newborn but I’m ready to throw in some greens and reds! I love color! I’m looking forward to turning my baby’s room into a little sailor’s dream room with the functionality of a play room as well complete with his first big boy bed! I found the Ahoy Matey Bedding by Nojo which is so cute, colorful and whimsical! It pairs up nicely to our new floor lamp as well.
My son is obsessed with fish, dolphins and whales. At only 23 months old, he knows the difference between them all. The bedsheets are his favorite although I wish they were organic cotton like his previous bedding.
I’m excited to begin on this project! So far, I have these fabulous blocks I bought on Etsy.com by Personalized Blocks. They have a lot of different themes and the quality is excellent.
I am drawing inspiration on-line but I want to keep it simple and happy.
I will post the finished product at some point in 2012. ;) But I have a good head start already with the bedding, blocks and lamp.
We’re proud to introduce our newest NBC Latino contributor Michelle Bernstein, a James Beard Foundation Award-winning Miami chef known for her Latin-style flavors and various acclaimed restaurants, including Sra. Martinez and Michy’s. Michelle, a new mamá, will write regularly about her experience in cooking for children.
I have a confession: this Sunday will be my very first Mother’s Day as a mom. For nearly a decade, I had been dreaming of becoming a mother; but it was only eight months ago that my dream finally came true. That’s when my son—my beautiful gordito named Zachary—was born.
Call to artists, families and activists! Let's Color Miami!
In 2009, Hands on Miami (who we all dearly miss) organized Hands on Miami Day, the annual city-wide volunteer day with projects stretching all across the county from beach cleanup, beautifying gardens and painting murals like the project I was involved in with my then boyfriend and now husband. (At the time, a lot of our dates involved joint volunteer projects.) We both look back at the day and how great it felt to start with a blank canvas and see it develop into a happy backdrop for the children to play at this Homestead Miami elementary school. A group of volunteers who started off as strangers became friends over the course of the day. I was inspired.
Mirror, mirror on the wall: Who’s the best mom of them all?
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Last year, Tiger Mothers were superior. This year, French mommy-hood has been deemed a cut above. Are other mothers generally better than us at producing high-functioning and high-achieving kids? And do they enjoy parenting more than we do?
Maybe. Tiger mothers, soccer mothers, French mamas, working mothers, stay-at-home-mothers: We each have our strengths. We don’t have a lot of empirical evidence about what brand of mommy is “best,” but we do have a lot of data about what makes for good parenting. I’ve spent the last 10+ years deep in that research. In honor of Mother’s Day, here are my Top 10 qualities of a “good” mother. (Two notes about this: 1. These are also qualities of good fathers, of course, without exception. 2. We don’t need to embody all of these things all at once to be good parents—see #10.)
1. She’s happy. There are scores of reasons that a parent’s happiness matters for their children’s well-being (and achievement) across the board. Happiness helps us all fulfill our potential. When we mothers are happy, we are better mothers.*
2. She’s not stressed out or over-busy. The ability to be present—and patient—with our children is one of the greatest gifts that we can give them. It is hard to be a skillful parent when we’re freaking out about, oh, all the things we generally freak out about. The best mothers both plan stress out of their lives, and cope with stress actively, using techniques like meditation, mindfulness, and yoga.
3. She’s in a happy romantic relationship. Little is more important for our happiness than our love lives. When we are in a low-conflict and fulfilling relationship, our children learn have a healthy example for their own relationships. Great mamas model passionate, long-lasting, and joyful romance.
4. She’s unconditionally warm and affectionate. This means that when her children aren’t behaving well, she doesn’t withdraw her love and comfort—she has other disciplinary tools in her belt. My grandmother was the ultimate in this department: She once told me that she’d still love me, even if I turned out to be “an axe murderer.” She’d put me in jail where I belonged, but she’d still love me.
5. She sets firm boundaries. Kids need their mom to be their parent, not their best friend. This means saying no, even when it is excruciatingly difficult. Good mothers set rules, and they enforce those rules, consistently and with warmth.
6. She embraces mistake-making. Though it is natural for us to want to protect our children from making mistakes, we handicap them when we compensate for them or prevent them from falling down.
7. She’s supportive without being a helicopter parent. She promotes her kids’independence. She lets them hear their own voice, so that they might know better who they are and what they want in life—rather than who their mother is, and what their mother wants for them.
8. She creates good family habits that routinely evoke positive emotions like appreciation, confidence, and compassion rather than entitlement or obstinence. Some examples: a dinnertime gratitude practice, a morning routine that doesn’t rely on yelling or bribery, a bedtime routine that leads to connection, and an after-school routine that allows for theunstructured play that children need to develop skills for happiness and empathy.
9. She’s a proponent of hard work in the pursuit of mastery, even when it is boring or uncomfortable. And she uses a growth-mindset to praise effort rather than innate talent.
10. She’s not perfect, in any realm, and she doesn’t expect perfection from her children, either. Perfectionism is a particular form of unhappiness; it is a life driven by the fear of not being enough. The best parents give their children the room they need to be messy, mistake-making children. AND they allow themselves, perhaps with some humor, to be messy, mistake-making mothers who love life and their children with an open heart.
Are you a great mama? Do you have a great mom? Are you married to one? At the very least, I know you know a great mother. Which of these qualities are your—or her—particular strength? Which are you still working on? What other important qualities do you think should be on this list?
Often I think that what we want most for Mother’s Day is to know that we are good-enough mothers. Or even that we are GREAT mothers. This week, express your gratitude to the mothers in your life: Which of the things on this list do they do best? Forward this email, post it on a mom’s Facebook wall, or leave a comment here.
* This doesn’t mean that you aren’t a good mom if you’ve struggled with depression, as many moms do, or that your children are going to be scarred forever. It does mean that it is important—and not selfish—to take care of yourself, and your own happiness.
Cross-posted from Christine Carter’s blog, Raising Happiness (tag line: Science for Joyful Kids and Happier Parents).
• 44 percent of working mothers said flexible work hours are most important to their work situation.
• 42 percent of working mothers said co-workers are supportive; 16 percent said they are resentful.
• 55 percent of working mothers said the struggle to excel at work and home is overwhelming.
From the Families and Work Institute’s 2012 National Study of Employers:
• 77 percent of companies allow employees to periodically change starting and quitting times. 63 percent of companies allow employees to occasionally work at home.
• Only 9 percent of employers provided full pay for maternity leave in 2012, a decrease from 17 percent in 2005.
From the new report titled Expecting Better: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws That Help New Parents by the National Partnership for Women & Families:
• Only 38 percent of workers have access to employer-provided short-term disability insurance, which would provide some income during a woman’s pregnancy-related disability leave. And only about one-tenth of the workforce has access to employer-provided paid family leave to care for a new child.
• Eighteen states received grades of “F” for failing to provide a single benefit or program to help support families before and after the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child. Florida received a “D.”
• Among women who worked during pregnancy, 73 percent return to work within six months of giving birth.
• First-time mothers with access to paid maternity leave are more likely to return to work — and to the same employer — within a year after giving birth.
When I dived in head first into Mom 2.0 Summit after an exhausting yet gratifying work week, I wasn’t too keen on how great the speakers would be, their influence or the enormity of this annual summit of awesomeness.
After seeing the summit web badge on Mommas Gone City only a few weeks ago, I realized Mom 2.0 was happening in my own backyard. I had to go. I sent a quick e-mail to my mom and husband with the link and “I want to go to this.” My sweet mom made sure of it, gifting me the opportunity to come to Mom 2.0 as an early Mother’s Day / 30th birthday surprise. I was elated. Together, grandma and daddy took over baby duty and I checked in to the Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne on Friday night and staying through Sunday evening. (Hello staycation!)
I arrived at the fabulous Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne after the (Honda/LG) Welcome White Sand Beach Party was over, I was disappointed to miss the party but had some work to knock out before calling it a day. The friendly Cuban bellhop offered me a glass of champagne to wish I responded (hell) yes! I walked up to my room and met my roommate for the first time - who I met on the Mom 2.0 Facebook group. Hey, it’s the Ritz and ritzy - so we opted to room up and split the bill. #mommybudgetfriendly
Day 1 began with a great oceanfront zumba. How cool is it that being the rumba / dance lover that I am, I actually get to kickoff the summit with a salsa sweat? My roommate and blogger, Rene J. Ross actually happens to be a zumba instructor so of course we out danced the instructor who was lost in her own class. In all fairness, she was sweet and the class was beachfront - I’m not complaining at all. It was definitely a lovely way to begin anyone’s day! But next year, I vote for Rene to lead the class!
Following rumba, we hit breakfast in the courtyard sponsored by Tide. I was so happy to run into a friendly face, Carmen Navarez-Leander of Seeking Sitters Miami. (Definitely check out this awesome babysitter referral service if you’re in Miami!)
I started off the conference on a mission to live tweet as if there was this captive audience just waiting for me to fill them in or else. Then I realized, “Wait, maybe I should just listen!” So I did. Ok, well, I certainly tried. The picture below shows typical me and my Hootsuite dashboard.
“If I think the rest of the world has it down, it keeps me in a place of inferiority.”
“Share your story with someone who’s earned the right to hear it.”
“The truth behind the curtain for all of us is every morning we wake up and make the choice of whether it’s going to be: am I good enough, am I worthy of love and belonging, does who I am matter?”
“Nobody is as hard on girls as other girls and mothers…In my car there is absolutely zero tolerance for gossip and mean-spiritedness.”
“The truth about transformation is it’s frickin’ slow. It doesn’t look like a reality tv reveal.”
“I want to use mainstream media to get messages out about how women and girls can change the world, overcome feelings of shame and inferiority… Sixty percent of girls abstain from everyday activities because they don’t feel comfortable with themselves and how they look. How do we inspire them?”
“Be courageous. Admit number one you’re not perfect, not doing it right all the time.”
“Everybody needs an Esteem Team — like the A-Team, but with better clothes and jewelry.”
Brené and Jess share the experience of working for years to reach their current level of success of reaching conference stages to share their messages.
“I stood in line for a frickin’ decade,” Brené said. “There was grit and gumption and ballsiness. It’s not like one day i was sitting at home and someone called and said, listen, write a book, we’ll publish it and then we’re gonna hook you up with Ted. I knocked down doors and then hid under my bed with peanut butter.”
Jess, who spent years on the phone with Hollywood executives trying to get her message across, agrees, on both counts.
“It’s okay to hide, then get back out and do the work.”
That work includes helping our next generation live with confidence and courage, not self-deprivation, doubt, and shame.
The first and last time I was at the Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne, I was pregnant with my first and only baby.
Going back this weekend for Mom 2.0 Summit, I thought of him so often yet I really did take in the moments, the insights, realizing that I was going to leave the summit a better person and he was in good grandma/aunt/daddy hands.
I learned a lot, took time for myself to relax, to just be and to just learn - free from work e-mails (ok, I did answer some) but definitely in the moment, which I struggle with when I’m thinking a million things at once.
I began my recap on Saturday but haven’t found any reasonable time to post yet. (Stay tuned!) There was something to do at every moment, a new face to greet and a new friend to make.
Anyway, I look forward to sharing more memories of Mom 2.0 summit this week but I just had to share this prego picture.