Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wordless Wednesday! LOVE These T-shirts (and bib) for Babies & Toddlers



Monday, August 24, 2015

Unnecessary Hysteria - Mom Claims Glass Shards Found in Huggies Wipes

The hysteria is flooding the Huggies Facebook page, their Twitter feed and their phone lines. The news is spreading through social media networks and over the Internet like wildfire.

A mother found glass in her Huggies wipes!

It all started with a video that a Palm Coast mom posted on Facebook. It has now been viewed over 16 million times. And here is the video, for your viewing pleasure:

And then the outrage ensued.

Huggies phone lines and Facebook page is currently being bombarded by parents who are outraged that their could be glass shards in the baby wipes that they use on their precious baby's bums.

And, I, for one, know how sensitive baby product companies are to complaints about their products, after working with them for many, many years now. They have to be very careful to handle all complaints about their products seriously. After all, we are talking about babies here.

But, let's stop and think for just a moment...

If there were glass shards on the wipes that these people were obviously wiping across their arms during the video, there would be blood. Have you ever had even one itty-bitty glass shard in your foot or hand?

It hurts. And it bleeds. And the glass shards will get lodged in your skin.

If she used baby wipes with glass shards incorporated into them on her baby's bum, the baby would be bleeding. 

There was no blood. And glass shards were not lodged in the skin of the baby's bum.

Come on, parents!

Can we not see a ridiculous mother with an urge to get her 15 minutes of fame here? Couldn't she have come up with something a little more real to complain about? (Notice I have not mentioned her name, because she does not deserve to have her name mentioned!?)

People just post anything on social media nowadays!

At first, I thought it was a hoax, but now I see that this mom truly is sticking to her allegation that she thinks there are painless, no blood causing pieces of glass on her baby wipes! Glass shards that do not cause blood, but rather cause diaper rash and skin irritation.

A company spokesperson from Kimberly-Clark, Huggies parent company, claims: "We believe that what has been reported as glass shards are, most likely, melted fiber particles of our wipe material used in the manufacturing process of the product."

They also claim this on their website: "To confirm, no glass is used during the manufacturing process. Generally speaking, we make our product by combining a blend of fibers. Rarely, but on occasion, when those fibers combine together while being formed, they creating a shiny particle similar to what was found by this consumer."

They did ask the mom to send back some of the wipes so that they could conduct testing and promised to release the test results publicly once they were completed. (I won't hold my breath on the glass shards theory.)

The California mom says that she does not want coupons, free products, or even her money back. She wants the wipes recalled.

But Huggies says that their wipes do not pose a risk to babies, so they do not plan to recall them.

And, I don't blame them!

There are not glass shards in the baby wipes!

Is it possible that these "glass shards" could be teeny shiny crystalline fibers that formed after the wipes were exposed to extreme temperatures during the manufacturing, as suggested?

I happen to believe that to be closer to the truth than the whole glass theory.

What do you think?

(Don't forget to subscribe to Mommy Rantings for updates!)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Get My Book! (Review Bloggers)...for only $2.99!

If you have ever wanted to start a blog or if you are a blogger who wants to get into reviewing products, services and events,
Welcome to my book!
This is it, right here! It will tell you everything that you need to know, and more, to get started.

Get It Now

This is not a silly scam. This is actually what I learned through the blood, sweat and tears of blogging, and I wanted to share it with anyone who has yearned about where to start. 

I'm not one to brag about my skills and abilities or boast about things that I have accomplished. As a matter of fact, most people who know me will tell you that I am a pretty down-to-earth, humble mama who doesn't really say a whole lot about her accomplishments.

I don't know why I'm like that, but I've found that, in the long run, it kind of hurts me, because I find it difficult to market my own books. Most of my friends are taken aback when I tell them that I have two published books (and working on more!), and that's if they even know that I have a website.

About the Book

I'm going to make this as short and sweet as possible. If you are new to blogging, you will want to read Review Bloggers. If you have been blogging for a while already and you would love to jump into reviewing and giving away products on your blog, this is the book for you!

I outlined everything that you need to know about blogging, from statistics to social media to building your readership. Then, I also included some of my tips and tricks and organizational strategies to help you keep it all on track. Established bloggers who want to review products can check and see if they are on the right track, and then quickly move onto the "getting flooded" with products" part.

Bloggers are getting PAID to review products, now, too. Your time is WORTH MONEY, my hardworking blogging friends! If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for?

Look, it's only $2.99. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can get it for FREE. But, just think as that little $2.99 that Amazon takes 30% of as a small token donation (I have 9 children, after all!) to my family.

And, it's a pretty good read, from what I've heard in the reviews. (I promise, none of those reviews are PAID, either.) I was bummed someone left a 4 star review, but it was still honestly positive and only said that you couldn't get from here to there overnight, but as I said in my response to the review, I took everything I learned through blood, sweat and tears for years and condensed it so that people can achieve it in a fraction of the time. 

Happy reading! Let me know what you think!

Putting An End to Bullying - My Way

I HATE bullies! I also hate the word "hate", so when you hear me say it, you know I'm really at the end of my rope.
Here's the thing about bullying: we, as parents, have to figure out whether to step in or to step back. And, that's not an easy thing to do.
Because, the truth is, if our child is getting bullied, what we really want to do is punch the bully in the face! Or, at least throw the brat over our knees and spank the crap out of them.
Okay, so we can't do that. (Darn!)
Which brings us back to the first two options...teach our kids how to handle bullies or step in some other way.
Ever tried going to the bully's parents? Often, they're worse than the kids! So, with that option out, what's a parent to do?
If we step in, we could embarrass our kids even more...but, surely we can't sit back and let someone bully our child?
We have to teach them how not to let a bully "take their power". Ultimately, each and every one of us has the ability to give someone the power to upset us or not.
I'm not saying that this is an easy thing to teach. Even as adults, we often allow people to upset us, get on our nerves, get the best of us.
I've learned several ways how to not let people get the best of me that I have tried to teach my kids, but the best "technique" so far is one that I'm not proud of.
But it works!
When someone is truly pissing me off with their high-up-on-a-pedestal, I'm-better-than-thou attitude and trying to say demeaning things to me...
I simply ignore...
And think "What an asshole!"
The fact that *asshole* is a bad word has a distraction factor in the whole bullying theme. It's the truth - the bully is an asshole!
"Can we say that, Mom?" my kids ask.
"Of course not!" I tell them. "But, you can think it! And, nobody will even know."
"God will know," one of my little smarty pants reminded me.
"Yes, God will know..." I thought quickly..."But God also knows everything and he realizes that the bully is an asshole, too."
Okay, I'll say it again - I'm not a perfect mom, my parenting ways are not perfect, even the things I teach my kids are not perfect.
But they work!
The ignore part of the "technique" is the hardest part to teach.
Words hurt.
It doesn't matter if the words aren't even remotely relevant, they still hurt.
"You're ugly." "You're slow." "Your mom is fat." Some of the stuff that comes out of kids mouths today is just rotten. "You should kill yourself."
Words are ugly.
So, focusing on building up our children's self-esteem and self-pride is vital to battling the bullies. Bullies tend to pick on children with self-esteem issues.
We need to teach our kids that what other people say about us does not make who were are. What other people think about us does not make who were are.
We have the power to decide who and what we are and who and what we become, and ultimately, it's not whether we are fat or ugly or even stupid that leads to our success - or lack of it.
In the end, success is the key word.
Those big meanies might become successful, but they can't stop my children from becoming successful unless my children give them that power!
And that's what I drill into my kids' heads.
You have the power to allow people - or disallow them - to hurt your feelings or upset you. If you don't allow people to hurt your feelings, because you have a good sense of self-esteem and faith that you will be a successful person, then you take that power away from the bully.
So, teach your children that they own their power (self-esteem, success, faith) and they can keep it or give it away. Bullies cannot take their power unless they allow it.
So, remind them to ignore a bully, and, in their mind, remind themselves that the bully is an *asshole*. (That even brings a smile to my children's faces.)
A powerless bully can no longer be a bully.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Back to School Sleep (Infographic)

While our southern friends have already made the transition back to school, those of us in the north are still enjoying the last days of our summer vacation. What is your biggest back-to-school challenge?

For my house, no doubt, it's the sleep schedules. I admit, I have let my kids run til they have run out of steam this summer. I hate to say it, but there have been several nights I have laid down with the baby and fallen asleep, only to wake at 1 a.m. and find toddlers passed out on couches and teens still up on computers and tablets.

"Sleep schedules" don't exist here during the summer. Run 'em 'til they drop.

But, with the first day of school fast approaching, I guess {sigh} it's time to buckle down. And, while I've been thinking about it, I really haven't done much to change things around here yet...

Then, this morning, I opened an email that included this interesting infographic:

Yes, I am one of the parents who do all of the no-no's and bribery. :) Whatever works, right?

And, the list of tips that came in the email that I probably won't follow (hey, they'll learn soon enough that they need sleep):

Back-to-School: Tips For Transiting The Family’s Sleep Schedule From Summer to Fall

· Night Owls No More: No Late Bedtimes

“Set your child’s bedtime and stick to all week,” says Dr. Mary Ellen Wells, Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Science at UNC Chapel Hill. The recommended number of hours of sleep differs for each age group, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, school age (5-10 years) children should get 10-11 hours of sleep per night while teens (11-17 years) should plan on 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep each night.

· Shift Bedtime To Accommodate A Schedule For School

Starting a week or two before school starts, determine the number of hours your child’s bedtime needs to shift and gradually advance the bedtime and wake time to the appropriate time (by no more than 30 minutes per day).

· Turn Off Electronics Two To Three Hours Before Bedtime

Any type of electronic that emits blue light or revs up brain activity counteracts the body’s natural transition to sleep. “The sleep environment should be restful – meaning dark, quiet, comfortable and not distracting. Creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and associating your child’s bed with sleep can also help, which means keeping ‘sleep stealers’ out of the bedroom, such as computers, smart phones, TV, etc.,” Dr. Wells said.

· Invest In A Comfortable Mattress

Thirteen percent of parents say the quality of the mattress has the biggest impact on quality sleep. Younger parents, millennials, aged 18-29 are the most likely to say mattress quality impacts sleep quality (20%).To help ensure a comfortable night’s sleep, invest in a mattress that is engineered to fully support the back and align the body. “A good mattress can the difference of a transformative sleep and one leaving your child tossing and turning at night,” said Kevin Leatherwood, Senior Director of Global Product Development at Sealy. “Investing in a quality mattress for your child can be one of the most important items in transitioning your child back to school.”

· Soak Up Sunshine After You Wake Up

There are external cues called zeitgebers that help synchronize our sleep/wake rhythm. The sun is by far the most powerful zeitgeber, which can be used to help us orient to our desired routine. “If possible, have your child get outside for some sunshine in the morning soon after waking,” Dr. Wells says. “15 minutes will do the trick.”

Thank you to Sealy (yes, the mattress company) and UNC School of Medicine's Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Science for teaming up and creating the infographic and tips! 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Uniforms vs. Dress Codes at School? Why Parents Are All Fired Up

I'm glad my kids have been wearing uniforms for the past few years now. But, even still, I read Facebook, and it makes me mad when I read about friends' daughters who are sent home because of what they are wearing.

The worst part is some of the outfits in question weren't even an issue, in my opinion. From what I saw, they covered all of the parts that should be kept to ourselves. Yet, for some reason, whether it was a tank top or leggings or...whatever the school administration didn't approve of, the outfit was deemed inappropriate and the student was sent home, either for the day or to just change.

And completely interrupting the learning environment, as well as making fashion (or lack of it) issues more important than education.

Understandably, there has to be a dress code and it needs to be adhered to. Sure, we would wreck the whole back-to-school season for fashion designers if our schools all decided to do the right thing - uniforms.

And, believe me, about six years ago, I would have disagreed with the uniform side of the debate. I didn't like the idea of uniforms at all. But, it works. There is no fine line between whether something fits into the dress code or not with uniforms. Students are either wearing the uniforms or they aren't.

And, that means that there's no interruption of their education and learning. There's no chit-chat in the hallway "Did you see what she was wearing?" And that means there is no sending kids home, which essentially means that what you are wearing is more important than your education.

Now, I'm going to get to the "distraction" part here. The main reason school admin are using for why they are sending girls home to change into "appropriate" attire is because their clothing is "distracting" other students.

So, we should probably ditch the pajama days and the other dress up days that many schools participate in for spirit weeks and other "fun" weeks. Because I would think pajamas and crazy socks would be distracting.

And we should probably also get rid of neon colored clothing and maybe even oranges and purples, because those colors might be distracting to certain school aged children, as well.

Stripes, polka dots and plaids probably need to be ruled out, too, because patterns can distract the mind.

All black attire could distract people, too.

Are we getting the point? What is "distracting" for one child may not be for another. On the other hand, one person's fashion sense isn't going to be the same as another's.

So, school admin are singling out which outfits they think are inappropriate and making an example out of these children so that other children will not wear the same thing to school. How sad they are treating our children this way.

No wonder parents are in an uproar! This has been going on for too long now.

Either draft up a uniform code for the school or leave the children alone. And, I also understand that these schools have "dress codes" that include length of skirts and shorts, but wouldn't a uniform be the end-all fix to this problem?

Sure, the kids wouldn't like it at first. They wouldn't be able to express their personal style and fashion at school, but that's not what school is about. They should be focusing on their education. (Unless, of course, they're gearing toward a career in fashion, but that's an entirely different story.)

My children didn't once have a problem with the uniform at their school. As a matter of fact, they seemed to like it better because they didn't really have to pick out clothes each day. What they were going to wear tomorrow was obvious. All we had to worry about is if their uniforms were clean (and still fit).

And the worst part is how schools are stating that the way girls are dressing is distracting to the boys. I said it in a Facebook comment, and I'll say it again. "As long as we are raising classy girls and gentlemen, we don't have to worry about whether our boys are being distracted by girls clothing."

Boil it down to the bottom line, and this whole controversy could be null and void if schools just adopted a uniform. Not everyone is going to agree with the decision in the beginning, but everyone would quickly find out how much easier life is without all of the dress code hassles and debates.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Why Do We Teach Our Kids To Share?

You can throw stones at me, but I really don't feel like we are supposed to teach our kids to share as a general rule. I could list a million reasons why. But, I'll just give you a couple of examples.

Say that your little girl was playing with her doll, as happy as she can be, by herself. Then my little girl went over to your little girl and started acting like a fool because she wanted to play with the doll.

Is it really right to tell your daughter to share?

Turn the tables.

How about I come up to you while you are jamming out to the music on your iPod and throw a hissy fit because I wanted the iPod?

What if someone told you to share with me?

That's not going to happen, because that's not how real life is!

So, why do we teach our children to "Share" like it's a mantra? Of course, I'm not saying not to teach your kids to share. It just shouldn't be a general rule as a child, because that's not a general rule for real life.

Let's say you are at work, sitting at your desk, desperately trying to beat a deadline. Your co-worker comes over and throws a temper tantrum, because she wants to sit at your desk and use your computer and do your work!

You're going to look at her like she's crazy. Or, you might have the urge to slap her.

That doesn't happen in real life! So, why enforce it upon our kids? See how you felt? How do you think a kid would feel?

I can imagine them thinking, "That's just ludicrous!"

We should also be teaching our children how to play together and get along and negotiate through potential problems. But, why use the word "Share"?
It's kind of rude of us as parents totally disregard our children's feelings and force them to share.

Now, certainly, we should be teaching the child who doesn't want to let anyone that comes to his house play with any of his toys that there's enough to go around, several times.

I'm not saying never, never, never use the word "Share", but to pick our battles. Suzy and Henry can work it out. And, if they can't, then we should step in just a bit and guide how they work their way through the problem. (Without using the word "Share".)

Sure, there are times when it's nice to share. We're supposed to be kind to each other. But, sharing is not the answer to all problems.

Just because I have a more comfortable chair and desk and a more updated computer at work than you do (haha!), doesn't mean that I should have to share it with you anytime you feel like you want to use my office space.

I'd like to see someone try it!

It would be kinda fun, though, if we really could (as grown adults) go up to someone and throw a fit because we want to drive their Lamborghini. And a big voice boomed, "Share!" to the Lamborghini owner, and she reluctantly handed over her keys.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"I Don't Know How You Do It With 9 Kids" - A Few of My Life Hacks

"I Don't Know How You Do It With 9 Kids!"

If I had a penny for every time I've heard this (and it really started back when I had 5 kids), I'd be uber rich. And, yet, somehow, I don't know how I do it, either. I just do the best I can each day.

Sometimes, I feel like a failure. I just can't accomplish everything I want to.

Sometimes, I feel like all I do is solve little people problems all day. But, the truth is, I'm not just a SAHM, but also a WAHM.

So, on top of taking care of every last need of all nine kids (and a husband), I'm also filling out the miscellaneous paperwork that comes along with kids, scheduling and attending appointments, organizing dresser drawers and closets, keeping up with clothing needs - they grow so fast! Etc., etc., etc...

And then, I have to figure out how to squeeze my work into the 24 hours that we are alloted each day. And sleep...and showering...and eating...and brushing my teeth...


Back in the days of my professional business management career, when I actually left the house to work...oh, how much easier those days were! Anyway, back in those days, I learned - and actually taught at management seminars - tons of techniques for managing employees.

Funny thing is, a lot of these techniques also work in the home.

For example, delegation.

With three teenagers now, plus a 10 year old, an 8 year old, and a 6 year old, there are responsible kids who can be delegated to. But, delegation is not the key to getting things done, and getting them done right.

After all, kids, like employees, will often "forget" they were delegated to, or even better yet, mess up the task they were delegated.

(Do you ever feel like you would have been better off doing it yourself?)

It's what you do after the delegation that either makes or breaks the technique. You have to "follow up".

Even before that, though, especially with children and teens (but it is also recomended for employees), the Explain, Demonstrate, Have them Do technique works like a champ.

Let me explain the "Follow Up" technique and the EDHD technique really quick. The Explain, Demonstrate, Have them Do is simple.

Let's use laundry as an example.

First, explain how to sort the clothes, how much laundry detergent and softener to use and where to put them, which settings to put the washer on, etc (Explain). Then, you physically show them how to do it (demonstrate). The next round of laundry, be there with them as they physically do it themself, but let them show you how to do it (have them do).

This technique has, time and time again, saved me so much hassle!

Normally, we do what?

We tell the child how to do something and expect them to remember everything we said. When we show them and then MAKE THEM DO IT, it ingrains the process into their brains.

What do you remember better?

Seriously, if we are training managers to use this technique for adults, why wouldn't we use it with our kids? Well, I do, and that's one of the reasons that I can "Do It With 9 Kids".

Time Management

Anyone who knows me has probably heard me say, "If only I had another 24 hours each day". Well, unfortunately, that's not going to happen. Although, I do enjoy that one day per year that we get to "turn the clocks back" and get an extra hour.

Sadly, most years, I've used that hour to catch up on must-needed sleep on a lazy Sunday morning. (Because it always falls on a SUNDAY!)

Time Management is another management technique that I've had to bring to the homefront. There is no choice in the matter, I have to manage my time, as well as manage schedules for ten other people. Meals, naptimes, bath times, work time, play you know, it's endless.

Pinpoint and Control Your Time Drains

I know what my "time drains" media, email, children bickering, and yes, even chores not being done. This is a big one for me, because most time drains can be controlled, reduced, and some can even be completely eliminated.

Control or Reduce Time Drains

With some things, like the kids bickering, there's nothing you can do some days. (Besides hiding in the closet.) For other things, there is a possibility that taking a little time researching could lead to an app or an online tool that will help you reduce or control your time drains.

Back in the day, I used to keep appointment cards for doctors in my wallet or purse. The problem with that is: 9 times out of 10, I'm going to look for that card and not find it where I put it. That was back when I was a new mom with only 3 children, mobile phones were a little different. Ya know?

For several years now, I've put everything from children's doctors appointments to library deadlines to upcoming events to work deadlines into my calendar on my trusty Note 3. 0. Even reminders to fax some kind of paperwork or print out a receipt can all be quickly entered into my calendar, using VOICE DICTATION!

Besides my calendar, voice dictation has become my best friend. Checking email, Facebook messages, comments, Instagram posts, checking the weather, setting a reminder, even writing blog posts and articles.

And, now, it's time to do some research. Google apps that help save time. In whatever way you may need it. I recently discovered a new time management tool that can be helpful for moms, but also helps out bloggers site owners, social media managers, and the list is endless.

I talked about it the other day. IFTTT is the best! (If you click on the link, it'll take you to my article.) Trust me when I say about 20 minutes time investment just saved me about 2 to 3 hours of work per day and made it all automated. As far as blogging and work is concerned, I'm in love. I haven't really found many ways it can make my life with my family more conducive, but I'm still looking! (There is an app linked to the IFTTT site. I think it's called Do Button.)

Phone calls and email are definite time drains...and I treat them both the same. I answer the phone and email only when I'm not too busy to deal with them. If the phone rings and I'm cooking and the kids are climbing the walls and doing the tribal hungry dance, I won't answer. I'll call back later, but unless it's an emergency (thank you, caller ID), it can wait 15 minutes.

Do you have an answering machine? Learn how to use it. :) And don't let those silly questions, "where were you when I called earlier?" make you feel guilty. Just say, "Oh, I'm sorry, I was tied up! So, how ARE you?"

Same with email...I check it when I have time to respond, or at least skim and delete the junk and mark the others to get back to later.

What sucks your time? Figure it out, find a solution.

Control and reduce those time drains, figure out how to manage your time better, and delegate correctly with EDHD.

Sure, there's still not enough time in a day.

After all, I'm still a mom of 9.

But, I spend less time doing things that are frustrating, like telling a kid how to do something over and over again or searching for that paperwork that I had to fill out - (oh, yeah, I wrote in my notes on my calendar where I put that!). Or even menial tasks, like changing my Twitter and Instagram (and LinkedIn...and so on...) profile pic when my Facebook profile pic changes.

I'd love to hear your life hacks! (Share them in the comments!)

Monday, August 17, 2015

How to be a No - Rescue Helicopter Mom

Say what?

I know what you're could I possibly be a Helicopter Mom and a No - Rescue Mom? They're polar opposites! But, somehow, I am.

The other day, one of my friends was over our house with her three kids. She was observing how I was allowing my kids to ride bicycles and scooters, as she was helping her daughter ride one of the bikes.

"I wish I could just stand back and watch, I'm afraid one of them is going to get hurt," she said.

"Kids are going to get hurt. More than likely when we're not watching," I told her. "Remember Wesley in the double casts? That was the moment I turned my back.l You just have to make sure when you are around, you teach then to play safe."

Then I admitted, "I'm a Helicopter Mom, too. But, not with the 'little things'. I tend to hover with the more important stuff and let them finagle other things on their own. They won't learn anything if we hover all the time...but, more importantly, they won't experience that oh-so-important sense of accomplishment if we do everything for them."

It's not that I'm a No - Rescue Mom all the time.  On the contrary, sometimes, I feel like I'm all in my kids' biz all the time. I know what every single one of them are involved in on their tablets and computers. I know who they are hanging out with and where they are at all times. I'm nosey - and proud of it.

I don't allow my kids to be more than 2 driveways away when they are outside. I'm definitely a Helicopter Mom. I hover. Over 9 kids. No doubt, I stay busy.

But, at the playground or when they are playing outside, I have learned to take a step back. Of course, when they need or want my help, I'm there, willing and able. However, there's no need to hover over a child ALL.THE.TIME!

They do need to be their own little people and learn and grow and attempt to accomplish things on their own, without Mommy or Daddy standing over them. How else will they be able to feel that incredible feeling of accomplishment, "I did it! All By Myself!"?

You have to find a balance between the two extremes of Helicopter parenting and No - Rescue parenting. In all honesty, Helicopter Moms drive me nuts. You know, the hardcore hoverers who won't let their kids poop without standing next to the potty with the toilet paper ready.

The moms who trail behind their newly crawling cherub, watching their every move or picking them up at the first sign of frustration.

Stand back and let them learn their lessons on their own, but also be right there to "hover" when they want or need your help. Toddlers need a push on the swing, maybe even a little help on the slide, but they don't need us to hover over their every move.

You can also search your teen's Internet history and investigate their friends' parents, if your hovering tendencies lead you to do so, but they don't need you to be right there, holding their hand, when they're playing with their friends outside. Give them some space! They are teenagers!

My 9th child just started crawling. I keep anywhere and anything she can possibly reach clear of potential hazards and let her explore. She loves it! And, while my hovering instinct gets nervous and anxious, the No - Rescue parent part of me can't help but giggle when she gets into predicaments.

Stuck under the table. She got there somehow...

Or when she closes the door, and, in turn, closes herself in the room and starts fussing. Yes, I'm on the other side, giggling. (Only for a moment, though. I'm not mean, I just think it's cute.)

I think I've found a happy medium between the No - Rescue parent and the Helicopter parent. It's not perfect, but it works for me and the kids. They know I care and I'm here when they need me, while they're also allowed to learn for themselves.

It took 9 kids to get to this point, though! ;)

So, you see, it's possible to be both!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Cry It Out (CIO) "Method" is Torture! (3 Reasons Why I've Never Used It)

I'm not going to sit on a sanctimommy pedestal and talk down to the parents who resort to "practice" the Cry It Out Method. Ferberizing...controlled crying...sleep it what you want, I call it Baby Torture.

I won't judge you if that's your approach to getting your baby to sleep for naps and bedtime, but I will be openly blunt with my opinion, as usual, and back it up with facts - as usual. :) (If you're going to get all butthurt about what I'm about to say, just click the "x" at the top of the screen.)

I Couldn't Do It

Throughout the course of 9 babyhoods, I could NEVER let mine cry it out. My motherly nurturing instinct made me feel terrible even fathoming the idea, despite my husband's suggestions to try it with certain fussy babies (I won't mention any names).

I remember hours upon hours, days and weeks and months of being exhausted to no end, exasperated because I couldn't console my baby. But, at least I was holding and cuddling and loving on him or her, rather than leaving them alone and crying.

And, after tons and tons of unbiased research, I realized that my motherly nurturing instinct was, of course, spot on. There are emotional and scientific reasons that back up what I was feeling deep down inside.

Normal Infant Sleep

One of the biggest problems is that our ideals, as parents, regarding infant sleep, are quite different than nature. Listen, I understand it's normal to be tired and need a break...after all, I've been through the newborn and infant stage nine times. However, at their most fussiest times, often what our babies need most is cuddling, reassurance, and nurturing.

And when they wake during the night, they need the same things, plus are probably hungry, because their little bellies can only hold so much food at a time, therefore they eat more often. We surely can't expect a baby under the age of 1 to sleep through the night. If they happen to sleep through the night before then, that's excellent, but if they don't, there's no need to punish them.

Anyway, here are 5 reasons why I never let my babies CIO:

1. Result = Detachment & Insecurity

A baby that is left in his or her crib to Cry It Out doesn't stop crying and fall asleep because they are content, all their needs are met, and they feel secure.

On the contrary, the baby falls asleep because he or she has physically worn themself out and has basically come to the conclusion that no one, not even Mommy or Daddy, is going to come to their rescue and console them or fulfill their needs.

Personally, I would hate to think that feeling or thought has ever run through my children's minds. When my babies, children, or (although very rarely) pre-teens and teenagers cry, I want to be the one that makes it better...and even if I can't make it better, for some reason, I want to know that at least I did my best trying.

Research has shown that babies and children whose caregivers were not responsive and empathetic to their feelings and needs in a consistent manner tended to be more insecure than those babies and children whose needs and feelings were consistently attended to.

My kids will not forever be superglued to my hip or breast; attachment issues are the least of my worries. However, I'll be darned if any of my babies or kids suffer detachment or insecurity issues because I wasn't there for them when they needed it, and that goes for bedtime, too.

2. Ferberizing Disregards Babies Needs & Oftentimes, Doesn't Work

Just cruise through some "success stories" written by parents who let their babies Cry It Out. How many parents clearly stated that they had to let their babies Cry It Out for a week before "it worked"!

I'm sorry, I just can't see exasperating my baby to the point of exhaustion, letting them feel like Mommy doesn't care and left them all alone, as being a success. When babies cry, there is a reason that they are crying. Sure, some cry because they are tired, but that doesn't mean that they don't need some cuddling or maybe some lights-out, quiet time with Mom or Dad.

Then, when certain milestones, like teething or even when a baby gets immunizations, parents often find that they have to start the whole process over again.

When it all boils down, it just feels like I'm disrespecting my child's needs. Experts around the world will say that babies cry because they need something. Nobody will tell you that babies cry because they want to make you mad or get on your nerves.

3. Decreased Development

Dr. Michael Lewis, a well-known infant development specialist, presented at an American Academy of Pediatrics meeting his findings that supported that “the single most important influence of a child’s intellectual development is the responsiveness of the mother to the cues of her baby.”

Think about that.

Now think about leaving a baby to Cry It Out. The baby is providing a "cue" when he or she cries. The mother responds by letting the infant just lay there, with no means to care for themself, and Cry It Out.

Other research has shown that a child's intellectual and social skills do not develop in a healthy way if the infant's cries are not attended to. Average IQs are lower, fine motor skills are developed poorly, and they experience difficulty with controlling emotions.

And, if you're worried about attachment issues, they can become worse if you allow your baby to Cry It Out. Children often become clingier when they feel like their needs are not being met.

Infant's don't have the mentality to manipulate. They're not thinking "If I cry hard enough and long enough, I'll get what I want". They're crying because they need something, and it's up to us, as their parents, to figure out what they need.

You've Heard It Before, "This, Too, Shall Pass"

I don't have a problem spending 24/7 with my infants. My little Trinity right now wants to be on my hip all day and beside me in bed all night. She wants me to be right there next to her when she falls asleep, and often breastfeeds to sleep. She wants me right next to her for her "dream feeds" during the night. I'm fine with it.

Being my 9th child, I'm ok with it because...

I know it doesn't last forever. Soon enough, she'll be too busy to be worried about Mommy and running around doing her own thing. Soon enough, she'll be riding bikes and getting invites to pool parties. And soon enough, she'll be in high school, talking about how she's almost old enough to drive. (I know this, because my oldest is almost 16!)

That short amount of time out of my life that I was a sleepless Mombie  (mom+zombie) didn't kill me. I've made it through that stage 8 times, and this 9th time, I'm enjoying every moment of it. And I'm pretty sure she is, too. ♡♡♡

(We all have different opinions, and I'd love to hear yours! Leave a comment below if you want to chime in!)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

If This Then That (IFTTT) - Just Made Your Work 100 Times Easier!

If only there was a really quick way I could set up blog posts to post to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LikedIn...

And wouldn't it be cool if when I changed my Facebook profile pic, my Twitter profile pic would automatically update, too?

Who hasn't lost their contact list? How about a quick way to create a spreadsheet with Google from your contact list, without the hassle of having to input all the info?

Do you want top headlines from People, NPR, or any other media channel sent straight to your email?

It would save so much time - and also add "reach" within multiple networks - if I could, for example, share my Facebook Page statuses to my LinkedIn feed.

Well, someone did it! Ask and you shall receive!

It's called IFTTT and it uses the formula IF This Then That.

And if you spend any time on the Internet and between the social media networks, you're going to be just as excited as I am!

Never Enough Time In A Day

Time is precious in my world (and I assume it's just as precious in yours!). Less time spent on menial tasks means more time with my children. I always say that I could use an extra 24 to 48 hours per day, so IFTTT has just become my new best friend!

Make Personalized "Recipes" 

I'm not talking about cooking here. Not baking, either. The algorithm "IF This Then That" is essentially the formula for your "recipes". For example, if a new article publishes on NPR, then an email is sent to me. Or, if I publish an article on my blog (Blogger - or Wordpress, if that's what you use), then a tweet will publish on my Twitter account.

The website is made so user-friendly, and if you're anything like me, doing everything on the phone, the mobile site is cut n dry, as well. Easy peasy. Just like I like things.

They even have an app for Android users AND iPhones!

To start, click on creating from the drop-down menu, then click on "this" (see above). Then, you'll have numerous options to choose from to start. For example, if you want all your Blogger blog posts to automatically post to Facebook, you would start by clicking on the Blogger icon. 

Do you want all of your posts or just posts with specific labels to post to Facebook? It's as easy as clicking the button. That's how you create the "trigger". 

Then, I expected a speedbump. Because I didn't want my posts to shoot out to my personal page, but rather the Mommy Rantings page. Guess what?

Just click on the "Facebook Pages" option. 

Perfect. Simple.

Connecting all of your social media pages is a breeze, too. It's similar to how apps connect to your accounts. A couple of quick clicks and social media networks are connected for all of the IFTTT recipes your heart desires. 

In the matter of about 20 minutes today, I condensed about 3 hours of work per day and made it all automated. I'm so excited to see how it all works! 

Now, if I can just hold myself back from spending all this extra time concocting new IFTTT recipes! 

Check it out, let me know what you think!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Who You Calling A MILF?

There are two kinds of mothers - the ones who are flattered to be called MILF (or wish someone would refer to them as a MILF) and then there are the moms who cringe when they hear the acronym.

Which one are you?

I'm going to let you guess which category I fit into.

I never did think I was beautiful, despite the fact my parents (and a plethora of others) always told me I was.

The All-American, long, blond hair, green (more like hazel, but close enough) eyes, long doll legs (or so my husband calls them) that are athletically shaped, yet more on the boney side than on the thick side. Too much boobs for my own good, shapely hips, but lacking in the bodacious booty part of the equation.

High cheekbones, symmetrical features, although I always despised my nose, and hated it even more after it was broken a couple of times.

Not drop dead gorgeous. Not shoot-me-dead-ugly, though. (Then again, that's just my opinion.) And, anyway, beauty is supposed to be in the eyes of the beholder, but that's beside the point.

And, yes, as a teenager, it did feel good to catch the attention of men. Grown men thinking I was beautiful...telling me that I was beautiful. But, then I realized that 95% of these men were spouting the same words to all of the other women they tried to swoon.

Then, I Met My Husband

There's something about finding someone you feel like you could spend the rest of your life with that changes your perception of basically everything. He told me I was beautiful every day. Told me he loved me.

And he meant it.

And I didn't need to hear it from anyone else anymore. Nobody else's opinion mattered anymore.

Then, I Became a Mom

Motherhood changed me in so many ways. Besides the fact that I felt like I had found the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, I also had this little man to raise...and you could see in his eyes, even as a newborn, that I was the most beautiful being to him.

Nobody made him smile like his mom. Nobody made him feel safe like his mom. Nobody could comfort him like his mom. Nobody was as beautiful as his mom.

Let's cut to the chase.

The acronym MILF doesn't even sound enticing. Not to me, anyway. I'm not going to spell out what MILF actually means...(If you don't know, take a moment right now to Google it.)

To me, the acronym is downright degrading.

It's worse than when a man looks at my chest, rather than looking me in the eyes, when he's talking to me. Where's the respect? Am I supposed to feel flattered?

Let me enlighten you: I'm not flattered.


My days consist of caring for nine children and a husband, coordinating everything that encompasses a family of 11, and working as much as I possibly can in between it all. Some days, I look like a bear mauled me.

I may not find the time to get dressed in coordinated clothing, my hair is probably thrown up in a quick bun, ponytail or braid, and my face is usually flushed from going 150 mph from the moment I wake to that oh-so-wonderful part of the day (normally around midnight) when the house finally falls silent.

I do take care of myself. When I do go out in public, I try to look as "normal" as possible. I might even apply some eyeliner and lipstick here and there (which has often prompted my daughter to say, "That eyeliner makes your eyes greener!" or one of the other kids to say, "You look beautiful!")

And, I'll probably clip on a necklace and some earrings, just because I love my jewelry.

But, even on my worst days, I've experienced the cat calls and whistles and occasional honking of a horn. To which I try not to respond. I'm not a cat...or a dog.

Do guys really think we like that? Where's the respect in that?

Celeb MILFs - Are They Flattered?

It makes me wonder...when celebrities read articles like 27 Hottest Celebrity MILFs and Heres 50 of the Hottest Celeb Milfs Around, are those women flattered?

I mean, I know that it's supposed to be a form of flattery, but ladies - moms - WE DESERVE MORE RESPECT THAN THAT!

Don't you agree?

The bottom line here is: The acronym MILF does not make me feel flattered. And, it shouldn't make you feel flattered either.

You are beautiful. You are a mother.

You don't need anyone to turn your beauty or sensuality as the hardworking, loving, devoted, nurturing mother that you are into something distasteful.

Mom I'd Like to Take Out to Dinner (MILTOD) or Mom I'd Like to Get to Know (MILGK) are far more flattering, in my opinion, than being looked at as a piece of meat.

Chime in with your thoughts in the comments. What's your take on the acronym MILF?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Do You Know What Games Your Kids Are Playing?

Yesterday, I admitted that I've been slipping, letting my children...(ahem, mostly my teens) use the computers to their hearts' content this summer. Sure, every day I scream and stomp like a 2 year old at the peak of a tornado sized temper tantrum, basically telling them to go outside and get some fresh air, but...

Like I said, I'm losing that battle...and I'm ok with it, because it's summertime!

But, the question of the day today is: Do you know what games your kids are playing? Or, better yet, are you aware of the content of the most popular games on the market?

But Mom Says Bad Words...

Yes I do. (These kids make me say bad words, I can't help it sometimes.)

But, some of the most popular games on the market today don't even have conversations and words beyond the cursing. Somehow, they've managed to string all of the curse words together to create sentences that are made up of solely curse words!

And, did you know that your kids could literally go to a strip club, watch a stripper dancing on the pole, and even throw some cash at her? How about drive to the corner and pick up a prostitute...or maybe some drugs...I even read you can catch an STD in one of the Adult Rated games.

There are guns and knives and street fights. There is plenty of blood, gore, and even torture. All of the things that nightmares are made of. Scenes that we work so hard to keep our children away from are right at their fingertips.

And, I'm just scraping the top of the bucket right now. Some of you would probably be downright shocked to find out some of the graphic verbatim and scenes that are in these quite popular gamrs.

Which Games to Watch Out For

I'm not going to list the names of the games your kids shouldn't be exposed to, as it's your choice what games your kids and teens can play.

I won't judge.

But, for those of you who are not aware that brutal sexual content, drugs, torture, prostitution, and much more is right at your children's fingertips, I'll say that you might want to check the rating of the games your kids/teens are playing.

Watch out for the Mature (M) rating, and the Adults Only (AO) rating is actually worse than the Mature rating. Here is a list of Adult Only games on Wikipedia, although I can't vouch for whether it's all-inclusive or not.

The Mature rated games are just one level below that AO rating, so they aren't much better. Kids/teens will still potentially be exposed to nudity and adult themes, "bad words" strung together like they can form complete sentences.

"I Won't Buy Those Games For My Kids!"

Say what you want, even if you won't buy these games for your kids, they can still get their hands on them. They can borrow them from a friend, or even play them while they are at the next door neighbor's house, and kids nowadays know how to download games on BitTorrent and other torrent sites.

So, don't think that just because you won't buy your kids those kind of games, they don't have access to them.

Do you know what kind of games YOUR kids are playing?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Games - Where Do You Draw the Line?

You know I love to touch on the "controversial" topics, the topics that parents - and "experts" - normally disagree on. the list goes on and on.

And I'll openly admit that I don't like to conform to "conventional" methods of parenting, if those even exist anymore.

So, let's talk about gaming. With summer break still in effect in our house, games seem to be the "priority", especially for my teens.

It goes without saying that computer games, PS3, PS4, even tablet and smartphone app games have chnaged in just the past 5 to 10 years. While I hate to give my age away, I remember when Atari and the Nintendo 64 (with that unmistakable Mario Brothers theme music) first came out.

But, nowadays, the list of game consoles and games is endless. And a lot of them are downright scary!

"Games and Computers Are Not the Priority!" 

I can't even count how many times those words have come out of my mouth, not just this summer, but during the school year, over the years of my motherhood.

I strictly enforce that all chores are done and bedrooms are clean BEFORE kids are on computers and tablets and smartphones...but, that doesn't mean that they don't try to sneak. Fib that their bedrooms are clean...assuming that I will be too busy to check. (Teenagers telling me "Yeah, I did that this morning", knowing that they hardly came close to cleaning their room!)

And, usually, I am to busy (I work from home, manage a house of 11 people, 9 of them children, and have 3 littles aged 3 and under)...but, you can even ask my children - Mom WILL check every corner of the house on a daily basis! So, you better not be playing games and be caught with a messy bedroom or undone chores, or else you will lose all priveledges. And, that checkpoint can happen at any time!

Yes, games and computers are a PRIVELEDGE. However, my kids act like that's their career.

Back Me Up, Here, Doc!

I've even made sure that our so very wonderful pediatrician (Dr. Kasuba, we love her!) has voiced her opinion at our annual check-ups to each and every kid - especially the teenagers!

No more than 2 hours per day on ANY TYPE OF MEDIA - tv, tablets, computers, etc.

And, somehow, I'm losing the battle...

As you can see in the pics, all of the computers are up and running, even as I type this up. The playroom, which happens to be the biggest room in house, looks more like a command center, with 4 computers. The 5th computer (Daddy's) is set up in my livingroom (he's usually working, so the kids take advantage of his computer, as well).

We have bicycles, scooters, golf clubs, a playhouse, a kiddie pool, a basketball hoop and several balls, and on and on and on...there's PLENTY of things to do outside, but the gaming addiction is a tough battle!

So, I'll admit, I've slipped this summer. I've totally abandoned my mothering instincts that tell me that my kids should be using their imaginations all day long outside, like I used to when I was a kid...

Of course, I go outside for hours with the littles each day (the weather has been amazing!), but it's like pulling teeth to get the teens to go out. When I water my plants outside, all the littles follow me. If I sit out there in my lawn chair, the littles are right there with me.

And, yet, I don't feel one bit guilty, because my kids are all happy and they are enjoying their summer as they choose to. (As long as their chores are done!)

And, not to point the blame in another direction, but even Daddy feels like he'd rather our kids be on computers than getting into trouble around the neighborhood. On the upside, we know EXACTLY where our kids are and what they are doing.

I Don't Live in a Glass House

So, once again, I probably am a terrible mother. Go ahead and throw stones at me from your glass house while your children are playing Red Light, Green Light and Mother May I? outside and mine are sitting behind computers and tablets.

Tell me I'm the only mother on this earth with children/teens who act like they have a career on computers? Where do you draw the line?

Join us tomorrow for a deeper look into the CONTENT of the games kids are playing nowadays. Do you know what games your kids are playing?

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Back To School Hustle

We have about a month left til school starts, and, to be honest with you, although these kids can drive a mom up the wall by 9 a.m., I'm truly not looking forward to the back-to-school hustle. I think the kids would agree that the quiet mornings and ability to sleep in has gotten to be really nice.

But, while we are enjoying the lazy days of summer, all good things must come to an end. School will start, whether we like it or not. (Don't get me wrong, my kids love school.)

Fortunately for us, here in the north, school won't start until after Labor Day. While our friends down south have already started. I actually like the later dismissal in June and the later beginning in September, rather than getting out in May and starting up in August. (We've lived in the south, so we know the difference first hand.)

So, to those of our friends who have already started, sorry your summer is over...we will be enjoying our last few weeks of summer rest and relaxation. The back-to-school hustle will be in effect for us soon enough.

When did/do your kids start school?

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