Friday, June 28th, 2013
Melissa Rycroft is one busy mama! The 30-year-old silver screen star has been a correspondent for Good Morning America and Entertainment Tonight, and she’s competed on Dancing With the Stars and The Bachelor. Today, I chatted with her about her new partnership with Clearblue and their innovative Advanced Digital Ovulation test, and I learned a little more about her personal life as well.
P: How do you juggle being a wife and mom with your various work commitments? Do you have any advice for other working moms?
MR: It’s all about prioritizing. I love having a career, but it comes second to having a family. Family is #1 for us. You have to see what works with your family’s dynamic. If you are at work, you are going to feel guilty for not being home. If you are at home all the time, you might feel a little guilty for letting that part of your life go. We try to keep a balance. For example, if I travel my family often comes with me, or I am only gone for a day. And that’s great, too, because then [my husband, Tye Strickland, and 2-year-old daughter, Ava] can have daddy-daughter time. But what works for us is not going to work for other people, and there isn’t a perfect formula.
P: Can you tell me a little bit about why you decided to team up with Clearblue?
MR: I joined up with Clearblue a few months ago because it was a perfect fit for me. At that point, my husband and I were in the pre-planning stages of adding to our family. I wanted to share my journey, which is something that I have enjoyed doing. Clearblue has a new Advanced Digital Ovulation test that I was using even while we were still in that pre-planning stage. It was a great way to get to know my body. It gives you your four most fertile days, doubling the amount of time per month that other tests give. That really takes out the stress during a time that is supposed to be exciting, not stressful.
P: So, can I assume you are past the pre-planning stage now?
MR: Yes, we are past the pre-planning stage now! You can interpret that how you like. I don’t want to give too much away. I will say that both Tye and I want a big family so we are excited about where this will lead. We’ve asked our daughter if she wants to be a big sister and she said “no,” but I know she’ll be great at it when the time comes.
Are you also thinking of adding to your family? Find out if you’re ready for another child and read more about increasing your chances of getting pregnant.
Image: Courtesy of Clearblue.
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Friday, June 21st, 2013
Today marks the first official day of summer. It is also Summer Learning Day, a day dedicated to making sure kids keep up with their academic goals even when school is not in session.
Growing up, summer was my favorite time of year. I was fortunate enough to go to camp, travel, and hang out by the poolside. However, come fall, I would dread the first day of school because I had forgotten a good amount of what I had learned the year before. I was an avid reader regardless of whether school was in session, but my math skills went out the window once Memorial Day came around.
Luckily, there are now more ways than ever to keep your child’s mind churning during these school-free months. If you’re not sure where to get started, PBS Kids has already launched several summer learning resources. True to it’s mission, the network is offering TV programming that is both educational and fun. Weekly themes include Sesame Street’s “Literary Quest Week” and Arthur’s “Sports Week.” PBS Kids is providing ways to encourage learning beyond the silver screen as well. If your child loves playing on your smartphone, retire Angry Birds for a bit and try the new PBS Kids “room” in the Apple store instead. This “room” is a page curated with (free and paid) educational apps that are worth exploring with your child.
Many kids want to spend much of their break outdoors, and there are plenty of ways to maximize that time as well. Try introducing your active learner to a jump rope spelling game. After dinner, transform your patio into the set of Jeopardy: Kids Summer Edition with fun trivia games.
Planning on logging some miles in the family van this summer? If your children don’t get motion sickness, you might be able to keep them occupied in the back seat with a book or two. And before you hit the road, create an easy interactive chalkboard map with your kids so they can learn where they’re going.
Whatever you do with your family this summer, make sure you set aside some time to help your kids avoid brain drain. Happy learning!
Image: Schoolchildren painting, via legnenda/Shutterstock
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Thursday, June 6th, 2013
Today, I had the honor of going to a March of Dimes editorial luncheon that focused on the risks and benefits of mental health medications during pregnancy. March of Dimes is an organization that is near and dear to our hearts, as our very own American Baby/Parents editor-in-chief Dana Points is the chair of its National Communications Advisory Council. This year, March of Dimes is celebrating its 75th anniversary and continues to work toward helping women have healthy, full-term babies.
Mental health medications, and medications in general, have become more common in our society, and that extends to pregnant women. According to the CDC, about 90% of women take at least one medication during pregnancy. Roughly 70% percent take at least one prescription medication. But just how safe is it to take medications, specifically mental health medications, when you have a baby on the way? There is no concrete answer to this question.
According to Dr. Christina Chambers, director of Clinical Research at Rady Children’s Hospital and the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California San Diego, it can be difficult to know for sure what role any given drug may have played in causing a birth defect. One out of every 33 babies has some type of birth defect regardless of whether Mom took any prescription drugs.
The decision to take these medications should be made on a case-by-case basis, and pregnant woman should only stop taking them with their doctor’s approval. Dr. Kimberly Yonkers, director of the PMS and Perinatal Psychiatric Research Program at Yale University, emphasized the importance of balancing possible risks and benefits of any medications given to the mother and the baby. For some women, it may be best to stick to their regimen, while other women can go off their medication under close supervision.
For more information about drug use during pregnancy, you can visit the March of Dimes page.
Image: Closeup portrait of a 4 month old baby via glayan/Shutterstock.com
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Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
If you’re still trying to figure out what to give Mom this Sunday, consider a floral arrangement that does more than brighten up the room. This FTD Bright Bounty Bouquet is not only beautiful but powerful as well — just like the mothers in your life! The colorful arrangement includes 13 stems of pink and yellow daisies and yellow tulips, perfect for a lovely spring day. The bouquet was named the Editors’ Choice by Parents magazine editors, and proceeds from every purchase will help fund a $10,000 donation to CARE headed by our parent company, Meredith Corporation.
CARE International is a global relief organization that fights human poverty. In 2012, the organization worked in 87 countries to support nearly 1,000 different poverty-related projects.
Each Bright Bounty Bouquet purchased will help CARE’s mission to fight poverty. It’s a simple way to give back and a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day.
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Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
Zipping through your work to-do list so you can get home at a reasonable hour is even more important when you become a mom—after all, you’ve got that cute little moon face waiting to see you! It can be challenging to juggle your home life and your family life as a new mom. For an upcoming story in American Baby, we want to know how you balance it all (or try to!), so we can help make your life a bit easier. Please take two minutes to answer this survey. Your answers will help us with a stress-easing article in an upcoming issue. Thanks, Mama!
Image: Young Mother is Looking at Tablet with her Baby, via Shutterstock
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