Friday, July 18th, 2014
The past four months have gone by in a flash. I can hardly believe it was just 16 weeks ago that I gave birth to my sweet baby Bridget, number four in our brood. Like so many other mothers in America, I was not able to take the maternity leave that I would have liked. After all, I run my own business, so stopping work for months at a time really wasn’t an option.
Juggling my dual life as business owner and a mother of four is not something that I’ve mastered with total elegance. While it may at times look like that from the outside — thanks to a great blow out and some snazzy wedges — the inside is a hurricane of emotion!
With hormones flying high and fantasies of being a stay-at-home mother swirling in my head, having to leave my children for work is very emotional for me. It is almost impossible to walk out the door without tearing up as the kids throw themselves around my ankles trying to keep me from leaving. On one hand, I am deeply touched that they want and need me so much, but I’m also deeply saddened that I have to leave and that I can’t just drop my bags and say, “Mommy is staying home today.”
Over the whirlwind of the last four months, I have become acutely aware about how I talk about the concept of “work” with my kids. It is so easy in these moments to be negative about having to work, to make it this big bad beast that is keeping Mommy from playtime, swim camp, and school trips. However, I’ve realized, as much as I would like to blame all of this on work, I can’t. And more than that, it’s just not healthy. It is incredibly important that I paint a positive picture of work for my children. It is imperative that they understand why I go and that it can be very fulfilling. I want the concept of work to be something they can look forward to as they grow older, so they are proud that I’m providing for our family and not angry that I am leaving.
Work is something I have to do. I can’t change that right now, but I can change how I present it to my kids so that is a positive thing in our household. I have started to tell them how much I will miss them and how much I can’t wait to get home to play but also that work is important because it can be very fun and it allows us to eat, live in our house, save for college and, of course, buy the all-important Legos!
My kids are already starting to understand this. In fact, this morning as I left the house, my 5-year-old said, “Mommy, I think maybe you should work more today because my birthday is coming up, and I would really like a big, lovely present.” I couldn’t help but smile.
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Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014
It’s recently come to my attention that there’s a striking issue with having 4 children that I wasn’t warned about, and that is the astonishing amount of birthday parties they get invited to! For just my sweet first born, we’re talking over 20 parties a year between his classmates and friends, which means over 20 festivities with pizza and cake and ice cream and candy, 20 gift bags full of tiny knick-knacks and more teeth-rotting candy, and the purchasing of 20 $10-$15 gifts. Now multiply that by 4 and you can see why I’m going completely mad just thinking about it!
So what is the solution? As I added up the number of days my little one’s pearly whites are covered with gummy candy or slathered in lollipops I started to see red (and lots of cavities!). I made proclamations of serving carrots at my next shindig and of calling party hosts ahead of time to ask for broccoli to replace the candy in my kid’s gift bags. To save money on birthday presents for the guests of honor, I began hand-making gifts and even considered knitting a few scarves. The hysteria went on until I slapped myself back into reality as I saw my son quickly becoming the least favorite person to invite to a party because of his loony mama!
I started to think of some practical ways to address the dark side of kid’s birthday parties and helping my kids have fun and with their friends, without totally destroying their teeth and my bank account in the meantime! I realized that I can’t not bring presents, I can’t dictate what others put in their gift bags and I certainly can’t deny my child the right to eat the cake (or lick the icing if you are my kids). But what I can do is implement boundaries as they relate to my kids and the quantities of these things consumed. Best of all I can teach them life’s important lesson of moderation, because there is access to excess everywhere, not just on the kid’s party circuit.
For the wee ones you may have to make sure they are full before arriving at the party so they don’t feel so inclined to feast on cake. I also like to do a little bit of pre-editing of gift bags before passing them to my little partygoers. However, when talking about kindergarten-age kids and above, explain your conundrum to your kids and guide them to the solution you want them to reach. My 5-year-old is quite capable of understanding that too much sugar will hurt his teeth, so together we came up with how to edit the gift bags without me having to do it sneakily in the car. (He can choose one of the candies and the rest is removed.) With gifts he is empowered with a strict budget, which encourages him to be creative and thoughtful about what he chooses to gift his friends.
With all this thoughtfulness and moderation should also come one day without any: their own birthday! Let their party be the one special day of the year when they don’t have these boundaries, because sometimes it’s fun to break the rules!
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Thursday, March 13th, 2014
Confession: I often struggle with getting my kids to try new foods. (Well, if I’m being totally honest, let’s change “often” to “always.”)
The fact that I had such a hard time getting them to try new foods was baffling to me. When they were babies, I whipped up baby food with every wholesome vegetable and grain imaginable, and they would eat my delicious concoctions without hesitation. I mentally awarded myself a gold star in the nutrition department. I was a mac’n’cheese avoiding, broccoli-chopping kind of mum! That is, until my spinach-eating oldest son started cutting out more and more foods until pasta with a bit of salt, butter and cheese on the side became his most coveted dish.
When my younger son soon entered the same phase, I worried. Had I failed them in their earliest years by not introducing kale and agave nectar? Could I have insisted on salmon for dinner more often, and not caved for a more kid-friendly meal? Maybe. And while logic tells us our little ones aren’t going to be ordering plain noodles for their wedding day dinner, we worry they may not be getting the right nutrition.
Looking for some food substitutes? Try these picks from Parents.com.
So what is a mother to do? To introduce my kids to new foods, I held weekly “food tasting challenges.” Here’s how it works: Instead of presenting a plate of unknowns at dinnertime, choose a totally different time of the day to host your taste challenge. Tell your kids they’re going to be food critics for the afternoon; they don’t need to swallow—only sample each food. To make the experience fun and engaging, include a palette cleanser, such as little scoops of lemon sorbet or a sip of water. After each tasting, have them fill in a fun chart with stickers that say how they felt about the food, ranging from “Totally gross!” to “Crazy Yummy!” If your child is still refusing to sample new foods despite your efforts to make taste testing fun, try starting with smells and work your way up.
The point of the food challenge is to introduce your kids to new flavors—without the stress of having to eat them at the table. You might also try giving them a little control over what they eat so they feel empowered. I give my kids one choice per meal, like asking if they’d prefer broccoli or carrots, since more than one choice can be overwhelming.
While your little one isn’t likely to be eating roasted squash over a bed of arugula anytime soon (although you never know), it’s important to focus on the small wins and be patient. In my mind, the biggest win was turning what used to be a stressful time of the day into a fun chance to relax, all while working on my kids’ abilities to try new things.
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Monday, February 3rd, 2014
I must admit, I haven’t had a baby shower since my first son was born, but I often get asked questions about the etiquette surrounding showers for 2nd, 3rd and 4th babies. My response is always the same: There is no reason you shouldn’t have a party to celebrate this wonderful occasion, but don’t ask for gifts or create a registry. We simply can’t expect our friends to keep forking over money and gifts so that we can have the latest and greatest baby gear. Clearly there are exceptions to this rule (hello, unexpected triplets!), and, as friends, it is our job to throw showers for our friends that need them for one reason or another—they shouldn’t have to ask!
These most tasteful of second showers are aptly dubbed a “sprinkle,” which always makes me think of someone tossing sprinkles all over me in some extravagant version of the wedding rice-throwing tradition! (So far however, it hasn’t happened.) So with baby #4 on the way, I was delighted that my friends at Hot Moms Club and Belly Bandit decided to get in on my “sprinkle”-throwing action. Here are the do’s of throwing one yourself:
*Choose a fun location. Look for something that’s more reminiscent of the margarita-drinking, disco-dancing, pre-baby you, and shy away from the traditional tea rooms that you may have picked for your first shower. Those are wonderful for baby #1 and completely appropriate when your great aunt needs to attend, but this one should be a smaller affair, and more for you and your friends than for your granny’s bingo crowd. Mine was held at the newly-opened Herringbone restaurant at the Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood, which provided a chic party environment as opposed to a ladies luncheon vibe. Tea cups were replaced with cocktail glasses (or mocktail glasses for mommies-to-be) because after all: “sprinkles” are parties.
*Serve sweet eats. Or, if you’re more of a pastry trend-setter, cronuts. Delicious, sugary treats never go out of style and much more aptly fit the party environment than fruit plates and finger sandwiches.
*Choose the yummiest of foods on the menu. After your “sprinkle,” you aren’t likely to have another party where you eat French fries with reckless abandon, so now is the time. We served French fry salad—such a great way to wreak havoc on a salad—topped with guac, bacon bits, cheese, and crisp lettuce.
*Ask for modest donations. Consider asking guests to bring diapers for a diaper drive or to donate gently used gear of their own to wonderful charities, like Baby Buggy.
*Assemble thoughtful goody bags. If there are some new moms amongst your bunch, considering including one of your favorite mommy tools in your goody bags. Mine included the tummy-shrinking Belly Bandit and some pieces from my new baby line. While I don’t expect you to go out and start making baby clothes, do include that special something you have so appreciated knowing about in your gift bag so you can share it with your friends.
Once the location, the gifts, and the refreshments are taken care of, be sure to relax and have fun. Your sprinkle is your party, your time with you and your friends, and a chance to celebrate one of the most amazing things in life. A new baby is on its way, so “sprinkle” away!
Get started planning your “sprinkle” with our Baby Shower Planner tool.
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Thursday, January 2nd, 2014
A few weeks back, Gisele looked fabulous. She was basking in her full glory while her glam squad coiffed her curls and primped her luscious lips, as she simultaneously breasted her 1-year-old daughter, Vivian. But the truth is, we don’t all have a glam squad waiting in the wings to put us back together after a long flight, too much egg nog or one too many sweet potatoes at the family get together. Plus, there is no team of nannies at the ready, waiting to whisk our children off to exciting endeavors as we get our butts kicked by a fabulous fitness trainer, like Tracey Anderson. What’s more, when we fly, we don’t fly private. So yes, we have to keep our screaming children seated and belted while onlookers judge us.
Despite our best wishes for turning over a new leaf in the coming New Year, when January 1st hits, we are often just as overwhelmed as we were on December 31st, but with the addition of a few more pounds thanks to all the holiday feasts and festivities! How can we get back in shape for the New Year and feel good about the way we look, all the while juggling the millions of things we constantly juggle?
To help, I’ve devised 10 calorie-saving, fat-burning rituals to work into your day so you too can be your very own Gisele:
1. Use portion control. Try serving yourself the same portion sizes as you would your kids, and eat small, regular meals just like they do. I promise I haven’t gone bonkers; returning to fist-sized portions is actually a great way to shed those extra pounds.
2. Combine your afternoon lull with excercise-packed TV time. How? In my house, we like to have a “Dance Storm.” I choose a music-packed DVD, like The Wiggles‘ “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” or The Gigglebellies, which are my family’s favorites. Then, we all get up (kids included!) and dance for the entire length of the DVD. It might feel like it will never end, but trust me, you can do it!
3. Get the single, double or tripple stroller out, and pile everyone in for some hill walks (or a run if you’re feeling particularly daring). A brisk 20-30 minute outing while pushing around all those extra pounds of children will work miracles.
4. Try to see clean-up time not as an oppressively annoying chore that never, ever ends, but rather as a chance to add in some extra cardio. Set goals for how quickly you’d like each task accomplished and time yourself. All that squatting is golden.
5. Eat with your kids. This will mean you’ll eat earlier than usual, which is far better than falling asleep right after gorging on late night burrito!
6. Treat your body like you treat your kids’ bodies! Just like we wouldn’t let our children eat excessive amounts of candy and unhealthy foods, apply the same good common sense and care taking skills to yourself. Remember, it’s not just for you. They need you to be healthy, too.
7. If you don’t have child care but are the type of person who needs an exercise class to kick your sweet derriere into action, consider the following: There are many strollercise groups that meet in local parks that you could join. And if there isn’t one near you, get some of your favorite moms together and organize your own so you can split the cost of a trainer who can lead the class. Alternatively, look for gyms that have child-care options so your wee one gets to play while you crunch.
8. Just as kids’ bedtimes often slip during the holiday season, so do ours. We need adequate amounts of sleep to be able to make good choices when it comes to food and exercise, so bump your bedtime forward just as you have theirs.
9. Reconnect with your partner. Not only does it burn calories, but it benefits your relationship, too. Make it a part of your new regime—a healthy relationship means a healthier you.
10. Don’t beat yourself up. I often find I get so hard on myself for not working out enough or being healthy enough that I become so overwhelmed I don’t do anything at all. Give yourself praise for small achievements. Even 20 minutes of exercise here and there or cutting a few late-night snacks from your weekly norm is a step in the right direction.
And if all else fails, strip down to a white robe, fly on your private jet and have your glam squad ready in the wings each morning to beautify you as you roll out of bed. Ahhh, at least we can dream! (Ahem, Gisele.)
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Monday, December 2nd, 2013
Check out blog posts by multitalented mompreneur Rosie Pope every month at Parents.com!
The holiday season is upon us. And while the cheer is beginning to bubble over, so are the number of pesky colds our wee ones are coming home with.
Let’s face it; sickness can be a massive buzz-kill when we’d rather be jingling and jangling some reindeer bells, getting goodies for our loved ones, and generally being ridiculously festive all month long. But when it comes to the common cold, a wait-it-out approach is often recommended by pediatricians provided there is no fever or other tell-tale warning signs. This can be frustrating parents, since we want to do everything we can to help our child feel comfortable, pampered, and ready to get back into the holiday spirit as quickly as possible.
If your little one is feeling under the weather, try my go-to home remedies to help soothe a sniffly nose, scratchy throat, and the general aches and pains that come along with a cold:
- It can be stressful for your child to feel sick and not know when he’ll be better, so be sure to reassure him child that his cold will pass. Then, dole out as many hugs as you can in the meantime.
- Be diligent about hand washing to prevent a household outbreak. Explain to siblings how germs can spread and advise them to keep their space and be a little cautious for the next few days. Just don’t go overboard—there’s no need to create the next generation’s germaphobe!
- If your child is over the age of one, honey is a marvelous thing. Take a teaspoon of honey, and mix into some warm milk to soothe a sore throat quickly. Skip the dairy if your child is particularly congested, and try to get him to eat just the spoonful of plain honey.
- Since Vitamin C is so important for a strong immune system, find as many ways as possible to pack it into your kid’s diet during an illness. At my house, we make hydrating homemade lemonade using as many lemons as possible and some sugar, honey, or other fruits, like strawberries, for sweetness.
- Use fresh ginger, which is known to help ease nausea, in cooking or baking recipes this holiday season. You can also find ginger chews, lollipops, or other ginger-infused candies to give your child.
- Peppermint tea and peppermint extract are wonderful ways to calm headaches and digestive issues naturally. Mix peppermint tea with fruit juice to make it more palatable for kids. Or, for a sweeter approach, bake peppermint extract (one or two drops goes a long way!) into your little one’s favorite treat.
- Oftentimes, your child’s appetite can wane during illness. If your child is having difficulty eating, try starting with apple sauce. It’s a healthy choice, packed with Vitamin C, and easy to swallow—even with a sore throat.
- Rub a small amount of vapor rub onto the soles of your wee one’s feet, and cover them with socks. The strong smell will help relive a stuffy nose, but the protective sock will cover the salve so your child won’t get his hands messy—or worse, put it in his mouth.
- Transform your bathroom into a mini steam room. Sit on the bathroom floor together and read books or write messages on the foggy mirrors while the hot water helps clear your little one’s sinuses. Don’t forget to hydrate afterwards!
- To ease aches and pains, add Epsom salt to your child’s bath water and let him soak away the tension. Follow the bath with a good massage; the healing powers of touch are amazing. Watch the how-to video below.
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All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.
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Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013
It’s royal fever time again: Prince George’s christening is finally here, and it in William and Kate fashion, the event’s likely to break from tradition, but only in the classiest of ways, from a fashion photographer to changing the location.
First, let’s talk baby fashion. This is really going to be a tale of two dresses: Kate’s, and George’s (and probably the last time we’ll ever be talking about the prince’s dress!). No doubt Kate will wear one of her favorites from Jenny Packham, Alexander McQueen or Amelia Wickstead, my money being on the latter for her formal fitted coats that seem appropriate for a church setting.
However, if Kate’s post-baby body is what I imagine it to be, she may opt for a figure hugging McQueen. There is also the small chance that Kate will do something particularly modern, and even wear a nursing dress under a tailored coat.
As for little George, we expect he’ll be wearing the Spitalfields silk gown replica re-created by the Queen’s royal dresser and designer Angela Kelly. The original had been worn by 60 royals before George, including his father and grandfather, and is the epitome of traditional.
The surprise twist, however, is the photographer who will be capturing the occasion: Jason Bell. He’s a cutting-edge fashion photographer known more for his works in Vanity Fair and Vogue than for royal palace photos.
There are a couple of more remarkable things about this pending christening. One is the break from tradition in location. Kate and William have chosen to hold the christening at the Chapel Royal at St. James’s Palace. This is significant: It’s not where William nor Royals before him were christened, but it is the place that Diana’s body was laid to rest before her funeral—a location filled with meaning for William and for Kate. This will also be the first time that the relatives will be all together! All grandparents will be in attendance, and the future Kings: Prince Charles, Prince William, and of course Prince George. The six godparents, however, still remain a mystery.
So congratulations, Prince George. I can’t wait to see you in your finest.
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Plus: Admire the royal parents? Find your own parenting style, see photos from Prince George’s birth, or see how to design your own royal-themed nursery.
Thursday, August 8th, 2013
Becoming a parent was the very first time I thought about my own mortality with any sort of meaning. Having children made me want to live until I was incredibly old. It was also about this time that my husband and I lost two friends to cancer. I realized that even the healthiest of us can be struck down by cancers that seem inexplicable. The powerlessness that comes with the fear of life-threatening disease can be overwhelming, especially when we stare into the eyes of our children and see all the things from kindergarten to college graduation and beyond that we want to be there for, by their side.
Over recent years I’ve wished that I could do something that would in some way help the many amazing organizations that help push for advancements in research, so that we get closer to finding the cures for the diseases that take our loved ones too soon. This is why I am very proud to share with you my partnership with Belly Bandit. In case you don’t know what this marvelous piece of equipment is for, it’s an ingenious way to tuck, tighten, and sculpt that post-partum belly. Fear not: This is no medieval-corset torture device, but instead a carefully structured band that wraps around your tummy and helps you to engage those oh-so-important muscles that we need to bring our possibly loose and flabby midsections (I know mine was!) back to what we had prebaby, or dreamed of in past years!
The amazing team at Belly Bandit is, like myself, passionate about helping women look good and feel good. This year we decided to go a little further and create an Organic Pink Belly Bandit that helps to support the Shades of Pink Foundation, while being green at the same time. The organization’s mission:
“Many women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have extra financial burdens placed on them during treatment and recovery. Common issues are insurance payments, food, transportation, childcare, and other essentials of daily life. Shades of Pink Foundation offers temporary financial assistance during their time in need.”
For both the Belly Bandit team and me, this is a very personal project. They would like to dedicate it to their beloved friend Suzanne Herman who lost her battle with breast cancer, and I would like to dedicate it to those still fighting.
So whether it’s our pink Belly Bandit or a charity walk, or a mammogram that you take part in, join us in taking a little control in the fight against breast cancer, and raise awareness for yourself, your family and your friends.
To purchase the Rosie Pope Pink Organic Belly Bandit:
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