Posts Tagged ‘ Rosie to the Rescue ’

Rosie to the Rescue: Slow Down for the Good Life

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

rosie popeCheck out blog posts by multitalented mompreneur Rosie Pope every week at Parents.com!

I was doing the usual “running” that I do yesterday—and by running I don’t mean putting on my Lululemons and jogging around the park! I mean running around like a wild thing to get everyone ready in the morning. Running to work, running to the subway, running to pick the kids up, running to make dinner. And then some more running until I finally collapse, flip open my laptop, and start tackling my inbox once the kids are tucked into bed.

As I was on my daily “run,” I suddenly noticed that instead of seeing the kids all huddled up in their stroller sleeping bags under a thousand layers of clothing (I tend to overdress them) and me wishing I had remembered my gloves, they had stripped down to their T-shirts during the school day, I had slipped on a pair of sunglasses, and there were even a few hours of daylight left to be enjoyed! Somehow spring had sprung upon us, and, in all the rushing around I had been doing lately, I hadn’t really noticed yet. It made me think: While having a schedule is important, would it really matter in the long run if today we didn’t rush home for dinner, baths, and stories? What if we skipped the normal routine and instead went on a park adventure, ate jumbo pretzels and ice cream for dinner, and then collapsed into bed together once the sun finally sets?

I believe in structure, and I often find myself obeying a rigid schedule with the kids. Many children find comfort and consistency in such things, as do we. But just as much as we need to change it up every now and then, so do our children. And the look of surprise and excitement on their faces when I tell them we can do something totally out of the ordinary warms the cockles of my heart. So when you find yourself enjoying the moment and appreciating the slightly warmer and longer days, really soak it up and make it last. Abandon the schedule, and make room for the moment. After all, we do want to teach our children about balance. Just because our lives sometimes seem all about the “running,” it doesn’t mean theirs have to be, too.

Whether it is playing in the rain instead of taking a bath, going on a park scavenger hunt during your usual story time, or deciding to have a picnic dinner on the carpet to shake things up, just do it! It’s these mini-rebellions to your carefully planned schedule and everyday routines that help teach our little ones (and us) about finding that delicate work-life balance for which we all so longingly strive.

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Rosie to the Rescue: Transitioning Your Baby From Liquid to Solids

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Rosie Pope with her third childCheck out blog posts by multitalented mompreneur Rosie Pope every week at Parents.com! 

There are many transitions in a baby’s life that can cause stress for parents, especially first-time parents. One of these is the transition from an exclusively liquid diet (breast milk or formula) to one that also incorporates solids. With my first son, the concept of feeding him solids in addition to breast milk blew my mind. First of all, I had no idea what to cook for a baby. Second, I was afraid he might choke on these new solid foods. And third, I just couldn’t get my head around putting anything but milk into his wee mouth… What would happen?

To say I was a little paranoid is an understatement. After all, I am the mother that wanted to park outside the ER the first time I gave my son a peanut, so we’d be in the right place in case he had an allergic reaction. (I still don’t think this plan is totally crazy, by the way.) But these parental worries are why education is so important and the reason we must surround ourselves with people and sources that we trust. These sources of information can help us navigate each new stage, give us confidence that we are doing things in the best way for our family, and ease the worry that can cause us to miss out on the joys of these milestone moments.

The transition from a liquid to solid diet has been in the news a lot lately due to a recent study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that found a large number of mothers were not following the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) guidelines on introducing solid foods. The AAP currently recommends introducing solids when your child is 6 months old and exclusively breastfeeding (or using formula when breastfeeding is not possible) up until that point. This is important because introducing solids too early is associated with obesity, celiac disease, diabetes, and eczema and may pose a choking risk if the child is not able to properly hold up his head. I also want to dispel the myth that eating more solid foods will dramatically help a child sleep through the night. Sleeping through the night is possible even on an exclusively liquid diet and is a learned ability, rather than a result of being overly “full.”

While it can sometimes be hard to fight your own poor habits or pass on advice from overly helpful family members and friends, it is important to remember that breakthroughs in science and research help us improve our parenting know-how over time to make present and future generations healthier than the last. With the AAP’s research about the implications of introducing solids too early—combined with the potential choking hazard and the fact that introducing solids early won’t help him learn to sleep through the night—it just doesn’t make sense not to follow these guidelines. Your child has a lifetime of chewing ahead of him, so there’s no need to start him on solids until your baby reaches the current AAP recommendation of 6 months and shows signs of readiness. Instead, enjoy the months of not having to whip up some pureed squash and having it hurled at you as your wee one tries to navigate a spoon while they last!

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Rosie to the Rescue: 10 Parenting Rules to Live By

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Rosie Pope and familyCheck out blog posts by multitalented mompreneur Rosie Pope every week at Parents.com! 

It’s hard to know what type of parents we are going to be before we become them. We all have ideas in our heads of what we certainly won’t do, or what we definitely want to try and do!  For instance, I had some crazy notion that I was going to be a disciplinarian. I clearly had no idea how hard it was going to be to say “no” to the request for an extra chocolate chip cookie when those sweet little faces look up at me through big gorgeous eyes and say, “Please mama!” We may even find ourselves saying things that our parents did or that we heard at some point, such as, “No, you can’t have ice cream again tonight. You had some yesterday.” And then I wonder to myself why on earth can’t they have ice cream two nights in a row!

I’ve come to realize that our parenting tactics change, or should change, with each different child. What works for my oldest doesn’t necessarily work for my youngest’s personality. For example, my first son won’t touch an electrical outlet ever again after I told him not to, while my second may try to stick a fork in it while grinning at me as I scream, “NO! NO!” and dive frantically across the room to save him. And my third? Well, let’s just hope she doesn’t try the fork trick, but only time will tell how much she’ll really listen to what I say.

Each kid is different, which means we should parent them differently, at least in some ways.  I remember getting on the floor with my first son and coaching him to crawl, obsessively charting his every move and marveling at his superman-like neck or leg strength. But it seems the more kids I have, the less thrilled I am about encouraging them to crawl as early as possible.  I marvel, of course, when they do, but I also realize I can no longer place them in the center of the room and expect them to be there when I turn around. So am I obsessively encouraging it these days? No. Gently helping? Maybe!

From my experience, as we parent more children, we are less likely to fall for the far too plentiful judgmental stares, comments or parenting tactics everyone else in the world thinks we should employ, regardless of if we hear it on the street or screaming at us through the TV. The fact is, I’m too tired and too distracted to begin to listen to all that outside noise. Quite frankly, I’m doing my best and would rather shut out all the interference. I don’t think that making my own sprinkles (yes it’s possible) while whisking up some macrobiotic cupcakes (not sure if that is possible) containing milk I extracted from a goat earlier that afternoon will make me a better parent, but I do think spending quality time with my kids and making sure they know how loved they are is paramount.

With all the talk parents are subject to today that may confuse us or tempt us to redefine our idea of “good parenting,” I’d like to remind us all what is really important. There are some fundamentals of parenting that I don’t think should ever change, from the first to the twenty-first child (hello Duggar family).

So when in you’re in doubt, questioning your tactics or finding it hard to figure out if what you’re doing is right, try to tune out the noise and focus on the basics. Here are my 10 parenting rules to live by:

1. Admit when you have made a mistake.

2. Shower your children with love and affection.

3. Give them structure.

4. Believe in boundaries.

5. Love with confidence, because insecurity will devour and distract you.

6. Treat your children as individuals, because they are.

7. Never be afraid to ask for help.

8. Don’t listen to judgmental people. Have confidence in your choices, and if you don’t, consider making new choices.

9. You can never say “I love you” too many times.

10. Sometimes, it’s alright to just leave the dishes dirty.

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Rosie to the Rescue: Sheryl Sandberg, Maybe We Moms CAN Have It All

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Check out blog posts by multitalented mompreneur Rosie Pope every week at Parents.com! 

Some very successful women have been saying things of late that are causing quite a stir (ahem, Marissa Mayer and the banning of remote workers at Yahoo). As a businesswoman and mother myself, I have a lot to say on all of these issues, as I am sure you do, too. Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, is currently surrounded in a stir around her book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. She writes: “My point is that the time for a woman to scale back is when a break is needed or a child arrives – not before, and certainly not years in advance.”

This is a fine statement in theory and I think women in the workplace should be working as hard as they can and rise through the ranks. However, this presumes that by rising through the ranks in all careers, should that even be what you want to do, you will be left with the freedom to cut back and get home in time for dinner. I have many friends who are doctors, lawyers or who work on Wall Street, and have done nothing but leaned in their entire careers. However, at the very time it makes the most biological and personal sense to start a family, they are still required to put in more hours than ever to be successful. My friend who is a surgeon simply cannot pick and choose her surgeries around dinnertime, and neither can my friend who wants to be a partner at her law firm be flexible about her hours. The fact is that the time to have children often does not coincide with the best time to do so in one’s career, and having leaned in for years doesn’t necessarily afford you the ability to have a more flexible schedule when your biological clock starts ticking.

I’ve been lucky that it does work often that way for me. I run my own business and can make my own schedule, which means most nights I am home for dinner, but I’m also working late into the night. I am sure there are many other careers that this works for as well, but to presume this is a general truth just doesn’t make sense to me overall. I wish that when these successful and inspiring women discussed these types of things, they would relate them more to their own experiences than sweeping statements for women everywhere. The issues, quite simply, are complicated.

Sandberg writes, “Stop trying to have it all…. The very concept of having it all flies in the face of the basic laws of economics and common sense. Instead of perfect we should aim for sustainable and fulfilling.” I applaud her for addressing this constant yearning for perfection and the unattainable, but I challenge her on the front that this again presumes that “having it all” means the same for everyone. By Sandberg’s definition, “having it all” is ridiculously hard, if not impossible, to achieve. I think far too often we look at others to define our sense of having it all rather than turn inwards and decide what “all” means to us. I think if we redefine what “all” really means to us individually, we might actually be able to achieve it, at least at some times in our life, rather than having to settle for a good-enough version of what we think “all” means.

What is and will increasingly become tricky is the expectation we have of leading women to make accommodating changes for women in the workplace, when in fact they may not. I think more and more it would be refreshing to see men and women as equal and those accommodations made, if in fact they make sense, applying to both. For example, we should be looking at maternity leave as well as paternity leave, men needing to be home for dinner as well as women. A world in which we are all leaning in, should that coincide with our aspirations and the day that we start talking about work-life balance and having it all for men as well as women, will be a world in which all of this will start to get less complicated and, dare I say it, more of a team effort in society and at home.

These are all complicated issues and I applaud the Sandbergs of the world for speaking out, but the fact that we are able to discuss them, that we are even having these problems, says to me that we are a lot further down the road of equality and perhaps one day being able to identify work-life balance in any career, man or woman.

For another take on Sheryl Sandberg’s book, check out what our Mom Must Read blogger Kristen Kemp has to say: “Stop Attacking Sheryl Sandberg: 10 Things I Love About ‘Lean In.’”

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Rosie to the Rescue: I’m a Mom With a Tattoo. So?!

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Check out blog posts by multitalented mompreneur Rosie Pope every week at Parents.com! 

I was playing with my son this morning, drawing and naming different spring flowers. We decided we’d buy some tulips after school. It was a lovely few minutes, just the two of us talking. I had just come off the red-eye from Seattle and I was so glad to have a few moments together before the hustle and bustle of the day.

We had arrived early at school and were waiting inside just outside the classroom. My son’s school is attached to a church, and a few of the church elders came by and greeted us with their warm smiling faces. Usually they fill me with such comfort as they finish nibbling their coffee and cookies and head on their way. Through their usual smiles, one suddenly looked down and noticed the tattoo on my foot. We were sitting on the floor as they had laid their coats on all the available benches, so my foot was exposed. (I make it a point not to hide my tattoo. It is not a regret of mine.) One of them asked, “What’s that pattern?” and I thought he was referring to the drawings my son and I were having so much fun doing. I started talking with pride about my son’s new interest in spring flowers and nature, when I realized he was referring to my tattoo. I simply explained it was a rose, from much younger days, and smiled. Another gentleman responded, “Oh yes, my son made a mistake like that”. To which the other chimed in: “I suppose you’ll have to do that laser thing to have it removed”. And to just go that extra bit further a third added, “Well, at least you don’t have them all up and down your arms, as bad as those basketball players.” All this was while my son watched and listened.

I can’t quite describe how hurt and angered I was at this and it didn’t even occur to them for one second how judgmental and inappropriate they were being. To my great shame, I started babbling excuses about my earlier choices in life, rather than standing my ground with pride. As they walked away, my thoughts started to clarify (isn’t that always the way?), and my blood started to boil. First, these were Christian men. Second, they decided to attack a personal choice of mine in front of my son with complete disregard for my or his feelings. And third, they decided to paint such a negative picture of me and my choices in front of the person whose opinion matters the most to me–not to mention the offensive reference to basketball stars, who of course my son looks up to.

I should have stood up for myself. It was a different time in my life and I want to teach my children to be proud of their evolution as people, and to know that even their parents have a past but it has shaped who they are, that they are proud of who they have become, and that they should love themselves. When the church elders finally left, my son said, “Good thing you have a rose on your foot mommy, so we’ll never forget how to draw one.” If only everyone could have the purity and non-judgmental honesty of a child. Just as in parenting, there is no one size fits all. We are all individuals, so let’s teach our children to embrace those differences and to stand up for themselves, to love themselves but loving ourselves, and our differences with pride.

I am so ashamed I didn’t say anything. For my kids, I will always speak up from now on–definitely one very important lesson learned by this mom. So thank goodness for my tattoo, thank goodness for my differences, and thank goodness that it is I who will teach my children how to treat others, and not the gentlemen passing us by.

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Rosie to the Rescue: Leave Kate Middleton Alone!

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Check out blog posts by Rosie Pope, star of Bravo’s “Pregnant in Heels,” every week at Parents.com! 

In the wake of a recent startling speech about Kate Middleton, given by writer Hilary Mantel, in which she harshly described the Duchess of Cambridge as a “plastic princess designed to breed,” I began to think about the British monarchy, its meaning in the modern world, and just why Mantel’s lecture upset so many.

The Royal family certainly don’t rule the nation as they once did, and they are by no means in charge of a great empire as in glory days of old. Despite this lack of power and authority, they still hold the titles of prince and princess, king and queen, and arguably live in more luxury and adoration without the weight of leading a nation to battle, the possibility of their heads being chopped off, or any other unsightly consequences of being an unpopular or weak monarch (hung, drawn, and quartered anyone?!).

So what are the royals? What do they represent? I think they probably mean something a little different to all of us, but to me the notion of a royal is quite simply fantastical and escapist–and sometimes I like to daydream! The British people are entitled to their own gripes, from tax paying to political issues, with the royal family, but the rest of world gets to enjoy them without their costly burdens. I began wondering just why we are so in awe of Kate, so eager to see her maternity style, her parenting tactics, and so horribly offended by the label “plastic princess.” Will she breastfeed? we wonder. Have a nanny, and how many? Will she retreat from the public eye? How will she compare to Diana? The questions are endless and for some reason each is just as fascinating as the next.

I think the idea of even a modern-day fairy tale and a princess still having the same concerns, the same considerations as you and me, is comforting. She, too, will after all experience “mommy guilt,” and it will be just as anxiety-provoking for her as it is for us. She, too, may need that calming glass of wine, a good chat with her girlfriends, a few moments to herself locked away in the bathroom, just like the rest of us. She is, after all, human!

And so while she fulfills that little-girl fantasy inside of us, the possibility of becoming a princess, Kate Middleton is also entirely relatable as a new wife and as a mom-to-be, and this simply feels good to those of us watching. It is not a combination we often get to enjoy: princess meets real life. She is a vehicle for our dreams and our everyday woes. So when someone tries to strip her down, we protect her, because we are protecting our dreams and perhaps even more importantly, we are protecting another mom. I don’t see what can possibly be wrong about that!

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Rosie to the Rescue: Mommy’s Wackiest Day Ever

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Check out blog posts by Rosie Pope, star of Bravo’s “Pregnant in Heels,” every week at Parents.com! 

Have you ever read the book Wacky Wednesday, by Dr. Seuss, to your kids? Mine absolutely love it and I’m starting to think it’s because every morning is “Wacky Day” in our house.

When I’m riding to work, face on (mascara at least), hair coiffed (or at least pulled into a ponytail), teeth brushed (thank goodness), looking kind of like I have it all together (I hope), I look around at the other people riding the train with me who I presume might also be moms and dads. All looking equally as ready for the day, and I wonder what whirlwinds ensued in their homes that morning. It’s as if a hurricane happened between wake-up and leaving the house, and then somehow we still seamlessly transitioned into the world! .

People often ask me how I manage to juggle everything: three kids ages 4 and under, a maternity line, my stores, my MomPrep studios, writing books and filming. To be honest, it makes me smile because half the time I think I totally don’t have it together, and end up shedding a few tears in the shower! So I thought I’d share with you my Wacky Monday this week, and all the things that happened between getting up at 5 a.m. until dropping off my son for school at 9 a.m. and boarding the train for work by 9:15. I’m hoping it will make you laugh and next time you don’t feel like you have it all together, remember, neither do I!

So here we go…

I found my 2-year-old wondering around the apartment at 5 a.m. (he has just transitioned to a toddler bed). Shortly afterwards I broke a glass while unloading the dishwasher and frantically screamed at my barefoot babies to stand back. The garbage bag then broke all over the floor while someone got into the bag of cereal I was planning to pour (before getting distracted by the garbage), and it exploded. So I tried to fly over bouncers, bikes, and scooters that were all parked slap-bang in the middle of the room in order to stop my 8-month-old from shoving Cheerios in her mouth, as she’s still learning how to chew. Meanwhile my 4-year-old decided to get all (I mean all) of the toys out of the cupboard I had just finished cleaning up; then my 2-year-old pooped all over his pajamas, followed by his sister pooping all over the Exersaucer. (I’m sure you, too, have figured out bouncing and pooping are not a good combination.)

I finally got to clean up the poop, managed to get everyone dressed, and the waffles ready on the griddle (breakfast attempt #2) when my 2-year-old tried to fly and planted facedown on the floor, and his nose started to bleed everywhere. Everyone started freaking out, I started freaking out, and then we all collapsed on the floor laughing in hysterics and decided to eat our waffles on the couch (a little something I call picnic breakfast) and watch me dance (always entertaining for breakfast). When we finally set off for school it was raining out and the wind howled; as I struggled to hold umbrellas and push the stroller, I crashed into a garbage can. Why was I holding two umbrellas? I couldn’t find the plastic cover to the stroller, and my son was refusing to hold one because it wasn’t his special froggy umbrella!

That’s when he peeked out from the stroller, gave his priceless grin, and said, “Mommy, don’t you think it’s wacky Monday?” Well, I couldn’t agree more.

So the next time you feel defeated, don’t! Feel triumphant in all that you juggle, and that you can still have a smile on your face.

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Rosie to the Rescue: How to Keep the Love Alive

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Check out blog posts by Rosie Pope, star of Bravo’s “Pregnant in Heels,” every week at Parents.com! 

Okay, so I am going to be bold and write about something that, to be completely honest, makes me a little embarrassed! I am British, after all, and we tend to be a bit awkward about these things. But then again, I don’t think most of us find this subject easy. Not until we’ve had a glass or three of wine any way!

But, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought it apt to address the subject of keeping that spark alive (hope my parents aren’t reading this!). As uncomfortable as it may make us to talk about it, it’s extremely important in a relationship, and our relationships affect both how happy we and of course our children are.

It is undeniable that over time, no matter how in love a couple is, keeping the flame alive can be difficult, at least on a regular basis: kids in the bed, the sound of a baby cooing (or crying) on the monitor, total exhaustion…. Sound familiar? It takes–dare I say it?–work to muster up the energy or even find the time. But when you do, and the more you do, the easier it becomes and the more you enjoy it. It’s sort of like exercise (actually, it is exercise: bonus!), and well, practice makes perfect.

There are two easy, great tricks I want to share that you can implement immediately, at zero dollars and don’t involve rushing out to buy some crazy lingerie, chocolate-covered strawberries, or some bizarre accessories.

1. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect. Waiting for this amazing moment when the romantic stars align is just not going to happen. So pick a moment, any moment the kids are in bed, and go with it, sweatpants and all.

2. Remind yourself of your love story. Every couple has one, even if it was a long time ago. Tell yourself that story on your way home, whether it is the moment you met, your first date, your honeymoon. I promise it will make you smile and when you walk through that door or when he does, you’ll look at him with sparks again.

Dedicate yourself to these two easy steps and this Valentine’s Day will be one to remember. Even if you can’t get a babysitter and you’re not out at some fancy dinner, you’ll be off to a very romantic 2013!

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