parenting

  • 5 Mommy-Time-Out Ideas

    Motherhood is rewarding.  Motherhood is exhausting. On rare occasions when we meet up, my mommy friends and I literally find ourselves “sneaking” away from our families. Of course, no one is ever too far away from the cellphone just in case there’s an emergency.  But, it is important and healthy to disconnect from our children for brief periods of time. Take a moment, or a few, to ourselves enables us to refresh and recharge.

    Here’s 5 Ways to Take Mommy Time Out: (more…)

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  • Axenfeld-Rieger Syndrome (ARS)

    Who doesn’t love a cute and cuddly baby?  They’re so adorable that it’s had to resist getting all smiley and silly when we see them in the local grocery store or at the mall. They’re mini conversation starters.  When parents take their child(ren) to public places, they come to expect hearing all of sorts of comments, including both kind words and unsolicited advice. I can remember going into a store with my daughters when they were babies, thinking that we’d just be a few moments only to end up in a fifteen minute conversation with someone we attempted to rush past in the paper towel aisle. Complete strangers would make comments like, “Oh, they’re adorable!”, “How cute are they?”, “You should put a sweater on her; she looks cold.” or “What big, beautiful eyes she has!”  But, what if the child’s big eyes were linked to a rare genetic disease?

    Axenfeld-Rieger Syndrome (ARS)

    Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome is a group of disorders, mainly affecting the eyes. Roughly about half of the people diagnosed with the syndrome will develop glaucoma.  Glaucoma is defined by the National Eye Institute as a “group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness.” Glaucoma may be present at birth or the onset might not occur until adulthood.  People affected by glaucoma have increased pressure behind their eyes. If not treated, glaucoma may lead to blindness.

    Let’s take it back to our high school biology class for a moment, shall we? The cornea is the clear part of the eye.  The iris is the colored part of the eye. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye. A properly working iris contracts to adjust for the amount of light coming into the retina.  The black “dot” in the center is the pupil.

    People affected by Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome will likely have a cloudy cornea.  They may have  iris hypoplasia.  The American Academy of Ophthalmology indicates that iris hypoplasia is where the iris doesn’t develop properly or the iris that’s intact, erodes. Hypoplasia affects the iris’ ability to block the amount of light hitting one’s retina.  The pupil may be may be dislocated, abnormally large, extremely small or off center.  

    Other Presenting Symptoms of ARS

    Although primarily an eye disorder, other parts of the body may become affected by Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome. Most people will have distinctive facial features inclusive of dental and craniofacial anomalies.  Dental abnormalities may include having oligodontia, which is having fewer teeth than normal, or microdontia, unusually small teeth. The teeth may be cone shaped or widely spaced. The face may appear flattened and the eyes may also be widely spaced.

    How is Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome passed from parent to child?

    As an inherited disorder, ARS is passed in an autosomal dominant manner.  According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Autosomal dominant is one of many ways that a trait or disorder can be passed down through families.  In an autosomal dominant disease, if you get the abnormal gene from only one parent, you can get the disease. Often, one of the parents may also have the disease.”

    Treatment and Therapies

    • Children with extreme sensitivity to light or photophobia might be more comfortable wearing sunglasses when they go outside.
    • Some forms of glaucoma may be treated with eye drops or laser surgery.
    • Many craniofacial abnormalities may also be treated with surgery.
    • Visual aids may also be helpful.

    Supporting Parents of Children with ARS

    A child with ARS may have unusually large eyes.  They may appear almost doll-like. It may be hard for most of us to resist impulsively uttering our comments when we see one of these precious children. I imagine that a parent of a child with Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome might get tired of hearing, “oh, what big eyes she has.”  They might even feel the need to explain or justify why the child’s eyes appear “different”.  So, let’s think twice before we offer uninvited advice to parents regarding their child’s facial features unless, of course, we’re simply offering compliments without question or judgement.  

    Resources for Parents

    The Childhood Glaucoma Foundation – https://www.childrensglaucoma.org/

    NIH/National Eye Institute – http://www.nei.nih.gov/

    Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center – https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/

    Sources:

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  • A Business Mommy’s Struggle

    Success as a mom in business is a cyclical relationship. In order to keep one’s sanity she must understand that the two relationships must be in total balance so that the notorious mother’s guilt doesn’t take over. Allow your children to be your inspiration, as you are theirs. Know that writing your own ticket empowers you and will empower your family to live the lifestyle of your choice. Nothing comes without sacrifice, commitment and balance. I am living proof that it can be done.

    As many of you have, I toyed with the idea of being an entrepreneur for a long time. However, something about life becomes more real when a mother looks into her child’s doting eyes and realizes that she is responsible for the molding of her precious love. (more…)

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  • 7 Extremely Useful Products for New Baby

    When bringing home a brand new baby, all types of emotions are elicited including excitement, fear and happiness.  Mom has spent the first nine months of baby’s time in utero bonding with the new child.  Meanwhile, Dad’s first opportunity to bond presents itself when healthy baby meets world.  It seems as if babies are on their best behavior for the hospital nurses, as they are sleepy from their long journey to the “outside world”.  Our homes are bright, filled the sounds of life and the smells of our culture.  A brand new baby is taking in so much in such a short amount of time, he/she may cry often during the first weeks of adjustment at home.

    Parents should be ready for sleepless nights, busy days filled with washing bottles/breastfeeding equipment and clothes, feeding and pamper changing at least every two hours, several baths, sponge baths at a minimum to clean the overflowing diapers and spit up that will inevitabily leak onto areas of the baby’s body that we have yet to explain.  Also, be prepared for adoring stares from new baby and the most tiresome, yet rewarding time of a parent’s life.

    There are lots of items on the market for new babies; however, many of us find that we had a small useful pile of items and an overwhelming pile of useless items that sat there until we could unload them on another unsuspecting new parent.  The most useful items that I utilized for my daughters included:

    1. A breastfeeding bib blocked me from flashing the world during feedings.
    2. Air controlled bottles cuts down on some of the gas and discomfort from said gas.
    3. Aquaphor can be used from head to toe, literally.
    4. The long blue suctioner from the hospital is a must keep, as the ones sold in stores are simply not long enough to suck out left over mucous from their recent journey.
    5.  Disposable diapers are useful burp cloths, as they are much thicker and absorb more of the infamous spit up than regular cloths.
    6. A wipe warmer minimizes the cold shock of wet wipes in the middle of the night.  Think about it.  You’re desperately trying to get your newborn to remain calm and sleepy during middle of the night diaper changes,
    7. A bottle sanitizer works wonderfully as well.  Who has time to stand over a pot of boiling water?

    Let’s be honest, the parenting world is otherwise known as survival of the fittest, especially when a new baby arrives. Parenting hacks literally give us “life”.

    Enjoy the extra few moments of sanity on me!

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  • 5 Quick Tips: Preparing for New Baby

    There’s simply no sure fire way that I know of to be one hundred percent prepared for the arrival of a new baby.

    From day one, each child is an individual and there’s no way for parents to predict if they’ll have a sleeper, crier, happy baby or fussy baby. There are a few things that parents can do to prepare for this brief moment of time when your baby is a newborn.  Before preparing, one must set realistic expectations for the family.  People will tell you to sleep when baby is sleeping.  I never understood how that was even a possibility.  My children took relatively short naps and if I could get in a brief shower with out one wailing, I would have been elated.  By the third week of my eldest daughter’s life, I gave up on pampering myself and shaving my legs in the shower.  I learned to wait until we had a visitor if I wanted to splurge my free time on pampering myself.

     

    But I’m not prepared!  (more…)

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  • Homework Horror Story

    Homework is the assignment of a purposeful task that reinforces concepts that are covered during the school day.  Accordingly, homework should not introduce new information to the learner.  On the contrary, homework should be utilized as a tool to communicate the student’s current level of mastery to the learner, caregiver and teacher.

    Email 3Let’s be real.  We want our children to be assigned and learn how to successfully complete homework.  HOWEVER,  I’m sure I am not alone in feeling bogged down by my children’s homework.  It never fails.  The one night I intend to prepare a quick dinner and turn in early, I’m hit with the “Oh, Mom I forget to tell you about the project that’s due tomorrow.” (Insert completely overwhelmed and bewildered look here.)  I recall being more excited than my children for the end of the school year one year.  It seemed like our lives literally revolved around homework horrors filled with tears, frustration and sometimes even tantrums. (more…)

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  • There is NO Such Thing as a Perfect Parent

    #HappyBirthdayToMyEldestDaughter – Today is my eldest daughter’s 12th birthday! This morning while playing on pinterest at 4 am, (Don’t judge me, it’s the only time my house and life are completely still) it hit me that I have been a mommy for twelve whole years. It really does feel like it was yesterday when I was anxiously anticipating her arrival. My world has completely revolved in the last decade+2.

    One of the major changes in the past twelve years has been my so-called routine. I used to have one. I promise you, I DID. I remember rising at 6am in order to be at work at 8am and carelessly choosing to work out before or after work (which was totally dependent upon what’s showing on tv or when and where happy hour was happening that night).

    Twelve years and two daughters later:

    The only routine I have before work is the routine I plan in my head. I always check off the major boxes. You know, bathing, brushing teeth and getting dressed. Everything else is up for negotiation depending on how far in advance they remember to tell me they have a game after school or if they volunteered me to pick up donuts for the entire grade. Although I don’t compromise on the getting dressed aspect of my morning to do’s, how long I have to complete tasks is a different story.

    Last week, I literally ran out of the house barefoot with 2 different pairs of boots, a coat, work bag and pocketbook filled with everything needed to curl my hair and put on my face at the office (since I ran out of time at home). It was a choice between getting my girls to school on time or putting on shoes. They win every time.

    This is what my routine looks like in my head when I wake up every morning at 4 a.m. (more…)

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