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Keep Kids Reading This Summer with our Kid’s Fire Tablet Giveaway!

Written by Author, Misty Black

We want to help motivate kids to read this summer, so I’ve teamed up with 4 other authors to offer you a chance to win a Kid’s Kindle Fire Tablet. Plus, everyone who enters will receive all 5 eBooks FREE. Details below. ENTER TO WIN HERE

As an Amazon Associate and Amazon Influencer I earn from qualifying purchases. You can count on me only recommending products which I know and love!

Let’s learn more about the authors in this giveaway.

Misty Black is a best-selling children’s book author and mother of three. She wrote Can Quilliam Learn to Control His Temper? and Punk the Skunk Learns to Say Sorry. Her focus in her Punk and Friends Series is to help children learn the social skills needed to navigate their big emotions. You can follow Misty on social media by searching Misty Black Author. The third book in this series, Brave the Beaver Has the Worry Warts focuses on helping children deal with anxiety and worry. It will be released next month.

Lauren Mosback is both a children’s book author and a Licensed Professional Counselor. She is the award-winning author of My Sister’s Super Skills, the first in a series of books that introduces children to important coping and wellness skills that increase their self-esteem. Lauren lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and three young children. She loves adventuring with her family and strives to continually learn, grow and write!

Dr. Brie is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Arizona. She specializes in strengthening the parent-child relationship. Dr. Brie has presented at numerous conferences, workshops, and conducted trainings around the US. She is the author of I Will Always Love You.

Lauren Jumrukovski is a licensed school counselor turned blogger at and author of They Say, Not Your Average Parenting Book.

Her book is a firmly guilt-free guide for parents and parents-to-be focused on intuitive parenting and on the emotional side of being a parent. What works for one parent may not work for another, and that’s okay. Every child is different and there is no one right way. “They Say” is full of ideas for navigating the hearsay and common parenting tough spots, but reminds parents to feel confident in the decisions they make for their families. Through heart-felt, funny, and relatable stories, readers will see that we aren’t alone in our feelings and experiences.

April Cox is an award-winning author and founder of Little Labradoodle Publishing. The Little Labradoodle series of six books include two picture books and four coloring/activity books. “My goal is to provide beautifully illustrated books with characters that kids love while re-enforcing core values in a way that is fun for the whole family. Her award-winning Puppy Pickup Day can be found here.

As you can see, this is a great line-up of authors, counselors, and mothers who truly care about your children. So don’t just enter because you want a free tablet (which I know you do😉) but join in because you want your child to grow up to be the best person they can be.

Click on the King Sumo link here and simply enter in your best email to join. Plus receive extra entries for sharing (all details included in the link).

Ends 5/29 at 5 PM EST. Awarded at 6 PM EST. Final results will be emailed. No purchase necessary. Not affiliated with Amazon.

Happy Reading!

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: 30+ Fun Craft and Activity Ideas for Kids with Household Items or My Author Journey: Writing My First Book

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What Makes a “Good” Parent?

Are you a “good” parent?

I was watching “This is Us” the other night. The mother was talking about rocking her early-waking baby. She was so excited to snuggle and listen to her favorite music on her headphones while she watched the sunrise. It was so sweet… but, there came that feeling sneaking in again that I often feel… 

I didn’t like that. I don’t like that still. I hate when my kids wake up early. I must be a bad mom…

This happens to me a lot. The negative, self-questioning, accusing thoughts creep in, and I find myself asking: Am I a bad mom?

Why do we have thoughts like this? Why do we let the things we see and hear—the things we see on TV, on social media, the things our friends are doing—make us question ourselves?

It’s hard not to. The advice and opinions are everywhere, and when it comes to parenting, we will never find a one-size-fits-all manual. 

We will find articles with titles like, “The best parents do these things,” or “What you should never say to your child.” Well, you know what, who made them the judge? Who made them the parenting expert who knows exactly what is right for MY family and MY kids? These articles don’t leave me with answers. They leave me with lots of questions about whether I am doing anything right.

So, ARE you a good parent?

YES! You are! Ask yourself these questions:

Do you put your child to sleep/ help them sleep— whether it be in their room or yours, whether you let them cry it out or rock them ‘til they’re out?

Do you feed your child— whether it’s formula or breastmilk, or even teeny meals between LOTS of snacks?

Do you love your child— even after they grab your almost full coffee and sling it across the table, or take a crayon to your walls? [Yup, speaking from experience].

Do you clothe your child— whether they dress themselves, in expensive clothes or in hand-me-downs? Or, even if your child is dressed better than you (as you just barely made it out of the house)? 


How often do you lose your patience? Some? A lot? A ton? 

Well, how often did you teach your child something, even if it was that you made a mistake? There is so much value in that.

You are doing all of these things?? THAT makes a pretty great parent!

So, what makes a “good” parent? It’s impossible to put into words, but I guarantee it’s not about how we feed, clothe, discipline, put our kids to sleep, or how we compare to others, or even how patient we can be. It’s all about love.

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: 10 Things I’ve Learned From My Parenting “Mistakes” or Top Educational Toys for Babies and Toddlers: Play to Learn

Check out my book for more about not always having to listen to what “They” Say: They Say – Not Your Average Parenting Book

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10 Things I’ve Learned From My Parenting “Mistakes”

This is a guest post by Ivana Davies from Find Your Mom Tribe

If there is one thing that parenting points out to you, it’s your own inadequacies and shortcomings. I started on this road of parenthood, overjoyed and expectant, vowing to be the best mother that I could possibly be. I was going to serve all organic, vegan, non-GMO, restaurant-quality food. I was going to make my own soap. I was going to have the energy to play with my kids anytime of day, anytime of night. I was going to remain patient and steadfast in my discipline. I had dreams of writing books to inspire other parents to be their personal best, and I was determined to prove that having it all was possible.

Then reality hit. Dirty diapers, half-empty bottles of rancid formula, soiled clothes, crumbs everywhere, and my struggle with post partum depression were staring me in the face as I attempted to bridge the gap between daily life with my little loves and the unrealistic expectations I’d set for myself. Just when I thought I had a handle on things, life threw me another curveball, and I had to figure out how to deal with my own shortcomings and rise above them to be the best parent that I could be – at that time.

Let’s face it – we all make mistakes. We make mistakes in life, we make mistakes in parenting, and having a bit of compassion for ourselves as we move through the process and become more experienced is essential if we are going to give our kids the best. The key to surviving any parental mishap is how you own up to the mistake, and how you clean up after yourself. Not even parenting classes can prepare you for everything. You will make mistakes – it’s unavoidable. Your child did not come with an instruction manual, and you have to figure out what they need and what suits them best. Take these valuable nuggets that I’ve learned from my many mistakes, and maybe you’ll make a few less as you navigate these exciting waters with me. Jump in!

Lesson #1 – A little dirt is okay

Just make sure Junior isn’t taking handfuls of sand out of the sandbox. If your wayward toddler is exploring the kitchen floor and finds some Cheerios, don’t freak out. Think of it as an opportunity for them to build up their immune systems while enjoying a delicious snack. Make it a goal to intervene a little faster next time, and soon you’ll be beating them to the punch.

Lesson #2 – Let sleeping kids lie

I used to think that the only quality sleep that could be had by my children was in the crib surrounded by the best blankets, orthopedic structures, and stimulating mobiles. I was dead wrong. I soon learned that if my child fell asleep in the car seat while I was shopping for groceries, I should NOT disturb him upon arriving back home. I let him sleep to his heart’s content where he fell asleep, knowing that he was safe and comfortable. If only I could get in a good nap in any location…….sigh.

Lesson #3 – My kids WILL imitate me

Thoughts, actions, behaviors, words…..your little ones are like sponges. They will soak up what you do, and they will imitate you. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; if there was ever a reason for raising the bar on your own language choice, behavior, and habits, it’s that. Think of what you want your kids to become, and what habits you would like them to form. They are watching you….so, model those behaviors, and you will soon see them performing them as well.

Lesson #4 – I need to relax when I hear curse words

Let’s face it – any kid in the public education system these days is FAR more knowledgeable than we were at their age. Think of the most vile string of curse words you could piece together, and they have probably not only heard it, but said it as well. If they let this stuff fly, don’t freak out. Calmly explain that there are other, more intelligent language choices that they can use to express themselves, and encourage them to see how creative they can get when it comes to expressing their emotions in healthy ways.

Lesson #5 – My kids will at some point be responsible for their own comfort

I can preach all I want about the dangers of frostbite and cold extremities, but when I drop them off at school, all bets are off. At some point, they will have to take matters into their own hands and protect themselves against the elements. If they are freezing because they forgot to put on a hat and gloves, so be it. Maybe next time they’ll remember. That won’t stop me from continuing to preach, though.

Lesson #6 – I will make mistakes when packing their lunches

There will inevitably be a mistake made when putting condiments on a sandwich. I might still be half asleep when I throw strawberries into a container, failing to see that one of them has begun to mold. Did I forget to pack your favorite kind of chips? Forgive me…..I was tending to the fifty other things you asked me to do this morning. It’s a wonder we can get out the door sometimes; there will be mistakes made, but when all is said and done, they are fed and clothed adequately about 97 percent of the time. Get over the other 3 percent, kiddos. Such is life. Love ya!

Lesson #7 – Kids will pit your partner against you

In houses that practice dual governance, you may be called upon to make disciplinary decisions that your partner might not agree with. Your kids know how to play this perfectly; take Halloween candy, for instance. If Mom says “no”, it is likely that Dad will say “yes” especially if he is engrossed on his computer. The more frequently you can talk to your partner about some non-negotiable rules for success, the less likely it is that your kids will try to put one over on you.

Lesson #8 – I wiped my kids way too late

My third grader is still asking me to come in and give her the once over after a messy bathroom episode. The truth is, most kids should be wiping themselves sufficiently by the time they are five or when they enter school. If we continue to perpetuate this, they will not gain the skills that they need to care for themselves, and infections are likely to develop as a result of improper wiping. Do a periodic check if you must, but insist that your kids start taking this over as soon as possible.

Lesson #9 – You will forget to do important things

With the sheer volume of information coming home from school, it is likely that you will miss important dates, important permission slips, and requests for money that impact your child. Teachers are forgiving, and your kids may not be. Do your best to keep up with this information coming home from school and coaches, and apologize for missing information. Forgive yourself, repair the situation, and move on. Life is too short to cry over spilled milk. 

Lesson #10 – You will lose your cool, you can count on it

Regardless of what kind of kind, patient person you normally are, parenting can sometimes stretch you to your very limits. You will be sleep-deprived, caffeine-deprived, and pulled to your wits end with the demands that our little ones make on our time, our bodies, and our souls. You will lose your cool with them, and you might even say and do things that you regret later. Be real, admit your mistakes, and repair the damage; no relationship is quite as important as that of parent and child. Commit to the process of seeing this through to adulthood (yours and theirs!), and there will be a richness of relationship that you can enjoy for years to come!

Author’s bio:

My name is Ivana Davies, and I’m an educator turned stay-at-home mom to a beautiful 7-year-old girl and a playful 5-year-old boy. Since I didn’t have a clue about raising kids, I had to learn it all the hard way. I managed to find so much information online, and that inspired me to turn to blogging to share my experiences and struggles as a mom. Being a mom is not easy. In fact, it can sometimes be pretty isolating. My blog, Find Your Mom Tribe, is here to help you connect with other moms, as well as to share mom hacks, information, and tools to help you on this parenting journey. You can catch up with us on Facebook and Pinterest.

You may also enjoy: Are Parents Setting Themselves Up to Fail?

About Lauren

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Are Parents Setting Themselves up to Fail?

I’ll be honest, I have really struggled these last few weeks. Our family has been sick off and on. The kids continue to pass illness back and forth, and it is draining to say the least. We all know how hard it is to get a true sick day as a parent. Most of the time we just end up pushing on at our own expense.

Thoughts have crossed my mind like:

Other parents aren’t losing their cool.

Other parents aren’t crumbling under the pressure.

Other parents aren’t breaking down into tears. 

Other parents don’t snap at their child. 

I know my situation could be so much worse, but somehow, THEY are still holding it together. Why can’t I?

Sometimes we create this unrealistic standard in our minds based on our assumptions. The pressure to live up to this impossible standard can be paralyzing. This is still a challenge for me even though I hear stories every day where other moms tell me they feel the same way, or where other parents tell me thank you for sharing this (whether it’s here or in my book), because they have been there too! Even still, I struggle with the pressure. I just wanted to share today that the truth is we aren’t alone in our feelings no matter how much it can feel like we are. We aren’t the only parent out there who has lost their cool, snapped, or broken down.

So, here is what I am going to do:

I am going to keep trying to remind myself that I am not alone.

I’m going to remind myself to stop basing my self-worth on assumptions I have made about others and about what I am missing in comparison.

I will continue trying to accept myself for who I am as a person and as a mom.

And, most importantly, I am going to let the tiny reminders I see each day confirm that I am enough and that I’m doing just fine… when my kids smile, when I see them contently playing, when they calm themselves down all on their own, when I see love in their eyes. We know the signs are all there. We just need to watch for them and take note.

I hope you will do these things alongside me.

People ask me a lot, “How do you do it?” People may think, She must have this all together… after all she wrote a parenting book. But the truth is, I don’t! And that is exactly WHY I wrote the book. 

I’m tired of us parents feeling alone and feeling like we need to live up to the unrealistic expectation of perfection. 

I’m tired of us parents feeling like we are alone. 

I’m tired of us parents feeling like we don’t measure up.

It is all based on the lies we allow ourselves to believe (or the lies we tell ourselves) and the assumptions we make.

The truth is, when we try to live up to an unrealistic standard we have created in our minds, we are setting ourselves up for failure!

Let’s break this train of thought down, and be comfortable in who we are. Then, we will truly be able to shine.

If we stop setting ourselves up for failure, we will finally be able to see our success. 

Check out my book here: They Say, Not Your Average Parenting Book

You may also enjoy: Bullying Hurts, How to Prevent It and How to Stop It or Author Interview- Lauren Jumrukovski on Blaif Magazine

To learn more about me and by blog, check out: About Lauren

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Bullying Hurts: How to Prevent It and How to Stop It

As a mom, when something hurts my child’s feelings, it tears my heart apart… no matter how small. Being licensed as a Pre-K through 12 school counselor, it used to break my heart when I learned of bullying in my office. We know bullying can cause many devastating effects, so I find it so important to take bullying seriously. All parties involved – the person being bullied and the person who is doing the bullying – need support and can benefit from learning coping skills and opening up about their experience and feelings. 

What is bullying? defines bullying as, “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.”

Bullying can be verbal, physical, social or cyber bullying.

As an Amazon Associate and Amazon Influencer I earn from qualifying purchases. You can count on me only recommending products which I know and love!

Preventing Bullying: 

The last thing we want is for any child to be bullied, therefore, preventative measures are very important. It is the best-case scenario to prevent bullying from happening in the first place. 

Here are some ways we can help prevent bullying:

Help Your Child Develop Self-Esteem

First, you can see even in the definition of bullying that it involves a power imbalance. Oftentimes bullies target someone they perceive as weak. On the other hand, I have found bullies themselves often bully others because of a lack of confidence or a lack of self-esteem.

We can teach our children to be confident in themselves for who they are. We can help build their self-esteem: It’s okay to be yourself. It’s okay to be different. And, it’s okay if someone doesn’t want to be our best friend. Let’s face it, as hurtful as it sounds, there will come a time when another person does not care to be our friend. This does not make us any less of a person. I think it is important for our children and teens to recognize this as well. 

We are huge readers in our house. Here are a few books which teach self-esteem, confidence and feeling comfortable in one’s own skin:

It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny, by Marilyn Sadler

Thelma the Unicorn, by Aaron Blabey

Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All), by Lori Orlinsky

I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem, by Jamie Lee Curtis

I Wish That I Had Duck Feet, by Dr. Seuss

Point Out Your Child’s Strengths

We can teach our children to be confident in themselves and their individual qualities by pointing them out. Even when our kids are young, we can catch them doing something good and mention it. As they grow, we can point out their positive qualities as well. I think it is important to not only point out what our kids are great at, but also what they are working hard at. We can compliment when they try, when they are working towards something, or when they don’t give up on something.

Teach Kindness

Teaching our kids to be kind is invaluable. We can compliment them when we see them do something kind and give compliments which focus on their heart rather than only on their physical attributes. Although we use both types of compliments in our home from time to time, I try to continually squeeze in that they are beautiful on the inside. Kindness makes beauty. 

Not only can we encourage our kids to be kind; we can encourage them to be inclusive. It is important for kids to understand that they are not required to like everyone but that they are required to be respectful to everyone. Being respectful may even mean including someone even if they aren’t your close friend. I started talking with my children at an early age about looking out for someone who is sitting alone, or playing alone, and I encouraged them to check in with that child. 

We can teach kindness by modeling it. We are modeling kindness even when we don’t realize it. For example, have you ever stopped and held the door for someone on the way out of a restaurant? Do you say thank you to the cashier or associate at the store? Our kids pick up on these things. 

Teach Empathy

We talk about empathy quite a bit in our house. Kids can learn by trying to put themselves in other people’s shoes and imagine how they might feel. Talk about events which actually occurred, or tell a story. Then ask, how would you feel if this happened to you? How do you think that person felt? Here’s an example: how might a child feel who didn’t get invited to a birthday party? Books can help teach empathy. One of our favorites is, The Berenstain Bears and The Golden Rule. Another great one is, The Berenstain Bears: Kindness Counts.

Keep Open Communication with Your Child. 

Ask them about school. Often times, when asked “how was your day?” children will say, “fine,” “good,” or something along these lines. I like to try to get creative with my kids to get them talking. Here are some ideas which have worked for us:

Play a game of questions. 

We like to do this before bed at night. We set a number of questions and ask away. Often the questions end up being would you rather questions, like “would you rather touch a worm, or eat spinach?” Kids get pretty creative! But, I love that I can squeeze in questions like “what was the best (or worst) part of your day today?” 

Best, Worst, and Weirdest 

My husband actually came across this idea, and we tried it and love it! We usually do this during dinner or before bed at night. We go around and each have to share about the best, the worst, and the weirdest part of our days.

Sometimes just keeping communication open with your child will allow them to open up to you when something is wrong.

What to Do If Your Child Is Being Bullied:

Here are some strategies I used when working with students which can be helpful if you have a child experiencing bullying. 

We can talk about these strategies with our children now. If bullying ever takes place, they will have a whole tool kit at their disposal and they will have an idea of what to do. The following strategies can be used alongside reporting the bullying to an administrator, teacher, or to school personnel.  

Fake It ‘til You Make It 

Have you heard of this phrase? As I mentioned before, bullies tend to bully those who they perceive as weak. Therefore, confidence can be key. Even if a child doesn’t feel confident, they can “Fake it ‘til they make it.” They can keep their head up, shoulders back with good posture, and look up and at others. 

Make a Joke and Brush It Off

When an act of teasing occurs, one can make a joke of it and change the subject, or simply brush it off. The less the victim seems to be affected, the more likely the bullying is to stop. For instance, let’s say someone was making fun of my new haircut. I could say, “Yea, I probably shouldn’t have let my baby sister cut it,” laugh and move on. Sometimes, this will be enough to end the comments, stop the conversation, and allow the child to walk away. Another option is to change the subject, or turn and begin talking to another student.

Safety in Numbers

This leads me to my next strategy: Safety in numbers. Encourage your child to walk with a friend. They can even tell the friend what is going on and they can help diffuse a situation if it arises. 


Sometimes, avoiding the bully completely is the best answer. The child can attempt to only go near that person if an adult is close. In the hallway, the child can take a different route. 

Ask Them to Stop 

When bullying occurs, tell the bully to stop loud enough that other students or a teacher will overhear (without yelling). It is also important to make sure not to say anything inappropriate, or both children could end up in trouble.

Name the Behavior

A child can simply name the behavior after it occurs: “That’s bullying. Stop!” Sometimes naming the behavior as bullying can make the bully stop and evaluate what they are doing. 

Diffuse the Bullying

For this strategy, you keep saying “So” or “So what” over and over until the conversation ends. For example:

“Your hair looks horrible.”


“That’s the worst haircut ever!”


“So, you look ridiculous.”

“So what.”

… at some point, sometimes the bully will get frustrated and walk away.

This strategy also decreases the likelihood of the bullying to occur again because it portrays confidence. This also takes the power away from the bully.

Respond By Being Kind

Have you ever heard the saying, “Kill them with kindness?” This is another one. Most bullies are bullying because they are having their own issue. Maybe they are being bullied themselves. Maybe they lack confidence. Maybe they are jealous for one reason or another. Responding by being kind might confuse the bully or surprise them into stopping. It also exhibits confidence and can make one less of a target. 

You can role-play with your child and practice these strategies. They can even practice these by looking into a mirror. If they practice their responses, they will be more confident when faced with a true issue. For the younger ones, drawing, storytelling, or playing with dolls can be great ways to role play situations.

We can teach along the way as our children grow. We don’t always want to take on the problem and solve it for them, especially if it’s small. Guide them and practice with them as small situations occur. They may be more likely to come to us if they are facing something difficult. 

Of course, if your child is showing signs of sadness or if they do not seem like themselves, go talk to someone and get help. Most schools have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying. School personnel can be a huge help. Simply being aware of the situation will allow the school personnel to intervene if an issue occurs. 

I always reminded my students, there may be something going on in that student’s life which is causing them to act this way. In order words, I might say, “They are the one with the problem, not you. Just because they say something to you or about you doesn’t make it true.” A lot of times students felt there must be something wrong with them when they were being bullied. Helping them see that they are not the person with the problem helped. 

What If My Child Is the Bully?

What if my child is a bully? Many of the tips in the “preventing bullying” section above apply if you find your child is bullying others. Often times, children who are bullying are experiencing some sort of bullying or are lacking confidence themselves. I believe having a conversation with your child and checking in with their feelings is very important. Here are some questions you could ask your child.

When talking with your child about what happened, try to use “what” questions rather than “why” questions. Questions that begin with “why” typically lead to a feeling of being blamed.

For instance, instead of, “Why did you do that?” you could ask, “What happened?” or “What was going through your mind?” 

As mentioned earlier, you can help your child use empathy:

  • “How do you think she felt when you called her stupid?”
  • “Imagine someone said that about you. How would you feel?”
  • “If you would feel sad if that was said to you, what made you say it to them?”
  • “How did you feel right before you made the hurtful comment?” 

(Getting to the bottom of whether they were feeling sad, angry, annoyed, jealous, and so on can be helpful).

Creating a “feeling wheel” can be helpful for the younger ones. Simply draw a circle. Have your child color in the circle, with different colors representing different feelings. This can help get a conversation started about how to appropriately handle our feelings. 

Here are some other great questions to ask overtime. You may find at certain times children are more open to talk than others. Try talking to them at different times during the day and see what works best. My children are more likely talk right before they go to sleep at night. 

  • How do you feel when you are at school?
  • Do you like school?
  • Tell me about your best friends.
  • Has anyone been bugging you?
  • Do you ever feel sad at school?

Of course, if your child does not want to open up or talk with you about bullying, setting up an appointment with the school counselor, or an outside counselor can be invaluable. Counselors can help children practice empathy, teach coping skills, and help children identify and work through their feelings in healthy ways. 

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: Top Products for Moms

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Looking Back: When My Heart Went Off to Kindergarten

My first baby went off to Kindergarten around this time last year. Now, she is soon to start first grade. I wrote the below post when I was right in the middle of all of the feelings of my first child going off to school. Last year, I was full of worry. I would often end up in tears as I imagined my daughter being off at school without me. I knew it would be a struggle to hold it together on that first day, or that I would fail at holding it together completely. 

Well, here we are… with a Kindergarten graduate and soon-to-be first grader! And we survived! All of us! 

Shockingly, I didn’t end up crying on that first day. My baby girl just hopped right up on that bus and looked back with only a smile. She came home that day happy as can be… and I was surprisingly okay! 

She had a great year. Of course we had bumps in the road, and some moments where it pained me to hear of a tough situation at school, but these moments also brought us closer. Each of these moments helped her learn and grow.

So, to all of you parents out there with babies starting school, check out my original post below. And remember, you’ve got this! Tears are to be expected, but the start of school may just go smoother than you expect. You are there for them and that is what matters most!

And PS: Her backpack lasted all year…

“They say” having a child means you are forever deciding to have your heart walk outside of your body.

This is one quote which most parents have heard and which most can truly identify with.

My daughter, my first baby, is going to kindergarten in a few weeks. I can imagine it. My heart is playing on the playground and falls and gets hurt. I won’t be there to comfort her. My heart may be made fun of by another child. She may not be included in a game with friends or not invited to a sleepover. She may be picked last in gym class. She may have an asthma attack and I may not be there to protect her. She may not enjoy school. She may miss being home with me.

Having my heart on the outside, I feel so exposed.

These are the big things I worry about, but even the small things cause me to panic. My sister-in-law was shopping with me one day and we came across the backpacks for back to school. She asked me if she could buy my daughter’s first backpack for school. To be honest, I froze for a minute. I panicked a bit and I wasn’t sure what to say. I had heard so much talk about getting the right backpack for school on social media that I was conflicted.

Should I get her first backpack? Should she be the one to pick it out? Should I get the super nice backpack from Pottery Barn Kids which is going to last? If I don’t get her the super nice backpack, will her backpack be good enough?

Then I realized, here I am focusing on what “they say” again. Sometimes we allow what “they say” make us feel like we aren’t enough, or that our decisions for our children aren’t good enough. It is hard not to when we are bombarded by social media, the internet and so on. There are so many opinions hitting us right in the face that we feel bad when our opinion differs.

I think about my daughter being in school. I wouldn’t want her to do something just because her peers are doing it. I would want her to make her own choices. If she likes something different than her peers, I don’t want her to feel bad. I don’t want her to fear standing out just because she makes a decision different than most of those around her. I want her to be herself… to be who she wants to be.

So that is what I did. After my long pause—I am sure my sister-in-law wondered why on earth this was such a hard question to answer—I told her, “Yes, you can buy her the backpack.” Because you know what, who cares what other people say or do. It doesn’t matter.

To those of you moms out there who bought your kids the best, longest-lasting backpack there is, congratulations! You are a wonderful mom! Your child will have a backpack which may last them through the elementary years. To those of you moms who bought your child the Walmart character backpack, or the plain backpack which I always had as a child, congratulations! You are a wonderful mom! You bought your child a backpack which will work for them! And for those of you who gave your child the hand-me-down backpack, Congratulations! You are a wonderful mom! Your child has what they need for school. And if something happens to the backpack we provide, the good news is, we can always buy a new one.

So, right now, instead of focusing on what everyone else is doing to prepare their children for kindergarten, I am going to focus on soaking up every single last snuggle that I can before my heart goes off to school without me. Then, I am going to trust that I have given her what she needs to succeed, both physically and emotionally, and I will be right there for her if she ever needs more.

Lindsey Martin Photography

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: Parenting with Grace

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Parenting with Grace

If you ever feel like you are failing as a parent, do one thing… 

Give yourself some grace!


Because it’s okay not to be perfect! In fact, it’s best not to be! 

If we were perfect as parents, perfect in every way [impossible], how would this make our children feel? What would it teach them? 

Might it make our kids feel like they have to be perfect too?

If they fail at being perfect, could they start to feel like they don’t add up?

One day will they ask themselves, why can’t I seem to keep it together like my mom always did?

Even, would they want to hide their imperfections and mistakes from us thinking that we wouldn’t understand?

Most importantly, if we were always perfect, we would never teach our kids or model what it means to give ourselves grace. 

Parenting with Grace

It’s hard to give ourselves grace. In fact, the word I chose to focus on for this year’s “new year’s resolution” was grace. Why? Because I was having such a hard time letting myself off the hook. I was holding myself to too high of a standard.

As humans we are supposed to make mistakes. How else would we learn? When we make mistakes, we can model this for our kids: I messed up and it’s okay, because I am going to grow! And then we can show them how we grow. 

A Building Block for Self-Esteem

I would argue that one of the most important things we teach our kids is how to give ourselves grace. It’s a building block for self-esteem and feeling good about oneself, for accepting oneself for who we are, and for not being so hard on ourselves. 

There are many ways to teach this concept, one of which is modeling it for them. Another way is having a simple conversation. Here is a personal example. When my kids make a mistake [after providing a consequence if needed], I try tell them: Everyone makes mistakes and it’s okay! The problem comes in when we keep making the same mistakes over and over—when we don’t learn from them. We brainstorm ideas of how we can avoid making a mistake again. The goal isn’t perfection. The goal is to utilize the mistakes we make to help shape us into who we are meant to be. Finally, we talk about what we learned. Every lesson makes us grow as a person. 

So mamas, do you ever feel like you aren’t doing enough? Are you ever unsure whether you handled a behavior issue correctly? Unsure if you disciplined enough or maybe if you did too much? Are you too hard on yourself? Let it all go! First, there is no one right way! And second, if we focus on grace for both us and the child, and on what we can learn, I don’t think we can go wrong.

Just remember, it’s okay not to be perfect! 

Without the lessons, without the mistakes, and without the growth, where would we all be? When in doubt, give yourself some grace!

To learn more about Lauren and her blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: We Are Blessed, but Our Kids Are Blessed Too!

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We Are Blessed, but Our Kids Are Blessed Too!

We all know that we are blessed to have our children. I see or hear a parent sharing daily about how blessed they feel to have their kids. I feel the same way! My kids are my biggest blessing. Not a day goes by where I don’t feel blessed to have them in my life.

On the hard days—when our children are acting out, or when someone loses it for the hundredth time—we still don’t lose sight of how blessed we are. Even on those extra hard days… when we are just trying to make it through to bedtime… we remember how blessed we are once we see them sleeping peacefully as the day comes to a close.

But, something that seems easier for us to forget is that our children are also blessed to have us! Yes, our children are blessed too! 

Why is it that it can be so hard to believe that our children are also blessed to have us? Many days I find myself questioning if I am good enough – if I am enough for my children. Did I discipline them right? Did I yell too much? Did I play with them enough? Did I focus on them enough or was I too wrapped up in my day to day responsibilities? Even… it’s hard to admit, but… Am I messing up my kids?

Parenting is so difficult and there are so many rules, so many opinions on what is the right way to parent, that it can be difficult to feel like we are doing anything right. It makes me sad that this can make us feel like our children are less than blessed. 

Thus, I want to share a reminder today: 

Our children are blessed to have us.

Our children are blessed when we dry their tears.

Our children are blessed when we discipline them, when we teach them right from wrong, when we help them become the people they are meant to be.

Our children are blessed when we make them breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and every snack there in between.

Our children are blessed when they are sad and can’t seem to figure out why and we help them get to the bottom of those feelings.

Our children are blessed when they fall and we kiss the boo-boo and remind them that they have what it takes to get back up and try again.

Our children are blessed when we give them—even a tiny snippet of—time where the whole world seems to stop and revolve around them. 

Our children are blessed when we find magic with them, or even when we let them show us the magic… in the birds who tweet and sing, in the caterpillar who will soon turn into a butterfly, in the rainbow which just showed up on the kitchen floor from the light in the window.

Our children are blessed when we make a mistake and show them how we learn from it.

Our children are blessed because they know that they are the biggest blessing in our lives. This comes through, even on our hard days.

Our children are blessed because we love them like no one else can. I strongly believe we were paired with our children for a reason and that we are exactly what they need.

Everyone has hard days. Everyone makes mistakes. We are human! But, this does not make us any less of a parent or any less of what our children need. It doesn’t make them any less blessed to have us.

Our children are our biggest blessing, but the way that we love our children is also the biggest blessing that they will ever have. Never lose sight of this.

You may also enjoy: The Ultimate List of Summer Activities for Kids or What They Say About Parenting – Podcast Episode

To learn more about Lauren and her blog check out, About Lauren

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What They Say About Parenting: Podcast Episode

They Say Parenting is a guest on The Happy Student Podcast!

As a guest on the Happy Student Podcast, we are talking with the Fireborn Institute about what “they say” and how this effects our parenting!

Check it out here:

On Apple Podcasts

On the Fireborn Institute Website


“There are times it doesn’t matter what ‘they say.’ We just need to do what works. I’ve found thoughts about comparison should be the exception, not the basis or the standard of how we parent.”

Hear about the goals behind my blog and my book, They Say, Not Your Average Parenting Book:

First are foremost, we are not alone! We are great parents, mistakes and all! And, we don’t always have to listen to what “they say.” There is no substitute for experience!

On the podcast, I am sharing about my own personal experiences when what “they” said just didn’t make sense for me and my kids.

I am also sharing my thoughts on social media and how it can impact us parents:

“It’s heartbreaking at a time where we have social media and we can reach out to each other as moms and uplift each other, many times, just the opposite happens. You are looking for an answer, but you end up feeling worse.”

The Happy Student Podcast is produced by the Fireborn Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to insuring every student meets their full potential by providing parents the tools to help their children succeed. It is a wonderful organization and I am so happy to be a part of their podcast!

To be the first in the know, follow They Say Parenting on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter!

You may also enjoy: Don’t Let Your Marriage Take a Backseat After Kids or My Author Journey: Writing My First Book

To learn more about me and my blog: About Lauren

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Don’t Let Your Marriage Take a Backseat After Kids

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about enjoying life where I am. It’s so easy to get into the “I can’t wait fors” and the “one days” and it becomes so hard to be present in the now. But I know I need to be present because one day it will all be different. 

We all know that one day the kids will be grown and there will be no more hands to hold or children to rock back to sleep. One day the kids will grow up and become adults and will move out. “They” say, “Time is fleeting!” or “Time is a thief!” We are reminded of this with each little milestone, with each new word learned, with each inch our children grow. Sometimes, something as simple as a look they give us can snap us back to reality as we are reminded that they are growing up into their own little people. We know we will one day miss these days so much, but there is also something else to consider. 

When this happens, when the kids grow, when they move out and move on… then it will be me and my husband. It will just be the two of us! Thus, it’s important we don’t forget to nurture this relationship too. It can be so easy to get wrapped up in the current fire we are putting out or in just getting through the days, that we put our relationship with our significant other on the back burner. 

My Realization

The other day, I was feeling exhausted and burnt out. I was feeling like I was just going through the motions to get through the day. I noticed that my husband and I’s relationship had taken a backseat. I was taking care of the kids all day and my husband went to work. By the time he got home, I was tired. He was tired. We struggled to get the kids to sleep… seriously, nighttime is a beast y’all… and threw on a show and fell asleep on the couch. There was very little interaction. This was a daily occurrence. Life was starting to feel lonely. As I thought about this, I suddenly realized, One day the kids will be gone and we will be able focus on us again… but what if there is no more us to focus on? What if we have gotten so used to surviving and getting through the day that the old “us” is missing—gone? 

Photo Credit: Lindsey Martin Photography

At this point, we decided to plan a vacation for just the two of us. It’s hard to describe just how much we needed it. There were a few things I loved about this trip. 

I was served food the entire time, and I didn’t have to serve anyone… not one kid! 

I saw true beauty. It’s so easy to see when you can sit there and stare at it without a single interruption. And bonus, I was reminded of the beauty of us!

I learned that I am still myself—even after all three kids—I was still under there.

And, best of all, I saw how much I missed my kids even in a time where I could totally have time to myself. I felt recharged and couldn’t wait to get back to them.

marriage after kids

Ideas to Keep Your Marriage Off of the Back Burner

A vacation alone is not always possible, so one of the best ways I can think to solve this issue is to be present in the now—not just with the kids—but with your significant other too. Try to find joy in the current moment, right smack dab in the middle of the craziness. Play with the kids, watch a movie as a family, or go for a walk outside. You like gardening? Garden together. You like working out? Work out together. You like ice cream—who doesn’t?? Go get ice cream together. We can still focus on the present in our daily lives. We can still find the true beauty in the mundane. We can teach our kids to slow down and look for the beauty—to take a moment to smell the coffee, if you will—WITH us. 

For each other, I found I needed to make an effort to ask, “how was your day,” even if it’s after the kids go to sleep… and then truly listen to the response. Other ideas to keep your relationship at the forefront are:

Spend an evening after the kids are asleep just talking, with no TV or phones. Get a sitter. Go on a date or a short vacation. We went for only three nights and it was glorious. If you hesitate to leave the kids overnight and you are working parents, take a day off from work and have a whole day date while the kids are at school or in childcare. Have a date night after the kids are asleep in the comfort of your own home… a movie with popcorn and boxes of candy, cook a meal together and sit down and eat it with no interruptions, play cards! Anything!

We hear a lot about how we need to find “me-time” these days, and how we need to take time away as a couple, and this is so important! But remember, we can’t just do these things and then live miserably in the present otherwise. So, find ways to enjoy the now as much as possible, no matter the crazy, so that there are no regrets!

Marriage after kids
Photo Credit: Lindsey Martin Photography

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You may also enjoy – Motherhood: What We Don’t Talk About or My Author Journey: Writing My First Book

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