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10 Things You Should Never Force Your Child to Do…

I will admit, I haven't been parenting for very long, but I have learned some valuable lessons over the last 3 years. Before I had a child, I was convinced I would be a mother who ruled lovingly, but with an iron fist. What I say goes. To a certain extent, I do parent that way, but there are some things, I've learned, it's just not okay or healthy to force your child to do. Even if you think the result might be advantageous, take my advice: don't ever force your kid to do these things. 1. Lie. Because lying is wrong, obviously. But also because if your kid thinks you think it's okay to lie to other people, that will definitely backfire on you at some point. And yup, your kid will have had so much practice at lying, you won't even know he/she is lying to you. 2. Eat when they say they're not hungry. I know the doc says they need 3 square meals a day or 5 smaller meals plus some snacks, but really, every kid is different.  And our bodies are designed to alert us when we need something to eat or drink. Also, think about it: have you ever met a child who didn't make it loud and clear when he/she was hungry? Exactly. Don't force your kid to eat when he/she isn't hungry or the consequences could mean long-lasting food issues. 3. Be someone they're not. If your kid is shy, embrace his/her shyness. Don't force her to be this outgoing socialite if all she really wants to do is play with her one best friend. Same goes for the loud, rambunctious kid. Sure, he might be a lot to keep up with, but it's important that kids feel loved for who they are, not who their parents are forcing them to be. 4. Apologize when they have no idea what they did wrong. I see this all the time at the playground. "Go say sorry!" some parent will bark. The kid will oblige, but you can tell he has no idea why he's saying sorry. So before you order an apology, take a second to explain what your kid should be sorry for. 5. Say hello when stranger waves at them. Maybe it's related to my paranoia, but I've taught my daughter to ignore strangers on the street or on the bus and subway who wave at her. That whole "don't talk to strangers rule" definitely still applies in my household, so whether or not my daughter is with me, I don't want her letting her guard down to someone she doesn't know. 6. Sleep in their own bed before they're ready. Again, I have a personal bias here, but I genuinely believe kids will naturally decide when they're ready to make certain changes, and yes that includes sleeping in their own bed. I let my daughter decide when she was ready to give up her bottles, when she was ready to start using the potty, and I plan to do the same with letting her decide when she's ready for her own bed. 7. Have a playdate with a kid who is a bully. Even if you are BFF with said kid's mom. Don't subject your kid to having his toys stolen or her hair pulled just because you want to get in good with the problem child's mom. Invite her to lunch and leave your poor kid out of it. 8. Go on a diet. I know there are kids who need to lose weight, but I don't think you should ever put your kid on a diet. You control what your child eats, so you should make smarter buying decisions in the grocery store. If there aren't a cabinet-full of twinkies and ho-hos for your kid to eat, but the fridge is stocked with fruits and veggies, you'll never have to put your little one on a diet. 9. Do something they're just not good at. I'm not encouraging you to raise a quitter, but if your kid hates it and after months and months of practice and training he/she still isn't good at karate, why not give piano lessons a whirl? Nothing sucks more than being forced to do something you're not good at. Doing something you are good at, on the other hand, is an awesome experience for a child. 10. Spend the night somewhere they feel uncomfortable. I hated sleepovers when I was kid. I hated the idea of sleeping in a strange bed, having someone else make me breakfast, having to use someone else's shower. It just freaked me out, so I never went to slumber parties. If your kid feels the same, don't force the issue. I know it would be nice to have a night off, but just ask grandma to come stay the night while you and dad hit the town. Everyone wins. What about you? Is there anything you'd never force your child to do? Share in the comments. Sign up for our newsletter for even more great finds delivered right to your inbox. Click here to email Jeanine, the author of this post.

10 Things Every Parent Should Know Before Sending His/Her Kid to School…

Last week, my daughter stayed with my parents for a few days while I was on a business trip. When I picked her up on Wednesday evening, she had an awful cold that she didn't have when I dropped her off. The culprit? She spent a few days at a daycare near my parents' house and one of those germy kids got her. I thought there was an unspoken rule, but apparently it needs reinforcing because whatever my daughter had was bad enough to put her out of commission for 5 days and now I have the bug, too. So before you send your child to daycare, preschool or any school for that matter, here are some unofficial operating rules. 1. Don't send your kid to school sick! Because no matter how much you encourage your kid to wash his/her hands, he/she will still contaminate the whole class with those sick germs and that's just not fair. I'm a working mom just like you, but just because your kid is sick doesn't mean you should make everyone else's too. 2. Teach your kid it's not okay to hit/bite/kick/scratch. I know it will still happen occasionally, but I'm amazed by how bruised up the kids in my daughter's school get. I know 3-year-olds are remarkably touchy-feely, but this has got to stop. 3. Don't judge other moms for not wanting to have playdates with you. I see you guys every day of the week. Sometimes, I just need a break. 4. Don't throw lavish school birthday parties. It's not a competition. Really, no one wins if we all get into a war of whose goodie bags are better. So can we just agree to send in cupcakes and call it a day? 5. Don't send your kid to school in expensive clothes and then get pissed when my kid accidentally spills paint on them. It was an accident and whoever told you it was a good idea to spend $300 on a Gucci sweater for your toddler totally lied to you. 6. Teach your kid to enjoy naptime while he/she still has it. My daughter is actually the offender on this one. She likes to run around during naptime with a group of friends waking the sleeping kids up. Clearly, she's young and doesn't yet understand what a gift naptime really is. 7. Don't send your kid to school with nuts. Or anything else that could threaten another kid's life. Sure, pad thai makes for a cool, unique lunch none of the other kids will probably have, but those peanuts could be deadly to the kid in the class with a peanut allergy. 8. Don't let your kid bring any old thing for show and tell. Namely, your gun or your drug paraphernalia. I really cannot explain to my 3-year-old what a bong is. 9. Don't teach your kid it's funny/okay to curse. There's nothing funny about a classroom full of preschoolers screaming the f-word because one kid's parents failed to correct his bad behavior. 10. Don't be surprised when everyone in the school knows all your business. Not only do kids share what they had for dinner, but they'll also disclose what you and your partner were fighting about last night, what you watched on TV and who you don't like. They're like sponges except you don't even have to squeeze 'em to get the dirt out. Anything else? What else should parents know before they send their kids to school? Share your thoughts in the comments. Sign up for our newsletter for even more great finds delivered right to your inbox. Click here to email Jeanine, the author of this post.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming A Single Parent…

Although I've admitted that there are some positives to being a single parent, it also comes with its obvious downsides. I feel like a lot of celebrity moms make it seem not-so-bad (I'm looking at you, Padma Lakshmi), but it definitely is not ideal. I feel like I've found my footing as a single mom, but that doesn't mean there aren't hiccups and growing pains. Here are just 10 of the things I never thought about--or thought through--when I decided to separate from my daughter's father: 1. Dating. Part of me genuinely believed I would never date again because I had a child. And what man wants a woman with a child? But there are guys out there who don't automatically rule out dating single moms--for real! The problem, of course, is coordinating these dates. Finding a babysitter, sometimes at the absolute last minute isn't always easy. Answering panicked phone calls from said babysitter during your date is even harder. 2. Relationships. The complexities of getting into a relationship with someone other than your child's father are the subject of a whole different blog post. Maybe even a book. But to sum things up, there is the question of when and how to explain the relationship to your kid; how much time your new boyfriend should spend around your child; balancing time with your boyfriend along with time with your child. It's a never-ending juggling act and it is not easy. 3. Your relationship with the other parent. My ex and I initially separated on good terms, but that all went out the window when I (a) started dating something else and (b) took him to court for child support. We rarely speak now and when we do, I keep it as short as possible so that it won't escalate. My daughter still obviously loves him very much, so having to lie to her about how "wonderful" he is is a real pain in my ... 4. Milestones. I was watching an episode of Glee and Idina Menzel's character nailed this one on the head. She was explaining how it's obviously hard to deal with a crying baby when there are dishes to wash, laundry to be done and no one to help. But it's even harder, however, when your child takes his/her first steps, or says his/her first words and there is no one there to look over and celebrate with. Word. 5. Stress. Feeling like your kid's entire success in life rests solely on your shoulders is a quite a bit of pressure. Is she smart enough, will he get into that school, why can't they stop sucking their thumbs? It helps to have someone who is equally invested in your kid talk you off the ledge when you feel like these little things signal total failure for your kid. 6. Alone time. Is basically non-existent. Fortunately, I really love spending time with my daughter and having her around me. But even so, there are times when I wish I just didn't have to clean to the soundtrack of Yo Gabba Gabba in the background. 7. Money. Even millionaires complain about how expensive raising a child is, so the money factor affects all parents. But if, as single parent, you're not receiving any financial help from the other parent, there's even more of a strain. 8. Resentment. Full disclosure: I totally resent my daughter's father for being able to hang out with his friends whenever, go on impromptu trips and buy whatever he wants because he isn't responsible for the day-to-day care of our daughter. I would love to just go on vacay without tons of planning beforehand. That being said, I wouldn't trade places with him in a heartbeat. He's missed so much of her growing up--I just couldn't live with myself if I wasn't there for those firsts. 9. Guilt. When I see seemingly happy families with two parents strolling down the street when it's just my daughter and me, I always feel self-conscious. My daughter deserves that, but I will never, under any circumstances, get back together with her dad. Because I'm so sure of that, I can't help but feel really guilty. 10. Anger. When I put my daughter on time out, she'll scream and cry at the top of her lungs, "I want my daddy." It is literally like a knife through my heart. "If she only knew," I think to myself. "At least I am here, trying to make you a better person. Where is he?" Any other single moms feel my pain? What about married moms? Does being married and raising kids come with its own challenges? Share your opinion in the comments. Sign up for our newsletter to get even more finds delivered right to your inbox. Click here to email Jeanine, the author of this post.

Meet Jeanine, VEEP (Vice President, That Is) At SHEfinds

Of all the women in the SHEfinds office, I'm probably the most insane, obsessive shopper. I've loved shopping for as long as I can remember. My mom and I used to make epic 6-hour mall trips while my dad and brother waited in the car. Some of my fondest childhood memories are coming home after one of those trips, dumping my shopping bags on my bed and trying everything on with items I already owned to put together perfect outfits. Actually, I still do that to this day. Besides shopping, I also love my 7-year-old daughter. I always knew I wanted to be a mom and once upon a time I thought I'd have six children. Then I had one and got that first NYC private school tuition bill and was like, Nope. I'm good.  I was a single mom for a few years, but rekindled things with my college sweetheart (long story, for a different time!) in 2011 and we've been together ever since. As a family we love to travel, go to the movies and eat ourselves silly. My boyfriend is actually vegan and I'm not, so that's an adventure! On the profesh side, I decided at the end of my junior year of college that I wanted to be a writer after taking an internship at The Knot. Since then I've worked at Essence, In Style and now SHEfinds. A few more fun facts about me: Guilty pleasure? Anything sweet. Donuts, cookies, ice cream, s'mores... I can't resist. Best vacay I've ever been on? Tulum, Mexico! The food, the people, the beach--everything was amazing. (Read more about it here.) Take me back. #tulum #mexico #baecation A photo posted by Jeanine Edwards (@jeanine.edwards) on Jun 6, 2016 at 11:59am PDT Favorite restaurant? Artisanal in NYC. Cheese fondue all day baby. And the chicken under a brick is phenomenal. Biggest splurge? Lipstick red Marni bag by a long shot! Favorite brand/designer? Too many to name... Joie, Maje, The Kooples, Rebecca Taylor, Mara Hoffman. Also, Le Creuset! My #ootd ? by the incomparable @shelbyrodriguez_ #regram A photo posted by Jeanine Edwards (@jeanine.edwards) on Jun 10, 2016 at 4:00pm PDT Favorite TV show? Scandal, duh. Oh, and a lot of Cooking Channel. Workout routine? I run 2 miles three days per week. Drink of choice? Believe it or not, I don't drink alcohol! But I love me some Coca-Cola... Ain't down with that diet ish... #mexico #nofilter #cocacola #eeeeeats A photo posted by Jeanine Edwards (@jeanine.edwards) on Jun 6, 2016 at 11:55am PDT Celeb spirit animal? Rihanna + Beyonce. Follow me on Insta at @jeanine.edwards and on Twitter at @momfinds. [Photo: My Insta!]

Hot Topic: Would You Let A Stranger Touch Your Daughter’s Hair?

On Saturday, while enjoying a Mother's Day pedicure with my mother and my daughter, it happened to me. I've read countless articles about other mom's experiences, but I'd yet to experience it myself. Being that I live in the New York City and it's so culturally diverse, I actually thought it wouldn't happen to me. But it did. As I was sitting waiting for my nails to dry, one of the nail technician's who didn't have a client came over and told me how cute my daughter was. I thanked her and then she asked, "Can I touch it?" Huh? I thought to myself. "Her hair," the woman said. "Can I touch her hair?" Before long, there was a small gathering of three woman running their fingers over my daughter's braided hair. Now part of me wants to see the good in this. I get that cornrows look "cool" if you're not accustomed to seeing them every day. I get the very rudimentary feeling of wanting to get a closer look at something that's unfamiliar. I know, well at least I hope, these women didn't intend to make me or my daughter feel ostracized. Problem is, while they were gawking over my daughter's hair, there was another part of me that wanted to say she isn't a freak. Her hair isn't some strange thing that should be behind glass for people to peer upon like an exhibit. It's hair for goodness sake! And I'd rather you not have your fingers in it! In retrospect, I probably should have said something, but I thought it would make an even bigger scene. And I didn't realize how much it bothered me until my daughter asked yesterday why they were touching her hair. I told her it was because they thought her braids were cool, but part of me was wondering the exact same thing. "Yeah, why were they touching your hair?" What's crazy is, I have a friend whose son has gorgeous red hair. And she gets the same thing! Complete strangers coming up to her asking if they can touch his hair. But I'm wondering, as moms should we embrace these opportunities and allow people to touch our children's hair so they realize it's really not that different? Or should we put our foot down say, "Heck no! No you may not touch my child. He/she isn't some circus act and I will not allow you to ogle." If you've ever been in this position, how did you handle it? If not, how would you handle it? Share in the comments. Click here to email Jeanine, the author of this post.

Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me? The 10 Most Expensive Aspects of Raising a Child…

So far, that is. My daughter is only 3, and already I'm convinced I am going to go broke at any second. Granted, my circumstances are unique because I am a single mom doing it all alone, but even still. I'm sure if there was another salary, there would also be more things to pay for. Now don't get me wrong--I knew when I got pregnant that raising a child wasn't cheap. I knew there were diapers to buy and bellies to keep full, but I don't think it really registered. In fact, I know it didn't register. So for all you women considering having a baby or moms with newborn, here is some real talk for you. Kids are expensive! You think Linda Evangelista was crazy to ask for $46,000/month in child support. I say, she probably needs it. Lord knows, I do! So before you get all caught up in how cute babies are, consider these costs: 1. Childcare. This was, by far, the biggest shock for me. Obviously I knew I'd have to pay someone to watch my daughter while I worked, but never did I think the starting rate was $700/month. And that's cheap! That's bare-bones daycare. Add some enrichment programs or meals and you're up to $1000/month. Actually, I'd be happy paying $1000 a month for daycare at this point. Something is so wrong when daycare directors can look you in the eye and tell you their tuition is competitive at $1700/month... for 3 days a week. 2. School. And no, it doesn't get better for school age children. Private school--at least here in New York City--can easily set you back $3500 per month for a 4-year-old. The older they get, the more expensive it gets. But let's keep in mind, most schools will only keep your kid until 3 p.m. If you're working, you then have to pay someone else on top of that three grand to watch them until your day at the office is done. 3. Food. My daughter is pretty thin. She's three and a half feet tall and weighs about 35 lbs. But you know how much I spend a week on just snacks and juice boxes for her? $50 easily. That doesn't include breakfast, lunch or dinner. And don't even get me started on eating out. What ever happened to kids eating free? 4. Toys & Entertainment. In some ways, I am lucky that I live in a one bedroom apartment. Space constraints make it such that I cannot physically hold many toys in my apartment. But even with those space constraints, do you know the going rate for kids' toys? Sure the LeapPad is awesome, but it's also $100. And don't even get me started on these outrageous kids' toys. 5. Shoes. Even me, a self-professed shopaholic, has a hard time paying $30+ on a pair of shoes for a toddler. I've seen my daughter destroy--obliterate!--gorgeous designer shoes one too many times to make that mistake again. But the truth is, the cheap ones are usually not so great for their developing feet. So what's a mom to do--throw money in the trash or let their little feet suffer? 6. Gear. $2000 for a baby crib. $1000 for a stroller. $400 for a car seat. $100 for a baby carrier. And those are just the essentials your baby will need during the first year! 7. Summer camp. This will be my daughter's first year attending summer camp, but just like school the prices are enough to take your breath away. I shelled out $2500 for 8 weeks, which is actually a bargain compared to other day camps here in the city. And let's keep in mind these camps start 2 weeks after school ends and end 3 weeks before school starts. WTF? 8. Laundry. Between accidents, spills and what was supposed to be a fun afternoon at the playground, what used to be a $15/month endeavor is now at least $50/month. On laundry! Add that up and it's $600 just to keep my toddler's clothes clean. We're not even talking about replacing the clothes once she outgrows them... in 3 months! 9. Travel. My advice to you new moms? Fly as much as you can while your kid flies free. Because no matter how rich you are, you die a little inside every time you have to spend $300+ on a plane seat your kid will probably spend 10% of the flight in. 10. Therapy! Ha, just kidding. After all that, you think I could afford a therapist? That's what blogs are for! Moms, did I forget anything? What do you find is the most expensive part of raising your child? Share in the comments. Sign up for our newsletter to get even more finds delivered right to your inbox. Click here to email Jeanine, the author of this post

10 Things Suburban Moms Probably Take for Granted…

Despite my complaints (wait for them, they're coming), I wouldn't trade living in the city for anything. I love that my daughter has such easy access to all the city has to offer and raising her in such a diverse environment is really important to me. That being said, raising a kid in a city seems much harder in a lot of ways than raising children in the suburbs. I'm sure being a suburban mom comes with its own challenges, but as a city mom I feel like suburban moms have it good. They have space, privacy and of course, there's all that money they're saving. The point of this post isn't to offend or insult suburban moms. Rather, think of it as my way of commiserating with other city moms. And in the process, maybe helping a few suburban moms who may be feeling down about their situation realize it isn't so bad. Here are 10 things that make being a city mom hard as hell... 1. Space. And I'm not just talking about apartment space, although that is a problem, too. Everything in the city seems more compact. It's a breeze to push your double stroller through grocery store doors in the 'burbs, but it's darn near impossible to get that rig inside the corner store. Trying to navigate once you're actually in the store... whole other issue. 2. Not having to carry your stroller up and down stairs. I will admit, this is how I lost all of my baby weight and some. But when I was carrying that 25 pound beast up subway stairs, I honestly thought there couldn't be anything worse. Even labor paled in comparison. 3. Not having to push your stroller through snow. Strollers, like cars, should come with 4 wheel drive. Just for city moms. Have you ever tried pushing an umbrella stroller over 3 inches of snow? Yes, it's probably the best arm workout ever, but it's also like a modern day variation of that whole pushing a rock up a hill torture. 4. Being able to run to a car with your kid when it's raining. But if instead you have to get yourself, your kid, his/her backpack and your own bag to a bus stop 3 blocks away, the rain is essentially your immortal enemy. I know they make children's umbrellas, but that requires actually getting your kid to carry his/her own umbrella. Not that easy when the wind keeps blowing it up, or the rain keeps blowing underneath it or your kid is just not in the mood that day. 5. The school situation. I know that some suburbs have bad public schools, but I feel like the situation is even more dire in cities. The classes are too big, the facilities are decrepit, the list goes on. That means private schools are really most parents' first choice, except that unlike public schools, private schools turn people away. The competition factor plus the tuition makes educating your child in the city pretty much a nightmare. 6. Inviting the grandparents to spend the week (ok, maybe just the weekend) with you. I'd love for my parents to come stay with me for a few days, but that would mean they'd have to sleep (a) on an inflatable mattress or (b) in the bed with my daughter and me. Not. Happening. 7. Being able to take your kid out to eat. Of course, there are plenty of wonderful restaurants in the city featuring a diverse array of food. Unfortunately, lots of those restaurants look down on diners under the age of 10. They don't have crayons, they don't serve milk and they don't respond well to having to clean up spilled beverages. In general, I feel like eating establishments in the 'burbs are way more kid-friendly. 8. The money situation. We all have bills, I know. But at least in the suburbs you're getting something other than location for $1600/month. 9. Privacy! Because we live in such close quarters in NYC, your neighbors basically know what you do every second you're in your apartment. They know when you're weaning your baby off the paci--they hear the screaming every night. They know what you ate for dinner--they smell it across the hall. They know when you go on vacation--they stop hearing your child scream in the hallway. In some ways it's a blessing, to have someone who knows your goings and comings, but it can also be a bit of a curse. 10. Letting your kid be a kid. Toddlers love running around and they deserve to work off some of that steam. In a house, a kid can run around and stomp to their heart's content, but if my little girl so much as steps too loudly my downstairs neighbors are on the phone with the landlord petitioning for me to get evicted. City moms, did I miss anything? Suburb moms, what sucks about raising kids in the 'burbs? Share in the comments. Sign up for our newsletter to get even more finds delivered right to your inbox. Click here to email Jeanine, the author of this post.

12 Things You Should Do To Be A Better Mom

Admit it: resolutions are made to be broken. Every year we say this is the year I'm going to "live life to the fullest" or "lose all my baby weight" and you know what? It never happens. So stop wasting your resolutions on things that don't really matter and make this year the year things change. Don't resolve to get skinnier or exercise more--just decide this is the year I'm going to be an even better mom. Start with these 12... 1. Stop posting all your kid's pics on Facebook and instead make a real, tangible album with the photos. Yes, it requires actually going to a store and printing the pics, but imagine how much better it will be in 25 years to sit down with your kid and look through an actual photo album. Clicking through a slideshow just doesn't have the same effect and who knows where Facebook will be in 25 years anyway. 2. Tell your kid you love him/her 5 times more than you already do. If you only say it before bed, find 4 other times throughout the day to say it. If you're already saying it 5 times a day, keep up the good work--and start leaving your kid love notes in the lunch box or in the sock drawer reminding your little one how much you love him/her. And don't just tell--show your kids, too. 3. Reduce your kid's TV time by one hour each day. And use that hour to get down on the floor, sit at a table or go outside and spend real, genuine QT with your kid. I have nothing against Dora, but your kid shouldn't know more about Dora than he/she knows about you. 4. Splurge on yourself at least once each season. Because you deserve it. Period. 5. Take a trip... without your kids. For some, like me, this won't be easy. But even I'm coming to see it's necessary. Even if your trip is just a weekend getaway, use this time to relax, recharge and come back to your kids re-energized. Plus, being away will only help you appreciate just how much you love them. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. 6. Teach your kid one valuable lesson you didn't learn until you were an adult. For me, it's totally going to be money management and the importance of saving. Some other ideas include healthy eating habits, showing affection or a love for learning. Whatever you decide, commit to instilling this lesson in your child in small ways throughout the year. 7. Take a class with your kid. Because anyone can drop a kid off at ballet or karate and come back in an hour. Do better in 2012 by actually participating with your kid in a mommy and me yoga class or cooking class. Check out Plum District or Doodle Deals for deals on classes in your area. 8. Take baths with your kid... regularly. I get that this may not be cool for all moms, but I can't even tell you how my daughter lights up when I join her in the bath tub. Maybe it's because in the hustle and bustle of the day, bath time can seem like a bit of a chore. Either way, it's a nice change of pace for your kid to see that bath time isn't just another thing you want to check off your daily to-do list. And that you can have fun in the tub, too. 9. Volunteer together as a family. Because no matter how little you think you have, there are always people who have it worse. And it's never too early to teach your child to care about others. 10. Plan a family staycation. Family vacations are usually all go go go and you almost always come home feeling more exhausted than when you left. So instead, take one week off from work and spend those 7 days staying local with your kids. Heck, some days you don't even have to leave the house. It's just a much-needed opportunity to stop and remind yourselves what really matters--your family and that you're all together. 11. Stop watching TV shows that profit from women behaving badly. This includes, but is not limited to, Real Housewives, Bad Girls Club and any of the "Wives" shows. Keep in mind, these fighting, screaming, drink-throwing women are someone's daughter and in a few years, they could be your daughter. Stop these shows now. 12. Kiss like there is no tomorrow. Whenever my daughter is sick and I take her to the doctor, my pediatrician always jokes, "I guess someone hasn't been getting enough kisses." It's silly, but maybe there's something to it. So who cares if you're grossing strangers out or your kid keeps screaming, "I'm a big girl!" Smother those kiddies in kisses because tomorrow is not promised. Any thing else you've resolved to do this year? Share in the comments.

Should Women Receive Mother’s Day Gifts… Even If They Aren’t Mothers?

Seriously. Over the weekend, I overheard a woman going on and on about what she wanted for Mother's Day. Diamond earrings, a few hours at the spa and a nice dinner out. Except for one small detail--she didn't have any kids! I almost fell out of my chair when the lady she was with asked, "Your husband does all that and you guys don't even have kids yet?" Apparently, her and her husband have an agreement that because she could theoretically have kids, she should get a Mother's Day present. Is it just me or is that a little... weird? (more…)

Spiders, Projectile Vomit, Childbirth–None of That Scares Me As Much As This Guy…

Earlier this morning, I couldn't help but be intrigued when I read a teaser about the man who replaced Osama bin Laden on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List. I mean, those are some big shoes to fill so I was curious to find out who fit the bill. Now if you, like me, are expecting some psycho serial killer or a terrorist mastermind, you're wrong. The newest addition to the FBI's Most Wanted List is actually a teacher. (more…)

Would You Subject Your Child to a DNA Test… For Preschool?

My daughter is 3-years-old, which means I am currently in the throes of preschool admissions. And yes, it is miserable. Here in NYC, preschool admission to public school isn't guaranteed, so you have to explore other avenues just in case. I already went through the private school admissions process, but decided the $30,000/year price tag was just too much to swallow this year. We're now awaiting the placement decision from the public school system and if that fails, I'll have to look into community organizations that offer preschool. All in all, it's a nightmare, a constant source of stress and just so unpleasant. But little did I know, it could be worse. How? Apparently there is a preschool here in NYC that requires DNA tests for admission. Oh yes, you read that right. Maury Povich-style DNA tests! (more…)

Will Someone Please Pay Nadya Suleman to Just Go Away??

I'm sorry, I know this is mean, but I really wish Nadya Suleman (aka Octomom) would just go away. I know I am probably encouraging her further by even posting this, but her latest make-money scheme is actually a discussion I think is worth having. In case you hadn't seen or heard about it, Nadya recently posed nude for Closer magazine. Why? Because she needs money for her kids, of course. (I will not subject those of you who'd rather not see the pic, but if you are interested it's here.) (more…)

What’s The Right Thing for Trayvon Martin’s Parents to Do?

I hope you've been following this case. Back in February, a 17-year-old kid named Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Florida. He was walking in the gated community where his father lived when a man named George Zimmerman shot and killed him. Trayvon was unarmed. He was talking on the phone with his girlfriend when the confrontation with Zimmerman began. He was gone moments later. (more…)

Who’s The Bigger Idiot? Kevin Federline Or His Girlfriend Victoria Prince?

I know it's not nice to name call, but this really annoys me. It's one thing to smoke when your children aren't around, but to smoke in front of your infant daughter. C'mon, Kevin Federline! Now I know some have made the argument that quitting isn't easy and I get that. But couldn't he have stepped away? Or waited two seconds until she was in the car? (more…)

What Dharun Ravi’s Guilty Verdict Means for Us Moms…

Have you been following the Dharun Ravi case in NJ? In case you're unfamiliar, Tyler Clementi committed suicide after he found out his roommate, Dharun Ravi, had watched him via Webcam kissing another man. As a result of Clementi's death, Ravi was charged with invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, tampering with physical evidence, tampering with a witness and hindering apprehension. Today, the jury found him guilty of all those charges. (more…)

Frequent Flyers Beware! Your Kid Could Get You Kicked Off The Plane

How many of you saw the segment on The TODAY Show yesterday about the family who got kicked off the plane in Turks & Caicos? Apparently, Colette Vieau's daughter, Natalie, was having a bit of a meltdown when the Jet Blue captain decided he wasn't flying with these folks on the plane. They were headed to Boston--which is a 4 hour flight from Turks & Caicos--but the Vieau family had to wait until the next day to get home. Here's the clip: (more…)

The Latest Crazy Bill? The One In Arizona Where Doctors Don’t Have to Tell Pregnant Women About Potential Birth Defects

If you thought it was bad that Wisconsin Senator Glenn Grothman was trying to push through a bill that accused single parents of child abuse and neglect, it gets worse. This time, in Arizona, though. (more…)

Hey, Ben Affleck! There’s a Help For That, You Know…

I know, I know. Smoking cigarettes isn't illegal. But I'm totally one of those uptight parents who thinks it should be and I have no problem admitting it. I think smoking is gross. And  because I gave some celebs moms grief over smoking a few months back, it's only fair I do the same for new dad Ben Affleck. And yes, I think it's important to emphasize the fact that Ben's newborn son is just weeks old. He may not be smoking right over the baby or even in the same room as the baby, but babies have noses. And the stench of cigarette smoke gets into your clothes, your hair and even on your hands. What parent wants their newborn baby breathing that crap in every time he/she holds junior? (more…)

Stella McCartney Hates The Word Nanny–What Words Make You Cringe As a Mom?

Can you believe fashion designer Stella McCartney has 4 kids under the age of 7? Yikes! How that woman manages to run a fashion empire and keep her house in order is a mystery to me? Well, not so much anymore, actually. Stella recently fessed up that she has help--a "good husband," a housekeeper and a nanny. Actually, scratch the nanny and replace her with friend because Stella isn't too fond of the whole nanny term. She says, "I have a nanny, though I find that word jarring. I tell her, 'I just want to call you a friend.'" Nice, right? Except most of us don't keep our friends on payroll. But I digress. The real question here is why Stella has issue with the term nanny. Is it a s class thing? Does she feel guilty about needing help? Whatever the reason, don't we all have words that make us cringe as moms? I sure do. Here are a few: (more…)

Please Tell Me The People of Wisconsin Aren’t This Dumb…

I don't know mean any personal offense to the folks of Wisconsin, but WTH is going there? I just finished reading an article about some senator from your great state named Glenn Grothman who is apparently trying to push a bill that "emphasize(s) nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect." Umm, excuse me? As a single mother, I take personal offense that you think my marital status has anything to do with how I'm raising my daughter. I'm also appalled that you think the fact that I am not married implies I either (a) abuse or (b) neglect my child. Is this serious? Like seriously, Wisconsin-ers? Why the heck hasn't someone slapped this guy silly? (more…)

Would You Ever Vacation With Just Your Kids?

Anyone else have vacations on the brain? I totally can't stop thinking about going somewhere hot and sunny, and my daughter is on board, too. Every chance she gets she is telling me about how much she loves the beach. So yesterday, I started researching beach getaways for the two of us. Except when I ran the idea by my dad, he totally freaked. "What? The two of you in a foreign place all alone? I don't think so. That's too dangerous." (more…)

5 Places You Shouldn’t Let Your Child Eat…

  This morning, I did the unthinkable. I let my daughter eat her yogurt on the bus. Normally, I like to give her a snack before we leave home, but there was no time. I was running late, she was not cooperating and I was faced with no other option. She kept bugging me that she was hungry once we got on the bus, so I gave in and let her eat a yogurt. Now it may not seem like a huge deal to you, but I think we can all agree there are some places kids just shouldn't eat. For example... (more…)

Listen Up! 5 Accidental Children’s Love Songs Your Kid Should Be Listening To On The Regular

I don't know why, but I've been on a music kick recently. Maybe it's because I recently cancelled our cable TV subscription and I'm just now realizing how music has become a replacement in my home. Anyways, yesterday I shared a few artists I would vehemently discourage my daughter from listening to, so it's only fair that I share a few songs I love for her to hear. Nope, I'm not talking about Kidz Bop or even nursery rhymes--I'm talking about popular music that actually has lyrics I want my daughter to hear. Sure these songs were probably written as romantic love songs, but a lot of words perfectly express sentiments parents should want to their kids to know. So open up your iTunes and download these accidental children's love songs stat! (more…)

5 Musicians I Will Never Let My Daughter Listen to In My Presence…

It's official. I have crossed the line. You know the line. The one that divides your musical tastes and preferences from those of the generation after you. Yeah, I on the old side now. Now, I can still appreciate some new, young artist. For example, I love Bruno Mars. But some of this crap that comes out today, I just can't take.  And before I get all worked up, I can already hear myself sounding like my mother when I was a teenager. "What are you listening to?" "Is this what you call music?" I never imagined myself being the type of mother who censored what her child listened to, but I can already see that's going to be me. And here's who will be at the top of my censored list: (more…)

Baby #5 Lil Wayne? I’m Sorry, But You Disgust Me…

Rumor has it that rapper Lil Wayne is expecting his, wait for it, fifth child. Yup, fifth, as in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. There have been multiple reports that Lil Wayne's current girlfriend is pregnant and I'm sorry, but it just makes me sick. Actually, I'm not sorry. He should be sorry. There is no excuse for making babies--with 5 different women, mind you--that you don't take care of. (more…)

I Don’t Know What’s Wrong With This Picture, But It’s Giving Me the Creeps…

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. That is indeed a woman sleeping naked with a baby. Now ordinarily, I'd be cool with a woman sleeping naked with her kid. But this woman is Coco, the Twitter-happy, very voluptuous wife of actor Ice T. And that's not her baby. It's her nephew. (more…)

5 Reasons Every Mom Should Vacation Regularly… Without Her Kids

Yup, I've had a total change of heart. Almost one year ago exactly, I lamented that I just couldn't fathom the idea of taking a trip without my daughter. But now? I'm kind of already thinking about my next one. (more…)

10 Things Every Mom Should Carry In Her Bag…

Every time I see my mother she always why my bag is so heavy. Well that's easy--I have a 3-year-old. I refuse to carry two separate bags so I just cram all of our stuff in one. Good for my back? Probably not. Better than lugging around two bags? Totally. So what's in the darn thing? Well in addition to all of my essentials--keys, cell phone, wallet--I always carry these 10 things for my daughter. [slideshow] Anything else? What items do you always carry with you? Share in the comments. Sign up for our newsletter to get even more finds delivered right to your inbox. Click here to email Jeanine, the author of this post.

5 Things I Wish Other People Wouldn’t Talk About In Front of My Toddler…

Last night I decided to treat myself to an impromptu manicure. And yes, even though I'm well aware the nail salon probably is one of those places you shouldn't bring a child, I brought my daughter anyway. It was 7 o'clock on a Wednesday--who gets their nails done at that time? Apparently, foul-mouthed gossipy women. A few minutes into my manicure, a woman walks in and almost instantly she's sharing the latest updates on her personal life with everyone in the salon. She's having drinks with her old roommate who is a total b*tch and afterwards she having dinner with her ex who cheated on her. Now a part of me wants to be that mother who can turn the other cheek and ignore her inappropriate talk in front of my 3-year-old. But it's not like she didn't see my little girl sitting there. Couldn't she have cooled it on the personal talk just a little? I didn't say anything to her last night, but after I was finished the salon manager apologized. It made me think, though: what else do I wish people wouldn't talk about around my daughter... (more…)

An Open Letter to Issac, Oscar, Versace and All the Other Designers Launching Children’s Clothing Lines

Over the last few months, countless high-end designers have announced and/or released children's clothing lines. There's Isaac Mizrahi, Oscar de la Renta, Young Versace, Lanvin... the list literally goes on. Now the question I have to all these designers is "Why?" No really, why? So you could charge moms astronomical prices to simply clothe their kids? And in this? [slideshow] (more…)

25 Things I Want to Teach My Daughter Before She’s a Teenager…

Way back when... This morning I was having a conversation with my daughter on the way to the babysitter's house. Like, a full out, coherent conversation. And it struck me that my baby is not a baby anymore. I'm not even very sentimental, but I was immediately choked up thinking how fast the time has gone. She will be in school in no time and then she'll be in college and that's when the floodgates opened. Now that I've composed myself, I decided to make an important list of things I must teach my little girl before she starts hating me becomes a teenager. So here goes... (more…)

Should Heidi Klum & Seal Have Stayed Together for Their Kids?

By now you've probably heard the sad news. Model Heidi Klum and Seal, her husband of 7 years, are separating. It's sad, of course, because breakups suck. And Heidi Klum and Seal always seemed especially in love. What makes the whole situation even sadder, though, is that they have 4 children. (Three are Seal's biologically--1 is Heidi's from a previous relationship, but Seal adopted her.) (more…)

5 Signs You’re Oversharing Your Kids on Facebook…

I love Facebook as much as the next mom, but my goodness do I see some crazy things on there. And not that it's okay, but I kind of expect craziness from my younger cousins. But from my mommy friends? Ladies, chill out! Everything is not meant to shared. Especially when it comes to your children. So before you post the next time, please make sure it's not one of these. (more…)

Sh*t Moms Say… 10 Momisms That Make Us LOL

Tell the truth: how many of the "Sh*t _______ Say" have you watched? Me? At least 15. Some are funny, some not so much. But you know what I was thinking? Why hasn't anyone done a really good "Sh*t Moms Say"? I mean, as a mom I can admit we say some pretty cooky things. I'd be willing to bet that no group of people talks more about bowel movements than us. So because I think people should stick to what they do best, I won't attempt to act. Instead, I've compiled some of our favorite "Sh*t Moms Say" for your reading pleasure. (more…)

6 Signs You’re Headed for a Bad Baby Name…

I wasn't one of those expectant moms who labored over a baby name. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I wrote down two baby names I liked--one for a boy, one for a girl. Once I found out I was having a girl, the decision was made. I stuck to that original name and never looked back. Not everyone is like that, however, and that's why there are entire sections of bookstores and websites dedicated entirely to choosing the perfect baby name. But you know what? I tend to think the more you grapple with a decision, the more complicated you're going to make the answer. And I think this is especially true for baby names. I can understand if you're going back and forth between two names, but then to overanalyze how to spell it or how it will look on paper... Seriously? I get that your kid will have this for the rest of his/her life, but it's not rocket science. Given some of the names I've seen popping up recently, I thought I'd offer some helpful tips to all you moms struggling to find the perfect baby name. If you find yourself considering names that fall into one of the following categories, slowly back away. You're headed for a bad baby name... (more…)

Just Because I Didn’t ______, Doesn’t Mean I’m a Bad Mom

Remember the birth announcement for Blue Ivy? It's such a throwback now, but I remember it like it was yesterday--probably because I found it to be so offensive. Beyonce and Jay-Z's publicist said: "She was delivered naturally at a healthy 7 lbs." Okay--so what exactly is an unnatural birth? One via C-section? One that involves an epidural? I'd like to think Beyonce didn't choose this particular phrasing to assert some kind of superiority, but let's be honest: moms are judgy. We've all experienced some sort of guilt trip because we didn't do something the "right" way. But at the end of the day, if your kid is happy and healthy, does it really matter if you had an epidural or only dressed him/her in organic clothes? Probably not. So before your next playdate with the judgy mom on the block, read these 10 reminders and commit them to memory. Just because you didn't _____, doesn't mean you're a bad mom. (more…)

Is This $400 Lanvin Doll Really Anything More Than a Glammed Up Mammy?

Yesterday, a coworker sent me a link to these crazy $400 Lanvin dolls. She initially sent me this doll, but I was more alarmed when I looked down at the You May Also Like section and saw the black doll above. Umm, no Net-a-Porter, I don't like. Of course, the $400 price tag is ridiculous, but what's even more insane is that the doll is basically a glammed up mammy. Sure, her apron is gone and she's wearing a little more eye makeup, but there's really no denying the likeness. From the red headscarf right down to the red lips, that is definitely a mammy. (more…)

Do You Really Have to Send Thank You Notes for Christmas Gifts?

Now that it's January 10, more than 15 days after Christmas, and there's neither stamp nor thank you note to be found in my house, I'm going with no. Believe it or not, I actually do still believe in sending paper thank you notes. If someone lets us stay over at their house or does something nice for my daughter, I usually send a thank-you. But for Christmas gifts? It's just not happening this year. (more…)

Is This Homework Assignment Racist? You Be The Judge

Yup, this is really a question from a 3rd grade math assignment. A teacher  at Beaver Ridge Elementary School in Norcross, Georgia allegedly included this question, and other referring to slaves picking cotton and oranges, in her homework assignment for her 3rd graders. And surprise, surprise--parents are not happy. (more…)

8 Things Every Mom Should Know About The Holiday Season…

In years past, I've been known to act like a total Christmas fiend. I will admit, I love this time of year. I've had my tree up for weeks and my neighbors have asked me to turn down the Christmas carols on several occasions this month. What can I say, I love the holiday season. But despite my Christmas spirit, the realist in me can't help but shake my head at the tizzy people--myself included at times--get themselves into over the minute details of the season. So for all your moms in the throes of holiday shopping and holiday party prepping, here are some things to remember. 1. People throw your holiday cards in the trash. I love sending them out as much as you, but let's face facts. Very few people hold onto those things. Maybe the grandparents hoard them in a drawer, but the vast majority of people who receive them will trash them in the new year. The takeaway? Don't agonize over the "perfect" card. They all end up the same place anyway. (more…)

5 Toys You Will Totally Regret Buying Your Kid This Holiday…

I'm all for making the kids smile during the holidays, but I also feel it's only fair to warn parents. A lot of those toys you're planning to buy--or already bought on Black Friday--will probably annoy the crap out of you for at least the next 2 months. It's sad, but true. You skipped out on Thanksgiving dinner early and stood in line for 2 hours for a toy that will make your life miserable. Parenthood--fun, right? But for those of you slacker parents who haven't even started holiday shopping--or you skilled shoppers who saved all your receipts--consider this your fair warning. If you get your kid one of these toys this holiday season, prepare to regret it for the rest of your life... 1. The Black Eyed Peas Experience for Xbox 360 Kinect. Because their songs were bad enough when they were in regular rotation on the radio, you'll now have to suffer through not only listening to them, but watching your kid attempt to dance like Fergie. #enoughsaid (more…)

How Young Is Too Young To Have “The Talk”??

No, not that talk. My daughter is only 3 for goodness sake. I'm talking about the God talk. My little girl is only a toddler, but she is obsessed with God. We go to church just about every Sunday and have been ever since she was born. Her fascination with God didn't actually begin until I told her that my grandmother--my dad's mother--was in heaven with God. Immediately, I could see the wheels in her head begin to churn. At the time, she asked why she was in heaven and when she would get to see her. I somehow dodged those questions, but over the last few months she's continued to ask about God and heaven and my grandmother in heaven. (more…)

10 Products That Seriously Annoy Me As a Mom…

There is a saying that goes, "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth" and in general, I tend to think that's fine advice. If you want to continue to receive gifts, best to show a little appreciation. But the reality is: not all gifts are created equal. So given that is 'tis the season of giving, I thought I'd do a little pre-emptive PSA on a few of the products that seriously annoy moms. That way when your friends and family are shopping for the kids this year, they know to skip right over these. Thoughtful right? Casually post this on your Facebook page to spread the word... 1. Anything that requires me to get less sleep than I already do. Yes, I really appreciate you buying my kid a discounted semester of piano lessons on Groupon or wherever, but you know what that means? I--not you--I have to wake up at the crack of dawn on my one day off to get her there. Either you really don't like me or you really don't value sleeping in very much. (more…)

Are All 3-Year-Olds Pathological Liars??

I love my daughter and after reading this post I don't want you to think she is a demon child or the spawn of Satan. She really is an incredibly well-behaved, sweet child, except that she lies. Like, a lot. (more…)

5 Lies I Refuse to Tell My Kid… Does This Make Me a Bad Mom??

It's no secret that I have a very close relationship with my 3-year-old daughter so it shouldn't come as that big of a surprise that I'm typically very open and honest with her. Yes, of course, I do sometimes lie--but for the most part, I like to give it to her straight. But that means when other kids spout off the lies their parents told them about Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, my little girl is right there correcting them. Whoops. I've never considered myself an active non-conformist, but I just can't bring myself to tell my daughter these ridiculous lies. (more…)

How Many Kids Is Too Many?

Growing up, I always said I wanted six kids. I dreamed of being a stay at home mom and having a huge family. But then I had my first kid and now I'm not so sure I even want two children. I know lots of moms with multiple kids say they love their children equally and that your love multiplies with subsequent children, but I'd hate to have a second child and have that kid feel like he/she could never have as close of a relationship as I have with my daughter. At the other end of the spectrum, of course, is Michelle Duggar. A lot of people have come out to criticize her and her husband for choosing to have their 20th child. And rightfully so, if you ask me. I'm not convinced I could show enough love to two kids, so I have my doubts that she could devote enough time and attention to 20 plus her husband. (more…)

What I’m Shopping For… A Warm Down Jacket for My Daughter That’s Under $100

It's only 50 degrees and my daughter is already wearing what I thought would be her winter coat. It's puffy and lined with fleece and I somehow thought it would be enough to keep her warm all winter. Wrong. So now, I'm on the hunt for a down jacket. Umm, make that a cheap down jacket. On principle, I just don't believe in spending more than $100 on anything for a 3-year-old, so her winter coat has to be less than that. But it still needs to last all winter and keep her from freezing when we're waiting for the bus in 30 degree weather. I've narrowed down my options and here are the 6 kids' down jackets under $100 I'm considering. Any faves? [slideshow] (more…)

Is It Possible to Love Your Second Kid As Much As Your First?

Even though I'm not convinced it's a good idea to try to be "friends" with your kids, in a lot of ways my daughter is like my best friend. I look forward to seeing her every day, celebrating milestones with her and simply talking to her. Sure, I've been called codependent, but I just think my daughter and I are very close. That being said, when people ask if I want to have more children I always hesitate. And not because I don't love being a mother. I do. But that's just it. I love my daughter so much, I'm not sure it's possible for me to love another kid as much as I love her. (more…)

Would You Ever Be a Surrogate?

Last night I was watching Parenthood and one of the characters, Julia, had a super awkward exchange with her surrogate. As it always seems to be portrayed on TV, the surrogate was some young girl who didn't know anything about being pregnant. When Julia caught her surrogate eating sushi, she tried to explain that pregnant women shouldn't eat sushi and it all came out wrong. But it turns out, the surrogate didn't know any of this. It was an uncomfortable convo, but it needed to happen. So I started thinking, wouldn't women who've already been pregnant make the best surrogates? I mean, they already know what not to do, what not to eat, etc. I also ask because, crazy as it sounds, I've actually considered the idea of being a surrogate. Yes, the money is amazing (and it would totally cover my daughter's schooling for a year), but that's not the real reason I'm open to surrogacy. (more…)

Who Comes First: You or Your Kid?

It's a tough question, right? I feel like most moms would initially be inclined to say their child, but I'm not so sure that's honest. Take J. Crew exec Jenna Lyons who's back in the news because she's divorcing her husband of 9 years. They have a kid together--need I remind you of the whole pink toenails fiasco--but to make matters more complicated, Jenna has allegedly moved on with another woman. (more…)

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