Top 5 Parenting TED Talks

I used to have a job that I found dreadfully boring. I would have hours and hours of time with little or nothing to do while I waited for decisions to be made or paint to dry [not literally but, sheesh, it sure felt like it]. 

It was during these times that I found and fell madly in love with TED Talks. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure I had ever watched a TED Talk before. In fact, I wasn't overly fond of what I assumed was hokey, rah-rah, 'you can do it' cheerleading with little substance or actionable steps. 

But once I listened to Gever Tulley's TED Talk (see the link below), I was just a little bit [ok, a lot a bit] hooked. 

Here's the thing. Parenting is really hard. REALLY, REALLY HARD. And while so many of us spend time focussing on improving ourselves at work through additional reading or courses, how much could we benefit from improving our ability to parent and handle our children through the same time of learning. Going to the experts, learning from research, and simply opening our minds to the possibility that there is a better or different way to raise our children. 

That's actually how I view the following 5 parenting-focussed TED Talks: they're like my parenting homework/therapy/mastermind group. I don't always agree with everything I see/hear, and I certainly don't implement everything they speak about, but I do feel better equipped to either support my choices or make necessary changes in the way I'm raising my kids.  

So if you're like me and you need a little bit of a push, some parenting inspiration, or a challenge to stretch your mind and think a bit differently, than these are for you:

ONE: Jennifer Senior: For Parents, Happiness is a Very High Bar

The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

TWO: Gever Tulley: 5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do

In his humorous and uplifting style, Gever Tulley debunks classic myths of childhood safety. With rampant fear mongering, is it any wonder that children are actually over-protected? Instead, Tulley believes the most effective way to keep children safe is to give them a little taste of danger.

THREE: Stuart Brown: Play is More Than Just Fun

A pioneer in research on play, Dr. Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults — and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age.

FOUR: Rufus Griscom + Alisa Volkman: Let's Talk Parenting Taboos publishers Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman, in a lively tag-team, expose 4 facts that parents never, ever admit — and why they should. Funny and honest, for parents and nonparents alike.

FIVE: Bruce Feiler: Agile Programming - For Your Family

Bruce Feiler has a radical idea: To deal with the stress of modern family life, go agile. Inspired by agile software programming, Feiler introduces family practices which encourage flexibility, bottom-up idea flow, constant feedback and accountability. One surprising feature: kids pick their own punishments.

5 Beauty Hacks for Moms

Since I've had kids there has been a true shift in the way I approach "beauty". To be honest, I used to spend an hour getting ready every single morning pre-kids. Now I have about 15 minutes to be work-ready in the morning. Big shift, right? And on top of that, so many things have changed about the way I look post-children. 

However, I remain firm in my belief that when we feel good about how we look we feel better about life in general. That may be oversimplifying things but looking polished and put together- whether you are going to work or are at-home with your kids- can truly elevate your mood and help you feel more powerful and in control about so many other areas of your life.

Luckily, through trial and (lots and lots and lots) error, I have found some beauty hacks that are perfect for busy moms who need to carve out a bit of time for beauty!

Hack #1: Make your own liquid liner

I love the look of liquid liner, even occasionally for an office look. However, liquid liner is expensive and is not something I always want to invest in. My solution? Light the tip of your regular drug store liner on fire (I love this liner from Rimmel!)! Stay with me here: using a lighter, gently hold the tip of your regular eye pencil over the flame for about 5 seconds, or until it becomes very soft. Warning: allow the tip of the eye pencil to cool for about 10 seconds (or until you can touch it without it burning your finger) and carefully line your eye as you would with a liquid liner. The look is spot on and creates a quick and cheap liquid liner look!

Hack #2: The pony curl

Love the beachy waves look? Me too! But it can be a time-consuming process, especially if you have long hair like mine. The solution? Do an ultra-fast 3 minute curl. Here's what it takes: Create a high pony. Curl 6 sections. Spray generously with a medium hold hairspray (like this one). Wait 2 minutes. Take out of ponytail. Voila.  Bouncy, beachy curls that took you no time at all! Tousle them up and walk out the door feeling like the beach babe you are:)

Setting Small Goals for Great Big Blogging Success!

This is the first post I ever wrote on my blog Sleeping Is For Losers:
Well, I have decided to blog! Even though probably only my mother, maybe my husband, and a few other bored people might read this on a regular basis, I felt that I needed a new creative outlet...and blogging it is!
You see, I'm now a stay at home mom- at least until April 2010. I absolutely love it- but let's face it- my son, Zachary, is only 4 months old. And while he's a bundle of fun and keeps me very busy, I do need some "grown-up" conversation every once in a while. Hence, the blog- a way for me to clear my mind of all the thoughts that are running around in there. Self-indulgent, but necessary!IMG_2856
I had Zachary Christopher on May 2nd, 2009. He is the absolute joy of my life and I could not imagine living without him. I don't even remember what life was about before I had him. He has taught me so much it's hard to really put into words what he means to me. Each day he discovers something new...and teaches me a new lesson about life.
So hopefully I'll have a few people join me as I pass along Zach's life lessons. I really feel like it's his world and he's just letting me live in it and have some fun on the ride.
That was 7 years ago. Back then, I had no idea what blogging was, why I was doing it, or even the slightest inkling of how blogging would impact the trajectory of my life forever!

Wednesday Confessions

I've been saving up my confessions [obviously when you're as perfect as me you can't expect to have failures every single week, amIrite?]

  • I'm starting a new job! That's not really a bad confession. In fact, I cannot tell you how excited I am for this opportunity to learn and grow from the smartest businesswoman I have ever met! I'm also nervous as all get-out, but it's that really exciting, good nervous when you know something is going to happen and it's going to be awesome (positive thinking for the win!). 
  • via GIPHY

How to find your tribe and make collaboration work for you

Long title, real advice.

In my last post I talked about why collaboration (working with others to achieve a goal or many goals) is the key to having real success (however you define that) online. I cannot stress how much I believe that to be true: any and all of my online "successes" have come from relationships I have established or partnerships I have formed.

However, collaboration - finding the right people that you want to support and who want to support you in turn - is not easy. It sounds like it should be easy, but it truly isn't. There will be lots of bumps in the collaboration road once you start down the path. You will meet people who you think are perfect to collaborate with and they will let you down. You will have "big breaks" that turn out to be nothing like they were sold to you. You will feel like you are putting in all the work and someone else is reaping rewards. How do I know? I've been there. Way too many times.

But here's the great thing (and this is based off my personal experiences with success and failure). If you approach collaboration correctly - as a mutually beneficial 'business' transaction - even the not so great collaborations will turn into great experiences for you that help to propel you forward toward your goals. 

I guarantee there will be bumps in the road and disappointments but I also guarantee that if you continue to approach collaboration professionally and with the mindset that it needs to be mutually beneficial you will see huge rewards. 

So let's get you started...

Choose a project (projects!) to collaborate on
First of all, let me ask you a question: what do you want to achieve? I'm going to challenge you to make a huge list of goals - I really love handwritten lists that allow you to put out everything (I mean reach for the stars!). Once you have that list put it away. A few days later pull it out and highlight a few items that are reasonable to achieve with a little bit of help (also known as collaboration). 

Collaboration: The secret to growing your blog & social media presence

[Or maybe better titled] Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe

I stumbled onto the power of collaboration by accident but, boy, am I glad I did.

In 2009 I began a “mommy” blog. I was a new mom, alone, scared, clueless, and in need of an outlet. I knew nothing about blogging but I knew I wanted a place to give voice to my life. And then, I got hooked on blogging and I wanted other people to hear my voice and read my words. The more people read my writing the more I wanted them to read. So what was the problem? I had no idea how to spread my ideas. 

Enter collaboration.

I’m not quite sure how I got this idea in my head, but I decided to start emailing blogs that I liked and asking them if I could write a post for them. It was a total bust- no one even responded – but it got me thinking. Why couldn’t I collaborate with others to help us all grow? I had an audience (small, of course, but dedicated and growing!).Why wasn't anyone else interested in working together so that we could both grow and grow and grow!?

My first true realization of the power of collaboration, however, came quite by accident. I stumbled onto a collaborative blog called UrbanMoms. Although I had been turned down so many times before, I decided to send them a piece for their consideration. Guess what? They liked it. They liked it enough that they asked me to write for them.

For the next two years we collaborated - UrbanMoms published my blog (called "Mom Without A Map") and amplified my reach and in exchange, I promoted and represented UrbanMoms and their other bloggers online. This collaboration brought me more traffic, more recognition, and more opportunities than any other single thing I did on my own before or after that. 

Where did the power come from? It came from collaboration! 

I had a group of like-minded individuals in UrbanMoms that supported me. Everyone was talented, hungry and dedicated. All the writers/bloggers (keep in mind we didn’t know eachother personally) commented, retweeted, engaged and uplifted each other. We celebrated and commiserated. We worked together and it was incredibly successful. It probably wasn't until I had stopped writing for UrbanMoms for a few years that I realized that the consistent support of other like-minded bloggers was the cornerstone of my writing, blogging and social media 'success'. 

The internet is noisy place. 

There are hundreds of thousands of voices (some of them very much like yours, if we are being honest) that are trying to be noticed. There are "experts" who tell you that blogging is about a beautiful website and Insta feed. There are a million "how to make money on social media" posts and videos, there are a hundred thousand people all trying to do what you're doing: capture an audience and hold on to them.

So if the internet is a crazy noisy place, then being a lone island, working on every idea alone and putting more effort into a perfect site and Insta feed creating your own good content and supporting the good content of others is exactly the wrong thing to do.

At this very moment, if you want to begin to develop a voice that is heard and cultivate an audience that grows, then you need collaboration.

The Mom Who Sits on the Bench

See that bench? It's where I sit. 

Every Sunday my kids and husband go skating and I sit on this bench and watch them. I sit here when my kids take skating lessons as well. And when they're playing baseball and soccer and karate. I sit on the bench when they're at the park and bouncing on the trampoline. 

I'm a ever-present bench sitter.

I've spent my life wishing I could participate in athletics. Believe me when I say I have tried and I have tried hard. I tried soccer and gymnastics and basketball and volleyball. I tried tennis and golf and skating and cross-country. I joined a curling team and failed miserably. I joined cheerleading and didn't make it out of two practices. 

It's not that I have a physical need that does not allow me to participate. It is that I physically cannot keep up. And because of that playing any sport feels like torture to me - it is never, ever fun and it is never, ever easy for me to do anything that requires even the most basic athletic skill. 

If I told you that I've been a runner since I was 19, and then you saw me run, you would laugh. You would think I was joking because I channel a 2 year old who has just learned to walk/run while I'm moving. I always look like I'm about to topple over (and I have, more times than I care to admit). I'm a mess, and yet I have been trying to be a "runner" for years. I've never gotten better, no matter how much I run. In fact, I had a running coach for an entire year and my time and form did not ever improve (that running coach, who I paid for by the way, said he had never had a client who tried less than I did. I can't tell you how demoralizing that was for me). 

If I told you that games like foosball are hard for me because they require hand-eye coordination you would probably not believe me but it's true. I was once on a date at a bar when my date insisted we play foosball. I felt physically sick because I had tried before and knew I was going to be a mess, but I liked him and didn't want to make a fuss. He destroyed me in the game (I don't think I scored once) and then proceeded to go on and on about how he can't stand girls who are too prissy to try. Needless to say we never went out again.

What bothers me is that people, much like my running coach, automatically assume that I'm not trying when I am a disaster at anything that requires athletic skill or coordination. People say "get up and try", "of course you can't play you never try hard", and (my personal favourite) "why don't you put your best effort in?".  But what they don't know is that I do. I try so, so, so hard when it comes to sports and athletics and have tried for so many years. 

Those are just two examples - I could write a novel on the number of times I tried my best at something even remotely athletic and was told it wasn't good enough. 

So why do I tell you all this? Maybe deep down I want some sympathy or something, but I also want to give a bit of a reality check. 

There's a huge shift in expectations put on parents to participate in athletics with their kids. We tell parents they need to be present and active with their children. And, be honest, we judge those parents who are not. 

Wednesday Confessions: The Potato Cleanse Edition

I'm back and here with one confession...

  • I'm on a Potato Cleanse. Somehow I convinced my husband to do this cleanse with (not quite sure how I did that) and we are on day 3. The cleanse is comprised of potatoes, potatoes, and more potatoes, with some non-starchy veggies thrown in for variety.  I will admit that I've been super hangry and downright grumpy during the first few days.  I'm pretty sure it's my body revolting and turning me into the Incredible Hulk on the regular. Anyway, hopefully day 4 is easier. I've done cleanses before and somewhere between day 4 and day 5 is the turning point where the anger calms down and your body settles into its new way of eating.

Organic Options for All

If I had to choose one thing I value above all else, it would be having options.

As a working mom who is desperately trying to do the best I can in so many areas, I need options when it comes to how I work, how I raise my kids, and how I spend my free time. But most of all, I need options in how I meal plan and grocery shop for my family.

And it’s because of this that I am so excited to finally have the option of purchasing organic food products that are Canadian Certified Organic and budget-friendly! Even better? They’re Great Value Organic, which means they are available at Walmart – the store that I regularly frequent for my grocery shopping – and they come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee!

See? A whole section dedicated to organics!
So now that I’ve discovered this option of purchasing quality organic items for my family, how have we been incorporating them into our lives? The question might be better phrased “how aren’t we incorporating them”!?

Raw Vegan Lifestyle: A Look Back

Two years ago I became fascinated with the raw vegan lifestyle. I can't recall exactly why I became interested in it (I really love food) but I did and I embarked on a month long journey into watching YouTube vlogs and reading every book and blog I could find.

In the end, I decided that I would try 5 days of a complete raw vegan lifestyle and I would document it on YouTube. 

Check it out:

Raw Vegan Diet- Day 1 of 5
Raw Vegan Diet- Day 2 of 5
Raw/vegan diet: Day 3
(I'm not sure where day 4 went...)
Raw Vegan Diet: A Wrap-up

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