PAALS
Blog
Be The Bra: The Tools You Need to Lift Up & Support Your Girls.

The Secret To Raising Positive, Resilient, Grateful Daughters (and being kept in the know as they grow) in under five minutes a day

(4-minute read) The seed was planted well before I had kids. Even before I got married. I vividly remember sitting and watching “One Fine Day,” the romcom movie with heartthrob George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer, and paying attention to the fact that each night they asked their children what their high and low of the day were. For some reason this ritual spoke to me, and I decided at that very moment that I was going to do the same when I one day had children. When my daughter Frankie started nursery school, that day came and the tradition began. Every night at dinner, we each shared our highs and lows of the day. Usually my highs and lows revolved around her (typical Mom answer, I know). When Frankie did something new, it was my high. When she got hurt physically or emotionally, it was my low. One of the best parts about doing this was the brief and trivial conversations that sharing something so simple sparked. They were sweet and enjoyable. Over time, however, they evolved into more profound ideas. On the day Frankie graduated from preschool, I shared that my high and low were the same. I asked her if she thought that was possible. She looked at me perplexed. I explained that I was happy she was getting bigger and going to start the next chapter of her life in kindergarten, but at the same time I was also sad that my baby was growing up. Although it was a hard concept, I believe she had some level of understanding that we can sometimes have two...

How to Circumvent The Dangers of the Social Media Highlight Reel with Your Child

(5 ½ minute read) I vividly recall one Christmas break a few years back. My husband was scrolling through Facebook and saw all of the amazing places people were vacationing while we were on a staycation. He turned to me and said, “I think we are the only ones stuck in town, while everyone else is on vacation at a beach resort.”  My hubby is typically a happy, non-materialistic, non-jealous guy. So to hear him change direction in an instant was surprising. Of course it’s only natural to prefer laying on a beach reading a book while your kids splash around joyfully in the gorgeous blue water. But in the past it never bothered him knowing that most of our friends were out of town on a winter escape while we were stuck inside playing games by the fire and having movie marathons. The difference was that thanks to social media, where they were and what they were doing was now in our face. We got to see the gorgeous backdrop, the smiles on everyone’s faces, the sun shining down…you get the picture. That day my husband decided to delete his Facebook account and never looked back. As much as I admire my husband for taking that stand, not all adults recognize the effect social media has on us. And even if we do, we may not have the desire or the strength to stay away. We scroll through instagram or Facebook, and see all of the wonderful things happening in the lives of our friends, families, and even complete strangers. Their great vacations to exotic places is just...

4 Proven Tools for Stress Relief

(4.5 minute read) Let’s face it, no matter how positive and level headed we may try to remain, stress is an unavoidable part of life. As moms, we are constantly juggling the various demands of our daily routines. Between work obligations, kids schedules, cooking, cleaning, social lives, community involvement, and anything else you might prioritize, life can easily get pretty hectic. All that chaos, no matter how much we enjoy the individual tasks themselves, can understandably lead to a fair amount of stress. I used to be the type of person who simply kept busy, constantly moving forward without acknowledging my stress. I didn’t even realize that I did this until a few years ago. And when it was first brought to my attention, I thought it was a positive thing. After all, keeping busy made me productive. It’s not like I necessarily felt unhappy, and I didn’t allow myself to complain about the little things. Isn’t that a good thing? What I failed to recognize is that not feeling or facing the stress, along with the other emotions that typically come with it, was actually extremely unhealthy. Pretending it doesn’t exist does not make stress magically disappear, like I thought. Instead, it just stayed deep within. Although I believed my stress wasn’t affecting me, it just manifested itself in ways I wasn’t even aware of. Misplaced anger, eating unhealthy foods, sleepless nights. Sound familiar? I’ve since learned that allowing myself to acknowledge and feel things – to let the stress out-is positive. It doesn’t make me weak, it makes me human. The question became how to let it...

Tips & Tricks to Make Errands / Responsibilities Easier for Busy Moms

(3 minute read) Following up on last week’s blog with tools and tips for busy moms on How to Manage the Family and Free Up Time, here are 4 extras (but these aren’t all about the kids).   1) Grocery Shopping This is a biggie. What a time suck! To assist in the process, I have a standard grocery delivery two times a week. I know some people like picking out their own produce, fish, and meat, but even if that’s the case, you can still have your packaged goods delivered: milk, butter, eggs, etc. Once you’ve made the leap, there’s no turning back. Of course, I still have to supplement with items the delivery service doesn’t have, or things I run out of in-between deliveries. But it’s always a quick in and out of the store with 20 items or less. If only someone started a biz where that goes to all of the grocery stores for me (like Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Costco, Stop & Shop), that would save a ton of time. Until that happens, here is my approach: I actually make a list for every grocery store I shop at.  Each sheet has a checklist of all of the items I buy at that store. (I have a folder with lots of copies of each). Before I go shopping, I take out the list and check the house to see what I have / need (this is especially helpful for Costco). I also try to just check things off as we finish things and ask my family and babysitter to do the same. Want to know the...

Moms! Manage the Family and Free Up Time With These 6 Easy, Effective Organizing Tips

(4 ½ minute read)  When I was making big changes in my life (and I mean BIG-as in moving to the burbs after 17 years in NYC while simultaneously transitioning from my corporate career to developing GAALS) I needed to make money and decided to do something that comes naturally to me – organizing! While the business I started, M.O.M. (Most Organized Mom) was short-lived, I enjoyed every minute of it. But as my children got older and continued adding to their list of activities, hobbies, wants, and needs, I found it more challenging to stay organized (especially with everything I had going on for myself, transitioning back into the working world and running GAALS).  I needed to make my life easier somehow.  And I needed to find more time in my day.  By creating / finding effective and efficient systems, I would be able to do both. I’ve decided to share my organizing tips and tricks with my beloved GAALS community because getting back into the swing of things at the start of the school year can be challenging. And in my type-A opinion, all of the organizing articles I see are basic. No specific methods. So instead of more fluff, I figured I’d share my own systems; with hopes that you’ll find them as useful as I do. In the hub of your home (for me – the kitchen) have a bulletin board or binder with the following info sheets. Note: I also take pics of each sheet with my phone so I can access the info anywhere anytime! 1) Important Names and Numbers Having one sheet...

The Importance of Helping Our Kids Find & Practice Balance

(3-minute read) For most parents, the transition from summer to school is not easy – despite the fact that we do it year after year.  During the summer there’s ample time to incorporate various activities into our lives, but during the school year there don’t seem to be enough hours to get to everything, like jobs, families, exercise, local community involvement, social engagements  and various other commitments. And during the summer it doesn’t take much effort to ensure that our children have a little bit of everything – fun, physical activities, screen time, family time, unstructured play, etc.  But the moment school starts, the verb “juggling” often more accurately reflects what we are doing on a daily basis.  Finding a way to balance everything in order to lead happy, fulfilling, healthy lives is far from easy. It takes practice, effort and hard work. Not only do we want and need to live balanced lives, our children do too. Kids actually want balance in their lives. They need balance. They thrive with balance. It is critical that they learn the concept of finding balance in their lives at an early age. And it is our responsibility as parents to teach and model this for them. From September to June, our kids spend over 6 hours a day in school. By default, the scales naturally start tipping more towards school, homework, projects, clubs…you get the point. But as important as it is that our children are dedicated to school and put in the time and effort to learn and succeed, it is equally as important to help them find other sources of growth outside of school. Think of it...

5 Tips on How to Lead By Example So Your Child Will Have Positive Growth this School Year

(5-minute read) Ahhhhh Summer…not only is it a season full of sunshine, swimsuits, s’mores, and smiles, it is also a time where kids can let loose and relax.  At least until Labor Day rolls around and the days get shorter. Ads no longer feature kids splashing and playing outdoors. Store aisles are lined with school supplies and fall clothing. All of which, of course, signal another school year is upon us. This inevitably means busier schedules, packed lunches, homework help, and earlier bedtimes. Understandably, this can cause stress and anxiety–not only for us, but also for our children. With the right mindset, however, life doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. In fact, following one simple rule can help you maintain at least some of that feeling of summer aaahs throughout the school year:   LEAD BY EXAMPLE Don’t eat while standing up. Give me your full attention while I’m talking to you. Don’t text while walking.   We can all agree that telling children not to do these things is easier than following our own advice. Whether we like it or not, however, children make mental notes every time we say one thing but do another.  Practicing what we preach takes effort. The first and perhaps most challenging step is becoming aware of what we do versus what we say. Next, you will have to focus.  Instead of biting off more than you can chew, focus on kicking off the school year on the right foot with these 5 specific ways you can lead by example: Inspire the joy of reading. Show your children that reading is not only important, but also...

Open Your Mind to Trying New Things & Gain These 6 Benefits

There’s just something nice about a routine. It supports discipline and encourages reliability – two great character traits. Let’s face it, safe and familiar are comfortable. But opening our minds to new things, like food, classes, or even a new hairstyle – is sometimes more challenging. In response, many of us resist or even fear trying something new. It’s not that we necessarily have a fear of failure, but rather a fear of the unknown (studies suggest we actually fear an unknown outcome more than we do a known bad one). But if we avoid new experiences then we miss out on some of the best things that life has to offer. Good things come to those who try new things — those who take risks. And as parents, we need to lead by example and encourage our daughters to try new things on a regular basis. Over the next few weeks, try a new activity with your daughter, like hiking up a steep hill. If you’re met with resistance, suggest to your daughter not to assume she is going fail. Ask her to instead assume she will achieve what she set out to do. And if for some reason the outcome is not what she hoped for, it will be okay and life won’t end. Share with her a moment that you failed or embarrassed yourself (including how it felt and the outcome). Did you pick yourself up and move forward? It helps our children feel more comfortable when they understand that everyone fails at something and looked silly in front of their friends – even the most...

Have An Attitude of Gratitude With These 4 Proven Practices

This time last year, I had been working on GAALS full-time for a little over a year. I spent countless hours on the business, teaching 19 classes a week and trying to build awareness about what we do, how we do it and why it’s so important. Needless to say, it was exhausting, and definitely not easy. I thought about giving up. But your girls kept me going. One girl shared a story about finally having the courage to have a sleepover. Another girl’s face lit up after finally being able to spin her hula hoop round and round. And after weeks of sitting quietly, a girl raised her hand and shared her opinion. Hundreds of moments like these kept me going and renewed my commitment to GAALS despite every obstacle I faced. I am grateful for each and every child who has come to our program. They have motivated and inspired me with their courage, strength and inner beauty. It was only a few years ago when I began thinking about the importance of having a positive attitude. About the things I am grateful for – big and small. Every day. I used to have to put in a lot of effort to make that happen, but now it comes naturally to me. And I am so amazed. And so thankful. Imagine your child living her life with a positive outlook and an attitude of gratitude. How powerful that will be. What kind of effect it will have on her — her self-esteem, her relationships and her life? Research says grateful children aren’t only happier & healthier, but also...

Teaching Our Children Responsibility

The best life experiences we can offer our children aren’t only the ones where we set them up and/or pay for them to gain valuable skills — like volunteering to stuff backpacks for kids in need, having them spend a summer during high school studying at a university, or working at an orphanage in Ecuador. Perhaps it’s when children have the responsibility of finding and keeping a job…learning how to prioritize/manage their time, take orders, follow directions, be proactive, and so much more – that they truly learn valuable skills – including the value of a dollar.