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Be The Bra: The Tools You Need to Lift Up & Support Your Girls.
How Mindfulness + A Positive Attitude Lead to Gratitude

How Mindfulness + A Positive Attitude Lead to Gratitude

It may be the wisdom that naturally comes with age, increased life experiences, or the constantly evolving positive mindset that I’ve been working on for years now. But, lately, I’ve been particularly attuned to the thoughts of gratitude that run through my mind on a daily basis. Even more surprising, is that it is not a deliberate thing like I thought it needed to be. I don’t need to set aside time to write down or actively think about what I am grateful for…it just sort of happens. For example, the day after a migraine, I wake up thinking about how good my body feels from head to toe. I feel genuinely appreciative that I am no longer in pain. Another example is when our entire family gets up and out of the house in the morning without any drama or aggravation. As I drive my daughters to school, I notice that my head is clear and my heart isn’t racing. I feel at ease and relish the sense of calm in my body.  These things may be simple. But I am so grateful for them. You might be wondering what I did to get to this place of gratitude. As mentioned, it wasn’t a daily practice (as is recommended by gratitude experts and people like me). It wasn’t an aha moment or a brush with poor health that made me “see the light.” Actually, I couldn’t have answered where it came from until I began packaging lessons I wrote and facilitated with children for teachers to use in schools. As I reviewed one lesson after another, and prepped...

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Help Your Daughter Manage Her Emotions. First, Identify + Express Your Own.

Help Your Daughter Manage Her Emotions. First, Identify + Express Your Own.

As I’ve gotten older (and wiser), I’ve come to learn that some of the traits I had been most proud of for so many years are the very ones that are to my detriment. I believed that when I was upset or angry, brushing it off and moving on was not only helpful, but healthy. What I failed to understand is that in doing so, I never took the time to truly become aware of all of my emotions. Thus I did not allow myself to feel my emotions.  Many years ago, when I began seeing a therapist, I boasted about my ability to not let things bother me. Each time I relayed a story that I said angered or upset me, my therapist would ask how I felt at the moment the situation that I was describing happened.. “I don’t know,” I’d always respond. Then she would ask what I felt as I recounted the situation to her. “Nothing really,” I’d say. When my therapist told me she had dozens of patients who wished they did not feel anything, I secretly laughed, feeling proud of what I had accomplished all of these years – just forging ahead. Over time, I came to learn how these actions weren’t helpful to me, or anyone around me. They weighed me down (literally and figuratively).  So I decided to make a concerted effort to become more aware of my emotions. I began to identify them. And after I felt like I mastered awareness, I took the time to notice how these emotions felt in my body. It was not an easy process...

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Talk Less. Smile More. An Effective Parenting Approach.

Talk Less. Smile More. An Effective Parenting Approach.

It’s been a long time since my daughter and I spent an extended period of quality time alone together. My daughter is a teenager. Now that she is beginning to tour colleges, I see it as an opportunity to grab as much time with her as I can before she flies the coop.  Frankly though, I’m petrified. Having that much uninterrupted quality time together with a hormonal teenager whose job it is to distance herself from her mother, has the potential to catapult our relationship backward. Naturally, I want to do everything in my power to ensure that I move things forward and bond with her.  Before our first trip together, I thought long and hard about how to make that happen. I meditated and dug deep. And I landed with one simple motto. “Talk less. Smile more.” I am so grateful to Lin Manuel Miranda, who penned this lyric in the musical hit “Hamilton.” There truly isn’t a day that goes by without these words echoing in my head. But there probably isn’t a day that goes by that I fail to keep my mouth shut at a time when I should!  Following this mantra is my #1 goal for these college trips with my daughter. The last thing I want is to diminish my relationship with her. Being together – just the two of us without any real distractions – means that my comments (aka guidance and observation of things I wish were different) could (and likely would) negatively affect our relationship. In fact, I’m sure it already has. And the sad part is that I was...

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Parent the Daughter You Have, Not the One You Wish You Had

Parent the Daughter You Have, Not the One You Wish You Had

This morning, as my husband and I were walking our dog, we passed two boys playing catch on their front lawn. I looked at my husband and smiled. Inside, I felt a little ache for him. As an athlete and lover of sports, I know he secretly wished that our girls had that same desire to spend their free time at home playing anything athletic. It got me to thinking about “Jessie,” a mom who reached out to me seeking advice. Jessie confided in me that her daughter is shy and reserved, and she really wants her to be friendly and outgoing. “Why?” I asked. She told me that she believes her daughter’s life would be better.  Jessie couldn’t make sense of it, especially since she is so outspoken herself, and was a precocious little girl. Jessie continued to tell me about all of the things she has done – unsuccessfully – to nurture this trait in her daughter. “What am I doing wrong? I feel like such a failure.” Jessie said.  Then she asked me what she can do or say in order to get her daughter to change. I’m sure at some point most of us realize that our children aren’t quite the people we thought/expected/hoped they would be. And for many, this reality can be difficult. Shedding the preconceived notions of who you want your child to be can even feel somewhat like a grieving process. While it’s okay to mourn the loss of what you think your child should have been, it’s important to embrace who they are. While it might take time to get...

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Nurture Your Daughter’s Self-Esteem by Helping Her Shift Negative Self-Talk to Positive

Nurture Your Daughter’s Self-Esteem by Helping Her Shift Negative Self-Talk to Positive

As a mother of two teenage girls, and a woman who speaks with countless moms about their daughters, one of the biggest concerns is lack of self-esteem. As I begin to ask questions so I can do my best to give advice, it seems that people often use the words self-esteem and confidence interchangeably. While they are related, they are different. So before getting into the nitty gritty about nurturing a healthy self-esteem, let’s start look at how it differs from confidence. Confidence is related to an action – how you feel about your abilities. Confidence builds by taking action — by trying things you find hard, by going outside your comfort zone. If you work at something, bit by bit, you will become more confident in your abilities. Self-esteem is basically how you feel about yourself overall – how much self-love you have. A healthy self esteem affects your confidence because when you love yourself, it makes you more confident in your actions.  So which is easier to build? Confidence, because you can be confident about one part of your life, while being uncomfortable about another.  Okay, now that’s cleared up. But the question remains, what can you do to help your daughter love herself?  The answer isn’t so simple because you can’t just give your daughter self-esteem (although it would be the most wonderful gift). Yes, praising her might make her happy and/or feel good, but it teaches her that she must do something in order to get approval and rewarded. This approach will not help her develop a sense of self-worth. The best way to nurture a...

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My Mom Sisterhood + Support System – You Are Not Alone

My Mom Sisterhood + Support System – You Are Not Alone

Sometimes I have a love / hate relationship with being a woman. More specifically, being the epicenter of my family. While there are many aspects of taking care of my daughters (and all that goes along with it) and taking care of my home, there’s no denying that along with these major responsibilities comes emotional pain and stress.  When I find it most challenging, I do my best to put things in perspective and be grateful for what I have (the list is fortunately too long to include). I try to focus on how fulfilled I feel being a mother and wife. But there is simply no way (and no good reason) not to allow myself to feel the negative emotions that sometimes accompany me on this rollercoaster ride.  I feel so fortunate to have a sisterhood of women – a mom support system, filled with empathetic and nurturing like-minded women. They are my go-to’s who fill my emotional gaps.  I cast a wide net, just like we do at GAALS. When I am facilitating GAALS programs, I marvel at how open and honest the girls are in sharing their personal experiences, and expressing their most intimate thoughts and feelings. They allow themselves to be vulnerable and in the process, learn that others can relate – boosting their self-esteem. Perhaps equally as important is that the girls gain valuable strategies and insights from one another.  So what can we learn from our daughters? Connecting with peers on a deeper level can make a powerful, positive impact on our lives. The girls, their parents (teachers and therapists also), share stories...

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Being A Mom: Every Part of Raising Children is Humbling

Being A Mom: Every Part of Raising Children is Humbling

Okay, I’m very well aware that one of the points of writing a blog is to express your own feelings and share it with your community. But every so often you come across something that someone else wrote that rings true, and there’s simply no better way to say it. Below, I’m sharing Anna Quindlen’s well-written thoughts about raising children. Join us and continue the conversation at our first mom’s group meetup at Port Salt Cave on October 16th, 2019. Space is very limited so don’t hold off on registering. On Being Mom by Anna Quindlen If not for the photographs, I might have a hard time believing they ever existed. The pensive infant with the swipe of dark bangs and the blackbutton eyes of a Raggedy Andy doll. The placid baby with the yellow ringlets and the high piping voice. The sturdy toddler with the lower lip that curled into an apostrophe above her chin. ALL MY BABIES are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by...

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Help Your Daughter Ace Stepping Outside of Her Comfort Zone

Help Your Daughter Ace Stepping Outside of Her Comfort Zone

I’m pretty certain that embarrassing ourselves is not on top of most of our “To Do” lists. And while it’s probably also safe to say that we are all more comfortable sticking with things we know, I’m sure we see the value of stepping outside our comfort zones – even if it means pushing ourselves to do so and failing in the process. We recognize it builds strength and character.  A few weeks ago, I voluntarily (but reluctantly) agreed to step outside my comfort zone. But as I was doing it, I unexpectedly got pushed further and further outside of it. I’m not sure if it’s better or worse that it happened this way. I’ll tell you the story and let you decide. Before jumping in, I need to set the scene. For me, playing sports brings with it a whole host of feelings of insecurity that I’ve carried since childhood. I continually try my best to overcome my fears, trying my hand at various athletic endeavors.  A few years back, I registered for group tennis lessons through Continuing Education. I was absolutely without a doubt a beginner (unlike those people who claim to be beginners, but played growing up and just haven’t played in a while). Other than in gym class and maybe camp, I never picked up a racket. There was little instruction but I worked hard over the course of three years, taking about 50 lessons. You might be thinking, “Wow, that’s a lot. She must be pretty good by now.”  You would be wrong.  At least a dozen people were in these group lessons; and...

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Moms, Do You Have the Back To School Blues? Let’s Beat It Together!

Moms, Do You Have the Back To School Blues? Let’s Beat It Together!

If you’re anything like me, your wishes turned into reality last week when the countdown to school finally hit zero and the kids got out of your hair…I mean house. Now that we just wrapped week two, the most irritating words you heard echoed all summer, “I’m bored” seem like a distant memory. Yet somehow, you might be longing to hear them again. Summer probably seems like a breeze in comparison to what you are dealing with now – lunches, getting out of the house, coordinating schedules, after-school activities, pickups, etc. There are of course some welcome aspects of our children being safely occupied for the bulk of the day and back on a daily schedule. This is especially helpful for those of us who work from home. Though each September, the start of school smacks us in the face and we seem surprised at how hard it hits. Can you relate? Moms, do you have the back to school blues? This year, I am finding the transition to be particularly stressful. Add a sprinkle of anxiety (and maybe even a dollop of depression) and it makes for a dangerous recipe. In just the first “week” of school (which was actually only 3 school days), I managed to scream at my daughters on two occasions. And when I say I “screamed,” I mean totally lost it (once before school and once after). I stomped away like a toddler, and literally sobbed uncontrollably, on and off, for three days. My abnormal volatile behavior can possibly be attributed to hormonal changes and/or my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah (now in less than a week),...

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Transform Morning Madness into Morning Mindfulness (no magic required)

Transform Morning Madness into Morning Mindfulness (no magic required)

Getting children up, dressed, fed and out the door for school can feel like a herculean task, regardless of their age. The experience can be just as maddening even when your children are able to do all of that themselves. For those of you with younger kids, I know you’re thinking, “No way. That would be a dream.” I have one thing to say to that, “just wait until you have a teenager.” And if you have girls, get ready to turn up the morning madness a few levels! The reality is that morning madness can negatively impact our entire day. Do you want to transform morning madness into morning mindfulness, without being a magician?  Here are some tips to simplify your morning routine by helping your child become more self-sufficient. Plan ahead:  Make a list of days your child needs to bring or wear something specific. Hang it in their room or in a central location. Get them in the habit of looking at it prior to leaving the house in the morning.  Go food shopping on Sunday and plan out the weeks meals, lunches and dinners. Want to take it one step further? Create a shopping list along with lunch and/or dinner forms. Children can fill in what they want or make it a checklist so all they have to do is mark the box! Prep the night before. Pick out clothing Pack lunch, water and/or a snack Pack the backpack Empower your child to do what they are able to do. This is not only a gift for you, it’s a gift for them. Set their...

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