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What to Pack for Your Family Vacation

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Getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life to relax for a week or so in an exciting locale is the dream that keeps many families going during the school year. Unless you’re properly prepared, though, your dream vacation can quickly become a nightmare that’s just as stressful as your daily life, if not more so. Before you pile into that car or board that plane, you’ll want to make sure that you have everything you need on hand. These tips can help you ensure you do a great job packing, and that no crucial items are left behind.

Remember the Basics

Some of the items you need to pack will change, depending on the planned destination and the activities you have in mind after your arrival. Others are fairly standard, though, and will need to be on almost every packing list. Things like toiletries, undergarments, grooming products and the likes are a given, but they’re also among the most commonly forgotten. Whether you’re heading to the beach or the mountains, make sure that you have plenty of sunblock or are prepared to purchase some when you arrive; even in cloudy locations, the sun’s rays can be damaging to the skin of kids and adults alike.

Consider Packing Versus Purchasing

If you’re going to be away from home for a month and your bag space is limited, you may want to consider saving room for essential items by leaving those you can buy after arrival out of the mix. Things like shampoo, soap and toothpaste are relatively inexpensive and can take up a significant amount of room in your bag. They can also make quite a mess if their bottles break or are somehow opened in transit, and they may be subject to confusing TSA guidelines if you’re planning to fly. Cut out the potential for mess, lost space and confiscation by grabbing a few travel-sized bottles of those toiletries to have in your carry-on in case of an emergency, but plan to buy full-sized packages after you arrive.

Pack for Your Destination

It’s easy to get so carried away by vacation planning that you purchase or impulsively pack items that aren’t really necessary for the destination you’ve chosen. A cute sun dress and sandals are awesome for beach vacations, but may be less appropriate if you’re traveling deep into the wilderness for a hiking or camping adventure. Make sure that everything in your bag is appropriate for the trip, otherwise you’ll take up valuable space with items that are ultimately only in your way.

Make Room for Crucial Documents

If you’re traveling out of the country, it’s a no-brainer that you’ll need to have passports on hand for each member of the family. When you’re traveling domestically, however, necessary documents aren’t always so obvious. Be sure that you have all of the information relevant to your health insurance account to ensure that a sick or injured member of the family can be quickly and efficiently treated while you’re traveling. Adults will need a state-issued form of photo identification to navigate TSA checkpoints in an airport, even for domestic flights. It’s wise to have copies of kids’ birth certificates with you as well. Kids’ passports are ideal choices for identification, even if you’re not leaving the country. If you’ll be traveling with a child that’s not your own without their parents, make sure that you have signed travel consent forms to ensure that you’re able to quickly and easily navigate airport security.

Diversions, Diversions, Diversions

No matter where you’re traveling or the length of the trip, it’s essential to your sanity and emotional wellbeing that all kids in tow have access to diversions that will help to stave off misbehavior and complaints borne of boredom. Even if you have a strict screen-time policy, travel days may be an exception you’ll want to consider. Kids can be difficult enough to travel with when they’re jovial and excited. A bored, cranky kid is a nightmare, so make sure that you pack plenty of books, toys, games and other items to keep them occupied and that they’re somewhere that’s relatively accessible.

It’s smart to pack a few days in advance of your trip, and to make a habit of checking your bags before departure to ensure that you have everything you need. Making a detailed list and physically checking each item off as it’s packed can help to ensure that nothing is overlooked.

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24 Blog Extolling the Virtues of Drinking Tea for Your Health

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For thousands of years, many cultures have used and praised the health benefits associated with tea. There are several different types of tea and ways to drink it, from green tea to black tea and bagged tea to loose leaf tea, and each has their own unique benefits.  When a tea is younger and has a lower the amount of oxidation, you’ll derive more health benefits from it. Tea connoisseurs recommend drinking a variety of teas to enjoy all the health benefits that tea has to offer.  To learn all about tea, check out these 24 blog articles.

Health Benefits

Tea has been touted for its wide array of health benefits, and it can be hard to keep track of what is true and what isn’t. For instance, green tea is known for increasing metabolism, aiding in weight loss and reducing tooth decay, whereas red tea can help reduce allergy symptoms and is particularly good for the skin. Read all about the health benefits of various teas in these eight blog posts.

Weight Loss

Green tea is by far the most well-known tea for weight loss not only because it increases metabolism, but also because it promotes fat burning. Green tea is also beneficial for diabetics because it helps control the glucose levels in the body. Learn more about the virtues of green tea in these eight blog entries.

Tea Comparisons

You’ll want to learn the differences between the different types of teas to really understand the benefits of drinking tea. Find out if chamomile tea is a white tea, green tea or black tea.  Orange tea might not be a tea at all.  Take a look at these eight blog articles to learn all about the different types of tea.

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How to Know if Your Child is Ready for His First Overnight at Grandma’s

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Spending the night with Grandma is an iconic milestone for kids, and often marks the first time they spend the night away from home. Figuring out when your child is ready for that first overnight trip isn’t always easy, though, especially when you’re trying to sort out your own conflicted feelings on the subject. Whether you’re eager to enjoy your first kid-free night or heartbroken about the prospect of your baby growing up, the first thing you’ll need to do is find a way to remove your own emotional reaction from the equation in order to objectively determine whether or not he’s reached a point in his development that would allow for a successful overnight visit.

Consider His Sleeping Habits

If your child is still an infant or suffers from nighttime difficulties that inhibit his ability to sleep through the night, there’s a good chance that he’s not ready to be removed from the familiarity of his own home. Waking up in the middle of the night in a place where he’s not accustomed to sleeping could exacerbate his sleeping problems, not to mention doing a number on Grandma’s ability to rest. Before you pack your child’s bags for a sleepover with the grandparents, take his sleep habits into careful consideration.

Keep Grandma’s Needs in Mind

You may be chomping at the bit to get your child acclimated to spending the night away from home, and he may be eager to spend the night with Grandma as well. Just as important as his ability to make it through the night without an incident that results in tearful phone calls and pleas to come home is Grandma’s ability to meet his needs. If your parents or in-laws are of an advanced age or have medical problems that would make it difficult for them to care for a child that isn’t quite self-sufficient, it may be better to delay that first overnight visit a bit. After all, your child will not enjoy the experience or be particularly eager to spend future nights away from home if his first experience ends in failure or leaves him uncomfortable because Grandma isn’t able to care for him in the manner to which he has become accustomed.

Pay Attention to His Ideas

Pre-verbal toddlers and infants won’t be able to contribute much to a conversation about their readiness to spend the night away from home, but an older child will be able to share his own thoughts on the subject. While some bravado and posturing is to be expected, especially if a child is eager to appear more mature than his years, you’ll still be able to get a fairly accurate portrait of his feelings about spending the night with Grandma. In most cases, if he’s old enough to request an overnight visit and he’s capable of sleeping through the night, he’s probably reached a phase in his development that will allow the night to pass with relative ease.

Factor in Feeding Arrangements

When the child in question is an infant, it’s important to keep your feeding arrangements in mind. A breastfed child that’s never taken to bottle feeding easily probably won’t fare well on pumped milk at Grandma’s, leaving him hungry and cranky while Grandma is frustrated and exhausted. Formula-fed babies may have an easier time, though you will need to think about whether or not your parents are ready to get up several times over the course of a night to feed a hungry infant.

Talk it Out

If your child is old enough to talk about how he feels in terms of staying with Grandma, bring him in on the conversation. If he isn’t quite verbal, you’ll still want to have a lengthy discussion with Grandma about both her expectations from the evening and your own, as well as a back-up plan in case things go awry.

If you’re having a bit of trouble with separation anxiety yourself, it’s easy to color your perceptions in a way that makes it seem as if your child isn’t ready for the time away. Be careful about how you approach this situation, as you can easily pass on your own anxieties regarding the separation in a way that helps them take root in his mind. The last thing you want to do is to introduce separation anxiety to a child that has no previous history, as it can be a problematic hurdle to overcome. If your child is ready for that first sleepover, cheer him on and encourage his independence!

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10 of the Best iPhone Apps for Budgeting for a Family Vacation

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Family vacations are an exciting source of precious family memories, but they can also be one of the biggest financial drains on families living within a strict budget. Fortunately, there is no shortage of budgeting and travel apps available from Apple’s well-stocked and comprehensive App Store, so you can concentrate on enjoying your vacation and spending some much deserved downtime with your family, rather than stressing yourself out over the financial implications of your trip. These 10 offerings are a great mix of budgeting and travel apps, which are ideal for any family planning a vacation.

  1. iTravel Budget – This app is specifically designed with vacationing family and friends in mind. Not only can you track and share your collective budgets, but you can set up group itineraries, too. iTravel Budget’s work isn’t finished at the planning stage, either. By using this free app once you’ve arrived at your vacation destination, you can continue to track your expenses throughout the trip to ensure you do not run out of funds before you get back home.
  2. Vacation Budget Tracker – This is a fairly simple app that allows you to enter your overall vacation budget and then enter what you spend to keep track of how much you have left in real time. You can also change the currency to adapt to your location so that you always have a true reflection of your budget. This app is available for free from the iPhone store.
  3. BuddyCalc Free Cost Sharing – Don’t allow disputes over “who needs to pay for what” ruin your vacation with this free app. When you’re traveling with adults who have agreed to split all of the bills or teens who have been charged with their first taste of financial responsibility, it’s easy to lose track of who should be footing a particular bill. You can set up individual and group budgets with BuddyCalc, which you can then send to each member of the group so that everyone knows how much room they have within their budget. If you don’t like the predefined categories, don’t worry; you can change them to suit your group’s specific needs.
  4. Bon Voyage: Travel Budget & Expenses – This app is one part expense and budget tracker, one part organizer. While you’re worrying about your budget, it’s easy to forget where you need to be and when. Bon Voyage takes care of everything from expenses and business receipts to event reminders and checklists. This app is a great value for $1.99 from the App Store.
  5. Easy Envelope Budget Aid – Before the iPhone was even a concept, financial advisors were championing the envelope budget method. Basically, you separate all of your expenses into different envelopes according to the categories that best reflect your outgoings, making it easy to effectively track spending. Easy Budget Aid takes this concept and amps it up for the 21st century with a free app for iPhone.
  6. iXpenseIt Lite – The detailed reporting functionality that iXpenseIt Lite offers is perhaps the most useful feature when it comes to budgeting for a vacation. The reports track your balance by comparing daily, weekly and monthly spending to corresponding budget limits. You can also set up recurring expenses, making it easier to get a clear idea of where your disposable income is going.
  7. Ace Budget 2 – One of the most effective ways to plan and stick to a vacation budget is by examining your spending history. Ace Budget 2 gives you the ability to build up a budget history, which you can view according to daily, monthly and bi-monthly spending and much more. The app costs $0.99; however, it is packed with great features that will make vacation budgeting easier with every use.
  8. Budget Alert – The problem with vacation budgets is that they usually rely on knowing the expenses of more than one person. Budget Alert, for $0.99, is a great way to solve that problem. With this app you can set up shared budgets for the entire family, which everyone can access and update. You will also find the built in currency converter useful for accurately planning your spending money.
  9. Balance Forecasting – This app does exactly what the name suggests – provides you with balance forecasting. If you are budgeting for your vacation month-by-month, then this free app is ideal for helping you predict how much you can expect to have available. A smart filtering system will also help you make cuts in spending, determining where you can afford to cut spending and do without.
  10. My Budget – Cash Flow – Part of any good budget involves detailed analysis of your income and expenses. My Budget –Cash Flow provides a powerful analytical tool for only $3.99 that will help you both work out your budget and figure out how to save and siphon your income to the places where you need it most.

While you’re in the planning and saving stages, it’s also a smart move to look for ways that you can save money on the vacation itself. Booking flights, hotels and rental cars through travel clearinghouse sites, working with an experienced travel agent to find the best deals and vacationing during non-peak times are all effective methods of shaving a bit off of the bill.

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A Dozen Common Parenting Myths and the Truths Behind Them

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Kids don’t come with an instructional manual, but their introduction into the world does tend to encourage everyone from loved ones to perfect strangers to offer a barrage of unsolicited advice. While all of the advice you’re offered will come from people with good intentions, only a portion of it will actually be correct. These are 12 of the parenting myths that you’re likely to encounter at some point during your parenting career, and the truth behind them.

  1. Parenting Will Come Naturally – Before your child is born, anxieties regarding your ability to parent properly are absolutely normal. Expressing these fears will prompt most people to explain to you that parental instincts will magically kick in the moment a baby is placed in your arms, but that’s simply not true. There will be a learning curve, and it’s perfectly natural to still feel anxious long after your baby is born.
  2. All Babies Will Sleep Though the Night Within Six Months – Sleep training is a hot-button topic in the parenting community, but the myth that all babies will learn to sleep through the night by a certain age is widespread. In truth, every baby is different. Some will sleep all night from a far younger age, while others take longer to learn how to self-soothe.
  3. Teething Causes High Fever and Intestinal Problems – Vomiting, diarrhea and high fevers are all considered common symptoms of teething, but they’re not actually correlated. It is important to remember, however, that a high fever is always cause to contact your pediatrician.
  4. As Long as You Love Your Kids, They’ll Be Fine – Prevailing wisdom among many parents holds that all your child needs is plenty of love and affection, but they also need boundaries and a routine. No matter how much you love your children, you’ll still need to actively parent.
  5. Good Parents are Always Patient – It is important to maintain a certain level of patience with your child, but it’s also important to remember that you’re still human. Becoming a parent won’t instill superhuman levels of patience, so don’t beat yourself up if you slip from time to time.
  6. Cereal Makes Babies Sleep Through the Night – The idea that a full stomach will help your child sleep through the night leads parents to believe that they should feed their little one cereal before bedtime. The World Health Organization recommends that babies be exclusively fed breast milk for the first year of life.
  7. Good Parents are Their Child’s Best Friend – No matter how much you want to be your child’s friend, it’s important to remember that they need you to be a parent. The right decision for your child may not always be one that a friend would make, but your job is to be a strong parental figure.
  8. You Know Your Child Better Than Anyone – You may know your child’s likes and dislikes more thoroughly than anyone else, but you could be surprised by the behavior they exhibit when your back is turned. When teachers and childcare providers bring behavioral problems or difficult habits to your attention, it’s best to keep an open mind. Even if you don’t think your child could behave in such a manner, the side of him that you know at home may be greatly different from his public persona.
  9. Ice Baths Bring Down Dangerously High Fevers – When your child has a high fever, your first course of action should be contacting a medical professional. An ice bath may cool the surface of your child’s skin, but the resultant shivering can actually raise his core body temperature.
  10. Sitting Too Close to the TV Will Damage a Child’s Eyes – Parents have worried that sitting too close to the television would cause blindness since TVs were invented, but there’s actually no medical credence to these ubiquitous warnings.
  11. A Parent’s Job is to Make Kids Happy – Providing everything your child asks for, showering him with gifts and making sure that he never faces any sort of adversity might make him happy in the moment, but it’s also a very effective way of introducing him to a false sense of entitlement.
  12. Your Child Deserves the Best – Your child certainly deserves the best you can give her in terms of affection, care and parenting. She doesn’t, however, need luxury items and expensive gifts at every turn. Instilling a sense of responsibility and an appreciation for earning rewards through hard work is good parenting, regardless of the implication that a parent who loves their child will spare no expense.
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What Nannies Need to Know about Kosher Kitchens

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Keeping kosher is an important part of Judaism, and is a part of food preparation in which nannies working for observant Jewish families need to be well-versed. Keeping this practice can seem like a difficult task, but there are things you can do as a nanny to make sure you follow your employers needs and wants in this department.

What Does Kosher Mean?

Before stepping into a home with a kosher kitchen, it might help for you to understand what it means to be kosher in the first place. It is commonly mistaken that kosher means simply that something needs to be blessed by a Rabbi. While it sometimes is the case that a Rabbi must be present to make something kosher, it is not always necessary to remain kosher. Otherwise, every Jewish kitchen would practically need a live-in Rabbi.

Keeping kosher includes such practices as not mixing meat and dairy products, which, in the strictly kosher kitchen means that there are separate utensils for meat and dairy. Some that follow the practice even have separate parts of the kitchen that are dedicated to dairy and meat to keep them apart. If the two should be mixed up, the kitchen would have to go through the process of becoming kosher once again. This can include boiling utensils and/or having a Rabbi come to say a prayer and bless the items.

Consider Taking a Course

There are kosher kitchen classes available for those interested in learning what it takes to create a kosher kitchen or how to keep a kitchen kosher. If your employer expects you to maintain their kitchen to follow his faith, he may be willing to pay for a course where you learn what he has possibly been practicing his entire life. After a while it becomes second nature, and if you simply ask him what you need to do he may unintentionally leave some important pieces out. So, to be sure you know how to maintain a kosher kitchen, the easiest thing to do is learn more about it with a class.

Gauge Your Employers’ Level of Observance

You might not be able to tell this for yourself, so ask the family how conservative they are when it comes to keeping kosher. Some follow the rules to the strictest degree, while others may skip some things here and there. You want to be sure you follow their rules as they do. The last thing you want is to contaminate their kitchen by bringing in the wrong food or using the wrong utensil.

Keep in mind that no matter what level of kosher they keep their kitchen, it probably took a while and a great effort on their part to create their kitchen in this way. You do not want them to have to go through that process again, and you definitely don’t want to put your job in jeopardy over something that can easily be prevented with a little knowledge.

Show Respect

If you’re not Jewish, some of the guidelines regarding keeping a kitchen kosher can seem confusing. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that this is part of a set of religious beliefs that you are going to be participating in, even if it’s just in a small way. Show your employer respect in every way you can. Even if you don’t fully understand why they need a kosher kitchen or what the greater purpose is, you need to show that you respect them as a family. Just as you want to be shown respect for your beliefs, keep the family’s religion in mind and show them you understand how important it is to them to keep the kitchen kosher. While you are in their home, you need to follow this practice to the best of your abilities. While you will want to eat whatever you want, you have to understand that what you enjoy might not be compatible with keeping a kosher kitchen.

Ask Questions

If you ever have a question concerning what needs to be done, your employers should be willing to help you through the process. They will not expect you to know what all comes with being kosher if you’ve never been exposed to it before. In some cases, they may not have had a kosher kitchen growing up and have had to go through the whole learning process like you are now. Never be afraid to ask questions. It is respectful to learn more about something you know little of, especially if you’ll be expected to adhere to unfamiliar practices. They will simply appreciate that you are taking the effort to help them maintain the lifestyle they have chosen.

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16 Blogs that Will Make You Laugh with Funny April Fools’ Day Pranks

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April 1st, also known as April Fools’ Day, is a day set aside for playing silly pranks on your friends and family.  Make your friends and family laugh this year by playing a few funny pranks on them. You’ll find a wide array of pranks in these 16 blog entries, from pranks that parents play on kids to some that kids can play on their parents, some that are truly elaborate pranks and some entertaining food pranks that will get everyone laughing. It will be so much fun, your family will wish that April fool’s day was every day.

Food Pranks

How much fun would it be to wake up to blue milk in the morning instead of white?  Can you imagine diving into dessert, only to find out its dinner?  Think of all the fun you can have with these pranks on April Fools’ Day.  These four blog posts will show you the way to get them laughing.

Parent Pranks

What could be more fun than pranking your kids?  Sneak in and toilet paper your kid’s room while they are asleep and watch their face when they wake up the next morning.  How funny would it be if you froze your kid’s cereal in the bowl and served it to them?  Parents have a lot of ways they can trick their kids.  Check out these four blogs for more hilarious ideas.

Kid Pranks

Share these pranks with your kids so they can prank their friends or maybe their dad.  These pranks are harmless and will make everyone laugh, and who can’t use a little more laughter in their life?  To find out more about these kid-friendly pranks, take a look at these four blog articles.

Elaborate Pranks

As usual, there are always those people that will take things over the top to get a laugh.  Put a “For Sale” sign in your yard complete with flyer box so when your neighbors come by and take a flyer they will find a big, “April Fools’ Day” note instead.  Check out these four blog entries for more elaborate pranks, in case you’re one of those people that love a big laugh.

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10 Reasons Why You Should Consider a Flash Mob Marriage Proposal

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There’s something about a flash mob that makes every big moment better, which may be why they’re now regularly used for everything from product promotion to issue awareness. While some flash mobs create chaos and promote vandalism, the vast majority are feel-good affairs that leave both participants and onlookers with a smile. One trend, the flash mob marriage proposal, is rapidly gaining ground with young adults looking to start a life with the one they love. If you’re thinking of ways to pop that all-important question, here are 10 of the reasons why you may want to consider doing so with a flash mob.

  1. Originality – Flash mob proposals may be more popular than ever, but they’re still an intensely original statement with plenty of room for personalization. Use songs that are meaningful to you and your beloved, integrate references that hold special significance for the two of you and enjoy the feeling of knowing that your proposal was completely original.
  2. Make it Memorable – Getting engaged is one of the most exciting moments of your life, and is an event that you’ll want to remember in perfect detail. Few things are as memorable as the full-scale production that is a flash mob marriage proposal, making it a great way to establish a memory the two of you will always cherish.
  3. Involving Your Loved Ones – Strategically hiding your nearest and dearest in the flash mob before your proposal allows those closest to you to be intimately involved in one of the most important questions you’ll ever ask another person. Including the people that you and your partner love most allows them to be present for the proposal, something that may not happen in more traditional proposal scenarios.
  4. Making Your Love Go Viral – If you’re itching to pop the question and have an abiding desire for YouTube fame, you can combine the two in a way that takes your changed relationship status to a viral level. Placing a camera or two in the crowd not only allows you to preserve the moment for posterity, but also to share it with the world at large.
  5. The Element of Surprise – Flash mobs are a surprising sight on their own. When you stage a flash mob that also serves as a proposal party, you’re significantly amping up the element of surprise and making sure that your beloved is swept away in the moment.
  6. Go Big or Go Home – Proposing marriage via flash mob is a major production and one that definitely lives up to the “go big or go home” mentality of today’s generation of young adults. If you’re looking for a big, bombastic way to pop the question, there’s no denying the power of a flash mob.
  7. Making a Public Declaration of Your Commitment – Your wedding ceremony is a promise shared in the presence of those you love to share your life with another. What better way to cement that commitment than by proposing it in the most public fashion imaginable?
  8. A Story for the Grandchildren – Lovebirds looking for an exciting and impressive proposal story to share with the generations of new people they produce would be hard-pressed to top the romantic tale of a flash mob proposal.
  9. A Priceless Reaction – When you drop to one knee and present that rock, the look on the face of your beloved is sure to be one you’ll remember for the rest of your life. When the big question is immediately preceded by a flash mob of excited participants, however, that reaction will be amplified exponentially.
  10. Ensuring a “Yes” – It may be a relatively cheap tactic, but ensuring an affirmative answer to your question is far easier when you’re both surrounded by a crowd. Who could turn down such a grand, romantic gesture in front of so many onlookers? If securing a “yes” is an at-all-costs priority, a flash mob proposal is almost impossible to turn down.

Gone are the days of proposing at a sporting event in hopes of landing on the big screens; these days, a truly trendy public proposal requires a choreographed dance routine and plenty of participants. Because you won’t want your big day to be foiled by a visit from the police, though, you’ll want to make sure that you secure all the necessary permits or consult with a legal professional to ensure that you’re staying within the confines of the law. Good luck and congratulations!

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A Mom’s Guide to Balancing Work and Family

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As the Mommy Wars wage on, the longstanding battle between working mothers and those who stay at home can get particularly nasty. When over-scheduled, over-tired working moms have trouble striking the delicate balance between parenting and maintaining a demanding career, many find themselves unsure of where to turn, suffering in silence rather than opening the proverbial can of worms. Finding ways to balance work and family isn’t easy, but it isn’t altogether impossible, either.

Establish a Routine

Laying down the groundwork for a consistent and reliable family routine is almost always a struggle in the beginning. Changing not only your own habits, but also encouraging a change in each member of your family’s lives, takes its toll in the beginning. However, when you are able to establish a workable routine for your family, it can help make a noticeable difference in the way your household runs, and even free up more time for all of you to spend together.

Understand the Power of “Me” Time

When you feel as if you’re always running on just slightly less than enough sleep, the idea of getting up even earlier or staying up even later can be downright repellent. Carving out a few minutes of time for yourself each day, even if it’s only 10 or 15 minutes, lets you recharge your internal batteries and prepare for upcoming tasks without being forced to attend to an unexpected crisis.

Encourage Independence

Helping your children learn to take charge of as much of their own morning routine as reasonably possible not only frees up a bit of time for you to attend to your own needs, but also encourages independence and self-reliance in your kids at a relatively young age. While you certainly don’t want to rush your child into completing tasks he’s not quite developmentally ready for, you can squelch the urge to be a helicopter parent while simultaneously allowing yourself a bit of space.

The Caregiver Conundrum

If you don’t have a caregiver that you absolutely trust, there’s a good chance that you’re going to struggle with the tasks before you each day as your mind wanders back to the kids. Finding the perfect nanny or care center can be an overwhelming and time-consuming task, but it’s one that pays off in spades when you’re able to confidently and competently manage the demands of your daily life without worrying about your kids’ welfare.

Schedule Religiously

It may feel a bit silly to schedule out something as small as a 10 minute coffee break, but do it anyway. Maintaining a detailed schedule allows you to break your day down at a glance, figuring out how much you still have to do and where you need to be before you’re able to settle in at home for some family time. Don’t underestimate the power of the smartphone planner; mobile devices today can manage almost every aspect of your professional and personal life, usually down to the minute.

Kick Guilt to the Curb

Feeling remorse about the fact that your children are in the care of others is natural and normal, but it’s also a feeling you should squash whenever it rears its ugly head. Remind yourself of all the opportunities that your children have because of the income you bring in and how much you’re able to provide, and make a promise to clear out an entire day to spend quality time with them. In order for those promises to spend time with your children to be effective at warding off that guilt, however, you’ll have to keep them. When the weekend rolls around or you’re able to take an impromptu vacation day, spend every waking minute of it having fun with your kids. Don’t let the demands of work pull at you for a full 24 hours, so that you can return with fresh eyes and a clear head, free of nagging guilt and regret.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No.”

When you’re accustomed to taking on more than you can handle and managing every aspect of your professional life as well as running a household, it’s understandable to feel as if no one is quite capable of handling things in a manner that lives up to your standards. Reminding yourself that it’s okay to say “no” and okay to let someone else take the reins for a while may take a bit of conditioning and lots of effort, but the ability to delegate tasks and entrust them to other people will relieve some of your stress.

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10 Famous Moms with Nannies

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With society trending towards the ideal of two full-time working parents and the increasing demand of a fast paced culture, more and more parents are looking to nannies to fulfill their childcare needs. Nowhere is this trend more apparent than in Hollywood, where over-scheduled celebrities with big budgets rely on a troupe of nannies to look after their children and households while they’re on location or touring the world to perform. In addition to their personal chefs, housekeepers, drivers and personal assistants, it has become increasingly popular for celebrities to bring multiple nannies on staff to manage the care of their children. Aside from entrusting their children’s lives to the care of beloved nannies, they also place a lot of trust in those nannies’ ability to be discreet. With their multi-coastal estates, jet-setting careers, crazed paparazzi and fanatical followers, celebrity moms still manage to make it look easy. Fortunately, they have the trusted help of Hollywood’s best private childcare providers at their disposal.

  1. Angelina Jolie-Pitt – With Angelina and Brad’s growing brood, the couple utilizes the help of numerous nannies. Anywhere between six nannies is normal for the famous parents during a regular day, presumably one for each child, and up to 12 during holiday vacations. Their nannies are required to speak multiple languages, including the native language of the child they’re caring for, hold a college degree in education or child development and be willing to travel to between their US homes and internationally as well.
  2. Jennifer Lopez – Jenny from the Block proudly stands with the growing number of celebrities that opt for nannies of their own flesh and blood. Jennifer’s mother, Guadalupe, acts as a live-in nanny for twins Max and Emme. The trend of relatives-as-nannies is gaining traction with the Joe Normals of the nation, but celebrities aren’t strangers to family care either.
  3. Christina Aguilera – While Christina does have a nanny who works alongside her own mother, she also relies upon her ex-husband’s parents for childcare whenever possible due to trust issues stemming from her own childhood.
  4. Julia Roberts – In an interview with Access Hollywood, Julia Roberts stated she wouldn’t have been able to travel while shooting the film, “Eat, Pray, Love” without relying on a “village” to help take care of the kids while on location.
  5. Heidi Klum – Even though nannies are not highly advertised or photographed in Hollywood, this TV host, model and mother of four has made no attempt to hide that fact that she employs up to three nannies at a time.
  6. Gwyneth Paltrow – She enlists the help of a former maternity nurse and published author and expert of child-rearing to help care for her children as she maintains her acting career and the Goop empire. Paltrow has been very open about her insistence on employing more than one nanny since the birth of her first child, daughter Apple.
  7. Nadya Suleman – Between allegations of an ex-nanny’s obsession with her oldest son and a dubious career in porn, Octomom Nadya Suleman is no stranger to the lurid side of the spotlight. While TMZ reported in 2012 that her three nannies insisted that her 14 children were “behaving like angels” during Suleman’s stint in rehab, they also assert that maintaining order was easier when Octomom was out of the way!
  8. Princess Di – The late Princess Diana enlisted the help of one nanny, Olga Powell, to help raise her two little princes, William and Harry.
  9. Elizabeth Banks – The wacky funny lady and character actress may have received rave reviews for her turn as Effie Trinkett in The Hunger Games, but she’s also been under fire from moms for her complaints about the difficulty of caring for her children during a no-nannies vacation.
  10. Britney Spears – When allegations of methamphetamine use were leveled against the troubled pop princess, a former nanny came to the rescue with sworn testimony that she never saw drugs in her employer’s house during her well-documented struggles.

Life as a celebrity may seem like a cakewalk on the surface, but Hollywood’s finest have to be on call and ready to shoot off to an interview, photo shoot or audition at a moment’s notice. Plenty of celebrity moms catch flak for employing an army to look after their children, but such a large staff is often required for security reasons as well as childcare. This need for heightened security is a contributing factor to the rise of male nannies, or “mannies,” amongst celebrity parents.

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