Michelle Obama: Who Do You Want For Your Children's Role Model?

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PHILADELPHIA ― First lady Michelle Obama on Monday asked Americans to decide who they want serving as a role model for their children ― Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
This election, Obama said during her speech at the Democratic National Convention, “is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives.” 
The crowd waved purple signs that read simply, “Michelle.”
Obama made clear that this election will determine who will give hopeto the next generation, or instill fear.
“Every word we utter, every action we take, we know they arewatching,” Obama said. “We as parents are their most important rolemodels.”
That responsibility, Obama said, carries into her role asfirst lady, and her husband’s job as president
“We know that our words and actions matter not just to our girls, butto children across this country,” she said.
Taking a jab at Trump and others who have questioned the president’s citizenship and his faith, Obama repeated the advice she and the president have shared with their children.
“When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level,” she said. “No, our motto is: ‘When they go low, we go high.’”
Obama recalled a simple but telling moment her husband shared with alittle boy to tell those in Wells Fargo Center and watching across theU.S. that this election comes downs to more than party divisionsstirring Democrats as the convention begins.
“Kids like the little black boy who looked up at my husband with eyeswide, and he wondered, ‘Is my hair like yours?’” Obama said. “Make nomistake about it, this November when we go to the polls that is whatwe are deciding. Not Democrat or Republican. Not left or right.”
And the only person she trusts with the further of her daughters and other American children is Hillary Clinton.
“I want a president who will teach our children that everyone in this country matters,” she said.
“I want a president with a record of public service, someone whose life work shows our children that we don’t seek fame and fortune for ourselves.”
A president “can’t have a thin skin or a tendency to lash out,” she said. “You need to be steady and measured and well informed.”
Obama talked about the joy of watching her daughters ― “two young black women playing on the White House lawn” ―
and choked up as she noted that we “now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.”
She also seemed to give a nod to disgruntled Bernie Sanders supporters, noting Clinton’s loss to her husband in 2008. “Hillary knows this is so much bigger than her own desires and disappointments.” — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

10 Things To Keep In Mind When Telling Your Kids About The Divorce

Telling your kids that you plan to divorce is not a conversation to be taken lightly. It’s one that marks a turning point in all of your lives.
For the sake of your children’s mental health, it’s important to be prepared. Below are some expert tips to help you share the news with your kids in the best way possible considering the circumstances. 
1. Watch your tone.
“Both parents should try to speak in a calm tone, without intense or out-of-control displays of emotion. The goal is to show that the divorce is the best choice for everyone, although it is a sad situation. Crying may be unavoidable, and can even show the child how you take the divorce seriously and understand how hard it will be. However, if a parent gets loud or loses control, it can scare the children and teach them to associate the divorce with fear and trauma.” ― Samantha Rodman, clinical psychologist and author of How to Talk to Your Kids about Your Divorce
2. Let them know that the divorce is not their fault.
“Children of all ages tend to blame themselves when their parents are upset. It’s essential to let them know they are innocent and not to be blamed on any level, even if you’ve been fighting over them.” ― Rosalind Sedacca, Certified Divorce Coach and author of How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce

 3. Use clear language.
“Sometimes parents mistakenly think they can soften the blow for kids by not using the words separation or divorce. Instead, they may say something like, ‘we’ve decided we need a break to think things over.’ Other parents try to dodge the bullet by offering an alternate explanation for why things are different, such as, “mom/dad has a big project at work and will be moving out for a while so they can be closer to the office.’ When this happens, kids are often left hanging in limbo. They may also hold fast to the hope that things will eventually go back to the way they were before. To avoid confusion, be sure to talk with your children in a direct way using clear language that is age appropriate.” ― Christina McGhee, divorce coach and author of Parenting Apart
4. Tell all the kids at the same time.
“Make sure that every family member is included in your announcement. Telling older or younger siblings in different ways can make children feel like they must keep a secret until the whole family knows. Gather everyone, sit down and have an honest discussion about your plans.” ― Chelli Pumphrey, therapist and author
5. Give your kids advance notice before a parent moves out.
“I usually suggest that parents give school-age kids about two- to three-weeks notice before a parent moves out. Younger kids don’t have the same sense of time, so a few days is best for pre-schoolers. There is no magic number; the idea is to give children enough time to wrap their minds around the news, but not so much time that they feel they’re living in and endless, anxiety-inducing limbo.” ― Kate Scharff, psychotherapist and divorce mediator 

6. Consider timing.
“Avoid birthdays, special days, exams or significant events. Ideally, tell your children when there is time on the back end to process the news. For example, at the start of a long weekend when they and you will be home and present to support them.” ― Deborah Meckinger, mediator and therapist
 7. Let them know you’ll both always be there.
“Young children often feel that if their parents divorce each other, this means they could divorce the kids too. They see that their parents don’t love each other anymore and worry that the parents may fall out of love with them too. Be sure to tell the children you will both be there for them and will always be their mom and dad. The fear of abandonment is an important issue to keep in mind even if the children cannot express it openly. They will also have to grieve just as the adults do after a massive life change. How children manage and adjust to divorce is directly related to how the adults are handling it.” ― Karyl McBride, marriage and family therapist

8. Show a unified front.
“Parents should back one another up in this discussion and show a united front for the children. This situation is confusing enough for kids without having to witness a difference of opinion between their parents about key issues. If Mom says, ‘you’ll live with me, mostly’ and Dad says, ‘you’ll split time with us,’ a child feels anxious not only because she doesn’t know what will actually happen, but also because she senses that a big conflict is brewing over this issue.” ― Samantha Rodman
9. Offer a sense of stability.
“Along with addressing how things will be different, give your children solid ground to stand on by talking about what will stay the same. For example, you might say something like, ‘Although the relationship is changing between Mom and Dad, there are things in your life that will stay the same. You will still have a mom and a dad, we will both still love you very much and you will still go to the same school and have the same friends.’ Whenever possible, do your best to minimize the number of changes kids have to deal with in the early stages of your separation or divorce. Keep in mind that this does not mean that children should maintain one primary home and only have occasional contact with the other parent. When safety is not an issue, children benefit most when they have consistent and regular contact with both parents.” ― Christina McGhee
10. Don’t tell them you still love each other.
“If you’ve ever been told ‘I love you, but I’m not in love with you,’ you know how hard it can be to grasp the distinction. Degrees of love are abstract. They’re confusing to young kids and frustrating to older ones. It’s tough to find the right words. For young children, try saying: ‘No, we don’t love each other anymore, but that only happens with adults. Parents never fall out of love with their kids. Though we’ll be living apart, we’ll still take care of you together.’ For school-age children and teenagers, try: ‘We don’t love each other anymore, but we’ve been together a long time and care deeply about each other. The main thing is that we want to support each other in being the best parents we can be.’” ― Kate Scharff  — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Motherhood Through A Lens: Live In The Moment Or Capture It For Later

This article began as an opening monologue on my weekly BBM Global Network and TuneIn radio show that shares a title with this column, MD for Moms. The show in question was an interview with author Elizabeth Isadora Gold regarding her book, The Mommy Group: Freaking Out, Finding Friends, and Surviving the Happiest Time of Our Lives You can listen here.
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On a recent vacation it occurred to me how nice it would be to have someone follow my family around with a camera to capture every special moment for posterity. Having been intrigued by ‘day in a life’ packages offered by photographers, only to be turned off by the costs, I instead find myself constantly taking pictures day in and day out. How many pictures are on your phone? Have you ever checked? You might be shocked. My six year old informed me that I have nearly 12,000 pictures and 1,000 videos on my iPhone. Seriously? How is that possible? At least half must be crap, yet I keep them, in part out of laziness (who has time to erase things?), and in part out of some sense of sentimentality, in that even some of the worst pics are still cute and I can’t help but keep them. I have to imagine I am not alone in this experience.

If you have a child in school, you have surely been to school events, shows, performances and little graduations. Think back to one of those performances and how you viewed this milestone in your child’s life. If you are like most parents, you saw the event through the viewscreen of your iPhone or camera. At a recent dance event I noticed that practically every single parent was videotaping the experience via their raised phone. Why do both parents need to videotape the same performance? And, more importantly, if you are staring at something through your phone or camera, are you truly experiencing it? Modern-day parents may be missing out in an attempt to capture it all for posterity. Isn’t that a shame?

Obviously I am guilty of the same, yet, as I look back at many of these images I realize that I am not in any of the pictures. Beyond selfies with my kids, there is an obligation to be out of a picture if you are taking it. You are removed from the merriment, removed from the experience in many ways by being the photographer. By saving the moment are you by default missing out on it? Our memories are created by being present in the moment, by experiencing the fun and laughter, not by viewing it through a lens.

Mobile photos go hand in hand with social media, with the best photos going on Facebook to show the world, or at least the few hundred or thousand so-called friends, how wonderful our lives are, how perfect our kids are and how happy and carefree we all are. Modern motherhood is in many ways a projection of what we want others to see, an image caught in an instant, rather than reality. However, such images can be shockingly misleading. I recently saw a profoundly moving post on Postpartum Progress displaying pictures of mothers and their babies. In those photos each woman looks happy, connected with her child and appears to be enjoying the moment. Below each photo is a description of how each seemingly serene woman was suffering from severe postpartum depression, anxiety or psychosis when the picture was taken. What a powerful statement.

In that vein, I wonder if by trying to capture each moment rather than experience it, we are potentially reimagining motherhood for ourselves; rather than remembering the fussing or the food thrown on the floor, the stress of trying to get a new eater to open his or her mouth, we instead have the picture of the smiling baby covered in food to help us rewire our memory in a more positive fashion?

There can be some benefit to retooling memory in such a way, but is doing so removing us from the present unnecessarily? Let’s explore this idea.

Reframing the memory into a positive experience is accomplished by divorcing the image from the reality of life with children. Rather than re-experience the frustration or sense of inadequacy evoked by trying to keep a toddler from standing in their highchair, by looking back and fashioning memory based on a picture, the same event is remembered only for the cute smile that same toddler made while the picture was taken, a second before standing back up. The look of horror or fear on mom’s face is not part of the scene, so it can be as if it never happened.

Another viewpoint is this. We moms often miss out on the moment by being overly focused on the details. Taking a picture presents an opportunity to see the wonderful simplicity and pure positivity of childhood after the fact, which is better than not at all.

I am making a conscious effort to limit my picture taking these days – yes, i am still taking pictures of my kids playing together, laughing, doing things that are silly and fun, things that seem important to remember. But, I am trying not to limit myself to life experienced behind the lens. Will I have a tangible reminder of each moment in the future — maybe not. But does that really matter? I don’t think so and I hope not because motherhood isn’t really about each singular moment as much as it is about being present, being there for and with your kids through the good and the bad, being able to live in the here and now.

How will you remember your child’s baby years? Through the lens of a camera or mobile phone, or from your experiences with them? And which will be better?

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I am running in the New York City 2016 Marathon with Team For Kids, a group of adult runners raising money for critical New York Road Runners youth programs. Your donation to this inspiring mission will help support their country-wide programs that combat childhood obesity and empower youth development via running and character-building. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Teenager's Stunning Celine Dion Covers Will Make Your Jaw Drop

A lot of content on the internet is billed as “incredible,” “awe-inspiring,” “jaw-dropping” and “out-of-this-world.” Though not every video lives up to its description, these videos of a teenager covering Celine Dion certainly will. 
Meet Samuel, a 17-year-old living in Libreville, Gabon, Africa, according to Mashable. He’s amassed nearly a million views for his breathtaking covers of two Celine Dion songs. Blogger Barack Nyare Mba ― Samuel’s current manager ― posted clips of the singer’s soaring renditions of “The Power of Love” and “To Love You More” and he sounds exactly like Celine. 
Just try not to burst into tears when he begins to hit the high notes: 

Near, far, wherever you are ― you’ll enjoy these covers to no end.  — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Judge Dispels The Myth Of The 'Perfect' Rape Victim In Powerful Verdict

“For much of our history, the ‘good’ rape victim, the ‘credible’ rape victim has been a dead one.”
That’s just one of the many powerful statements Ontario Court Justice Marvin Zuker said in court last week while delivering his verdict in a Canadian university rape case. The judge announced that he found the defendant guilty of sexual assault and proceeded to point out the insidious effects of victim-blaming in his 179-page verdict. 
“The myths of rape should be dispelled once and for all,” Judge Zuker read aloud in court last Thursday. “We cannot perpetuate the belief that niceness cannot coexist with violence, evil or deviance, and consequently the nice guy must not be guilty of the alleged offense.” 

Ururyar found guilty of sexually assaulting York U student Mandi Gray. " Rape it was" @CityNews pic.twitter.com/8ebisnsf2u— marianne boucher (@CityCourtsTO) July 21, 2016

The case, which began in February, involved Mustafa Ururyar and Mandi Gray, two doctoral students at Toronto’s York University. According to The Guardian, the two had been casually dating when Gray went to Ururyar’s apartment one night in January 2015. 
As the two made their way back to Ururyar’s apartment, Gray said he became angry and started calling her “a slut” and “needy.” Gray testified that Ururyar forced her to perform oral sex on him and then raped her later that night. 
Ururyar had pleaded not guilty to sexual assault, claiming that he and Gray had engaged in consensual sex on the night in question. According to Judge Zuker’s verdict, Ururyar’s defense repeatedly attacked Gray’s character and attempted to discredit her story throughout the trial. 
Judge Zuker was not accepting Ururyar’s “twisted logic,” as he said in his verdict. The judge denounced Ururyar’s defense, calling it all a “fabrication” that is “credible, never,” adding, “I must and do reject his evidence.”  

The judge described how traumatizing the defense’s character assassination must have been for Gray and condemned a culture that is so quick to victim-blame: 

The court was constantly reminded, told, as if to traumatize the helplessness, the only one we can believe is Mr. Ururyar, because she, she Ms. Gray, cannot remember. What a job and a real bad one, trying to shape the evening. We must not create a culture that suggest we learn that rape is wrong through trial and error.
How can you prove it? You don’t remember. He knows you don’t remember. He is going to write the script and he did. Testimony incomplete, memory loss, etc. etc. And, of course, typically, no dialogue in the story. One full sentence by Ms. Gray? What is it? No power, no voice, defenceless [sic]. To listen to Mr. Ururyar paint Ms. Gray as the seductive party animal is nothing short of incomprehensible. He went or tried to go to any length to discredit Ms. Gray, if not invalidate her. Such twisted logic.
… There is no demographic profile that typifies a rapist. There is a danger of stereotyping rapists. When the accused is a friend of the victim and uses that relationship to gain, and then betray the complainant’s trust; there may be a need to be informed in order to recognize and understand the accused’s predatory behaviour [sic]. No other crime is looked upon with the degree of blameworthiness, suspicion, and doubt as a rape victim. Victim blaming is unfortunately common and is one of the most significant barriers to justice and offender accountability.
…The responsibility and blame lie with the perpetrator who takes advantage of a vulnerable victim or violates the victim’s trust to commit the crime of sexual assault. Rape is an act of violence and aggression in which the perpetrator uses sex as a weapon to gain power and control over the victim. It is too common to redefine rape as sex and try to capitalize on the mistaken believe that rape is an act of passion that is primarily sexually motivated, It is important to draw the legal and common sense distinction between rape and sex… There is no situation in which an individual cannot control his/her sexual urges.

Mustafa Ururyar ordered to step into custody to await sentence hearing after conviction for raping Mandi Gray. pic.twitter.com/BCT9WT2i65— marianne boucher (@CityCourtsTO) July 25, 2016

Towards the end of his statement, Judge Zuker clarified  what consent really means and why a survivor’s actions before the assault should never be used to excuse rape. 
“Without consent, ‘no’ means ‘no,’ no matter what the situation or circumstances,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if the victim was drinking, out at night alone, sexually exploited, on a date with the perpetrator, or how the victim was dressed. No one asks to be raped.” 
In his verdict, the judge actually underlined that last sentence (on page 172 in the embedded statement below). 
The same day Judge Zuker read his verdict, Gray released a public statement in response to Zuker’s powerful words. “I am tired of people talking to me like I won some sort of rape lottery because the legal system did what it is supposed to do,” Gray wrote. 

In a conversation with reporters after the hearing, Gray called the verdict a “huge victory,” but added that Zuker’s statements can’t undo the trauma she’s endured. 
“I think it’s massive, these statements,” Gray said. “But, I mean, these statements don’t un-rape me, first of all, and nor does it erase the process that I’ve had to go through.”
Read Gray’s full statement, which she also published on Facebook, below. 

Ururyar’s sentencing will take place Sept. 14.
Read Judge Zurker’s full statement on the verdict below. 

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Keeping Your Kids Safe At The Pool: What A Lifeguard Knows

What does a lifeguard know about keeping your kids safe at the pool? I asked my son, who has been a community pool lifeguard for over five years, and who had a “jump” last summer, the term lifeguards use when they’ve needed to save a life.

It had been a 90 degree day, and in the middle of a crowded pool, my son saw a child floating face down. Within two seconds, the well practiced plan and hours of training that the lifeguards are required to complete, took over. He blew his whistle calling in other guards to action, and he jumped, pulling the child out. The child is thankfully fine, but my son came home saying all the things that could have been done to avoid the near drowning.

I asked him to tell me the most important things we need to know about protecting our kids when in water. His answers went beyond the usual routine advice we have already heard about water safety.

Here’s what a veteran lifeguard has to say about being a lifeguard and how you can help him to keep you and your kids, safe in the water:

1.) Lifeguards are not there to be babysitters. Our job is to help in an emergency, but we are watching lots of kids at one time, not just one.

2.) Wear sunscreen. Even if it’s cloudy. You’ll get burned through the gray, trust me. Every year, I see bad burns and people are always surprised at how it happened.

3.) When we say your kid isn’t able to do something, don’t take it as an insult. Lots of us teach swim lessons besides lifeguarding. We know what makes a swimmer strong enough to move to the next level and be safe swimming in a deeper depth. Practice, sign up for an extra set of lessons and get better at swimming before you enter into water that’s deep.

4.) We don’t make the rules, we’re just paid to enforce them. Don’t get mad at us and argue with us about how we don’t want you to have fun when we ask you to not throw your kid in the pool. Your kids see you yelling back at us. We do want you to have a good time, but we want you to have a good time by being safe. When we tell you as an adult to not play chicken with your kid on your shoulders, please show your kids that you will listen to us, respect the job we do and obey us.

5.) Take a break, kids get tired easily and you can see them become weaker in the water the longer they play. Swim for awhile, then sit it out and let them rest before you come back in.

6.) Want to know why we use our megaphone and say “WALK!” 100 times a day? It’s because we have seen enough kids run on a slippery surface and fall on their head and need some serious stitches.

7.) Talk to your kids before you get to the pool. Tell them about pool safety, show them where to go and where not to go. Tell them to listen and obey the lifeguard. You’re at the pool to have fun, the last thing you want is an accident. When you make it clear how to behave at the pool, you lessen the chance of that.

8.) Always know where your kid is and tell them they have to tell you where they are going to be.

9.) The best way to keep your kid safe in water is to watch them. Know where they are, always, and watch them. Don’t read a book, don’t be on your phone, don’t fall asleep, don’t walk away and get a snack. We have seen kids climb up slides and go down them not knowing they empty into deep water. We have seen kids run and jump off diving boards without any idea they’re about to go into water over their head.

I was a kid at the pool once, too. I used to think that lifeguards just liked shouting WALK! because they liked the megaphone. Until I became a lifeguard. I remember being yelled at for running and doing cannonballs off the edge of the pool. Now I know there’s a reason for it. Kids get hurt, kids nearly drown.

Water is fun, but you have to be aware of how it can turn from fun to danger if you’re not careful. This isn’t just for kids — adults, too, have to be responsible for their safety in water. Don’t go where it’s deep if you can’t swim in it.

And one more thing: every summer, parents ask us why they can’t use water wings. It’s because they make kids falsely feel they’re safe in deeper water, and the parents think so too. But water wings aren’t life preservers and can’t be used for that. We’ve seen them deflate, slip off and even pop. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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How to Save Your Marriage from Parenthood

By Amie M. Gordon

I became a parent a year and a half ago, and my life changed forever.

When I was pregnant, lots of parents gave me advice (Enjoy going to the grocery store by yourself while you still can! Go out on dates! Clean your house!). One even warned me that becoming a parent would “rock my world.” I thought I understood. I thought I was prepared for the huge change coming. And while I wasn’t unprepared, I really had no idea exactly how life-changing becoming a parent would be.

Now I try to explain to my friends who don’t have children what exactly getting swept into parenthood felt like, and the best I have come up with is this–I had my daughter and she was more wonderful than I could have imagined, and the rest of my life fell into chaos. One of those pieces of my life was my relationship with my husband.

We look at each other and marvel that we used to sit around on the weekend and lament that we did not know what to do with ourselves. Now we would give anything to learn the secret to freezing time. Now we try to hold on as life rushes by. Now I tell my husband we need more time and he agrees but asks, “what time?”

In just a little over a year and a half, our life before baby is becoming a distant memory. Nights cuddled up on the couch together, lazy weekend mornings, and all-day hikes are a thing of the past. I know they’ll be back someday, but I fear in the meantime we might get used to the “new normal” of having very little time together. I worry that the stress of jobs, long commutes, lack of sleep, and the realities of taking care of a sweet little girl who can’t take care of herself yet will do a number on our relationship, and it might have bent into an unrecognizable shape by the time we again find ourselves able to cuddle up on the couch to watch a movie.

I worry about what parenthood might be doing to our relationship because I have spent the past 12 years studying the psychology of relationships and there are countless articles examining “the decline in marital satisfaction during the transition to parenthood.”

There are disagreements about how bad that decline really is, whether it is worse for men or women, and what helps prevent it. And because researchers can’t randomly assign people to have children or not, we can never have the necessary experimental evidence to definitely say that parenthood is bad for marriage. But studies of couples who were followed from before they had children until years after their first child was born (and compared to couples who did not have children) seem to consistently show that for a sizeable portion of couples, having a child is hard on the relationship.

But these studies also show that this hit to your relationship is not an inevitability. There is always variability and some couples in these studies aren’t in a downward trajectory after having their first child. Of course, we all want to know how to be one of these couples. Some of it is not easy to change–having more financial resources, having a planned pregnancy, and having parents who didn’t divorce have all been suggested as protective factors. And of course, prioritizing your relationship and finding time together as a couple is important. But that is easier said than done.

So regardless of your income level or whether you planned your pregnancy, even for those of you who can’t or don’t want to hire a babysitter for regular date nights, here are a few suggestions for how to maintain (or reignite) the spark in your relationship.

1. Prioritize sleep

Easier said than done. But researchers think that one of the reasons the transition to parenthood might be hard on relationships is because that adorable bundle of joy wreaks havoc on your sleep. When you’re low on sleep, you might find yourself feeling more irritable and hostile and reacting more strongly when something bad happens. And my colleague and I found that couples fought more, and were worse at resolving conflict, if either partner had slept poorly the previous night. Even if you are no longer dealing with nighttime wakings, you might still be suffering from a massive sleep debt. After several days of sleep loss, people report not feeling as tired, but they still perform poorly on mental tasks.

I, of course, am bad at prioritizing sleep–it’s hard to leave the dishes unwashed and the living room strewn with toys and sometimes you just want a little bit of me (or we) time at the end of a long day. But even if you are still waking up at night to care for your little one, there are things you can do to prioritize sleep. For example, try giving yourself a bedtime, don’t take your phone or tablet to bed with you, engage in good sleep hygiene so you’re not tossing and turning all night long, and even consider sleeping in a separate bed from your partner at times if you wake each other up. Think about whether there are ways to divide up the night so that you can both get a bit of consolidated sleep.

The bottom line: Everything is easier and better if you’re facing the day fully rested. You’ll be more efficient, get your work done faster, make fewer mistakes, and have more control over your emotions. So rather than stay up to deal with some household, work, or personal problem, get some sleep and see if that problem isn’t easier to solve in the morning. Oh, and forget the old adage “never go to bed angry.” Instead, try “if you’re angry, say I love you and goodnight, and see if it’s still a problem in the morning.”

2. Give each other the benefit of the doubt
Sleepless nights, a crying baby, and all the other demands of parenthood are added on top of everything you were doing before baby came along. Although a joyous time in so many ways, the transition to parenthood can also be incredibly stressful. Stress makes it difficult to be a loving and present partner.

So when your partner snaps at you, forgets to do something you asked them to do, or just isn’t as loving and affectionate as you’d like, rather than getting angry, trying chalking it up to the fact that, like you, he or she is probably sleep-deprived and stressed. Blaming minor relationship issues on external causes like lack of sleep or baby-induced memory loss can help you keep things in perspective, possibly preventing something small from turning into a big, sleep-deprived fight.

Of course, it’s hard to remember to give the benefit of the doubt, especially if you are running low on sleep, so you could try creating a rule for yourself (called an implementation intention). For example, every time you start to feel annoyed at your partner, you could repeat to yourself, “It’s not him, it’s the lack of sleep,” or something along those lines. You could also try to remember the last time you did something similar and remind yourself that you are both going to make a lot of mistakes during this time.

Of course, if you find yourself facing real relationship issues, it’s not healthy to just shrug them aside; there are things you can do to reduce conflict in your relationship. But it is still important to keep a good perspective.

3. Be appreciative
Little time and lots to do may mean you find yourselves taking each other for granted. Who has time to say thank for making dinner when you’re rushing to get the baby ready for bed? Plus, again, that whole not getting enough sleep thing–I have found in my own research that people tend to be less grateful when they aren’t getting enough sleep. But a little gratitude could go a long way.

Research shows that more grateful people are more satisfied with their relationships, and this might be particularly true during transitional times like having a baby. So little things, like recognizing your partner’s efforts, taking a few moments to feel lucky you get to share this chaotic journey together, or reflecting back on how you felt when you met and then expressing those feelings to your partner, might help keep the spark alive.

And if you start expressing your gratitude, you’ll likely find that your partner is more likely to express his or her gratitude as well. And how good would it feel to receive a heartfelt thanks for all those dinners you’ve made or those diapers changes that you thought went unnoticed?

4. Start a new (not time-intensive) hobby together

Research shows that engaging in novel activities together is good for couples, and this might be particularly true during the transition to parenthood when so much of your time is spent focused on things other than your relationships–especially if you find that your old hobbies don’t work well in your new lifestyle.

Sure, we go on walks pushing our daughter in the stroller, but it’s no longer reasonable for us to take day-long hikes up the mountains each weekend or make pancakes and watch a Psych marathon on Saturday morning. Nights out at the movies or late-night dinners are also a thing of the past.

Even if you are able to engage in some of your old hobbies together thanks to a babysitter, it still might be worth finding a new hobby the two of you can start together. A new hobby could bring you together, give you something new to talk about, and provide you with a little bit of fun during a time when the majority of your interactions sans children might feel like business meetings.

Of course, I’m not encouraging you to pick up skydiving (maybe after the last kid leaves for college?). Choose something not too time-intensive that you can easily fit into your new lives. If you both like reading, start a book club with just the two of you or take turns reading a chapter to each other before bed at night. Pick up a new game–I played boggle for the first time in years this summer and thought how easy and fun it would be to play 10 minutes of boggle together a few nights a week. Into food? Find a top-10 list for restaurants in your area and commit to trying one every few weeks and work together to plan out what you’ll eat before you go.

5. Commiserate with each other
When things are at their worst, don’t stew in silence. Remember you are in it together. Even if you’re not sleeping, are snappish, and have no time for appreciation or new hobbies, it might help you feel better about your relationship if you take the time to gripe together.

If you know that your partner is also tired and wishes more than anything he or she could run away to a deserted tropical island with you, you might not feel so alone and frustrated. It’s not that your partner doesn’t care, it’s that she is also struggling with getting through her day and forgets to tell you that she cares.

You could even schedule a weekly gripe session–just five minutes on Friday night to sit down and take turns complaining and commiserating with the other person’s woes could help you stay a “we” rather than turn into a “you” and “me.”

Did you have a hard time in your relationship when you became a parent? Did you find any strategies that worked? How old were your kids when you had time together again?

This article was originally published on Psych Your Mind. Read the original article. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Hilarious Pregnancy Announcement Turns The Tables On Expecting Dad

In two photos, a Boston couple announced that they were expecting and shared a hilarious twist.
In February, Kevin (who requested his last name not be used) posted the pregnancy announcement that he and his wife, Melissa, used to share their big news with friends and family on Imgur. In the first photo, Melissa appears to be sick over a toilet while Kevin holds a sign that reads, “We’re pregnant.” The second photo shows an adorable punchline.

Kevin told The Huffington Post that Melissa got inspiration from other announcements she found on Pinterest and Instagram. The couple’s photos went viral on Imgur with more than 424,000 views as of Monday. 
“It caught fire so fast that a lot of people we knew found out online before we had even had a chance to send the announcement to them directly,” Kevin said.
Melissa gave birth to three boys on June 28 and Kevin told The Huffington Post how proud he was of his wife. 
“My wife is a rock star and did such an excellent job keeping herself and the babies healthy and continues to amaze me with how strong she is and how great of a mother she already is,” he said. 

That special day was no doubt a game changer for the couple.
“It was certainly the greatest moment of our lives,” Kevin said. 
H/T PopSugar — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

15 Emotional Photos That Capture Birth In Military Families

In a lot of ways, childbirth is universal. And yet military families face certain challenges and circumstances that simply do not exist for most civilian families, such as deployment. That’s true whether it’s the mother or father who serves ― or both. 
So we asked the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers for photos that capture childbirth in military families ― an experience that feels at once unique and familiar ― and the stories they shared were extremely moving. Here are 15 of them, with captions from the photographers.

 Captions have been edited and condensed for clarity.  — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

13 Confessions Of A Mom Barely Keeping Her Sh*t Together

Let’s be honest.

Motherhood is an enlightening, fantastic, humbling experience, but it looks nothing like Pinterest (which I’m not even on, by the way, because that shit would bug me).

It looks like this:

1. Coffee and mascara save lives.

2. It’s a good day when you don’t yell at someone.

3. I should be the one getting a toy at the end of doctor’s visits.

4. My kids don’t bat an eyelash at crust on bread, but residual plastic from the straw wrapper still stuck to their juice boxes makes me the worst mom ever.

5. The real reason why we let our kids watch TV is so we don’t implode or explode if we don’t go to the bathroom alone at least once before dinner.

6. I love when TV show characters have babies but the babies are never around.

7. I hate using the “wait ’til Dad gets home” line or “I’ll tell your dad about that.” I don’t believe in making him the bad guy. But sometimes it’s all I’ve got left, so it’s worth a try.

8. The fact that there are no sick days totally sucks. Especially since it’s my co-workers usually getting me sick.

9. It feels more incredible than anything else to be called “Mommy.”

10. Why is play cleaning so much fun, but picking up their toys is so far fetched?

11. Cutting my kids’ toenails is pure torture, for everyone involved. And to the people who say cute things like, “I always did it while they were asleep,” please know that I’m either having sex or drinking wine or both when my kids finally pass out.

12. I don’t read shitty beach reads when I finally get to sit down with a book. Instead I read all of the classics I never had to for school, or something new that really is well written and inspiring. It makes me feel like the woman I am outside of being a mom.

13. If crazy looked like something it would look like neon orange powder that once was a Goldfish cracker ground into the carpet I just vacuumed. Or it would look like me with wet, dripping hair running underwear-less underneath my bathrobe down the front sidewalk to wave the bus on that I forgot to call and cancel when my kid got sick. Crazy would also have a smell. It would be other people’s poop.

But for all these times when I feel like I’m going crazy, I know that in some love-drunk, perverse way, they truly are the best years of my life. I remind myself of this, too, as I kiss little girls’ bumps on their foreheads, and as I try to escape to the bathroom to pee. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families