4 Tips to Avoid Having Friends Who Suck the Life Out of You

If you are reading this post, you probably have a friend or two that suck the life out of you.  GET RID OF THEM! (Gasp!  Horror!)  If you haven’t ever removed a friend from your life, it sounds so scary.  I remember the first time it was suggested to me that I remove someone from my life, it was a very long term friend…  I thought, what?!?!?!?  How is that even possible?

It’s a really tough concept to wrap your head around, but nobody else can cause you pain.  You are in charge of your own feelings.  You can choose to feel happy, sad, stressed, any emotion really.  When you begin to realize that you can control your feelings and emotions, it is pretty easy to not allow people to suck the life out of you.

 

Shutterstock image

Shutterstock image

 

When I gave birth to my first child, I suddenly saw a few people in my life for who they really were and knew they couldn’t be in my life anymore.  Ugly, life-sucking opinions came out.  Disrespectful drop-ins without a call first, and awful, rotten things said behind my back about my parenting decisions.  I was miserable, yet so blissfully in love and happy at the same time.

A brilliant life coach asked me why I was putting up with these people who constantly made my life miserable.  I thought it was such a strange question and honestly it took months for me to understand what she meant.  I began by taking baby steps.  I decided to build a wall around myself when I had to deal with this small group of people and not let their comments hurt me.  Once I wrapped my head around the concept, I began to stick up for myself little by little and something funny happened: By sticking up for myself, I felt a shift and unknowingly changed the dynamic of our relationship.  Some didn’t like it all and our relationships ended.  It was beautiful!  One other relationship “got it”.  She understood what had happened and worked hard at making our relationship better.  It was the perfect outcome.

I started small.  There were two friends that added nothing but negativity to my life.  It was shockingly easy to let go of those friendships.  Once I got the taste for letting go of negativity, I cleaned house.  There were some major life-changing people I removed from my life, some were expensive, time consuming and emotional, but worth every single penny, minute and feeling.

I tend to volunteer my time on various boards and commissions.  I am involved with my children’s schools and deal with a lot of people at my job.  We all encounter difficult people and sometimes we have no choice but to work with them on certain projects.  That is when you have to build your little wall and not let them get to you and move on when the project is complete.

My husband and I have created what we like to call our “happy bubble”.  We check in with each other on certain people and places that are either in or out of our happy bubble.  Lately we have let some real crap into our bubble and it’s time to clean house.  It’s been a while since I have had to, but life got busy and I got  a little sloppy.

Four tips to keep life-sucking people away from your happy bubble:

1. Go with your gut.

We usually can feel it when somebody won’t add anything positive to your life.  I have ignored that little gut feeling too many times.  It’s not worth it.

2.  Don’t feel bad about your decision.

Letting a friend go is usually what is best for both of you.  Let. It. Go.

3.  Be clear.

The “break up” doesn’t have to be a big emotional scene.

Just be clear and unemotional.  You could say something like, “I think it would be best if we went our separate ways. We don’t seem to agree on many things and I respect you too much to continue to disagree.”  There are lots of ways to let somebody know in a civil manner that you don’t want to be friends.

4.  Learn the signs of life-sucking people and avoid!

Most toxic, negative people have the same traits.  Learn them and run in the opposite direction when you meet them.

Life is just too short to walk around unhappy, stressed, and miserable because of the people you surround yourself with.  The people in your life are there because of choices you have made.  Make better choices and you will see wonderful things happen.

 

Getting Down to Business With Rosie Pope

In honor of National Poison Prevention week, Tide and Gain asked Rosie Pope to chat with fantastically cool mom bloggers like Jenn and me! (I’m sure it had a little something to do with this.) To be clear- we did not receive any compensation, but we did get the opportunity to FaceTime with ROSIE POPE and she is all kinds of awesome. Like, I want to have her over for tea and let our kids make messy artwork once a week awesome. She is sweet and genuine and really REAL about being a mom and an entrepreneur. If you don’t know who Rosie is, check her out here.

We had a lot of fun chatting and we even set up our screen to record the FaceTime interview, but we didn’t get the audio!!! (QuickTime, it really is not cool that a new screen recording, defaults to no audio!) So, while we have this adorable screenshot for you, we don’t have the fun video we had planned.

I'm pretty sure we were laughing at boobie jokes. We are super classy.

I’m pretty sure we were laughing at boobie jokes. We are super classy.

Instead, I’ll tell you all about it! We asked Rosie for her favorite advice for moms and here’s what she said:

“Remember, it’s all about phases! There will be different things to balance at different stages.”

She went on to explain that as much as we all love (some more than others) the sweet newborn phase, we would never make it out of those first few months if we didn’t all know that that phase doesn’t last forever. I can tell you, the same goes for terrible two’s and threenagers, homework hell, tween angst, etc. This woman is a sage.

Another bit of wisdom that Rosie really seems to take to heart is that (and it’s totally tweetable!):

“You can’t find balance alone” 

We all need a little help to keep things in balance. I know I need some down time on occasion, or a few hours to finish work that otherwise would be interrupted too many times to count, and I cherish the mom and dad friends of mine who host playdates, or drop their kids with me to give Little A some playtime- and me a few moments to focus. Same goes for my amazing husband, my 16 year old sweetheart of a daughter and countless neighbors and friends with whom we trade favors and rescues.

When conversation turned to National Poison Prevention Week, Rosie got down to business with really practical advice. With specific regard to cleaning products, Rosie points to Tide & Gain’s safety campaign slogan “Up, Up, and Away”

Keep all cleaning supplies – including laundry pacs – Up, Up and Away seal pacs up, store pacs up and keep pacs away.

But, it’s the advice that Rosie shares from her experience working with families and her own children that really hit home for me-

You may have heard when you were baby-proofing that you should get down on your child’s level and look at the world through their eyes. Most parents and grandparents apply this technique when child-proofing outlets, sharp corners and breakables, but Rosie reminds us to KEEP DOING THIS at each phase. When your first child starts to crawl and the house is baby-proofed, your worries are few. When baby #2 crawls into older sister’s room and finds legos and marbles, it’s a different story.

Even as a mom who gives out parenting advice as part of her daily life and work, it surprised me how strongly this last bit of advice struck me, it is that important-

Be aware of the risks in other people’s homes. Don’t be afraid to ask other parents and educate your kids.

Of course I feel comfortable asking friends and other parents if they have guns in their homes. I know there are no drugs, cigarettes or alcohol within reach of my children and their friends. I know that the few homes where I leave Little A for playdates are aware and careful of her allergies. But I have NEVER asked another parent where or how they store their cleaning supplies or taken a walk around with eyes peeled for cleaning products or other potentially dangerous chemicals. So many parents- great parents!- wouldn’t think twice about leaving the laundry soap out while they put away the rest of the groceries. Or perhaps they ask an older child to dump the dirty hockey bag into the washer while they get dinner going, and the laundry pods are left out absent mindedly. It is so very easy for accidents to happen- and even if your home is chemical-free, most homes are not. If we are comfortable enough to leave our child in the care of another person, we need to feel comfortable asking about what dangers might be in the home. And giving information or a reminder about keeping kids safe.

Please share this with your friends and family and tell us what you think in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

Why Aren’t These Vocal Smoke Alarms For Sale?!

Somehow, this video of Hank Phillippi Ryan’s investigation of smoke alarms from 2004 has made a resurgence today on Facebook. It is alarming (no pun intended!) and extremely moving. It caused me to spend over an hour searching online to find a product.

In case you didn’t click the link above, or can’t watch it right now, the video shows Hank Phillippi Ryan meeting with families of fire fighters and filming nighttime testing of their smoke alarms, with frightening results. None of the children wake to the sound of the beeping alarm. OH MY GOD- they sleep right through!!! In the second half of the video, they test a (then) new kind of alarm- a vocal alarm that allows the parents to record their own voice- calmly but urgently calling their children to wake up and evacuate the home. ALL of the kids wake up and all but the child in his crib leave their rooms! By this time, I feel a bit shaky- quite emotional. seriously- I WANT THIS ALARM!!! Like, now. I’ll pay $100 and I want 2. Immediately.

Poking around online, I see that they are not currently for sale. I read several papers, including this very official study from 2006, that demonstrates the same outcome. In fact, the median time to awaken was 20 seconds in the voice alarm group compared with 3 minutes in the tone alarm group!!

WHERE THE HELL CAN I GET ONE?!

This Dateline video from 2013 features a doctor/researcher from a children’s hospital who also points to the child’s name and parent’s voice as important factors in waking the child quickly. The alarms we have in our home do have voice, but it is not my voice or my husband’s, and they certainly don’t call our the names of my children. Where is the study that shows my kids will wake up to this strange voice quicker than the beeping alarm?

I did find lots of old comments from people saying things like “well, wouldn’t the parents wake up and run to the kids anyway?” so, maybe there wasn’t enough interest in the personalized alarms until now. After seeing the videos, I’m guessing everyone I know will want one if it means their kids will wake up and get out in the event of a fire. Would you want one?

photo credit: Push and hold to test weekly via photopin (license)

Yummy oooey gooey black bean brownie recipe!

I am on a mission to get more protein in my children’s (especially my daughter’s) diet.  They won’t eat very many green things and are super picky.  I think most kids with food allergies tend to be picky, and mine are no different.

I have been trying to master this black bean brownie recipe for weeks but up until today they tasted like….  well… beans!!

I adjusted a few things this morning and it was a hit!!  They are SO GOOD!!!

 

black bean brownie 3

 

Here is my super easy recipe!!

 

Ingredients:

1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 eggs
3 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder  ( I use Vermont Nut Free cocoa powder)
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I also broke up a nut free chocolate bar for the topping and added nut free butterscotch chips)

Throw all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender to puree, except the toppings.  I added a touch of water to the blender to help it along.

Black bean brownie

Grease a pan (I used a glass pie plate) and pour in.  Place your toppings on top.   Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.  Let cool.

Dig in and enjoy!!!

-J

black bean brownie 2

How to Not Build a Closet (Or, as Babble Titled it, Do We Unconsciously Pressure Our Kids to Grow Up Straight?)

I’m honored to be published again on Babble.com. This is an important topic and I’m anxious to hear about your thoughts and experiences, so please read, share and post in the comments!

❤M

 

We Fell in Love Online

I know plenty of people who have successfully found love through online dating. I even know some folks who have grown their families by starting the adoption process or the search for a sperm donor online. It never occurred to me that we would fall in love online, but we did.

To complete our family, I had envisioned a picturesque sunny day- our whole family walking into a shelter and playing with pups until the perfect little girl- playful, sweet, tough, but not mean- would shine through the rest. That never happened. Instead, as I dreamed of the pitter patter of little paws and the giggles I knew I’d hear as my children played with our future family member, I stumbled onto petfinder.com and shared pictures of cute canines with my husband (who wasn’t yet 100% on board.) On the third or fourth night I spent this way, I literally fell in love at first sight with the cutest little brown-eyed face- and I couldn’t get her off of my mind. Andy felt the same tug at his heart and I jumped at the chance to make something happen.

AllYouNeedIsLoveAndADog

It turns out, this sweet girl was a rescued pup, staying with a foster family in Tennessee. The rescue organization was really helpful. We all wanted to make sure that this pup was placed with the right family. We had 3 children and 2 cats and needed everyone to be happy and comfortable. Not only did they send photos and video via email, but Ginger’s foster mom and I had several phone conversations and then we received more video footage. Because she had been in a foster home, the organization was able to tell us a lot about her temperment and confirm that she was good with cats, small children, and other dogs.

On November 19, 2011, we drove to NH to meet the truck transporting Ginger and the other dogs who were rescued from high kill shelters. She instantly became part of our family- snuggling and playing with the kids, enjoying long walks and hikes and eliciting endless giggles from ALL of us with her silly antics and playful personality. My son would snuggle her after a long or hard school day and feel better about whatever had been bothering him, and since we lost Josh this summer, she has helped us all through. She’s extra snuggly when she knows we need the extra love and she’s silly and playful to make us laugh and smile. I can not say enough how thankful I am to have this sweet pup as part of our family.

This dog never runs out of kisses!

This dog never runs out of kisses!

If your family has a little more love to share and you’re thinking of adopting a dog, consider adopting through a rescue organization. Check some out here or use Petfinder, Rescue Me or Adopt A Pet.

-M

One of My Favorite Quotes…

ItAlwaysSeemsImpossible

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time. As a mom, it speaks to so many things. Some days, it refers to the dishes or laundry. Right now, in Boston- it’s the snow removal.

-M

A little love reminder…

Do you ever catch yourself looking at somebody you see every day, a little differently? Tonight, my husband said something that was kind of funny in a dry, sarcastic manner. I looked at him without thinking and for whatever reason I found myself gazing at him finding him extremely attractive.

I think he is attractive in general but I feel like most of the time I don’t actually see him.

I go through the motions of life, busy with four kids, a business, a dog, a few gerbils, a guinea pig, writing children books, a blog/radio show, family and friends. Most days I am blinded by getting to the next activity or “to do” thing on my list.

Then there are times like last tonight where a small glance turns into a full on, full of love moment.

 

image from Shutterstock

image from Shutterstock

We got a lot of snow these past few weeks (life in New England). My husband has been out snow blowing and shoveling our businesses most of the time (small business owners). The kids and I have barely seen him. He came home last night and taught my oldest son how to play a Beatles song on the guitar.  My heart melts when I get to enjoy moments like that.

I love that my kids love the same qualities about my husband that made me fall head over heels in love with him so long ago.

He still gives me butterflies when I see him.

It was such an unexpected treat to really see the guy I fell in love with 25 years ago.

Happy Valentines Day!

You Asked; I’m Answering! My Recommendations to Replace the Plastic Items You’re Afraid You Can’t Live Without.

I am asked everyday for product recommendations. What do I use for cleaning products, which deodorants and lotions are safe, which brands of shampoos are safe, what do I send to school for lunch- and what do I pack it in? I am always happy to be asked these questions because it means that people are paying attention and wanting to make safe choices- for themselves, their children, their pets, and the planet. Since this article hit our Facebook newsfeeds, lots of people are wanting to ditch plastic- YAY!! (Please don’t rush to throw away in the trash though- recycle, reuse, or donate!)

Let’s tackle things in order of importance- For parents, that means:

Baby Bottles & Milk Storage
There are “safe” plastics but I really don’t trust that any plastic is safe, so I chose glass Evenflo bottles. I pumped and stored milk in Evenflow 4oz glass bottles- but you could also use Ball jars! They would stack really well, but you might lose some of the ease of pouring or just popping a nipple on a bottle. Cap rings and sealing disks are made of plastic, but I don’t worry because they won’t really have any contact with the milk. These bottles also pack well with the Medela ice pack (which I still use to pack drinks and snacks for long trips or outings!) For baby and kid food storage, glass is an obviously great choice- tiny Ball jars and plastic lids (for easy use and washing!) are more budget friendly than these adorable Wean Green sets, but sometimes cute is called for! Stainless steel is another great option. If you have a severe nickel allergy, or if you just want to add some color to your tot’s lunch, use silicone baking cups to hold the food in place. I love LunchBots Trio and LunchBots Cinco for packing lunches and snacks. My kiddos have food allergies, so we bring food pretty much everywhere we go (except Chipotle, Blue Dragon, and Lime Leaf, where they can easily accommodate our allergies!) If I’m sending food that needs to be kept cool, I sit the LunchBot container on top of a slim ice pack. To send hot/warms foods, Thermos’s Foogo Line is great. They come in basic blue and pink!

Sippy cups & water bottles
These are a big source of leaching chemicals because the drink inside sits, exposed to the plastic, for long periods of time over varied temps. I’m a big fan of letting kids drink from real sturdy glasses at home. When your out and about, you can use glass with a Lifefactory silicone covered bottle. I have dropped mine from above my head, onto the pavement and not had a break, but if you prefer another option- I also love the thermos line of water bottles- they have sleek 16oz and 24oz bottles for grownups and cute Phases and FUNtainer bottles for the kids. The grown-up versions are great for water or coffee or tea! These are all super easy to clean with the OXO water bottle cleaning set or a soapy pipe cleaner if your feeling crafty!

Meal Time
Being a believer in trusting kids to learn to use real glasses, I also think stainless steel child size utensils are the best way to go- nobody needs to be chewing on plastic utensils! (If your kiddo has a nickel allergy and will be chewing on them, you can opt for this great wood set.) If you feel strongly about not risking your dinner plates, or if your little one insists you “keep it separated” try this cool divided dish. It’s sturdy and can go right in your fabulous dishwasher!

Food Storage
Plastic wraps is something I hear so many people say they can’t give up-but it’s not healthy and it’s terribly wasteful. I love covered glass dishes for food storage. My favorite is Snapware by Pyrex. You can see what’s inside, they’re stackable, and they just pop in the dishwasher to wash. If you must wrap something, opt for aluminum foil (it’s recyclable,) parchment paper or this nifty bee’s wax wrap. (*contains jojoba)  Instead of plastic snack bags, opt for unbleached paper snack and sandwich bags by If You Care or this really cool silicone sandwich bag!

Other Things to Consider

  • Choose restaurants whose take-out containers aren’t styrofoam. If they use solid plastic, transfer the leftover food to glass as soon as you get home. Opt for compostable take-out containers whenever possible. Read more, interesting info about chemicals used in take-out and food storage containers here.
  • Skip canned food and opt for jarred or frozen. It tastes better and won’t be soaked in the chemicals that line the cans.
  • If you’re a smoothie or juice fanatic, consider a glass vessel instead of plastic for your blender. Even if you’re ok with the plastic while you’re making your drink, store extra in glass in the fridge or freezer. I like the tall Ball jars. I also love to freeze smoothies in silicone popsicle molds like these.
  • Use stainless steel or cast iron cookware. I love the stainless steel pan the lives on my stovetop and my Le Creuset enameled cast-iron!. The less expensive Lodge skillet gets good reviews, too.

If I left out what you were hoping I’d answer for you, let me know. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have or recommend my favorite products in the comments below.

 

This is not a sponsored post, but Amazon Affiliate links are included in the text. All opinions and recommendations are my own. If you choose to purchase any of the products I recommend, Mommy Business will receive a tiny portion of the sale price at no additional cost to you.

New Post Published on Babble.com- Why I’m OK with a Messy House

I’m honored to have a new piece published on Babble.com today.

I’d love it if you’d read it and share it with anyone you think would find it helpful. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below- how much do you stress about keeping your home neat and clean?

M❤