Guest Posts

How to Best Prepare for Parenthood If You’re Disabled

How to Best Prepare for Parenthood If You’re Disabled

How to Best Prepare for Parenthood If You’re Disabled 1252 816 Chase Jennings

Many argue that disabled people don’t make good parents because of their physical limitations, which hinder them from providing the care that babies require.

That’s nonsense.

In fact, a study out of the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that such children grow up with certain advantages, including a greater sense of empathy. In other words, disabled people can’t only be good parents, they can be great ones.

However, that doesn’t eliminate the difficulties that certain impairments can impose when it comes to taking care of a baby, particularly ensuring they get a healthy amount of sleep, as you’ll see. Nonetheless, those obstacles can be overcome.

In honor of parents-to-be who are managing a disability and for National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, Mom Sense podcaster Kanika Chadda-Gupta explains how you can be prepared for this incredible change.

Financial Planning

Yes, babies are expensive, so having money in the bank — as well the right insurance policy — would greatly aid your efforts as a parent. Mama & Money has come up with a checklist to help you map out your financial future that includes evaluating income and drafting a budget. Bear in mind, however, that you may have additional expenses due to your disability.

Improving Mobility at Home

Building a wheelchair ramp at your entrance can be costly. However, it’s a worthwhile investment, as it makes getting in and out of the house with a sleeping baby in your arms that much easier. You may also want to consider installing expandable hinges on interior doors as well as skid-resistant flooring for safety.

If you need help paying for these modifications, consider a home refinance. Refinancing can give you a one-time cash payment which you can then use to pay for these projects.

Creating a Nursery in Your Bedroom

Having the baby sleep just a few feet away provides many advantages. For one thing, you don’t have to go far when the little one wakes up in the middle of the night demanding to be fed, which is particularly important if you suffer from a mobility impairment. This could mean remodeling to make room for a crib and perhaps an old-fashioned rocking chair. As a result, you may find that you’re grabbing a little more sleep every night.

Buying the Right Equipment

About that crib in your bedroom — you’ll want a model that makes it easy to put your baby to sleep without even standing up, and New Mobility has a few recommendations. You’ll also find wraps and carriers for transporting your child around the house and bathtubs to keep them clean without having to get out of a wheelchair.

Learning About Baby Care

Having the right equipment can only go so far. Learning how to take care of the baby is absolutely essential, and that means not only feeding and changing their diaper but also holding the little one in your arms and gently rocking them to sleep. Don’t just assume that you’ll figure that all out when the big day finally arrives.

Finding Help Now

It’s important to find help from family and friends because you’ll need an extra pair of hands at some point, and there’s no reason to feel guilty about that at all. For example, even if you have an invisible disability like Multiple Sclerosis or Crohn’s Disease, you already know these take a toll on a person’s emotional, physical, and social well-being. And when you consider the risks associated between pregnancy and these diseases, it’s critical to tap into the help you might need now and once the baby arrives.

Staying Healthy and Stress-Free

Self-care means eating balanced meals and getting some sleep. Yes, you need to rest just as much as the little one to stay mentally and emotionally sound enough to fulfill your duties as a parent. Keep your energy levels high by drinking plenty of water and eating lots of protein, fruits, and vegetables. One tactic to achieve that is dividing the night into shifts, with each partner doing equal baby duty. And when the little one is napping during the day, do the same.

With a plan in place for tackling the difficulties of parenting, you can happily anticipate the wonders and joys, and there are many. Soon enough, you’ll be hearing the little one’s first words and watching their first steps — that’s something to look forward to.

Don’t Let a Dead-End Career Kill Your Passion For Life

Don’t Let a Dead-End Career Kill Your Passion For Life

Don’t Let a Dead-End Career Kill Your Passion For Life 2538 1762 Chase Jennings

Can you ever be truly successful if you don’t have passion for what you do? Even if you end up with a hefty bank balance, you still might find that the best parts of you have been depleted. A life with financial freedom but no ability to enjoy yourself is a poor existence — but you can change that. If you are willing to look deep within yourself, you may find that the things you love can pay off in more ways than one.

Emotional Wealth

There are many ways to gauge professional and personal success. Being happy at work is one of these. According to a study on the workplace by Léger for Hamster, workplace happiness is achieved by feeling accomplished and having positive interpersonal relations. If you have none of these things, you are probably in the wrong place and lacking in the very important department of emotional richness.

Some people fill their emotional stores with creativity or fitness. But if you have tried these things and still long for more, take a closer look at your profession. Determining a fresh path can be a struggle, but you have resources. For instance, you might get a ballpark idea for a better direction from an online evaluation.

The Search Begins

Even if you do not desire to go back to school, you can still change careers. The search begins by identifying opportunities that spark an interest. Don’t underestimate the power of your network. Think back to conversations you may have had with acquaintances who work in an industry you’re interested in.

Outside of your network, you can always check sites like Craigslist for both job postings and freelance work. The Huffington Post notes that one benefit of working as a freelancer is that you can take on gigs outside of your regular working hours to test out a variety of options until you find something that you don’t want to stop. A few examples of freelance opportunities are web development, marketing, copywriting, project management, and tutoring.

Thought Catalog notes that the key is to find something you’re good at and that you enjoy enough to use as a source of income without letting criticism spoil it for you.

Start Your Own Business

You may decide that instead of working for someone else, you’d rather work for yourself. If so, the ZenBusiness starter guide has plenty of tips for you! After all, starting a business is an exciting prospect, and if handled correctly, it could become a very lucrative venture. However, turning an idea into a viable business will require some work. In fact, you may be surprised by how complicated certain aspects of business ownership can be.

For instance, if you want employees to help you run your business, then you’ll need to set up a payroll system. Payroll is the process of paying your employees, which requires you calculate their gross pay and make any necessary deductions. But it doesn’t stop there — you’ll also need to keep accurate records of these payments. And to ensure you’re in good standing with the IRS, you’ll need to file and make payroll taxes on time.

Although this information may seem intimidating, you can often find freelancers, software, and online guides to help you manage all the details. Don’t let any of this deter you from following your dream of starting a business that you’ll be proud of.

The idea of changing careers can be daunting. But you have to ask yourself which is worse, being unhappy for the long-term or being temporarily uncertain? Before you answer, keep in mind that how you feel at work doesn’t stay there when you leave. Instead, your negative emotions follow you no matter how far away you get from the cubicle. Workplace unhappiness can chip away at who you are until you no longer have the strength or courage to live the best version of your life. Remember, dead ends go nowhere, but you have the power to turn things around.

Kanika Chadda-Gupta is a wife, mother of three, and CEO of Kronologie Agency, a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in branding and web design. As a former television anchor for CNN, she is a born storyteller and host of the top-rated podcast, That’s Total Mom Sense where she interviews industry experts on parenting, lifestyle, and wellness. For more information, click here.

Measures Parents Can Take to Protect Their Family in the Event of a Car Accident

Measures Parents Can Take to Protect Their Family in the Event of a Car Accident

Measures Parents Can Take to Protect Their Family in the Event of a Car Accident 2480 1656 Chase Jennings

With 143 million commuters taking to the roads each day, it’s not too shocking to hear some of the statistics regarding traffic fatalities and injuries. Reckless, impaired, and distracted drivers are wild-card variables that are responsible for many accidents. Thankfully, there are measures parents can take to protect their loved ones in the event of a wreck.

For top tips on parenting, lifestyle, and wellness, listen to episodes of the That’s Total Mom Sense podcast!

Buckle up the right way.

You know that you have to wear your seatbelt, and you also know you’re required to have your youngest passengers safely in a car seat. But if you are not buckling them in the right way, you aren’t doing anything to protect them. Choose a car seat that is right for your child’s age, height, and weight. Most experts recommend rear-facing for as long as possible, and all car seats must be installed correctly. SafeRide4Kids suggests checking your owner’s manual before installation. You can also contact your local fire department to see if they have anyone available to perform a seat safety check.

Harness the power of apps.

Smartphone apps have the ability to do more than just entertain you and your family; these apps can also help protect your family in the event of an accident. There are voice-activated emergency applications that allow you to contact emergency services without having to touch a button. Accurate location services are also helpful for determining your exact location. To ensure your smartphone has enough power to run these apps, pick up a super-fast car charger for your vehicle.

Make sure you have “full” auto coverage.

 Having thorough auto coverage is one of the best ways to ensure your family is protected financially in the event of an accident. The Balance explains that although a “full” or “complete” car insurance policy doesn’t exist, these colloquial terms usually refer to a combination of packages that work to thoroughly cover families when combined. Typically, “full” coverage is acknowledged as the combination of liability, collision, and comprehensive insurance. When combined, these coverages help protect your family from lawsuits, exorbitant medical expenses and more.

Create a savings account for medical emergencies.

Medical bills and damage costs can pile up when you are in a wreck. Serious injuries could even impact your ability to earn an income if experienced for a prolonged period of time. Even if you don’t sustain any physical injuries, your wallet is still impacted by the rise of insurance premiums and the cost of fixing your vehicle.

With all that in mind, parents need to create a separate emergency savings account to help protect against the financial burden that comes post-accident. Look for an account with a good interest rate, and start setting money aside. It’s recommended for families to have a minimum of three months worth of living expenses set aside.

Have your vehicle inspected regularly.

Car manufacturers understand that to some extent accidents are inevitable, and proper security measures need to be in place to protect drivers and passengers against these occurrences. Tires Plus points out that as a car owner, it’s your responsibility to verify your vehicle is in proper working order by having it inspected on a regular basis. Fully-functioning brakes, operational airbags, fit tires, and many other features help to keep your family safer when an accident can’t be avoided.

If car maintenance isn’t your thing, there are easy ways to keep on top of things. Consider adding some apps to help. Not only can you log the whens, wheres and whats of work completed, but you can also do everything from monitoring your gas usage to estimating how much you’ll spend on a needed repair.

Unfortunately, parents can’t do anything to guarantee that their families won’t experience a car wreck at some point in their lives. However, there are some steps you can take to protect your family both physically and financially in the event of an accident. Gather your resources and stay on top of things so you and yours will be safe and sound.

Author: Guest post by Karen Weeks

weight gain kanika chadda gupta weight loss

Gain Weight During Lockdown? Here’s How to Regain Control

Gain Weight During Lockdown? Here’s How to Regain Control 1920 1080 Chase Jennings

weight gain kanika chadda gupta weight loss

Gain Weight on Lockdown? Here’s How to Regain Control

Over the last two months, much of the country has been in a state of self-isolation, and many of us have put on a few extra pounds. This unwelcome quarantine has led to stress, and, as we all know, stress can lead to overeating.

What Can I do?

If you’ve noticed the scale inching up as the days trudge on, remind yourself that lockdown is not going to last forever. Someday soon, you’ll be back out into the real world, and you’re going to want to look and feel your very best.

Fortunately, there are many ways to reverse the bad habits you may have picked up over the last 60 days. One of these is to adopt healthy stress-busting habits. This is especially important if you are a caregiver since, as Community Home Health Care points out, stress weighs heavily on those that care for others.

Look for new outlets, which might include blogging, exercise, or meditation. Note that none of these suggestions involve cooking or put you in a situation where you would eat as part of a social setting. When you learn to remove food as a comfort item, you won’t be tempted to ingest excess and unnecessary calories.

Next, reframe how you dine. Make a rule that food must be consumed in the kitchen or dining room, so you’ll be less likely to eat in between meals. You’ll also want to make a point to utilize the food you have in your pantry in the most healthful ways possible. A few great examples of healthy recipes you can put together without having to go to the grocery store include spinach tortellini soup and quesadillas made with untraditional ingredients, such as legumes. You also likely have a great base for soups and sandwiches as well as healthy casseroles.

Once you do begin to venture out again, prioritize nutritional foods, such as salads, fruits, and lean proteins. As far as vegetables go, you already know you’re supposed to be eating the rainbow. But if you are one of the many people who can’t stomach the earthy taste of greens, you’re going to need to put in some work retraining yourself on how to eat healthily. According to Precision Nutrition, there are three basic steps to make this happen. These are to challenge yourself to try things you don’t normally eat, pair them with something you do, and then look for ways to cushion the bitterness, which is likely your biggest turn off when it comes to things like kale and asparagus.

Finally, if you’re still having trouble mastering your food intake, it can help to hire a nutritionist. This is an individual, who may post their services on freelance job boards such as Upwork, who can work with your tastes and preferences to help you manage your caloric intake.

Diet and Exercise

Fitness buffs are happy to tell you that the only way to lose weight is to hit the gym and hit the gym hard. This is actually not the case, although exercise is crucial and can help bolster your weight-loss efforts. Even if you’re not used to working out, make a point to add at least 30 minutes of exercise to your day every day. Running, jump roping, and even activities such as kickboxing, are all great ways to lose weight, and come with the added benefit of letting you expel pent-up stress.

If you’ve gained a little weight, don’t worry. We are in the same boat. But if your ultimate goal is to waltz out of your house wearing your pre-pandemic pants, the time to take action is now. Remember, managing your weight starts with what you eat, so start in your pantry. When you reframe the way you look at food, you can make healthy and delicious meals with what you’ve got. And as quarantine comes to a close, remember to prioritize vegetables and other healthy options at the grocery store.

 

Guest post by Jennifer McGregor

Photo Credit: i yunami on Unsplash

3 Pain-Free and Stress-Free Ways Busy Moms Can Maintain a Healthy Weight

3 Pain-Free and Stress-Free Ways Busy Moms Can Maintain a Healthy Weight

3 Pain-Free and Stress-Free Ways Busy Moms Can Maintain a Healthy Weight 2000 1339 Chase Jennings

3 Pain-Free and Stress-Free Ways Busy Moms Can Maintain a Healthy Weight

Let’s talk about a touchy subject: maintaining a healthy weight. While the world has moved toward the acceptance of healthy bodies — and we are so here for that positive change — it’s still important for people to find simple, healthy, and effective ways to prevent obesity. That’s because obesity and chronic diseases are still closely linked. If you want to take better care of your health, you can use these effective and painless tips to do so.

Cut Out Those High-Calorie Coffee Drinks

Taking a break at your local coffee shop is a great way to de-stress and decompress after a long morning with the kids. If you’re picking up fancy lattes and blended drinks while you’re there, however, you could be sabotaging your weight loss efforts and your budget. So, consider ditching those expensive and calorie-loaded drinks for homemade pour-over coffee instead. You can snag a top-rated and affordable pour-over coffee maker for the same price as a few of those fancy drinks; plus, you will be cutting out a lot of excess sugar and carbohydrates in the process. If you really miss the flavors of those lattes and specialty drinks, you can also search coffee recipes online to start jazzing up your pour-over coffee with low-sugar and low-calorie additions that won’t throw off your diet. Some coffee beverages have more calories than a few eggs or slices of bacon, so you’re definitely better off preparing your own drinks so you can control the calories and sugar in each cup.

Try Spending a Few Minutes on Meditation

If you’re like most moms, mornings are probably pretty busy in your house. Whether you’re getting your baby fed or getting your older kids ready for school, moms never seem to have a break during the morning rush. That can leave your mental health seriously neglected, which can ultimately impact your weight and other aspects of your physical well-being. So, instead of waking up right before the kids do, why not try getting up a few minutes earlier so you have some time to yourself before things get hectic? If you really want to boost your happiness and health, you can spend those extra minutes on mindful meditation. Getting started with meditation can be tricky at first but once you get the hang of it, you are likely to feel less stressed. Pair your morning meditation with a quick yoga routine, which you can squeeze into as little as 10 minutes,  and you have the perfect recipe for boosting your weight and mood.

Find Fun Workouts That Don’t Feel Like Work

Starting your day with some meditation and power yoga can put you on track toward a healthy weight, but you need a little more exercise to beat obesity and maintain your overall health and well-being. In fact, studies have found that people who exercise at least 30 minutes each day, or a total of 200 minutes per week, tend to weigh less and feel better than those who lead a more sedentary lifestyle. While 30 minutes per day may not sound like a lot to many folks, carving out an extra half hour for exercise can feel like a serious challenge for busy moms. So, instead of stressing yourself out over getting to the gym or getting out for a run, try to find fun and practical ways to stay active during the day. Grab the kids and your dog for a nice evening walk or make it a habit to pace around as you talk on your phone. Want an even more engaging way to workout with your little ones? Then you should definitely try this super-fun playground workout!

Obesity has been linked to so many other serious health issues, so it’s so crucial for moms, and anyone really, to find a balance between maintaining a healthy body and being proud of having a different body. Doing so can mean getting more time to spend with your children as they grow older, and the simple tweaks above can make fighting obesity feel like less of an obligation.

Guest post by Jennifer McGregor

Photo Credit: Pexels

 

The Ultimate Gift Guide for New Moms

The Ultimate Gift Guide for New Moms 2560 1707 Chase Jennings

There’s so much changing for a new mom after the birth of their child that many people don’t think about outside of having a new human being to look after. For one, they often suffer from a severe lack of sleep given their baby’s sleep schedule and need to feed every few hours. Secondly, new moms’ bodies have just been through labor and need time to heal. Third, babies are unpredictable. Even with two active parents taking care of the newborn, there are endless unknowns as the baby grows and many anxious new parents can use all the help they can get!

We’ve created the following list to account for items that may not be on the baby registry but sure can help new moms and new parents in general ease into parenthood.

The Essentials

New parents might not know the ropes just yet unless they have close friends who have gone through the process and they bear witness to the things that worked well for them. Some common missed items are:

Nasal aspirator: Moms swear by it. This contraption sucks boogers out of a baby’s nose with your mouth. It sounds and looks disgusting to the non trained eye, but it is a safe, gentle way of keeping their baby’s nostrils clear to breath better at night.

A dual car seat and stroller: One of the best combinations to get so new parents can easily transfer their sleeping baby from the car to the stroller without struggling to unclip them from everything. Pick up the car seat and pop it in the stroller or vice versa. It’s that easy.

Breast-Feeding Cover: Baby needs to eat every few hours. It’s really impractical for moms to find a private room to breast feed when they are out and about. Instead, with this breast feeding cover, they no longer have to! This cover has an easy viewing window to see how baby is doing while keeping mom covered. It’s easy to put on and take off.

Infant Bouncer: These rockers rock! Babies often love constant movement to feel safe and be lulled to sleep. Help a new mom out with the gift of sleep while their baby sleeps safely clipped in.

Unisex Diaper Bag Backpack: Going anywhere with baby means carrying around a dozen items for changing, feeding, and the occasional milk puke. Be prepared with an easy to carry and go ergonomic diaper backpack that won’t weigh down one shoulder and comes with insulated bottle holders among other things like a built in changing pad.

Take a look at Instagifts.co for more lists specifically catered to new moms. If you swear by a product that isn’t on here, leave a note in the comments below and share!

Guest post by: InstaGifts

How Busy Moms Can Also Keep Aging Parents Healthy and Happy

How Busy Moms Can Also Keep Aging Parents Healthy and Happy 1920 1282 Chase Jennings

Cheerful granny is treating her granddaughter with fresh baked Christmas cookies. Girl is taking one from tray with excitement

Taking care of a family is already such an immense responsibility, and when you are juggling those duties with tasks associated with caring for a senior parent, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Caregiver burnout can be a serious risk for children and grandchildren in this situation, but if you are a family caregiver who is feeling overly stressed by your responsibilities, there are some steps you can take to keep aging parents healthy and ease your feelings of stress.

Transitioning Senior Parents to Independent Living

If your parent is simply lonely and not in need of care, they may be better off moving into a local independent living community. In New York, the cost of independent senior living can range from $1,500 to $17,250 per month, and these communities can provide a smaller space and many social opportunities senior parents need to thrive. It may also help to understand that these independent living communities are very different from assisted living and nursing home facilities, in that they do not provide assistance with medical care or tasks of daily living. So, while an independent living community can be a favorable choice for well-abled seniors, it’s also important for family caregivers to be able to recognize when seniors need more care.

Incorporating Simple Exercises into Daily Care Routines

Seniors need regular exercise, like walking, to avoid falls, reduce disease, and fend off other physical ailments that can lead them to need more dedicated care from family members. If you can find time in your day, try to accompany your senior parent on daily walks to provide these health and wellness benefits. If you cannot squeeze a walk into your daily care routine, or if the weather is not favorable for outdoor activities, you can also help your loved one stay healthy with safe indoor exercises. Stretching, working out in a home gym, and following along with fitness videos can be a simple way for both busy moms and aging parents to stay in shape. And if your parent feels like getting out of the house, he/she can always burn calories by walking around a mall or museum, swimming at an indoor pool, or looking for indoor fitness classes.

Utilizing Meal & Grocery Delivery Services for Daily Meal Prep

In addition to providing your aging parents and young children with daily care, you also need to provide them with daily nutrition. That can be a major challenge for busy moms, especially when you cannot seem to find the time to even visit a grocery store, let alone prepare a healthy meal for your extended family. If you have a smartphone, however, you may be able to solve your shopping and meal prep dilemmas by using various food delivery services. For moms who still want to cook meals from scratch, local grocery delivery may be the best option for keeping seniors healthy and other family members happy. If you have a little more room in your budget, and less time in your day, family-friendly meal kits may be a more convenient choice.

Teaching Children About Responsibility By Having Them Help With Care

If you have older children, there’s no reason why they cannot contribute and help you care for your senior parent, as well as your household. For example, you can always ask your children to help with cooking, which will lighten your load and also provide a practical way to enhance their academic skills. Children who cook are learning valuable lessons in math, science, reading comprehension, and communication, in addition to gaining a skill that will better prepare them for adulthood. You can also write out a daily chore list that includes tasks that will make it easier for you to care for grandparents who live in your home, but be sure that the chores you assign to your children are appropriate for their age and abilities.

Living with senior parents when you are also trying to raise a family can come with unique challenges. If you can navigate these challenges and find ways to make your life easier, while keeping an aging parent healthy, you both can make the most of a multigenerational home.

Attribution:

Written by guest author, Karen Weeks

Photo by sk on Unsplash