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Benefits Of Hiring A Birth Doula

Posted by Live Love Mom on January 14, 2021 at 8:05 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree





You've read one of our previos posts which lists what a doula is, and frequently asked questions. But, do you know exactly what the benefits of having a birth doula are? Well, you're about to! Adding a doula to your birth team is a decision you will never regret, and will keep reaping the benefits for the rest of your life. Here's why!


The statistics don't lie. According to evidence-based research, people who hire doulas have:

 

- A 28% less chance of having a c-section

 

- Are 40% less likely to need pitocin to speed labor

 

- Are 60% less likely to use an epidural

 

- Reduced amount of anesthesia and for how long it's used

 

- Reduction of the use of any type of pain medication

 

Higher APGAR scores in newborns

 

- Woman report being more calm and relaxed during the birth

 

- Women report a more positive birthing experience

 

- Fewer births need forceps or vacuum extraction


- Fewer cases of fetal distress


 

How exactly are all of these benefits possible? Here's how a doula does it.

 

Doulas offer informational, physical and emotional support. They offer prenatal classes while you're pregnant for you and your partner and teach you exactly how your body, pregnancy and birth works. Doulas also physically support you by providing acupressure, massage, and more for pain relief. They also offer emotional support as they encourage you and empower you to make your own decisions and cheer you on through your labor and birth.

 

They can help you make your birth plan and choose what's right for you. They explain every procedure possible and what to plan for if things go unexpected. They will help you write your birth plan and support you in whatever choices you make and they will never judge you. If you're giving birth at a birth center or hospital, they also help you make a list of things you will need to pack for the big day. 

 

They can help your partner figure out what to do during the birth. Some partners are like deer in headlights and have no idea what to do when they see their partner in labor. Your doula will offer various options for your partner to help you during the birth. You will also be able to express what you would like your partner to do, such as show you affection, catch the baby, or cut the umbillical cord, and everything in between. Your doula also works with your partner to meet your needs. They can take turns feeding you ice chips and putting a cold compress on your head or changing the bath water, massage you, and anything else.

 

They are also called birth coaches and are great for encouragement. They are your own personal cheerleaders. They will remind you that you can do this, and empower you to assert your rights and preferences. They will give you strength when you need it and be someone to lean on when neccessary. They will also usher people out of the room that you have not agreed to be in there, so you can rest assured your nosy neighbors won't be allowed to enter your sacred space if you don't want them to! They're like a night light, they watch over you and ensure that you're well taken care of.

 

They help the entire family adjust to their new roles. You only have nine months to wrap your head around the fact that you will become parents. A doula helps you prepare for everything, even if it's just making a list of baby items you will need. They can also offer advice to your loved ones on how they can best support you during and after your pregnancy. They can encourage you to maintain a routine once the baby is born and teach you how to breastfeed or bottle-feed, whichever you choose.

 

Doulas are certified and undergo training so they know what they're doing. They have experience and know how this works, and most of them are parents themselves. Whether they are fresh out of school or have decades of work behind them, each doula is full of knowledge and is excited to help you and your family. They want to give you the best experience of your life and give you space after the birth to bond with your baby and to be a family. 


So what are you waiting for? Hire one today!

 

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In honor of all mothers

Posted by Live Love Mom on July 22, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (5)

Author Unknown
Translated from french




 

A dad comes home after an exhausting day at work. He just wants to watch his soccer game without having to endure the cries of the kids or take care of the housework. But that day, his wife couldn't take it anymore and left him. Her world breaks down when she leaves him alone with her children. Here are these words:

 

" My love,

 

two days ago we had a big fight. I came home tired from work. It was 8:00 pm and all I wanted to do was sit on the couch to watch the game.

 

When I saw you, you were exhausted and in a bad mood. The kids were bickering and the baby was crying while you tried to put him to bed.

 

I turned up the volume on the TV.

 

‘Would you mind giving a hand and getting involved in your children's education?’ You said to me upset by turning down the TV.

 

Exasperated, I replied: ‘I spent my day at work so that you could spend yours at home playing dolls.’

 

The tone is raised. You cried because you were angry and tired. I told you cruel things. You shouted, saying you couldn't take it anymore. You left the house crying and left me alone with the children.

 

I had to feed them and put them to bed. The next day, you didn't come back and I had to ask my boss to have a day off to take care of the little ones.

 

I became aware of the whims and tears.

 

I realized what it was like to be everywhere at the same time, all day long, without having a free moment even to take a bath.

 

I realized what it was like to heat the milk, prepare a child and put the kitchen away, all at the same time.

 

I realized what it was like to be stuck all day without talking to someone over the age of 10.

 

I realized what it was like not to be sitting comfortably at the table, enjoying a quiet lunch on my break time, because you have to run after the kids.

 

I was so mentally and physically tired that the only thing I wanted was to sleep for 20 hours straight. But I had to wake up after 3 hours because the baby was crying.

 

I experienced two days and two nights in your own skin and I can tell you, I understand.

 

I understood your fatigue.

 

I understood that being a mom is a perpetual sacrifice.

 

I understood that it was more tiring than sitting in my chair for 10 hours or making financial decisions.

 

I understood your frustration at having abandoned your career and your financial independence so that you could raise our children.

 

I understood your doubts that our economic security no longer depends on you, but on your partner.

 

I understood the sacrifices you made by never going out with your friends, forgetting your exercises or not sleeping an entire night.

 

I understood how difficult it was to be trapped and to have to watch the children when you missed what was going on outside.

 

I also understood why you were susceptible when my mother criticized the way you raise our children, because no one knows better than a mother what is good for them.

 

I understood that becoming a mother means occupying one of the most important roles in our society. What no one recognizes, appreciates or remunerates.

 

I am writing this letter not only to tell you that I miss you, but also because I do not want to spend another day without telling you that:

 

"You are very brave, you do it perfectly and I admire you."

 

This very moving letter was shared more than 110,000 times on Facebook. To all the moms who have cared for or are still caring for us and who do so much for us, so much so that we take it for granted, this letter is for you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

How To Get Kids To Get Dressed

Posted by Live Love Mom on July 17, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (5)

By: Dr. Stephanie McEndree




We all have had at least one child who would rather be naked or in their underwear or diaper all day, every day! It makes it easier for them to lift up their knees as high as they can, do jumping jacks, or whatever else they have set their minds to do. However, there are times where kids have to suck it up and put some clothes on, especially in NO SHOES, NO SHIRT, NO SERVICE places. Unfortunately, trying to get them dressed is a whole other story. Meltdowns happen, tantrums are thrown, and kids refuse to clothe themselves. It can take forever to get your children finally dressed, and at that point they are kicking and screaming, or peeling their clothes right back off. So how can you get your kids clothed when the just do not want to be? Read on to learn more.


Here are some tips that my husband has come up with to help get kids dressed.


Help them. Even if they do not need the help, sometimes it will be enough to see you involved and willing to help, that they will cooperate. Put the shirt over their heads and help them put their arms through the sleeves. Place the shoes at their feet and hold them so they can balance as they slip their feet in. Open the waistband of pants so they can slip their legs in easier. Whatever it is, in my experience, they should cooperate.


Do not announce. Depending on the child, if you announce it is time for them to get themselves dressed, they will bolt. My girls love to run away and hide if we tell them that it is time to get dressed. In our cases and cases like this, it is best not to annouce that it is time to get dressed, or that they have to dress themselves. It works better for us if we say in the beginning of the day that they will need to get dressed later today. 


Involve them. Include them in the decision making process. Bring two different shirts and ask them to pick one. Do the same with pants and shoes. This is especially important when kids are at those ages that they are becoming more independent and assertive. They will not want to follow directions because they want to be their own person and lead their own life. So treat them like a big kid and let them choose what they would like to wear between two options.


Offer their favorites. Find their favorite outfit, or clothes in their favorite color, or favorite shoes. Kids are more likely to get dressed (even by themselves if they can) if you offer them their favorite outfit. I always get a big grin and gleeful shouts when I find my kids favorite outfits. What my kids hold very precious is their dresses, but especially ones that I make for them myself. Maybe your girls love a dress their grandma got for them.


Check the temperature. If it is hot outside and also too hot in your house, it is normal that the kids do not want to get dressed. They do not want to overheat. Turn down the thermostat and turn on a fan or the air conditioning. This way, if the room is comfortable enough the kids will not feel like they will overheat if they get dressed. If it is winter outside with snow out, simply point out to the window and show your kids that it is cold outside, so they will need to get dressed to stay warm.


Keep in mind that these tips may not work for every child. These tips work great for my kids, and they may work for yours as well. If you have any more tips to add, comment below!

Tips To Get The Kids To An Appointment

Posted by Live Love Mom on May 22, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (5)

by: Stephanie McEndree




Children don't always want to leave the house. However, if they have a doctor's appointment or a dentist appointment, they need to leave the house. Some kids have an introverted personality, and that's okay. However, to be able to care for them medically they need to go to appointments. Here are some last-resort tips to get the kids out of the house. 


If they are doing an activity, wait til they are done. If it's something that can be done soon and you are good with time, let them finish their puzzle, eat their breakfast or watch their tv show episode. Kids are less likely to protest, or at least not as much, if they're finished with whatever activity they were doing.

Start getting ready. You need to get ready ahead of time so it doesn't take a long time to get to your destination. Make sure you have your hair combed, teeth brushed, you're fed and hydrated and fully dressed before you move on to your kids. This avoids kids throwing their clothes off while you are getting ready and you have to start over again.

Do as much prep work as you can. Load the vehicles with the items you need such as the diaper bag, snacks, drinks, etc. That way you don't have to go back in the house once the kids are in the car and ready to go. If you're going somewhere up to an hour away or further, you will need milk for young babies and probably some water and a snack for school-aged kids. If your vehicle takes a bit to warm up during the winter, you can throw some blankets in there too to put on the kids' legs to keep them warm.

Get the kids ready. Get them dressed, hair brushed, teeth brushed, and have them go to the bathroom before you leave. If you have a baby, change their diaper and feed them before taking off. Make sure they ate their latest meal and/or snack. Put on their coats and boots if it's winter, a windbreaker if it's spring or autumn. 

Pick them up and put them in the vehicle. Of course if they're too big to be picked up, hold their hand and let them know you're going to the car. They may start to protest, but it's what's best for them to go to their medical appointment, so they need to be in the vehicle. They will probably start figuring out that they're going somewhere they don't want to be. Buckle them in their car seats, then sit yourself down, and you can start driving. I find that often once you start driving, after a few minutes they calm down.

If they don't, once you have arrived at your destination, take the time to open the door of the car and talk to them softly. Give them kisses and hugs and explain that going to the doctor or dentist is necessary. Encourage them to speak calmly to express why they are upset. Validate their feelings and praise them for vocalizing their needs. If they say it's because they were cold, offer them a blanket. If they were hungry, offer them the snack, and some water if they are thirsty. 

Show them the play area. Once you arrive, there is often a play area in the waiting room of every dentist or doctor. Show them the play area and encourage them to play while they wait. There are often toys, books and a coloring station to keep your kids happy and entertained. If it's winter, be sure to remove their coats and boots first. Then, you can take a seat in the waiting room and wait within view of the kids. You did it mama!


What tips do you have to ge the kids out of the house for an appointment? Comment below!

How To Encourage A Picky Eater To Eat A Healthy Meal

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 12, 2020 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (4)
by: Stephanie McEndree



Some kids can be particularly difficult when it comes to which foods they eat. Most kids would prefer to eat junk food all day, but this is not what is best for them. It's important to give them more than empty calories throughout the day and get their nutritional needs met. Whether they are picky eaters or have sensitivities to certain foods or stimulus, these tips can help you get your children to eat some foods that are good for them.


Make the food. Cook or throw together the meal that you want your child to eat. Make sure it's nutritious and aesthetically pleasing. A plate with white rice, eggs and mashed potatoes is pretty bland to the eye. Make it colorful and exciting, such as carrots, green beans, red peppers, etc. You can add some apples, grapes and oranges for breakfast foods or a healthy snack. Either way, it needs to be prepared right. Be sure to make more than what your child will eat to ensure the next step.


Start eating the food u want them to eat. If you have issues with them eating at the table, be sure to sit at the dining room table first. Then, slowly start eating the meal. Be sure to only take a few bites so there is plenty left for your child. Take small bites and make it obvious to your child that you're eating. 


Exaggerate the good taste. Rave about how good it is, hum while you chew with your mouth closed. If your child isn't already curious, now they should be. In fact, most kids will come up to you and ask you to share, or say that they want some, or straight up steal the meal! It's a subtle way to get them interested, and encourage them to eat more nutritious food and sample a wider variety of foods.


Make it fun.  Kids like to play, so why not make it fun with dips and sauces? Offer some honey to dip the fruit, some jelly for toast, or some dip for celery and carrot sticks. This enhances flavor and exposes the kids to ways they can make their foods unique. It can also be the turning point for a child to be interested in your food and want to eat it.


Got any more tips? Comment below!

Cheap Easter Goodies To Get In One Store

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 9, 2020 at 7:10 AM Comments comments (1)

by: Stephanie McEndree



With Easter right around the corner and us moms wanting to be safe, it can be hard to get the easter shopping done. It doesn't seem like a priority with what's going on right now in the world. With very young kids, they probably won't notice that easter didn't come this year. However, when you have older kids they will definitely notice. Here is what you can do to make it a wonderful easter without breaking the bank.


Backyard easter hunt. For people with special needs kids, introverted kids, or who simply don't want to make a trip somewhere else; a backyard easter egg hunt is perfect. Keep an eye on the kiddos while they look around your yard for some chocolate eggs!


Indoor easter hunt. This is great no matter the weather outside. Hide easter eggs all around the house and help your kids find them!


Egg painting. Paint some hard-boiled eggs or eggs with the yolk removed for some cute easter decorations. Watercolor paints or regular paint can be found at your local dollar store as well as paint brushes.


List of materials to get at your local dollar store for easter:



Chocolate bunnies. They come in milk chocolate and in various sizes, and some are in the shape of trucks, chicks and more. Pick up one chocolate bunny per child at your local dollar store and save big bucks on mall prices. Your kids will still get the chocolate they crave and you will have more money in your purse.




Paint and paintbrushes. Get these at your local dollar store for a couple bucks or less. Have your kids paint easter eggs at home with the eggs you probably already have in your fridge. 




Coloring books. There are often coloring books that are easter-themed around this time of year. Pop by your local dollar store and get one for the whole family, or one per child if you feel like splurging. You can even use the paint to paint the pictures instead of coloring them.




Chocolate eggs. They come in small bags at the dollar store and are under $4 each. These are a great alternative to the chocolate bunny as you can make sure the kids don't have too much at a time since they are seperate doses of chocolate. You can get them as well as the chocolate bunnies if you want!




Plastic eggs. You can get these easily at the dollar store and place the aforementionned chocolate eggs inside for a cute easter egg hunt! You can use them again next year too, so no waste.




Jelly beans. For the kids and even adults that prefer sweets to chocolate, these are also cheap and available at the dollar store. You can put them in plastic easter eggs or just put small packs around the house for the kids to find. Yum!


Any other ideas for materials found at a dollar store? Comment below!

Co-Parenting Dos and Don'ts

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 6, 2020 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Melinda Humpherys



You might be a single mom like me, and not be with your child's father anymore. It can be a challenge to co-parent with someone that you aren't with, especially when they hold a grudge. If you need to go to mediation, I would definitely recommend it. However, if you think you can come to an agreement, here are some co-parenting dos and don'ts to serve as a guideline.

DOS

 

  • Work as a team. Come up with a co-parenting plan. Talk about how you want to raise your child, the values, morals, discipline and religion are just a few of those things. Some won't always agree, but it's good to set down a baseline when you can.
  • Communicate. If you're on bad terms, just communicate about the kids. Make sure doctor's appointments, homework assignments, and results are always told to each other. You need to be up to date on your child's life to best be able to give them a good life.
  • Allow the other parent to see their child. You both made that child together, and barring some worries about the child's safety, you should always permit your child to see both parents.
  • Make a childcare plan. If you'd rather watch your child during the dad's days when he works than a babysitter, say so. Be sure to be comfortable vice-versa if you want to ask for such an arrangement.
  • See each other as little as possible. Exchange the kids by their schools; drop them off at school or daycare, and have the other parent pick them up on their days. This avoids confrontations in case one or both of you are not happy with the other, and your kid won't beg to stay with the other parent.
  • Keep a record of all exchanges. Write down the custody schedule and keep a record of it. If the other parent starts bad-mouthing you on the phone or by text, make a record of that as well. You can use it if you choose to go for full custody.
  • Keep up with the ex in-laws, especially if your ex has no relationship with them. This way your child can keep seeing his or her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Family is very important.

 

DON'TS

 

  • Call each other names. No matter what went on in the past, you need to be polite for your child's sake. Even if they can't do it, keep your cool. If they are upsetting you, feel free to walk away or hang up the phone, or stop texting. Remember, your mental health comes first.
  • Put up with any crap. If they become abusive towards you or overall unpleasant, feel free to put a stop to it. It's not good for you or your child.
  • Get jealous. Your ex will date again, and your child will eventually refer to that person as their step-mom. Don't get jealous, and don't be mean to this other person. Be polite, and realize that you can never be replaced. See it as an extra person to love your child.
  • See each other outside of kid-related things. You don't want to confuse your relationship or re-create romantic moments that you might end up back together. This will destablize yours and your child's life. You are exes for a reason. Keep it that way.
  • Do all the work. You need to keep your ex responsible for their part of the parenting. They need to take care of your child when it's their time. You shouldn't have to provide food, diapers, clothes, etc. for their time unless specified in a custodial plan. If your child is going without, file for full custody immediately. If you're going to do all the work, you might as well have full custody.
  • See his friends. If they were his friends first, let them go. You don't need to be involved in your ex's life anymore. Stick with your own friends. You don't need to be adding more tension.
  • Stalk him. Don't bother checking up on him on social media or ask everyone what he's doing. Your child will notice, and it might give them false hope that you will get back together. He isn't your concern anymore. Focus on your own life and your child's life.

 


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How To Find Time For A Social Life

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 2, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (6)

by: Stephanie McEndree



Being a mother keeps everyone extremely busy. Between working and parenting, it seems impossible to find time to catch up with friends or family. So, how does anyone find time to maintain friendships? Here are some tips below.


Gather information. Make sure to note everyone's schedule such as work, extra cirriculars and more. This will help you find out when is best to spend time together when you aren't busy, whether it's just you and one friend or a group of friends.


Make it a habit. Especially with your mom friends, it's good to see each other regularly. Set up a playdate, even just getting together at a local park and sitting on the park bench chatting while the children play. It's also a great option because you're not limited to when you can get time apart from the kids, and you can do it once in a while on weekends when no one works. 


Set aside time. Even if it's just a 5 minute phone call at the end of the day, make sure to carve out those precious minutes out of your day to connect with your best buddies. It will improve your mood and uplift your spirits, guarenteed.


Plan ahead. Choose about one day a month to have your partner watch the children, or to have a babysitter. Get together with your friends and go out together. Even if it's just going to a friend's place to watch a movie together, it'll get you that social time you've been craving.


Scout local events. There are local events you can attend together with your families. It's especially easy if you live in the same town or at least nearby. There are yearly carnivals, festivals and grand openings you can all attend.


Take a class together. If your kids are signed up for the same sport, for example, you can all chat during the games while cheering your kids on! If you drop off your kids for practice, you and your mom friends can get some coffee nearby while you wait until practice is over. You can also join parent-child activities such as cupcake-making and ceramic mug painting.


It's important you keep open-minded and keepa spot in your schedule open. With some flexibility, anything can be accomplished.


 

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Time Management Tips For The Working Mom

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 1, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (4)

by: Stephanie McEndree


Whether you work from home or you work outside of the home, it can be tough to manage your time. Add children to the mix, and it seems impossible to get things done. Moms are expected to make a decent income, have a great career, take care of the children, cook, clean, and even have time for herself. It can get pretty overwhelming and seem impossible. 

To help you figure out how to balance your time between working and parenting, here are some time-management tips to get you started.

 

  1. Have a routine. Routines are key for any child no matter what the age, and it will help you pick out time slots to do everything. It's okay if some things take more time to accomplish, as long as you roughly stick to the routine and schedule, it will work wonders.
  2. Hire some help. If you are a single parent and work outside of the home, you may need to think about investing in a daycare, a babysitter or a nanny. If your parents are retired and nearby, you could always asked them to look after your children while you work. You can also hire a cleaning lady if you need help keeping the house clean, even if it's just once every other week.
  3. Set up an office space. For those who work from home, have a computer room or an office set up in your home you can retreat to. Have your partner care for the kids while you work. This way you can concentrate on your job without being interrupted. 
  4. Pre-make meals. It'll be easier for you to feed yourself and your kids if you can just grab a meal. Make some sandwiches for lunch, bag up some snacks so they're ready. One night a week, you can meal-prep during naptime or after the kids are asleep and freeze meals for dinner.
  5. Take advantage of naps. Naptime is when you can get some cleaning done, or even some well-deserved alone time. Take a break from work if you can, and indulge in some me-time. or get your chores done.
  6. Give the kids chores. It's a great time to give children age-appropriate chores so you aren't cleaning all by yourself. Have them help you with dishes, wipe up counters, sweep and mop and put their toys away. Have some food available in the pantry that your kids can get themselves when they're hungry. Teach them to be a bit more self-sufficient if they're old enough.
Got any more time management tips? Comment below!

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The Rainbow Movement

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 27, 2020 at 6:05 AM Comments comments (3)

by: Stephanie McEndree



A movement has been sweeping across the province of Quebec in Canada. People are searching for ways to connect to the outside world while also being safe. This turned into the rainbow movement. The idea goes like this: parents have their children draw, color, paint, etc. a rainbow. Then, they stick it on a window facing the street. Often, parents add a hashtag #CaVaBienAller which is french for ''All Will Be Well''. Then, parents go for a walk with the kids and look at houses' windows to count how many rainbows they can find. 




It's a very touching movement, and also allows kids to go out, get some exercise, get some fresh air, and do something fun with the family. You can also walk the dog at the same time. Here are some ideas on how to make a rainbow.


Rainbow Mosaic

Handprint rainbow

Sponge painting

Paper plate rainbow



Got any more ideas to make a rainbow? Got any display ideas for your windows to encourage social distancing activities? Comment below!


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Parenting Hacks During Coronavirus

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 24, 2020 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree



With the mass panic happening, there is a shortage of resources. It's taking a while for grocery stores to replenish stock, and when they are replenished, people panic-buy all over again. Here are some tips that can stretch out your grocery store trips even longer and you can become more self-sufficient. 


Cloth diaper. If you don't own any, go out and buy some. You won't have to buy disposable diapers over and over again, it's better for the environment, and you won't have to worry about getting diapers when there aren't any in the grocery store.


Cloth wipe. Use washcloths to wipe your baby when you change diapers. They are washable, reusable, and you don't have to worry about there being a shortage at the grocery store. You can buy some at the dollar store if you don't have enough at home.


Breastfeed. If you have recently given birth or are currently breastfeeding, continue to do so. You won't have to worry about a formula shortage at grocery store, plus you pass your immunity on to your children when you breastfeed. This is especially important during flu season and during pandemics.


Homeschool. Since daycares and schools are closed, feel free to homeschool your children. Send a message to their teacher asking what they need to know to succeed in their next grade and teach them that. There are also countless resources online you can scour. Be sure to make it as fun as possible so the kids still feel like they're on a vacation.


Grow your food. If you already have a garden, great! If not, you can buy some seeds at the dollar store to plant in your garden. Plant veggies, fruits and herbs. It will feed you and reduce your trips to the grocery store by giving you some fresh produce.


Do you have any other tips for parents to make social isolation and being self-sufficient easier? Comment below!


 

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BTW: You ARE A Single Mom If you are Married

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 24, 2020 at 2:00 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree




I have seen the argument over and over, especially on the internet; what defines a single mother? Coupled with different definitions and cultures, it can be hard to come up with one answer. Here is my take on it.

 

In the “Single Parent” page on Wikipedia, it says “A single parent family is a family with children that is headed by a single parent.”

 

Now, when you are no longer with the child’s father, this is always the case. Sure, if you have a boyfriend he may help you out, but the child is completely and legally your responsibility.


Marrying someone else doesn’t make them the father of your children, especially if the father is still in the children’s lives. Barring adoption or termination of rights, your ex’s name will remain on the birth certificate. Therefore no matter the custodial arrangement, in your home you are the only parent resposible for that child. You do all, if not at least most, of the child care alone.

 

Why is this even up for debate? It’s often due to jealousy because other single moms who are in no relationship feel the title belongs to them alone, and they wish they had more help with their own kids. It’s fine to feel that way, however it isn’t fine to minimize another woman’s struggles just because she has a boyfriend or husband. She has the same struggles as the others; no child support, doing most if not all of the child care, court battles for custody, late nights, mounting bills and more. Let’s not try to diminish other mother’s experiences or invalidate them because they happen to have a boyfriend.

 

The question itself is also sexist. No one has even asked this question about a man. Also, seeing her as “better off” when she is coupled with a man, is also sexist. Women are portrayed as sad or crazy if they are single, but desirable and successful if married.

 

So what is the true definition of a single mother? It means a mother who is not in a relationship with the child’s father. It’s that simple. Let’s not make it more complicated than it needs to be.


 

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Exclusively Pumping For Two

Posted by Live Love Mom on October 24, 2016 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)
by: Stephanie McEndree



Yes, I am a single mom of two kids that I exclusively pump for. How do I do it? What is my secret? I’ll let you in on it.


 

I only pump twice a day. Once in the morning after my 2 year old is at daycare and my 3 month old is asleep for her morning nap, second time when both of my girls are asleep for the night.


 

I use a Medela Pump In Style Advanced. This pump is portable as it comes in a backpack, so I can just wear it on my back and move around the house. This is crucial as a single SAHM, as if one or both of my kids wakes up in the morning or evening, I can get up and tend to them without skimping out on my pumping. Since this is a hospital grade pump, it allows me to pump only twice a day without losing my supply!


 

I use Freemies. Thank goodness there are Freemies compatible with a PISA. I put these suction cups in my bra under my shirt, so it is very discreet! I even went out running errands while pumping!


 

I have a deep freezer. This helps for storing my extra breastmilk because my regulat freezer is full of food for myself and my kids!


 

I make about 44 ounces a day. With my 3 month old taking in 35-40 ounces a day that leaves 4-8 extra ounces that I can store in the freezer for long-term storage, the fridge for short-term storage, or to just give to my toddler.


 

With these things to help me, it is possible to exclusively pump as a single mom!


 

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Being A Mom of a Special Needs Child

Posted by Live Love Mom on September 24, 2016 at 6:30 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree


Last weekend, my family and I went to the Easter farm. While my youngest daughter was getting face paint, my oldest daughter was having a meltdown. She is autistic. People were staring at me, giving me odd looks. I didn’t care. I spoke calmly to my daughter, asking her what was wrong. The simple action of speaking softly and offering her a hug, calmed her.

 

Dear people who were staring, who were judging; children have tantrums sometimes. The stares make them uncomfortable. Please either look away, or offer them a smile.

 

Dear parents who don’t know what to do during meltdowns; what has helped me is to ask questions. Ask your child what’s wrong. If they refuse to tell you, think about what led up to the event, and ask relevant questions. Are you sad? Are you mad? Once they confirm their emotion, ask them why. Is it because you didn’t get the toy you wanted? Is it because you didn’t get to pet the rabbit? My daughter says yes or no to these questions, and then I can pinpoint the issue. I can then explain to her why that happened. “The rabbit wasn’t hungry, so it hopped away to play with it’s friends. It’s okay, you’ll get to pet one next time.” I also validate her emotions. “I understand why that makes you sad, you really wanted to pet the rabbit.” Then, I ask if she wants a kiss, a hug, if she wants to leave the room to a quieter place. This often calms my daughter down. She often says yes for a hug. Then, if not before, get away from the trigger. Take them to another store, or to another part of the petting zoo farm. That way, they won’t have another meltdown for the same reason “but I want to pet the rabbit!” and it saves them from being upset all over again and getting stressed out.

 

Our children are precious. Let’s help them where we can.

 

Sincerely,

 

A special needs mom


 

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Hospital Vs. Birth Center

Posted by Live Love Mom on June 30, 2016 at 6:55 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree

I have given birth in both the hospital and at a birth center. Are you undecided about where you want to give birth? Here are positive points on both types of births.

 

Hospital birth:

 


 

Epidural. If all else fails, you have access to pain medication. This can make birth much easier for a lot of women.

Emergency Intervention. If anything goes wrong, you are in the best place. Complications can arise, and staff are trained in whatever can go wrong, and the equipment is available.

C-sections. For those who have planned c-sections, of course this needs to be done at a hospital.

Longer stay. For those who like being away from home for a few days after birth, a hospital is ideal. Most hospitals keep women who have a vaginal birth around 48 hours, and c-section births around 3 or more days.

Lactation consultant/formula samples. If you want to breastfeed, you can ask to see the lactation consultant directly at the hospital. If you want to formula feed, there are often free formula samples around, so you don’t need to bring your own formula.


Birth center birth:

 


 

Natural. Everything that happens there will be natural barring any medical emergency. The lack of pain medication means you can give birth and labor in any position and switch around.

Classes. Often birth centers offer classes on pain management, birthing techniques, what happens during birth and labor, and breastfeeding classes.

Open-minded. Here you are more likely to have your alternative requests abided by, like placental encapsulation, delayed cord clamping, water birth, etc.

Personal touch. A birth center’s midwives add a personal touch to the experience. They will listen to you, advocate for you, and support you 100%. It’s a special, trusting bond that can only help during labor and delivery.

Luxurious Rooms. The rooms resemble those from a magazine or a luxury hotel. It comes fully equipped with (usually) a birthing ball, squatting bar, tub, bed, shower and more!


 

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My Mom Has Cancer

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 24, 2016 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie Noircent


Never in a million years, did I ever think that I would be in this position.

 

How can you ever prepare yourself for this? How could you ever see these things coming? How can you ever even fathom how to accept it?

 

Just a few short weeks ago, I got the devastating news: my mother has cancer. A lot of questions sprung up after those words were spoken. What type? What stage? What’s the plan? So far, there are very little answers, but what we do know is that she has Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

 

This is a cancer that I have never heard of before. My mom found out she had cancer from a biopsy done on a mass in her tongue. Reading up on SCC, Mayo Clinic states that SCC is a type of skin cancer. Interestingly enough, my grandmother was diagnosed with skin cancer before christmas of last year, and my great-grandfather had lung cancer. Of course, this raises a scary question…is it genetic? Could I have a higher chance of getting cancer? Or worse….could my children have a high chance of having it?

 

When thoughts start to spiral this way, it’s important to try to block the flow of these thoughts. I tell myself, we don’t know much yet, there is no point in stressing about this. Surely, answers will arise in the future. Right now, all that I know is that my mother has cancer, and I need to be there for her. I want to be there for her.

 

You see, my mom is a survivor. No one has necessarily led an easy life, but I like to think of my mom as a phoenix who rose out of the ashes. She is an amazing, selfless person. She single-handedly reconnected two branches of our family tree by doing tireless research to find them, and by reaching out and finding them. Now, we have plenty of cousing that we know about, and love! She even went so far as to dig through old photos and clean them up with photoshop, to give her first cousin a photo of her when she was a baby, which is what my cousin has always wanted. There were many happy tears shed!

 

This of course, goes without mentioning the fact that she survived my terrible teenage years and morally supported me throughout my teens and adulthood. Even now, she continues to be a ray of sunshine in my life. She would do anything for the people she loves. She has truly evolved, become very open-minded and accepting when others of her generation would balk.

 

So many horrible people in the world…and my mother is the one that ends up with cancer.

 

It’s so unfair.

 

Treatment against this cancer is planned, and all I can do right now is cross my fingers. I do worry. I mean, how can you not worry when you find out that your mom has cancer?

 

She is strong, kind, and determined. She has a family that loves her, and friends who adore her. If this had to happen to my mom, at least she has an amazing support system to get her through it.

 

She’s spent so many decades taking care of other people. Now it’s time that we take care of her.

 

I love you, mom. ❤


 

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You Were A Woman First

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 24, 2015 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree


Having your first child can be overwhelming, especially if your very own newborn is the first baby you’ve ever cared for. No amount of prenatal courses and expert advice can prepare new parents for the reality that is parenthood. Not every pregnancy is the same, not every birth is the same, and not every baby is the same. There will be some good days and some bad days. You may feel overwhelmed and unsure if you’re doing anything write. This is normal, and you are not the only one.

 

I myself suffered from postpartum depression. I had no inkling of how hard it was going to be to be a parent. I was lucky I had people there to help me through it. Through the sleepless nights, the blur of breastfeeding, the laundry, diaper changes, cleaning and more; I never found time for myself.

 

There was a man that came to my apartment, a social worker, who would talk to me and teach me different things to do with my baby. Along with the many activities he suggested and all the information he gave us about my daughter’s development, he asked me how I was. He said I looked tired, and I admitted that I was. He told me something that changed my life. “Be sure to take some time for yourself every day, even if it’s just 2 minutes. Before you were a mother, you were a girlfriend. But even before you were a girlfriend, you were a woman first.”

 

I didn’t really understand what he was saying, so he explained it in a different way. “Before you had your daughter and before you got with her father, you were a woman. You had plenty of time to yourself. Since you became a girlfriend, you dedicated time as a couple together, and also time for yourself. Now, you have lost yourself in this whirlwind that is parenthood. Make time for yourself.”

 

I was skeptical, but I tried it. He was right. I took 5 minutes each morning to myself. I got up and went to the bathroom to get dressed in something nice, brush my hair, and do my makeup. I felt much better. I looked good, I was clean, so I felt better about myself. I was in a better mood, so everything that I did after that became much easier. I wasn’t too exhausted to go out as a family to the park, for a walk, even to an event. I blossomed, and with some encouragement, education and support, I came out of the depression. I learned how important those 5 minutes were, and I haven’t given them up since.

 

You can’t pour from an empty glass. You need to take care of yourself first. If you are not at 100%, then how can you give 100% to your baby? Be kind to yourself. Take that shower, even if you have to place the baby in their swing in the doorway of the bathroom. Put the baby in a baby carrier and get your makeup done. Remember; before it all, you were a woman first.


 

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Fickle Friends

Posted by Live Love Mom on December 8, 2014 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree


It happens to all of us. Mothers across the globe get pregnant, labor, and give birth. Somewhere along this amazing journey of creating life, friends begin to fall away. It may be just one friend, it may be many, but they seem to lose interest. The speak to us less and less. They stop returning our phone calls. They de-friend us on social media, or stay only to ignore everything, even your birthday.

 

These are what I like to call fickle friends. In my opinion, true friends shouldn’t stop being your friend just because you had a baby, or are having a baby. In fact, ideally, they will come to your place so you don’t have to tote the baby far away from the limitless supply of diapers and wipes that you have in the comfort of your own home. If anything, a true friend would support you in your new milestone in your life and be happy to accompany you along the way. In turn, when those friends reach milestones of their own, you also support and accompany them through their path. However, not all friendships are as strong as others.

 

Why does this happen? No one can exactly pinpoint a single reason why. It depends on your friend. Here are the main reasons I have found that ex-friends have brought up of why they fell away.

 

Too many baby pictures is often the excuse of the childless, especially men. For those who are infertile, lost a child, or lost custody of their children; it can be painful to see all of those happy times they wish they could have. In this case, it is understandable. The solution? Offer them to just click the “unfollow” button on facebook so they won’t see your posts unless they specifically click on your profile to look. If they are willing to maintain the friendship but it’s too hard to be around your baby, have a girl’s night out with them once in a while. Are you a single mom and can’t afford, or don’t want, even a few hours away from your baby? That is perfectly fine. Let the friendship go.

 

Nothing left in common is often a reason why girl friends drop off the face of the planet. If your friends are single with no children, they may still want to do child-free things such as go to nice restaurants, go to movies, go out dancing, go to a bar, even travel. Often new mothers will have to say “sorry I can’t, I breastfeed and every time I pump the baby is hungry,” or “sorry I have to take care of the baby and I have no babysitter.” With these repeated reasons, your friend feels like you aren’t available anymore so they stop asking. Your lives have taken on completely different paths; and that’s okay. They may just be career-oriented, or more interested in partying. If the differences cause arguments and stress between the two of you, move on. There is no use in hanging on if it just causes negativity.

 

Money can be an issue when your friends want to go out somewhere that costs money, which is nearly everywhere nowadays. You can’t afford many luxuries since your last dollars went to diapers, clothes, food and maybe formula for your baby. Your friends want to go clothes shopping but you’re still losing the baby weight so you don’t want to go just yet. Your friends started going to the gym but you literally gave birth last week. Life goes on; if they can’t wait for you or won’t let you join in a little late, let them go. A solution? Make compromises. Check out free things to do that are nearby; wine-tasting, street music, street art show, and more!

 

Conflict of schedule can also be an issue. Maybe your friend works nights but your baby only has daycare during the day. Maybe you both work days but you want to spend every second with your kids after work. Maybe the only days your friend is available, you have those doctor’s appointments for the kids. It sucks, but it happens. What can help is if the grandparents insist on taking the kids for a day, then you can spend time with your friends. Maybe daddy wants to be alone with the baby, so you can do something as simple as going grocery shopping together with your friend. If you both work at it hard enough, there will always be a loophole. Even if it’s just a 5 minute skype call once a month or a short convo once in a while!

 

Those who use you will be upset that you are no longer available to cater to them. You won’t be there to buy them drinks, give them rides, or buy them dinner. They become resentful, and move on to the next person who can benefit them. In this case, you are better off without this friend. Let them go, and never look back.

 

Whatever the reason, think of your child. Is the friend someone you would want in your child’s life? Are they really good people, who are just unsure how to keep in touch and maintain the friendship? If you answered yes, you can do your best to maintain the friendship. If not, the friendship’s end will have been for the best.


 

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Love The Skin You Are In

Posted by Live Love Mom on January 24, 2014 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)


by: Stephanie McEndree

Skin irritations in kids can be very upsetting. Kids with sensitive skin are often prone to rashes, breakouts and eczema. They require special products to avoid outbreaks. Here are some tips on hiw to prevent irritations.

 

Parent’s choice, simply kids or president’s choice diapers have been found to be easiest on the rears of babies and young children. Out of personal experience and those of friends and family, these are the 3 top brands to use for the little ones. Bonus, they are also the cheapest to buy because they don’t have fragrances.

 

Simply kids is the top brand for wipes as well. They don’t contain harmful fragrances and have been the only brand that is fool-proof for babies. Parent’s choice and president’s choice are other great brands for wipes.

 

Creams that are best for combatting diaper rashes is a mixture of 3 creams available for prescription: cortisone, anti-fungal and zinc-based creams mixed together. These banish any and all types of rashes for good. It’s safest to ask your doctor for a prescription than to make it yourself to make sure there are no negative medical interactions.

 

Change diapers as often as possible. At least once every 2 hours for a newborn. This prevents he acidity from bowel movements and from urine to irritate the skin.

 

Avoid acidic foods. This will prevent an acidic pH in the urine and acid in poop. If you must give acidic foods, avoid them in large quantities. This includes citric fruits and tomatoes, which are some of the most acidic foods out there.

 

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Letter To My Step Son

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 24, 2013 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree


My dear stepson,

 

I know you never asked for me to be in your life. You’ve practically lived your entire childhood without me in the picture. You only knew of my existance when you were 14 years old. You probably imagined that someday your father would date another woman, and maybe you even imagined him becoming a father again. However, I don’t think you imagined it quite like this. I know I didn’t.

 

When your father and I became spouses, I didn’t just agree to be his family. To me, I agreed to be family to his family. I agreed to be there for you as well, however you needed me. I sealed this agreement when I had children with your father, tying his blood to mine. My daughters are your sisters, you are my daughters’ brother.

 

Despite our seperation, despite all that has happened, my daughters remain your sisters. You remain my daughters’ brother. That bond of blood will never break. As your siblinghood remains intact, so does my pact to your father’s family, to you.

 

I want you to know that the rupture of my relationship with your father, has not changed anything else. In my eyes, you are still my step-son. I am still your step-mother. I am not going anywhere.

 

So to you, I make these promises.

 

I promise to not mistreat you, especially not related to my feelings for your father. You are two seperate people in my and my daughters’ lives. You may share blood with your father, but that is all you share.

 

I promise not to keep you from your sisters. If you want to remain in their lives, I will not prevent you from doing so. I want your sisters to know their brother, and for you to know your sisters.

 

I promise that you will always be welcome in our home. Whether you would like to visit your sisters, have someone to talk to, or even a place to stay, I am here for you. I may not be your first choice, but I am here nonetheless.

 

I promise to be an ear to listen, moral support when you need it, and a positive person in your life. I know you never had two full-time parents growing up, and I am very sorry to know that. Though I may have arrived late in your life, I plan to continue to be a positive adult in your life.

 

I may not be your blood, I may not have given birth to you, I may not have raised you, and I may not have known you nearly as long as some of your mother’s closest friends. I may not live close to you, I may no longer be with your father, I may not be able to see you as often as I like. However, I am here for you. I care about you, and you are my daughters’ blood. Family is very important to us, and I consider you a part of our family.

 

You are my daughters’ brother. My daughters are your sisters. And until you tell me otherwise, you are still my stepson, and I am still your step-mother.


 

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