10 Things I Wish People Would Stop Doing Around My Kids

There are a few things I wish other parents would stop doing when it comes to my kids—or at the very least in front of them. With some things, when I clearly know the intent, it’s much easier to let it go, but other times I find myself digging deep to extend grace (if I’m honest there have been times when I’ve dug deep and come up with nothing).

Still, I’m not here to judge. I’m just here to encourage us to look within and to be mindful of the things we are doing and saying, not just when it comes to our own kids. I’m sure I’ve done something to result in an eye-roll from another mom. So while I’m asking you to please stop talking like a sailor in front of my children who happen to be right behind you in the grocery store checkout line, I’m also doing my best to teach my children about our own family values and expectations and that we don’t necessarily have to like or agree with everything someone does to respect them or be kind.

1. Let their kids use social media

Apparently my tween is the only one who doesn’t have Instagram or Snapchat (hey, I don’t even have Snapchat)—which means I’m being totally unreasonable here. I’m OK with that, but is there anyone out there who can give me a (virtual) high-five?

2. (Well-meaning strangers) offer my kids snacks

You thought the tears were bad, now just wait until I say, “No thank you.”

My little one is crying and you wanted to help so you waved your magic wand, I mean lollipop. Actually, you did ask me if she could have it but she was right there listening and watching that gleaming piece of candy move through the air. You thought the tears were bad, now just wait until I say, “No thank you.”

3. Ask me for a favor related to your kid

Perhaps the only thing worse than my child putting me on the spot is another parent putting me on the spot—in front of both our kids.

4. Drop F-bombs

Given I’ve got a 3-year-old who occasionally moonlights as a parrot, I try to be more careful about what I say around her. While I can control what I say, I can’t control what you say (Note: I’m not just talking about the occasional drop but rather a continuous stream of profanity as a part of your regular dialogue.). And there are some words that I don’t want to become a part of her increasingly expansive vocabulary.

5. Be mean

Making cruel, harsh and/or judgmental comments about parents or children or people in general just isn’t cool nor is it funny. When you pick apart the traits (physical or personality) of another person (even if they’re on TV), support negative stereotypes and engage in other forms of word vomit, I’m forced to question the value of our relationship when it comes to my family. Or maybe I question why I came to this restaurant and ask to be seated somewhere else. In our world kindness rules. You can totally, “sit with us.” Just be nice, OK?

6. Tell me how to discipline them

Lucky for you they’re my kids, which means you don’t need to worry yourself with how they should be disciplined.

If you’re coming from a good place and you’d like to share your thoughts in private, then please go right ahead. But I’d rather you not tell me that all parenting dilemmas would be solved if I would spank my kids or ground them or do whatever it is you do. Lucky for you they’re my kids, which means you don’t need to worry yourself with how they should be disciplined. Have you watched the news lately? There are greater fights for you to fight.

7. Make a negative or snarky comment about their appearance

I’m trying to raise girls that are comfortable in their own skin (and hair), and listening to you go on and on about how their hair is so coarse and how it must take forever and be so difficult to comb isn’t helping. We don’t need you to pity us or belittle us. We’re learning to work what God gave us and love it too. You don’t have to love it, but as the saying goes, “If you don’t have anything nice to say … “

8. Disrespect boundaries

Nope. If my kid doesn’t want to hug you they don’t have to. It doesn’t matter whether you are a relative or a friend; if you ask and they decline, that’s it. And please refrain from the manipulative fake cries or declarations that you aren’t going to give them a treat anymore. Keep your treat. They have a right to speak up when it comes to their bodies.

9. Gossip

How is gossiping about someone’s marriage woes or troubled teen over coffee actually helping them? Moreover how is it helping my kids, who are indirectly being invited into an (inappropriate) adult conversation? Children are children, not miniature grown-ups. So please, let them be little. Once again “If you don’t have anything nice to say … “

10. Insist that (insert magical childhood character) doesn’t exist.

Just because you’ve stopped believing doesn’t mean my children have to. In my house we’re holding on to the magic of childhood for as long as we can, and for us that includes penning letters to Santa and putting that lost tooth under the pillow for the Tooth Fairy. (Also: Unlike our fictitious favorites, our God is real. We don’t attack your faith and ask that you please refrain from attacking ours.).

Is there anything you wish other parents would stop doing around your kids or you’re making more of an effort to stop doing?

Via Mom.me

I Smashed the Legos Today, And Now I’m Filled With Regret

Pete Wilgoren

I warned her.

I really did. I warned her.

And she just stood there. We needed to get ready. We were late. She knew we were late. So I warned her again. I did.

Still, she just stood there.

And I started counting to 30. I gave her 30 seconds to get it together. Time to get ready. Now. We’re late. 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… 7… 8…. You need to get ready to go. Shoes and socks. Now. 9… 10… 11… 12… 13… 14… 15…. And she stood there. And I counted. And she just stood there staring me down defiantly.

And I counted more. 16… 17… 18… 19… 20. Don’t make me get to 30. She just stood there. Don’t do it. Stood there.

Don’t… 21… 22… 23… 24.

We’ve been here before. The morning battles. The not listening. The stare downs.

Stood there. Not this time. 25…

I took one of her small Lego sets, and I smashed it. Just like I threatened. One of the Lego sets she built piece by piece and proudly displayed. Destroyed. And she ran to her room in tears as Lego pieces scattered across the floor. I didn’t wait ’til 30.

I warned her I was going to punish her by getting rid of a Lego set. I warned her. I wanted to send a message. It was the culmination of all the not listenings. All the morning battles. All the frustration. So I sent a message. I did it. It was done. And immediately I thought, “What did I do?!”

She got ready for school in silence as I picked up all the Lego pieces I could find on the floor, from under the table, from behind the piano. I never found them all. We were so late that there wasn’t even time for breakfast anymore. We’d lost so much time on a useless battle over being late, the endless parenting battling over morning routines, I had to bag up some fruit and cereal for her and we headed out the door. In silence.

I dropped her off and headed to work, and I couldn’t shake it. In one instant, I created a memory she will never forget. Never.

I called my wife, and we talked it out as I drove. She listened. She’s always a good listener. And at some point, she said, “They’re little. We only have them for such a short time.” And she was right. I wanted to punish my kid, and I wanted to send a message. And I did. Unfortunately.

When I got off work, it was already dark. I battled the freeway home, and as I approached the exit for home, I passed right by it. I went to a local toy store and scanned the store shelves and spotted the same Lego set — the one with the little rocket ship amusement rides that spin around. I bought it.

I brought it home and walked up to the house. My little gal was already in her pajamas for the night. She saw the Lego set and smiled. I gave it to her and I said, “I didn’t handle the situation this morning properly. I was wrong, and I’m sorry.” And she gave me a big hug. She took the Lego box and dumped out the pieces on the floor and immediately started to rebuild. We started to rebuild.

Still, I know I created a memory she’ll never forget — the day Dad shattered her little Lego set — like little scratches on the surface of their childhood. This scratch was all mine. And I can’t take it back but I can do better. And I will.

By Pete Wilgoren

15 Reasons Why Toodlers Are Such Angry Little People

Toddlers get a bad rap. Their lives are tumultuous and filled with people who just don’t understand that they need their sandwiches cut into perfect triangles that don’t touch each other under any circumstances. And the juice should be in the blue cup…I mean the red cup…no, it’s actually the blue. Life is hard for these little dictators because sometimes they need to feel the satisfying crunch of a thousand Cheerios under their feet and most people are trying to take this away from them.

Of course, they feel angry. Who wouldn’t?

Here are some other reasons why toddlers are probably so angry all of the time:

1. They fall down a lot.

Have you ever seen how often those little shorties bite the big one? I don’t know any official numbers, but it’s often. I’d be pissed too if I was falling down all day long on legs that just weren’t working properly.

2. Moms don’t get shit right.

It’s not that hard, really. Moms should be able to figure out that clothes are painful to toddlers extremities, and that if your toddler wants to get into the car all by themselves, well then, the world will just need to wait.

3. There is literal crap in their pants.

And potty training is for losers.

4. Nobody understands what they are saying.

Words are hard, and sometimes screaming just feels right.

5. Everybody is trying to ‘change’ them.

If they have made a self-commitment to cry hysterically each time they don’t get to push the door button at the library, who are you to try and take this from them?

6. Nobody takes their problems seriously.

They don’t want your “help” while putting on their shoes; they just want one thousand years to get it right. Chill out.

7. Pants are the true oppressor of our great nation, and nobody seems to get this.

Toddlers get it. Legs are meant to feel all the changes of the seasons.

8. Time-outs are like jail for innocent people.

Toddlers are ruled by instinct, and their instincts tell them to say, “No!”  in a very loud voice when asked most things.

9. Everyone is always suggesting a nap.

They don’t need a nap; they just need someone to let them paint their body with syrup like God intended.

10. It’s like nobody has ever seen someone want to be naked in Target before.

Toddlers are innovators, and they predict that nudity is going to be the next trending topic.

11. It’s always, ‘hold my hand,’ ‘don’t run in the street,’ ‘don’t eat batteries,’ ‘don’t lick the cat.’

These things bring them joy. You don’t know that toddler’s life, lady.

12. They understand that the choices you are offering

them are complete bullshit.

Oh, really. They get to choose between taking a nap now or taking a nap in five minutes? They know a con when they see one.

13. There’s a never-ending list of things they need to do, and people keep jacking their shit up.

Jacking shit up — every toddler’s mom should wear a shirt that says this.

14. They haven’t known you for very long, so they need to see how long it takes for you to blow.

It’s like a long scientific experiment titled, “How fast can I make these people taking care of me lose their minds?” Their hypothesis is “very soon.”

15. Tantrums are great stress relievers.

It’s better than meditation and/or exercise according to some toddler experts.

So, next time you see a toddler losing his behavior at the grocery store, the playground, the pool, the library, the restaurant, or your own home, remember that they are just trying to live their most authentic life. Instead of trying to escape their wailing, you should really stay and watch and applaud their efforts. And give them candy.

Via Scary Mommy

8 Things That Become Annoying After Becoming a Parent

Before becoming a parent, I probably could have come up with a pretty decent list of things that annoyed me. Things like people chewing with their mouths open and slow drivers in the fast lane mostly just the obvious offenders that annoy most other people too. But since become a parent? Well, let’s just say that the list of annoyances has grown exponentially, though most of the things that make the list are things that would’ve been no big deal in the pre-parent days. Here are lists of things that have become annoying since becoming a parent.

1. The UPS guy who rings the doorbell

Pre-kids, the UPS guy ringing my doorbell was a neutral event in my day. Actually, it was probably an enjoyable event in my day; because it meant some fun item or another awaited me in a package. Now I sort of want to punch the UPS guy (or anyone for that matter) who dares to ring my door bell and wake my baby from his nap.

2. The fact that Costco doesn’t open until 10:00 AM

Before parenthood, I rarely tackled errands before 10:00 AM—because, sleeping in on Saturdays. But now? 10:00 AM rolls around and I’ve probably been up for four hours. I mean, seriously? The day is halfway over by 10:00, Costco. The parents of this nation need economy size boxes of baby wipes and 3-packs of milk and we need it before 10:00 AM. Perhaps I should start a petition.

3. The chatty checker at the grocery store

OK, this was a little annoying before kids as well, but after kids it’s on another level. I’m sorry chatty checker, I really don’t want to hear your life story and I definitely don’t want to tell you mine while my kid is making a mess. I don’t even care. Not even a little bit.

4. Any and all lines

Waiting in lines is never a super fun task for anyone, but it had always just been a part of life. But waiting in lines with kids can be downright hellish. And waiting in line behind someone whose club card isn’t working or who can’t find a coupon while my kid is crying doing even get me started.

5.People who get offended by public breastfeeding

Before becoming a parent, I recognized that some people just don’t feel comfortable with breastfeeding in public. Even though I found it silly, it didn’t annoy me really. After becoming a parent, the ridiculousness of taking offense to breastfeeding annoys me to no end. Seriously people, you’ll see more cleavage walking past Victoria’s Secret on your mall walk then you’ll see while someone is feeding their baby. Get over it.

6.People who talk about their pets incessantly like they are their babies

I’ve never been a super huge animal person, but if other people want to compare and treat kids as a pet and talk about them as such who am I to resent them? Well, after having kids, I find the behavior a lot more annoying. And please do not compare your animal to my child. Totally not the same.

7.Phone calls over text

Talking on the phone is not my jam, but if I had information to communicate I had always been more than happy to give a quick phone call. Now, I basically send all phone calls straight to voicemail. I pretty much would like everyone I know to ask them before calling me: “Is this information that could be conveyed via a text message?” If the answer is yes, then please send a text. It will be much more pleasant for both of us to not have to carry on a conversation while my children yell in the background.


I suppose the reason I never real took issue with glitter before having children is because I didn’t really have to encounter it very often in my daily life. In the adult world, very few things are festooned with glitter for glitter’s sake. Unfortunately I have learned that in the world of children glitter is on EVERYTHING. Literally everything. And subsequently it is all over my house as well. Glitter is most definitely the herpes of craft supplies and I wouldn’t be particularly sad if it no longer existed.

I identify myself on this POST ! Life changed drastically after having kids, I hope you identify also on this post from my blog about Things that become annoying after having kids



5 Things You Need To Stop Giving My Kid


Clint Edwards

People are always giving my kids crap. Sometimes it’s my neighbors. Other times its friends, or doctors, or family. And, you know what, I get it. You are a generous person. You like to see children smile, and that’s awesome. But the fact is there are a few things that you just need to stop giving my kids. Things like…

  1. Stickers

Hey, doctor’s office, you give a child a sticker and they smile. Good for you. But do you ever stop to think about where all those Dora and Batman stickers end up? Let me tell you: my van. They stick them on my van window, and then in the heat of the sun, those suckers get permanently welded on there. Well…not the whole sticker. Just part of it. The part I can’t scratch off, leaving me with a white and pink blotch that looks like separating continents. Or they end up on my dining room table. Or on my kid’s shirt, and I forget to check the shirt for stickers because the damn thing was inside out when I did the laundry, and something happens in the wash that is similar to what happens during arc welding, and the sticker never fully comes off my daughter’s favorite shirt. So what am I saying? Every time you give a sticker to my child, you ruin my shit. Stop ruining my shit.

  1. Party Bags with Cheap Crappy Toys

Oh, you are so cute with your little themed goody bag for each kid who attends your child’s birthday party. Help me understand your logic. You have a child. You surely have had your child come home with one of those damn parachuting army men that works once and then gets tangled, so you spend the rest of the day untangling the stupid thing while your child cries, only for it to get tangled again a minute later. You’ve heard the shrill squeal of a cheap plastic kazoo. You know what stickers do to your van windows. So why do you hand that shit out? Stop perpetuating a problem that you know makes everyone hate you.

  1. Cheetos

I love Cheetos, but when given to my children their little hands look like they’ve been into Donald Trump’s sunscreen. Orange fingerprints line my van, their shirts, and my sofa. One small bag and suddenly it looks like my house has been dusted for prints. Unless they lick their fingers. Then everything is coated in a cheese-scented paste that is almost impossible to get out of furniture without good upholstery cleaner and Xanax.

  1. Your Broken Toys

I can’t count how many times I’ve been at a friend’s home and one of my children has fallen in love with some worn-out, crappy, broken-up princess tea set or Pikachu missing an ear, and suddenly I hear the words, “Oh…you can have it, sweetie.” Then I get the wink—that look from another parent that seems to say, “It’s your problem now.” Kiss my ass, it’s my problem! I have enough broken toys at my house. You don’t need to be passing your garbage into my house. I don’t need more. And I will admit, I have done this same thing before. Half the time it’s some broken toy my kids were given. Honestly, it feels like passing around broken toys is some sort of parental hot potato, each person trying to get rid of some silly piece of shit, when in fact we all just need to unify and start throwing this crap in the garbage. Can we do that? Together…please.

  1. Stuffed Animals

I’m not sure if stuffed animals can have sex. I try not to think about stuff like that, but what I do know is that they multiply. So I understand. You’ve got these stupid, button-eyed, hairy things growing in numbers. You want to thin the herd. Awesome. Throw them away. Give them to Goodwill. I don’t give a shit what you do with them, but don’t give them to my children because they are taking over my home, same as yours. Some of them smell bad. Real bad. Like whatever your kids did to them bad. Or they are sticky. I don’t need any more sticky crap, and neither do you. That’s why you gave it away. Sneaking stuffed animals from your house to mine is not being crafty, or spreading joy, it’s just you dumping your shit into my home. Stop it. You’re being an asshole.

I doubt many parents will disagree with this list. In fact, many will probably add to it. And if you do have a love for stickers on your van window or smelly stuffed animals or any of the other garbage I’ve listed, please comment below with your mailing address. I have a package to send you.


11 Words That Have A Different Meaning After You Have Kids


You think you have mastered the English language. You’re sure you know the meaning of these commonly used words, right? But then you have kids. And you realize that these words you thought you knew take on a whole new definition once you become a parent. Here are 11 words that you’ve had to relearn since having kids, with brand-spanking-new definitions.

  1. Tired

Pre-Kid Definition: Feeling sleepy

Post-Kid Definition: EXHAUUUUSTED. Frickin’ BEAT! A condition usually brought on by severe lack of sleep which happens night after night with no recovery. Every muscle in your body aches. You feel like you just competed in two Iron Mans back to back. Your eyeballs burn. SO, SHUT UP, PRE-KID DEFINITION!

  1. All-Nighter

Pre-Kid Definition: An entire nighttime period spent partying and having fun. No sleep is experienced because one is too busy drinking, dancing and being free. Being so free and alive. So free …

Post-Kid Definition: An entire nighttime period spent up with your baby or toddler who is crying incessantly and won’t go back down in her mother-‘effing crib. Like, she won’t stop crying and it’s making your face melt. And this goes on all night long.

  1. Quickly

Pre-Kid Definition: Doing something with swiftness, efficiency, in a short amount of time.

Post-Kid Definiton: Leaving the house before noon. Or getting out of the grocery store in less than 2 hours.

Pre-Kid Definition: Trousers or nicely ironed slacks or skinny jeans
Post-Kid Definition: As in, yoga

  1. Eating Out

Pre-Kid Definition: Going to a restaurant and enjoying a leisurely meal wherein you eat and possibly have a glass or two of wine while you talk about world issues and/or the latest episode of RHOBH.

Post-Kid Definition: Going to a restaurant with the hopes of getting food in your belly before you a) either leave voluntarily with ranch dressing across your shirt and tears in your eyes, or b) are kindly asked to leave by the restaurant manager after more than 3 surrounding tables complain about the croutons flying from the circus happening at your table.

  1. Nap

Pre-Kid Definition: A brief episode of sleep, usually taken mid-day to rejuvenate and reenergize. Perhaps taken in a hammock after just a few beers or a delicious, slowly eaten meal.

Post-Kid Definition: Something that is a daily struggle to get your baby or toddler to do; something that doesn’t exist for you anymore, honey.

  1. Pants

Pre-Kid Definition: Trousers or nicely ironed slacks or skinny jeans

Post-Kid Definition: As in, yoga

  1. Sex

Pre-Kid Definition: Hot, torrid and potentially spur-of-the-moment boot-knocking that happens often and anywhere

Post-Kid Definition: A major event. Likely put on the calendar. To occur in your bedroom, done quietly as to not disturb young housemates, in an amount of time usually cut short by said housemates with a “MAAAAAHHHMMMM!” Or just crying, either of which pretty much kills the mood.

  1. Gross

Pre-Kid Definition: Very unpleasant, foul, even repulsive


  1. Chillin’

Pre-Kid Definition: Relaxing. Taking time to do absolutely nothing. Kicking it.

Post-Kid Definition: This word does not exist.

  1. Acceptable

Pre-Kid Definition: Able to be agreed upon. Suitable.

Post-Kid Definition: Whatever you can do — be it begging, bribing or surrendering — to get your small child to just put on her stupid pants.

  1. Love

Pre-Kid Definition: A feeling of deep affection or attachment

Post-Kid Definition: You never knew how your heart could burst with such happiness and intense affection for a tiny little human that looks sort of like you. Your soul lights up when you see him. Your heart aches when you are away from her. And you can’t even begin to imagine your life before they were in it. Even if you actually got sleep back then.

Once you have children, everything changes  even the definitions of words.

Via mom.me




Life could be complicated, something out of our control, you plan your life when you are younger, year by year, you see yourself in some specific aspects in some moments and periods of your life;  you visualize you in a certain way, you plan and plan but sometimes your destiny and life are going in a different direction and I am speaking for myself. I planned my whole life in a specific way and the opposite occurred.  I learned that lesson… by the age of 26 I was supposed to be graduated from School, married and with kids, and of course dedicating my life to my children, I mean children in plural, more than one, in a big house, with my mother close to me, coming to take care of my children when I had to run for errands, to go out with my husband, I mean husband yes…. And of course to have help in my house to do the everyday job, do laundry, cleaning the house, iron the clothes, open the garage door once I arrive with the groceries etc. and of course living a prosperous monetary life in my own country.

Life can change and has different plans for you sometimes, I had to come to USA in my twenty’s and took 8 years for me to obtain my legal status, I started school at the age of 30, I have not married yet, and I had my first son at 42 years old, a mature age to have your first son. I found a nice guy and a good father for my son, I work pay check to pay check and I haven’t have the honor and privilege to have any help in my daily activities. I have to work full time and had to left my 3 months old son in a daycare because I had to work obligatory. I found my partner in life but sadly he has a disease, he has Polycystic Kidney Disease, he is only 37 years old, he found out this disease on his late 20s, he will go in a difficult time same as me for the transplant process and we don’t know if my son will hereditary this disease, he is the one from his two brothers to heredity the disease from his father.

Presently I have to continue to provide the best quality of life to my son and my family, I cannot plan in a nearly future, and I live day by day. Life is tough and full of surprises. I always emphasize to people how important is not to visualize yourself in the perfect way, the breakdown could hurts a lot.

Now we are in the process of the transplant through Miami Transplant Institute to be part of the transplant list, also trying to be more conscious about the life style knowing that we need to improve some areas, especially the meal plan following and practice this web recipes  Kidney Disease Recipes and I hope it helps others with kidney disease also.

Thanks to follow my blog, this blog help me to release stress and share my life experiences to people who probably feel the same way I am actually.

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Are You This Lucky?


There is one rule in most situations to don’t compare yourself to others. But as moms, that’s almost impossible not to do, we now spend a majority of our time with other parents and their kids. I often think to myself, is she just a better mom than me, or does she have easier kids?

Of course, I know the answer to this question. All children come with their own set of rules, and I’m doing the best I can, but it’s still hard because our children can be a reflection of us to the outside world.

These are the moms some wouldn’t mind trading places with for one day:

  1. The Moms whose Kids Sit in the Shopping Cart

The grocery store is practically handing us an excellent ticket when they offer carts that look like race cars. It should be a toddler version of someone letting me drive their Ferrari but my kid make me want to drive off a precipice as I push that ridiculously enormous object and here comes another car cruising towards me, those damn carts are so huge we have to knock down all the displays to get what we want most of the times.

  1. Moms whose Kids Hold Their Hand When Walking Down the Street

These are the moments I apologize to the parenting gods for ever judging anyone who put their child on a leash. I want to handcuff mine most of the times. Even when he does hold my hand walking, it’s a little vague; his arm is in a constant shake motion.

  1. The Moms whose Kids Brush Their Hair and Teeth

Just ask my kid sometimes every morning is a mission to do it, he is little and he needs my help but even that he wants to make it himself and is the constant fight every morning. It makes no difference what flavor the toothpaste is or what character appears on their toothbrush.

  1. The Moms whose Kids Leave Places in peace

Everywhere we go somewhere and it’s time to get back into the car to leave my kid act like I’m tearing him away from Disney World. No matter where we are, chaos ensues when it’s time to go. I think I won’t take him to Disney World until at least their mid-30s, when he establishes some self-control.

Needless to say, these are things I never imagined would be an issue before I was a mother. I had no idea my child would complain about the simplest tasks, he also knows the right moment to plant a kiss on my cheek or bring a smile on my face, but I also have come to embrace the chaos, and laugh each day because I survive the unexpected but even the adversity I consider myself a lucky mom.

7 Ways to maintain your marriage after a baby

7 Ways to maintain your marriage after a baby

Even the strongest bonds can be tested when the excitement of a brand new baby gives way to sleep deprivation, self-doubt and lack of communication. Want to keep your marriage strong as the two of you become a family? Here’s how:

  1. Split up

Wait, what? One of the most important things you can do for each other as a couple is to go your separate ways. It takes effort and a bit of planning, but continuing to pursue interests and friendships on your own makes you a better partner—and parent. But who really feels like meeting friends for a movie after a long day of caring for a baby? You may have to start small when your baby is young, especially if you’re breastfeeding and can’t be more than a feeding away. Take a walk on your own, escape to the backyard to call your BFF or just take a nap. Likewise, try and make sure your partner has time to pursue his interests as well. It won’t always be easy, but it’s important in the long run.

  1. Put your relationship first

Newborns put you into full-on survival mode, which makes it hard to take care of yourself, let alone your spouse. But the foundation of your new little family is the bond you’ve created with each other—and small steps you take to be thoughtful to each other pay off massively in the long run. Pouring that third cup of coffee? Pour one for your spouse, too. Think about how the baby affects each of you in different ways and acknowledge this. Dads, don’t use breastfeeding or “bonding” with mom as an excuse to back away from your spouse. She needs you now more than ever and she needs to feel that strong foundation underneath her feet.

  1. Coffee

Invest in a really good coffee pot. Enough said.

4. Laugh

Even when nothing seems funny—projectile spit up, overflowing diaper pail, nasty case of diaper rash—laughter is one of the most important things that can keep your marriage strong. Laughing together after a particularly challenging day helps you both stay sane. So put on that favorite funny DVD and share some laughs, even if you have to watch it half an hour at a time.

  1. Flirt

Seriously, who feels like getting busy when your boobs are leaking and you’re still wearing maternity undies? But those simmering urges might never come back if you don’t try and keep the fire stoked. Have an honest conversation about when you might be ready for more than a peck on the cheek, and make a pact to remember how you made the baby in the first place. A kiss in the kitchen, a hand lingering on your shoulder when he takes the baby for bath time, a wink across the room—it all keeps the fires warm, and helps you see each other as more than roommates. And when you’re ready to bring sexy back? The journey isn’t that far.

  1. Divide and conquer

Until you’ve had a baby, you just can’t explain it—babies are time sucks. It’s easy to think that you can run errands and get everything done just as easily with baby in tow, because they just sleep all day, right? Comparing your to-do lists and consolidating errands throughout the week takes a load off both of you, leaving more time for playing with your baby and enjoying your family.

  1. Listen

Whether your relationship was relatively new when your baby came into the picture or you’ve been married for a decade, listening is one of the most important things you can do to stay close. So even when your baby-frazzled mind can’t remember if you showered this morning, you both need to have at least a few minutes out of each day for real communication.

Babies are all sorts of awesome—and all sorts of exhausting. But keeping your relationship strong will result in a big payoff down the road. Like when you have a teenager.


When Mom or Dad Is Seriously Ill


When a parent becomes gravely ill, the entire family is thrown into crisis; for children, it may well be the worst of their lives so far. Often, the first impulse is to protect children, to spare them as much pain as possible. But children usually have to take on new responsibilities and confront stark realities, frightened and exhausted adults often have little energy to spare for children who are themselves terrified and confused.

As a parent you feel like the whole world is crashing down, feeling like you are sinking, and hard to give your kids the support, and at the same time you don’t want them to be ruined by this.

Ms. McCue, the supervisor of the Child Life Program at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, a major medical center, has spent years trying to help adults and children not only to endure these crises, but also to emerge stronger. For years, she said, children were “the invisible people” in hospitals. Only in the last five years, she said, have professionals begun to recognize that techniques devised to help seriously ill children can be used to help healthy children whose parents are sick.

Probably the most difficult principle for well-meaning parents to follow, but the most central, is to tell children the truth, with the details adjusted to suit their ages. Parents, she writes, should always tell the children three things: that the mother or father is seriously ill, what the name of the disease is, and what the doctors say is likely to happen.

Most parents, she said, have found their children are far stronger than they thought. Children must be allowed to express their grief.

“Although telling the children the truth is very frightening and can be very emotionally overwhelming at the time, once you’ve gotten past that moment, everyone is carrying the burden together,” Ms. McCue said. “You can deal with it and help the child make the most of it. You say, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do to handle this.’ ”

Adults must be careful, however, not to overburden children or to expect them to offer more than fleeting comfort, Ms. McCue said. They will need help talking about their fears, reassurance that the illness is not their fault and permission to have fun, Ms. McCue said.

Children may also need to be prepared for the sight of a sick parent in the hospital, and Ms. McCue recommends showing them pictures of hospitals and describing in detail the machines or other medical devices the children will encounter.

In many cases, children’s grades might suffer, but both the well and the sick parent, if possible, need to tell children that illness cannot be an excuse for failure, example, stopped doing his homework and started acting up.

While these are normal reactions for children, Ms. McCue also provides a list of warning signs that should prompt parents to seek professional help. These include severe problems with sleeping or eating, risky actions that might indicate suicidal thoughts — like deliberately dashing in front of cars — very aggressive or withdrawn behavior and extreme fears.

When the worst happens, and a parent is going to die, Ms. McCue offers detailed guidance about how to prepare children and how to handle final hospital visits. Although generally she advocates not pushing children if they are reluctant to talk about their parents’ illness, she said that if death is imminent, children must be told as soon as possible, to give them time to prepare.

She suggested that parents offer children several opportunities to visit the parent, but not to force them to do so. Whenever possible, the dying parent can be encouraged to dictate a last message to children, something they can hold on to in later years.

In her years of work with children, Ms. McCue said that she has been continually surprised at how much children can grow and even thrive despite the trauma of parental illness. “They develop some skills they didn’t know they had,” she said. “If you could make it go away, that’s the first choice. But if they can get through this, they can get through many things.”