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How to Keep it Spicy in the Bedroom During and Post Pregnancy

intimacy

Pregnant women and new moms often struggle with supporting their new identity as moms and balance it with intimacy with their partner. And sex during and post-pregnancy remains a taboo topic among women themselves.

One study found that health providers discussed contraception with 96 percent of women, but only 15 percent of those women voluntarily brought up sexual issues.

And what complicates things is that there isn’t any one general issue that all women endure, says Madison Young, sex educator, mother and author of the new book, The Ultimate Guide to Sex through Pregnancy and Motherhood. 

“We are all unique sexual snowflakes and every mom’s journey into motherhood is different,” Young says. “But I’d say that one of the most common challenges I see amongst new moms surrounding sex, pleasure and intimacy is that mom’s expect for things to return ‘back’ to the way they were pre-pregnancy.  And it doesn’t work that way.  We don’t move backward in time, we move forward.  Moving forward can mean new adventures, new possibilities, and yes also new challenges now that you are a mom.”

What drives these new demands? The time and energy of motherhood.

“A new mom’s emotional and physical energy is in high demand from a new born and… [t]here is sleep deprivation, hormonal shifts, expectations and social pressure to be the best mother that you can be,” the frequent sex education panelist added. “It can deplete a new mom of the energy, wellness, confidence self love and self care that she needs to feel at a place of balance and erotically or sexually grounded and connected to her own body or to a partner.”

Slow and steady is the way to go to restore intimacy, Young adds.

“In my book I place a major focus on loving ourselves first in order to love and gift love and intimacy to our partner.  Being slow and gentle with ourselves, accepting our bodies, energy levels, and sexual libido as they are that day.  Finding ways to nourish ourself and honoring our own body on a daily basis even if it is for only a few minutes each day.”

La Leche League points out that breastfeeding stimulate bonding withing mom and baby, but partners who once enjoyed the new mom’s breasts alone get left out often.

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Sometimes it is because mom is uncomfortable.

Young advises:   “It’s important to trust and honor both you and your partners feelings about bodies and touch.  First try connecting with your breasts in a way that feels pleasurable.  These are your breasts.  Not your baby’s breasts, not your your partner’s breasts, they are yours and you are a powerful fabulous multi-faceted human being that is able to nurture a human in one role, and seduce a human in another role.

“Find pleasure within yourself and decide what you feel comfortable sharing with your partner during this time in your new motherhood”

At times it is dad who is not cool with having to share but that is when it is time to get creative.

“[I]if your partner expresses a disinterest in your breasts while you are nursing, take this as an opportunity to explore new erogenous zones,” Young recommends.  “G spot stimulation, deep throating, foot fetish, different elements of kink or role play.  And just because your partner is uncomfortable with breast play during early motherhood doesn’t mean that you can’t pleasure your breasts on your own.  Reclaiming our bodies through masturbation and self-pleasure can be incredibly empowering, stir up and generate new juicy erotic energy and stimulate your desire for sexual play with your partner.”

Maintaining intimacy throughout pregnancy and even new motherhood is essential for a relationship, as there have been several reports of infidelity by a spouse during this sensitive time.

“The important thing is to stay connected, explore new avenues of intimacy and touch, and keep communicating with your partner about your desires and emotions and hold space for your partner to communicate about their desires and emotions,” Young adds.  “There are so many ways to stay erotically connected with your partner during pregnancy from erotic massage, oral sex, vibrators and sex toys, making out  and even dance.  Think of the type of intimate touch or play that you might be craving right now and communicate with your partner about that.  Perhaps being blind folded and fed juicy summer time strawberries and chocolate!  Expand your mind past intercourse and allow the possibilities to unfold.”

She also offers some insight into dealing with the cheating fears.

“I think either partner cheating during pregnancy is likely a symptom of some of this fear and stress as well as insecurities in their new roles and their transition into those roles, while perhaps clinging onto a pre-parenthood pre-pregnancy life.”  says the brand new mom to two after recently given birth. “Having solid communication with your partner prior to pregnancy can be a great asset in moving forward into pregnancy.”

Madison Young values sexual education in her work and has taught workshops and lectures, and she acted as a panelist on the topics of sexuality, feminist porn studies, and the politics of BDSM around the world including at Yale University, Hampshire College, Northwestern University, University of Toronto, University of Minnesota, and the University of California at Berkeley.

Your Guide to Throwing an Elegant Upscale Dinner Party

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Having a dinner party should not be the end all, be all to your hosting forays. Your guest list is made up of friends and you have already been in plenty of social situations with them before. If memory serves, your college years together have produced some pretty crazy and embarrassing stories already. Would one more night really subtract from how they already perceive you as a person? No. But if the party went well, that would surely lend you credence.

Hoping to impress your party guests with a fabulous dinner this season? Hope no more: here are the tips to help you throw a killer dinner party.

The Guest List

Health and lifestyle blog, Greatist, writes that to host a successful party, you need to start with the guest list. If you have two friends that are arguing on Twitter over today’s current political climate, it’s best not to have them seated together at the same dinner party. They will capitalize on the conversation and turn what should have been an enjoyable night in with friends into chaos. If Bravo TV‘s Real Housewives franchise is of any indication, inviting guests engaged in an ongoing feud will only make your other guests uncomfortable and spoil the evening.

 The Menu

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When it comes to the menu, a good host is aware of their guests’ food allergies and preferences. To make sure that your main course will be enjoyed by everyone, include in the invitation a section asking about exactly that: food allergies and preferences. Give them a list of options (no more than three) for the hors d’oeuvres that they can check and blank lines for them to fill out listing their allergies. To make sure you get your responses back in a timely manner, include a stamped return envelope in the mailed invitation. Some people will complain if they are required to use a stamp and envelop of their own.

Whatever you, do not send an electronic invitation to your guests. Word associations with dinner parties include the elegant, tasteful and refined. An electronic invitation is cheap and tawdry.

You will want the guests you do invite to be on good speaking terms and to share similar interests. This will keep the flow of the conversation moving and give room for everyone at the table to speak. Dinner parties are about good food and conversation; one party pooper can make your party run afoul very quickly. 

The Venue

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More than likely you will be hosting your dinner party at home. Your guests will congregate around the hors d’oeuvre table and wine bar, and you’ll want to make sure that both are clean and finely styled. This isn’t an outdoor barbecue; paper cups and plates aren’t going to do it. The decoration of the hors d’oeuvre table, wine bar and table setting will need to be polished and fashionable. To highlight your wine selection, the Alessi-designed oval stainless steel tray will bring your guests attention to your superb tastes. The Seletti dishware tabletop collection will bring in a playful take on the traditional dinnerware setting. The cheese available on your cheese platter can be finely cut using the Blomus FROMA cheese slicer. By offering your guests the very best, they’re going to have the very best time.

The Music

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Music is subjective. Like a work of art or a novel, not everyone agrees on the message. Sometimes it’s just the sound of the piece that can aggravate one listener while another begins to move their body to the beat. To keep everyone happy, choose music without song lyrics. There are choices in jazz, classical, downtempo electronic and folk music that will give your party a lovely low soundtrack to play in the background.

One last piece of advice? Don’t stress out too much! Dinner parties are supposed to be fun, so eat, drink and be merry!

 

 

 

Back to School: 8 Tips for Dealing With Separation Anxiety

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Few things tug at a parent’s heartstrings like the cries and pleas of a child in the throes of a separation anxiety attack; still, they are a normal (if distressing) part of childhood development. With proper coping strategies and plenty of love, the worst of your child’s anxieties can be managed until he’s older, at which point most children tend to outgrow their fears of being separated from a parent or familiar adult.
Managing your child’s separation anxiety and helping her to cope with the necessary but painful routine of parting is a matter of being patient, for the most part. Keeping your composure and maintaining a grip on your patience is absolutely necessary in order for you to successfully employ other management techniques.
  1. Establish a Goodbye Ritual – Sharing a special goodbye ritual with your little one is both comforting and reassuring to her, letting her know that staying at school, daycare, or under the care of a nanny is a new part of her routine. Because structure and repetition are so important to young children, establishing a ritual that accompanies every separation can help normalize that separation, making it less stressful for her over time.
  2. Stay Calm – Kids react to the emotional state of a parent or loved one, so allowing yourself to become overly emotional or anxious in her presence is likely to only exacerbate the anxiety and fear that she’s already feeling. Maintain your composure as best you can, saving the emotional moments for a time when you’re out of her sight.
  3. Don’t Hover or Linger – While it might seem that your hysterical child will never calm down after you leave, childcare providers will almost always reassure you that their emotional state will improve dramatically once you’re gone. Lingering around and hovering over her will only prolong the process, stretching out both her suffering and your own.
  4. Speak with Caregivers and Teachers – Experienced childcare providers and preschool or kindergarten teachers are well-versed in reassuring both hysterical children and their concerned parents, so don’t hesitate to speak with them about how your child is adjusting. When normal separation anxiety is particularly difficult for a child to shake, or persists after a significant adjustment period, these people are your best allies in combating your little one’s fears and helping her learn to cope with separation in a calm, healthy way.
  5. Resist the Temptation to Sneak Away – It can be very tempting to wait until your child is distracted and slip quietly from the room, but this may not be the most productive method of dealing with her separation anxiety. Looking up to find you inexplicably gone, without any sort of a goodbye, can lead to a panic that she’s been abandoned or, at the very least, to feel that she can’t always trust that you’ll be where you should be.
  6. Communicate With Your Child – You can help prepare your child for preschool, kindergarten, or childcare by talking about the upcoming change, practicing separation on a small scale, and answering any questions that she has. These methods can be very effective in preventing the worst of her anxiety before it starts, and maintaining that open line of communication as she adjusts to her new environment and has new experiences is vital.
  7. Be Firm and Consistent – Don’t waver or bring your child home after a particularly bad outburst, as it sends the message that a tantrum will yield the desired result of either leaving daycare or school with you or sending your nanny home, rather than being separated. Focus on maintaining a firm but gentle demeanor, and a strong grip on your resolve.
  8. Know When Separation Anxiety Indicates Something More Serious – While separation anxiety is a very natural, normal part of growing up for many children, there are times when it could indicate something more serious. If a previously happy, well-adjusted child begins to regress and show signs of anxiety again, or if existing anxiety is severe and does not lessen with time, you should contact your pediatrician or medical provider for advice.

 

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Back-To-School: 10 Ways to Know If Your Child is Gifted

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Parents generally think all of their children are pretty special, but some kids really are uniquely gifted when it comes to learning and grasping schoolwork.

If you were a gifted student yourself, you might recognize the signs, but here’s some tips for those of you who aren’t sure what to look for.

1. Strong Vocabulary – What kinds of words and sentence structure does your child use? Do they use more multi-syllable words than their peers? Are they often asking about the meanings of new words they hear and do they quickly put new words to use? Gifted children often have advanced vocabularies and quickly pickup word meanings through their contextual use.

2. Quick on Completing Schoolwork – If your child’s teacher tells you that your child is always one of the first ones completed with their assignments, this is a strong clue that your child is more advanced than the other students in their classroom.

3. Understand Monetary Concepts – Use of money is one of the first mathematical concepts that kids are exposed to in their home environment. If your child quickly picks up the concepts of the monetary values of coins and how they relate to one another, this may be a sign that you have a mathematically gifted child.

4. Listen and Learn – Does your child seem to be able to pick up concepts and the words to songs as soon as they hear them, even if it is only once? Gifted children don’t need the same amount of repetition to learn as other children.

5. Enjoys a Mental Challenge – Are puzzles fun for your child, but they quickly get bored with them if they are too easy? This could be a sign of a gifted child. Gifted children enjoy a challenge but easily become bored if there isn’t enough challenge.

6. Mature Sense of Humor – A gifted child will be more likely to understand more complex humor such as is found in newspaper comic strips or jokes that other children their age may not be able to understand.

7. Advanced Reading Skills – Most gifted children have advanced reading skills and enjoy reading. You will find them breezing through large books quickly and yet still comprehending what they’ve read and being able to explain it to you.

8. Enjoys Learning New Things – For gifted children, learning new things is exciting and fun. They have a great curiosity about how things function, how things are made and learning about just about any subject.

9. Observatory Skills – If you have a gifted child, they will notice things and remember things that most other kids would not. They may notice simple details like a person wearing a different watch than they normally do or be able to remember the exact icons on your computer that you clicked on to get to the program that they like to play.

10. Grasps Relationships – Gifted children will grasp and understand relational concepts quicker than their peers. They will be able to pick out and replicate more complicated patterns. They will find it easier to fill in the missing piece from a sequence.

Hopefully, these clues will empower you to know whether your kid is gifted and what, if anything, to do about it.

5 Legit Money-Making Opps for Stay-at-Home moms

If you want to earn some money while staying home with the kids, you are in luck. There are plenty of legitimate jobs that can be done from the comfort of your home and around your kids’ school schedule, play dates and extracurricular activities. To find a work-at-home job that suits you, check out the following tips and ideas:

Turn Your Hobby Into an Income

Turn one of your talents or hobbies into a supplemental income. For example, if you’re routinely asked to bring your camera to parties because you take such amazing photos, consider dabbling in freelance photography. Start small with people you know and build up your portfolio. With some word-of-mouth referrals, you could transform this hobby into a profitable job.

Other ideas of hobbies include baking, catering, sewing custom kids outfits, ceramics and jewelry making.

Look Into Contractual Work

Another great option for work-at-home moms is contractual positions. These combine the security of working for an established company with the freedom to set your own hours and telecommute. To find a position that works for you, think about what you are passionate about and research available opportunities. For example, if you are into fashion and beauty, you could turn this interest into a contractual position with a well-established company like Amway. The company is known for being a leader in premium beauty products and it offers contractual jobs that can fit around your schedule.

Consider Being a Customer Service Representative

If you are the consummate people person, like talking on the phone and are pretty good on the computer, an at-home customer service representative job is a great option. These positions pay between $8 and $18 an hour, and there are typically part-time and full-time positions available that can be done from a quiet home office.

You might be surprised how many major companies hire at-home CSRs. Some of these include major hotel chains like Hilton and Best Western and retail companies like 1-800-FLOWERS and Spiegel. To find these positions, check out companies like Alpine Access and LiveOps to see what they have available.

Build up Your Resume

As you look for at-home positions, work on boosting your resume in as many ways as you can. If you routinely volunteer at your kids’ school or are a member of the PTO, put this on your resume. It shows potential employers that you are responsible, committed and organized. Consider taking some classes at a local community college that you could turn into an at-home work option, such as writing and computer courses.

Watch out for Scams

While there are plenty of legitimate and reasonably lucrative ways to make money at home, there are some scammers who are out to take your money. As you look for work, watch for red flags like companies or websites with no contact information. Some other signs of trouble are if a company asks you to pay them a fee to get started or if a position seems too good to be true. Once you find a company that you like, research them to see if anything pops up about scams or bad business practices.

Eco-Friday: 10 Books to Read if You’re having a Vegan Pregnancy

 

A few year ago, actress Emily Deschanel got some heat by continuing with her vegan diet while pregnant last year.

However, despite concerns, remaining vegan while pregnant can be done safely with the consultation of a doctor and nutritionist and maybe also by reading up on some recommended books on having a well-rounded vegan diet.

 She is not the only celebrity to stick with her vegan diet even while pregnant. Alicia Silverstone even wrote about her vegan pregnancy diet. Carrie Underwood, Natalie Portman and Allyson Hannigan  are vegans who softened up and switched to vegetarianism during pregancy.
The Happy Herbivore put together a post that includes a list of recommended books for having a safe vegan diet and pregnancy.
Check them out:

These are the Chores Most Moms Would Love to Outsource

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I’ve always joked that if there was a mom lottery that the top prizes should be something like lifetime of laundry doing or a toy-pick up butler. Something, useful like that. But truthfully, there is a lot of multi-tasking involved with parenting and moms usually have way more roles and tasks than dads un mos households.

Our partners at Mode curated a few articles featuring those tasks that are painstaking and challenging for moms which they would love to outsource to someone else to do! check it:

Check out 7 Chores Every Parent Wants to Outsource

by Janssen at Mode

Back to School: 5 School/Life Balance Tips for Kids

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back to school

 

As many children go back to school this month, several struggle in class, lose assignment sheets and notes, miss assignments and  forget to bring home books needed to complete homework if he or she is not organized.  There are tremendous benefits to teaching children executive functioning skills. These are the type of skills top or mid level execs use to succeed in work but certainly can apply to kids as well.

Organization and focus are key qualities for many successful adults, but these skills do not come naturally to grown ups, imagine if you were taught it at a young age and grew with those skills.

The Glenholme School in Washington, Connecticut  actually has a program called “Executive Functioning Skills” which helps its students focus on tasks at hand, prioritize and organize in a way that will help them throughout their lives even after leaving school.

Here are 5 tips that Maryann Campbell, Executive Director of The Glenholme School, offers to assist all parents and children:

  1. Stash and trash– Prevent mountains of papers from accumulating by learning what to keep and what to toss. This is a very important skill, even for the most organized adults! Teach children at a young age what types of documents to keep and throw away as well as how to best organize the materials they are keeping. Your future storage bins will thank you! 
  1. Balancing work and fun – It is important to teach children that there is a time for work and a time for play, and that they are both important for a well-balanced life! Make time for studying, after school activities and dinner with the family.
  1. Manage the day – Parents have planners, and so should children! Teach your child to use a day planner or calendar, where they can record their school work, after-school activities, social events and family time.  Whether it is paper or digital, it doesn’t matter. The point is that the child learns to manage their time and sets realistic expectations for each day.
  1. Organize assignments –Parents can help their children stay organized with color-coded folders and a desk-top storage system for their school work.  Children also really enjoy label makers. Divide the folders and storage containers by subject, and teach children how to label accordingly.
  1. Lightening the backpack without losing the work – We’ve all witnessed the tiny child with the gigantic backpack that weighs nearly as much as they do, as well as the extreme opposite of the student who shows up to class without a pen or paper. Teaching children to carry what is important for the day will help them be better prepared for class. Go over the day’s activities the night before, make a list of what classes and activities the child has and pack accordingly.

This solid advice should help parents have a basis and foundation for passing on these critical skills to their children.

photos: courtesy Ikea, The Glenholme School

You Can Get Rid Of Pregnancy Strechmarks, kinda 

What is more amazing than Kerri Walsh Jenningsabs is the virtual absence of stretch marks after giving birth to 3 kids.

She may be among the small lucky group of women who have the elasticity in their skin naturally that is resistant to stretch marks.

A lot of women who do get them want to know if they can get rid of their post-pregnancy stretch marks or will they  have to live with them.

Dr. Rosemary Leonard, health expert at The UK Express explains:

Stretch marks are caused by tears in the dermis, the middle layer of the skin. This allows the blood vessels in the deep layer to show through which is why stretch marks are often red or purple in color when they first appear.

They occur when the skin has to stretch and although they are most commonly associated with pregnancy they can also occur in the growth spurt that occurs in puberty or when a person suddenly gains weight.

Some skin types are more prone to stretch marks than others and if a close relative in your family has developed them you are more at risk.

Unfortunately despite the claims that you frequently see on very expensive creams, there is very little that you can do to prevent them occurring if you happen to be prone to getting them.

The good news though is that when the skin contracts after pregnancy the blood vessels are no longer visible and the marks will fade to a silvery white colour and will be much less noticeable, although this process can take several years.

Laser therapy can help stretch marks to fade although it can’t remove them completely and typically several treatments are required. Most insurers don’t pay the cost and is usually very expensive.

The answer is yes you can get rid of them but you need time and money to make it happen.