When It Comes To Playing Parenthood As A Team Sport, Why Do Dads Do It Better?

I’m probably going to get some slack for writing this article, but I want to discuss a parenting phenomenon I’ve observed too often lately. Why is it so much easier for dads to hire help and make their lives easier when watching their children? Why don’t they appear to feel guilty about this? And why do we, as moms judge and criticize them for it?

I know lots of moms, that when they make plans with friends for an afternoon or evening, their husbands often call a nanny, babysitter, or family member to come over and help with the kids. And when mom hears this, she responds with anger and frustration, complaining that she doesn’t understand why her husband can’t handle taking care of all the children alone, something she does every single day of the week.

I want to first differentiate between the men who are literally never alone with their children and refuse to be, forcing their wives to never be able to take a trip, attend a special event, or a night off with the girls unless they arrange for their own child care. I’m not talking about these men. That topic deserves its own post. I’m referring to the average hands-on, involved dad who likes an extra set of hand with his kids when mom isn’t home. Why shouldn’t these dads ask for help if they believe it will make their afternoon or evening easier?

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Happy Valentines Day! #ThisIsLove Is All Of This

Love is my close mom friend putting me in bed, rubbing lotion on my feet, and staying until I fall asleep after the exhaustion of postpartum depression and anxiety have set in for the day.

Love is my mom who always answered the phone each morning so I could walk laps around my neighborhood, sobbing to her that I would never get better.

Love is my husband coming to therapy with me so he could better understand what was I was going through and how to support me.

Love is my husband sending me flowers just to tell me he is proud of the fight I am putting up.

Love is my sister crying on the phone to me because she is worried and just wants ME to be okay.

Love is my sister holding my hand in person and from afar because she knows what it’s like to feel how I feel.

Love is my best friends talking and emailing behind my back because they want me to get healthy and happy.

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F**k Disney World…Campowerment is the Happiest Place on Earth!

(UPDATED: On this day where we give thanks, I’m posting an oldie but a favorite to show the immense level of gratitude I have for everything Campowerment-the movement, the founders, the experts, the rangers, the women, the lessons learned, the playtime had-just everything I am so fortunate to be part of. This third camp was different for me (and all camps are different because I am different at every camp), as I took a lot of time to just look around, observe, and take it all in rather than do every single activity offered. And yes as I turned 35 on the first day of camp, I was celebrated in a big way, but what I found to be most rewarding was to watch other incredibly beautiful and strong women experience their own transformations on that hilltop in Malibu. I want to bottle that feeling and take it with me wherever I go, since I can’t live at camp 365 days a year! Oh and being named color war captain and winning didn’t hurt either! So again, F**ck Disney World…Campowerment is the Happiest Place on Earth!) 

I’m moving to camp. You heard me…camp! A magical place where women of all ages and from all different walks of life come together to be each other’s cheerleaders. A place where women support women no matter what. A place where no one gives a shit about what you do for a living, what clothes you wear, how much you weigh, how much money you make, how many children you have, if you are married, single, divorced, etc. Trust me…makeup doesn’t matter at camp. Sometimes showers don’t even matter at camp.

A place where there is no bullshit, no noise (except the cheers of your fellow campers while you take on the Leap of Faith at the ropes course as in the above photos–yes that’s me being all brave and badass), and you can be who you are. You can do you and just be. Doesn’t camp sound amazing? That’s because it is. Where else can you go and find yourself and your tribe made up of all women? And we women need each other. I always say to my close female friends that I don’t understand mom-shaming or women-shaming for that matter. Life is hard enough. Women need to support women and whatever choices they make. Well, they do at camp!

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Written for Suburban Misfit Mom: Today I Went Back to Therapy

Today I went back to therapy and it felt fucking amazing. The last time I sat on that comfy red couch in my therapist’s office was over three years ago, when we decided I could take a break because I finally found myself on the other side of postpartum depression hell. I had survived. I had gotten better. I had become better than I was before. I had become Mason’s mommy and I was finally happy about that.

I thought I would be okay going forward and I have been. But life is messy and complicated and hard and sometimes you just need someone to talk to about it. And I’ve recently come to realize that I need someone to talk to about it. Someone who isn’t your friend. Someone who isn’t your husband. Someone who isn’t your sister. Someone who isn’t your own mother. Someone who you can talk to without any filter. Someone you can talk to about all those people. Someone who you can say to all the things you aren’t supposed to say. Things about motherhood, marriage, and family. Because as you get older, life and relationships get even more messy, complicated, and hard.

I had been thinking about going back for a while. It’s extremely difficult to navigate through the chaos of being the mom of a toddler and the responsibilities of being a wife, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, and sister-in-law while also trying to maintain my own independence, identity, and happiness. I’m not sure there are enough hours in the day for all of that. And lately, I’m struggling to balance it all and I feel a bit lost. It was actually my mother who noticed this and suggested I call my therapist and start seeing her again. Don’t you hate how your own mother is always right?

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Q&A with Tammi Leader Fuller, Founder & CEO of Campowerment

Meet Tammi Leader Fuller, Founder and CEO (Chief Empowerment Officer) of Campowerment, and the woman, who, I swear, changed my life in just 72 hours. She would argue that she just built the (Campowerment) door and I walked through it, but even when I walked out the door back to my everyday reality, she still had and continues to have my back. I just got back from my second Campowerment retreat and I am going back for more in November. What can I say…I’m addicted. Trust me when I say you will be too! Read on as Tammi talks Campowerment, starting over, and why every woman needs this magical weekend in their lives.

Pre-Campowerment Tammi
A guilt-ridden, stressed out single mom, wondering when and why I signed up for this insane web of a life I had spun for myself.

The Beginnings of Campowerment
I am who I am today because of summer camp, my happy place. In my twenties, after I outgrew childhood camp, I became a Club Med counselor (a G.O.) for grown ups, probably because I am obsessed with the concept of playtime and the joy it brings to life. I think I became a TV Producer because I was a spirited camp girl (truth: I majored in Journalism cuz there was no school on Fridays!), and meeting interesting people and telling their stories was a very cool way to make a living.

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Campowerment – Round Two – Also Known As: GET YOUR ASS TO CAMP!

I wasn’t going to write about my weekend at Campowerment this time around. Not because I didn’t have another magical, transformative weekend with the most unbelievable women, but because I want you to hear about the Campowerment movement and why every woman needs some camp in her life, from the founder herself. On Friday I will be posting a Q&A with the rockstar behind camp, Tammi Leader Fuller. You do not want to miss it!

But I have to write about something that happened to me on the last day of camp, just minutes before I got in the van and headed to Newark airport to return home to my real life. We rarely ever know what kind of impact we make on another person and it’s not something we tend to think about. Of course we think about how others touched our lives, but what if you could take a moment to hear from others about the effect you had on them? At the end of camp, you are given this opportunity, but I won’t spoil the details of how, in case you decide to go experience it for yourself. And you should definitely go experience it for yourself.

During my moment, another camper, a woman who I swear is my soul sister and someone I have known my whole life (I’ve literally now known her for less than a week) told me that I make her want to be a mom, something she really hasn’t felt strongly about ever. Cue tears and all the feels. Let me repeat that. I make her want to be a mom. This woman right here—this mommy—your medicated mommy wants to make someone else be a mom. I consider myself to be a pretty confident woman (thank you Campowerment-the first time around), but me? Make someone else want to be a mom? Really? Why?

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“Empowerment Activist” Andrea Quinn takes over my blog this week! (Today’s topic: Why Saying No Makes Women Happier)

Six Reasons Why Saying No Makes Women Happier

When was the last time you said “yes” to doing something you knew you really didn’t want to do, but feel you should or must? If we’re being honest, it happens a lot more than we’d like to admit.

We don’t say no because we either want to “make sure” it’s all done correctly, or we don’t want to miss out on something or we’ll disappoint someone we care about.

But, it goes deeper than that. I believe women have such a difficult time saying no because they don’t know how to see their own value. We think there’s no other option and if we say no there will be repercussions such as shame, guilt, lack of validation and letting people down.

By not saying no, we have become a society of often depressed, angry, resentful and exhausted women who don’t understand why the Yeses haven’t yet shown up in our lives. Well, I can tell you that if you want a Yes life you must learn to say no.

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Finding Your Bliss Buddy with Anne Sussman

I’m back with more from Anne Sussman, our resident mindfulness and meditation expert. Read on to learn about her inspiring project, Bliss Buddies, how you can be apart of it and why volunteering and giving back is so vital to her everyday life.

The Project: Bliss Buddies

The “Bliss Buddy” project is something I created. In the roller coaster that is life, we all will experience sadness, sickness, and death of a loved one. No one gets away unscathed. How is it that we can find the joy in the midst of all that? There is so much to be grateful for in life–from the moment we are born we breath. Beginning there, to just be grateful for your breath, for your life, is the way to start. Before my feet hit the floor each morning I say “Thank you, thank you, thank you”. Gratitude begins and ends my day. It is true that where you put your attention, grows. It’s like watering a plant–your attention is love. When you put your attention on small moments of joy in your life, you will be amazed at how they begin to grow. Being on the lookout gives you the opportunity to see what you are looking for. This is about the steps it takes to start living that way and having more of that joy in your life.

The Acronym: N.E.W.S.

Notice– Noticing the small moments of joy is the first step to cultivating this practice. Make a choice everyday to be on the look out. Once you begin turning your attention to these small moments, you will find them almost everywhere.

Experience– What am I seeing? What am I feeling? What am I hearing, tasting, and smelling right now? Experiencing fully through all your senses, just as the moment of joy is happening, is the best way to begin. Being tuned in, present, and engaging all your senses is a great way to imprint that joyful moment into your brain and turn it into a strong memory. Being fully present is how we experience the most joy we can out of life. If you’re thinking about the past or the future, it’s impossible to live in the moment. It is only when you are dialed in to right now that you can fully experience that feeling of being in the zone.  That’s when the “Aha” moments of life become available to you. When you stay in the present more, you have more of the “Aha” moments. 

Write it down-Writing it down–keeping a journal or just a quick note helps to solidify the experience. There is a visual record of what the moment was–a way to remember it when you move on in your fast-paced life. Taking that time to just jot it somewhere helps to keep it ever present.

Share– Share it! This is the essence of the Bliss Buddy Project–taking the time to share it. Find a partner, a Bliss Buddy. Make a commitment to do this with someone for two weeks in a row. Exchange emails every day and in the subject line write, “Bliss”. Then just send a quick note – “Bliss moment today was when I walked outside, the sun shone down on my face”. That’s all there is to it! Making a commitment to doing this keeps you accountable to noticing what those moments are through out your day.

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Listen up Mommies! Mindfulness & Meditation with Anne Sussman

I met Anne a few months ago at camp. She’s an expert in mindful meditation and all-around blissful bad-ass. If you need to be more present, quiet that busy mind of yours, stop sweating the small stuff, and gain a deeper appreciation of all that you have in this life (and I think all of us moms need more of those things in our lives), she’s your woman. When not rocking the circles at camp, Anne runs the Mindfulness Meeting Place where she helps individuals bring meditation into their everyday lives, just as she has. And thanks to technology, you can work with her from anywhere! Read on to learn how you too can mindfully meditate, find your bliss, and live a life of gratitude.

Meet Anne!

On Becoming a Mindfulness and Meditation Instructor and Expert

I teach a trademarked program called SEED: “ Simple Easy Every Day”. I received my certification as a Meditation and Mindfulness Instructor through the McLean Meditation Institute in Sedona, Arizona, founded by Sarah McLean, a Hay House author, and internationally known teacher. Meditation is a skill that anyone can learn. I am someone, just like you and your readers, who struggles to live in our fast-paced, often stress-filled world, and I have seen the remarkable benefits that meditating consistently brings.  My goal is to help you live better, as I do. I teach beginners and those looking to deepen their own practice.

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If Campowerment Were the Oscars…I Would Like to Thank My Husband

When I first launched my blog back in January, I made an agreement with my husband.  He knew I was writing but he wouldn’t try to find my blog or read any posts until I told him I was ready. I had always planned to talk to him about everything right before I decided to go public. He fully supported this. He wasn’t concerned. He didn’t ask questions. My close friends and sister? Not so much.

If you know me, you know that there is no bullshit. No sugar-coating. Just open, honest truth. I’m not afraid to share, tell you how I feel, and I own my shit and who I am.  I always planned to bring this to my blog. As I started writing my truth about motherhood, marriage, and sex, in came the frantic text messages and phone calls from various friends and family members.

Does my husband know what I’m writing about? Does he know how I feel about our sex life? Do I talk to him about what I write for the world to read? Jen, are you okay? Jen, are you going to do something impulsive like have an affair or run away? Jen, should we be concerned? Jen, do we need to come down to the South for an intervention?

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