What the pickles?

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I'm a Mom and a nanny. I see the world through rose colored glasses most days, but occasionally I just want to see wine in my glass. I have helped raise about 17 kids, and now I'm raising my own. This is my two sense on Motherhood.

In what ways is Northern California unique from other places you've lived or traveled?

Northern California is a beautiful mix of people and their culture. Being in the heart of Silicon Valley also means it is a hot bed for talented and creative people who are passionate about what they do. For Kids, Northern California offers huge opportunities in education, culture, the arts, exploration...You name it, you are likely to find a way to expose your child to it here in Northern California.
This place I call home offers the ability to soak up so much of the beauty that nature has to offer. The mild climate means kids are out side year round. Our area allows us to enjoy the beach and snow in the same day, with a little speedy driving. But it is all here to be enjoyed.

What outdoor activity do you enjoy doing most with your kids?

My son is a huge fan of bugs. So, you are very likely to find the two of us outside, on a nature walk, or at the park in the bushes, hunting for bugs. We very much also enjoy bike riding, scootering, rollerblading, and pick up soccer. I was born and raised in California, as is my son. We do just about everything outside. We love ending a day by dining outside, in the Summer.

What's a great Northern California destination for a family vacation?

Costanoa is our favorite place to plan a stay. Costanoa provides camping-like experiences that are meet my need not to sleep on the ground and his need to spend some time in the great outdoors. It located on the coast, so you get great beach time activities and hiking all mixed into one fun location. Ok, so it's clamping, but it's Bay Area style glamping. The whole family enjoys any time we get to spend at Costanoa.

Is it important to have a baby's milk is warm? Will it hurt him if it's cold?

Marian Williams

If baby is hungary, baby will drink no matter what temperature milk is. Now, that being said some babies have very strong preferences, and they will likely make it known that they are unhappy. But hunger will win over preferences.
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After a miscarriage, how long before trying again?

Marian Williams

Having a miscarriage is difficult. Everybody needs to take their own time to heal both physically and emotionally. For me, I waited the 6 weeks that my doctor advised, plus two more weeks to ensure that my body was ready. I got pregnant almost immediately upon trying. Having said all of that, it took me a very long time to recover emotionally from the miscarriage. This was my first pregnancy and it brought about many feelings of inadequacy and failure. I ended up talking with several different friends and my pastor, and concluded that all things happen for a reason. My doctor also said that sometimes our bodies know that there is something wrong with the pregnancy and that is why a miscarriage happens. So, I was thankful to know that it wasn't anything that I had or hadn't done. My advise is talk to a trusted friend about it, talk with your partner about it. Be honest with the way you feel, and take healing steps towards trying again. Good luck!
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What's a creative gift wrap idea? Please share a link to a blog post if you have one!

Marian Williams

I love using the Sunday comics as gift wrap. It is so colorful. It's a sustainable wrap, and for those little readers in your life they can read the comics after they unwrap the present. It's giving twice.
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Birth Plan: Did/do you have one?

Marian Williams

Yes, I had a birth plan, a pretty specific one. But because I went into labor when my regular OB/GYN wasn't on that day, I had someone else during delivery who was not familiar with my birth plan. So, I had to be flexible on some things. THe most important things I spoke up about, like the epidural, who was to be in the delivery room and where baby was to be after delivery. If you know that you will be delivered by your regular doctor, at your 34 week check up, take your plan in and discuss your wishes with your doctor. Also have a copy of your plan added to your chart. Be prepared to hear that there are a few things on your plan that they can't accommodate. I wanted to labor in my own clothes, but it was hospital policy that all patience be in hospital issue gowns. Your doctor will be able to sift through those kinds of things early, and then you can adjust your plan accordingly. Remember, the hospital wants you to be comfortable, and have the things that will keep you as comfortable as possible. But they also won't want anything in the way that will prevent them from helping you and your baby during labor. Keep that in mind while formulating your plan.
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What are good ways to find or form a playgroup?

Marian Williams

I would start with your friends first. If you have friends that are Moms, and have children around the same age, just start sending invitations and see what happens. You may want to see if your church or religious institution has an organized groups for Moms. Story time at your local library is a great place to meet other Moms and kids. Most libraries have story times for specific age groups on specific days. Find your day and start making friends. Check with your community center, preschool, neighborhood association, local Mother's groups... You may have to create your own, so be prepared to have to do a little organizing. Number 1 rule, keep it simple. A park meet up day. Story at the library with group snack after. A hike. Don't go over board with the activity. We're all busy, but simple things are easy to squeeze on the calendar. Happy play grouping!
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How did you feel dropping off your child on the first day of school? Please share a link to a picture if you have one!

Marian Williams

Each year I get so excited for the first day of school. Mostly because the last two weeks of Summer, when all the activities have dries up, and patience is wearing thin, I don't want to be spending all day with my boys. Love em' to death, but the three of them together all day can be a bit much. But there always comes that time, where we get to school, I get my son all settled in at his desk, and then the teacher says "Okay parents, time to say goodbye." Ugh! Tears coming rushing to my eyes and I have to hide my face, mostly for shame. My son is a second grader this year you'd think I would be over it. But it's hard. Every year, it's like a reminder that I have to send my child out into the world, alone. At least when he is with me I know what his day is like, I can talk to him, we can share things. But school, school is this black abyss of unknown activities. Sure your teacher gives you the break down of what there school day will most likely look like, but that isn't the whole picture. For me, the first day of school is a gentle reminder that my son is inching his way towards independence. It's also a reminder, that I need to get a grip. Wyatt rocked his first day of school, and I cried.
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When are children old enough to start picking up after themselves and what are some tips for teaching them?

Marian Williams

I have a rule of thumb, if you are capable of getting it out, playing with it, and moving to a different location, you are capable of putting it back. All of my boys started picking up after themselves pretty much as soon as they could walk. Mostly, because with three boys the playroom can quickly become a nightmare of kid clutter. Here's how I taught them to clean up. 1. Babies love making things disappear and reappear. make clean up time a game of making the toys disappear. "Where is the toys hiding place?" ... 2. Babies don't need to be overwhelmed with toys. Pick about 10 items, place them in a basket, bucket, some sort of container. Keep the container centrally located for easy access. 3. Toddlers are notorious for emptying out a toy cupboard, and up and walking away. This is the time that I introduce my rule of thumb. It is also helpful to teach when you are done playing with something put it back. 4. Luckily, I have a son that is particular about his toys. He really appreciates having an organized play space. For his room I use IKEA kids storage cabinets and bins. Each grouping of toys or type of toys has it's only bin. That way it's super easy to get out, and clean up. I remind him that in order to be able to find his toys easily, he needs to put them away where they belong. He's 7 so he gets it. 5. Make it a part of your daily routine. When I am at work, I try and have the kids clean up after about 20 minute blocks of time. We call it a quick tidy. It's just to keep their play space manageable. I simple have them put 5 things that they aren't playing with away. If your kids ever watch The Big Comfy Couch, this is known as the 10 second tidy. Once they do it they go back to playing. 6. Kids do the cleaning, Moms supervise. I don't pick up! I help shuffle kids about, and help them stay focused. They can do it, trust me. They may not want to, but that's where turning into a game and making it fun helps. Make a big deal about the fact that the room or space looks so good, they appreciate the praise. 7. Use a timer. When I find the boys are lacking focus I say "I'm setting the timer." This means that if anything is left on the floor when the timer goes off it is mine to keep. ( For a while). This is just a little extra motivation to keep them focused. To date, I have never had to keep anything. 8. Make sure they ask their friends who come over to play to help do the clean up. It just reinforces the behavior for your kids. Also, babysitters/caregivers need to be on the same page. Bottle line, If they get in the habit, and you positively reinforce it, they will clean up no matter how old they are.
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How do I get my 4 month old to sleep without a tight swaddle?

Marian Williams

Try and find another soothing mechanism. Music, wave machine, white noise, maybe a nicely wighted blanket that is breathable. Remember babies are used to tight quarters, they know what that feels like and are comfortable that way. My son never liked the swaddle, because he slept with his hands in the air. So, I used music and a really fuzzy loose blanket for him. When he moved from the moses basket to his crib, I would often find him smooshed in the corner up against the bumpers in his crib. I would go in half way through the night and move him back to the middle, but he was always back in the same spot. Find what works for your little angel and go for it.
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What's your children's favorite lullaby?

Marian Williams

You are my sunshine. I have been singing that to my son since he was in the womb. I sing it to him all the time. Last year, he hit his head on the edge of the pool and while we waited for the ambulance we sang it together to keep him calm. I sing it to him when he travels to his grandparents house. It's a precious and rewarding moment for the two of us.
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How soon do you pack your bag for the hospital?

Marian Williams

I packed on the very early side. I had to go into the ER at 6 month because I was leaking fluid, so after that there was a small bag in both my and my husband's cars. I didn't want to be unprepared, so just a change of clothes for both me and baby. I packed the big official bag at 34 weeks, my son arrived at 38 weeks. A few tips: When you tour your birthing facility, make sure to see if there are any items that they provide. Leaving out stuff that will already be there will leave more space for the more necessary items. Don't forget an extra shirt for Dad. Dad's often get overlooked when it comes to the packing of the bag. But make sure there is at least a t-shirt and underware for Dad, just in case. If your facility doesn't provide private rooms, be sure to be conscious of the amount of space your "bag" requires. Sometimes the after labor rooms can be quite small, so don't show up with six pieces of luggage. My only other tip, enjoy every moment of what is about to happen. It goes by quickly.
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How do you cope with being lonely as a single parent?

Marian Williams

Feelings of loneliness are common among single parents. Think about it, you are doing twice the work, having to be emotionally available to your child on your own, deal with behavior on your own. I am a single Mom, and a nanny on top of that, between Motherhood and my job there are moments when I feel very along. Sometimes it feels as though no one has my back, even though I have every bodies. What has helped me is finding a few really good girlfriends to be my support system. Some of my friends are Moms, some are not, most are marries, and most have more children than I do. Together, we support each other so that we avoid the Mommy black hole that can come with being a full time parent. Something else that might help is getting involved, if you aren't already, either at your child's school, or your religious institution. Some place that you will be able to connect with other people that have a similar goal or mindset. The last thing I suggest is plain and simply seeing your world differently. You may feel alone, but you are not alone. You have your children there with you. It is hard for me to feel lonely when I look into my son's beautiful eyes. I bet it could be the same for you. I hope this was helpful.
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Would you discipline someone else's kids?

Marian Williams

This is a very delicate situation. Some parents don't mind having their child reprimanded by another adult, but others think it is stepping over a boundary. I try and approach this situation carefully. For instance, I was once at a park filled with little kids. My own 4 and 3 year olds were playing along with all the other children. There happened to be a group of probably 8-10 year old boys in the park as well. The older boys were playing a game that required them to throw acorns at each other while running through the park. Immediately, I went into park Mom mode and asked the boys to move their game to an adjacent grass area, where little kids wouldn't get hit with the free flying acorns. Should the parents of the group of boys maybe stepped up and made the same suggestion I did, maybe? I never hesitate to get involved if it is a safety issue. Another instance, was when my son had a play date over to our house. My son's friend was very fond of inappropriate language, and for a 5 year old he clearly had mastered the finer four letter words. Upon hearing this little boy spout off a few things, I called him into the living room and kindly let him know that if he continued to use that kind of language he would need to sit in time out. Once I explained that the rules at our house are no inappropriate talk, he seemed to be okay with the rules. But alas, self control is difficult to learn. Some four letter word came echoing down the hall, and I immediately put the little boy in time out. I treated him with kindness and respect, as I do my own child, but I also made it clear the rules are the rules. We didn't have anymore problems with language that afternoon. When his Mom arrived to pick up the little boy, I explained what had happened and how I handled it. The Mom was thankful that I let her know, and that I handled it appropriately. I speak up to other people's children, because I want people to speak up to mine. I don't want my child acting up, without consequence. So, yes, I would discipline someone else's child.
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Swimming: Necessary skill or too dangerous?

Marian Williams

Being able to swim is an absolute necessary safetey skill. Think of it as one of the individual safety skills that all kids need to master. My son started swim lessons later than most in our area. His first lessons were at 4years old. Had I had the time and opportunity, I would have enrolled him in swim lessons at 1 years old. Many of the early programs are exclusively about how you, the parent, can play safely in the water with your child, but they also include teaching your child safety skills. I was in a Mommy and me class with the youngest child I currently nanny for, and was amazed at how he could get himself in and out of the pool all by himself at a year and a half. These kinds of things matter in the overall safety of your child. Because I know that all my boys are now water safe, meaning they could fall into a pool of water and safely get themselves out, I am more comfortable sending them to friend's houses that have swimming pools. I always play it safe, teach your kids to swim.
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How can you help get your toddler talking?

Marian Williams

The easiest way I have found to get babies talking is to talk to them. Constant non stop talking, which believe me can be exhausting, but it makes a huge difference. And not baby talk either, talk to them like you would talk to an older child. All of this helps them develop an understanding of how to communicate. Ask questions, tell a little story...anything that helps them hear language being used. Also, make sure that you are giving them an opportunity to respond. Babies can learn about the expectation that comes with a question, and they want to interact with you, so give them a chance to do so. Repetition is another key to speech development. Repeating individual words when introducing something, or even someone can help baby begin to establish sound patterns. My other two favorite activities that have help me teach babies to talk are reading and singing. There are so many great book out on the market that are perfect for babies. Pick books with single words on a page, that are colorful and interesting. Read the books several times a day, and baby will begin to recognize the items, as well as try to mimic what you are saying. Singing songs is a great activity, especially because you can do it anywhere. Singing is a great way for babies to practice making sounds. Pick easy songs that are short, but sing them over and over. Or invest in some really great kids music CDs. Babies really like to hear other little kids singing, so if you can find an album with little kids singing, all the better. Remember a few things, though. Every child has their own time for developing all these skills. Don't freak out because some book says your child should be able to say this many words by a certain age. Books are merely guidelines to help us as parents, they do not have all the answers. Don't panic if you think your child isn't talking, they may just not have anything to say, yet. If you are really concerned, that your child's speech is delayed, seek the advice of your pediatrician. Chat away with your little people, and eventually they will start chatting back.
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How Do You Communicate With Your Ex?

Marian Williams

I've been divorced from my son's Dad for 6 years now. We haven't always had the best track record when it comes to communicating. But with the help of mediation, we were able to get on a path of effective communication that now works really well for us. The vast majority of our communication is via text message. I have our son Monday-Friday, so all the school info is funneled through me. If there is a question I send him a quick text, only about that question. For calendar/planning items, I find email is a better way to do. Having a record that both parties can refer back to is very helpful. Then every so often we have a parent pow wow. Basically we chat via phone about any important issues or concerns that need addressing. The parent pow wow has strict rules. We stay on topic, stay respectful, and everybody gets a chance to say their peace. You may find it difficult to communicate with an ex in the early stages, because there are still so many emotional triggers attached to that person. All of this will subside with time and practice. Remember, how you approach someone is how they are going to respond. If you start a conversation with an argumentative tone, an argument is sure to happen. If you would like to be spoken to respectfully, show the other person respect. The biggest idea to grasp on communicating with your ex, is keep the communicating about the kids, what the kids need, and how you as parents are going to address those needs. Hopefully, after a while you will see that you can more easily communicate, and even get to a place where you can talk as friends. Good luck!
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What lifestyle changes did you make when you were pregnant?

Marian Williams

Pregnancy was such a wonderful gift for me. As soon as my husband and I decided to start trying, I made a ton of lifestyle changes. I immediately started to eat better and exercise more. I paid more attention to my bodies rhythms. Once I was actually was pregnant, I was super diligent about everything that I ate and drank. I changed over to completely organic foods and gave up , almost completely all junk food. The biggest change for me, was giving up my night owl ways. I loved late night TV, but pregnancy is not conducive to staying up late. So resting became a huge part of my pregnancy.
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Are prenatal vitamins good or bad?

Marian Williams

Prenatal vitamins are necessary, especially if you have a diet that doesn't provide you enough vitamins and minerals. Prenatal vitamins make sure that both you and baby are getting what you need during pregnancy. The one thing that comes with prenatal vitamins, is constipation. So, make sure you drink plenty of water. I continued to take the vitamins while breastfeeding, then switched to just a regular multi-vitamin once I stopped. Prenatal vitamins are very helpful.
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What can I do about these tantrums?

Marian Williams

Tantrums are my kryptonite. I hate tantrums! I have taken care of many, many children, and all of them have had tantrums of some sort. I choose not to respond to tantrums. Tantrums that aren't about hunger or sleepiness, are completely ignored. I try and only give positive attention, because I don't want to teach the kids that throwing tantrums is the way to get my attention. My 7 year old still has occasional tantrums. I ask him to go to his room until he is able to talk calmly with me, and discuss whatever the issue is appropriately. It usually only takes him a minute to calm down and be able to talk. But what I am trying to instill is that acting out is not the correct way to get my attention. Be patient, but be consistent, but try hard not to respond. Give praise when praise is due, and ignore the rest.
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When should I start thinking about potty training ?

Marian Williams

I always say, potty training needs to be in the hands of the trainee. Don't start potty training until your child is showing interest. You will have a much easier time that way. You may be tired of the diapers and the like, but your little person may not be ready. You can talk about it to gauge your trainees readiness, but don't force it on them. Just as a general guideline some girls are ready earlier than their male counterparts. I've know many girls who were fully trained by 2.5 years old. My son was daytime trained by his 3rd birthday, but every other boy I have trained really settled in just after their 3rd birthdays. What to look for to know if your child is ready? Look for long periods of dry diapers. If your little one is dry upon waking up from nap time, they could be ready. If your little one is hiding when they need to go, it might be time to start the conversation.
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What do you do when you don't agree about your child's education?

Marian Williams

I think most important is to establish ground rules together for when you need to have these types of conversations. Make sure everyone is clear as to the objective of the conversation. Make it clear that everyone gets a chance to say how they feel. Everyone needs to be treated with courtesy and respect. If the conversation has stayed focused on the objective, you should now be at a place where you start to compromise. Ask your self and your partner, "What are the most important things to you regarding our child's education?" "What are the things you don't feel are necessary?" "How can we find areas of overlap, in order to make both partners happy?" Ultimately, each parent has to remember this is about your child, not yourself. When everybody keeps that in mind, guess who always benefits?
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What is the best way to get my son off pull-ups at night?

Marian Williams

My son is now 7 years old and is finally completely dry through the night, on his own. For the last year, I have been waking him up before I go to bed, about 2 hours after he goes to sleep, and taking him to the bathroom. It helped tremendously with having consistent dry nights. If your child is younger, they may not have a well enough developed bladder, which can hold urine for such a long period of time. All in all, time and patience is really the only thing that will truly help little ones stay dry through the night. Be encouraging and talk about waking up to go to the bathroom when your asleep. Assure them that it's okay to get up to go use the bathroom any time they feel they need to go, but it must be a legitimate need to go. I also try and encourage extra trips to the bathroom in the late afternoon. Try a few different things to see what works for your little one. Hope that helps.
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What can I do if my doctor does not take my child, who is under 2, allergies seriously?

Marian Williams

Get a second opinion, and fast. I'm a Mom of a child with food and environmental allergies. I knew something was not right with my son three days after we came home from the hospital. Luckily my pediatrician was supportive of my concern, and helped me address it. My son saw his first allergist at a year old, we just did an elimination diet until we were ready for a blood test. It is super important to the long term health of your child that any allergies be addressed as soon as possible. Find another pediatrician that is covered under your insurance and address your concern with them. Or just find an allergist that specializes in pediatric cases. If your doctor won't give you a referral, call your insurance company, and they can help you.
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What age should I let my daughter start dating?

Marian Williams

I think it depends on your daughters maturity level, her ability to stand up for herself in tough situations, and what type of dating scenario she is interested in. I was not aloud to date until I was 16. And I think it was an okay decision on my parents part. I could have benefitted from more practice in one on one social situations. And I certainly could have used a little more time playing the field before 16. But overall, I understand that my parents choice was to protect me from a few things that I wasn't ready for, even at 16. If you think your daughter can handle all the highly emotional parts of dating, the temptations that come with being alone with someone, and is responsible to make good choices for herself let her try it out. A good rule of thumb, for everyone venturing out into the dating word, there is security in larger groups. My Dad was very encouraging of the large group dates. ;~)
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What to do when your child reacts badly to not getting what they want?

Marian Williams

Remind the child that throwing a fit is not how you get something. Then ignore everything that comes after that. It may require leaving the store, which I have done on many occasions. I have left full grocery karts in the middle of an isle, and picked up a screaming child and walked out. Under no circumstances do you give in. At a later time, when both you and the child have calmed down talk about what happened, and how it can never happen again. Ask the child if acting out got them what they wanted. Then let them know the appropriate way to ask for something. This is also a good time to talk about just because you want something doesn't mean that you will automatically get it. Give then options for earning things. My son started getting allowance for his chores, which he uses to buy the things that he wants. I also reward positive report cards with items that he says he would like. Summer reading earns my son extra cash and treats when he reads beyond his goal. It may take you having to leave a store a few times for your child to understand that you mean what you say. Be consistent. Once they understand you mean it, they will stop trying to push the boundary. One more tip, before you go into a store talk with your child about what things you are there to get. if you have a list, have your child hold it and be responsible for helping find the items. If they start to talk about wanting something say, " I don't remember that being on the list. We are only here to buy the things on our list." I have found this really helpful with the 4 year old I nanny for.
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What are your remedies for morning sickness?

Marian Williams

For me the key was staying fed. I suffered from all day nausea in the beginning, because I hadn't changed my eating habits to accommodate my pregnancy. Once I changed me old habits, the nausea seemed to get better. But here are a few of the tips that I found helped me. 1. Keep a handful of cracker or a banana and some water or juice by your bed, so as soon as you wake up you can have a quick little snack before starting your morning routine. 2. I found that 4 small meals throughout the day was a better way to keep on top of me diet. Add in a few high vitamin, protein packed snacks in between meals to keep hunger at bay. 3. Keep granola bars or packages of nuts in your purse and car. Having a healthy choice handy keeps you moving, and keeps the unwanted pounds from piling up. 4. Dessert, eat it! I loved fresh fruit and yogart as my late evening treat. Plus the added calcium was great for both me and baby. The long and short of it is, to keep yourself from getting hungry. For me it seemed the more on top of staying fed I was, the lesser the nausea. I know it seems crazy to eat when you are feeling nauseas, but really it saved me.
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What are some great dating tips for single moms?

Marian Williams

Dating as a single Mom can be tough. Trying to find someone who is willing to accept your stage in life and all that comes with it...it's not that easy. I was a single Mom with a one year old, and I found that people thought I was shopping for a Dad for my son. When they realized I was much more than a Mom, and that my son had an involved Dad, the game changed. For me, the important factor of knowing if a man was ready to date me, was to find out if he was okay taking second place in my life. Anytime I have met someone of interest, I always prequalify them by saying, "I am a Mom first and foremost, and nothing will change that. Men may come and go from my life, but my kid is permanent." Once they have time to think about and absorb my statement, then we talk honestly about expectations. Once all of that is out in the open we either decide to move forward or not. Here are a few rules I follow when dating as a single Mom. 1. Do not...I repeat, do not sleep with a guy on the first or second date. It's unfortunate there are some men taking advantage of the single Mom's. In order to protect against the 'stick and move' guys build in a safe guard. If a guy is really into you he will wait for the bedroom stuff. 2. Don't spend your dates talking about your kids, unless asked a direct question. This is your chance to have some stimulating adult conversation. Talk about anything but your kids and enjoy the banter. 3. Dates don't meet kids until at least three months of dating. I have only broken this rule once, and I the guy I broke it for has been dating me now for almost three years. It is important that you establish the foundation of your relationship with this person before you involve the kids. Once you know the person is worthy of meeting the kids, do so in an easy lighthearted way. Never force either side to meet the other. When everyone is ready you will know. I hope this was helpful. Good luck!
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Do you try to give back when you declutter? Please share your family traditions for benefitting others.

Marian Williams

Absolutely we give back when it's time to declutter. Recently we went through my son's toy storage bins and he decided what things he wanted to donate, and what things he wanted to share with friends. We give as a family, so we both had to have something to donate. We support a local charity that runs family shelter. It's a great opportunity for my son to practice his giving heart. It's also a great opportunity to model the kind of heart I would like him to have.
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What's a cute or creative way to decorate the walls of a child's room? Please include a link to an image.

Marian Williams

When it was time to decorate a big boy room for my son, I chose an antique cowboy theme. We found cute sheets from The Company Store that have a cowboy motif for his bedding. For the walls, I bought a collection of vintage Wyatt Earp comic books, on eBay, and then framed them in inexpensive frames. My son loves it, because his name is Wyatt. Other than that, we use Ikea storage units for his toys and a desk from there as well. I found his chest of drawers at a garage sale, and just changed out the pulls to match our theme. All in all it is really cute and nice for a little boy's room. I like the use of found objects and repurposed items for decorating, this is reflected in his room.
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Encourage or discourage your children from playing with opposite-gender toys?

Marian Williams

Toys and playing are the beginnings of being curious about the world kids live in. There is no reason boys should only be curious about boy toys and girls girl toys. At the early stages of life, we should be encouraging kids to explore the entire world around them. I have a 7 year old son, who for many years enjoyed dressing up with his girl cousins in ballerina costumes and pretending to be a fairy. I have no problem with that. I like to let his imagination be his guide in determining how and what he is going to play with. Let kids play and be happy with whatever sparks their curious little minds. It will only lead to more out of the box thinkers when they grow up.
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You know you're a mom when... (please fill in the blank!) and link to a picture if it's relevant.

Marian Williams

You know you're a Mom when you ask grown ups if they need to use the potty.
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Does your child's school do lockdown drills, and if so, how does your child feel about them?

Marian Williams

I just participated in a student release drill at the school one of the boys I nanny for, attends. For me it brought on sadness and I thought about all the parents in Sandy Hook who didn't have the luxury of being involved in a drill. The little boy I nanny for didn't think much of it, other than it was eating into his recess time. But I have heard from several of my Mommy friends that their children are bothered by the drills.
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What's your favorite toddler bedtime book?

Marian Williams

Good Night Moon is the best bedtime story. I still read it to my 8 year old son. The rhythm of the story, the progression to the quiet calm good night is perfect to help your younger sleeper get settled. And it's short enough that you can read it more than once and still turn the lights out relatively close to your actual bedtime. My other favorite is Guess How Much I Love You. It's such a sweet story of this relationship of between parent and child. Child trying to do more than he can, but with the help of his parent succeeding, all the while feeling the love and safety of having their parent there. And the overwhelming discovery of how much the parent loves the child...super comforting right before bed.
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What's your family's favorite Mexican or (Mexican-inspired) dish? Please share a link to your recipe!

Marian Williams

We enjoy a weekly Taco Tuesday dinner. I use McCormick taco seasoning packets. We enjoy the reduced sodium variety. And because my little guy loves tacos, I've been able to increase his vegetable pallet, by inserting a variety of different veggies into the meat. He doesn't even know they are there. We also enjoy both soft and crunchy tortillas, help dinner have a little variety. Some good quality black beans and you have a Mexican feast ready to serve. Start the Taco Tuesday tradition, you're kids will love it! http://www.mccormick.com
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What's a great idea for repurposing your child's crib, and how do you do it? If you can, please share a link to a photo.

Marian Williams

What I loved about my son's nursery was that every piece of furniture came from a family that I had nannied for. So all the pieces came from happy, loving homes. I felt obligated to continue the giving nature of the beautiful furniture we enjoyed, so my son's crib was passed on, to another friend for her daughter. The rocking chair went to a friend from high school who was about to give birth to a sweet baby boy. If you invest in nice pieces that are built well, you can share your furniture with friends and family, for a really long time.
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What's your favorite breakfast to be served in bed? Please share a link to the recipe and photo if you have one.

Marian Williams

My favorite breakfast to be served in bed is steal cut oats with butter and brown sugar. Anytime I stay in a nice hotel, I order room service for breakfast and I order steal cut oats with a side of fresh berries. Nothing makes me more happy than that. I don't cook these kinds of oats at home, because they take too long, so it definitely is a treat!
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