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Stop Calling My Son Autistic

I’ve never posted anything like this on here before, but this has been so heavy on my heart for a long time.

Stop Calling My Son Autistic

Stop calling my son autistic.

His name is Joshua. He is a tall, handsome, smart, funny, creative young man. Why do people think that they need to label him? I hate labels. You would never introduce someone and say:

  • This is my friend. She’s poor.
  • This is my brother. He’s gay.
  • This is my sister. She’s a single mom.
  • This is my cousin. He’s Hispanic.
  • This is my aunt. She’s ‘normal’.

Why do people think they need to label themselves or their children because of a disability? (And side note: I hate the word disability. Autism doesn’t hold us back. We do things a little differently sometimes, but we sure are not held back!)

We have been in the waiting room at the doctor before and a child will start pacing back and forth across the room. Their mother will look at me and say “Sorry, he has Autism.” as she then turns to her child to come sit down and get out of the way.

Listen, you don’t have to apologize to me. You don’t have to justify your child by explaining to me that he is different. I get it. But even if I didn’t. You don’t need to. I know that our culture judges parents, particularly mothers relentlessly. But that’s a whole different rant for a different post.

Stop Calling My Son Autistic

And if you do know my son has Autism, here are a few things to make sure you never, ever do.

  • Don’t tell us, “Oh, he doesn’t look like he has Autism.” “You can barely tell he is autistic.”
  • Don’t talk louder…or slower. Don’t change your vocabulary to make it ‘simpler’. (Honestly, my child is probably smarter than you and I combined.)
  • Don’t compare him to your neighbor’s sister’s second cousin who has a child who is on the spectrum.
  • You don’t need to stare.
  • When you hear him speak or if you hear me talking about him don’t say “Wow. His autism makes him so smart!” Why can’t he be smart just because he’s smart? Why are you still differentiating him? Is he all of a sudden more or less smart? No. Did his autism make him smart? No. He’s smart because of himself. He reads constantly. He asks millions of what if questions. He builds things. He is smart because he has figured things out. He did that. Not his autism.
  • This should go without saying, but we are not here for you to make yourself feel better. We are not here for you to pity, baby or use as a service project.
  • And so help me if you think it is appropriate to pull out your phone and record a video. “Aww look. He’s able to be in the choir.” “Look at that autistic boy at the concert.” “This autistic man has a job.” “How sweet. That autistic girl went to prom.” Gee. Who would have ever thought. People with autism are human beings who like to do the same things that everyone else likes to do. They are people who are able to do everyday things when people stop assuming and give them the chance; when they stop defining them by their disability. Really, it’s the world who is doing the disabling.

Stop Calling My Son Autistic

While I appreciate the fact that more people are aware about things like Autism, they aren’t understanding it sometimes. Just because someone has Autism doesn’t mean you have to treat them like they have Autism. Unfortunately, most people that we have experienced in this journey fall into two categories: they are jerks. Or they try. Very seldom do we meet people who don’t look at the disability and just see the person. To those of you that do, thank you. Please know that you are so special to us.

We appreciate those who try, we really do! But here is a fact for you to keep in mind. Severe depression in adolescence with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is 37% compared to 5% of ‘normal’ adolescence. Some studies reveal that those numbers of severely depressed actually may be as high as 50%. But not just depression, teens with ASD and depression are more apt to have suicidal thoughts. And even scarier – ASD individuals are 40-50% more likely to attempt suicide than depressed individuals without Autism. It’s actually a silent epidemic. And one that needs to be talked about – without stigma.

Stop Calling My Son Autistic

Junior high was rough for us. Junior high is rough for everyone. But for us it wasn’t just the bullies who were bringing Joshua down. It was also the people that were trying. Everyday, children and teachers alike made him feel inadequate and like he couldn’t do anything that ‘normal’ children could do. And they did it with the best of intentions. This isn’t a post to make them feel bad or to blame them by any means. But instead, to bring awareness.

We are not ashamed by Joshua’s Autism. We embrace it. I tell him that his Autism makes it impossible to be normal. Think about it. If someone tells you “Wow. You are so normal.” It’s not a positive thing. Instead, we strive to be told we are things like talented, smart, creative. Everyone else is working to get out of the ‘normal box’. Joshua’s mind lets him surpass the normal box and go on to extraordinary. We have nothing to be ashamed about. Autism does not define us. Autism does not make us. Autism is nothing but a label.

You don’t find me wearing the Autism Mom t-shirt not because I’m embarrassed. But because to me, it doesn’t matter. I am work so hard to not let my son be labeled by others and for him not to label himself. So for us, I can’t label him. He’s not my autistic son. He’s simply my son. And I love him.

We can all be friends.

We are all the same.

We are not defined by labels.

Stop Calling My Son Autistic

So please, stop labeling my child. He is not an autistic child. He is just a child.


Helping Your Child Overcome Their Fear Of The Dark

Help Your Child Overcome Their Fear of the Dark

Life was tough when we were little! We had to eat veggies, couldn’t play in the rain, had to wear silly sweaters that our Grandma made us, but the hardest part of being little was bedtime. Not only because we had to go to bed when we would much rather be playing, but because of the dark!

Most children are afraid of the dark at some point in their life. Whether they are afraid of a monster under the bed or the boogeyman for some reason it’s a fear that comes to us all. Here are a few tips to help your child cope and overcome their fear of the dark.

1. Listen to your child!

Children are always saying that adults don’t listen to them. Fear is a powerful emotion. If your child confides in you that they are afraid, let them sit down and talk to you about it. Listen to their story and ask questions. “Why do you think there is something under your bed?” “How would it get there?” “Why would we not be able to see it during the day?” Then explain to your child that there isn’t anything there. If your child something is ‘living’ under their bed or in their closet show them during the day that there is nothing there!

2. Your bedtime routine is important!

If you have a child who is afraid at night, your bedtime routine can be vital! First, take a look at books that are being read before bed and television that is being watched. Could any of those be putting scary thoughts into your child’s head? Then, if your child is afraid of something lurking in the shadows try doing a night watch. Start by keeping the lights on and before bed explain how there is nothing there. But just to show your child, invite them to look with you. It might take multiple stages to do this. Perhaps at first it’s just Mom or Dad doing the looking. Then the child might. Then, perhaps you can turn the lights off (but keep the hall light on or a night light) and give your child a flash light to look. Eventually your child will see that nothing has been there!

Try letting your child fall asleep to an audio book or while listening to music. If you keep your child’s mind focused on that, then they won’t have time to think about things that are scaring them. (Just be sure to pick out an appropriate audio book. You may also need to move bedtime forward to allow for extra time to fall asleep!)

(Tip: You can sign up for a FREE trial to Audible here and download an audio book for FREE!)

Help Your Child To Not Be Afraid of The Dark

3. Security Items are ok!

If your child has a favorite blanket, pillow or stuffed animal make sure they have it at night. It’s ok to have these security items!

4. No Monster Spray or Monster Cams!

I’ve seen lots of parents that have ‘monster spray’ or who set up ‘Monster Cams’. While many people say it helps their child, it can also hurt your child. After all, if you are willing to play along with the idea that a monster really is under the bed and you need to spray to keep him away – doesn’t that really tell your child that monsters do actually exist!?

5. Keep the light on!

Everyone sleeps better when it is dark, but if your child insists on sleeping with their light on let them. (Just be sure to turn it off before you go to bed!) After a while you can graduate to a night light or just the hall light and eventually to no light.

6. Give them some extra love!

Remember, being a kid is tough. Fear is a big emotion. Be proud of your child for facing their fear each night and for being able to talk to you about it!

By doing these things you can really help your child overcome their fear of the dark! Remember, being afraid of the dark is an age appropriate fear for kids. It’s important to be supportive and understanding so our children know that they can come to us when they are scared. We won’t be upset, we won’t laugh at them and instead we will support and help them.

Here are a few of my favorite products for kiddos who struggle with a fear of the dark. They may work out perfect for your child!

Books for kids to help over come their fear of the dark!  ♥ this!


Products For Kids to Overcome Their Fear of the Dark

Things that can help your child:



The Mom Challenge: Week 35 – How to Raise Creative Kids

The Mom Challenge

Welcome to week 35 of The Mom Challenge!! If you are new, please know that you can jump in at anytime!! Check out all of our previous weeks here.

The Mom Challenge - Week 34:  How To Raise Creative Kids

This week we are talking about how to raise creative kids this week. I think being creative is so important! Now, we aren’t talking about raising your child to be a musical prodigy (well, they could be!) or the artist of our time (it could happen!) but being creative leads to being good problem solvers! That ability to think outside the box will serve your child well through adulthood! And it’s something that can be learned! So here are ten ways to keep the creativity flowing in your house!

1. Ask “Why?” and “What if…” Questions

Kids ask a lot of questions! In fact, one study said that kids ask 300 questions a day! I know that it’s hard when you are asked 300 questions, but encourage your children to ask questions! You are never going to learn about things if you don’t ask questions! Even as an adult, I ask a lot of questions. (I blame my Mother who, also, asks a lot of questions!) I promise I don’t ask 300 a day, but if I’m ever curious about something – I ask! People are generally happy to teach and pass along what they know.

What if questions are my favorite. Josh asks a TON of what if’s. Some people will say “Stop with the what if’s! It’s not even possible!” but I say “Bring them on!!” When he asks things like “What if a monster came for dinner?” or “What if you were driving and it literally started raining cats and dogs?” I love it! It means that he is thinking! And when he asks silly questions, it means he is using his imagination to create those silly questions!

2. Answer Those Questions!

So now your kids are asking a ton of questions. It’s so important to answer them! Answering their questions shows that no question is a bad question. Plus, you are helping your child learn!

If your child asks a silly what-if question – answer them back with a silly answer! Not only is it fun, but this keeps the imagination going! Then, they have to tell the next part of the story!

If you don’t know the answer, don’t feel embarrassed! It’s ok! And actually, it’s good! It shows that no one knows everything and that we all, even as adults, still have more to learn about the world. Go ahead and tell your child that you don’t know. But make sure to make time to find out together the answer. This is a great way to show children how to search for answers! Plus, it’s great mom time to learn together!

If you find your child asking a lot of questions on a specific topic, it’s a great way to take your learning to another level! Visit the library, do a quick Google search or visit a museum! Get your child involved! It may help them discover a new passion.

Open Ended Toys - Toys to pick for your child that promote creativity and problem solving skills

3. Encourage and Have Open-Ended Toys

What are open-ended toys? Open-ended toys are toys that don’t have a set of instructions. They can be things like Legos, play kitchens (or pretend food), dolls, art supplies or Play-Doh. Open-ended toys are great because they allow to kids to use their imaginations! Are they playing house or opening a restaurant? Are they building a spaceship and then traveling to Planet Zion or building a town? (Psst! You can see our favorite open ended toys here! )

4. Have Easy Access to Those Open-Ended Toys!

I used to teach pre-school and one thing that some teachers did that drove me absolutely crazy was that they would ‘close’ centers or keep the art supplies up high where kids couldn’t use them. If you would ask why they had a good reason – it gets messy. But that’s not a good enough reason! Who cares if the kids drag every.single.piece of dress up clothing out? And seriously, wiping down the paint table takes just a few minutes! Giving kids easy access to ways to pretend and create is SO important in fostering creativity! Encourage children to play! Even if that means there is a mess! (And then, encourage them to help!)

control freak

5. Be Open Minded

A friend of mine posted this on her Facebook page and it made me laugh. Been there! But I try REALLY hard NOT to! So what that they Lego set they are using is to build a pirate ship and they chose to build a space ship? Give your children the tools and let them create!

One thing I learned while teaching is not to ask children what they made? (Who wants to work hard on a project just to have no one be able to recognize it?) Instead, ask them to tell you about their project!

6. It’s OK to Try

If they are trying do something and it turns out not to work or work like they should just remind them that it is ok! It doesn’t mean you failed – it means you succeeded in finding a way that it doesn’t work! Ask them questions to help guide to what could be fixed and to help brainstorm ideas that might work.


7. Keep A Stress Free Environment

This is important just for overall health in general! Stress is no fun. Nothing kills the creative mind like stress! If your child is painting try not to say, “Are you done yet? Are you almost done?” I understand and am all for time restraints! But make sure your child has enough time! Don’t rush them through their work! I wouldn’t want to be rushed either! While they are complaining try to keep your grumbles about noise and mess to yourself (unless things get out of control!) As long as kids help clean up their mess and aren’t crazy and disturbing the neighbors (or you on the phone!) let them play. Let them be kids! If you find your kids (or yourself!) getting stressed – go for a walk, take a nap or my favorite….

8. READ!

Reading is SO good! Good for the mind! Good for relaxing. Good for learning. Good for creativity. Good for bonding. Good for everything! Read to your child! Everyday! When they are older make sure they have a reading time. Books are so powerful!

9. Cook Together

Cooking is another great bonding time. It’s a fun process that kids can do and make something seriously delicious (or, well, not! We’ve made those too!) When kids get older it’s a great way to turn it into a chemistry lesson! And even better, when they get older they may turn into a great chef and make you deliciously awesome meals! 🙂

10. Model a Creative Lifestyle

Showing your children that creativity is important to you is a great way for them to grow up with it being important to them. I’m not saying you need to be creating a mural in your living room, but if painting is your thing do it! If gardening is your peace go for it! If you love to read, make the time! And not only while the kids are asleep! Let them see that you enjoy giving your mind an exercise! Be a role model!

(Don’t forget to pin!)

What is your favorite way to be creative?



The Mom Challenge – Stop Judging Other Moms

The Mom Challenge

Welcome back to The Mom Challenge. If you remember, we started this series a while ago. I’ve been wanting to do another ‘challenge’, but I have been drawing a blank. Today something happened. At first I was a little…put off by it. And then, I realized this was the exact inspiration that I needed for a new Mom Challenge post. (Right – always look for the positive!)

Before we go on – you can check out all of our past ‘challenges’ here.

Don't judge me - week 34 of The Mom Challenge

Don’t judge me. That’s this week’s challenge. Well, not to judge period.

But first, a little background of where all of this is coming from. Yesterday my post on our chore magnets was featured on another website (thank you). Essentially – they were magnets. With chores on them. Josh could pick what chores he wanted to do and earn his allowance. We also color coded them to help earn TV/Video Game time. I had lots of emails asking “what did you put on the magnets?” So I posted my list. Some things included chores like “Take out the trash.” some things included things like “Try a new food.”. And yes. One of them included “Brush your teeth.” (Don’t worry – we had 2 magnets for that! One for the morning and one for the evening!) Well. Then I got this lovely comment:

mean womanSheri wrote:

“Overall, a generally clever idea, but I was appalled at one “chore magnet”. Brushing one’s teeth is not a chore! It’s a matter of personal hygiene, like washing your hands, and taking baths, and going to the potty. Failure to brush your teeth can land you in the hospital under general anesthesia. Not to mention black teeth and no friends and very likely bullying. You’re paying your child 50 cents a day to do something they are REQUIRED to do, twice a day everyday, no questions asked??”


I love comments. I love hearing your thoughts, your ideas and getting to know my readers. Just so you know! Please comment away!! 🙂

I’m very sorry I appalled you. I absolutely agree with you. Dental hygiene is so important! That’s why I added it to our chore magnets! I wanted to make sure that it was done. Twice a day. For the right amount of time. And included mouthwash and flossing.

I know how important dental health is (please see above comments!) What you may not know is that sometimes everyday things can be torture for different people. Especially kids who suffer from sensory issues and Autism. Which we just happen to have. (Thankfully things like brushing teeth are not an issue for us anymore!)

BUT…why does it matter?

there is no way to be a perfect mother

(This was the quote that started this whole series!)

WHY do women and mothers judge other mothers like this. Especially mothers who are there, trying, involved, working to make their children’s lives the best that they can.

Stay at home moms judge moms who are working. Working mom’s are judging moms who choose to stay at home.

Breast feeding moms and formula moms. Diaper moms vs cloth diapers. Organic vs non-organic. Parents who choose to let their kids sleep in bed with them.



Mom’s who let their kids cut their hair however they want, the mom who let’s her son wear his superman costume to the grocery store, the pacifier moms, the blanky moms, the moms who run through the fast food line.

The over weight child’s mom, the child who is not participating in extra curricular activities, the child who is participating in too many extra curricular activities.

And apparently the mom who paid her child 50¢ to brush his teeth.

Being a mother is the hardest job in the world. WHY are we picking out women to put down. To judge. I could understand if maybe I was being judged because my child didn’t even OWN a toothbrush. But listen. I’m here. I’m trying. I take the best care of my child just like the next mom. If I didn’t love my child I wouldn’t write a ‘mom’ blog. If you didn’t love your child – you wouldn’t be reading an article about a Mom Challenge.

mom quote

I’m not perfect. I don’t pretend to be. I should have made my son eaten more vegetables. (Here. Want to judge me? The only fruit he will eat is a banana. I made him try a bite of pineapple the other day and he gagged. Trust me. I’m pretty sure it was the biggest form of torture that he’s ever been put through.) I probably shouldn’t let him stay up as late as I do on the weekends. I should make him cut back on his video game time more.

But he’s a good kid. He’s respectful. He’s polite. He’s smart. He’s sweet.

And, to be honest. It’s not really anyone’s business. (Now, I know I put it out there on the internet for all to see so maybe it is other people’s business…) How about this. It’s not anyone’s business to judge me as a mother.



It’s time to put the boxing gloves away. We need to quit bringing others down and instead support other moms. We need to tell each other, “Hey, I know it’s hard. You are doing a good job.” We need to quit competing on who can be the best and be ourselves. We need to start worrying about other people’s kids less and our own more. But most of all, we need to quit judging other mothers.

Not only will cutting out the judging make us nicer, better people, but that will translate into being an even better mom! Living a positive life makes you happier! Being happier means you are more fun to be around! Plus, let’s lead by example! Let’s teach our kids that not everyone does things the same way. Some people have different ideas. That’s what makes us unique. That’s what makes us special. And that’s why we, as a whole, work. We each have something important to bring to the table. We can all learn from each other.

And please, don’t think this post is about a comment I recieved. I actually received lots of comments on this post and others that were not so nice. Normally I delete them. But this time I let them inspire me. This challenge is not directed at anyone nor is it to make someone look or feel bad. The fact that mom’s need to support each other has been on my heart for a while now. Parenting is hard – let’s not make it harder!

Don’t forget to check out the other 33 week’s Mom Challenge posts here.


The Mom Challenge: Week 33 – Friends and Popularity

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Make sure to check all of our challenges here.

Growing up is tough. When Josh was in preschool and even kindergarten I never referred to his classmates as peers but rather as his friends. “Did your friends (meaning everyone) like your show and tell?” We took in valentines to everyone, because we are friends with everyone. Birthday parties the same thing – everyone gets invited. I kept telling my child to be nice to everyone because we are all friends. And then something happened that I wasn’t quite prepared for. He grew up. He got older. And over night (well, it seems like over night) he learned that some kids have more friends than others. We can say being popular doesn’t matter but in all honesty, in a way it does. Everyone wants friends. It’s a need that all people – adults and children need. But it is important for us to teach our kids that how you think, feel and believe about yourself is what really matters, no matter if you have 5 friends or 50 friends.


My son drew the picture above at the beginning of the school year. It was for his first journal prompt of the year. He brought it home and I asked if it was him, mommy and daddy. He looked at me like I was crazy. “No. It’s me (the middle) and those are two girls who are in love with me because I’m so popular.”

Oh. Ok.

So how do you handle the issue of popularity? Do you talk about it? Not talk about it? The truth is – I want my child to be popular. I want him to feel good walking into a lunch room and everyone say “Sit by me” “No, sit by me!” but I want my child to be liked for the right reasons. I don’t want my child to feel pressure to do something because it will impress the other kids or make everyone laugh. But I also want him to have quality friends — not quantity. And I want him to be a good friend to others.

Right now, in our house, we are focusing on trying to teach our son how to be a good friend and how sometimes the popular choice isn’t always the best choice. Sometimes standing up for what is right is really hard – even for adults! Here are some tips on how to teach your kids how to be a good friend:

Explain what a good friend is. What qualities do you as their mom look for in a friend? To me, a good friend is someone I can count on. They are dependable, fun to be around and kind. I like to be around happy people.

– Just because someone is different doesn’t mean you can’t be friends with them. Encourage your child to be friends with those who are different from them. Your child can be friends with someone who is younger, older, has a disability, a different ethnicity, or a different religion. Everyone has similarities just like we have differences. Tell your child to look for someone who looks lonely at school or the park. Let them experience the awesome feeling you get when you are kind to others!

Compromising is important. Sometimes friends want to do different things or go different places. A good friend will sometimes play soccer instead of basketball because their friend wants to not because they want to. Thinking of friendship as a two-way street and explaining that sometimes you do things not because you want to but because someone you care about wants to is important.

– However, somethings should never be compromised on! A good friend should never want to take you on a path that could lead to trouble or hurt others. And a good friend should also be able to respect the word ‘no’. A good friend also should not expect to always get their way. It’s important for our kids to know that they can walk away from unhealthy friendships.

Do your part! Cheer your kid on when you hear positive stories about being a good friend! Also, if you see someone being a good friend to your child make sure you point it out – “Oh, wow sounds like Sam is a really great friend.” By praising our children and our children’s positive friends we as parents, can help point out and remind our children what being a friend is all about. I also think it is important to be inviting to your child’s friends. If you can, have them over for a sleep over or take them to the park. I don’t mind taking on a group of kids because I feel like I’m in the loop (without being over barring!) I know where they are, what they are doing, and usually I can hear just about everything being said (kid’s aren’t very quiet!)

So while my child may not be the most popular kid in school (or maybe he is!) he has some awesome friends. And in his mind he is at least a little popular. He has what we call quality friends. We continue to try to teach and model what good friendships are all about.

How do you deal with the issue of popularity? What traits do you think are important to teach your child in regards to being a good friend?

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The Mom Challenge – Week 32: What habits are you passing on to your child?

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Find all of the past challenges here.

As parents we live and teach by example. You’ve heard the phrase “Do as I say not as I do.” Well, it’s not very effective. And it doesn’t give you very much ground to stand on while trying to correct your child (or anyone else for that matter). This week take a reflection on yourself. Are you living a life that you want passed down to your child? What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?

Habits can be hard to break but creating healthy habits for your children can be a great motivator! And we’re here to motivate you as well! You aren’t alone. Let us know in the comments what habits you are happy to pass along to your children and what habits you need to work on. We can do it together!

Habits I’m passing along

Love – I’m so happy and so blessed to have a family that I love. I want my children to see my marriage and how it is a true partnership. I want them to learn how to treat others and how to love others. We do things together, work together and celebrate together. I hope one day my children find someone who completes them and have children of their own to love.

How I can continue to pass on the habit of love:

Be vocal and continue to tell them I love them. Shower them with hugs and kisses.

Faith – We have a great church that we go to. My son loves his Sunday School class – even asks to go back for youth group at night. I hope to pass on our love for God. I hope that our children know that through the faith in Him that all things are possible and we are not forgotten. I hope they know that God has a very special plan for them and that they live their lives in a way that would make him proud. I hope that they know that we all make mistakes and it’s ok – that no matter what we are forgiven and we are loved.

How I can continue to pass on the habit of faith:

We can continue to go to church and praying for them! We can also continue talking about God and how our faith impacts our choices. We could be more active in reading the Bible at home and practice more devotionals.

Love of Learning – I think having a love of learning is so important! We never know enough! I hope that my kids continue learning new things throughout their lives. I hope that they take a true interest in their education now when it is important rather than looking back and saying “I wish I would have tried harder.”

How I can continue to pass on the habit of love of learning:

I am always reading something. If I get asked a question that I don’t know the answer of I don’t make up an answer we look it up together. We take a big interest in our children’s education and always try to help them achieve personal goals.

Here are a few habits that I want to pass on that I need some work on:

Living a Healthy Lifestyle – I admit it. Exercise at our house isn’t always number one priority. For fun we are more likely to go to the movies than to go for a hike. Goal for this summer: Live a more active lifestyle! (And maybe, cut down on the sweets a little) 🙂

Joy – I try my best to mask frustration and stress. I’m not the best at it. I’m the person who gets bad news and then is effected by it hours later. I need to work on not letting others steal my joy. I have so much to be thankful for. One thing going wrong can’t take that away!

What about you? What are some habits you are working on creating? What are some that you would like to create?

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The Mom Challenge: Week 31 – Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone as a Mom

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Make sure you enter to win our $50 Amazon gift card here.

You can check out all of The Mom Challenges here.

This week we are talking about stepping out of your comfort zone as a mom. Most of being a mom, is actually outside the comfort zone! It never fails that your child would have the stinkiest diaper while on the airplane, that your child gets sick in the middle of the grocery store or that your child says exactly what is on their mind to a complete stranger. The situations aren’t really a big deal, but given the choice probably something we would all rather avoid.

But what about your parenting? Do you step outside of your comfort zone? I think it’s really important to for your kids to see you try new things! Even if it is something that may frighten you – show your kids how to tackle their fears! Show them that it’s ok to act silly and have fun. You have this one life – experience it!

Plus, the more opportunities that you take the more of this world you get to show your child! Always having something ‘new’ to do is a great way to have family time! And for the older kids to want to spend time with their family! Plus, you will always have something to talk to at dinner time! 🙂

(This is the Lowe’s Build & Grow free project to create March 9th. It’s free to sign up but you will need to register!)

Now, having fun and doing things doesn’t have to be expensive! There are lots of free activities that you can do! Lowes offers free building classes for kids. You can go bike riding, hiking, or fishing. You can go support your local high school and watch the basketball or baseball games. Host a cookie decorating or a family game night. Really you are only limited to your own imagination!

Now it’s true that some family fun does cost money, but you can still save! Join sites like Living Social or Groupon. You will get emails pertaining to where you live. I love these sites because not only can you save big on some really cool trips and fun activities but I’ve found awesome things to do that I never knew existed! Sometimes it is amazing that some really awesome businesses and adventures are right in your own backyard – and you didn’t even know it!

So this week – shock you kids! Do something that they would never have thought you would do. Share with them the experiences just waiting for them.

P.S. I’m working on a really cool project to share with you so you can keep track of your adventures! And I will be sure to start sharing my families adventures with you! 🙂


The Mom Challenge: Week 30 – Explanations vs Excuses

It's a Fabulous Life: The Mom Challenge - week 30  Explanations vs ExcusesMake sure you enter our $50 Amazon Gift Card giveaway!

Check out all of the previous Mom Challenges here.

This week we are talking explanations vs. excuses. One thing I try really hard to instill in Josh is personal responsibility.


I don’t like excuses and I try not to allow him to use them. But the line between an explanation and an excuse can sometimes be hard to differentiate.


So what is the difference between the two? An explanation tells what happened. An excuse shifts blame.

So how do you try to teach your children to give explanations rather than excuses? First, ask what happened! Give your full attention and listen. Our rule is first you can’t say anything about why something happened – only what happened. After all, we asked what not why! After we know what happened we ask why. Then we ask about how the situation made us feel. After we know what, why, and how it’s important to to recap and put it all together. For younger children, you can help them model their explanation but it is important for the older kid’s to come up with this on their own – prompting as needed. I finally ask, was this appropriate and why? Next time, how should you react/what should you do? And most importantly, what can you do to make it right?

Want some examples?

Your child, Max, is yelling.

What happened: Max is yelling.

Why: Max is yelling because he lost a game.

How did it make him feel: Max was angry.

Was this appropriate: No, we have to be gracious winners as well as gracious losers.

Next time: Max should say good job and maybe play again

Make it right: Max should apologize

All together – Max should say: I was yelling at Susie because I was angry about losing. It wasn’t appropriate. I should be a gracious winner as well as gracious loser. I should have said good job and try again. I will make it right by apologizing.

Here is another example.


You find a vase broken in the living room.

What happened: The vase broke.

Why: Mary was running through the living room.

How did it make her feel: She felt rushed. The doorbell was ringing so she ran through the living room.

Was this appropriate: No, we don’t run inside.

Next time: Mary should walk – the people will still be at the door.

Make it right: Mary should offer to help clean up.

All together – Mary should say: The vase broke while I was running through the living room. I ran because I felt rushed to get to the door. It wasn’t appropriate, the people would still be at the door if I would have walked. Can I help to clean up?

It’s ok to explain why you/your child made the choices they did. As long as they don’t shift blame! And sometimes, just sometimes we do have a valid excuse! But by answering the questions and ‘filling in the blanks’ above will really help you and your child! What will it teach? It teaches communication, honesty, responsibility and problem solving. All super important life lessons.

Explanations vs. excuses. How do you teach your children the difference?


The Mom Challenge – Week 29: Teaching Why

the mom challenge week 29

Make sure to check out the entire Mom Challenge series here.

Last night I attended an Autism Support meeting in our home town. Our county has an amazing woman named Nancy Conner who is the Autism coordinator. She puts together meetings each month to help teach parents different parenting techniques and to help us understand some of the why’s behind our children’s behaviors. Last night’s presentation was on behavior. She had tons of great information that is vital to all parent’s – whether they have children with special needs or not.


One of my favorite points that she talked about last night was teaching our children why and teaching them about how our actions effect the way others feel. For example, instead of simply telling your child don’t cheat at Candy Land, explain to them that cheating makes others angry. When people have to cheat they are not playing fair and people remember that you did not play fair. The next time you want someone to play with you people won’t want to because they will remember that you don’t play fair.


Now, you don’t need to give a lecture – just a few sentences on why and how their actions effect others will do. Teaching your children about feelings not only help teach them how to respect others and how to communicate their feelings to others. Communicating how you feel is vital! And it’s a very important skill that needs to be taught.

This week your challenge is to evaluate how you are speaking to your children. You are teaching them how to act, but are you teaching them why they need to act that way? This is something I am really going to be working on this week at our house!


So your challenge this week is to


The Mom Challenge: Week 28 Winning the Bedtime Battle

the mom challenge week 28

You can see all of The Mom Challenges here!


One of the most important parts of anyone’s day is while they are asleep! Sleep effects behavior, mood, ability to focus, grades at school and growth. But sometimes kids don’t want to go to sleep – they don’t want to miss out on anything! Sometimes they are so tired that they even have a hard time falling asleep! You can tell that children are getting enough sleep when they fall asleep within 15 to 30 minutes of going to bed, wake up easily in the morning, and don’t fall asleep during the day. Bedtime doesn’t have to be a battle. Here are a few tips to help get the kids in bed – peacefully!


Photo Source


Routine. I’m sure you have heard this before but it’s true! Our night time routine is simple – dinner, movie, bath, and books in bed. We try not do drinks after dinner (or they have to be in a small juice glass) that way there aren’t any accidents or trips up and awake. (Have you ever woke up to go to the bathroom and can’t fall back asleep? Frustrating!) Knowing exactly what is going to be happening next helps in the transition from one activity to another. It also makes sure that the child knows bedtime is coming!

Books. We love to read. When Josh was younger I would read bedtime stories to him. But sometimes, after our book he would still be wide awake! Not anymore! My son actually wants to go to bed because he wants to listen to the story! See we have started audio books! Josh’s bedtime is 9:00. He gets in bed about 8:45 and we start up his CD player. I order his books from Audible and Amazon. You can sign up for a free trial of Audible – and you get 2 free book downloads! You can cancel your trial right after you download your free books! Then I just burn the downloads onto a CD.


Lava Lite 2450 14.5-inch/20 oz. SpongeBob Lava Lamp, Yellow Wax/Clear Liquid/Decal Yellow Base


(That’s our lava lamp! Of course we had to have a Spongebob one!)

So Josh goes to bed and we start a book. But I have another secret weapon – and don’t laugh. It’s a lava lamp. WHAT?!? Yup. Lava lamps are calming. Josh’s therapist recommended one to us a while back. They provide visual stimulation and help to keep the mind from wondering. We keep his lava lamp on his night stand so it’s close by for him to watch. (Just a note: We turn off his lava lamp as soon as he falls asleep. We don’t keep it on all night.) You see, Josh watches his lava lamp while listening to his audio book and he is relaxed and listening until he drifts off to sleep. And the next night he is excited to pick up the book where left off!

(Bedtime chart from It’s a Mom’s World)

Here are a few other things to keep in mind:

You can also try putting on some calming music.

Make sure the room is a comfortable temperature, blankets are not restrictive and that pajamas are a comfortable material.

There is always one more thing. A kiss, hug, book, bathroom trip, drink, snack – you name it. Anything to get a delayed bedtime! Do your best to anticipate the usual last minute requests by adding them to your bedtime routine. If your child gets up don’t react (I know it’s easier said than done!) If you argue or give into the requests you are giving your child the extra attention and delayed bedtime they are seeking. Don’t fall for the trick. After a few nights of your child realizing that bedtime means bedtime they will stop making their one more thing request. I promise! Consistency and routine are the secrets to winning the bedtime battle.

Do you have any bedtime routines? Does your routine contain something perhaps a little more unconventional like our lava lamp?

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