“Take Care of You,” Guest Post by Dawn Morgan, From Myelin and Melanin!

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Today we see just about everywhere #hashtags or “quotes” reminding us to take care of ourselves, & practice self-care.  #Selfcaresunday or “place your mask on first.”

But what does all this mean to the mom busy with dinner, homework, after-school activities, & a mountain of other mom duties? I once went to see a therapist to help me manage the piles of stress that sneakily crept into my life. After each session she ended with, take care of you.” Her words would resonate with me for hours, that is until I allowed something to rattle the peace I felt. Then one day it clicked! After breaking into tears in the grocery store parking lot I realized I wasn’t doing what she’d suggested, I wasn’t placing my needs first, needless to say, things were a mess! Could I possibly be doing too much? A small voice gave me the answer, a resounding YES YOU ARE. Slow down or you won’t be able to assist a soul.

Being a mom is absolutely the best job I’ve ever had. However, I am faced with a daily challenge, Multiple Sclerosis. MS is an autoimmune disease that usually occurs between the ages of 20-60. I was diagnosed at the ripe old age of 25, & I’m in my early 40’s now, seeming to be managing well. Sure the days are beyond difficult and sometimes I honestly don’t have the energy to get out of bed. But I realized what a huge part of my problem was. I simply wasn’t contributing to my self -care.

To me, that meant prayer first before even opening my eyes. Having the quiet time before my son began begging for eggs and pretty much a full course breakfast:), I took hold of the reigns & made sure I was still. That was the start. The beginning of me regaining my strength and making sure I had control over my life instead of everyone else’s needs coming before mine. I realized I had been in a constant state of neglect and I hadn’t recognized I was comfortable forgetting about what I needed. Being tossed into the rat race of daily living will certainly contribute to that.

I had a recent chat with someone about this topic & she asked, “shouldn’t we strive to help others before putting ourselves first?” Of course! I believe this is important for us to do as a Christian family, help one another. My question for her was, how can you help anyone if you haven’t made sure you’re ok? Daily life has quite a bit of twists and turns. We get caught in one web after another if you don’t allow the time to pause, reboot, & possibly heal from a past issue.

When I think about practicing self-care, I see loving yourself, handling your needs before tackling a million of other things, placing an invisible door around you momentarily so you’re able to face what’s ahead and handle the needs of others.

Below I’ve listed a few ways to incorporate self-care into your life. Take a look.

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Happy self-care days to you!

Dawn Morgan

Www.myelinandmelanin.com

Learn More About Dawn!

Dawn is a 43-year-old mother of one, living in the DC Metropolitan area. She was diagnosed with RRMS in 2000. She has a BA in American Studies from SUNY Buffalo, and completed her graduate work in English as a Second Language at American University. In 2001, Dawn was on track to begin a Ph.D. program; however, life got in the way and an MS diagnosis became the focus.

She was an elementary ESL teacher for fifteen years and now teaches ESL courses at Anne Arundel and Howard Community College on a part-time basis.

She loves being a mom to her son, yoga, transcendental meditation, foreign films, music, Black culture, and is currently completing her memoir about her life with MS.

Tune into her Podcast and follow her on Instagram @dawn_janine !

Guest Post! “What People with Disabilities Can Do Right Now to Start Planning for Parenthood”

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If you’re planning to start your parenthood journey soon, there’s no reason to wait until conception to begin to plan. Like with any major life decision, the more you plan, the easier it is when the event finally rolls around. This goes double if you’re a soon-to-be parent with a disability. The good news is that disabled parents can be just as present and effective as non-disabled parents – especially in this day and age. Here’s what you can do at this moment to get a headstart on your journey.

Plan for possible fertilization treatments

If you have a disability, there may be a higher chance that you’ll struggle to conceive, when you eventually make the choice to begin trying. Luckily, In Vitro Fertilization is there as an option.

According to Qunomedical, “The success and availability of in vitro fertilization have given hope to many infertile couples who have not been able to conceive. Since 1978, over 5 million babies have been born worldwide with the help of IVF.” Though IVF has become more affordable over the past decade, it can still hit your wallet pretty hard if you have to have multiple sessions. That’s why it’s vital that you begin saving now for any future IVF treatments. You should begin to save portions of your income immediately and practice small money-saving habits at home. They may seem minor, but they really add up.

Invest in some helpful baby tech

The bad news: much of what you need to do to take care of a child is made more difficult by a physical disability. The good news: there is a lot of cool adaptive/assistive technology out there to help. Some examples include a swivel baby seat for your car so you can have easy access to the front and back – even if you’re in a wheelchair; a crib that opens from the side, so it’s easily accessible from any position; and chest harness baby slings. Check out more essential products here.

Read up

Everyone knows that preparing for parenthood requires a healthy dose of parenting literature. You’ll probably get a couple copies of What to Expect at your baby shower. Reading parenting literature is vital, as it helps you prepare for what is, at least to you right now, a completely foreign experience. But you also need to seek out parenting literature that talks about your unique experience: parenting as a person with a disability. There’s not as many books and articles on this, so you may have to do some digging.

Consider some smart home modifications

Before your baby comes, you need to start the process of modifying your home for better mobility, comfort, and safety. What specific modifications you will need will depend on your particular disability, but there are some that almost anyone with a disability will find helpful now and down the road.

First, an easy and cheap way to make your house safer is to improve the lighting. LED bulbs are better for many than incandescent, and those with visual impairments can be aided by direct lighting (lamps) in addition to overhead lighting. You can begin to replace or cover stairs with ramps. You can add child locks to drawers and cabinets. You can add handles and grab rails to slippery parts of your home (like the kitchen and bathrooms).

So, what are you waiting for? Start saving now, plan for some essential home mods, invest in some helpful baby tech, and bury your head in some books and other parenting resources. You’ll be welcoming a new baby to your home before you know it.

Author

Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created DisabledParents.org to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.

 

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

 

Guest Post: Lincoln’s Story: How a Recovery Survivor Found Hope

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Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Addiction continues to grip our country in ways we never imagined. Every day there are countless news stories about overdoses, drunk driving incidents, and violence associated with the drug trade.

Then you have the stories of people who are stuck in the quicksand of addiction. And while we hear about the criminal aspect of addiction, we don’t hear the human aspect. We don’t hear about the struggles associated with addiction or how people are finding their way back to a real life through recovery.

Truthful and scary as the news stories are, it’s important to counterbalance the negative with the positive. Those who suffer from addiction are humans, too; humans who need support and strength to help them right their ship. Sometimes the very best way to consider the other side of addiction is to hear the story of a survivor — particularly a survivor who found his way back and now dedicates his life to helping others.

“People with the ability to change lives have the responsibility to change lives.” – Lincoln, proud graduate of addiction treatment

Lincoln came from a family of alcoholics. His father and grandmother, both former alcoholics,  helped found AA support groups in their community, and none of his sisters ever suffered from addiction. But Lincoln said he always felt like addiction was patiently waiting in the wings for the day he would arrive. Sadly, that day came.

As a college student, Lincoln found himself caught up in a lifestyle of drugs and alcohol. Unable to manage his studies, he was ejected from school. And after a revolving door of detox programs, he became homeless. In a rehab program associated with a homeless shelter where he was staying, Lincoln found himself talking to a Marine recruiter. With a perfect opportunity to force himself into sobriety, Lincoln immediately enlisted.

However, even though mandatory testing kept Lincoln off drugs, he found himself drinking more and more.

“Once I was in the military, I realized I couldn’t stop drinking,” Lincoln said.

After having neck surgery, Lincoln was prescribed pain medication that he couldn’t stop using, and he kept finding ways to get more. Finally, another visit to rehab prompted by his commanding officer forced Lincoln to quickly wrap up his service. But being out of the military made it easier for Lincoln to return to his former lifestyle.

“The military had kept me sober, so once I was out, I quickly went back to drugs. I was doing heroin, cocaine, pills, weed … anything I could get my hands on,” he said.

As his life began to spiral out of control, Lincoln’s family recognized that he was a danger to himself. Thanks to a Kentucky law, his family was able to commit him to involuntary drug treatment. He didn’t realize it at the time, but Lincoln’s arrival at Treehouse Rehab started the journey of a lifetime.

When he first arrived, Lincoln said he wasn’t convinced rehab would work.

“Nothing had ever worked before — not that I had really tried. But I knew something had to change,” he said. “At the Treehouse, I hit the ground running. I knew if I was going to be there, I wanted to be 100 percent. … I immersed myself in it and went to all of the classes that I could.”

“I showed up at the Treehouse as a Godless, fearless man,” he continued. “While I was there, I connected to a 12-step program and came to find my higher power.”

But Lincoln said he also realized the only way this was all going to work was if he flipped the script.

“I learned I needed a new start. Anyone who knew me would have never imagined that I could do it. I didn’t want to uphold my reputation. I needed to establish a new identity and not conform to what others thought I should or could be.”

And so it began that Lincoln not only found a way back to himself, but he realized he could be a force for change with others suffering from substance abuse.

“I’ve found a God of my understanding and I’m working with other alcoholics and addicts. It’s a passion and joy for me – and that’s what drives my life.

“I regularly attend AA meetings and have nine sponsees. It’s a snowball effect that’s infinite. It’s such a joy in my life that wasn’t there before. It’s a joy I never knew I could find,” Lincoln said. “Being an outlet for people has been my greatest joy in recovery.”

Here’s a man who hit rock bottom but was able to carve out a new life for himself through sobriety. Lincoln is a shining example of someone who found the support and strength needed to pick up the pieces. Let his story be one that can inspire others to do the same.

Written By: Constance Ray at information@recoverywell.org

Guest Post! Summertime Safety: “Keeping Kids Out Of Harm’s Way During Outdoor Activities,” By Sean Morris

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Kids look forward to summertime all year, waiting for the day when they can say goodbye to school routines and sleep in a little later, take vacations, and leave homework worries behind. But any parent knows that with the long, warm days also come activities that can present hazards to little ones, so it’s important to keep in mind a few safety measures that will keep accidents and worry at bay.

Bike rides, trips to the park, and fishing at the lake are all great examples of summertime fun that come with risk. Here are some tips on how to ensure your child is safe while he or she is having a blast.

Know the environment

If your child loves to play outside, chances are you’ll see some bug bites at the end of the day. Some kids aren’t bothered much by mosquitoes and other biting pests, but others are highly allergic and break out in large, itchy welts. You can protect your kiddo by having them avoid using scented perfumes or lotions, which attract many types of bugs, and spraying their skin with a safe insect repellent before they go out to play. In areas with high grass and brush, it’s a good idea to have them wear long pants tucked into boots to keep ticks at bay.

Use safety equipment

For bikers, skateboarders, and kids who ride scooters, it’s important to find the right safety gear. Helmets, knee and elbow pads, and even mouth guards are recommended depending on the child’s age, and finding the right fit is imperative. Let your child know that using equipment without being properly suited up is dangerous and that sometimes, borrowing items from friends won’t do any good because the fit will be off.

For many kids, these methods of transportation are essential in the summertime for getting around the neighborhood, but accidents can happen. Make sure your child knows what to do in the event of a spill, and it’s always a good idea to keep a first-aid kit around for scrapes and cuts. For mouth injuries, sometimes there’s nothing to do but call the dentist immediately.

Take extra precaution in the water

Water safety is something that should be taken very seriously no matter what the child’s age or experience level is. Whether they’re in an inflatable pool or at the lake, adult supervision is always recommended. Keep in mind that younger children can drown in mere inches of water, and that swimming pool rules–such as no running or diving–must be obeyed by everyone. Make sure life vests are in good shape and fit well. Teach your child the do’s and don’ts of swim safety well before they go into the water, then help them enforce the rules by being present without distractions.

Don’t rely on someone else supervising, especially at a crowded beach or pool. Even lifeguards can’t watch everyone at all times. As always when a child is outside, make sure they are well protected with sunblock, and don’t forget to keep them hydrated.

Make rest a priority

It’s also a good idea to make sure your child is well-rested before they play in the water, which can be tiring. Staying up late when school is out is part of the fun of summer break, but it can be dangerous when they need to focus. Making sure they put down their phone or laptop at least an hour before bed is a great start; studies show that this helps with a good night’s sleep.

Be careful when cooking outdoors

Many families enjoy fire pits, bonfires, and grilling during the summer, so it’s important to teach children how to be safe around all those flames. Keep grills well away from the house and out of heavily-trafficked areas. Always supervise cooking over an open flame; making s’mores can be great fun on a camping trip, but little ones should have help from an adult. If you use a gas grill, it can be helpful to set a timer–perhaps on your phone–to remind you to check and make sure it’s turned all the way off after cooking is finished.

Summertime is full of adventures for kids, and while some of them can include a bit of risk, it can be a relatively stress-free time for you if you plan accordingly.

About the Author

Sean Morris is a former social worker turned stay-at-home dad. He knows what it’s like to juggle family and career. He did it for years until deciding to become a stay-at-home dad after the birth of his son. Though he loved his career in social work, he has found this additional time with his kids to be the most rewarding experience of his life. He began writing for LearnFit.org to share his experiences and to help guide anyone struggling to find the best path for their life, career, and/or family.

 

 

 

 

5 Keys in Dealing With Your Child’s Explosive Behavior by Guest Blogger Regina Due!

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Explosive behaviour in children is not a rare occurrence. Usually, such behaviour is caused by the childs inability to communicate properly and often this anger is directed at the caregiver. Whether you are out walking with your child in the stroller or in your own home, preparing yourself with a basic plan is key to knowing how to handle the situation once your child is behaving in this way.

The following are five essential points to help you deal with your childs explosive behaviour.

1) Remain calm: the more you shout, the less chance you have of calming your child down. As hard as it may be, instead of getting angry, you should speak to your child in monotone. This way, you will be showing him that screaming and being defiant is not the answer. Make sure the environment where your child is lashing out is safe remove any young children from the area and objects that can be of harm, so that if the child has to vent then he will be safe doing so.

2) Never give in: you cannot agree to what your child wants just to make the explosive behavior stop because if you do so, the child will keep up this form of lashing out. Moreover, dont give in to name calling, if the child is calling you names dont respond, instead leave him alone or send him to his room. Only later, when you are both calm, should you talk, as real communication requires a calm environment. See what your child needs and help him develop better communication skills so that when there is another problem the child wont need to turn to such behavior.

3) Discipline and rewards: when dealing with the aftermath of an explosive episode, you need to give your child time-outs or other forms of consequences for his behavior but not for his anger. In this way, you are showing your child that being angry is normal but behavior caused by anger like throwing things or verbal abuse is not acceptable.

4) Praise: despite how difficult it can be sometimes, you must praise the child when he calms down or when he tries to communicate with you verbally with what is bothering him. Praising him in this way will show that only proper communication leads to problem solving while explosive behaviour leads to no good. If your child does not have the proper verbal skills, then encourage him to draw out his problem or even draw out an apology to whoever he may have hurt.

5) Triggers: Sometimes explosive behaviour becomes predictable when the child starts to lash out during a certain time of day, for example, when it is time to stop playing or bath time. When such behaviour becomes a pattern, then you can take control of the situation to break the cycle by preparing your child in advance, such as bath time is in ten minutes.In this way, you will be easing your child in the situation and giving him a form of mental preparation thus avoiding the explosive behaviour.

Author Bio: A parenting writer, Regina empowers women through her writing and parenting tips. You can catch more of her work on Babyography.

Image via www.everydayhealth.com

Sooooo Excited!! Guest Post Tomorrow!!!

Hey Ladies!! I will be posting a guest post from one of my dear readers tomorrow! I can’t wait! I am totally excited about this and I love her story!! So you must read it! It is complete with pictures! Don’t you just love pictures!! I do! So if any of you out there want to inspire or share your story with others, please please email me at cherewill72@aol.com. I would love to have you as a guest post! Ok so you must come back here tomorrow and read this lovely reader’s story she will remind you of why we always need to keep our eyes up to God!