These numbers may seem underwhelming but you must keep in mind that the numbers have doubled during a time when childcare options have nearly quadrupled. In our current society parents work longer hours and employ the help of nannies, au pairs, nurseries, daycare, afterschool programs and the list goes on… but they still find the time and a way to stay tethered to their kids.
Let’s face it, overparenting is the new trend.
It’s safe to say that every parent wants what’s best for their children. Most, if not all of your lifestyle and parenting choices are centered around trying to provide the best opportunities for your kids. As a parent, you are preoccupied with trying to ensure your kids are healthy, safe, have access to the best education and are set up to be successful adults.
You don’t mind going the extra mile to make sure their kids are doing okay. You drive 14 hours in a blizzard to pick your son up from college because he wants to spend the weekend at home. You insist that your daughter discuss every decision with you–no matter how small–in order to help her avoid making mistakes of any kind. And though your intentions are honorable, your methods could be doing you more harm than good.
If your child isn’t doing well, our culture has a way of making you feel as though you’ve done something wrong. You are pressured into feeling that your child’s successes and failures are a direct reflection of you. Consider the following questions:
The answers to these questions can help you determine if your parenting is more about you and your issues than it should be. The better your kids do, the better you feel about yourself as a parent. Your value and worth have become directly tied to the success and/or failures of your children. This creates a mountain of unfair stress and pressure on you as a parent and on your kids.
Research shows that parents who over-parent and hover are more susceptible to depression than parents who don’t. Overparenting can cause:
Your world shouldn’t revolve entirely around your kids because during the process you can cause you to lose your own identity. All of your likes, dislikes, hobbies and interest become driven by your children’s interests and needs. You no longer know what you truly enjoy doing, who you are and you don’t take time for yourself.
Always allowing your children to be the number one priority and the center of your joy is unfair to others in your life. This is especially true if you are married. Your relationship will begin to suffer and you may be tempted to put your marriage on the back burner. Over time, as you continue neglecting your spouse the relationship deteriorates and the only thing you have in common is the kids. This is a path to a stressful and unfulfilled marriage which could end in divorce.
Your child learns how to function, handle relationships and deal with failure by watching you. They will be ill-prepared to deal with life’s inevitable setbacks. They will either believe the world revolves around them or will always put themselves last. It will be hard for them to establish and maintain balanced and healthy relationships.
Your kids are going to make mistakes. In fact, they need to make mistakes. Shielding your children from failure shields them from valuable life lessons, robs them of the tenacity and fortitude failure provides and it tampers with their destiny.
The litmus test of good parenting is not determined by the successes and/or failures of your children. Preventing your child from making mistakes is an exercise in futility and counter-intuitive. Your role as a parent isn’t the prevention of failure but showing your child how to get up and recover when they do fail. It is your job to demonstrate how they should handle mistakes and cope with missteps with integrity. This is how you truly impact and shape their character.
As a parent, your job is to love unconditionally, guide and gently correct your children. You are not your child’s savior, force-field or life’s compass. So, relax, stop hovering and have a bit of faith in the process. You are a great person and an awesome parent. Your kids will be just fine.
When you hear the word “vacation” what images come to mind? Do you envision an exciting location where you spend time indulging and pampering yourself? Or maybe, for you, it’s a time to simply relax, catch up on sleep and take it easy. Either way, most people view their vacation as a time to unwind, recharge and escape work and the daily stresses of life.
However, the reality is that far to many vacations end with vacationers feeling even more stressed and exhausted than they did before going on vacation.
How is this possible?
A common misconception people have as it relates to vacation is that you must make the most of your trip. And in an effort to make the most of the trip, you end up doing “the most.”
While you do want to make the most of your time away–especially when visiting exotic locations–you don’t want to over-pack your schedule and overwhelm yourself with busyness. Your vacation shouldn’t end with more stress and less rest.
Here are a few of the most common vacation mistakes you should work to avoid:
You have been wanting to visit Italy for the longest time and you finally have two-weeks and enough cash to do so. You methodical research every blog and travel website available and find the top 101 places to visit while in Italy. You pack 98 of those suggestions into your itinerary.
Your vacation days begin early in the morning and end in the wee hours of the following morning. Every day you wake up early, go to sleep late and are walking or running around the entire day…
Another mistake you made is booking the first flight available, which left at the butt-crack of dawn. And then you’ve planned to catch the very the last flight home and only give yourself a couple hours to spare before heading to work the next day…
You return to work an exhausted, frazzled and unproductive mess.
The saying, “if you didn’t post about it, did it ever really happen,” drives our current culture to document and share EVERYTHING.
Soooo, in an effort to prove you had the time of your life in Italy, you Instagram all your meals, snap chat every moment of your time on every tour and check into and post every “it” spot on Facebook. You wind up spending more time taking the perfect selfie at every stop than you do actually participating in the activities.
During your vacation, you are constantly checking and responding to work emails and completing tasks. Not only are you ruining your vacation, you’re ruining the trip for your companions as well. You are not fully present. You are failing to live in the moment and continue perpetuating the very stress you are trying to escape!
You also spend copious amounts of time snap-chatting, facebooking and Instagramming– showing off for all of your friends and followers– and miss so many beautiful moments. Because you’ve bought into the “if you didn’t post it, it didn’t happen” mentality you end up overbooked and sacrifice the quality of the trip for the quantity of posts you make.
Your intent was to take a break and to relax and recharge but you’ve decided to hike Mount Etna and participate in a marathon during your trip. You don’t sleep in, go to the spa or spend time taking in and enjoying the serenity and calm nature provides. You’ve neglected to include any tranquil activities in your itinerary.
You are mentally drained and have completely counteracted your unwinding process.
Learning to appreciate time away from life and adulting is the first key to actually enjoying your vacation. You have to be intentional. If you need a chance to unwind, you must ensure that the planning process and your choice of activities align with your goal.
You shouldn’t feel overwhelmed with planning and trying to create the perfect vacation. It’s a great idea to enjoy the recommended hot spots, attractions, restaurants and activities, but understand and accept that there will be more activities than you have time for–don’t try to do it all.
Plan a vacation that provides you flexibility. Eliminating the pressure of having to do it all will leave you feeling refreshed and motivated when it comes time to head back to work. You will perform better, be more productive and combat feelings of fatigue and burnout.
If the purpose of your time away is to recharge, don’t over-crowd your schedule with late night and early morning activities. Make sure you rest and get plenty of sleep. It’s okay to schedule a lazy day during your vacation where you can sleep in and not be bound to an itinerary.
On the other hand, if you are an adrenaline junky and need copious amounts of action and adventure in your life to help you de-stress–you definitely need to plan accordingly. A tranquil few days at a quite resort would drive you bonkers and leave you restless and bored. Plan something that gets your heart racing and leaves you feeling rejuvenated and revived.
It’s always a good idea to give yourself a full day to recoup before returning to work after a vacation. This allows your body and mind to adjust to being back home and get back into the groove of your work routine.
Coming home at least a day before going back to work also allows you to settle in, unpack and do some catching up with work before going back into the office. This gives you room to breathe and reduces the anxiety and stress associated with the impending workload.
The purpose of a vacation is to relax and enjoy yourself. So when you finally get to take that trip you’ve been looking forward to, take your time and work to be completely present during every experience.
Take a break from social media. If you can’t eliminate it altogether, set limits on the number of posts and time you will spend on social media. Allow some portions of your trip to be sacred and keep some experiences private–shared only between you and the ones you are with.
Accept the fact that there will always be more to see and do than you can possibly fit in your vacation. Relax and have fun.
All financial advisers are not created equal. And all financial advice — including advice recommended by top economists and financial experts — may not be the best advice for you.
Your financial plan should encompass your complete financial picture, including your goals and priorities. It should include planning for your children, your spouse, aging parents, long-term care, death, loss of income, and so much more. But just because these things should be included in your plan doesn’t mean your adviser is automatically doing so.
Here are five key things your financial adviser may skip over or omit telling you while developing your financial plan: Read more
How you chose to spend your free time is based largely on your personality type and temperament. And while your preferred choice of activities is a great way to spend your free time, you may not be optimizing your “me” time. You can end up feeling even more drained, depleted and depressed than you did before.
When you think of unwinding and getting in some “me” time, what comes to mind?
Is it a quiet evening at home with you curled up in your favorite spot with a cup of hot tea and a good book? Or maybe it’s an entire day spent binge-watching consecutive seasons of House of Cards or Orange is the New Black on Netflix.
You may be one of those people who prefers to grab the girls and spend the day shopping and the night dancing. Or maybe you call up the bros and shoot hoops or catch the game together.
Or maybe you just sleep all day…
The true purpose of “me” time is to give yourself the opportunity to get away from the activity and nonsense of life, quiet the noise in your mind and focus on self-care.
It is a time of reflection and self-assessment. It’s a self-imposed mental, emotional, spiritual and physical check-up. It’s about shutting off the world, unplugging and turning your attention inward.
It’s a chance to pause and reboot.
Journaling–by either writing down or audio recording your thoughts–is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself during this time. It allows you to focus on things that have caused you stress recently and find a way to mitigate that stress moving forward. When journaling you want to:
Engaging in reflection and then journaling provides clarity and declutters your thoughts. It allows you to sort, process and make sense of your feelings. It also helps you create a plan for attacking negativity when it rears its ugly head.
Actively being alone helps you eliminate distractions. It allows you to be fully present and in tune with right now. It makes you conscious of what you are doing, feeling and thinking.
Worrying about the future, and being consumed with whether or not you’ll achieve your goals or create your perfect vision of a fulfilling life diverts your attention from the present causing you to miss out on the beauty and opportunity that is in front of you, right now.
You miss the magnitude of moments always reaching for the future.
Learn how to be alone with yourself. And purposefully decide to love yourself enough to spend time with you–with your thoughts. Once you’ve spent time processing your thoughts, you will find that your state of mind changes. Your mood improves and your outlook is better. You can then spread sunshine and goodwill instead of doom, gloom and sadness. You will be a refreshed better version of yourself.
In order for the refreshing to truly begin, you have to remove distractions. Go to a quiet spot and sit amongst nature. Go to a beach, a wooded area or a quiet park tucked away. And leave your phone in the car or turn it off.
If you can’t take an afternoon to get away, set aside the hour before you go to bed as your active alone time. Shut off all of your electronics, get in touch with you and record your experience.
If you have plans to go to lunch or shopping with friends during your free time, carve out time before or after to disconnect from the outside world and turn your attention inward. You will become a better, more balanced version of yourself.
You will become over-saturated with life from time to time. And getting away for a week in the Bahamas to rest and recharge is not always an option. You have to learn how to create your own little oasis right where you are. You have to make time to spend time with you. This form of mental exercise will help to restore your spirit and give you the type of true rest that recharges your battery and keeps you moving forward.
The dating scene is a jungle. It’s kill or be killed– or at least it feels that way.
In the age of side-chicks, sexual ambiguity and gender identification issues, sweetheart scams, catfishing and all the other shenanigans that come with dating, finding someone to settle down with seems impossible.
But then you strike gold.
You find yourself in a committed long-term relationship that has the potential to go the distance… and you’re unhappy. Being unhappy is not reason enough to end a solid relationship–is it?
Your partner is the correct gender, he/she is not abusive or a psychopath, has a job and seems to be committed to you and to the relationship. That should be enough.
But what if it isn’t?
Humans are creatures of habit. Once you find something that works and that makes you comfortable you fight to keep it. You embrace the status quo and shun change. Comfort becomes your default. You will endure sadness, depression and live a life that is unfulfilled because it’s convenient.
You rationalize staying for a variety of reasons. Maybe
And while some of these–such as having kids together–are legitimate reasons to stay in your relationship, if you really perform a deep assessment of how you truly feel you will most likely find the driving force behind your decision to stay is, it’s just easier
You stick with your default–comfort and convenience at all cost.
Psychology experts believe that unconsciously we all believe that longevity equates to “goodness.” And there are a plethora of instances where this is an accurate rationale. When a particular product or methodology has stood the test of time, it is probably superior to alternatives, at least in some respects.
The problem is that longevity and tradition aren’t always accurate predictors of goodness — inertia, habit, and the good old fear of change can all be the true reasons why we stick with what we have.
The first problem with chasing longevity or quantity over quality is that you rob yourself and your mate of the opportunity of finding true love and a fulfilling relationship.
The second issue with trying to force something that isn’t meant to be is it can cause resentment, anger, depression and a host of other emotional issues. Feeling unfulfilled for long periods of time can lead to you lashing out at your mate–unfairly–and can also be the breeding ground for affairs and create a toxic environment for you and your partner. You could wind up hurting each other so much deeper than if you simply ended things amicably. Staying can actually do more harm than good.
The first and most important thing you must do when contemplating ending the relationship is to communicate with your partner. You may be surprised that you are both on the same page.
Regardless how they feel and what you ultimately choose to do, your partner deserves to know upfront that you are unhappy and are contemplating ending the relationship. Having this type of crucial conversation is not fun or easy. But it is the right thing to do for both yourself and your partner.
And even if your partner is devastated initially, chances are when they step back and evaluate the relationship, on some level they already knew. In the end, honesty is always the best option.
Sometimes, easing out of a relationship is easier than just ripping the band-aid off. Taking a break from each other could be the best way to give you both space to breathe and really evaluate the relationship.
Deciding to end a dating relationship is never really easy–if you care for the other person. Having the courage to let a stale and unproductive relationship go is a tremendous sacrifice and an act of love. It could be the greatest thing you’ve ever done or it could be the biggest mistake of your life. But that’s how life works.
If you want a genuinely happy, healthy and fulfilling relationship, you have to be willing to take some risks. Staying in a relationship out of fear, guilt or for any other reason except genuine and true affection for the other person is damaging to you, your partner and the relationship.
We’ve all seen them…that awkward couple who argues in public.
The lady jumps up and throws a drink in her companion’s face, snatches her purse and storms out of the five-star restaurant in tears.
The angry, loud couple at Wal-mart who get into a heated shouting match that escalates to the point that they start throwing shoes at each other.
OR the poor sap angrily pacing on the street corner waving his arms wildly as he shouts obscenities into the phone.
As bystanders, we may chuckle and shake our heads as we witness these scenes. Vowing, deep down inside never to be that couple.
And then one day, YOU are the one being escorted out of Wal-Mart by security and threatened with legal action if you and your mate ever return.
Congratulations. You have become that couple.
Arguments in romantic relationships are normal and actually healthy. In fact, research shows that a couple that doesn’t argue is in more trouble than the ones who make public spectacles of themselves. According to author and relationship expert Diane Sawaya Cloutier, healthy couples don’t shy away from conflict and are not afraid to broach difficult topics. She believes that
“when taboo or uncomfortable topics remain unaddressed, they can turn any benign event into a big drama that could have been avoided in the first place…”
Relationship experts all agree that healthy relationships are riddled with arguments. And it makes sense. You have two passionate and intelligent individuals with entirely different backgrounds and histories sharing the same space and having to navigate life together. Under those circumstances, arguing is inevitable.
The concept of conflict or arguing conjures up negative thoughts and emotions in most people. If your mate doesn’t agree with you, you may feel a sense of betrayal and lash out at him or her because you are hurt. You may
The normal human inclination is to lash out or retaliate when you are hurt or threatened. The problem with retaliation is that it only compounds the issue–not resolve it.
The truth is love is a scary thing. When you are truly in love, you open yourself up and become vulnerable. You are exposed and subject to being hurt.
The key to healthily handling conflicts that arise in your relationship is to respond constructively–with love and logic. And work to avoid knee-jerk fear-based reactions.
Conflict is inevitable. Instead of waiting for it to arise and dealing with it on the fly, it is far more productive to take a proactive, intentional approach to dealing with conflict. And while you can’t anticipate the nature of the argument, you can plan a tactical response.
Below are a few strategies to help you and your partner constructively deal with conflict:
In lieu of flying off the handle and laying into your partner, take a moment to check your emotions and gather your thoughts. You have to move from your initial visceral and primitive feelings to a place of practicality and analysis. The quicker you do this the better.
When you feel anger and other negative emotions begin to bubble toward the surface, take a break and calm yourself down. You are allowed to feel how you feel. Your feelings are valid and legitimate. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they should be expressed at that moment. Your feelings will change and fluctuate, it’s important to understand how you truly feel (at least to some extent) and why before you discuss.
Once you’ve had a chance to process and sort through your emotions, then you are ready to share your feelings with your partner. When discussing the issue:
Avoiding or refusing to deal with conflict doesn’t make it go away. Avoiding issues will turn molehills into mountains. And everything becomes a huge fight.
The primary goal in any conflict is to resolve it. But there are other underlying benefits to addressing conflicts even when a resolution is not possible. You make your partner feel heard. You make him or her feel valuable, special and loved. These are far more important than any temporary dispute. Stay and fight fair.
More often than not, there may not be a clear right or wrong answer. Although your viewpoints may be on the opposite ends of the spectrum, they both are valid and worth considering. In some cases, after you’ve hashed out how both of you feel in a calm and rational manner, you may have to agree to disagree.
Reaching an impasse can feel like a complete waste of time initially, but going through the process of trying to correctly resolve the conflict will strengthen the relationship long-term. Although a resolution wasn’t reached, both parties leave the discussion feeling heard, validated and valued. Everybody wins!
In the case when action must be taken, give it some time. Allow yourself time to process all that your partner has said and work to find a solution that takes into account how they feel and also produces a solution you can both live with. This process takes time and may take multiple discussions. But the more you do it the easier and more natural the process becomes.
Discussing the issue with someone else is a great way to gain a different perspective on the issue. The danger with talking to a third party is they could offer advice that could exacerbate the situation. When choosing a relationship confidant here are a few things you should look for:
Once you’ve gotten good solid advice and have had a chance to reevaluate your position, go back and readdress the issue with your partner.
It’s normal for a couple to quarrel from time to time—it comes with the territory. But it shouldn’t be the background music of your relationship. Conflicts and arguments don’t jeopardize a relationship. How you chose to respond does.
Successful couples have the ability to solve problems and let them go. They focus on taking care of the issue rather than attacking each other. Even when angry, they find ways to be upset and stay close at the same time.
Conflict gives you and your partner the opportunity to identify issues, address them, improve yourselves and the relationship and move on. All couples fight. Successful couples fight right.
The attraction was instant. Those lips, hips and fingertips–head to toe perfection.
The smile melted your heart and those eyes stole your soul.
It was like finding the perfect piece of fruit at the Farmer’s Market. An unblemished apple. Deep-red, shiny, polished and juicy.
You had to have that one.
Then one day–six months or so down the road–you happen to see an orange.
Your eyes are open and begin to wander and you discover other tantalizing delights. Mangos, pineapple, strawberries, bananas and other exotic fruits.
Your apple goes from shiny, red perfection to old, boring and unappetizing.
The brain craves excitement and novelty. It’s how we’re wired. In fact, studies show that the brain’s pleasure center “turns on” when we experience new and pleasurable events.
The problem with this natural tendency is it leads us into believing that the relationship is somehow flawed because the feeling of excitement and intense passion has faded.
Once the excitement and passion die, you tend to lose interest in the relationship and then your partner. You stop working. You stop seeking common ground and to understand each other.
In fact, six out of ten couples are unhappy with their relationships, citing lack of spontaneity, romance and sex as the primary factors contributing to their dissatisfaction.
Once the romance dies and you begin to lose interest your relationship will begin quickly tumbling towards its demise unless you proactively begin to work to counteract and embrace this new slower pace.
When deciding how to handle the boredom and salvage your relationship there are a few things you should avoid doing:
The key to combating boredom and keeping the relationship healthy is in doing a couple of things:
Boredom in a relationship signifies that you and your partner are comfortable with each other and you know each other pretty well. This is a good thing. It signifies that the relationship is stable and both partners are at ease. You have a routine and routines provide stability and a sense of security and calm. These are good things.
However, acceptance doesn’t mean that your relationship should stay in a stagnate and uninspired state. It simply means that you should look at boredom as a positive part of a healthy relationship and then work to deepen your bond and spice things up.
Relationship coach and therapist Anita Chlipala believes that when couples engage in new, challenging and exciting things together they can reignite the passion and invigorate the relationship. She suggests that both partners try new things and tackle a task together as a couple. Below are a few examples:
In the end, you decide the type of relationship you have. Whenever you hit a time where the fun, spontaneity and excitement seem to dissipate just remember that it just a phase and all relationships experience the dreaded rut. Then find creative ways to spice things up.
Couples who find ways to add novelty and excitement to their relationship report higher levels of relationship satisfaction. Once you embrace the fact that boredom will come and go throughout your relationship you can proactively attack it and live happily ever after.