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MYNP believes that a child’s love for his or her mother is one of the most powerful transformative forces in Filipino society. With this love, everything is Possible.

MYNP holds that any person regardless of age, social status, or gender who bears genuine love for his/her mother will always want to honor her and make her proud by doing right and by being the best that he or she can be.

MYNP believes that loving Nanay is tantamount to loving Tatay and every member of the family.

MYNP dedicates itself to building communities that celebrate and honor diversity, tolerance, love, courage, industry, patience, forgiveness, honesty, justice, positivism and possibilitism – one family at a time.

MYNP embraces the truth that everyone in this world is a child of his/her mother. MYNP believes in loving and serving our motherland like we love and serve our mothers
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WHO’s New Recommendations Aim to Reduce Medical Interventions in Childbirth

SOURCE: https://www.smartparenting.com.ph/pregnancy/labor-and-childbirth/who-recommends-more-woman-centered-childbirth-fewer-interventions?ref=home_feed_1

WHO's New Recommendations Aim to Reduce Medical Interventions in Childbirth

In recent years, women empowerment had preggos reclaim the power to decide how they want to welcome their little ones into the world, as long as it doesn’t out their life and their baby’s life in danger. Moms wanting to try and push for a natural non-medicated birth is no longer just a trend. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued new recommendations for childbirth practices all over the world. That is, to reduce unnecessary medical interventions for healthy pregnant women. Women in the old days have welcome babies naturally did it successfully, and it’s still possible to do so today. 

“We want women to give birth in a safe environment with skilled birth attendants in well-equipped facilities. However, the increasing medicalization of normal childbirth processes are undermining a woman’s own capability to give birth and negatively impacting her birth experience,” said Dr. Princess Nothemba Simelela, WHO Assistant Director-General for Family, Women, Children and Adolescents, via a press release.  

The new WHO guidelines on intrapartum care recognize that every labor and childbirth is unique, as is every pregnancy is also unique. “If labor is progressing normally, and the woman and her baby are in good condition, they do not need to receive additional interventions to accelerate labor,” Dr. Simelela stressed. 

As such, the previous benchmark for how fast a pregnant woman’s cervix should dilate or open up in the early stages of labor (one centimeter/hour) no longer applies. “The guideline emphasizes that a slower cervical dilation rate alone should not be a routine indication for intervention to accelerate labor or expedite birth,” the statement said.

Apart from this significant change, the WHO now pushes for a more woman-centered approach to labor and childbirth. It means prioritizing these recommendations:

  1. Ensuring respectful and dignified care, regardless of the women’s income or financial capability.
  2. Letting pregnant women choose a companion to be by their side. 
  3. Encouraging women to move around freely during early labor.
  4. Providing women the necessary information on pain relief options. 
  5. Having clear communications between pregnant women, health professionals, and health providers.
  6. Maintaining privacy and confidentiality of the women’s choices.
  7. Allowing women to make decisions about pain management, labor and birth positions, and the natural urge to push.

“Even when medical intervention is wanted or needed, the inclusion of women in making decisions about the care they receive is important to ensure that they meet their goal of a positive childbirth experience,” Ian Askew, WHO Director, Department of Reproductive Health and Research said in a statement. 

Still, giving birth in itself is a risk, and it can be unpredictable even for women who have healthy pregnancies.While natural birth is the goal for healthy pregnancies, sometimes medical interventions may be necessary. Keep this in mind when you make your birth plan; it is still not set in stone, but trust that your requests are fulfilled as long as they don’t put you or your baby in danger.

The new WHO guidelines are based on 56 evidence-based recommendations on what type of care should be given to pregnant women in labor and care for her and her baby immediately after childbirth. It’s in line with the position of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) released last year.

Why Moms Should Stop Saying ‘Be Careful’ to their Kids

SOURCE: https://www.smartparenting.com.ph/parenting/preschooler/one-mom-says-we-should-stop-telling-kids-to-be-careful-here-s-why-a00026-20180221?ref=home_feed_1

Moms and dads will do anything to protect their kids and keep them safe from harm. It’s entirely understandable — when you love someone so much, you can get a little paranoid at everything that can hurt that person. Even the sight of your little one running just a bit too fast can make you yell from across the playground, “Be careful!”

Mom and photographer Josée, who has three children and runs the blog Backwoods Mama, thinks we should stop saying those two words though. As a nature lover, the Canada-based mom is a big advocate of letting kids play outdoors and exploring nature as a family. “You can often find us hiking, biking, camping, rock climbing and skiing,” she wrote on her blog. 

Adventurous as their family is, seeing her kids in rather precarious situations still makes the mom nervous. Talking about her kids playing on the big fallen tree near their home, she shared, “They’ve crossed the log many times, but each time they do I hold my breath in anticipation…and stop myself from blurting out ‘be careful!’ a hundred times over.’” 

Stop Saying 'Be Careful' to Your Kids. A Mom Explains Why

Why does she think “be careful” is not something we should say to kids? It’s not specific enough, she explained in a post. Such a broad and vague instruction could mean anything or nothing to a child. Your child could ignore you because she doesn’t really understand what you want her to do. She could also give you a look of confusion, or after hearing the panic in your voice, she would run to you, scared that something bad is going to happen.

In an article on hyperactivity in children, developmental and behavioral pediatrician Dr. Ma. Theresa Arranz-Lim told SmartParenting.com.ph, advises, “Be specific. Say something like, ‘I want you to sit here and not touch anything while you wait for me to finish.’ Tell your child exactly how you expect them to behave.” 

You can even curb future misbehavior this way if your instructions stick, like when you say, “Sit on your chair when you’re at the dinner table” instead of just saying “No!”

Josée’s final point against saying “be careful” is that it can instill fear in children. “It teaches kids that they should avoid taking risks, trying new things and making mistakes because bad things could happen,” she said. “Yes, bad things can happen, but kids need to engage in risky and challenging play for healthy growth and development.” 

Children are naturally curious about the world around them and the need to explore can result in scrapes and bruises. “Our fear of children being harmed (mostly in minor ways) may result in more fearful children,” said Ellen Sandseter, a professor of early-childhood education at Queen Maud University College, according to The Atlantic

Think of it as prep for adulthood. “In the real world, life is filled with risks — financial, physical, emotional, social – and reasonable risks are essential for children’s healthy development,” said Joe Frost, a safety consultant from John Carroll University. 

So, what should you do instead? Of course, when your child is in danger, you should act immediately. But, if you’ve stopped and assessed the situation and realized that there’s no immediate harm, try helping them become aware of potential harm (like how you are) and let them figure things out for themselves, said Josée. 

For example, if the sidewalk is wet from the rain on your way home, say something like, “See how the ground is wet and could be slippery?” Or, if your child is trying to pour himself a glass of water, but you’re afraid she might drop the pitcher and hurt herself, say, “There might be a better way to do this. Try gripping the bottom of the pitcher too.” 

Are you convinced enough to try it out, mom?

“Mix Feeding Is Not Going to Make You Less of a Mother”

SOURCE: https://www.smartparenting.com.ph/pregnancy/breastfeeding/bangs-garcia-mix-feeding-a00041-20180222?ref=home_feed_1

Bangs Garcia: 'Mix Feeding Is Not Going to Make You Less of a Mother'

Many moms say it’s only hard at the beginning, and as soon as you and your baby get your rhythm, breastfeeding will be effortless eventually. Still, sometimes, it doesn’t always go according to plan, as Valerie “Bangs” Garcia recently found out.

The new mom, who gave birth to daughter Amelia in the U.K. three months ago, revealed she developed an infection after her C-section operation. While on antibiotics, her breast milk supply diminished. “It explains why Amelia got so frustrated and stopped latching during our last day there,” she wrote on Instagram

“I thought I couldn’t [breastfeed], but I did. It really hurts in the beginning, but it’s tolerable,”she shared. “The struggle is REAL, indeed. Breastfeeding doesn’t come so naturally to all mothers, different strokes for different folks, but with perseverance, it’s possible.”

Bangs was grateful to the midwives who helped and taught her how to latch as soon as she delivered her daughter. But she also felt pressured to breastfeed, even when Amelia refused to latch. The pressure, the new mom said, “magnified all the pain and exhaustion” she went through from labor to surgery.

“I was seriously burnt-out. It had caused me a great deal of distress. I [wept] my heart out thinking that I’m a bad mum for not being able to produce much milk for her,” she added.

Then, it dawned on Bangs that she might actually need to supplement. “Seeing her sob from hunger was agonizing, so I had to give in,” she admitted, even though she dreaded giving formula milk to Amelia.

The actress wasn’t ready to give up, though. She tried to manually express milk while watching breastfeeding videos, but she ended up having pumped only so little even after two hours of continuous pumping. “It had caused me the most horrible spasm of my life!” Bangs exclaimed.

It got so bad that she needed to be rushed to the hospital. “[The] pain [was] much worse than labor pain because it was constant for a few hours. I was so horrified. I thought it had something to do with my surgery and my infection,” she shared.

The incident left Bangs traumatized about nursing, she wrote in another post on Instagram. While Amelia went on formula milk exclusively, Bangs didn’t give up on breastfeeding. She researched about her situation and with the help of mom friends, she discovered that a small amount of breast milk was “100 times more nutritious than formula milk.” That made her decide to pump again, and fortunately, her milk supply has improved.

Since Amelia was on formula for about a month, the little girl was getting used to the bottle. “I found her getting lazy to latch on my breasts at times [because] she much prefers her bottle teats for lesser effort in getting milk,” Bangs explained. “It’s all right for as long as I pump my milk out and she still drinks them from her bottle, then I’m very happy,” she added. 

“Mix feeding isn’t gonna make you less of a mother,” the new mom stressed, adding she was too hung up on the being the “perfect mother.” She added, “There’s no such thing. I just had to learn to accept reality and adjust to my situation.” 

Bangs still chooses to continue to breastfeed her daughter Amelia.”It’s good to always strive and try our best for our little one, and that facet alone makes any mum a very good mother already,” she said. 



Bianca Gonzalez-Intal: ‘Me Doing My Best for My Daughter Is All She Needs’

Bianca Gonzalez-Intal: 'Me Doing My Best for My Daughter Is All She Needs'

For Bianca Gonzalez-Intal, social media is a well of ideas for kid-friendly spots, good food havens, and even fun family activities, great books, and cool toys. But, in an Instagram post, another one of her “#mommydiaries,” her words resonated among millennial moms once again by saying that social media also makes her insecurities worse, especially during her first few months of being a mom.

“I would scroll down my feed and just….feel bad. Feel sorry for myself. Feel like I wasn’t good enough to be a mother,” the TV host revealed. She was seeing moms who didn’t look haggard at all from child care, “while I would be in my ratty clothes, walang ligo, at wala pang kain.” She wondered what she was doing wrong because her daughter could only talk in syllables, yet one mom’s child was already talking.

Bianca also made a brave admission about mommy fatigue: a smile from her daughter Lucia did NOT always wash away her feelings of exhaustion from being, well, a mom.

With Facebook or Instagram, it has become more challenging to avoid comparing parenting styles or child’s milestones. In fact, the internet can be crippling because it is hard to sift through the information overload. The fatigue Bianca expresses isn’t just physical — moms carry a heavy mental load

“It was getting so overwhelming. I knew it was time for me to guard my heart,” Bianca said.

To cope and drown out the social media noise, Bianca needed to accept her parenting was good enough.

“It took a long time for me to come to terms with the fact that every mother is different, just like every child is different,” Bianca shared. Her insecurities and feelings of inadequacy as a mother did not go away completely, but she had discovered a way to see her social network differently.

Bianca shared what one follower wrote in the comments on one of her emotional posts: “God knew exactly what kind of mother your daughter needed, even before she was born.” Bianca said she cried the first time she read it, and it is where she draws her strength from every time she feels down. 

It has since become her mantra every time she feels like she’s not doing enough as a mother. “I am exactly what she needs. Me doing my best for my daughter is all she needs, and other mothers are just doing their best for their babies, too,” said the TV host. Her post resonated with many moms.  

Whether you have a newborn, a baby or toddler, it doesn’t matter. Remember that doing your best to love and care for your child is enough. Your best efforts are enough. You are enough, mom. 

SOURCE: https://www.smartparenting.com.ph/parenting/real-parenting/bianca-gonzalez-intal-me-doing-my-best-for-my-daughter-is-all-she-needs-a00041-20180221?ref=home_feed_1

Hugging Your Child Benefits Him Today and in the Years to Come

Hugging Your Child Benefits Him Today and in the Years to Come

Unang Yakap, or the First Embrace, is mom’s first skin-to-skin hug with her baby immediately after birth. It is an essential step that is highly recommended by doctors because it transfers a mother’s warmth and protective bacteria to her newborn. The World Health Organization (WHO) calls it “life-saving.”

This skin-to-skin contact, whether as an embrace, hug, or any expression of physical affection, continues to be vital to your child’s well-being as he grows up.

“Higher self-esteem, better parent-child communication, and fewer psychological and behavior problems have been linked to warmth and affection between parent and child,” said a report from Child Trends, a nonprofit research organization in the U.S.

Figures from the Child Trends report show that 90% of parents with children 3 years old and below gave their child hugs every day. However, displays of warmth decreased as the child grew up with only 74% of mothers and just 50% of fathers saying they hug their 10- to 12-year-old child. 

Science offers evidence how hugging as a habit — even past the preschool years — benefits children. “Scientific studies are always a helpful reaffirmation of how important it is to practice loving-kindness and ‘shower the people you love with love,’” said author and coach Christopher Bergland in an article for Psychology Today

What impact does parental affection have on your child?

1. It helps your child feel less stressed. 
Don’t you feel your stress and exhaustion melting away after a long day at work when you come home to your child’s warm embrace? Your little one feels the same way too. 

“Parental warmth and affection protect one against the harmful effects of toxic childhood stress,” according to a 2013 study from the University of California, Los Angeles. On the other hand, researchers found that childhood abuse coupled with a lack of parental affection impacts a child’s physical and mental health for life, leading to negative consequences like poor health. 

2. Affection during playtime makes your child feel loved.
A 2013 study from the University of Missouri-Columbia observed mom-and-child pairs during playtime. Researchers found that moms who showed more affection and used more positive reinforcement during play had a stronger bond with their kids. “Children whose parents spent too much time directing play showed ‘more negative feelings’ towards their mothers,” reported Deseret News.

“We know that children, regardless of culture, need to feel loved,” said lead author Jean Ispa in a press release on ScienceDaily. “Children take in the meaning of what their mothers are trying to do, so if a mom is being very directive and is generally a very warm person, I think the child feels, ‘My mom is doing this because she cares about me, and she’s trying to do the best for me.’ 

3. It helps you raise a happier and more mentally stable adult.
The warmth of your hug can last for years and years. In a study from the University of Notre Dame, more than 600 adults were surveyed about how they were raised, and the researchers found good news about affectionate parents. 

“The adults who reported receiving more affection in childhood displayed less depression and anxiety and were more compassionate overall,” said writer Sandi Schwartz in an article for Parent Co. “Those who reported less affection struggled with mental health, tended to be more upset in social situations, and were less able to relate to other people’s perspectives.”

So, moms and dads, those hugs and kisses go a long way!

Self-Care Prescription: Parenting Drains Your Brain Power

SOURCE: https://www.smartparenting.com.ph/health/wellness/expert-say-take-time-for-yourself-mom-a00026-20180213?ref=home_feed_1

Kids always come first, right? So when contributing writer and dad Steve Calechman, who has a 6- and 3-year-old, was asked by his doctor what he did for fun, he answered with a laugh. His life was so overtaken by his children that he had trouble fitting in time for himself. 

“I know that I should squeeze in something like listening to music, reading, or doing nothing. It just never tops the priority list. I feel guilty spending time or money on anything that isn’t family-related,” he wrote in an article for Harvard Health.

Most, if not all, parents are in the same boat as Calechman. And if they keep at it, “parental burnout” is not far behind. 

Belgian researchers surveyed more than 2,000 parents to look for signs of parental burnout, which is characterized by exhaustion, emotional detachment, and inefficacy. Of the mom and dad participants, 12%  had “high level” parental burnout — they experienced all three more than once a week. “The researchers noted that more mothers than fathers took part in the survey, but parents of both genders were equally susceptible,” reported New York Magazine’s The Cut

Though it is an endless source of love and joy, parenting is a drainDr. Beth Frates, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School, tells Calechman. A lot of the brain power needed for parenting — such as practicing self-control and making rational decisions — requires stamina as they take place in the prefrontal cortex (or the region of the brain that handles complex cognitive tasks), she explains.

When you’re exhausted, though, you’re more likely to act on impulse. “You’ll shift into the amygdala, the emotional part of the brain that fights or flights,” said Calechman. Whenever you feel a sudden sort of panic that makes you feel like there’s no other choice than to shout at the kids to get them to do as you say, that would be your amygdala telling you to “fight.”

Accept, then, that you need a break every now and then to be a better parent, said Dr. Frates. “You can’t pour from an empty cup; with nothing there, there’s nothing to give,” she said. 

Dr. Frates said a parent’s break ideally lasts 30 minutes with the occasional day off every so often. But, five minutes can be the minimum whenever you need it. She, herself, did it with her kids. “She’d be in a chair with them in the room. They eventually understood not to bother her. She got her break and they got to witness the habit,” said Calechman.

It’s best if you don’t have your phone on hand during your break. What you’re looking for is an activity that will “transport” you elsewhere. “The main requirement is that you look forward to whatever it is to get the reward of being fully absorbed, of losing your sense of time, and forgetting that you actually have bills, deadlines, or even children,” said the dad. 

If this means for a few minutes you would be flipping through a cookbook, taking your time getting a glass of water, watering the plants, or making a quick trip to the sari-sari store then so be it. It’s a time to just breathe and, yes, be alone.


A Mother’s Reflection on Acceptance

SOURCE: https://www.smartparenting.com.ph/life/love-relationships/i-may-have-been-broken-but-now-i-am-complete-a1736-20180201-lfrm

Her Parents' Separation Broke Her, But This Mom Says, 'I Am Now Complete'

I knew that I shouldn’t question God why I had to come from a broken family, but I’d be lying if I say that I never thought about it. Recently, after more than 20 years, I finally found out that everything has a greater purpose, and it comes even after a bad beginning.

As far as I could recall, my family still lived together when I was 3 years old. I remembered a night where I was crying because it was the first time that I was sleeping and sharing a bed with my sisters instead of being in my parents’ room. As my sisters tried to shut me up, Papa appeared and carried me back to their room.

The next thing that I remember was Mama picking me up at school and riding a jeepney that was headed in a different direction from our home. It was quick as a dream. I woke up in my grandparents’ house in the province and enrolled in a new school. Papa was nowhere to be seen.

I was never told about what was happening, why it was happening. All I knew was there was a stern reminder that my sisters and I were never to speak about our situation to anyone, especially to those at the school because it could get us expelled.

During that time, people were not very open to the idea of broken homes. Kids distanced themselves from you, classmates bullied you, and adults gossiped about your family. I told my friends and teachers that Papa was just working abroad, and that’s why he couldn’t make it to any school activities. I even showed off my new toys to my classmates, telling them that it was from Papa so that I could fit in.

I found myself rebelling. I was a good student but never a great one. I always found it hard to excel in anything because I quickly lost confidence when things got tough. I tried cheerleading, volleyball, Taekwondo, badminton, and singing, but I never really pursued any of them. Growing up, I was a confused girl who had no idea what she wanted.

I started cutting class, lying about school projects, going out with friends to play billiards, drinking, smoking, and at a very young age, I started dating. I got pregnant when I was 20 years old, and as they say, the rest is history.

I would be lying if I told you that I never blamed my parents for all my mishaps. I was very angry with them because their separation made me feel insecure, rejected, confused, broken, and incompetent.

I spent my entire life searching for the good only to realize: My parents were not bad people — they just made bad choices. And though those decisions might reflect on their children, it doesn’t mean their children would make the same mistakes.

In 2017, after our church urged every member to pursue an intentional relationship, my husband, Mike, and I decided to challenge ourselves. He worked on rebuilding his relationship with his side of the family, while I decided it was finally time to tell my parents that I had forgiven them.

I forgave Papa for not being present in all of my birthdays. I forgave him for not fighting for me when I was bullied in school. I forgave him for not disciplining me.

I forgave my mama for not always being by my side when I was growing up because she was busy making ends meet. I forgave her for being angry at Papa during their separation.

It took me 20 years to tell them that I forgive them and that all is in the past now. And the experience has made me want to tell anyone who reads this: 

Please do not wait too long to forgive your folks. Don’t wait for them to ask for it. Just forgive.

It was always easy to imagine what could have been had my parents not broken up. The father worked, the mother stayed at home and baked all day. The kids went to a good school and came home to play with their pet Labrador. Then they would go on vacations and take family photos. Oh, those family pictures would be my Facebook cover to tell everyone my life is perfect!

If I didn’t come from a broken family, however, will I still be who I am today?

If my parents had not broken up, I don’t think my Papa will ever get to know Christ and wouldn’t be an instrument for people to come to know Him as well.

If my parents had not broken up, I don’t think my Mama will be able to pursue her dreams and be happily remarried.

If my parents had not broken up, my sisters would probably not have wonderful and talented kids, and I would not be an aunt.

If my parents had not broken up, I would not have a younger sister who loves my kids like her own (even when I wasn’t a very good Ate to her before).

If my parents had not broken up, I would not have another Papa and a brother who loves me. 

If my parents had not broken up, I probably would not need a good man in my life like Mike.

When I was young, I used to cry and ask God what it would take for my family to be whole again. He did not answer. Instead, He gave me my own family to nurture. 

I will never experience what it’s like to have a complete family, but I am at peace knowing that my kids have one. I may have been broken, but now I am complete.

Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse, says author Philip Yancey. It all makes sense now.

The Economics of Family Behavior

SOURCE: https://ifstudies.org/blog/the-economics-of-family-behavior

When a recent Business Insider article sought to explain “Why American Men are Getting Less Marriageable,” we cheered. The article relies on a recent study by three economists, MIT’s David Autor, along with David Dorn of Zurich and Gordon Hanson of San Diego, to observe that “economic forces are making [men] less appealing partners.”

That’s precisely what we claim in our book, Marriage Markets: How Inequality is Remaking the American Family: we explain not just how a changing economy could produce less marriage, but also how economic changes could alter changing family norms. In writing the book, we were struck by how few examinations of the family established the causal interconnection. We see two factors as blocking more in-depth examinations and stalling the emergence of any consensus on the relationships between economic change and changing families.

The first is the insistence that economics cannot explain culture, as James Q. Wilson declared in his 2002 book, The Marriage Problem. The cultural explanations instead look at declining church attendance, greater acceptance of premarital sex, the dismantling of clearly defined gender roles, male idleness, and violence, and insist that these factors cannot be explained merely by changes in employment patterns. The result is a refusal, in some circles, to even consider looking at the ways that changing employment patterns might, in fact, encourage changing cultural norms about commitment, cohabitation, and marriage, and the dismissal or marginalization of sociologists who have attempted to do so.

The second reason is the role of neoclassical economics. The economists have ignored the sociologists, while paying undue attention to the work of Gary Becker, who won a Nobel Prize in Economics for his work, and made it respectable for economists to study family behavior, in large part because he showed how family behavior could be the subject of formal economic modeling. To set up his equations, he claimed that marriage produced the largest overall gains when each spouse specialized in the home or the market, and it made sense for women to “specialize” in the home because of their role in childbirth and nursing. The result is that while economists do study the family, they have not produced compelling work that demonstrates why economic change might not just correlate with family change, but also explains the connections.

Both of these factors are finally beginning to change. There is a growing acceptance in almost all circles that the loss of secure, high-paid manufacturing jobs has something to do with family change. And a new generation of economists, including David Autor, have paid increasing attention to the interaction between economics and culture and have begun to examine the impact of economic changes on the intermediate factors that might influence cultural change.

In their new study, Autor and his co-authors set out to test the hypothesis of sociologist William Julius Wilson that decreasing blue-collar employment decreases the number of marriageable men. They found that it did. The areas that had seen declines in manufacturing jobs saw male employment and wages fall, and the gendered wage gap between men and women narrowed. In addition, they found that not only did the number of marriageable men decline, but the absolute number of men in the community fell, with male mortality rates and the incidence of risky behavior and substance abuse increasing. In short, their data seemed to vindicate Wilson’s predictions.

However, when they turned to the explanation for their findings—the connections that translate fewer secure jobs into less marriage—we were left dumbfounded. They simply recycled Gary Becker, concluding that economic change that undermines male income and employment reduces marriage and fertility because it leads to less “gender-based specialization.” Yet, even Becker’s adherents admit that his economic models produced predictions that proved spectacularly inaccurate, and we, among many others, observe that Becker’s theory of specialization is wrong on multiple levels.

First, women do not “specialize” in “the home.” In our view, Becker mistook women’s “dependence” for specialization. As rewarding as it is to stay home and care for children, minding toddlers while cooking and cleaning and doing an endless number of thankless chores is the work of a generalist. While some homemakers do make gourmet dinners or grow prize-winning gardens, there is little evidence of returns to scale—baking 10 batches of cookies are better than one—or that the ability to produce prize-winning gardens enhances marriageability. Instead, women’s so-called specialization in the home has historically been a product of need (someone has to do it) and curtailment of the alternatives (women haven’t had a whole lot of choice in the matter). Today, homemaking no longer requires the energies of half of the adult population, and women have joined men in specializing not in a generic market, but in a variety of market occupations that require greater education, experience, and a different model of marriage.

Second, Becker-based rationales have no answer to the findings of other economists who observe that, in defiance of his predictions, two career upper-middle-class couples have some of the lowest divorce rates, and the highest marriage rates. Instead, Becker, who did see it as an advantage to have someone else take care of his laundry, argued that as women entered the market (and thus became less “specialized” at home), the women who invested most in market labor would become the least likely to marry (unless they found good little “househusbands”), while the men most invested in the market would marry more specialized women, content to be homemakers.

Today, homemaking no longer requires the energies of half of the adult population, and women have joined men in specializing not in a generic market, but in a variety of market occupations that require greater education, experience, and a different model of marriage.

Sociologist Valerie Oppenheimer (whose theories we discuss in Marriage Markets) offered a much better explanation for what is actually happening. She posited that as women enjoyed greater labor market opportunities, two-career couples postponed marriage until the investments in their careers were complete, and then selected partners who shared their values and commitments. Assortative mating, in which like marries like, rather than differentiated gender roles, is the order of the day.

In this new order, it is not just that the successful marry the similarly successful, although that happens. It is also that the successful seek mates who share similar commitments to childbearing. Sometimes, this means couples who both agree that they do not want children. Among those with the most demanding jobs, it often results in one spouse taking time off to spend with the children when the couple realizes that both parents cannot stay in 60-hour-a-week jobs and do justice by their children. The stay-at-home spouse is still typically, though not always, the wife. Beyond those with high salaries, however, the more common arrangement involves trade-offs that juggle staying home with sick children, attending sports games, picking up children after school, and overseeing homework. These arrangements require a high degree of relationship flexibility and trust, but they are not “specialization in childrearing.” Sometimes, they do involve specialization in overseeing math homework versus coaching the soccer team. But it is the flexibility and trust, not the division between math and soccer, that determines the success of the arrangement. Becker has nothing to say about this.

The missing answer that neither Becker nor Autor provide almost certainly involves gender dynamics that have nothing to do with “specialization.” Instead, women’s increased income does make them pickier. In the old days, women could not support a family or even themselves. Most women did all those chores because they didn’t have much of a choice. Today, women who earn enough to support themselves enter into permanent commitments more carefully. The question that needs answering is why more elite men and women succeed in finding partners worthy of commitment, while those further down the socioeconomic ladder do not.

The answer is that at the top, couples trade off child care while (typically) neither parent does the housework. Below the top, few spouses can afford not to work, and if one partner does not carry his or her full weight in the relationship, whether in the home or the market, marriage becomes an expensive proposition. Economic uncertainty makes things worse, and this is where the Autor study gets it right. In the past, male breadwinners “earned” the right to have a family, including a homemaking spouse. Today, women are wary of a partner who expects them to work outside the home and pick up after them. And a partner with mounting health care expenses, erratic employment patterns, or even unpaid parking tickets threatens the emotional and financial resources the other partner sees as necessary to care for children. Without a degree of stability, security, and agreement on who cleans the toilets, marriage is likely to continue to be a bad deal for a large part of the population.

Childbirth is safer in the Philippines

SOURCE: https://medium.com/@who/now-that-a-deadly-disease-is-eliminated-childbirth-is-safer-in-the-philippines-a182574862f6

Nurse Mica Kaddaring in an immunization outreach activity in Basilan province, the Philippines. Credit: Basilan Provincial Health Office/UNICEF

Through the support from countless health workers and partners, the Philippines eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus — a disease that can be prevented through hygienic birth practices and immunization — in November 2017. WHO defines elimination as achieving an incidence rate of less than 1 case of tetanus per 1000 live births in every district in the country.

A more than two decade elimination effort

The country began its elimination efforts in the early 1990s when vaccination coverage reached 70%. But a few years later coverage plummeted due to false allegations that the vaccine caused miscarriages and sterilization. In Manila, tetanus vaccination was banned entirely from 2003 to 2006.

By 2003, the country’s elimination programme was off-track. A review by WHO, UNICEF and the Philippines Department of Health found that an estimated 25% of pregnant women were still not vaccinated; antenatal care, skilled birth attendance and promotion of clean birth practices were limited; and surveillance need to be strengthened to understand where to target their efforts.

It was clearly time to act. The country, with UNICEF support, launched intensive immunization campaigns and worked on strengthening routine immunization in high-risk areas. WHO worked to train midwives, who provide the majority of vaccines, to discuss vaccine concerns with patients and educate them on clean cord practices.

In 2015, WHO and UNICEF were able to validate that 16 out of 17 regions had eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus. Only one region remained — the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and elimination required ensuring that 80% of its pregnant women had received at least three doses of tetanus-containing vaccine.

Nurse Mica Kaddaring administers the Tetanus-diphtheria vaccine to one of the women in ARMM region, the Philippines. Credit: Basilan Provincial Health Office/UNICEF

Targeting the very last region

Challenges included geographical isolation, armed conflict, tribal wars and other security concerns. Health education approaches required area-specific adjustments considering the wide population diversity in terms of ethnicity and dialect. Likewise, engagement of men as heads of the family and as ethnic and religious leaders was crucial for successful implementation.

Between 2016 and 2017, UNICEF funded three rounds of immunization campaigns targeting more than 300 000 women aged 15 to 49 years. The funding supported logistics, training of vaccination teams, transport to isolated communities and community mobilization activities.

The government also created the Midwives in Every Community in ARMM programme (MECA), so more midwives could go door-to-door providing health education and strengthen maternal and child care especially in the hard-to reach communities.

“Though ARMM is a very challenging area to work in, the health department and local government staff really went the extra mile to achieve maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination,” says Dr. Gundo Weiler, WHO Philippines Representative. “I want to congratulate all health workers and mothers who have made this feat possible”.

In November 2017, WHO and UNICEF conducted the final desk review and found every region in the Philippines had now eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus. The validation meant the Philippines became the 44th country to eliminate the disease.

“While the MNTE status has been achieved, now the goal is to sustain this remarkable achievement. This is possible through a concerted effort to enhance access to quality antenatal care, skilled attendance at birth and tetanus vaccination for all pregnant women, including those living in the remotest areas of the country, ” says Ms. Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Philippines Representative.

Countries still facing the threat

Worldwide, 15 countries still face the threat of maternal and neonatal tetanus. The Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination initiative, launched by WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA in 1999, aims to make the disease a public health problem of the past. Unlike polio and smallpox, tetanus cannot be eradicated, but through immunization and promotion of clean birth practices the disease can be eliminated.

Women in Sulu province in ARMM proudly show their vaccination cards, proof that they received protection against tetanus. Credit: Sulu Provincial Health Office

Why Moms Make The Best CEOs

Two of the most challenging but rewarding accomplishments a person can undertake are to raise a family and to start her own business. Both are full commitments that demand a healthy dose of perseverance, patience and love. Doing one or the other can be complex enough, but plenty of entrepreneurial-minded moms willingly elect to do both — and they couldn’t be happier about it.

While parenting is not the only way to acquire management wisdom, it does accomplish that, too. A top-notch CEO’s leadership profile is remarkably similar to that of excellent parents: They both provide stretch challenges, set high expectations and help individuals learn to act and think independently, while still holding them accountable.

Such similarities are present because parenthood may be one of the most basic forms of leadership. On balance, you can’t fire your children, and they do not report to you. The minute they outrun you, it’s hard to compel them to compliance. Instead, they should willingly follow your lead. Parenting, like strong leadership, requires us to exert influence while practicing control sparingly.


Here’s how to harness the power of parenthood into business leadership:

Moms Are Intuitive

Being a mom taught me how to listen to my child’s needs and harness my intuition. This is one of the most crucial leadership skills in business. How often do CEOs need to make a pivotal decision that comes down to their gut instinct? Frequently. Many moms have that “momma bear” instinct that they cannot deny and which allows them to make decisions that could make the deal or break the deal.


The Relationship Is Important to Them

Women tend to understand the importance of establishing relationships, rather than just hitting the numbers. Business is about relationships. Too often, leaders focus on the spreadsheet or the money, but empires and legacies are created within relationships. If you treat your clients like you would your child, you will always have referrals and returning clients.

Manage Different Talent

As a parent, you do not get to choose your team. Certainly, one would prefer to raise a bunch of smart people, each having an Olympic-level athletic potential and runway model looks. The role of a parent is not to conform their children to some unachievable ideal, but to help them grow their own strengths and improve their weaknesses.

The workplace is the same. Some corporate managers have the luxury of creating a dream team. More commonly, managers are asked to raise wisdom from a group of inherited staff, an occasionally unruly cross-functional team. The duty is to make the most of their capability by growing and multiplying the intelligence of their current team.

Learning Agility

While the scope of motherhood can at times feel difficult, it strengthens mental dexterity. We have to learn how to be flexible and have great communication skills based on the psychological needs of our children.

Furthermore, the continuous learning, relearning and learning of motherhood is the ideal preparation for managing and working in what is known as “VUCA environment,” which refers to one of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Such environments need situational readiness and heightened awareness, as conditions can change quickly, surprises lurk around each corner and mistakes are so easy to make — causing many professionals and managers to feel underprepared. In such environments, it is not what a person knows, but how fast they can learn that counts.

Weathering The Ups And Downs

A great many startup founders find entrepreneurial life to be a roller coaster. There’s one day in which you get an amazing review in the newspaper or a huge business opportunity presents itself, and the next day, a stakeholder backs out. You can go from flying so high to contemplating throwing it all away. However, successful CEOs don’t give up.

While a startup creator always has the option to give up, a mother never gives up that job title: one day your child makes a simple card at school that makes you weep with joy, and the next day they destroy the whole house just before the mother-in-law arrives to visit. Nevertheless, mothers don’t shut them out. Motherhood prepares the headstrong CEO to weather the storm with every new challenge that arises.

Separating True Crisis From Mere Chaos

To keep a family grounded, moms learn to identify a true crisis over ordinary chaos. They realize faster than most that if it is not bleeding, burning or broken, it’s not a crisis. For working moms, this focused understanding gets applied to work too. They learn to work in crisis and disregard much of the daily friction and concentrate exclusively on top priorities and burning issues. When this is applied to the workplace, leaders can easily see what is a true crisis or what is a simple problem that is being taken out of context. The strongest leaders — and moms — can make the right decisions on how to handle employees or try scenarios.

Putting The Ego Aside

The best CEOs are hardworking, resourceful and smart. These traits can sometimes translate into egos that can become annoying and arrogant. As the person managing the family, moms know that being smart isn’t about being right. It’s like when in team meetings, there will be times when it’s worth fighting to win a discussion and instances where backing down serves the long-term interests best.

If you are a mom, tap into your innate ability to run your business like you run your family. Treat your clients like they are your children: Give them attention and care, and be fair always. If you do the same for your employees, you will always have a thriving business. A happy mom is a healthy home — and a happy mom is a valuable business asset.

SOURCE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/10/12/why-moms-make-the-best-ceos/#6fd109fa698a

Why Do Mothers Choose to Continue Breastfeeding Even After 6 Months

This Is Why Moms Choose to Continue Breastfeeding Even After 6 Months

Breastfeeding is a choice, but one cannot deny the perks breast milk offers for both the mom and baby. One of those unique benefits is it contains antibodies that become your baby’s first line of defense against illnesses. Other kinds of milk cannot replicate the protection breast milk gives your baby.

To show how breast milk does wonders for her baby, Ashlee Chase, a mom for the Pennsylvania, posted on Facebook a photo of two bags of breast milk, expressed only three days apart, but they look entirely different in color. The bag with white breast milk was expressed when her 7-month-old daughter, Elliot Audrey, was healthy, while the bag with yellowish breast milk was expressed when she was sick with fever and nursing was the only way she could be comforted. It was also around the same time that her elder daughter Peyton was ill, too, with high fever and strep throat. 

According to Ashlee, she decided to post the photo to answer once and for all why she still nurses her  Elliot Audrey. She told Yahoo Lifestyle that she knew that the color of breast milk changes for several reasons, but she still consulted her daughter’s pediatrician if the yellow breast milk was safe to give to Elliot. Her doctor said the change in color meant there was “more fat and antibodies on the milk” to help her baby fight an infection. True enough, big sister Peyton’s illness lasted for a week, while baby Elliot only endured a slight fever and a runny nose.

It’s not the first time a mom noticed a change in her breast milk’s color when her baby is sick. Mallory Smothers, a mom from Arkansas, posted a similar photo on Facebook back in 2016. She shared that she read in a medical journal how a mother’s body tailors the breast milk it produces to address her child’s nutritional needs. 

As the baby nurses, the mother’s mammary glands receptors get clues if the baby is sick or fighting an infection through your baby’s saliva. “[The] mom’s body will actually change the milk’s immunological composition, tailoring it to the baby’s particular pathogens by producing customized antibodies,” Molly wrote. 

Mallory observed the difference in the color of her breast milk, which was expressed a day apart, since she directly nurses her baby during the night and only uses the pump in the mornings. “Look at how much more the milk I produced Friday resembles colostrum…and this comes after nursing the baby with a cold all night long,” she wrote. “The human body never ceases to amaze me,” Molly added.  

Local pediatrician Dr. Jamie Isip-Cumpas backs up the moms’ observations above. “Your body will produce the milk that your baby needs,” the mom of three and International Certified Breastfeeding and Lactation Counselor (ICBLC) said, adding that over time, breast milk changes to adapt to your little one’s needs as he grows.

It’s also the reason why breastfeeding moms are encouraged to nurse even if they’re sick. U.S.-certified lactation counselor Joyce Martinez explains that a mom with a cough or cold can continue to breastfeed, but she should wear a face mask to prevent her baby from getting infected. “Mother’s milk provides antibodies to fight infection. It protects the baby from any organism he or she is exposed to, thus triggering your baby’s immune system,” she said.  

Do you need any more proof why breast milk is called liquid gold? 

SOURCE: https://www.smartparenting.com.ph/pregnancy/breastfeeding/breast-milk-changes-to-adapt-to-your-baby-s-health-needs-a00041-20171016?ref=article_related

The Gift of Breast Milk: Breastfeeding May Lower Your Chances of Hypertension

The Gift of Breast Milk: Breastfeeding May Lower Your Chances of Hypertension

You’ve already read countless times on SmartParenting.com.ph why breastfeeding is best for babies but there are really good reasons why it’s good for moms, too! Now a new study shows that women who nurse more children, and for longer periods of time, can reduce their hypertension risk after they reach menopause.

Researchers Sangshin Park of the Center for International Health Research in Rhode Island, USA and Nam-Kyong Choi of the Department of Health Convergence in Ewha Women’s University, South Korea, studied 3,119 non-smoking postmenopausal women in their 50’s and above. These women participated in the 2010-2011 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The study found that women who nursed around five to 11 children showed a 51% lower risk of hypertension compared to those who did not breastfeed or only breastfed one child. Those who breastfed the longest (96 to 324 months) showed a 45% lower risk of hypertension.

But for women who were obese and had higher insulin resistance, the protective effect was not as strong.

While more research is needed to understand the relationship between breastfeeding and lower hypertension risk fully, the researchers proposed that the act of breastfeeding could “reset” maternal metabolism after pregnancy, which includes fat accumulation and insulin resistance. This decreases the risk of obesity-related diseases such as hypertension.

The second reason was that breastfeeding releases a hormone called oxytocin, which further lowers the risk of these diseases. Oxytocin is also known as the “bonding hormone” and is associated with nurturing, trusting, and affectionate behavior, and can help lower blood pressure.

Studies have always focused on the effect of breastfeeding on infants, like reducing children’s allergies, celiac disease (a serious autoimmune disorder), obesity, and diabetes. Focusing on the beneficial effects that breastfeeding may have for the mother is welcome news, especially since high blood pressure is connected to more than 9.4 million deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. If you’ve been looking for reasons to extend your nursing sessions more than the recommended six months, then add this to the list!

SOURCE: https://www.smartparenting.com.ph/pregnancy/breastfeeding/women-who-breastfeed-more-children-and-for-longer-have-reduced-hypertension-risk-a00228-20180205

These Two Give Us Reasons Not to Feel Guilty About Being a Working Mom

These Two Give Us Reasons Not to Feel Guilty About Being a Working Mom

In an interview with Smart Parenting.com.ph last year, Bianca Gonzalez did millennial moms a great service when she voiced her feelings how moms today are under “insane pressure.”

“The good side of being a millennial mom is that we’re so informed. There’s so much information; we’re so hands on. But the bad side is we’re so hard on ourselves.”

Bianca, a working mother, says she continually experiences “mommy guilt” where she feels that spending time away from her daughter makes her a bad mom. “Feeling ko parang, I’m bad if I leave her just to have fun or because I want to go out to buy things for myself.”

Bianca tells moms not to be hard on themselves, but getting rid of “mom guilt” herself is way easier said than done. But a study published in December of last year shows how vital it is for working moms to free themselves from this negative emotion, especially those who go back to work after the maternity leave. 

In the research that “investigated what affects a working mother’s sense of well-being,” findings showed that the happiness of working moms’ heavily relies on the fulfillment of her psychological needs. Her well-being hinges on how competent she feels at her job as a mom, and she “experiences a sense of freedom and choice in her actions.”

The research is in sync with another study that came out last November and published in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues. The results there showed that those who worked outside the home of their volition scored higher satisfaction levels and were the most psychologically healthy. The moms who stayed at home but who preferred to work particularly had the lowest satisfaction and personal fulfillment levels and highest levels of loneliness and emptiness. These mothers even reported to having more difficulty adjusting to having kids and having feelings of rejection towards their kids.

“Our findings essentially showed that for women who wished to work but couldn’t because of child care issues, there seemed to be great costs to the women’s mental health. And as we know well, when mom isn’t happy, nor are those whom they tend,” wrote Suniya Luthar, Ph.D., of the Arizona State University and a co-author of the study, “What Women Want: Employment Preference and Adjustment Among Mothers,” on Psychology Today. 

The research on maternal well-being published in Springer’s Journal of Happiness Studies analyzed five days of diary entries made by 126 mothers after their maternity leave ended, and they had to leave their babies at a day-care facility for the first time. Researchers noted the separation anxiety the moms felt and the pressure to come up with a formula to balance work and family lives. And the moms whose “personalities tend to veer towards the depressive and the self-critical” had a difficulty adjusting to parenthood. 

According to Katrijn Brenning of the University of Ghent in Belgium who led the research, “a mother’s sense of well-being drops when she feels inadequate, under pressure, and is alienated from her social circle by her efforts to get to work and be a good parent all at once.”

We’ve said it before, and the Brenning and her team make a note of it as well: The first step to rid yourself of working mom’s guilt is giving yourself a break when it comes to “grading” your parenting skills. And go ahead and be honest with yourself and the people around you during moments when you don’t feel like you’re a superwoman. 

When Kylie Padilla’s household help left without leaving notice, Kylie took to Instagram expressed how overwhelmed she felt at being on her own. “I thought taking care of an infant was hard enough,” the first-time mom wrote. “But to add cleaning, doing laundry and finding time for your partner is driving me insane.”

Kylie’s concerns might sound petty, but as a new mom, she is at her most vulnerable. Writing her sentiments isn’t just a stress-reliever; it helps her to process her emotions.

Renowned pediatrician and child development expert, Dr. Harvey Karp, acknowledges that new parents today may have a tougher journey than previous generations

“People more and more, over the last decade, have less baby experience. A lot of people have babies [but] have never really held a baby in their lives [before they became parents],” he shared on a recent episode of the podcast, Healthy Births, Happy Babies

Moreover, parents of today have to learn everything on their own. Dr. Karp added new moms and dads in the past had grandparents, aunts, siblings, cousins and even neighbors who are ready to help out. 

Dr. Karp explains many parents now are doing work they are not prepared to do, which leads to exhaustion and a lot of frustration. “Parents are so tough on themselves. In fact, parents think they’re not even supposed to have help. Everyone thinks they’re supposed to do it on their own.”

In truth, Dr. Karp stresses, you are supposed to have a village. But we say fill your support system with family and friends who don’t think “nag-iinarte ka lang.” 

We also applaud Kylie for not shying away when she shared the following: “But the thing is. I miss working and creating, and it’s something I cannot leave behind. I don’t think I could leave it forever. I will then, in fact go nuts.”

What can help moms aside from giving herself a pep talk? A source of positivity is a happy baby. According to Brenning’s study, a mother’s “having a more extrovert child does help some women to feel more positive about motherhood, and to be less hard on themselves.” 

So, working moms, who always feel guilty about leaving their kids to caregivers, say this with us: I am doing my best, I am not a bad mother, and if I believe all of that, my family feels it, too.

SOURCE: https://www.smartparenting.com.ph/health/wellness/two-words-for-working-moms-self-care-a1154-20180111?ref=article_related

‘The Better Half’: How Filipino mothers fare

Filipino mothers are known for their diligence and resilience, juggling seemingly impossible tasks at home on top of pursuing their careers.

Find out how Filipino moms actually fare in their role as ‘the better half.’

SOURCE: http://news.abs-cbn.com/focus/multimedia/infographic/05/13/17/the-better-half-how-filipino-mothers-fare

How Progressive Policies Can Strengthen Marriage and Family Life

When it comes to reducing poverty and inequality, progressives typically favor strengthening labor market institutions—like the minimum wage and collective bargaining—and investing in social insurance, including work supports and income supplements for working-class families. Conservatives, for their part, have traditionally centered on the role of the family, and specifically marriage, as a private safety net. The public safety net, they argue, too often undermines the family by providing disincentives to marry and incentives to divorce or separate.

This argument seems rather dubious to us as a matter of theory. Most conservatives argue that marriage has considerable financial and emotional benefits. We tend to agree with them on this, with the caveat that the quality of the friendship between spouses is essential, not just the structure itself. At the same time, the United States does not have a particularly generous welfare state for working-class people. Thus, if the benefits that marriage provides are as substantial as conservatives say they are, it is hard to see how they do not outweigh the ones provided by our comparatively meager welfare state. This is especially the case given that working-class people in the United States hold “more traditional values toward marriage” than higher-incomes people.

The empirical evidence supporting this argument is also weak. Northern European countries have much more generous social safety nets than the U.S., and children there are more, not less, likely than American children to be raised in two-parent families. As for the effect of welfare in the United States in particular, in a review of research conducted up to the replacement of AFDC with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in 1996, economist Hillary Hoynes concluded that the “evidence suggests that marriage decisions are not sensitive to financial decisions. The literature on the effect of welfare on out-of-wedlock births is also quite conclusive. …. Overall these effects are often insignificant and when they are not, they are small.”

Since the replacement of AFDC with TANF, the number of low-income parents receiving income assistance has plummeted. But this does not appear to be due to an increase in marriage, an outcome proponents of welfare reform hoped to see. Based on their research, Hoynes and her colleagues conclude there is “little evidence … that welfare reform has encouraged more marriage.”

To be clear, we’re not suggesting that what are commonly called “marriage penalties” in benefit programs are unproblematic. But we think the reason they’re problematic has less to do with incentive effects related to marriage, and more to do with fairness and effectiveness in serving struggling families who are married or coupled in addition to single-parent households.

Along these lines, instead of continuing to think of expanded social insurance as an impediment to improving the stability and strength of working-class families, we believe that pro-marriage conservatives should be more open to the possibility it is part of the solution. As we discuss in a recent report for the Center for American Progress, a large body of research underscores how financial stress is a risk factor for marital conflict, violence, and divorce. For example, in their important book, Alone Together: How Marriage in America Is Changing, Paul Amato and his colleagues find that “lower levels of income, educational attainment, and occupational prestige were associated with higher rates of marital problems, less marital happiness, and greater instability.”

Financial stress is a risk factor for marital conflict, violence, and divorce.

In short, there is good reason to think that work and family benefits that relieve the financial, time, and other family-related pressures that working-class couples feel could be helpful when it comes to increasing relationship and marital stability.

In our report, we highlight a number of policy changes along these lines, but will highlight just two here.

First, we should reform work-family policies to ensure that all workers have access to the kinds of family-related benefits that most higher-income workers have, including paid family leave, earned sick days, the right to request flexible and predictable schedules, and high-quality child care. Amato and his colleagues found that “dual-earner arrangements are linked with positive marital quality among middle-class couples and with negative marital quality among working-class couples.” They attribute this difference partly to work-family conflicts among working-class couples, contributing to both greater marital tension and lower job satisfaction. Better work-family policies would help reduce the relationship-damaging stress disproportionately felt by dual-earner working-class couples.

Second, we should ensure that disadvantaged married parents—as well as unmarried couples raising children—have access to key work and income supports, particularly temporary re-employment assistance. TANF was supposed to support the “maintenance of two-parent families,” but it has been a shocking failure when it comes to actually helping them. Currently, about 5.2 million children below the poverty line are living in married two-parent families, and another 1.4 million are living in unmarried two-parent families, but a mere 84,000 two-parent families receive basic income support and employment services through TANF. Outside of California, fewer than 30,000 two-parent families receive such assistance.

This is particularly distressing because research suggests that well-designed temporary assistance programs for two-parent families could have positive effects on marriage. Most notably, the original version of the Minnesota Family Investment Program, or MFIP, a welfare reform demonstration program that was evaluated in the mid-1990s, reduced divorce among disadvantaged two-parent families participating in it. The reductions in divorce were particularly large—70 percent—among black married couples. In addition, both MFIP and Milwaukee’s New Hope project increased rates of marriage among disadvantaged single mothers.

Well-designed temporary assistance programs for two-parent families could have positive effects on marriage.

These progressive demonstration projects ensured that low-income married- and cohabiting-couple families had an adequate income to support themselves while searching for work or addressing issues that limited their work capacity, including through transitional jobs, re-employment, and other services. Unlike the current TANF program, these programs did not utilize unreasonable “participation rates” or harshly punitive measures mostly aimed at reducing the number of people who got help; instead, they emphasized helping struggling parents obtain and maintain stable employment, while meeting their basic needs.

Unfortunately, the current federal TANF law and financial structure makes operating programs like the original MFIP or New Hope all but impossible for states. To address this problem, we recommend that the federal government establish a national Temporary Assistance demonstration project that combines elements of both the original MFIP program and New Hope.

Finally, while we have no doubt that family-friendly benefits and programs like these could make a real difference when it comes to family stability, they need to be coupled with stronger labor market institutions. So, as a closing thought, if we really want to promote strong marital unions, let’s make it easier for workers to form and join labor unions. As this blog has notedrecently published research finds that “controlling for many factors, union membership is positively and significantly associated with marriage”—a relationship that is “largely explained by the increased income, regularity and stability of employment and fringe benefits that come with union membership.”

It’s time for conservatives to stop maligning investments in work supports and income supplements as anti-family. At the same time, progressives need to do a better job of explaining how these kinds of policies can support marriage and strengthen families. If they take a careful look at the evidence, both sides may be surprised by what they find.

SOURCE: https://ifstudies.org/blog/how-progressive-policies-can-strengthen-marriage-and-family-life

The No. 1 Reason Why Moms Stop Breastfeeding

breastfeeding mom

“Breast milk is best for babies up to 2 years,” we often hear TV commercials say at the end of powdered milk advertisements accompanied by a smiling mother with a baby at her bosom. What the TV doesn’t say though is that breastfeeding is actually quite challenging. 

And, according to a survey, the struggles of breastfeeding get so hard to bear that a little over half of women quit just after six months.

The 2015 Lansinoh Breastfeeding Survey polled 13,000 mothers to ask them about their breastfeeding thoughts and experiences. Almost all of them — 96% to be precise — agree that breastfeeding and breast milk is definitely best for babies. Nearly 75% think that breastfeeding should continue past six months. Sadly though, only 62% make it until that length of time.

Why couldn’t they make it? It’s because of the pain. Out of the 10 countries included in the survey, 9 consider pain as the biggest issue when breastfeeding. The exception was China who said “waking up in the middle of the night” was the hardest part. 

Other common reasons for mothers quitting breastfeeding include difficulty with learning how to breastfeed in the first place and not knowing how often to feed the baby. 

The top three concerns the mothers had when it comes to breastfeeding are: that the baby won’t latch, that they won’t be able to breastfeed for the recommended six months or longer, and that nursing will hurt. 

For breastfeeding in public, 38% of women said it was “perfectly natural” and 32% called it “embarrassing.”

“These results are encouraging. They show that we are making progress, and attitudes about breastfeeding are changing around the world. But we still have work to do,” said Kevin Vyse-Peacock, CEO of Lansinoh. 

“As countries debate policy and workplace benefits to support women, they must remember that these issues are not just topics for debate – they have a very real impact on the health of mothers and babies around the world,” he added.

In the Philippines, the law requires companies to provide its women employees with lactation stations in the workplace, as stated in Republic Act 10028 or the “Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act.”

SOURCE: https://www.smartparenting.com.ph/pregnancy/breastfeeding/here-s-the-number-one-reason-women-stop-breastfeeding

How Bianca Gonzalez Managed to Exclusively Breastfeed Despite Low Milk Supply

How Bianca Gonzalez Managed to Exclusively Breastfeed Despite Low Milk Supply

Since Bianca Gonzalez made that post about the end of her breastfeeding journey on Instagram two weeks ago, the mom of one says fellow mothers have flooded her inbox with messages that can be summarized in one question: How did she breastfeed for two years?

Any mom who has breastfed a child, or tried, knows the struggle of sore breasts and cracked nipples. A survey reveals that many women give up after only six months because of the pain associated with nursing a baby. So how did Bianca — TV host, book author, writer, and in-demand product endorser — manage? She answers this and more burning questions in a vlog (video blog) on her Facebook page. Here are her top tips:

1. Let your baby latch directly.
Bianca says that in the beginning, she was dismayed at the small amount of breast milk she was able to pump, compared to other moms she sees on Instagram. She is thankful to have met the women behind The Parenting Emporium, who kept her going.

“[They] taught me na, ang mapa-pump mong milk will never be the same amount as yung nakukuha ng baby mo sa ‘yo. Meaning, ang baby talaga ang pinakamagaling na mag-pump ng milk. Hindi dahil naka-pump ka lang ng 2 ounces e ibig sabihin yun lang din ang nakukuha ng baby mo sa ‘yo,” she says. “Latch lang nang latch, kasi the more that she latches, ‘yun ‘yung signal ng katawan mo to keep making more milk.” 

2. Pump more often.
Bianca says she tries to pump more frequently than the number of her 2-year-old daughter Lucia‘s feedings, and offers this tip for career women.

Kapag iniwan mo yung baby mo, alam mo na yung baby mo feeds every four hours. Try as much as possible —although ang hirap — to pump every three hours, or every two and a half hours. Kunyari three times sya nag-milk sa bahay pero four times ka nag-pump, hopefully, magma-match ‘yung output na ‘yun.

Tinyaga ko kasi by 6 months they start eating solid food, so kahit paano, nawala na yung pressure.”

3. Nourish yourself.
She reminds breastfeeding moms to drink “more than eight glasses [of water] a day.” Bianca also swears by the power of malunggay and confesses that she tried a lot of supplements and lactation treats that promise to increase breast milk supply.  

4. Think positive.
Bianca shares a trick she used to do while breastfeeding: “Imagine-in mo lang naoverflowing ang supply mo.” She says that the more she stressed about her milk supply, the less milk she was able to pump. 

5. Pray. 
“Prayer is a big, big deal. It sustained me talaga.”  

Watch the full video below:

Why Aren’t Preschool Teachers Paid Enough?

“She treats those kids like they’re her own.” In the past 10 years that I’ve spent talking to parents about dozens of teachers at three different preschools, as well as the pros and cons of different nannies and part-time babysitters, that statement has emerged as the highest compliment. But it wasn’t until I read a recent New York Timesmagazine cover story that I started to think about it more seriously.

“Why Are Our Most Important Teachers Paid the Least?” the headline asks, before chronicling how some teachers are barely earning minimum wage, how many of them don’t have health insurance, and how half of them come from families that are on public assistance. One reason for this disparity is that when we send our two-year-olds to a few hours of preschool or even a whole day of child care, we do not think of the adults who care for them as “teachers,” exactly. We are looking instead for our children to experience nurturing and kindness and fun in the hands of—let’s face it—a substitute parent. Sure, it would be nice if they came home potty-trained, having learned a few songs, and how to be nicer to other children as well. But frankly most women—whether they work or not—are looking for someone who will treat their children as they would their own.

Can you train someone to do that? How? And how much is it worth to us?

There is a big debate going on now about whether preschool teachers need more schooling to be better at their jobs. Last year, Washington, D.C. politicians mandated that by 2020, lead teachers must earn an associate degree, child-care center directors must get a bachelor’s degree, and home-care providers and assistant teachers need to qualify for a CDA (Child Development Associate) Credential. This will certainly increase the cost of becoming a preschool teacher. And, as the New York Times magazine points out, this may have the unintended effect of pushing out those who have devoted many years to the profession but don’t have the time or the money to pursue extra schooling. And there is also not much evidence that such programs boost the overall performance of teachers—let alone students—in these classrooms.

Particularly when we are talking about kids from disadvantaged backgrounds, there are unfortunately few strategies that seem to improve things. And those that do only work temporarily, and need to be weighed against the negative effects of long hours spent in daycare and away from parents. The positive effects from, say, Head Start programs, start to peter out around second grade. Even at a KIPP pre-K school I visited earlier this year, the effects were not what I had hoped given KIPP’s record of success in other areas.

One reason there is presumably such a disparity between the wages of preschool teachers and those of other teachers is that preschool teachers are generally not unionized. There is no evidence, however, that unionization of teachers—and all of the rules about tenure—have improved kids’ educational outcomes.

Which leads me back to my first question. It may be very difficult to find people who will treat your children as their own. Few of the moms I know—stay-at-home or working full time—would reasonably say that they are anywhere near as patient and kind with other people’s children. Nor do they have any interest in trying. (When people tell me they’re not sure whether to have children because they don’t “love babies,” I tell them it’s different when they’re your kids.)

I don’t know if there is a good way for our society to tackle this problem. We can try to train educators in the ways they are supposed to speak to young students, keep discipline in a preschool classroom, and get their students more interested in learning. But it’s not the same as teaching high school social studies or middle school PE. When all is said and done, there are a limited number of people who are capable of doing a parent’s job, and sending them to school for longer or offering them more money may not change that.


SOURCE: https://ifstudies.org/blog/why-arent-preschool-teachers-paid-enough-because-its-hard-to-put-a-price-on-love

Make 2018 Your Family’s Best Year Ever

There’s something invigorating about fresh starts. Wiping the slate clean feels rejuvenating; vital. A New Year means a new start, and that typically means goals, new ambitions, resolutions, or some kind of renewal program.

Sadly, most of us struggle to create new patterns for our lives. We have an established way of doing things, and change doesn’t come easy. It can be even tougher when other people are involved. While we become evangelistic in our zeal for a new way of living in our homes, the rest of the family stares quizzically before returning to the screen in their hands.

What can we do to get everyone on board, and actively pursue our family’s “Best Year Ever”? Here are five simple ideas:

1. Get Your Heart Right

People consistently tell me it’s their kids that are the problem. In most cases, I don’t buy it. They’re children—not problems. It’s the way wesee our kids that’s the problem. For our family to really thrive, we need to do as Professor H. Wallace Goddard says, and get our hearts right.

This, you’ll note, has nothing to do with anyone but us. It’s not about being more organized or creating better routines. Instead, it includes minor details like the way we speak to one another, the way we greet and farewell each other, and the way we listen. (I’m yet to meet a child complain that their parents listen too much.)

Getting our heart right means we find within us compassion, kindness, and a desire to help. Great parenting is about bringing out the best in our children and family. If we really want to make it a great year, perhaps our ultimate goal or resolution should be this:

I’m going to sure that the best in me speaks to the best in my child, spouse/partner, and yes, even my mother-in-law.

This is not a collective goal for the family. This is a personal focus for each of us.

If we can do this, we won’t yell. We won’t call names and belittle. We won’t act in fear, anger, or pride. Instead, we will choose faith in our family. We will communicate with kindness. We will lead with love.

2. Get on the Same Page

I did say simple ideas, right? Getting on the same page as an obstructionist partner, a temperamental teen, or an oppositional toddler might not be easy, but it can be done. Here’s how.

Have a fun family meeting. Promise everyone it will be short and easy. Ask these questions:

  1. What’s going great in our family?
  2. What are we missing?
  3. What one or two things can we do to be better this week?

It’s probably not going to be the “perfect” family meeting where mission statements are created, and a grand vision for the future of your family will appear before your view. But it’s a start.

In our family, we talk about one more thing: “What’s a great theme for our family this year?”

Over the years, we’ve focused on “I can do hard things,” “We’re all in this together,” and other statements with a similar motivational focus. And with a regular emphasis each day, the kids actually get it and enjoy it. The key to success with this, however, is consistent follow-up.

3. Sleep

The biggest impediment to being a happy family is being tired. Sleep is not a luxury item. Instead of slouching on the couch, have an early night. Get the sleep you need and watch your relationships improve. You’ll be more vital, more attuned, more patient, and more capable if you sleep well. Simple.

4. Build Your Children

Our children need to know that we are proud of them, love them, and want to help them. A powerful way to help them understand this is to have regular one-on-ones with them. It could be on the front porch, at a local café, or while you drive. Talk with them about their strengths, discover the mission inside them, and focus on how you might construct their world so that it supports their development. Questions you might ask them include:

  1. What’s going great in your life?
  2. Where are we missing?
  3. What can we do to help you grow?

5. Get Routines Right

Perhaps the most practical thing we can do once we know what the plan is (being on the same page) is to create structure around it. In my book, 21 Days to a Happier Family, I highlight the way that routines make life easier because we free up cognitive space. When we have a routine (and a checklist!), we don’t have to think. This means less anxiety and more efficiency.

Researchers have discovered that routines and checklists make everything from surgery to piloting a plane safer. There’s no reason to think that routines and checklists can’t help families navigate complexity more effectively as well. So, focus on a morning, afternoon, and evening routine.

Mornings could be built around waking up at the right time (or even a bit early), eating a good breakfast, preparing good food for the day, and leaving on time.

Afternoons might be focused on rejuvenation and recovery from a long day. A bit of downtime before extra-curricular activities, reading, or household chores (or homework for older kids) can go a long way to making the afternoon go well.

In the evenings, emphasize relationships and nurture, reduced screen-time, and plenty of sleep. We also want to get things ready for the morning. Prepping uniforms, shoes, lunchboxes and so on can make mornings magic, rather than mayhem.

Remember, your morning starts the night before!

In our home, we’ve created a routine for Sundays that include our family meeting (to keep everyone on the same page) where we:

  • Organize and coordinate our weekly calendars
  • Plan our “Super Saturday” (where we have a low-cost or no-cost activity together as a family)
  • Book our monthly camping getaway (usually no more than 48 hours)
  • Plan our meals for the week
  • Print up our breakfast and lunch menus so that each night the kids can select their breakfast and lunch for the following day (which makes mornings easier)
  • Ask those three questions: what is going well, what isn’t going well, and where will we focus this week?

Getting these things right (being on the same page and having a flexible structure) is incredible for improving family functioning.

Renewal and a fresh start don’t have to happen in January. Family life offers opportunities to “start over” as often as is required. Resetting our heart, renewing our commitment to be our best, and rejuvenating our love for one another is not a once-a-year opportunity.


SOURCE: https://ifstudies.org/blog/make-2018-your-familys-best-year-ever

How to Balance Motherhood and Entrepreneurship from Five Well-Known ‘Mompreneurs’

Superhero versus supermom. Pick your team.

My inspiration is always the real-life hero. Being a mom and a business owner, I understand the challenges of building an empire and managing a family. At times, it’s difficult to decide whom to attend to first — a crying baby or a client call?

But there are some moms who have learned the art of being successful. By successful, I mean moms who are truly enjoying rocking their little ones while rocking their business goals too. Yes, success is an art, and some mompreneurs have mastered this art by finding the perfect balance between juggling diaper bags and laptop cases.

The advice from these five successful mompreneurs will inspire you to be both a better mother and a successful entrepreneur.

Set Realistic Expectations


Jessica Alba, a known face in showbiz for years, co-founded The Honest Company in 2012 because of a need that was not being fulfilled. While preparing for the arrival of her first child, Alba struggled to find baby products that were natural, home and environment-friendly and safe for her family. This challenge inspired her to start her own business, which is now a billion dollar company.

Alba takes pride in being a full-time, hands-on mother and often takes her girls to work. I really resonate with her advice on setting realistic business expectations. Understanding your limitations, knowing your bandwidth and not being too impatient to hit the seven-figure mark will help you stay positive and on track during the highs and lows of the business lifecycle.


Form A Tribe

Julie Aigner Clark founded Baby Einstein, “the first-ever media company to create humanities-based, enriching content for children under the age of four.” After starting out in Julie’s basement, the company now makes over $20 million.

Julie advises entrepreneurs to work in a team — with people who have the skills they lack. I can vouch for this myself. Working as a solopreneur handling different aspects of my business, I hit a roadblock. But once I partnered with people who complemented my own skills, I was able to channel my time and efforts into focusing on tasks I was good at.

Teamwork makes the dream work, so if you want to build your empire, find your own tribe and start working together toward a common goal.

Tap Into Your Inner Voice

Suzy Batiz, CEO and founder of Poo-Pourri, faced many failed businesses, an abusive marriage and two bankruptcies. But none of these setbacks stopped her from building a $300 million business with 100% ownership.

Not many people in Suzy’s life believed in her business idea but she knew that she could do it. So she advises entrepreneurs to do the same: Believe in yourself and listen to your inner intuition.

Listening to my inner voice has never failed me, and I always recommend my clients do the same, whether it’s their personal or professional life. If you are ever confused about your business decisions, sit down, meditate and tap into your internal guidance system to gain clarity and find your own answers.

Provide Value First

A lack of natural, pure and organic deodorants in the marketplace led entrepreneur Margaux Khoury to create PitShield. She started by mixing together a simple base of coconut oil, baking soda and cornstarch in her kitchen and ended up creating 10 different formulas that were much safer than everyday deodorants and antiperspirants.

However, she always felt that there was something missing in the product. So she worked for six months to create a certified, cruelty-free, organic, 100% vegan and completely safe deodorant under her brand, “The Best Deodorant in The World.”

Margaux shared her insight with me in an interview. “As mothers, we have very (very) little time to do anything that isn’t going to add true value to the world. By adding value first, the revenue and success will follow. So knowing when to quit is a real skill to learn.”

Her advice for mompreneurs is to know when to give up on something and move on. “The idea that quitting is bad is absurd. Entrepreneurs invent, they try different things. Until one day, they start the company they’re meant to start, and finish.”

Stay True To Who You Are

A young mother with two small children, Sheila Lirio Marcelo had difficulty finding quality childcare solutions. She knew her problem was not just her own, and there had to be a better way to find a good sitter. It led her to found Care.com, a valuable resource to find trustworthy childcare since 2006. Today, the company is the largest online care solution in the world, with more than 10.7 million members across 16 countries.

Sheila’s advice to women entrepreneurs is to play the game on their own terms. It’s easy to lose your genuineness while trying to fit into the mold of business stereotypes, but always remember you can achieve all your goals and be successful by setting your own rules and being authentic to your true self.

Being a mother and an entrepreneur is certainly not easy, but these five mompreneurs managed to build an empire without sacrificing family. Now that you are inspired, how will you manage your career as a mompreneur?

SOURCE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/12/08/how-to-balance-motherhood-and-entrepreneurship-from-five-well-known-mompreneurs/#99c56d67499b

Where Motherhood and Inspiration Meet

When I became a mom, my professional priorities started to shift. My son Wolf was born in 2011 and when I heard from his preschool teacher that he may have sensory issues, I wanted to figure out what I could be doing at home to give him the tools (and toys) that would help him in situations that may be overwhelming. What I found in the market was completely depressing not to mention that it didn’t serve his needs. 

At the same time, many of my friends, colleagues and other parents at Wolf’s school were sharing stories about their kids and the challenges they were facing – from delays in social and emotional development to autism, anxiety,  ADHD, and sensory processing issues.

As a longtime editor, I wondered how the shopping experience could be more helpful, informative and “cool,” especially for parents whose kids may need some extra support. The market only served parents of typically developing children or children with learning differences and special needs—not both. I wondered what I could do in the kid’s space that was design-minded, inclusive, and compassionate. 

So, I brought together my editorial background with my passion for parenting and began curating products that are sold on therapy sites alongside items found in mainstream, upscale, and independent retailers. Each product is vetted by our team of parents, kids, childhood development and special needs experts and can be used as learning tools to support a child’s overall development. For example, we will feature modern indoor swings that look great in a play space or bedroom, but we will explain the benefits of the swing for typically developing kids as well as for children that need this kind of movement for their therapy. And when we suggest why a dollhouse makes a perfect gift, we explain how to play with them to enhance your child’s speech and language development, social /emotional development and academic skills.

I also reached out to my friends (and former colleagues) Gena and Billy Mann who were living in a neighboring town. They had been my go-to’s over the years when friends’ kids were diagnosed with challenges since they had lots of experience raising a son with autism. When I showed them what I was working on, they immediately wanted to get involved. Gena’s background as a photo editor (we worked together at Cosmogirl! after stints at Elle, and O, The Oprah Magazine) and her hands-on experience and perspective in the special needs world, made her input essential. 


We knew we could fill this important void in the parenting space together—and in the fall of 2016, we started working on the site full-time. The challenges we faced in motherhood drove us to become entrepreneurs. Not only did we follow our passion for starting a business we believe in deeply but we also push ourselves outside of our comfort zone to utilize, develop and learn skills vastly different from the career paths we once pursued. We learn something new about our kids (or our friends’ kids) every day that we try to translate into story ideas to help our audience. Our goal is for parents to have a place to shop that makes them feel understood and inspired and excited about all the cool things we’ve curated to support the development of their one-of-a-kind children.

Our biggest lesson has been that if you are truly passionate about something, you can make it happen. You will find the time, no matter how stretched you think you already are. It’s also more work than any job you’ll have, but it’s so personally fulfilling to create something of your own.

Between us, we have a focus group of boys and girls from ages 2.5 to 14. For example, Gena’s daughter Lulu, age 9, wrote a beautiful essay for the site about having a brother with autism and how it makes her feel, and it has been the most successful story to date. Our kids are a constant source of inspiration. As they develop, learn new things and express themselves more clearly, we do too.

SOURCE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/break-the-future/2017/05/12/where-motherhood-and-inspiration-meet/#2c7ce1003505

How More Women Can Get The Right People In Their Corner

It’s well established that the economic empowerment of women isn’t just good for women, it’s good for everyone. Likewise, there is a growing body of evidence (including the latest report by McKinsey & Co) showing that  when more women sit at the decision-making tables, better decisions are made.

Yet despite record numbers of women graduating college and entering the workforce, data still points to a ‘leaky pipeline’ – a large chasm between the number of women starting out on the professional track and how many advancing to senior positions.  One of the many ways we can help to ‘leak-proof’ this pipeline is through mentoring. That is, getting more people already in positions of influence actively supporting, sponsoring and guiding the careers of women as they progress through their careers, particularly at pivotal decision points.

While some debate the merit of mentorship within its traditional parameters, when it’s expanded to include sponsorship and advocacy, it’s proven to be a critical element of success by providing protégés with the opportunity to broaden their perspective, build social capital, navigate organizational politics more strategically, and muster up the confidence to ‘lean in’ and speak up when it matters most. In male dominated professions, where women often face even greater challenges building networks and embracing feminine leadership strengths, mentoring has proven even more paramount.

A 2017 study by professional services firm Egon Zehnderfound that only 54% of women have access to senior leaders who act as mentors or informal sponsors in their career.While advocacy and sponsorship rates decline as age increases, the women with the highest level of support are those already sitting in the C-suite.

This research suggests that if women don’t reach a critical threshold in their career early enough, they either stop reaching out for support or their organizations stop extending it. All of which presents a double opportunity both for women and the organizations in which they work.  For women, to be more deliberate in seeking mentors and establishing relationships with influencers. For organizations, to be more proactive in developing mentoring programs that foster a culture where mentoring is institutionalized, as the value of mentoring often goes well beyond the boosting of individual careers. It provides a means for elevating knowledge transfer across divisions, retaining institutional and practical know-how while keeping mentors in touch with the ‘front-lines’ of the business that they might otherwise be distanced from.

Below are six ways women can help land the right people in their corner and, in doing so, help to elevate and empower other women as they rise.

1.       Clarify your ideal mentor

Get clear about what you want in a mentor or sponsor. Is it an expert who can help with a specific challenge such as how to polish your presentation style or build your brand in your new workplace, or are you looking for someone with an inside track to be a more general sounding board and advocate for you over the long haul?

2.       Be brave and ask

A study by Development Dimensions International (DDI)found that while nearly 80% of women in senior roles had served as formal mentors, only 63 % of women had ever had one. This is despite the fact that a majority of women view mentoring as valuable. So what’s missing? It would seem a sheer willingness to ask… or perhaps more accurately, the courage to risk a rejection or impose on someone’s time.  Research shows that men tend to seek and offer mentorship far more readily, while women typically need to be found and encouraged (Laff, 2009).

So if you’re a woman, just know that the odds of someone agreeing to mentor you are in your favor if you go about it the right way. 71% of women in the DDI study reported they always accept invitations to be formal mentors at work, and the vast majority said they would mentor more if they were asked. The bottom line: if you would value the advice of someone you admire, have the courage to ask for it. You don’t need to be overly formal about it, just ask if they could give you some time to provide guidance. Let the relationship evolve from there.

3.       Set expectations early

Anyone whose advice you’d value is likely someone who has a lot of demands on their time. So value it highly! You might ask them if they would be willing to give you 30 minutes every few months, or if you could take them out for a coffee once a month or so.  Let them know what you’d love to gain from talking to them and ask them to suggest what might work best.  Given that learning is the key underlying purpose of mentorship, clearly articulating what you’d like to learn from them will help make it a better investment of time both ways.

4.       Look beyond the obvious

Women tend to mentor other women more frequently than men (73% women mentor women according to DDI) but the paucity of women up the ladder ahead of you may mean that you need to look beyond your ladder to find a mentor.  As Debbie Kissire, executive director at Ernst & Young shared with me at women’s leadership event (video below), there’s a strong case for building relationships with male mentors, particularly if you’re in a male dominated industry.  The vast majority of men value the opportunity to support women so be careful not to assume otherwise.

Mentoring also doesn’t have to be strictly business. You can find mentors outside the workplace within your local community or from associations you’re involved with.  You could try finding someone from your university alumni. Likewise, don’t be limited by age. Digital immigrants can gain a wealth of knowledge from millennials who’ve grown up in the digital era. My kids have taught me more about how to use hashtags and build my brand on Instagram than anyone my age ever could!

5.       Make it a two-way value exchange

The value exchange in a mentor relationship can be heavily weighted in toward the mentee, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reciprocate by supporting their work and building their leadership brand. For instance, tweet out their posts, nominate them for an award, share their updates on LinkedIn or start a discussion that positions them as the expert or refer business their way. Of course you can also show your gratitude by giving them a book you think they’d enjoy or by sharing information or resources they may find helpful.

6.       Mentor other women (even if you doubt what you offer) 

Contrary to the assumed culture of rivalry and “catfighting” between women, studies show that it’s not competition that keeps more women from supporting other women through mentoring, it’s that they don’t feel they know enough to act as a mentor. Yet the fact that women tend to doubt themselves more and back themselves less than men (creating a globally recognized ‘gender confidence gap’) is the very reason more women need to lift as they climb – encouraging other women to raise their sights and act with the confidence they wish they had.

Even if you don’t think you’ve ‘made it’ (yet) or think you lack the expertise that might benefit a potential mentee, you’re still a long way ahead of women who are just starting out or are making a career transition. Don’t undervalue the insights, work/family juggling skills and hard-won wisdom you’ve acquired to get to where you are today. A recent analysis by Harvard Business Review found that once people reach the C-suite, the soft skills of leadership matter far more than technical skill  (Groysberg, 2011). Accordingly, while you may no longer be the ‘go-to’ technical whiz, your ability to gain collaboration, influence upward and navigate the mire of workplace politics can be gold to someone who needs it.

Passing along a useful resource, referring a potential client, putting someone’s name forward for a role that will elevate their visibility or even connecting them to someone else who could be a great mentor – w omen who go out of their way to support other women set off a ripple effect that leaves everyone better off. After all, a rising tide lifts all boats.

SOURCE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarrell/2017/06/24/women-mentoring/#b40475522dba

How Being Overprotective Puts Your Child’s Future at Risk

Does your chest pound a little harder whenever your child climbs up the jungle gym or rides a bicycle for the first time? Do you feel heartbroken whenever your child cries when she loses a game? You’re not alone. 

As parents, we can’t help but become concerned for our children, especially when they make decisions that are contrary to what we think is right. Whenever this happens, we tend to shelter or hover over our children. Helicopter parenting may be born out of love and worry, but studies have shown that watching your child too closely may do more harm than good — it can lead to your kids having an overly-entitled attitude or worse, it might lead to childhood anxiety. How can we circumvent this? 

New research shows we may be able to help our kids from developing future anxiety by encouraging them to take “safe risks.” 

Researchers from Australia, the Netherlands, and England surveyed 312 families with preschool-aged kids and found that parents who used “Challenging Parent Behavior” (CPB) had kids with significantly lower anxiety levels and were less at risk of exhibiting anxiety disorder symptoms.

CPB is a parenting method that “encourages safe risk-taking in children such as giving them a fright, engaging in rough-and-tumble play, or letting them lose a game, as well as encouraging them to practice social assertion and confidently enter into unfamiliar situations.”

“While previous research has shown that encouraging risk-taking behaviors help cognitive, social and emotional development, our study shows that this method of parenting may also help reduce the risk of children developing an anxiety disorder,” explains Professor Jennie Hudson, Director of Center for Emotional Health at Macquarie University in Australia and co-author of the study.

Anxiety in kids is often hard to detect, but too much pressure from the parents can be a factor in causing it. And what this research shows is that kids can benefit from parents loosening the reins a bit.

Taking risks and conquering fears can be a good thing — your kids can develop the resilience that way. You can let them loose on the playground and let them play on the monkey bars, so they can discover that they’re capable of doing things when they take a chance. It will boost their confidence and encourage them to do more tasks that seem impossible at first. And if you let them lose once in a while they learn that it’s not the end of the world—they will survive, and things will turn out okay. They can just try harder next time.

It’s a harsh lesson that all parents must learn, but it can lead to good results. “By gently reasonably encouraging their kids to push their limits, parents could be helping to reduce their child’s risk of developing an anxiety disorder, which is a great insight,” adds Hudson. 


SOURCE: https://www.smartparenting.com.ph/parenting/preschooler/being-overprotective-can-cause-anxiety-in-your-kids-says-study-a00228-20180122

My Mother’s Death Left Me Broken, But I Am a Mom Who Can’t Lose It Right Now

I barely have time to grieve. My hands are almost always full of the tasks I need to fulfill for my children. The house is often noisy that I barely hear myself breathe. I live each day wishing my kids will go to bed early, so I can have time to cry at night.

The night before my mama died I snuck out of the hospital as she slept. I drove back home and crawled my way beside my children, the youngest of whom I was still breastfeeding. I felt like I was being pulled apart in different directions — the pressure of loving a sick parent and tending to two young children was too much sometimes. 

I was working full time then. I would often rush home, tend to my kids, prepare food for my mother and rush to the hospital. En route, I would cry while driving. I felt like every part of my being was exhausted, every living cell in my body was tired. I was beyond exhausted. But I needed to muster enough energy to be there for my children and be available for my sick mother, all the while working a full-time job.

The morning after my mom died I remembered walking out of the car and into the parking lot of the memorial place. I was carrying clothes she was to wear — a long white gown, some stockings, and underwear. I could feel the heat of the sun piercing through my skin and the debilitating grief piercing through my heart. I wanted to sit on the floor and cry and scream. But I had a mother waiting in the morgue. I had children waiting for me to get back to them. I remembered closing my eyes and willing my feet to take the steps towards the room where they were preparing her.

I felt the force clutch my insides as I looked at my mother — quiet, cold, and lifeless. I wanted to rush out of the building and scream. But I knew she depended on me that time. She needed me to be there to tend to the arrangements. And I knew she wouldn’t want me losing it because I have children. After all, she was the one who taught me, “You always have to be strong for your children no matter what.”

It’s been a little over a year, and grief comes and goes. Unfortunately, it sometimes hits me when I least expect it, like in front of other people, even my little kids. I would stifle my cries, try to resist the urge to bawl because I don’t want to worry them, and I don’t want them to absorb my pain. They are too young to see this kind of anguish where grief clutches and twists my insides. I feel they need to have a normal, happy life with a mother who got things figured out, who keeps the house running properly, who takes care of them, plays with them all day, as if nothing’s wrong, everything’s peachy. Life is beautiful, and everything’s fine.

At night after putting my kids to bed, I sneak out of the room to have a cup of hot chocolate in the kitchen. I savor the sound of a quiet house, I often look at pictures of my mother and welcome my grief. During these precious hours, I allow myself to grieve. It hits me like the pain you feel when you peel the bandage off a fresh wound. It slowly creeps in, then you feel the sting, and that’s when the pain rushes in — throbbing, exploding, overwhelming. I bawl, alone, in the dark while my kids are sleeping. It’s the only time I get to feel my loss, my grief thoroughly.

I long for the day when I get to walk alone by the beach, feel the water drown my feet, the sun touching my skin. I will look up at the sky and think about my mother, our memories together. I will allow myself to miss her, grieve losing her. I will cry alone, and savor the pain of losing her. Drain as much sadness as I can. Write how I feel in a journal as I look out into the ocean and feel my pain float away.

For now, I have children who need me to carry on. I have a million and one things to do. Grieving can wait. Instead, I will have that good cry at night when the house is quiet, and my children are asleep.


SOURCE: https://www.smartparenting.com.ph/parenting/real-parenting/how-it-s-like-to-lose-a-parent-when-you-re-a-parent-of-small-children-a1149-20180120

Bianca Gonzalez Expresses Support for Non-Breastfeeding Moms: ‘I Would Never Judge’

TV host Bianca Gonzalez is feeling proud and at the same time sentimental over her breastfeeding journey which had ended, after daughter Lucia weaned herself from it when she turned 2 years old in October. 

In the caption of her Instagram post, she recalls how the weaning happened: “By that time, she would only feed (direct latch) two times a day: before morning nap, and before sleeping at night. We had been traveling; and when you travel, nagugulo ang sleeping and eating schedule. And my guess is, she figured, ‘Kaya ko naman pala matulog nang hindi na nag-mi-milk.'”

Related to this experience, as she has done so in the past, Bianca again lamented on the fact that mothers these days have to deal with so much pressure, especially when it comes to breastfeeding. 

“Til now I don’t know whether I myself was pressured, or it was really something I wanted to do; it could be both. My original goal was to breastfeed my daughter exclusively for 9 months.”

In an interview with Smartparenting.com.ph in August, Bianca attributed this “pressure” to social media.

“Whenever I see posts it’s always the happy, beautiful, smiling, ‘this is the best thing ever’ side of motherhood. Pero when I experienced it the first three months—di ka naliligo, di ka kumakain on time. There are days that you cry. Sasabayan mo na lang yung baby mo kasi ‘di mo na alam kung bakit siya umiiyak. So I try to be more realistic about my posts kasi may culture shock, medyo may traumatalaga. I didn’t know what to expect,” she shared. (It is probably because of these truthful views about motherhood that Bianca was ranked 6th among the most followed Twitter accounts in the Philippines in 2017.)

On her Instagram post yesterday, she also talked about the challenges that go with breastfeeding: “It was so difficult. Low milk supply was my number one issue. Then there is lack of sleep, sore nipples, going to work and pumping, wasted milk, the list goes on. And the struggle is real.” She credits her husband JC Intal and their former and current household help for their breastfeeding success.

According to a 2015 survey, the struggles of breastfeeding get so hard to bear that a little over half of women quit just after six months

TV host Bianca Gonzalez is feeling proud and at the same time sentimental over her breastfeeding journey which had ended, after daughter Lucia weaned herself from it when she turned 2 years old in October. 


In the caption of her Instagram post, she recalls how the weaning happened: “By that time, she would only feed (direct latch) two times a day: before morning nap, and before sleeping at night. We had been traveling; and when you travel, nagugulo ang sleeping and eating schedule. And my guess is, she figured, ‘Kaya ko naman pala matulog nang hindi na nag-mi-milk.'”

Related to this experience, as she has done so in the past, Bianca again lamented on the fact that mothers these days have to deal with so much pressure, especially when it comes to breastfeeding. 

“Til now I don’t know whether I myself was pressured, or it was really something I wanted to do; it could be both. My original goal was to breastfeed my daughter exclusively for 9 months.”


In an interview with Smartparenting.com.ph in August, Bianca attributed this “pressure” to social media.

“Whenever I see posts it’s always the happy, beautiful, smiling, ‘this is the best thing ever’ side of motherhood. Pero when I experienced it the first three months—di ka naliligo, di ka kumakain on time. There are days that you cry. Sasabayan mo na lang yung baby mo kasi ‘di mo na alam kung bakit siya umiiyak. So I try to be more realistic about my posts kasi may culture shock, medyo may traumatalaga. I didn’t know what to expect,” she shared. (It is probably because of these truthful views about motherhood that Bianca was ranked 6th among the most followed Twitter accounts in the Philippines in 2017.)

On her Instagram post yesterday, she also talked about the challenges that go with breastfeeding: “It was so difficult. Low milk supply was my number one issue. Then there is lack of sleep, sore nipples, going to work and pumping, wasted milk, the list goes on. And the struggle is real.” She credits her husband JC Intal and their former and current household help for their breastfeeding success.

According to a 2015 survey, the struggles of breastfeeding get so hard to bear that a little over half of women quit just after six months


“I also would never judge a mother who chose to or who chooses to mix feed or give formula at some point. Yes, breastmilk is best, but I strongly believe that whatever is best for baby’s health and whatever is best for mommy’s health and well-being (and sanity, to be honest) is what is best. Every baby is different, and every mother is different.” 

She concludes it with a simple, but very powerful message: we moms should have each other’s backs. “Motherhood is difficult enough and we definitely could use all the support and guidance we can get from other moms.”


SOURCE: https://www.smartparenting.com.ph/pregnancy/breastfeeding/bianca-expresses-support-to-non-breastfeeding-moms-i-would-never-judge-a00061-20180117?ref=home_feed_1

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