Friday, April 17, 2015

STUDY: US moms have children too close together in age

 For U.S. moms, the typical time between pregnancies is about 2 years but nearly a third of women space their children too close, a government study shows.

Experts say mothers should wait at least 18 months to give their body time to recover and increase the chances the next child is full-term and healthy.

The study released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that about 30 percent of women who'd had a child became pregnant again within 18 months. 

"That is actually pretty high and very problematic," said Heike Thiel de Bocanegra, a reproductive health researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. She was not involved in the new study.

The report is based on 2011 birth certificates from 36 states and the District of Columbia, representing about 83 percent of the nation's births that year. It was the first such report by the CDC so researchers don't know if pregnancy spacing has changed over time.

The study found:

-The median time to next pregnancy was 2 years, 5 months. About half fell in the 18 months to 5 year range. About 20 percent had babies more than 5 years apart.

-White women had the shortest spacing - about 2 years, 2 months on average. Black and Hispanic women typically waited 2 years or longer.

-The older the mom was, the longer the spacing between a birth and her next pregnancy.

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Bump Watch: Ashlee, Naya, Keira & Kate out with hubby

Some of the married moms-to-be have been seen out and about with their spouses in recent days. Here is a round up:

Ashlee Simpson, out and about in white with hubby Evan Ross (Celebrity Baby Scoop)

Naya Rivera dined with hubby Ryan Dorsey for lunch (Just Jared)

Keira Knightley happily strolled in the sun with hubby James Righton in London (UK Express)

Kate Middleton joined with Prince William to visit an education center. (CelebBuzz)

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25 Ways to ask your Kids 'So How Was School Today?'

Parent bloggers Simple Simon and Company came up with an ingenious listing of 25 ways to ask your kids how was their day in school without asking that question. We know we get the same answer: "fine." So instead, go with one of theirs. Here are my faves:

#1.  What was the best thing that happened at school today?  (What was the worst thing that happened at school today?)

#2.  Tell me something that made you laugh today.

#3.  If you could choose who would you like to sit by in class?  (Who would you NOT want to sit by in class?  Why?)

#7.  How did you help somebody today?

#9.  Tell me one thing that you learned today.

#10.  When were you the happiest today?

#12.  If an alien spaceship came to your class and beamed up someone who would you want them to take?

#13.  Who would you like to play with at recess that you’ve never played with before?

#16.  What do you think you should do/learn more of at school?

#17.  What do you think you should do/learn less of at school?

#19.  Where do you play the most at recess?

#20.  Who is the funniest person in your class?  Why is he/she so funny?

#21.  What was your favorite part of lunch?

#23.  Is there anyone in your class that needs a time out?

#24.  If you could switch seats with anyone in the class who would you trade with?  Why?

Check out the entire list and read the great comments to the post where parents added more suggestions HERE!

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Love & Hip Hop's Emily B slays in her maternity looks

No one does nude color and black maternity wear like Emily Bustamante of VH1's Love and Hip Hop.   I love love her blush colored jumper she wore to an event a week ago and the simple black palette under a camel colored cape sweater at a recent charity event. Slay mama, Slay!

The celeb stylist and shoe designer and her long-time beau rapper Fabolous are expecting their second child. 

They are parents to 6-year old Johan, who looks like Fab's twin, just lighter. Emily B is mom to a gorgeous 16-year old daughter from a previous relationship, Taina.

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TREND: The High Waisted Bikini is great for Moms

Because I will be heading to a beach soon and am determined to get back in a bikini and not go the mom-bathing suit route with the skirt and swim top, I thought I'd research what offerings Shopstyle had and share. Here are some mom-friendly but still hot swimsuit options I came up with that could offer great coverage for those looking to conceal a not-so-perfect-anymore tummy and/or enhance breastfeeding deflated boobies. 

This is an update to this past post from last summer featuring sexy bathing suit options for moms. In addition to high-waisted bikini bottoms, the monokini styles are great for covering and compressing extra "stuff" no one needs to see! ha! 

What do you think? Which is  your favorite?

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Moms' Taylor Swift parody pokes at women-targeted weight-loss crazes (VIDEO)

As a mom over 40, I can certainly relate to the struggles of many women out there who are aging and finding it harder and harder to stay fit and healthy. To make it work, we have to shed all of our old habits and adopt new ones for life. Ugh! That's so hard to do.

But that is why I could totally relate to Laughing Moms by Elisha found Eden's latest parody video, "New Lifestyle" off of Taylor Swift's "Style."

It's also a great video to watch because there is a message at the end promoting Lyme disease awareness.


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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Musician Billy Joel, A German mother of 13, Both 65, Both expecting, 5 children Total

Music Legend Billy Joel at age 65 just announced that he and his longtime girlfriend since 2009 Alexis Roderick are expecting their first child together, E!Online reports. Wowza! Congrats!

Meanwhile, across the ocean over in Germany, Europe, another 65-year old, this time a woman, Annegret Raunigk, is pregnant with her 14th child, 15th, 16th and 17th children!!

Yes, the Berlin schoolteacher is expecting quadruplets she conceived using donated eggs fertilized and implanted in her uterus, after multiple failed attempts.

She is already mom to children ranging in ages form 9 to 44. she gave birth to her last child at age 55 (see photo above).

Double Wowza!!

h/t Katina Stapleton, WJCL News (AP

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Research says men are rewarded when they have children, women punished

Can we talk public policy that impact  families for a second? I usually try to stay away from politics and the like on this site, but I wanted to share something jarring I read in the New York Times recently. It lead:

"One of the worst career moves a woman can make is to have children," and then continued, "mothers are less likely to be hired for jobs, to be perceived as competent at work or to be paid as much as their male colleagues with the same qualifications."

Upsetting but not really surprising if we consider the ongoing struggles women have faced historically to get fair pay. Still, who would've thunk that  the opposite is true for men who have children?  Recent data show men are actually rewarded for having children and given a pay bump? It's based on employers' outdated notion that men with kids have more mouths to feed and as the "breadwinner", should earn more to support the family. 

But that assumption is based on a 1950s era caricature of the nuclear family.  We know the definition of "family" has evolved tremendously since then.

Today, 71% of mothers with children work away from the home, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Add blended families, second marriage families, step families with adult children, and the like. Pew Research Center data also note "that women are the primary breadwinner in 40% of households with children." 

Yet, companies still reward men with children and punish all others.  Companies are more likely to hire a man with children than a childless man, and they tend to be paid more after they have children.
The piece cited a paper by research group Third Way which said, "High-income men get the biggest pay bump for having children, and low-income women pay the biggest price."

From the New York Times piece: 
On average, men’s earnings increased more than 6 percent when they had children (if they lived with them), while women’s decreased 4 percent for each child they had. [This] study was based on data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth from 1979 to 2006, which tracked people’s labor market activities over time. Childless, unmarried women earn 96 cents for every dollar a man earns, while married mothers earn 76 cents, widening the gap.

“Employers read fathers as more stable and committed to their work; they have a family to provide for, so they’re less likely to be flaky,” Michelle Budig, a sociology professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who has studied the parenthood pay gap for 15 years told the paper. “That is the opposite of how parenthood by women is interpreted by employers. The conventional story is they work less and they’re more distracted when on the job.”

The wage gap hurts all in the family because that amounts to less income to go to things like savings, vacations and home renovations for the entire family unit, including the father in the home. This is why fathers too should care if their spouses or partners are getting paid less for the same work. 

Women though, especially, should care about policy that impacts their lives. 

Today, senior White House counsel to U.S. President Barack Obama Valerie Jarrett wrote a blog post over at BlogHer highlighting 10 reasons moms and soon-to-be moms and eventual moms should care about these things. Reprinted with permission, they are:

1.      60 percent of children are in households where all parents work—including both dual-earner households and single working parents.

2.      Nearly half of all parents say that they turned down a job because of inadequate work-family balance.

3.      Child care costs have increased 72 percent in the last 25 years, after adjusting for inflation. In three out of five states, child care for an infant costs more than a public university for an 18-year-old.

4.      More than half of college and graduate students are now women. Since the mid-1990s, women have accounted for the majority of postsecondary students, meaning that they will account for the majority of our skilled labor force in the future. In 2013, women ages 25-34 were more than 20 percent more likely than men to be college graduates.

5.      But, among second-earners, women are 17 percentage points more likely to eventually leave the workforce compared to men. In fact, the US is falling behind its peers in keeping women in the workforce. In 1990, the United States ranked 7th out of 24 current developed countries reporting prime-age female labor force participation, about 8 percentage points higher than the average of that sample. By 2013 the United States had fallen to 19th out of those same 24 countries. A recent study found that the relative expansion of family leave and part-time work programs in other developed countries versus the United States explains nearly one-third of the United States’ relative decline.

6.      Children whose mothers received paid maternity leave earn 5 percent higher wages at age 30. Family-friendly practices can also help encourage better bonding between parents and children, which has been shown to lead to better outcomes for children in adulthood. For instance, researchers have shown that children of women who receive paid maternity leave earn 5 percent higher wages at age 30.

7.    On average for every $1 men earn, women still make just 78 cents. That means the average women will have lost $420,00 over her lifetime because of the earnings gap.

8.      Women who reach age 65 are projected to live about 2.5 years longer than 65 year-old men. That means their retirement years could be almost 14 percent longer, putting a premium on retirement saving for women.  In part because of the gender pay gap, women continue to be less prepared for retirement than men. 63 percent of the elderly living below the poverty line are women.

9.      More women in senior roles makes for better, more innovative companies. Greater representation of women in top management positions is associated with better firm performance on several dimensions, and research also finds that women can help drive innovation and better target female customers and employees.

10.  Closing the Male-Female Employment gap could boost U.S. GDP by 9 percent—or more than $1.5 trillion, about $5,000 for every man, woman, and child. The best available evidence suggests that encouraging more firms to consider adopting flexible practices can potentially boost productivity, improve morale, and benefit the U.S. economy as a whole.

If these stark findings are not enough to get us active, involved and seeing what our local, state and Congressional reps can do to change up the status quo, I don't know what will.

Your thoughts? Add in the comment section below.
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Get Hilaria Baldwin's Isabella Oliver T-Shirt Maternity Dress

Mom-to-be yoga instructor and celebrity trainer Hilaria Baldwin loves Isabella Oliver. The gorgeous mom to 1 1/2 year old daughter Carmen Gabriela with husband actor Alec Baldwin. She's been seen sporting the comfy yet stylish brand of maternity dresses at red carpet events, while out and about and other occasions. It's a much loved brand of Bellyitch as well.

You can cop this elegant and forgiving Ruched T-Shirt Maternity dress for $159 and can wear it in a more formal setting as Hilaria is seen wearing at a March 10 charity event, the 6th Annual Bent On Learning Inspire! Gala at Capitale in New York City.

Check back in on this post later because I am going to see if I can score my readers a discount on this dress.

photo: Getty
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

5 tried and true beauty products and treatments that work best

New beauty products are introduced to the market each year, but there are some old fashion, tried and true beauty regimens, tricks and products that remain true and reliable generation after generation.

Also, if you are on a budget, pinching your pennies or mindful of excess spending, these natural and age-old products are less costly compared to much of the newer brands on the market today.

Here are my five faves:

1. Vaseline as a make up remover. Nothing can absorb all the make up caked on your face and possibly sweated out all day than Vaseline or petroleum jelly, generically. It is the perfect remover.

2. Lemon juice as highlighter. You can spend hundreds of dollars getting highlights added to your hair, or you can drench your locs in a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, chamomile tea and fresh squeezed lemon. Go outside and let the sun do the rest of the work. Find recipe HERE.

3. Noxzema for facial cleanser. This product is over 100 years old but the daily cream is still tops for cleansing your face superbly and completely. It now has a classic clean with moisturizer version so your face isn't too dry after use. The anti-blemish pads with salicylic acid do the trick to prevent pimples and blemishes or stop existing ones from growing. I was sent a basket of the classic Noxzema cleanser and newer products to test out and I quickly was reminded that the product line is just as I remember from my teen and younger years. Still one of the best classic beauty products to have and use. Good stuff. 

4. Egg for conditioner. When you have very dry hair, nothing helps rebuild the lost moisture and protein than an egg conditioner. Hair has keratin, a form of protein naturally, so adding egg to the hair can only replenish the hair. After shampooing hair, mix one egg with a tablespoon of olive oil, apply to hair, cover hair with plastic shower cap and let it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes before washing it out. You will literally be able to feel your hair become more resilient and stronger after applying this age-old cure for dry and brittle hair. I do and I love it. You can also use this mixture as a pre-shampoo treatment to combat dryness or blend it with honey, mayo and/or avocado for an added moisturizer effect. It's perfect for Negroid (anthropological term) hair.

5. Maybelline Great Lash Mascara for lashes. There is a tube of this mascara sold every two seconds. The signature pink and green packaging is well known and women world-wide love it because it goes on smooth, doesn't clump and does the trick to lengthen and create volume to your lashes.

There you have it! Which one of these do you have or what other products do you think should be added to the list? Comment below!

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Kimora Lee Simmons welcomes 4th child, son Wolfe

Congratulations to former Supermodel Kimora Lee Simmons who welcomed her fourth child, son, Wolfe with husband Tim Leissner.

The ex-designer turned Reality TV star and her investment banker hubby said in a statement released to PEOPLE magazine through their reps, "We are filled with joy, adoration and gratitude as we celebrate the birth of our son."

Simmons is already mom to daughters 15-year old Ming and 12-year old Aoki with biz mogul Russell Simmons and son Kenzo with actor Djimon Hounsou. 
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How to Use Sign Language to connect with your infant

As your infant gets older, she will start to understand her own feelings and needs better, but she still won’t be able to effectively share them with you yet. It can be frustrating for both of you when she’s trying to communicate with you, but hasn’t developed the verbal skills needed to successfully let you know what she needs and wants. Baby sign language can bridge the communication gap and give your baby a way to let you know what’s on her mind. It helps you more quickly understand what your child is trying to say and avoids many of the tantrums and meltdowns that frustration over not being able to communicate brings on. It also is a wonderful way to connect and bond with your baby.

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of signing with your infant.

Make it fun. Above all, signing is a way of connecting and bonding with your baby. When you make signing a natural part of your day with him and turn learning time into fun time, you’ll see the best results. Children learn best through play, so introduce and practice the signs during play and relaxation time. You can incorporate signs into songs, word plays and other fun activities you already do with your child.

Don’t expect a response too early. You can start signing to your baby as early as you want to, however, infants aren’t able to understand or respond to your efforts until at least 8 months old. For many, it could be months later. Like any other way of communicating, there isn’t anything wrong with introducing it early and practicing it often. Just don’t pressure your child to embrace signing until he’s ready.

Be realistic about your expectations. Some babies will have more of a natural interest in learning sign language. Others may enjoy the bonding time and interactions with you, but may not latch on to baby sign language as their way of communicating. Let your baby lead the way. Baby sign language is only one way to communicate with your child. If your child doesn’t jump on the signing bandwagon, don’t worry. With time and attention you and your child will develop a system that works for you.

Don’t overwhelm your baby with too many new signs at once. It’s easy to get excited about signing and want to show your baby more and more signs each day. This is especially true if your child has been frustrated at not being able to verbalize his feelings, wants and needs to you and now he suddenly can. However it’s helpful to focus on a few key signs and allow your child time to master those before moving onto additional ones. Soon he’ll have a full signing vocabulary.

Share the signs with other caregivers. Teach anyone else who is caring for your child which signs are his favorites. This can avoid some tearful moments when Grandma or Aunt Maude is babysitting. If your child has gotten used to requesting milk or more cereal through signing, it’s frustrating when the adult he’s trying to communicate with doesn’t understand him. This also gives friends and family members a wonderful way of connecting and bonding with your child.

Start with signs related to things your baby is already interested in. Of course babies will naturally be drawn to learning signs that represent the things in their lives they’re already interested in. Mom, Dad, milk, more, dog and cat often top the list. When choosing which signs to introduce, take your cues from your baby. If he regularly has two cups of milk at lunch time, the sign for more is probably a great one for him to know. If he loves cuddling and playing with Huck, the family dog, the sign for dog will help him communicate his love for his playmate.

Talk, talk, talk with your child too. Signing is a great way to expand your child’s ability to communicate with you, but signing should always be accompanied by talking. By speaking your thought as you sign, you help your child develop important whole language skills. Knowing both the word and the sign for things will help him easily transition from non-verbal to verbal communication.

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