Teach your kids to share, even their… nanny?!?

By: Maggie Broadrick, Owner, Kiddie Up Nannies

Nanny Share

Nanny shares are super popular- especially in Stapleton! You might wonder what exactly is a nanny share? There are two different types of nanny shares: 1) Multiple families sharing the same nanny at the same time. 2) Multiple families utilizing the same nanny at different times. (I.E. family A has the nanny Monday, Wednesday and Friday and family B has the nanny Tuesday and Thursday.) Regardless of the type of nanny share you chose, both are a creative option to ensure quality and affordable care for your little one!

Nanny shares are beneficial for a several of reasons. First, and foremost, a nanny share is economical. Especially if the nanny is caring for two families at the same time, the hourly rate can be divided between families. Although the hourly rate is higher, each family pays their portion of nanny’s salary and the cost can be similar to the cost of daycare. For instance, two families have one child each; they hire a qualified, professional nanny for $20 per hour- each family is responsible to pay $10 per hour.

Social interaction is the second reason nanny shares are advantageous. Children a part of a nanny share have the opportunity to socialize with other children without foregoing quality care. The nanny can accommodate each child’s individual needs, schedules and activities.

Although the advantageous outweigh the disadvantages, it is important to keep a few things in mind when considering a nanny share:

  • Because you are sharing a nanny, you are sharing their time and attention. It’s important to have a nanny whom has experience with multiples and capable of multi-tasking. It’s also important to be aware the nanny has to meet the needs of another family as well, therefore additional responsibilities like errands, or laundry might not possible.
  • Nannies can be cautious of nanny shares. Of course the salary is a huge benefit for a nanny; however, nannies can be weary of nanny shares because it is twice the work. And I’m not just talking about the kids! Essentially nannies are now working for 4 adults, 2 sets of parents! That is a lot of people to make happy!
  • You are dependent on not only a nanny but another family too. A successful nanny share depends a lot on the other family. It’s important both families share similar views, values, morals, parenting styles, and discipline styles. Believe it or not, finding the other family to share with is the most difficult part- finding a nanny is the easy part!
  • If a child is sick, they can’t be around the other children. Make sure you communicate common policies about illnesses.

There is a great deal that goes into a nanny share. It is important to be fully aware of exactly what you are getting into. When looking for another family to share a nanny with, consider these points:

  • Similar ages, hourly rate, and responsibilities. These items are important but definitely should not be the only aspects.
  • Parenting styles. Make sure your parenting styles are in sync and easy for the nanny to abide.
  • Comparable morals and values, such as rules in the home. Making sure the nanny has consistent rules which are easy to follow as opposed of different rules for each child.
  • Location. Where is the nanny share going to take place? Be aware if you offer your home, the nanny won’t be able to clean up everything. You will notice supplies go a little quicker than usual such as paper towels, toilet paper, arts and crafts, dish soap, trash bags, etch. There might even be more wear and tear on your home; toys break, batteries run out, things get a little dirtier!
  • Vacation or sick days. What happens if one of the other families goes on vacation, will you be responsible for paying the nanny their hourly rate even if the other child is gone? What if the other child is sick, do you feel comfortable voicing your concerns? Vacation and sick days are very easy to navigate but it is a must to be on the same page!
  • Activities and schedules. It can be difficult to have two children completely different ages in the same nanny share. It will be hard for the nanny to make sure everyone is getting what they need. For example, child A is 3 months and child B is 4 years old. Child A needs to have more naps and eats more often, this can be challenging for child B who wants more structured activities and play time.

It’s always a great idea to have a contract between the families. You need to include all aspects of the share including liability of each family.

I know what you’re thinking- Yikes this way too much! It’s not I promise! Nanny shares have the possibility of being very successful. You have to be knowledgeable and conscious of what you are signing up for. To learn more about nanny shares, or if you would like to meet other families please visit our website (https://www.kiddieupnannies.com/nanny-shares/) to learn more about how Kiddie Up Nannies can help!

 

Happy 2017

A very happy 2017 to everyone in our wonderful mama ‘hood community. May the coming year be full of health and happiness for you and yours.

With a new year, comes new beginnings, and, sadly, some endings. For the mama 'hood, the new year means we will be closing our Boulder location on January 9th. It is with heavy hearts that we make this announcement. We have loved serving all of our Boulder families and invite all of you to continue to be part of the mama ‘hood community in Denver.

We will be in contact with everyone who has a membership, outstanding punches, pumps or scales or has made a deposit or payment to a class that runs after January 9th to ensure that you are made whole. If you have any questions in the meantime, do not hesitate to reach out to us at allison@themamahood.com.

Thank for all your support.

Sincerely, Linda, Allison & Amanda

Find-A-Nanny Toolkit

We are beyond thrilled to release Kiddie Up’s Find-A-Nanny Toolkit! After years of research, studying industry trends, talking to professionals, nannies and families, Colorado’s very first, step by step nanny guide is here!

The Find-A-Nanny Toolkit is the one-stop-shop for the do-it-yourself parents out there. No more turning to Google, friends or your neighbors to learn about nannies, this Toolkit has everything you need to know! The downloadable, printable guide supplies you with every tool you need to do the process on your own.

The Find-A-Nanny Toolkit was developed by Maggie Broadrick, owner of Kiddie Up Nannies. Maggie has been working in this industry for over 10 years. Previously Maggie was a nanny then evolved into the agency role after her first child was born. Kiddie Up Nannies places over 200 nannies annually and reaches over 500 families per year through the Find-A-Nanny 101 & Nanny Share Social workshops. Along with Maggie’s knowledge and expertise, help from many others contributed. Such contributors include Colorado’s own nannies and families, employment attorneys, CPAs, pediatricians, lactation consultants, medical first responders, CPR and First Aide teachers, background check specialists and more! Trust us when we say, this is the all-in-one resource every parent has to have.

Purchase yours today! To take advantage of the mama’hood discount, enter coupon code MAMA at checkout.

2 Simple Self Care Tips for Moms-to-Be and New Moms

2 Simple Self Care Tips for Moms-to-Be and New Moms

1. Experiment with essential oils as a self care tool

Essential oils are powerful. They have the ability to be used medicinally in more ways than we can imagine. I use essential oils everyday for different things from uplifting my mood to healing sunburns quickly.

However, the most value I've found from essential oil is in the self care aspect. There's something so grounding about diffusing a cedarwood, Douglas fir, and vetiver blend after a long day of work. The smells actually change my mood and support my well being, more than I would have ever been able to suspect before experiencing it.

That's why I believe essential oils can be so incredibly helpful for moms-to-be and new moms. The process of being pregnant, birthing a baby, and raising a new child can be a beautiful time of overflowing love and joy, but it can also be a time of great upheaval. Simple things like diffusing an oil that grounds you can be the difference between an awful day and awful moment.

There are safety concerns around using essential oils during pregnancy so I generally recommend women who are pregnant refrain from ingesting oils at any time and stick to these 10, which are completely safe for pregnant and nursing moms.

  • Ylang ylang
  • Bergamot
  • Lemon
  • Geranium
  • Black pepper
  • Cypress
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • German chamomile
  • Frankincense
  • Wild Orange

2. Experiment with Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

EFT is a simple, yet powerful tool that I use in my practice all the time. It's a blend between acupressure, cognitive behavioral therapy, and exposure therapy.

It can be used to overcome the normal concerns, fears, or insecurities that may arise during pregnancy and during child birth. By creating changes in thoughts and beliefs women can change their experience. The normal shift of hormones during pregnancy often brings a great fluctuation of emotions, and often issues that have been unresolved may come to the surface. this is true in both pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period.

EFT is well recognized for its ability to facilitate the release of negative emotions. Many of the physical symptoms associated with pregnancy can also be mitigated or relieved. And once there is greater comfort and east EFT can be utilized to strengthen your positive thoughts and visualizations of idea birth allowing you to move forward with greater confidence.

EFT utilizes the same system – the meridian system – that acupuncturists use during their therapeutic sessions. Rather than stimulating these points with needles, EFT creates the stimulations through a gentle tapping or ones own fingers while repeating short statements about a particular memory, belief, experience or physical symptom. Past experiences, even past trauma can be cleared away with this method. As the energy meridian system is activated through the tapping, the body memory associated with the incident or belief is transformed.

I’ve found that EFT is most useful in times of great emotional turmoil which are bound to come up during pregnancy during the birth process, and the postpartum period. It’s a wonderful tool to have in your toolbox for all phases of life and motherhood.

If you’re interested in learning more about essentials oils pertaining to pregnancy and children, and how to practice EFT, come to my workshop. The importance of Self Care Before and After Pregnancy at the mama ‘hood on October 21st from 1-2pm. Register by calling the mama ‘hood at (303) 643-5662.

To schedule a complimentary private 20 minute session email me at Ciara@clarawisner.com or follow this link.

Clara Wisner

Ciara Wisner is a Certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner and Lifestyle Coach of rEvolutionary Lifestyle. She attended the Nutritional Therapy Institute in Denver, CO from 2012-2015. Ciara Wisner is also a Certified Primal Expert, an Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner, and a Level 1 Voice Dialogue Vacillator.

Ciara specializes in helping women ditch toxic habits and release the self-sabotaging beliefs that keep them from creating the health and happiness they desire with her unique coaching approach that addresses mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health.

Having a highly critical education in nutrition, Ciara blends this scientific knowledge of biology and physiology, with her deep and personal understanding of the emotional components of dietary and lifestyle change. By blending the clinical with the energetic, Ciara creates customized nutrition and lifestyle programs tat facilitate true mind-body transformation for her clients.

To learn more visit to her website at www.ciarawisner.com.

Rattlesnake Slide; The extreme importance of self-care.

Rattlesnake Slide; The extreme importance of self-care.

A few weeks ago I was hiking with my husband and kids in the hopes of going climbing at a small area not far from our house. Neither my husband nor I had been there before and it was a hot dry day to be out with a four and six-year-old and have high expectations. Knowing that they didn’t have much left in them and we had obviously passed the trailhead to the climbing area, I went on a quick off trail mission to locate the crag in order to scope it for our next attempt. The next thing I knew I was on a loose scree slope and hearing a rattlesnake’s rattle. My adrenaline surged when I glanced at my snake friend, clearly a youth, and simultaneously slipped and started sliding down the scree. Knowing that the young ones like to unload their entire venom arsenal I was terrified to see the snake sliding along above me and insanely grateful when I managed to run my way out of it without with just an abrasion on my arm and not a bite.  Whew! I made it.

Rattlesnake

 

What if I hadn’t? How long would I have felt ok enough to walk? How bad would it have hurt? Would I have been able to keep my mental state together enough to take care of myself and get out of there? My husband was close enough that he may have heard me had I screamed, but it was pretty windy and he may not have. It was hot and he most likely wouldn’t have wanted to leave the kids to go look for me and maybe would have waited quite a while to investigate since he knows that I love my alone time in the wilderness. If I had been bitten, what was intended to be a joyful day on the trail and the rock could have turned into a nightmare life threatening event. The reason that I bring this up today is not in the least to suggest you not go hiking, or to not go hiking alone, or to live in fear, but to reinforce the extreme importance of self-care. If we walk through our days in the best physical, mental, emotional states that we can, we are armed to handle the major incidents if and when they do come up. Here are five small things you can do on a daily basis to keep you living better so that when the road gets rocky you have 4-wheel drive:

Meditate. Just do it. You may not think you are doing it right. You will be thinking a lot of the time. Just do it 5 minutes a day at least for 30 days until it becomes a habit, and then do it more. Pay attention to your breath. Focus inward a bit every day. Express gratitude in your own head for your own life and if you need guidance, look to Susan Piver, she’s amazing.

Move in Nature. Exercise is great. Running, walking, skiing, climbing, dancing, yoga… I don’t care what you do, if you can do it outside in nature I believe it is much better for you. When I see people running on a treadmill watching stress and fear inducing television programing I think to myself, “what in the world are they getting out of that?”. If and when possible, get your exercise out in the open where you can think bigger and breath fresh air (hopefully unless you are in the Central Valley).

Change Something about the way you Eat. I used to hate fad diets and discount them at all costs. Lately I have done a few (Whole30 and the Plan) and I found great pleasure in learning some new recipes, observing the way my body responds to different foods, and just THINKING more about what and how I eat. My kids ask about whether something has too much sugar, and what’s good for them and why because my husband and I have been much more intentional about our eating. We all fall into patterns and habits with our diet. Change it up now and then, you might just learn something.

Sleep well. If you don’t sleep well, I know this is a hard pill to swallow. RIGHT just sleep well, it’s THAT easy! I get that sometimes it is not that easy, but what are you ACTIVELY doing to change it if you are not sleeping well. Have you tried consistently going to bed earlier? Have you logged how much sleep you REALLY need? Have you looked at the room and the bed you sleep in to see if it’s ideal for sleeping (dark, quiet, cool, comfy)? If your schedule doesn’t allow you to sleep enough, what can you cut out? This is YEARS off your life and if you are not sleeping well, so maybe late night TV should be cut. The right homeopathic remedy can help you sleep better if you have tried the items above. If you need a drug to sleep, something is not right.

Express Gratitude. Every night around the dinner table we exchange three things that we are grateful for. It’s amazing the things my kids come up with (but the constant is “Daddy coming home from work”). When you express gratitude you decrease your stress hormones and you are happier. Writing thank you notes and doing little things for friends and family can make YOU much happier. In this world of constant online communication and stimulation, take time to look people in the eye and thank them. Meditate on it. Gratitude blossoms love.

As I was sliding down the hill thinking I might be bit by a rattlesnake at any moment, these practices didn’t pop up and provide me with a coat of armor.  However, with a few years of meditating under my belt and self-care being something I do as well as talk to people about ALL THE TIME in my line of work, I know that in their own way, they really would have protected me if the bite had happened. I weather things much better and I walk through life MUCH happier because I practice these things every day. I know that implementing these practices might not be easy for you, and if I can be of some help, please feel free to REACH OUT! If you are doing all these things, I would assume you would not have read this far. Or maybe you skimmed down to here to find out that I DIDN’T GET BIT BY A RATTLESNAKE. Carry on with your lovely life and thanks for reading!

P.S. I’d now like to add JOIN A MASTERMIND to these pearls of wisdom. If you’re interested check THIS out.

The Microbiome by Stephanie Morish, Holistic Nutrition Consultant

Microbiome 101

The missing link in the health of many babies being born today is establishing the presence of a healthy inner ecosystem also known as the microbiome. You may have heard of the microbiome - the miniature world made up of trillions of microscopic organisms that flourish within the human gastrointestinal tract. For both mother and baby, we want the good microflora to outnumber the bad. If a mother does not nourish her gut microbiome during pregnancy, she will not have as much beneficial bacteria to impart to her child during birth. Babies who lack good bacteria at birth may be at risk for a number of health issues, including weakened immunity and poor digestive health that can lead to colic and constipation. Weakened immunity and poor gut health can also leave a baby vulnerable to more serious childhood diseases. Supporting your inner ecosystem during pregnancy is the best thing you can do for your baby's lifelong health.

There is also a lot mom can do after birth to ensure proper development and maintenance of her baby’s inner ecosystem. Baby needs a healthy gut with lots of beneficial microflora to build a strong immune system and be able to digest mother’s milk. Babies who lack an abundance of good bacteria at the beginning of life can suffer from uncomfortable digestive issues such as gas, colic, reflux and constipation. Additionally, babies need sufficient beneficial bacteria to prevent the development of allergies and food sensitivities that are so common today.

Mother’s milk is the gold standard for baby’s nutrition. Mom’s post-natal diet is very important as her nutrients and bacteria will be transferred to baby. There is also a place for probiotics in baby nutrition, helping to inoculate baby’s gut and digest mother’s milk. Every child needs a strong inner ecosystem to help them become healthy, vibrant human beings with strong immunity! In the Pre- and Post- Natal Gut Health workshop on Friday, September 23 rd , holistic nutritionist Stephanie Morish will walk you through everything you need to know about gut health. She will explain why a healthy microbiome is important for mama and baby’s health and how to establish a healthy gut in yourself and your baby, before, during and after pregnancy.

Stephanie Morish is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant and Natural Foods Chef. She provides one-on- one coaching to support clients in developing healthy and sustainable nutrition and lifestyle habits. Stephanie specializes in women’s health, hormone balance, digestive/gut health, fertility, pregnancy and weight loss. She combines holistic nutrition, Ayurvedic medicine and lifestyle counseling to assist her clients in achieving balance and reaching their fullest health potential. Stephanie’s private practice is located at Botanica Wellness Sanctuary in City Park, Denver. To learn more about Stephanie, check out her website.

Look Of The Week

Look Of The Week

Here's how to get the look:

Rebecca Minkoff Leo' Envelope Clutch

Open zip teeth trace the edges of a slim envelope-flap clutch crafted from scratch-resistant Saffiano leather.

Tory Burch 'Heidi' Ballet Flat 

An elasticized topline ensures a secure and comfortable fit in a classic ballerina flat given a modern update with a metallic snakeskin-inspired finish. The polished Tory Burch medallion tops the rounded toe, embodying the designer’s inimitable style and sensibility.

    'Hakuna Matata' Beaded Stretch Bracelets

    This wristful of beautifully beaded bracelets adds a boho-chic touch to any look while helping to empower women in developing communities. Track the impact of your purchase with the code on the back of your bracelet tag.

    From Missy Albrecht on Pelvic Floor Health

    From Missy Albrecht on Pelvic Floor Health

    Our bodies were built to carry, nourish, labor and raise a baby. But the way we treat our bodies before (years before!), during and after really affect how well they will handle the process.

    I'm excited to share with you some common themes that I see often with my patients, in hopes to alleviate any current issues or help prevent them in the future.

    the mama 'hood named Oustanding Social Venture in Early Childhood Education & Development from CO Impact Days

    the mama 'hood named Oustanding Social Venture in Early Childhood Education & Development from CO Impact Days

    The mama' hood is very proud to announce that we recently received a prestigious award from CO Impact Initiative.  We were among 600 applicants to be able to participate as an organization, only 66 were invited to the event and only 8 of us were selected as winners.  

    the mama' hood received a prestigious award for Outstanding Social Venture in Early Childhood Education and Development.

    What is Colorado Impact Initiative?  CO Impact Initiative is a unique opportunity for social ventures such as ours to receive support to help make a real impact in Colorado. With the support of the CO Impact Initiative we will be able to do even more in our community. Thriving Babies. Thriving Mamas. Thriving World.

    Our 4th Birthday Giveaway! Enter Here.

    Watch and share our fun 3rd birthday video and then enter the contest below!

    the mama'hood turns 4 on February 15! Why do you love the mama'hood? Tell us below for your chance to win a 5-Punch Class Card! Contest opens Feb. 1 and ends Feb. 29, with a winner announced by Mar. 2.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    42 Days for 42 Years by Sara Guenther

    As I sit down and attempt to put my thoughts on paper, I am flooded with an overabundance of emotions. My baby girl just turned seven and we’re headed up to the mountains with my own mama tribe to celebrate all our sweet Capricorn babies. This tribe of women met when our littles were teeny tiny and have continued to support each other as we’ve grown, expanded, and traveled this path of motherhood together.

    Not only are our children’s birthdays a time to celebrate their sweet, perfect little souls, it’s a time to reflect upon our own growth as mothers, as women, and as an expression of the divine. My own path as a mother has been filled with vast, expansive, epic growth. My children have and continue to be my greatest, most inspiring, nagging, and never ending teachers. They continuously reflect back to me what I most need in any given moment and when I do not listen the message only becomes louder and louder and louder.

    Yes, I’ve learned oodles and oodles and oodles these past seven years. I’ve learned about meconium minutes after birth. I’ve learned about engorged breasts and sore, raw nipples. I’ve learned way more than I ever intended about nighttime parenting, sleepless nights, night weaning, and co-sleeping. I’ve learned about elimination communication, cloth diapers, baby-led weaning, and potty training. I’ve learned about Depends, postpartum bleeding, and how to have a bowel movement again after having a vaginal birth. I’ve learned about leaking nipples and the best type of nursing pads and nursing bras. I’ve learned all about the pelvic floor and having less control over certain bodily sounds. I’ve learned about extended breastfeeding and how to talk honestly about why I’m still nursing my almost three year old. But most importantly, I’ve learned about the sacredness of the postpartum period, the “42-day sacred window.” Unfortunately though, I’ve learned about his through not honoring my own sacred window with both of my postpartum journeys.

    “The ancient texts of Ayurvedic medicine teach that if a woman is taken care of properly during her first 42 days after giving birth, a solid foundation is established for vibrant health, vitality, and the ability to mother and partner well for many decades to come.” ~Ysha Oakes, Ayurvedic Practitioner.

    Although the time period may vary slightly, most Indian communities practice postpartum “confinement” for 40-42 days. During this confinement period a woman is supported in her physical healing, her uterus returns to pre-pregnancy size, breastfeeding and milk supply is established, and the perineum or caesarean section incision heals. A woman is supported in her journey of becoming or expanding her role as a mother and is offered a precious window of time to bond and form a healthy attachment to her new baby. Additionally, this provides time to begin to process the birth and perhaps any emotional birth trauma that may have occurred.

    During this 42-day window, mothers should be allowed to fully rest, recuperate, and bond with their baby. Mothers should refrain from doing chores, grocery shopping, errands, preparing meals, cleaning the house, laundry, or hosting guests. Rather than stepping right back into her pre-pregnancy life, a woman should be allowed to rest, should be given hot oil massages daily, and fed simple, easily digestible foods and herbal drinks to promote healing and improve milk supply.

    As much as I fully intended to create a space supportive of rest and rejuvenation, I found myself entertaining, cooking, and filled with feelings of doubt, depression, and defensiveness. With my second, at 2 weeks postpartum my incredibly supportive husband had to return to work and I was not only responsible for my own healing and caring for a newborn, but was solely responsible for caring for my oldest child, managing the household, cooking, cleaning, laundry, groceries - oh and did I mention my husband travels regularly for work and I was caring for a newborn baby and theoretically my own postpartum healing? This unfortunately is the reality and trend for most women in our western culture. Thank goodness I was not working on top of the ever-increasing load I was managing at home.

    So, do you think my own postpartum experiences will influence me for the next 42 years of my life? You are damn right they will! Initially, I looked back on my own postpartum experiences with anger, exhaustion, irritation, regret, confusion, betrayal, etc. etc. etc. I felt stuck in the shadow of my own feelings of what I co-created postpartum. But with every shadow there is an invitation to celebrate and embrace the light. Through yoga, mindfulness, meditation, involvement in a spiritual community, and a vast openness to receive, I’ve been able to transform and cleanse myself of these toxic feelings and step into the light and my own dharmic path. Because of the work I’ve done around my own sacred window, I have been able to devote my life to supporting women with their own postpartum journeys through yoga, meditation, and birth story healing circles. I’ve transformed my own shadow into one of the greatest gifts I can offer to women and families.

    This leads me to my greatest wish for every pregnant and postpartum woman. That wish is to fully honor, savor, celebrate, embrace, and own your own 42-day sacred window. Invite mothers, sisters, grandmothers, girlfriends, postpartum doulas, and coworkers to support you in your own postpartum healing. Allow yourself to bathe in their love and light. Allow yourself to be held, supported, massaged, fed, and cared for on a deep spiritual level. Allow yourself time to bond with your baby and your ever expanding sense of self. Allow yourself to slowly reenter the world as we know it now and to bring with you a sense of growth and luminosity. And if your 42-day sacred window is lacking and not as nourishing and sweet as it should be, allow this to be an invitation to create space for more support, transparency, and love within your life. Allow your 42-day sacred window to manifest growth, receptivity, and abundance for the next 42 years of your life!

    Love, light, and blessing to all women everywhere! ~Sara

    Sara teaches prenatal, baby and me, toddler and me, and family yoga classes at the ‘hood. She also leads our Postnatal/Baby and Me Yoga Teacher Training in Denver, in addition to small, intimate birth story healing circles. Join Sara for her next Postnatal/Baby and Me Yoga Teacher Training on Saturday January 30th from 11:00-7:00 and Sunday January 31st from 2:00-7:00. For more information about Sara and her yoga offerings please visit www.begraceyoga.com.

    Animals May Be the Answer to Our Children's Challenges: Guest Post by Ash Stevens

    Medication, specialists, and discipline plans are the go-tos for the common problems facing kids today. There’s a whole lot of room to debate their cause, benefits and consequences though. Behaviors are often provoked by factors like sleep, diet, discipline and structure, and family relationships. In this case, getting a prescription for a stimulant or a depressant leaves the core problems untouched, so more problems are bound to come up later. There are definitely situations that can warrant the use of medication and other interventions, but if we can figure out what the main issues are then we can come up with some creative ways of addressing them.

    One such creative approach to helping kids with different needs involves animals. Parents are finding that a little fur perfectly compliments the action plans created for their child’s issues. Sometimes it’s even able to replace meds and one-on-one’s with specialists altogether. Animals have proved to make excellent “therapists” and “aids” because they help reduce problems that kids and families are dealing with, and they even help kids with developing skills and behaviors that address issues at their core. Consider these amazing ways animals are making a difference with children!

    Reading

    Kids are reading to dogs in schools and libraries across the country, and even Colorado’s own Westminister Public Libraries offer kids sessions with reading dogs. It’s no surprise that a little canine intervention makes books more fun than ever, but reading-therapy dogs are definitely more than some trendy fad. Thanks to the combination of petting and reading to an audience, children can keep focus on the book in front of them. On top of that, dogs offer to listen to kids and support them without a peep of criticism. This has a big impact on cutting down on kids’ anxieties, and it makes reading time go by faster (and with a whole new element of fun). Libraries and schools make reading-therapy dogs easy to find these days, but it’s a role the family dog or cat just might be able to fill, too. With a little training or treat-based incentives, there could be read aloud fun and relaxation in your very own living room.

    Autism

    Autism Spectrum Disorders can pose some big social challenges. Understanding how to “read” people and being able to decipher the meaning behind nonverbal cues is a frustrating issue that affects friends and families as well as ASD children. But instead of turning to medication for a one-stop fix, some parents are actually looking to horses. These “giant dogs” may not be able to speak, but that’s precisely why equine-assisted therapy benefits autism. Kids have to rely on touch, observation, and intuition in order to interact with their horse. Movements and physical cues may be subtle, but they have much to say about a horse’s needs and moods. Time spent with these quiet and gentle creatures helps kids to develop and utilize their awareness. As kids foster these skills with horses, they’re able to put these same skills to work with people and dramatically improve their relationships and social interactions. A great thing for everybody!

    Yes, there are probably more people without horses or an equine therapy program than people with access, but that’s okay because the benefits aren’t limited to only horses. One study shows that simply having a household pet benefits autism. It’s rumored that dogs may be the top runners, but any sort of animal an autistic child connects with poses potential behavioral and cognitive benefits.

    ADHD

    Focus and attention are everyday struggles with attention disorders, and prescription drugs get handed out like candy to try to keep kids at their desks. Whether or not medication is helpful and necessary is up to families and their doctor, but there are everyday ways to help kids develop their focus. Having an animal is a great way to build routine and attention because pets can teach ADHD children about responsibility. Giving pets the food, water, exercise, and cleaning that they require is a great way for kids to learn routine that will help them firm up their attention and awareness. And similarly to reading dogs, their presence can be very comforting. And as soothing as that petting can be to our mood, it also offers body movement that can actually help hone in focus and reduce distractions.

    Emotional Needs

    Animals are about as simple and fun as it gets. Not only are they goofy and playful, but they love one on one time. Now matter what’s going on, they’re almost always game for a good petting or some playtime. All this added onto their complete acceptance of us makes them incredible companions, especially when it comes to moods and emotions. Depression, bipolar disorder, have all shown benefits with animal involvement. The bond they offer keeps kids from being withdrawn and isolated, encourages more physical activity, and their furry presence can even increase opportunities for social interaction. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, but a pet can keep kids from getting lost in the negativity that comes with hard days. And it’s the exact same thing for adults.

    Animals are doing some amazing things! Programs everywhere can help kids and families improve their lives in a variety of ways, but simply having a family dog, cat, or guinea pig can be used in much the same way. Consider all the creative ways that a little fur can help improve your own child’s life. They may well be worth the poop cleanup.

    Ash Stevens is a mother, writer, and wannabe shaman. She loves health, gardening, simplicity, culture, chocolate, and sarcasm. If she isn't writing or talking about family and relationships on her blog, then she's surely playing badminton with the kids. Find her on Twitter or Facebook and make a new friend! 

    If you would like to contribute a guest blog post to the mama'hood, please send pitches or completed submissions to beth@themamahood.com. Guests posts do not necessarily reflect the views of the mama'hood, but we're happy to give you a platform if you have something to say about this adventure called parenting!

    One Deep Breath by Faith Davis

    I still remember one of the first times I sat down alone with the intention to meditate. I had recently returned from my first 200-hour yoga teacher training, a winter of slow living at a mountain ashram. I was just launching my massage therapy practice, working in Boulder, traveling to all of its suburbs, and reconnecting with old friends. Life was moving fast - too fast.

    "I'm going to meditate every day," I declared with the zeal of a true beginner. My intention was to force life to slow down. Six years later I can very honestly tell you I still haven't gotten the hang of meditating every day, but, I no longer feel like life is speeding by me. What's my secret?

    One deep breath. Inhale...exhale.

    I take one deep breath as I wake up in the morning and one just before I fall asleep at night. I take one deep breath when I brew my coffee or tea, and one when I first step outside each morning. I take one deep breath when someone cuts me off in traffic, when I have a pounding headache, when I feel overwhelmed or terribly sad.

    When it feels like life is flying by, I take one deep breath.

    Taking these deep breaths offers a pause in my day. It offers one single moment to slowly notice how I feel. Sometimes I take a deep breath and simply ask: what do I need today?

    *Sometimes I take a deep breath to remember to hold a particular feeling or moment in my heart. *

    The beautiful thing about this practice is that it doesn't require any extra time or equipment. No matter how busy you feel, how joyful or exhausted, how capable or helpless, anyone can take one deep breath.

    This single breath in each moment of life reminds me there is time for my experience - happy or sad, joyous or heartbreaking. I don't wish any moment away, and in this practice life stopped speeding by me and started flowing one breath at a time.

    Faith Davis is a maternity massage therapist, postpartum doula, and Prenatal/Baby & Me Yoga teacher at the 'hood, with over 1000 hours experience teaching women, mamas and families. Join Faith at the Mama Mini Retreat on January 30, 1-4pm, for an afternoon of moving one breath at a time through simple yoga, meditation, and self-care. To find out more visit yogiinmotion.com or email faith.davis@me.com.

    Sleep Help is Here! Compassionate Sleep Solutions

    “Compassionate Sleep Solutions is an honest approach. Children can handle honesty. In fact they are better at truth/honesty than most adults are. With no ego, judgment or pride (yet) they are the most authentic human beings among us. They more often know the truth before any adult has to hand it over. Quite often they know the truth before we do. This makes our children the most honest, immediate and accurate mirror we will ever place before us. If there is a problem with sleep and you are not enjoying a peaceful experience in this human need then your baby knows this.” Eileen Henry, RIE Associate

    Message to Compassionate Sleep Solutions:

    Is lack of sleep turning you into a zombie?

    Is lack of sleep turning you into a zombie?

    My 7-month old nurses to sleep for nights and naps. He wakes exhausted and so do I. He wakes after 45 minutes of night sleep, and continues to wake every few minutes to every two hours all night long. I am a zombie and not able to parent my oldest with love and respect as I feel I always have. I feel like I have been obsessing over my baby's sleep since he was 3 months old but didn't know "how to change" and here we are again in the same place I was with my oldest (nursing to sleep). I feel very, very anxious to go through another 3 years of no sleep and how it will affect my health. Extremely anxious.... can't decide how sleep learning sits with me but wanting to consider it. Anxieties: • Asking him to change • My baby crying for help • Me not "doing what he knows" • Is the stress too much for him (or us)? Is he capable, ready? • Will there be regret? • Will he be detached? Very anxious and also feeling SO guilty and regretful that I "got him here". I am sleep deprived and constantly obsessing over sleep. All to say just feeling unsure. Am I being unfair to him or taking the easy route by forcing a change? OR, is it possible that this is best for him, for our family. Some hope there. Please help! Zombie Mommy

    My reply: Dear Zombie Mommy,

    I feel your pain. And I am here to offer you a place among the living.

    Thank you for your honesty and openness. You state the common ground of that place where many mommies send out their cry for help.

    The rock - The Gibraltar nature of this rock is a common starting point. This rock makes it clear that we can't continue in the current way that sleep is being done.

    The hard place - These are the mixed emotions of anxiety about change and the all too common "mommy guilt" that got us in this jam to begin with. Our natural aversion to change makes us thing change will be bad for our baby. Not so!

    Your concerns and anxieties

    Asking him to change - Change in the first 3 years of life is part of the experience. As far as change goes there is never an easier time to handle change than in the first 24 years of life. In fact throughout childhood and adolescence we eagerly seek it out. It is called novel experience. After that - not so much.

    Him crying for help - You will be able to help him. By not fixing sleep for him or rescuing him he will learn a new skill. It truly is "on their own with our help".

    Me not doing what he knows - You will show him a new way. The new way will be more functional. The new way will be for the betterment of the entire family including him. This is healthy. This is learning. He is all about learning. Mommies are all about healthy. We have to show our children what healthy is until they learn what healthy is. Once they learn they grow up and hopefully become adults who can make their own healthy choices. (Hey, all of us have downed an entire bag of Cheetos while watching the Twilight marathon on TBS.)

    Your questions:

    Is the stress too much for him? No.

    It is too much for you? Maybe. That is where I come in. Helping moms with skills to ease stress and anxiety. That is my specialty. It works!

    Will there be regret? Maybe. Many parents I work with regret they waited years for good sleep. If we look at the elements of regret there is sadness, disappointment, loss and grief. This means at some point we will experience regret. Considering how invested we are in our child's experience then eventually we are bound to feel some of those elements.

    Cheetos? What Cheetos? 

    Cheetos? What Cheetos? 

    However, regret feels solid and hard. Another rock, another hard place. Regret is being stuck in a perpetual loop of those elements above. It feels like s#!t. Being stuck in the deep doody of regret is hard to transform. Deep regret is for grownups. Children don't get stuck there. Regret is ego driven and they have no ego - yet. It is why they are so free and happy. They are far too fluid and changing to waste time in such a waste of time that regret can become. The only thing that transforms regret is compassion for the self and the other. Forgiveness, love, compassion are the elements of transforming regret.

    Will he be detached? - No. He will be separate. There is a HUGE difference.

    The process assisting, and at the same time allowing our children to learn a new skill that is for their own good as well as the well being of the entire family supports healthy attachment. Read my blog post Attach This about attachment theory and limbic attunement. In fact the process I teach increases the already secure attachment and healthy bond. We are allowing and assisting our babies in the long developmental stage (3-4 years) of becoming self soothing. It happens incrementally and we are supporting their developmental abilities in this regard.

    "Am I being unfair to him or taking the easy route by forcing a change?" I assure you that you are not being unfair nor forcing a change. It is incredibly supportive to allow changes to occur that are developmentally appropriate.

    If there were an easy route out, I would be the magical fairy godmother of sleep and I would be spreading that magic all over the globe. I may have clients far and wide who think I am magic. But this is not magic. It is about choice. A common feeling (not fact) about feeling stuck is the feeling that we have no choice. Unless your baby's name is Kim Jon-un and calls himself the Supreme Leader - then you do indeed have a choice.

    If I did have a magic wand the first thing I would do would be to absolve you of any guilt and regret. Wand waving would be a full time job in parenting support. That action alone would change weather patterns on the planet I am sure.

    Unfortunately, there is no mythical sleep land where one finds a herd of unicorn babies who sleep through the night from birth and effortlessly make the transitions of sleep and development without so much as a struggle or a tear. There have been sightings of such babies. But they are rare and somewhat mythical creatures.

    Fantasy hope is wonderful but it most often leads back to the rock and hard place.

    If you are interested in the reality and joy of peaceful sleep contact Eileen at Compassionate Sleep Solutions!

    Meet the Chiropractor!

    Meet Dr. Margaret Ready this Saturday, August 22, from 9am-1pm at the mama'hood Denver. Light refreshments provided. Receive half off your initial consultation with the purchase of a yoga membership or punch card.

    Dr. Margaret Ready moved to Denver in 2013 after graduating from Palmer College of Chiropractic West in San Jose, California.

    In 2011 Dr. Ready travelled to Fiji with Chiropractic students from all over the country to introduce chiropractic to the residents of the capital city of Nadi. It was during this time that Dr. Ready realized her passion for prenatal chiropractic.

    Dr. Ready is a member of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association as well as the Colorado Chiropractic Association. She is certified in Webster Technique and Functional Dry Needling, and utilizes techniques such as Gonstead, Diversified, Activator and Thompson Drop as well as many soft tissue therapies including myofascial release, adhesion release and Functional Dry Needling.

    Introducing our Newest Yoga Teacher - Shaun White

    We are so excited to welcome Shaun White to our roster of amazing yoga teachers at the mama'hood, and particularly excited to have our very first dad/teacher!

    Shaun joined the military when he was just 17 and spent 15 years in the infantry. Shaun first found yoga in 2007 through a DVD that one of his Army buddies gave him; but he didn’t attend his first public class for 2 years. Initially drawn to yoga for its physical benefits, it was the mental and spiritual shifts he experienced that kept him coming to the studio.

    However, when he broke his back during a training accident in 2011 he did not find his way back to his mat until three years later when he was in the VA hospital for PTSD rehabilitation. The VA is where he was introduced to Comeback Yoga and his life really started changing.

    Although Shaun originally used yoga as a means to balance his physical exercise regimen, when he was offered a teacher training scholarship through Comeback Yoga & Kindness he began studying the Sutras and learning what it really meant to fully practice yoga. Shaun found his connection to the universe, his path to happiness, and how to exist, through his practice of yoga.

    Currently, Shaun is teaching two classes at the VA to fellow veterans. His goal through teaching yoga is to positively affect his students, whether it is through his words or his movements.

    Shaun and his wonderful wife Aubrie were married in 2013, and they welcomed their first child this May. Baby Harrison will be joining Shaun at the mama’hood for Baby & Me Yoga on Thursdays at 11am!

    The Essentials of Estate Planning for Families with Hartney Law

    "Have you named guardians for your children?"

    A whopping 69% of parents do not have any protections in place for their kids if something happened to them. Of those that have, many have made one of the six common mistakes that could make those protections useless.

    At this FREE seminar, you will learn:

    • How to choose the right guardians for your children and make sure they are never placed with strangers if something happens to you.

    • How to make sure that your assets are immediately and privately available to your guardians.

    • How you can take control away from judges who don’t know your children.

    • How giving kids money can harm them and what to do instead.

    Whether you are single, married, in a same-sex or blended family, this talk will help you craft an effective estate and child protection plan so that your loved ones are protected from unnecessary trauma in the event something happens to you.

    Join us the second Saturday of every month at the mama 'hood Boulder, 11:00 am. Those in attendance will be eligible to win a $50 gift certificate to Dragontree Holistic Day Spa in Boulder!

    More info/register HERE.

    BOULDER GRAND OPENING!!!!!

    WE ARE THRILLED TO ANNOUNCE THE DETAILS OF OUR BOULDER GRAND OPENING!

    When: Friday, July 17, 2015 4-8pm

    Where: the mama'hood boulder - 2525 Arapahoe Avenue in The Village Shopping Center

    What: Family-friendly food, drink and entertainment, including a petting zoo! Fantastic prizes will be raffled with proceeds to benefit Mother House.

    Who: YOU!

    Email info@themamahood.com with any questions.

    Please RSVP on Facebook.

    Dancing for Birth with Rachel Snow

    Dance Your Baby Out: Belly dance your baby into optimal position for labor and give birth easier!

    “Belly dancing, for example, is just one way that certain cultures have devised over time to lower rates of fetal malpositioning during the last three months of pregnancy, or even to change a baby’s position during strong labor.” ~ Ina May Gaskin, Birth Matters

    What if I told you there was a simple way you could ensure your baby was in the optimal birthing position by the time you go into labor, and that you could also use this tool to make labor easier? What if I told you this tool could help flip a breech baby before or during the birthing process? Would you believe me if I told you this tool would also make you feel incredibly sexy in the process? Well you might have guessed it by the title, this tool is belly dance!

    Why you should dance during pregnancy

    Many childbirth educators, midwives, and OB’s recommend belly dancing as a prenatal form of exercise. In my opinion, it is the perfect prenatal form of exercise- low impact, high benefits for mom and baby, and perfectly readies the exact muscles needed to facilitate labor. Here are some of the benefits:

    • Women who dance regularly during pregnancy can expect to have shorter labors and less need for interventions, such as cesareans.
    • Moderate exercise increases placental blood flow and oxygen to baby.
    • Women who practice maintaining a mind-body-spirit connection during pregnancy, have an easier time tuning into their bodies needs during labor.
    • This is one exercise that truly celebrates all shapes of the female form! Positive body image, and feeling sexy in your pregnant form, never hurt no one!
    • The movement in belly dancing emphasize muscle lengthening and expansion (similar to yoga) which is the optimal type of prenatal workout. These movements actually condition muscles needed for childbirth, and when utilized during labor can gently ease baby down birth canal.
    • 1 in 5 babies begins labor in the occiput posterior position (sunny side up). This is when baby is facing the same direction as mom instead of facing towards her back. The problem with this position is the back of the baby’s head is pressing against the spine, causing what is known as back labor. Many women report the intensity of the back labor overwhelms the intensity of the actual contraction. Belly dancing in your last trimester can gently guide baby into the optimal birthing position.

    History

    Belly dancing during pregnancy isn’t a new ‘fad’- there is an amazingly rich historical significance of this dance for women. Specifically relating to fertility, pregnancy, and childbirth.

    It is said that midwives noticed the natural movements women made during labor, and would mimic their moves back to them in an exaggerated, dance like manner, to encourage the natural progression of labor. Women would gather around the laboring mother to be and would performing hip circles, undulations, and figure eights, encouraging her to follow along. The woman in labor would stay on her feet allowing gravity to help her as she moved through the familiar patterns that felt so natural in childbirth, periodically stopping to push gently until the baby finally eased his or her way out.

    What many people don’t realize about belly dancing, is this form of dance actually evolved with birthing women, and for birthing women. It’s purpose- to facilitate labor. It is in essence, a birth dance.

    During pregnancy you can prepare your mind by taking childbirth education classes, and prepare your body by practicing belly dance movements. Taking Dancing for Birth class combines both of these aspects into one class!

    If you are desiring a natural birth, the best thing you can do is arm yourself with practical techniques you can use during labor so you can take charge during your labor, instead of being pulled along like a helpless spectator. Can you envision yourself belly dancing your baby out? After all, it was invented for birth.

    Dancing for Birth is now offered at the mama'hood Boulder!

    We will have a FREE Dancing for Birth Intro Class on Monday, July 6, 11am. REGISTER HERE.