Talking With Kids About Feelings

The feelings aren't always good.

The feelings aren’t always good.

A few weeks ago the kids and I went to see the movie Inside Out. We had been excited to see it for months after watching the preview before our family thanksgiving movie. Then, they hype before the movie was so intense we all went in expecting it to rock our worlds.

It didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, the movie is adorable and quite honestly anything with Amy Poeler (even just her voice) gets thumbs up from this crowd. But to say we were underwhelmed by it would be accurate.

I kept quiet about it so as not to ruin it for the kids, but then it came out that they all felt the same way. No one hated it, but no one loved it like we thought we would and no one considered it to be as overwhelmingly groundbreaking as so many others have.

rp_kidsonbeach.JPGI’ve spent a while thinking about why. Then one night before bed The Husband was sharing a story about how at a swim meet he handled a near melt down of our youngest by identifying that the boy was afraid but that Dad had full confidence in him that he could face that fear and do what he came to do-namely, swim. I was so impressed with the way The Husband and the boy handled the whole situation but I wasn’t really surprised. I mean, that’s what we do. As parents, we try to help our kids understand what they’re feeling. We always validate whatever it is and sometimes we force their hand so that they learn how to maneuver within or around our outside of those feelings.

The other night, my baby was scared, but rather than let him berate himself for that fear (which he is apt to do) or give into that fear and miss an opportunity, The Husband just explained that he understood the fear and it was fine, but that he also believed so much in our boy’s ability to overcome it, that he left him on his own to do just that. He didn’t coax, or cajole or drag him out of it. Instead, he just communicated his belief in the boy and then left the rest up to him.

Clearly, we've got JOY down.

Clearly, we’ve got JOY down.

From day one, since I read all those books about what all the different baby cries mean, I have considered it my most important job to figure out what is making my little people tick and then as they’ve grown help them recognize it and work around it. After all, we are nothing more than an outward manifestation of all we are feeling inside. If we don’t teach our kids how to understand and know who they are, then what good are we?

Long before Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith and Bill Hader and Mindy Khaling put voices to our feelings, we’d already done that here in our house and it seems to be working pretty well.

The movie Inside Out is great and for sure it provides an outstanding opportunity to talk to kids about emotions and navigating the world through them. And, yes, perhaps the theme is groundbreaking. We just didn’t realize how groundbreaking we already were right here at home.


Cristie’s Tech Picks

A few of my favorites from NYC CE Week. Check out the video and links below. Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more Cristie’s Picks!

Philips BT2200B/27 Shoqbox Mini Rugged Compact Wireless Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker 
LG Electronics HBS-750 TONE PRO Wireless Stereo Headset

Review of LG G4 Phone

IK Multimedia iKlip Grip
Panasonic DMC-G7KK Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera

Shapeways 3D Printer Magic

That necklace was 3D printed!

That necklace was 3D printed!

I received many of these products for review. All opinions are my own.

Amwell Brought a Doctor to My Kitchen

When you feel like this, who wants to travel to the doctor?

When you feel like this, who wants to travel to the doctor?

 This post was sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network.  However, all opinions are 100% my own.

I find that the older I get the more nagging ailments I have. The problem is, the older I get the busier I am, which means I tend to ignore the nagging ailments rather than carve out time to go to the doctor. Because, let’s face it, no matter how much I love my doctors (which I do) there is nothing quick about a visit to them. Even a straightforward check up can take hours out of my day and that is when I have the presence of mind to even make the appointment, which is rarely except right when I’m thinking about the kind of pain I’m in.

Enter, Amwell. Amwell is the nation’s largest telehealth company, connecting users with board-certified, licensed doctors for immediate and live, online visits—day or night, on either mobile or desktop. What does that mean? Well, for me it means when I’m sitting at my kitchen table working on my tablet or laptop and I remember I should make a doctor’s appointment because of the nagging on again off again ear ache, instead of reaching for my phone I can type in Amwell to my search bar and be connected almost immediately with any number of primary care and specialist physicians. Or if my kid is having trouble in school and I want to save my self a few thousand dollars up front, I can go to Amwell to talk things out with a licensed behavioral therapists before moving on to any other professionals I might need to see in person.

Only this kid finds doctor's offices fun.

Only this kid finds doctor’s offices fun.

Amwell doctors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are dedicated to keeping you healthy — all from the comfort of your home. Yesterday, right at my kitchen table I saw a doctor about my ear. I filled out the standard medical information forms, read through the doctor information and chose the physician I wanted to see. Then, I gave my phone number for an “alert text” and went back to work. Within a few minutes I got a text that my doctor was ready, so I logged back onto the Amwell site and had a video conference with a doctor who looked in my ear, asked a bunch of questions and gave me suggestions for remedies that I could handle no problem. All of this took about 30 minutes tops. Incredible. I felt like I was on the Jetsons!

I was so pleased with the service, convenience and care, that I intend to use Amwell more in the future for those things that may be bothering me or my children but just don’t require a multi-hour trip to the doctor. Also, Amwell sure is a better solution than Doctor Google. No more late night sessions of me self-diagnosing us all with brain tumours or kidney cancer. Instead I’ll just choose a doctor from Amwell to check us out and diagnose the real issue (likely a sinus infection or UTI).

Pleeeaase can't the doctor just come to us?

Pleeeaase can’t the doctor just come to us?

I’ll be honest, I never thought I would feel safe enough using an online medical service, but my experience with Amwell has proven that it is a safe, private, thorough service that takes the hassle and expense out of doctor’s visits. This time it was for me, but I can see using Amwell for my kids in the future. Gone are the sleepless nights waiting to call the primary care or worse, midnight ER visits because you just want a professional to look, right now. Amwell is a mother’s dream.

Some common reasons people use Amwell are cough, sore throat, vomiting, flu, pinkeye, fever, upset stomach, anxiety, depression, weight concerns and smoking cessation. Amwell is accessible, often cheaper and definitely fast. I wish I had known about it when we were on vacation with a sick one a few years ago or when my babies were little and inevitably spiked a fever at 3:00am or that one time, in college, when I thought I was dying but an excruciating trip to the school health center and then the ER later, I learned I just had a wicked cold.  Amwell seems so much better!

If you’re interested in trying Amwell for yourself, they take most major insurance plans but I also have a code for my readers to get their first appointment free. Just type in ROLEMOMMY when it asks for payment and you will get your first session free. Try it. It has to be better than this!



Getting Our House in Order

It's hard not to have a clear head here.

The serenity of this shot: that’s what I want to recapture


I left my full-time job in May. That move was made so that I could focus on finishing school and also have a bit more time for my life here on this blog and in my home. The school thing has worked out, but the other two have not. My house is a bit of a disaster, from my pantry to my waistline to my bank account, and the only consistent thing about this blog lately is the inconsistency of my writing. I have a list of topics to cover and products to share and I fall into bed every night wondering where the day went and how come I haven’t written in a week.

All that is about to change. I spent last week doing two things. One, running around NYC at BlogHer, where I am consistently inspired no matter how many conferences I attend or where I am in my blogging life. And two renewing my commitment to healthy eating and exercise in a totally different way. Yes, I took on weight loss while at BlogHer,  the land of wine and cupcakes. It may seem stupid, but it turns out the challenge was just what I needed to remember I can rise up to most challenges.

This mama had her stuff together.

This mama had her stuff together.

It turns out that while I was working outside the house, I lost a bit of control inside the house. We were maintaining it all, the food, the money the schedule, but none of it was being done well, just simply being done. There was no purpose or structure, just a series of days where I woke up to put out immediate fires and survive until bedtime again. This was the way I was living when I was working full time and I had a hard time breaking the habits even after I left that job.


I may have lost my cape for a while but now Reinvention Girl is back! Photo: Corinda Bravo

I may have lost my cape for a while but now Reinvention Girl is back!
Photo: Corinda Bravo

The problem is this way of living doesn’t work for me long term. I’m amazed by anyone that it does work for. For me, I end up angry, fat, tired and frustrated with my entire life and my family suffers for it. The kids are more chaotic and thus unhappy and The Husband just feels more disconnected because he feeds off my energy when he’s here and my energy hasn’t been something you’d want a part of lately.

So it’s time to take control again. There is no reason I can’t get things done and still feel good about it all. I’ve just freed up about 60 hours of my week that I was spending working for someone else. I should be able then to find time now for school and writing, and projects and taking care of my house and my finances with more purpose and organized thought. In the end, that is what makes me happy: clean structured living, inside and out.

So today, I’ll clean and purge and organize and plan. Tomorrow, I’ll share all those products and lists of topics I’ve been collecting over the last few months. And then, when I’m living and studying and writing, all will feel in balance again.