Walking the Walk

The Happiness Survey

As life changes around us, we have to actively promote our happiness in order to keep the level high. I came across a happiness survey at and took it. Here are my results:

This is a snapshot of my life while I’m recovering from a virus and trying to launch my next book, which accounts for my less happy scores for health and economy. The fact that I just moved into my neighborhood produced the low community score. Besides that, I’m pretty upbeat (by design).

Many of these scores would be different if I had taken the survey six months ago, as they will be different six months from now (when I’m healthy, have met my neighbors, and am now an internationally renowned author 😉 ).

It occurs to me that this survey can be a powerful tool, in the right hands – like yours. Here’s my suggestion.

  1. Take the survey based on how your life is right now.
  2. Retake the survey remembering how things were before the virus scared everyone.
  3. Look at the difference in your happiness levels.
  4. If your happiness is lower in a particular area, ATTACK IT! Go to and download my free eBook, How To Get Your Happy On and find out what you can easily do to increase your happiness.
  5. Make a plan on how to raise your happiness level, and thereby your contentment. Do what you need to do to turn that segment of your life around.

Once you’ve looked at yourself, and created some strategies to improve your life, have your older kids take the survey two times like you did. Then, let the conversation flow. Discuss:

  • what part of the results surprised them
  • sections where they are happy
  • areas where they are not so happy
  • parts where they are less happy than before, and why
  • sections where they are more happy than before, and why
  • what they think their best friend’s happiness is like
  • what they can do to insure their happy areas remain happy
  • how you can help with the areas where they are less happy than before
  • what your results were like
  • what they think is going on with younger siblings

You can hold the conversation over a couple of days. Spreading it out will give both of you a chance to process what you shared.  Then, make a plan.

After everyone’s on board, do the experiment in the back of How To Get Your Happy On and see how your survey results improve!

Finally, why not take the survey every week and track your happiness level, and the happiness level of your family. It will bring the conversations that need to be had into the spotlight, and it will focus you and your family on the positive.

Don’t forget to laugh really hard every day!

If you’d like to support me, you can also purchase a copy of How To Get Your Happy On here:

Walking the Walk

Equal Pay Day

Equal Pay Day for ALL Women should be on December 31, 2019 but it’s not.

The next Equal Pay Day is Tuesday, March 31, 2020. This date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.

Here are a few stats that chill my bones:

Equal Pay Day for Women in 2019: March 31, 2020

Equal Pay Day for Black Women in 2019:  Aug 13, 2020

Equal Pay Day for Native American Women in 2019:  Oct 1, 2020

Equal Pay Day for Latina Women in 2019:  Oct. 29, 2020

Equal Pay Day for Asian-American Women in 2019:  Feb 11, 2020

For black women, an Equal Pay Day of August 13, 2020 means they had to work four more months than the overall women workers (and eight months into the “new” year) before earning as much as their white male counterparts made in 2019.

The easiest way to increase the power of our country is to increase the power of 50% of its people… the women.

Empowering the moms will empower the daughters as they lead by example.  If you want some guidance in that department, How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door is out now.

Awesome Moms Tell Your Tweens + Teens

For Goodness Sakes, Calm Down

Yes, organizations are closing left and right; yes, cancellations abound; and yes, dire warnings blast at you from every information resource, but, for goodness sake, for your family’s sake, and for your own sake, calm down.

Otherwise, the negative impact this is all having on you and your family will escalate like crazy. Keeping calm when everyone else is panicking is vital. Your children need to feel safe, and you need to lead the way. Plus, calming yourself despite all the global panic is essential to a healthy immune system.

Here are a few tools I’ve come across that you can teach your kids, and make them feel less helpless at the same time:

You are safe…
You are safe…
You are safe…

  1. From Dr. Valerie Lane Simonsen, ND: Slow your breathing. Take deep slow gentle inhalations, hold them for three seconds, and slowly exhale. On the exhalation, say, “You are safe.”
  2. From Donna Eden and David Feinstein, Energy Healers:  Energetic Tools to help you feel safer and more proactive at this time.
  3. From Donna Eden, Energy Healer: A quick and easy routine to build your immune system, feel younger, and relieve pain.

The best thing about these tools is you don’t have to believe they work in order for them to help you. You simply have to do them. Remember, every intention to help yourself actually helps you.

Sign up for my newsletter here, which will include academic resources for those of you suddenly finding yourselves homeschooling.

You got this!

Tell Your Tweens + Teens

Reducing Viral Anxiety in Children

How is the coronavirus panic affecting your children? Between the adult populations freaking out across the planet, and the youthfully distorted stories classmates share with your kids, you better check on the emotional well-being of your offspring.

I live in Connecticut, and the schools were just closed state-wide. That could very well mean:

  • no graduation for seniors
  • no help with college essay writing
  • no college tours
  • no proms
  • no spring sports for scholarship hopefuls
  • no dating
  • after working hard all year, no AP Exams and no AP credit
  • living in fear for the next several months
  • no hunting for summer jobs
  • no yearbook

These issues may seem trivial in light of:

  • parents trying to provide care and supervision for kids while at work
  • the stock market fluctuating
  • people not being allowed to work/draw paychecks
  • worries about receiving food and supplies

However, school issues are very real concerns for your high schoolers. The best thing you can do is to help them talk about the things that are freaking them out. Try saying this:

  • “What have you heard from your friends about the virus?”
  • “Does any of this virus talk make your friends nervous?”
  • “This is not the Zombie Apocalypse. It’s a fever and cough. We are exposed to viruses all the time. Sometimes we catch a cold, and sometimes we don’t. There’s no need to panic over a week in bed.”

Once you’ve cleared the air about their hidden health concerns, talk to them about making an academic plan, and a workout schedule for their sports:

  • “Let’s talk about how we’re going to move forward if school is closed for 30 days. Then we’ll make a plan for it being closed for 60 days. We can even discuss how to handle it if school doesn’t reopen this school year.”
  • “Exercise boosts the immune system. Let’s look up a workout specific to your sport so that when things resume, you’ll be ready.”

Encourage them to voice their frustrations at being isolated from their friends and social life. Find creative ways for them to stay connected until things calm down.

Lastly, you’re about to become a homeschooler. In my newsletter, I’ll share some online academic resources you can access.

Hang in there. This, too, shall pass.

General Walking the Walk

Sarah Coolidge: Maximizing Our Energetic Field

I’ve admired Sarah Coolidge for many years. I was so pleased when she gave me permission to share this post with you. Trust Sarah to find the silver lining in any situation, even through this current challenge. You can find her here on Facebook.

Maximizing Our Energetic Field

This is new territory for most of us, and my inbox is filling up with emails from all of sorts of businesses, officials and associations, advising and updating me on the latest virus news.

Your inbox probably is looking the same.

So…. how about we take just a minute today to reflect on the magnificence of the human species, how smart and capable we are, and how we can create goodness and kindness for one another… even from three feet away?

Scientists tell us that our hearts have an energetic field that extends beyond our bodies by at least three feet, so that alone means we can continue to connect with one another in a loving way.

What else can we do? We can…

*Blow kisses
*Flash the “I love you ” hand sign
*Nod and smile and tap our hearts
*Jump for joy when upon sighting one another
*Wave and call out a greeting
*Catch eyes, pause for a moment and bow in Namaste

And so much more… what will you think of?

I stand for all of us keeping our hearts loving and alive as we move forward. Our children are watching us. Those who need our support are watching us. The rest of the world is watching us. Heaven above is watching us.

I am sending you, your families, and all those you know big love. Spread it around.

Awesome Moms

Homeschooling Resources For the Viral Vacation

No school? For how long?

As schools close all over the country, parents have two issues to face:

  • How to find someone to supervise their kids while they’re at work
  • How to continue their education

Many school systems are scrambling to figure out a way to deliver lessons electronically (which is great if your household has a computer). Access their website for updates on their progress. Then, set up a study schedule for your kids, complete with homework and tests.

The key here is to not panic. Plan for your kids to work for 45-minute increments, and then let them run around for 30 minutes. Include 20 minutes of reading in the morning and another 20 minutes of reading in the afternoon. Insert a meal and a couple of snacks here and there, and Voila! You have a plan for a school day.

What if your school isn’t prepared to continue lessons? Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel yourself, why not turn to the experts – the thousands of parents who already homeschool their children.

Here is a handful of Facebook groups I found after a quick search:

Free Homeschool Curriculum And Resources Https://Www.Facebook.Com/Groups/257774360995782/

Free Homeschool Curriculum: The World Is Our Classroom Https://Www.Facebook.Com/Groups/591668350918206/

Homeschooling 101 Support Group Https://Www.Facebook.Com/Groups/556371365318060/

Homeschooling Resources Https://Www.Facebook.Com/Homeschoolres/

Free Homeschool Deals: Affording The Homeschool Life Https://Www.Facebook.Com/Freehomeschooldeals/

The Relaxed Homeschool: Making Homeschool Life Easier Https://Www.Facebook.Com/Therelaxedhomeschool/

Check them out. If you want more, there are dozens of other resources to be found. Also, check out the your state’s Department of Education for resources. Plus, you should also be able to access your schools’ curriculum online so you can see what’s coming up.

You can do it!

Tell Your Tweens + Teens

Valerie Lane Simonsen on Viral Anxiety in Children

I reached out to some experts I admire to ask about how they would handle the Viral Anxiety in children.   Global Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Valerie Lane Simonsen, ND, responded below. I followed her comments with my two cents worth.

VLS: The pandemic of fear is more powerful than the virus.

  • How do you address anxiety produced by news broadcasts?  

VLS: Take 3 deep breathes all the way down to your toes. Then, start jumping around.  Shake all parts of your body.  Let out any sounds!  Just let it all out!

DAD: Do this with your kids, and you’ll most likely end up in a laughing heap. We all know laughter is the best medicine.

  • What’s a good way to broach an anxiety-producing subject?

VLS: The first thing is to make sure the sources you are listening to are giving accurate information.  Share age appropriate information.

DAD: The younger the child, the more convoluted their understanding. My friend’s 8-year-old niece asked if everyone was going to die. She’s too young to understand adult speculation about a virus. However, hiding the info from them will allow youngsters to create their own speculations, so engage them in daily conversation and hugs.

  • How do you convince a child she/he’s safe when the adult world is saying they’re not?

VLS: Safety is not found with words.  Safety is found with touch.  Keep the children warm and close.  Spend family time playing games without Internet.  Keep things constant and consistent in the activities of daily living. Get outside as often as possible with the children.  PLAY!

DAD: Here are a few unusual ideas for fun:

 Have the family act out their favorite story.

Go for a walk in the neighborhood looking for signs of spring.

Get a bird ID book, and set up a bird feeder.

Start a garden.

Pop your own popcorn for a Family Movie Night (with no commercials).

Have everyone copy math questions from their textbooks onto index cards, and hold a Math-A-Thon. (Friends can participate virtually.)

Roast marshmallows over a campfire in the back yard.

  • What should you do if your child is experiencing nightmares?

VLS: Have them draw pictures of the dreams.  Once they see the pictures they can understand on a different level that the dream is a dream, and is not real.  Other art forms are useful as they process the outer world through their dreams.  Clay, paint, drawing, singing, and dancing are all helpful. With that being said, children are incredibly aware and their dreams may be based on “knowingness” that they have within.

DAD: While processing their artistic versions of their dreams, ask them how they felt during the dream. That will give you insight as to what emotions they’re feeling during the day. For some ideas about how to engage reluctant participants in conversation, check out this post

Thank you so much for your insights, Dr. Valerie Lane Simenson!

Awesome Moms Tell Your Tweens + Teens Walking the Walk

When Your Daughter Wants To Look Like Them

When my Italian girlfriend, Marie, married African American Jake, they understood their ethnically blended children could encounter issues, but felt prepared to deal with them. One day Marie showed me a picture of her daughter. In it, 5-year-old Teresa was laughing with a flock of little girls from daycare—a blond girl, a redheaded girl, a black girl, a girl from Taiwan, and another from Ecuador. Somehow Teresa had managed to create a tribe for herself whose members did not resemble each other—a reflection of how her family members didn’t resemble each other.

I found it adorable. “The bunch of them look like a Gap commercial.”

Marie waved the photo under my nose. “You know what Teresa said when she saw this? ‘I wish I looked like them’.”

“What?” I held the picture closer to see what she was talking about. To me the girls were as different as different could be, with their distinctive ethnic features, diverse skin shades, and rainbow spectrum of hair colors.

Marie tapped the picture. “They all have straight hair.”

At only 5 years old, Teresa yearned to be like the others… with hair that also happened to be like her mother’s.

Fast-forward almost a decade when Marie shared this story with me:

On a hot August day, she and her now middle school daughter, Teresa, were sitting in the car outside the imposing new school, getting ready to locate her classrooms and locker.

“Mom.” Teresa’s voice was shaky as she leaned forward to peer at the wall looming above them. “I don’t think I can do this.”

“Well, I think you can. What exactly is worrying you?”

“What if there isn’t anyone here who looks like me?”

Marie tugged on one of her daughter’s soft curls and laughed as she raked her own straight hair with her fingers. “Honey, no one looks like you at home, and you do just fine. They’re going to love you, just like we do.”

Teresa grinned and put her hand on the door handle. “I wish my hair was straight like yours,” she said for the thousandth time.

Marie grinned back. “I wish my hair was curly like yours,” she replied for the thousandth time.

Marie never did convince her daughter how lovely her curls were. It didn’t help that Jake’s sisters not only straightened their own hair, but also straighten Teresa’s curls whenever they had the chance. It didn’t matter that Marie’s sisters adored the curls. There were still two basic obstacles to Teresa appreciating her own hair:

♦Teresa’s hair didn’t match her automatic standard of beauty – her mom’s hair.

♦Marie consistently modeled her personal dissatisfaction with her straight hair, so Teresa imitated her example by being discontented with her own hair.

The grass is always greener on the other side, right?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Our daughters hang on our every word and deed. Since you want the best for your adorable adolescent, casually point out the positive similarities between you—your looks, style, personality, quirks, spunk, etc. She’ll unconsciously learn to appreciate herself more… and you’ll remind yourself about the things that make you awesome!

You can find more like this topic in my book, How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door (shameless plug).

Tell Your Tweens + Teens Walking the Walk

The Best of You – A Lesson In Self-Appreciation

It’s daunting to be responsible for our daughters, who hang on our every word and deed. We try to be a good example for her to follow, but we are human, and by definition, imperfect. That’s okay, because perfectionism is not a requirement for being an Awesome Mom.

>whew!< That’s good news for me! (and my daughter)

In my last post, Unintentionally Influencing Our Daughters, I addressed how incredibly powerful our perceptions of ourselves influence the self-perceptions of our daughters. Since you want the best for your developing darling, what do you do if your own self-perception is not exactly glowing?

First of all, I’ll bet you’ve never met a woman who admires everything about herself.

Second of all, to have a better self-perception, all you have to do is see yourself the way your admirers see you.

Still too much of a stretch for you?

I’m telling you the truth when I say all you have to do is look outside the box, or, uh, body. Why not begin by positively reframing your self-perception? It’s better for you, and, it’s better for her.

You’re going to make a list of your best characteristics, starting with your head, and working your way down your entire body.

Begin with your hair. Ask yourself, “What is the BEST characteristic of my hair?”

You’re not making a list of your best characteristics (that’s a different exercise). This is a list of the best of everything.

Suppose you don’t like your hair. You still must choose it’s BEST characteristic.

  • Is it a nice shade of _____?
  • Is it a good length?
  • Does it move nicely in the breeze? Or does it nicely resist the breeze?
  • Do you like the way it feels to the touch?
  • Does it smell good?
  • Are the strands strong?
  • Are the strands nice and thick? Or nice and thin?
  • Does it have many colors in it?
  • Is it healthy?
  • …You get the idea.

Be strict with yourself. Force yourself to minimally identify the one best feature of each section of your body, and write it down. You can do it! And, if there’s more than one thing to admire, write them all.

Post the list where you will see it every day so you will remember to read it to yourself. Add your other good points when you think of them. Emphasize the positive aspects of yourself daily for 2 months, even if you feel awkward doing it.

As your appreciation for yourself grows, so will grow her appreciation for herself.

Occasionally mention something that you like about you in front of your daughter. This simple tactic can have a hugely positive impact on both of your lives… if you let it.

You represent your daughter’s first model of a beautiful woman. She spent her infancy staring up at your face and into your eyes. Of course she’s going to see the beauty there. You are the yardstick by which she measures herself.

However, if your daughter resembles her handsome dad, or is adopted, or is the product of an ethnically blended family, she won’t see how incredible she already is because she won’t resemble you the way she thinks she should. It’s doubly important to focus on the things you have in common and emphasize how much you admire them in both of you. Consider taking extra steps to help her foster a healthy self-image in this way.

You can find more like this topic in my book, How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door (shameless plug).

Awesome Moms Tell Your Tweens + Teens Walking the Walk

Unintentionally Influencing Our Daughters

Our behavior isn’t the only thing our darling daughters imitate. Believe it or not, their self-perception is strongly influenced by our self-perception. We don’t notice them watching us criticize ourselves in the mirror, but that’s how they learn how to look at themselves. The way your daughter feels about herself, and her beauty, starts with the way you feel about yourself, and your own beauty. Do you see how important it is for you to let your awesomeness shine through?

If you don’t believe me, check out the Dove Legacy Project, which asked mothers how they felt about their bodies. The women listed the things they hated, the characteristics they liked, and why.

In a separate room, their young daughters were given the same questionnaire about their own little bodies. The nearly identical answers produced by their daughters shocked the mothers. For example, if a mother confessed that she didn’t like her arms, separately her little girl also wrote that she didn’t like her own arms. If the adult shared that she liked her smile, the child appreciated her own smile, too.

When they were brought together, their mums chose a positive characteristic that had been written on both of their lists, and asked their child, “Why do you like this?” The mothers were stunned to hear their daughters’ answers paraphrased their own previously shared reasons.

You can watch the entire 3-minute video by looking up Dove Legacy | A Girl’s Beauty Confidence Starts With You, or you can access it via this link: .

This video made me pause and reflect on whether it applied to my daughter and me.

It did. >sigh<

The glaring illustration was how she had transferred my perpetual dissatisfaction with my belly to her lovely slim waistline. I remember being floored by her criticism of her perfect midsection. At the time it didn’t make any sense to me, but it does now.

Interestingly enough, telling her about my inadvertent influence on her self-perception wasn’t enough to change it. However, when I subtly started to admire myself in front of her, and became more forgiving and appreciative of my body, so did she.

How humbling to be responsible for our daughters, who hang on our every word and deed. Since you want the best for your developing darling, why not positively reframe your self-perception? It’s better for you, and, it’s better for her.

If you feel brave, run their little experiment with you and your daughter, and let us know if you get similar results.

You can find more like this topic in my book, How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door (shameless plug).