Know someone who is in the midst of a divorce?

Show up for them as much as you can. Not sure what to do. These tips can help:

Psychologists Recommend Mothers Take ‘Momcations’ to Get Away From Their Families

It is universally known that mothers are some of the most hard-working people in the world.

A mother works 24 hours a day throughout the whole year, and the job comes with a substantial amount of emotional and financial stress.

“Momcation”, a recent trend made popular by social media, is a brief vacation where moms travel together or solo without their family. While the “momcation” can be a fun trip for mothers, psychologists now suggest that moms traveling on their own can improve their family relationships in the long run.

Mothers should be aware that taking momcations can also help them improve their own well-being.

Experts say that taking momcations can also be useful for the other members of the family. Psychology professor Dr. Nava Silton states: “it’s very important for kids to see that balance that ideally needs to be achieved in a family situation.”

Motherhood does not only involve raising a child but also keeping the house in order, being present at all school activities, making meals, planning the week and so on.

A mom can often feel as if she is the only person that can keep the kids on a schedule and manage the household.

Before taking a trip, the mother can devise a care plan for the spouse, members of the family, or friends who will be caring for the children.

Once she returns home from her momcation the mom will feel well rested and refreshed. One mother says: “I came back and I was a better mom. A more patient mom. A better wife. You learn to appreciate what you have at home because you got that break from it all.”

Taking as little as a couple of days from the hardships of life or even going out for a coffee with a friend every now and then can greatly improve a mother’s mental, physical, and emotional health. Check it out for yourself!

Have you ever taken a momcation? How did you feel after returning?

Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comment section below.

By Kris Di | | Republished with permission



Think a li’l deeper

Halle Berry will star in the upcoming “Little Mermaid” film as Ariel. That’s nice. Lol. Let’s think a little deeper though. Magic. Witches, fairies, mermaids etc.

Black Mermaids, White Fantasies and the Need for a Black Feminist Imagination

The Black Mermaid Booklist

Princess Truly books

P.S.- Of course for teens and young adults we have phenomenal authors like, and These books are worth a try too:



“We are torturing new mothers and then wondering why they get mentally ill.”


Torturing new mothers? Who does that? Well, as a society, we all do. I’m not kidding, I’m perfectly serious, and I’m going to stop mincing my words and say it how it is. We torture mothers.

Sleep deprivation is a method of torture that has been used for at least 500 years, and is still used today. It was used extensively in Guantanamo Bay. The difference between sleep deprivation in Guantanamo bay and in new mothers is that no-one is systematically and intentionally hurting new mothers. But the effect is the same. Sleep torture is designed to create psychological changes, which are supposed to encourage the victim to submit, to lose their sense of reality, and to talk.

Chronic sleep deprivation is not good for you. It leads to cognitive impairment, anger and irritability, anxiety, and even psychosis. Yes, you read that right. Chronic sleep deprivation is known to cause psychosis. Puerperal psychosis in new mothers is not common thankfully, but it is dangerous. I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few study days on perinatal mental health recently, and they have all included really valuable talks by people who have recovered from severe postnatal depression, post traumatic stress disorder and psychosis. What I noticed was that they all had one thing in common . They all mentioned lack of sleep as a factor in their illness. The lovely Sinead Willis talked about “lack of sleep started to catch up with me….I couldn’t sleep more than an hour at night and I became very disorientated”. One of the effects of sleep deprivation is disorientation, or a feeling of “altered reality”. At another talk I was lucky enough to hear, the mother told us that she hadn’t slept at all for the first three days of her baby’s life, but no one noticed, because she was in a private hospital room on her own. She developed psychosis within a matter of days. Elaine Hanzak, author of “Eyes without sparkle” talks about the fact that during her treatment, she would look forward to her Electro-Convulsive Therapy sessions, because “they have to put you to sleep first….bliss”.

Chronic sleep deprivation is when you have no opportunity to make up your sleep debt. You go on, night after night, suffering from not enough sleep. Acute sleep deprivation is when you lose sleep for one night, but you can then catch up. Even acute sleep deprivation has a marked effect on our mental health. In one study by Walker and colleagues, healthy young students were split into two groups. One group were sleep deprived, the other group slept normally. The next day, both groups were shown disturbing, upsetting and gory pictures. The researchers found that there were significant differences in the brain activity of the two groups, as measured by MRI scans. The sleep deprived group showed reactions similar to anxiety reactions. Their amygdala lit up like an alarm bell to the disturbing images, firing off stress hormones, whilst the normal group’s brain showed a more balanced reaction, with the parts of the brain that “panic and worry” being balanced by the part of the brain that “reasons and rationalises”. In the sleep deprived group, their ability to process and mediate the anxiety was damaged.

People have always thought that anxiety and depression causes disturbed sleep. But this research suggests that lack of sleep can cause anxiety. All on its own, and in only one night. Whilst new mums aren’t shown disturbing images by scientists, they do have disturbing images all of their own. Worries and concerns about the baby, feelings of guilt, not being good enough, intrusions of hurting the baby, concerns about baby’s feeding, and so on. And of course, once anxiety sets in, it becomes more difficult to sleep, increasing the chances of depression setting in, and a vicious cycle begins with a force of its own.

With all this in mind, is it any wonder that we have such high rates of anxiety, depression, and psychosis postnatally? Women usually give birth overnight, sometimes over two or three nights. They are then put in a busy maternity ward with lights on, other women and babies crying, constant interruptions from staff and so on. Or they are sent home alone with just a very tired husband. Either way, they have a baby with them, who they need to keep alive, learn to feed, and look after. On no sleep. Then, when the father goes back to work after his 2 weeks of paternity leave, it is perfectly acceptable in our society for her to say “I’ll do the night feeds, because you have to work all day”. She isn’t understanding the value, the necessity, of her sleep for her mental health. Neither is the father, or the health visitor, or society in general. Her sleep debt builds, increasing the risk to her mental health.

In other cultures, mums are made to rest, recuperate, stay in bed, and do nothing but get to know baby. They are fed, washed, pampered with hot stone massages, and so on. Almost all non-westernised cultures have a ritual similar to this, which lasts about 40 days. In the West, mums are not made to rest. They are expected to go on as normal, with the washing, the school run, losing baby weight, going shopping and so on. Mums are told “sleep when baby sleeps”. However, this simply is not good enough. Because mum needs to eat, and she needs to shower, and she needs to get dressed sometimes, and she needs to go to see the health visitor and have baby weighed, and baby might only sleep for 20 minutes at a time. Then, when dad goes back to work, it gets even more chronic, because she offers to do the night feeds so that he can get up and work the next day. The importance of her physical and emotional health is ignored, at a high cost to the devastation that perinatal mental illness causes, and a high cost to the NHS.

Let’s stop torturing mothers. Let’s stop ignoring the problem of expecting new mums to get back to normal. They are not normal, they are super important, and we need to value them and treat them with the greatest respect, if we don’t want them to break into a million pieces, shattering the lives of all those around them. The NHS needs to prioritise maternal mental health, not just with adequate treatment facilities once the damage is done, but also with prevention in the first place. Proper paternity leave, decent postnatal wards with midwives who have time to care, regular home visits, continuity of care. Change needs to happen in attitudes as well. We need to start telling other people how important it is, to look after mum. Encourage partners to “put mum to sleep”. Tuck her up in bed with a chamomile tea (or a G and T) and tell her to stay there. Turn the lights off for her, bring her an extra pillow, tell visitors to go away because she is sleeping, bring the baby to her when he or she needs a feed. The cost of not doing so, could be her mental health.

Mia Scotland is a Clinical Psychologist. You can purchase her book Why Perinatal Depression Matters by following the link.


My two cents. Been there, done that. And when you have a very active child who just won’t sleep you are even more susceptible. Mamas deserve so much more. Familes/friends, please lay off buying all the “baby stuff” and step up to the plate by helping mamas get regular sleep and eat relatively well.


Smartphones, tablets causing mental health issues in kids as young as two

Children as young as two are developing mental health problems because of smartphones and tablets, scientists warn.

Just an hour a day staring at a screen can be enough to make children more likely to be anxious or depressed.

This could be making them less curious, less able to finish tasks, less emotionally stable and lowering their self-control, the DailyMail reports.

Although teenagers are most at risk from the damaging devices, children under the age of 10 and toddlers’ still-developing brains are also being affected.

But research shows ‘zombie’ children spend nearly five hours every day gawping at electronic devices.

Researchers from San Diego State University and the University of Georgia say time spent on smartphones is a serious but avoidable cause of mental health issues.

“Half of mental health problems develop by adolescence,” professors Jean Twenge and Keith Campbell said. “There is a need to identify factors linked to mental health issues that are [able to be changed] in this population, as most are difficult or impossible to influence. How children and adolescents spend their leisure time is [easier] to change.”

Parents and teachers must cut the amount of time children spend online or watching television while they’re studying, socialising, eating or even playing sport.

Professor Twenge said her study, one of the biggest of its kind, backs the American Academy of Pediatrics’ established screen time limit – one hour per day for children aged two to five.

It also suggests a similar limit – perhaps two hours – should be applied to school-aged children and adolescents, she added.

The researchers analysed data provided by the parents of more than 40,000 US children aged two to 17 for a nationwide health survey in 2016. The questionnaire asked about the youngsters’ medical care, any emotional, developmental or behavioural issues and their daily screen time.

Adolescents spending more than seven hours a day on screens are twice as likely to have been diagnosed with anxiety or depression as those who spent an hour. Links between screen time and wellbeing are stronger among adolescents than young children, the study found.

Professor Twenge said: “At first, I was surprised the associations were larger for adolescents. However, teens spend more time on their phones and on social media, and we know from other research that these activities are more strongly linked to low wellbeing than watching television and videos, which is most of younger children’s screen time.”

Even moderate use of four hours is also associated with lower psychological well-being than one hour a day.


Pre-schoolers, or under fives, who are high users are twice as likely to often lose their temper – and are 46 per cent more prone to not be able to calm down when excited.

Among 14 to 17 year olds, more than four in ten (42.2 per cent) of those in the study who spent more than seven hours a day on screens did not finish tasks.

About one in eleven (9 per cent) of 11 to 13-year-olds who spent an hour with screens daily were not curious or interested in learning new things.

Writing in the journal Preventative Medicine Reports, the professors said they were particularly interested in links between screen time and diagnoses of anxiety and depression in youngsters, which have not yet been studied in great detail.

They said: “Previous research on associations between screen time and psychological well being among children and adolescents has been conflicting, leading some researchers to question the limits on screen time suggested by physician organisations.”

The US National Institute of Health estimates children and adolescents commonly spend an average of five to seven hours on screens during leisure time. Evidence is growing of the adverse effects this has on health.

This year the World Health Organisation decided to include gaming disorder in the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases.

And in December 2017 a team of Oxford University researchers found UK ‘zombie’ children’s average daily screen time has leapt in a generation from just under three hours to four hours and 45 minutes.

Experts warn ‘addicted’ children risk sleeplessness, obesity and falling victim to cyber-bullying, while losing valuable social skills through a lack of face-to-face contact.

Souls choose their families and friends before birth

Our souls meet this world time and time again, as this happens we grow and change. We outgrow old soul contracts and make new ones as we go, this is just how things are.

Souls are born into many different bodies throughout many different lifetimes. Sometimes we have the same parents as we did in the life before and other times we do not. Who will be in our lives is something we determine when connected to the source, before returning here again. We do not remember making these decisions or choosing these people but we did.

During our time at the source, we choose what lessons to learn, what kind of life we want to live, and everything in-between. During that time we are paired up with parents and partners who will guide us along our way. If you have experienced a life with someone specific you two might choose to reverse roles in the next life within reason. There is no limit to the things that can be done.

Soul contracts consist of your time, date, and location of birth as well as the family you were born into and everything from death to what events might unfold. Everything is predetermined to happen before it is ever even considered while you are living. You do not remember the decisions you made while in spirit form, but they are still quite prominent and guiding your life towards a path you carved out for it.

That being said, you do have free will and you can make changes to this as you see fit. Our destiny and fate is not something that can be so easily decided but regardless the outline is ever present. Our soul contracts are deals we have made with ourselves, they are meant to help us grow to a higher state of consciousness or awareness.

If you feel like you’re meeting the right person at the right time it is most likely because part of a soul contract is being fulfilled. While this can be confusing when you begin noticing the ways in which this kind of thing affects your life it will begin to make much more sense. We tend to incarnate here on this planet with the same people time and time again. You will know your soul family when you find them, but that does not mean you should ignore the family you were given this time around.

This world is a very mysterious place but nothing is happening for ‘no reason.’ You should take comfort in knowing you are carrying out the things your spirit self-wanted done. Learn the lessons before you and grow in all possible ways. Make your spirit self-proud.

5 amazing ways that unschooling develops children’s creativity

In Unschooling to University, parenting expert and author Judy Arnall argues that prescribed curriculum kills creativity, while free play promotes it.


One day, my daughter’s kindergarten class was doing an art project. The children cut pieces of fruit in half and dipped them in paint to make prints on paper. As the parent volunteer, I was assigned a group of five children to supervise. I showed them the “template” to make the fruit art. I watched as four children dipped the fruit into the paint. Most matched the colors—the lemon halves got dipped into yellow paint, the orange halves into orange paint, and so on. One little boy decided to dip his lemon half into blue paint. I watched in fascination as he swooshed his fruit in beautiful swirls all over his paper. He continued to do that with other fruits and other paint colors. Swooshes, not prints. Different colors. I thought, this kid is creative! I told him that I loved his interpretation. We parent volunteers collected our groups’ artworks and laid them on the table to dry. Twenty minutes later, I saw the teacher quietly look over the pieces while the children were engaged in another activity. She held out the swirled painting and asked the parent volunteers whose group it was from. I was instantly transported back to my own school days. Filled with fear, I raised my hand and managed to stammer out, “He’s in my group. Isn’t it beautiful?” She asked me to sit down with the child and show him how to redo the painting. “The paintings are to be displayed on the bulletin board outside the classroom and this one doesn’t match the rest.”

What do kids bring to kindergarten? Creativity, curiosity, initiative, and lots of self-confidence. If  their ideas get shut down in the interest of adhering to the established curriculum, children give up their curiosity and acquiesce. Most of those lovely, spontaneous qualities are stifled out of them by Grade 3. It’s easier for them to follow the norm than be forced into a do-over.

An age-by-age guide to nurturing creativity in kidsWe need to consistently provide supportive environments that allow kids to come up with new ideas; we need to throw out the old model of force-feeding and regurgitation. Children should be encouraged to invent new outcomes, not conform to outdated ones. We need to teach kids to love learning for the joy of discovery—not to score an A on a test by giving the “right” answers. No one in the field of education denies that creativity is important; yet the reality is that creativity is often shut down in subtle but very clear ways: a child challenges the teacher’s knowledge and gets a detention; a student reaches the correct answer on a test in a non-conformist way and it gets marked wrong. It happens frequently in math—a correct answer attained through an “incorrect” method.

Never has there been a more critical need for innovation as the primary rationale for education; the world’s problems today demand it. Creativity—innovation—involves experimentation, risk-taking, failures. Failure is essential to the creative process, in forcing both trial after trial to perfect the end result, and the perseverance necessary to do so.

Our society badly needs innovators, engineers, architects, designers, researchers, inventors, thought-leaders, and scientists. Everyone is creative. Let’s keep it flowing. Here is how:

1. No plan, template, model, image or expectation is preconceived

Templates lead children down the tried and true path meant to result in a preconceived outcome. In unschooling, kids are encouraged to come up with original ideas.

2. More freedom with resources and supplies

Unconventional ideas sometimes benefit from resources and supplies not obtainable through the school supply systems. Unschoolers are in the enviable position of being able to purchase interesting materials for their projects, or even rummage through attics or scavenge through sewing rooms or garages to find things to complete their projects or fuel their creativity.

3. Unlimited time

Everyone knows that the brain needs water, nutritious food, and adequate sleep to function well. Exercise is also important. But to be creative, the brain also needs downtime. Children spend six hours a day in school, three hours being transported, and another three hours doing homework.

They often have very little time to process their thinking and just “be.” Yet this is critical. Freedom from the distractions of mobile phones, people, and screens is important in order for the brain to postulate, formulate, imagine, and percolate new ideas. People today do not have enough time to “veg out.” Brains need to be able to relax and de-focus. To wander wherever their thoughts take them. Creative blocks happen; when they do, allowing the brain to relax is helpful. Often a resolution comes unexpectedly when we are not under pressure to force it.

Many people do their creative thinking on the treadmill, or while in the shower, meditating, or lying awake in bed. An idea might wake them during the night. Some people feel more creative in the early morning, waking up refreshed after a good night’s sleep; others late at night, with their brain in a relaxed and unfocused state. Curiously, those who routinely exercise their creativity are more likely to be extreme “morning” or “night” people.


4. Mistakes are celebrated

We have all seen little children try to hold a heavy project together with a little piece of tape or a spot of glue. It takes a lot of messing around to figure out what will work. I remember building a sugar cube castle with $27 worth of sugar cubes and some liquid glue. It was the wrong glue and melted the sugar into one gloppy mess. Kids in school today don’t learn such things because projects, materials, instruction, and outcomes are pre-planned and prescribed.

When people are afraid of making mistakes, they refuse to let themselves entertain creative ideas. They overthink them and discard them. Ideas flow when they are not weighted in evaluation. That’s why brainstorming with other people is helpful in coming up with creative solutions. The more ideas that are generated, the more likely it is that at least one of them will work.

In our family, when someone makes a mistake, we ask, “What did you learn from this?” Instead of developing a climate of blame and punishment, we forgive mistakes and encourage learning. Our society would be better if everyone did their best to support others’ ideas and promote the ones that work.

I dream of a day when kids will win scholarships based not on academic averages, but on how many mistakes they have made, taken responsibility for, and creatively fixed!

5. Self-esteem is nurtured

The overwhelming punitive peer environment in school can be heavily damaging to an individual’s child self-esteem. Even the most popular kids are always on guard, afraid of making mistakes. Yet the ability to make mistakes and learn from them is an essential component of creativity and risk-taking. Kids with healthy self-esteem will take risks and not be afraid of failing. We need kids to be able to say, “Oh well. That didn’t work. Let’s try this…” The ability to pick themselves up and try again is critical to attaining success in their careers and in their lives.

For our family, the phrase, “I wonder if…” has been the best idea stimulator. No one is criticized for any idea, whether it is feasible or not. We all have enough self-esteem to let things go if they aren’t working, and the freedom to recombine elements in a different way to try something a second time. The day my kids combined the elements of play-dough, sand, and water, my visiting friends were horrified because “it’s just not done,”—yet my kids did it, had fun, and discovered the properties of breaded play-dough.

Unschooling allows children to play and explore during the school years, fostering creativity that a prescribed curriculum cannot. This is one of the most crucial reasons for re-examining our school system.

From Unschooling to University by Judy Arnall, copyright © 2018 by the author and reprinted by permission of Professional Parenting.


Why This Bride Wearing No Makeup on Her Wedding Day Is Refreshingly Relatable

Two weeks ago I got married at a small farmhouse in upstate New York. There was no glam squad, no wedding planner, and (almost) no pressure. I said my vows in front of 15 close friends and family members, wearing a dress I’d bought on ASOS the week before and makeup I’d done myself in 15 minutes. It was simple and exactly what I wanted.

But in the months leading up, I’d been overwhelmed by the emotional and financial burden of orchestrating a picture-perfect wedding. After one too many floral arrangement anxiety attacks, I decided I’d had enough and planned a wedding that would make me and my husband happy, regardless of what other people thought. I’m sure I’m not alone here when I say managing wedding day priorities is a real bitch.

That’s why Tasnim Jara’s story about unrealistic expectations often put on brides is so refreshing. On Wednesday Jara, a Muslim woman and nonprofit-organization leader, shared a photo from her wedding on Facebook that promptly went viral. In it, she’s beaming and wearing absolutely no makeup.

In the caption of the photo, which has been shared over 24,000 times so far, Jara reveals that her choice not to wear makeup on her wedding day was at odds with the expectations of her family. “I was troubled by the singular image of a bride that our society has—with tons of makeup, a weighty dress, and mounds of jewelry weighing her down,” she wrote.

Jara goes on to explain that since childhood, she’s learned “from her aunties, peers, and the corporates that a bride is ‘incomplete’ without ornaments; that her and her families’ status depends on how much gold she puts on on the day.” Then she reflects in detail just how deeply ingrained this expectation is, and describes how some of her family members wouldn’t even pose for photos with her because she didn’t look the way they thought a bride ought to look.

“I have hardly attended any wedding where I didn’t overhear people gossiping: ‘Is the bride pretty enough?’ ‘How much gold does she have on?'” Jara said. “Growing up listening to these questions, a bride feels pressured to look for the best makeup artist in town, pays a hefty amount in time, money, and energy, and ends up looking nothing like herself.”

Jara’s account of the backlash she faced gave me all the feels, especially since I remember a few less-than-favorable responses to my low-key wedding. But what really stood out to me about Jara’s story was the conviction and pride with which she stood up for herself and brides everywhere: “Don’t get me wrong, if a girl wants to use [makeup], [jewelry], and expensive clothes for herself, I am all in for that. But it is a problem when she loses her agency in deciding what she would like to wear on her wedding day. When the society forces her to doll up and look like a different person, it gives a message that the authentic look of a girl isn’t good enough for her own wedding.”

Take a moment to give her a slow clap, then check out Jara’s whole post below.

I walked into my wedding reception wearing grandmother’s white cotton saree with zero makeup and no jewellery. Many asked me why. So here is my reason.

I was troubled by the singular image of a bride that our society has – with tons of makeup, a weighty dress and mounds of jewellery weighing her down. Don’t be fooled, this lavish image of a bride does not represent the financial well-being or agency of a woman in the family. This sometimes rather happens against their will. As if the society has decided that if we really have to spend money on women, we spend it against their will and for a cause that won’t do them any good.

I have hardly attended any wedding where I didn’t overhear people gossiping: “Is the bride pretty enough?” “How much gold does she have on?” “How much did her dress cost?” Growing up listening to these questions, a bride feels pressured to look for the best makeup artist in town, pays a hefty amount in time, money and energy, and ends up looking nothing like herself; because the society constantly reminds her that her actual skin colour isn’t good enough for her own wedding.

She has learnt from her aunties, peers, and the corporates that a bride is “incomplete” without ornaments; that her and her families’ status depends on how much gold she puts on on the day. She can hardly afford to question if the amount of jewellery she puts on can indeed determine her and her families’ dignity. Because the society keeps pushing with, “You’re a girl. Why wouldn’t you wear gold on your wedding?”

Again, to look like a bride, she needs to wear a crazy expensive dress, which ironically makes walking difficult for her (due to its weight) and never comes of any use after the wedding. But the society won’t accept it any other way.

Don’t get me wrong, if a girl wants to use make-up, jewellery and expensive clothes for herself, I am all in for that. But it is a problem when she loses her agency in deciding what she would like to wear on her wedding day. When the society forces her to doll up and look like a different person, it gives a message that the authentic look of a girl isn’t good enough for her own wedding.

Personally, I feel that we need to change this mindset. A girl should not need a whitening lotion, a gold necklace or an expensive saree to be accepted as a bride or to make her feel confident. So I arrived at my wedding venue wearing my dadu’s saree, with zero makeup and no jewellery. People may call it simple, but it was very special to me, for what I believe in and what it means to me.

I faced a lot of resistance from many quarters after making this decision. Certain members of my family even said that they won’t take any photo with me because I didn’t dress like (they imagine) a bride. Shoutout to the few family members who have supported me in this, and special shoutout to this person beside me, Khaled, who has not only supported me unconditionally but also beamed at me with so much pride, for taking a stance against the stereotypes.


I’ve gotten a few photos back from my wedding photographer (one of my best friends volunteered as tribute), and while I don’t look airbrushed or perfect, I do look incandescently happy. My husband looks happy. In her wedding photo Jara is lit from within with happiness. That’s what a wedding should be all about, and it has nothing to do with how much makeup a bride has on.

pMy glamsquadfree wedding day. Photo Credit Jenna Mackeyp
My glam-squad-free wedding day. Photo Credit: Jenna Mackey


Technology’s affect on children & the importance of unstructured play

In this technological age I’m not saying that it’s easy to limit screen time. We really do need to pay attention though. Let’s get to it!