by Tara Bergman (USA) | May 19, 2017 | Advice, Exercise, Health, Nature, North America, Tara B., The Americas, USA, World Motherhood
We are approaching summer in my part of the world, which means prime hiking season! I hike with my two boys all year round, but I love this time of year when things are a bit less wet. We live along the Cascade Mountain Range, so there is no shortage of amazing vistas and gorgeous forests to explore. I have been hiking with my kids since they were babies, most often on my own. My sons are now elementary school age, and while some things have gotten easier over the years, some have not. Endurance and motivation are continual challenges.
All of those lovely photos on social media usually have some rough backstory moments. But nothing ventured, nothing gained, so we keep at it.
Today I share some tips on planning a hike and keeping little feet moving along the path.
Choosing a Trail – It’s important to start any journey with a clear plan. Map out where you will go. Depending on where you live, there are often trail websites as well as guide books available that will tell you which are good hikes for kids and when is the best time of year to go. Take into consideration the drive as well as hike length and elevation gain. Are you considering a hike to a destination such as a waterfall or lake, or do you want a no-pressure meander in the forest? Find out if there is a bathroom at the trailhead. And if you do pick a hike with water features, have a plan for when your kids get wet, because they always do.
Safety – Once you have some ideas, make sure to check weather and trail conditions online or with the closest ranger station. Provided the trail looks good and you have any required permits, you can start gearing up. Make sure to pack the 10 essentials plus extra clothes, food, drinks, books, games, and toys for the car. If you are heading to a trail that will be near any ridge, look out, or peak, have a plan to keep little ones safe. I always liked to bring a special blanket that we called the safety mat. When we were in situations where the kids needed to stay put, I brought out the safety mat and they knew there was no leaving the blanket. You may even offer stickers or other rewards for following safety protocol. Lastly, whether you go solo with kids or with friends, have another adult who is not on the hike as your check in buddy. Let them know where you are going, when you plan to return, when you will call to check in, and where they should call if you don’t.
The Drive – Hopefully your kiddos enjoy all those goodies you packed and let you focus on the road. I always keep an eye out on the drive for fun places to stop for a meal or a treat on the way home. I keep it under wraps, but there comes a point on a longer hike when saying “let’s just get to the car, and we can go get ice cream” helps a ton.
Hiking Goals – If your kids have a concept of distance or elevation, talk to them about what you are doing. Give everyone a map if available. Or better yet, give them pencil and a little notebook and have them draw the trail with noticeable landmarks. Consider having them take photographs along the way. My kids LOVE having a camera to carry and will take tons of photos. If the kids are younger, consider picking a favorite tv or book character to pretend to be and act out an adventure on the hike. My boys loved Thomas the Tank Engine, so we’d pretend to be the engines on the narrow-gauge line up on the mountains. If your kids are older, try geocaching, because everyone loves treasure hunting.
Bribery – There is no other way to put it. I bribe my kids. If the drive is super long, they get to play extra video games in the car for being good sports and coming along. I pack treats along with all the healthy stuff. In the photo above, my boys are shown on a mountain peak. Leading up to that moment, my youngest was beginning to bonk at the site of the final climb. I let him know if he made it to the top, he could eat all the cookies before his lunch. He was thrilled, and as the photo shows, we made it. Maybe video games and cookies aren’t going to work for you, but there is something special you can do to reward all that effort.
The last piece of advice I will offer is to always know that at any time you may need to bail.
Maybe it happens on the drive or on the trail, but set a clear expectation with yourself that it will be whatever it will be, which may mean only a few feet down the path. But the more you get your kids out on the trail, the more accustomed to the work they become. And before you know it, you are on top of a mountain having the cookie party of a lifetime!
Do you explore the outdoors with your children? What tips do you have on keeping them safe and moving?
This has been an original post for World Moms Network by Tara B. Photo credit to the author.
Tara is a native Pennsylvanian who moved to the Seattle area in 1998 (sight unseen) with her husband to start their grand life adventure together. Despite the difficult fact that their family is a plane ride away, the couple fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and have put down roots. They have 2 super charged little boys and recently moved out of the Seattle suburbs further east into the country, trading in a Starbucks on every corner for coyotes in the backyard. Tara loves the outdoors (hiking, biking, camping). And, when her family isn't out in nature, they are hunkered down at home with friends, sharing a meal, playing games, and generally having fun. She loves being a stay-at-home mom and sharing her experiences on World Moms Network!
by Mirjam | Dec 19, 2016 | 2016, Europe, Netherlands, Uncategorized
Today is my birthday.
It also marks the day that I’ll start to remain vague about my age.
A few years ago I turned 40,(No, I won’t give you specifics.)
And I remember a slight panicky feeling in my chest the night before.
I thought I was officially old.
But there was a life after 40 and it was a good one.
Some of my friends are approaching 50,
and they are making me feel pretty darn good about my age.
I have come to terms with myself and who I am.
The 40 something version of me is more outspoken and less anxious.
I feel older, wiser, and more at peace with myself.
Life has shown me that it is ever changing.
When I become too comfortable everything shifts and a new process begins.
The perfectionist in me has learned that there is no endgame, no specific goal to achieve.
I am an ever continuing work in progress.
But I do have the urge to be hopeful, helpful.
To spread kindness and positivity.
I want to fulfill my hopes and dreams.
I want to love and to be loved back.
Never stop learning and continue to grow.
My birthday is always at the same time of the year,
that I start to reflect and set my goals for the next year.
Oh, and what a crazy year it was.
This year I will just take a moment to count my blessings.
I have no specific birthday wishes or wishes for 2017,
only to be extended the grace to enjoy a fulfilling life.
I want to live my live to the fullest,
and not being held back by fear at trying to fulfill my hopes and dreams.
And I want to dance be silly and artistic.
Now excuse me while I go and eat some cake!
What are your birthday wishes?
Have you set your goals for 2017?
This is an original post written for World Moms Network by Mirjam in the Netherlands.
Mirjam was born in warm, sunny Surinam, but raised in the cold, rainy Netherlands.
She´s the mom of three rambunctious beauties and has been married for over two decades to the love of her life.
Every day she´s challenged by combining the best and worst of two cultures at home.
She used to be an elementary school teacher but is now a stay at home Mom. In her free time she loves to pick up her photo camera.
Mirjam has had a life long battle with depression and is not afraid to talk about it.
She enjoys being a blogger, an amateur photographer, and loves being creative in many ways.
But most of all she loves live and laughter, even though sometimes she is the joke herself.
You can find Mirjam (sporadically) at her blog Apples and Roses where she blogs about her battle with depression and finding beauty in the simplest of things. You can also find Mirjam on Twitter and Instagram.
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by Mamma Simona (South Africa) | Oct 13, 2016 | 2016, Africa, Africa and Middle East, Blogging, Health, Inspirational, Priorities, South Africa, Time, World Motherhood, Writing
On my way to work this morning, the song “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield played on the radio. I’ve heard the song many times before. This morning, I really paid attention to the lyrics for the first time, and reflected upon my own goals.
Many of us feel trapped in the routine of our daily life. We’ve all said at some point that we don’t have enough time. I’ve been using this excuse for two important goals in my life: decluttering my home, and writing my novel. These are things that I know will make me feel happy and proud of having accomplished them. The truth is that none of us “have” time, we “make” time to do what we really want to do. So I must ask myself the question, “Why have I not made time for the two goals that I’d most like to accomplish?”
The clutter in my home is complicated, as much of it was inherited from my husband’s family. For that reason, I feel that my husband must make the decision regarding what to keep and what to sell. Of course, there is no excuse for me not to get rid of my own clutter!
I know that my almost pathological fear of giving things away stems from my childhood. My parents were terrible at managing our family finances, and in our house, it was feast or famine. When my parents had money, they’d literally buy champagne and caviar. When they had none, we had to make do with “mystery” tins (we had a box of tins without labels). I guess it’s the fear of being without that holds me back from doing what I should in this regard. The ultimate irony is that I usually can’t find what I need, when I need it, anyway!
This brings me to my unwritten novel, which I have dreamt of writing for as long as I can remember. A couple of years ago, I signed up to NaNoWriMo, and started to work on my goal in earnest. Then I was diagnosed with lupus and psoriasis – two severe autoimmune diseases that have since wrecked havoc on my life. I was unable to type due to numbness and pain in my arms and hands. Since then, I have abandoned my goal of writing my novel. While my health challenges are certainly a handicap, I suspect that the real obstacle isn’t lack of time or my health, it’s fear. As long as my novel remains unwritten, it can’t be rejected. I can hold on to my dream of being an author “one day”, whereas if I write it and it’s not good enough, I would have to give up on the dream.
You would think that, given the above insights, I’d be able to overcome my psychological hurdles and get on with it. I’m happy to be able to confirm that I’ve started taking baby steps in the right direction. I have given away two large bags full of clothes I no longer wear, and I’ve started writing for World Moms Network again.
To paraphrase Unwritten: each day we get a brand new chance to “begin our book.” No one else can do or say what we are meant to do and say. We’re all unique, and therefore uniquely qualified for whatever it is that we’re meant to accomplish in our lifetimes.
What goals do you have, but “don’t have time” for? If you have already published a book, do you have any advice for us aspirant authors?
This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Mama Simona from Cape Town, South Africa.
Photo credit: Caleb Roenigk / Flickr.
Mamma Simona was born in Rome (Italy) but has lived in Cape Town (South Africa) since she was 8 years old. She studied French at school but says she’s forgotten most of it! She speaks Italian, English and Afrikaans. Even though Italian is the first language she learned, she considers English her "home" language as it's the language she's most comfortable in. She is happily married and the proud mother of 2 terrific teenagers! She also shares her home with 2 cats and 2 dogs ... all rescues.
Mamma Simona has worked in such diverse fields as Childcare, Tourism, Library Services, Optometry, Sales and Admin! (With stints of SAHM in-between). She’s really looking forward to the day she can give up her current Admin job and devote herself entirely to blogging and (eventually) being a full-time grandmother!
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by Jennifer Burden | Mar 10, 2016 | 2016, Education, International, North America
Lack of sanitation. Universal education. Poverty. Global Health. How is it possible to introduce a group of 70 kids about some of the world’s largest problems and how to solve them in one night — plus make it fun?
Well, last month I helped organize “World Thinking Day” for the Girl Scouts in my town of Holmdel in New Jersey, USA. The day was celebrated on or around February 22nd by Girl Scouts and Girl Guides in 146 countries, and the theme for 2016 established by the Girl Scouts was “Connect.” As a Girl Scout volunteer and a global activist, World Thinking Day was where my worlds were about to collide!
To start, the idea of connecting the girls with what problems to be solved came from this viral Google quote I found in my Facebook feed one day:
“Don’t ask kids what they want to be when they grow up but what problems do they want to solve.” YES!! In order to inspire future problem solvers, we needed to find some problems. And it’s actually not difficult to find the world’s most pressing problems — there’s a list!
We ran straight to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are the 17 global goals world leaders set out to achieve to help eradicate poverty and make the planet a better place. And With Girl Scouts that ranged in age from 5-years old to high school teenagers, we needed presentations and activities incorporating some of the goals which would keep their wide range of interests and attention spans!
We chose to introduce the girls to the concepts of SDGs 1-6: no poverty, no hunger, good health, quality education, gender equality and clean water and sanitation with the help of Save the Children, WaterAID and a kit purchased from Sole Hope.
On the day, 70 girls rotated through four World Thinking Day stations. Two stations were “presentation” stations and two were “maker” stations, where the girls would be hands-on. Upon arrival, we had tables set up in the center of the room for the girls to convene with their troops and have a snack. They also received their schedules of what station their troop would visit and in what order. Before beginning the rotations, we started the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and the Girl Scout Promise. Then, they were off!
World Thinking Day Presentation Stations
We invited Save the Children and WaterAID to the event to present to the girls. Each brought a slide presentation and projector, and their enthusiasm for the work they do was relevant in how fantastically they engaged with the girls. They were introduced to how global nonprofits were applying solutions to solve some of the world’s biggest problems.
Save the Children
At the Save the Children station, girls learned how the organization helps children in over 120 countries. They were shown photos of what classrooms look like before the organization goes in and after. Save the Children is creating better, safer learning environments for children around the globe.
Carmen from Save the Children educating a troop of Cadettes about their programs worldwide that are making a difference in the lives of children.
In 2014 Save the Children helped over 160 million children worldwide! Being kids themselves, the really related to helping children and the photos of seeing the organization in action were engaging.
“It was cool because you can also help one kid who needs help at Save the Children.” — Sophie, Brownie (on sponsorship)
At the WaterAID station, the girls had the opportunity to line up and try to carry a jerry can half full of water and imagine what it would be like if they had to carry that can to fetch water for their family. They also learned how over 1 billion people do not have access to a toilet on the planet!
Manuel and Merry from WaterAID presenting to a Daisy Troop about how their organization helps communities gain access to clean water.
WaterAID explained why clean water is important to prevent disease and how so many people around the world lack access to it. They introduced the girls to ways in which their organization is making an impact in creating access to clean water in different countries.
A Girl Scout Cadette attempts lifting a jerry can half filled with water at the WaterAID station for World Thinking Day. These containers are a way in which some children around the world fetch for waters for their families.
“I was surprised how heavy the yellow container was, and it was only half filled. How do kids carry that?” — Sophie, Brownie
World Thinking Day Maker Stations
World Mom and Anti-poverty mom, Cindy Levin, introduced me to Sole Hope, an organization whose goal is to provide shoes to children who need them most to prevent infection. I ordered a party kit online, and we asked the troops for donations of denim. At the station, the girls learned about how going barefoot can lead to painful foot parasites in some places on the globe. They cut patterns out of the old jeans and plastic that would be made into shoes for children in Uganda.
A Girl Scout Junior troop measures out patterns for cutting out shoes for children in Uganda out of recycled denim and plastic.
We also showed the girls photos of what the finished products would look like.
“I loved helping to make the shoes. They are so cute!” — Brownie, Ally
Girl Scouts’ SWAPS
What’s a Girl Scout event without making SWAPS? SWAPS are an old tradition of exchanging keepsakes among fellow Girl Scouts met while traveling. The acronym stands for “Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere.” The girls were led in making keepsakes to commemorate World Thinking Day 2016. Their SWAPS included gold and silver puzzle pieces to commemorate connecting with friends, as the lyrics go:
“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold!”
Girl Scouts creating at the SWAPS station to commemorate World Thinking Day!
It was so fun to intertwine the UN’s global goals for the planet into the Girl Scouts’ World Thinking Day. We were able to introduce over 70 girls to problems that children like themselves face around the world and they had the opportunity to meet some of the change makers that are providing solutions on the global stage — we definitely gave the girls something to think about!
(After all was said and done, our town’s Girl Scouts had some money left over from the event that they chose to donate to both, Save the Children and WaterAID, too!)
Do you have a Girl Scout or Girl Guide who participated in World Thinking Day this year? Let us know what they did to commemorate the day!
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by World Mom, Jennifer Burden, who is the founder and CEO of World Moms Blog. *Special thanks to Leaders, Janice Petretti and Heather Behal who also helped plan the event!
Photo credits to the author.
Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India.
She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post, ONE.org, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls.
Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.
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by Aisha Yesufu | Oct 8, 2015 | 2015, Africa, Inspirational, Nigeria
World Mom, Aisha Yesufu in Nigeria, has an incredible amount of drive. From humble beginnings, she worked hard at her education and it became her family’s ticket to a better life. We’ve had the chance to join her virtually on World Moms Blog’s panel at the World Bank on the right to a universal education in April, and she is truly, an inspiration.
Just in time for International Day of the Girl on Sunday, get ready, women and girls everywhere, to reach your goals and make things happen!…
If you want to reach your goals, start a business, or start doing anything else for that matter, it has to start in your mind. You have to believe in yourself. You have to believe that you can do it, and this is where most times we have a problem. We start something without actually believing that we can do it. Sometimes we just start certain things without truly believing in ourselves.
We are either pressured into doing it, or doing it because others are doing it; and its expected of us. We start never truly believing in ourselves. You just go ahead to start something, and even you, yourself, are not sure you can do it. You don’t believe you can do it and along the way things begin to fall apart and you begin to blame external forces.
There are no external forces affecting us. The problem is our mindset. What is your mindset when you are about to start? That is something that we can change.
Other times we never start something because in our minds we do not think we are worthy of it or capable of it.
You have to realise your mind does not know the difference between reality and what is not real. Let me give an example. You are just sitting down having a nice time and all of a sudden you hear bad news. You know what happens when we hear bad news? Everything changes, and we begin to cry or scream or feel sad. Your whole body, your whole mind, everything changes. What happened? It’s only that the news got to you!
You don’t even know if what you just learned is true or not. Have you confirmed the bad news? Fact checked it yet? No! You just heard the news and that’s it. That’s the mind. It does not ask for confirmation whether the news is true or not, it goes into the mode it’s fed. That means your mind does not know the difference between truth and a lie. It is reactionary.
If you have continously been told you would amount to nothing all your life and you feed your mind that same notion, well, then, guess what? You may think this is true about yourself! You have to free yourself from the shackles of mental bondage.
You can always trick your mind. For example, you can tell your mind you are the greatest business person in the world. In fact you are at par with Dangote, a billionaire and businessman in my home country of Nigeria. Your mind doesn’t know whether it’s the truth, or not. It’s going to accept it, but the thing you need to do now is to begin to do what smart business people do. I listened to Dangote once on a live interview on TV sometime in 2001 or 2002, and he said he goes to work around 9am and doesn’t close before 9pm.
For me that was a wake up call. I had one of my “Aha!” moments then. When I first saw him I thought, “If only God will bless me the way he has blessed this man.” And when I heard he works 12 hours a day, for me, that was a wake up call.
If you trick your mind into thinking that you are among the ranks of the leaders, and you begin to work as they do, you may begin to set bigger goals for yourself. You can run with the best of them, but you have to BELIEVE it.
When you are trying something new with the mindset of negativity, it could impede your progress. At that point, you may not want to even bother starting. It failed before it took off because it failed in your mind, if you did not have the right mindset. But I believe this thinking can be changed.
World Mom, Aisha Yesufu, speaks out in Abuja on August 17, 2015 against anti-corruption in Nigeria.
Business and goal setting starts in your mind and you need a lot of patience. Business needs patience, patience and more patience. There is nothing like overnight success.
It’s a whole lot of hard work starting something new and having the right mindset. Persevering, focusing on what you are doing. Setting goals and moving on. This does not come easy, but I believe if you keep going that is what leads to that “overnight ” success that a lot of people see. Our mindset is very important and often times when you talk to people the mindset is just not positive. We are looking at our past and looking at who we were and not who we could be.
Where I grew up, we didn’t have anybody. We were born into less privileged homes. It didn’t matter. Whether you are a billionaire; the child of a billionaire; the child of struggling parents making ends meet or from a rich neighbourhood or the slums; it doesn’t really matter. It’s your mindset that matters and determines who you are at the end of the day.
If you don’t believe you are a star you can never be a star. If you don’t believe you are a success you can never be a success.
You can never be greater than your mind.
You have to set your mind higher. Give it goals. Give it targets. Give your mind something to work on. Trick yourself into thinking positively. It doesn’t know the difference between truth and a lie. Tell your mind a good lie. “You are a big time business person.” “You are a billionaire.” “You are on Forbes list.” Let your unconscious mind even when you are sleeping work on that.
Our mindset is of such utmost importance and most often we neglect it. We don’t work on it. There is a need for us to work on our mindset to project ourself mentally where we want to be before we begin to work on that.
Some use Affirmation like repeating to yourself…
I AM THE GREATEST BUSINESS PERSON. I AM THE GREATEST TEACHER. I AM THE GREATEST ASTRONAUT. I AM THE GREATEST CHEF. I AM THE GREATEST POLITICAL LEADER. I AM THE GREATEST MUSICIAN. I AM THE GREATEST FRIEND. I AM THE GREATEST PEACEKEEPER. I AM THE GREATEST HUMANITARIAN.
You can keep saying that repeatedly so it becomes engraved in your mind. Whatever you want to be, you need to let your mind know.
Once you have a positive mindset and believe you CAN, you can start thinking about setting goals to achieve something in your heart. Something that you would ordinarily look at as impossible, but because of your mindset you don’t see the impossibility. You see the POSSIBILITY. You just strike out the ‘im’ and you move on.
Have a positive mindset. Believe you can do it. Why not you? Why can’t you achieve it? If people are achieving it why not you? The difference between the achiever and the non achiever is the MINDSET. Go get ’em, World Moms!
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by contributor Aisha Yesufu in Nigeria.
Photo credit of Aisha to the author. Images to World Moms Blog.