A Guide: How to Walk like you’re Pregnant

Disclaimer – no, I am NOT pregnant.

I did, however, learn over the weekend that you can teach anyone (in my case my husband) how to walk like a pregnant woman.  Without further ado, here’s the quick go-to guide:

How to Walk like you’re Pregnant

  1. Procure a pair of snowshoes.
  2. Find a snow covered area for hiking.
  3. Awkwardly bend over and strap on snowshoes.
  4. Point toes slightly out to the side and begin walking.
  5. For added effect, place a 40 – 60 lb. backpack on frontwards.
  6. Keep walking for at least an hour for the full “pregnant lady” simulation.

This effective how to guide will soon replace the common “put on the weighted boobs and baby bump” that my husband and I experienced in our birthing class.  He wore it for a full two minutes – just like the other dads, and just like the other moms, I laughed and shook my head, thinking, “You have NO clue what this is like.”  Snowshoeing was spot-on for the pregnant waddle.

Though we’re standing still in the pictures below, trust me, we were both waddling.  The pictures were taken in Door County, Wisconsin at Peninsula State Park.  This is otherwise known as the “thumb” in the mitten shape of the state of Wisconsin. Daddy O. and I enjoyed a little kid-free weekend getaway (yes, this IS late March in Wisconsin). Since we live here (and plan to for years to come), we are deciding to embrace winter and get into more outdoor activities, making snowshoeing a great choice! The park was so peaceful and quiet – a stark contrast from the warmer summer months.

Plus, Door County is a cherry lover’s paradise. We indulged in cherry stuffed french toast, cherry juice, cherry pastries, cherry soda / wine…it seems the cherry options are endless! My husband LOVED it!

All in all it was a beautiful, relaxing, and delicious way to recharge – something all parents / couples need from time to time. What do you like to do on your getaways?

How else do you simulate pregnancy to help others understand how it feels?  Do you have any suggestions other than snowshoeing?

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All I Really Need to Know about Parenting I Learned in Marketing: Positive Reinforcement

As I see so many parallels between my professional background and parenting techniques, I’ve decided to write a series of posts on All I Really Need to Know about Parenting I Learned in Marketing. After describing parental rebranding, I would like to move on to another commonly used parenting tactic used to shape desired behavior: positive reinforcement.

Psychology and Consumer Behavior were two of my favorite courses in college.  It is so interesting to learn how our minds work and how we can influence behavior. While the super power of mind control remains oh so elusive, we marketers and parents alike have to work with our current arsenal of tricks.   I commonly turn to operant conditioning.

Operant conditioning is

“…the process of altering the probability of a behavior being emitted by changing the consequence of the behavior.”[1]

When the desired behavior occurs, positive consequences are presented to increase the chances of that behavior occurring in the future.  This is positive reinforcement!

In marketing, you will see frequent purchase incentives, such as buy 5 get 1 free, rebates, coupons, or $ off by referring others to the site. I recently received a $15 credit on Zulily after one of the friends I referred made a purchase.  I happily returned to the site and made a purchase and will continue to do so with that positive reinforcement.

My BEST parenting example of positive reinforcement is potty training. We have been cheering and potty-treating our way to underwear. See this post for our real life story about potty training.  We started with a continuous reinforcement schedule, so every successful trip to the potty earned big sister a potty treat.  Now we are on a fixed ratio schedule for #2’s, so every fifth successful trip to the potty earns a special adventure to the store to choose a small “poopy present.” Big sister now refers to Target as the “poopy present store.” Nice, huh?! Our treat system has been extremely effective, though my son in diapers has also benefited from getting his own treats too.  Eventually we will phase out the treats, saving them only for dinnertime bonus – another form of positive reinforcement for eating well.

How do you use positive reinforcement as a parent?

All I Really Need to Know about Parenting I Learned in Marketing: Rebranding

As I see so many parallels between my professional background and parenting techniques, I’ve decided to write a series of posts on All I Really Need to Know about Parenting I Learned in Marketing.

Part 1: Rebranding

It’s something that companies turn to when the current brand has grown a little stale, as a way to reposition it for future growth and success.

Little did I know as a marketing student and professional how useful rebranding would be as a parent. A parental rebranding is an amazing way to help motivate your children’s behavior with a positive and fun approach to everyday tasks. Words like special, magic, bonus, play, and adventure should be used LIBERALLY in any parental rebranding.

Just take a look at some of my favorite parental rebranding examples:

1. Dessert becomes Lunchtime / Dinnertime Bonus and even has it’s own theme song:

    Lunchtime bonus, Lunchtime bonus, Lunchtime bonus, if you eat well (clap, clap).

2. Get over here and clean up now becomes, “I need a special helper.” or “Will you be on my clean-up team? We then sing the Wonder Pets Teamwork song together.  My daughter even asked me to be on her clean-up team this week.  Score 1 Mom / CEO! 

3. Trip to the store or a walk becomes a Secret Adventure. Dress-up costumes, sunglasses, magnifying glasses, flashlights, and backpacks are excellent accessories for secret adventures.

4. Reminder to use manners becomes use the magic words.  I’m sure you’ve heard and used this one before!

5. Broccoli becomes Green Trees. Who doesn’t want to pretend they are a giant chomping on green trees?

What things have you rebranded for your family?  I’d love to hear your own creative ideas!

5 Tips for Parents

 

I recently read a post from The Bump Life called The Best Parenting Advice I’ve Received, and I think it’s a great list of 5 key pieces of advice.  I just pulled the toy switcheroo in my house, and it worked like a charm.  And I completely agree, getting out of the house every day makes you feel good – like you accomplished something!

I thought of a few more tips that came to mind:

1. Shower and fix your hair every day.  This sounds kind of lame, but I think it ties back to taking care of yourself.  When I take just 15 minutes to get myself ready in the morning, I feel much more awake and ready to take on the day.  When we do finally make it out of the house, I feel better looking good – even better if I put on at least some makeup.  I remember watching a daytime talk show encouraging women to get ready & dress nice just for YOU.

2. Do a load of laundry or some chore every day.  With rarely getting uninterrupted time to get housework done, I break it up into smaller chunks of time, so I’m not overwhelmed. Today my daughter helped me dust and water the plants.  Yay!

3. Do a few things the night before! This can go for packing lunches, picking out clothes, packing the car for a trip, etc.  It is so much easier to get things accomplished with a quiet house that will help streamline the morning routine.

4. Take a timeout. It is perfectly acceptable to put your child in a safe place and leave them there for a few minutes to calm down.  Parents can take their own timeouts too….again it goes back to taking care of yourself for your own health and sanity.

5. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I sometimes aspire to be the perfect parent – to do whatever I can to make my children the best people they can be.  This can be exhausting of course, so give yourself permission to just “show-up.” Sure, there are days when the TV is on longer than I would like, or I may not have handled my daughter’s tantrum in the best way, but I know that there will be PLENTY of opportunities to try something different the next day or during the next tantrum.  Parents – like kids – learn through trial and error, and there’s not one perfect way of raising children.  Do what works for you and your family and just make it through the day.  No matter how many tough moments there were, I try to reflect on the sweet, million dollar moments that I had the privilege of experiencing that day.

Want more advice or tips? Check out these links below:

Advice for Parents-to-be from Go Mama O

How to Find a 25th Hour in Your Day – Forbes Women

On Being a Type A Parent

cat toilet training phase 2

would potty training my cat be any easier? (Photo credit: reallyboring)

There are times that being a Type A Parent sucks.

Remember, I’m an overachiever type that misses working outside of the home. And there are days – okay maybe only parts of days – when I feel like I’m failing miserably as a parent.

I try to remind myself that when your child is potty trained does NOT go on any college or job application.  I try to focus on the good things that my children ARE doing instead of focusing on what they are NOT doing.

Still with constant access to social media, I can read how other toddlers are faring with potty training.  I hear from other parents and my daughter’s doctor, “Don’t push it.  She may not be ready.”  AHH!!  I’m clearly ready, and my daughter is showing MULTIPLE signs of readiness too.  According to many age milestones, it seems that 3 is a fairly common age to start using the potty.

Maybe I’m pushing too much for me, and realizing that it’s not effective.  How can I turn off the goal-oriented part of me and just accept the here-and-now?  I bought pull-ups and overnight diapers back when there was snow on the ground, shortly after quitting my job, and MONTHS later we just started using them.  I left work thinking I could easily tackle potty training – like any other project on my to-do list.  I guess I was a bit overly optimistic in the face of yet another challenge of parenthood.  Well, at least there’s no performance review in our house.

I’ll go eat my own potty treats now.