• Dear Parents…


     Are you okay?

    Seriously, are you reaaalllyyy okay?  Most of us are inclined to quickly reply, “yes, I’m fine!”  However, if we step back and take a moment to really be honest with ourselves. We are, in fact, not okay.   

    Haven’t moments of not being okay, is okay.  Taking the time to realize that we need a moment to even process that we are not okay, is okay.  We live up to an unrealistic standard of being these supposed “super parents” that, if not occasionally checked, leads down a narrow and dangerous path of us parents lying to ourselves that we are okay and we are not.  

    Was it our own caregivers, who likely had their own periods of parental turbulence, that made parenting life look so easy that we mistakenly believed that they were always okay?  

    Is it the constant disjointed messaging of parental perfection that dominates or social feeds?  You know, the picture-perfect smiling family of eight, donning coordinated outfits head to toe, matching perfectly groomed Goldendoodle in tow sitting in their spotless and flawlessly decorated living room. Meanwhile, we average parents consider it a good day if we’re able to take two swigs of the morning coffee while it’s still lukewarm and a great day if we make it to the afternoon having not stepped on a pile of legos on our way, late of course, to the 75th video conference call of the day. 

    I know I’m not alone.  Are you with me?  

    Let’s exhale together. Now, let’s dissect this, one step at a time.   

    Be honest.

    Choose your battles.  

    Protect your peace.

    Don’t compare.

    Be intentional.

    Create a sanctuary. 

    Seek help.

    The first step to solving a problem is to admit the problem actually exists. You’re going to have to sit yourself down to have an honest talk with yourself in the mirror.  You are mentally struggling.  And, in order to feel better, to be better, it’s necessary for you to make intentional changes. 

    Recognize that feeling overwhelmed and imperfect is normal.  The way that you are feeling is acceptable. Moreover, you will not get to a better place unless you afford yourself permission to not be okay.

    So, now I’m going to be completely honest with you. I’m raising my own teenagers and I’ve had a close hand in raising, guiding, molding and mentoring hundreds of children into well-adjusted adults.  As a psychotherapist for over two decades, I’ve leveraged my expertise in parenting and education to lead families to parent consciously.  The common theme from parents coming from all walks of life is that at times, parenting can feel like an uphill battle.  Life without children has it’s curveballs.  On some days, leading a family can feel like the front side of a dartboard after target practice.  

    When life “piles it on”, parents must toss back the unnecessary pieces in order to focus on what is truly important.  If there are 10 things in the pile, start with two or three issues that are the most pressing, and peel back those layers first.  Less important matters have a way of working themselves out.  

    Many first-time parents attempt to make gourmet cuisine for their new family. Meanwhile, veteran parents are excited to merely get nutritious food groups to the dinner table in one meal. Over time, we learn that the 1-hour prep, 1.5 hours of cooking and the extra hour for clean-up per meal looks great but, ultimately, is not worth our sanity. Veteran parents have learned to meal prep for 2 hours over the weekend for the upcoming week; thereby: saving precious time and money.  The extra time and money gained by choosing the right battle will enable the veteran parent to spend quality time attacking another issue from the “pile”.

    ** Here’s a little added secret, with the right seasonings and plating, your family will be blown away by the most simple of dishes.  

    Simply put, we tend to take on too much.  We do things for the sake of just doing them because we believe it should be done.  Some of the things we take on are impeding our peace.  We also entertain people in our lives that deplete us more than they pour into us because, again, we believe we should.  We allow those things and people to take hold of our peace and that adds an unnecessary level of stress that we don’t need. It also is a huge contributor to feeling like we are not okay.  It is all avoidable.  Learn to say no to things that disturb your peace and yes to things that bring you joy. 

    This one is so hard while living in the world of social media.  Try not to get caught up in the webbed world of so-called perfection.  In general, people tend to show us their best.  We tend to hyper-focus on how much of a mess our lives are, which is a stark contrast to the constant images in front of us. The easiest way to not get caught up is to log off and tune out.  It may be easier said than done at first, but we manifest that which we focus our time and attention.  So, focus your attention on how you can grow instead of focusing on how others are succeeding.  

    This goes along with the idea of not comparing. Thoughts manifest things.  Being intentional about what one does, why it’s done and how it’s done redirects thought and action in the same direction. These intentional acts move us from a place of being down and sad to mobilizing ourselves to feel better.  It’s a step in the right direction to really being okay instead of just pretending that we are okay.

    We’ve learned to protect our peace by intentionally choosing our battles and not comparing.  The next step would be to create a physical place to maintain the peace we create.  I’m not talking about major home renovations here, I’m talking about a small corner in the walk-in-closet or the bedroom.  It could be sitting on a pouf with a good book or a new journal under dim lights and a brand new candle nearby or it could be sitting at a fold-up table in a well-lit room to work on a craft, hobby or writing project.  Either way, create a “me” place that allows you to tap into your senses that you overlook through the constant times of chaos as you go about your days as a busy parent.  A candle or freshly cleaned room with your favorite cleanser will tap into your sense of smell.  Consider your preferred lighting for your sense of sight.  Do you like soft lighting or do you prefer bright white?  Set the mood for your sense of hearing by tuning into your favorite background sounds.  Do you even know what you like?  Is it an upbeat song like Drake’s “Started from the bottom” or is it slower like Lauryn Hill and Bob Marley’s, “Turn Your Lights Down Low” ????  See where I’m going?  Create your own sanctuary.

    None of the so-called perfect people you’ve been following on social media does it on their own.  They have help and so should you.  If you’re stuck in a bad space, mentally, and can’t get out, seek the professional help of a therapist.  If you are completely overwhelmed by work and chores at home, talk to the people who make up your support system.  Tell them what you need.  I’m sure they will be more than willing to lend a hand.  If you need consistent help and can afford the service, hire help.  You’d be surprised how much easier life is with the assistance of a team dedicated to helping you do your parenting “chores” so that you can focus time on your family and yourself.  

    As parents, our lives are oftentimes so chaotic that we believe that it’s normal not to take time out to focus on our mental wellness.  That’s just part of parenting life, right?  Wrong.  It doesn’t have to be and it shouldn’t be.  I’ve provided you with a blueprint to get started.  Being honest with yourself and others, choosing to address the real problems that need your immediate attention, protecting your peace, not comparing, being intentional about thoughts and actions,  creating a sanctuary and soliciting help with overwhelming tasks will guide you to getting back to an okay place.


    Be well,


    We want you to be okay.  If you find yourself overwhelmed by your parenting life.  Contact Kid Care Concierge for a free, no obligation consultation to talk about how you can begin putting the pieces back together on the road to happiness.


  • Sharing My Experience: Parenting While Black in America

    The recent murder of George Floyd In Minneapolis Minnesota has sparked outrage amongst many people throughout the world. The videotape of the 8 minutes and 46 seconds of the grueling, slow demise of Mr. Floyd has put a microscope on America and the pressure cooker of social injustice that is woven into the fabric of our nation.

    Protests are taking place around the world and people are asserting that enough is enough.   There is, like never before, a sense of tolerance and seeking of understanding like we’ve never seen in America. People of all Races are shouting that “Black Lives Matter”  and are demanding that we, once and for all, bring an end to racial disparity for black people.  

    Suburban soccer moms are coming to the realization that not all soccer moms are treated equally. I am a Black woman, raising my two Black daughters. I did all of the things that society told me to do. I earned an education, started a career, and created a family.  

    My children have very diverse friend groups.  They have a lot in common with one another, one being a sense of suburban naivete that comes along with not being raised in a big, bustling city. Having spent part of my childhood raised in a major city and partly in the suburbs, I can tell you that the lack of street savviness my children and their friends exude at times, shocking; living in a more sparsely populated area, being exposed to fewer people and making more things unknown or even taboo to the young child.  That is until reaching an age where they must, in small doses, experience the world on their own. Similarly, many of the soccer moms and PTA parents in Suburban towns have a similar naivete. I roll my eyes every time one of the parents of my kids’ classmates say “that they don’t see color”. It’s coming from a well-intentioned place and I do not personally fault anyone for their frame of reference that comes from a lack of experience.  Let me be clear, everything is not a black-and-white issue but the world sees my children in color. Teachers set expectations for them based upon their color. The world receives them in a matter that is based upon their color. It is impossible for my family and me to blindly walk around as if color does not exist. I encourage you to not only see color but further be open to the racial disparities that come along with being a person of color, a Black person, in this country. It will open your eyes to what your fellow soccer and PTA parents are experiencing.   

    As they’ve grown over the years, my conversations with my daughters’ have been very different from the conversations that their friends’ mothers have had with their children. I’ve had to impress upon them that they would need to conduct themselves differently than their friends would at the mall. I made sure that they knew where I would be in case they needed to reach me, I made sure that they had more than ample cash in their pockets, and I instructed them to not touch anything they had not planned to buy and make sure that none of their friends engaged in any illegal activity, albeit intentionally or unintentionally. I made sure that they are aware that if there was a situation where the group was accused of shoplifting, they would likely face harsher judgment by authority figures. 

    Every single one of my black friends has had the same conversation with their children before allowing them to go to the mall without their parental supervision. It’s not because we believe that their friend group is filled with thieves or that the children of other races, who we’ve grown to know and love as our own, will knowingly put our children in a bad predicament but having been followed around stores and chased out of towns while black, you begin to learn what you should tell your children to minimize their chances of being discriminated upon. That is parenting while Black, in America.

    You may be reading and wondering, “is that really necessary”?  

    Therein lies the issue.

    It is your ignorance that is the issue. Ignorance, not in a negative way by any means. Ignorant meaning the lack of experience that you’ve had as a black parent in America. 

    A few years ago, my next-door neighbor and very good friend decided to move her family from a central Jersey town to the beach town of Wildwood, NJ.  Before moving, we had some very candid conversations about race, as she is a White mother raising Black daughters and a White son.  Both strong women and fierce protectors of our children, we spoke often to our children about the world around them. We spoke respectfully, but bluntly to one another. Our daughters stair step one year apart in age and her son is several years younger. The children would run from house to house after school, on weekends and all summer long.  

    The families were so close that she would call me and ask for suggestions of what she should cook for dinner and I would tell her not to worry about it because I already fed her kids dinner. My kids were even listed with her kids’ names on her summer pool pass at a neighboring town. She’d throw them all in the minivan and take them swimming for hours so that I could work outside of the home. I trusted her with my children and would allow her to take them anywhere because I knew she loved them as she loved hers. I also knew that my big-mouthed friend would stand up for my children if they were discriminated against in the racist town that she took to swim in daily. Did she know that the town had been known to be racist at the time?  Of course not, she’s white and hadn’t had experiences like myself sometimes taking a longer route to not have to deal with the chance of being harassed and pulled over for no reason. There was always a small part of me that wanted to hug my children and not let them go because I know how evil people can be and I didn’t want to expose them too early to a reality they would ultimately face. You might even be asking yourself, why would she even let them go knowing they’re going to a town that is known to be racist. My answer to that is what town, what school that is not predominantly black with a predominantly black police force are you not going to find racism of some kind, be it overtly or subliminally? So, I let them go. As expected, incidents occurred but my trusted friend and fellow mom handled it. She explained how she fended off the racist at the pool with sarcasm. I am 1000% positive that her privilege allowed her to navigate that situation in a manner that would have been received differently had I been there too.  She knew it and I did too. Unknowingly, we leveraged her privilege so that my children would have an experience in a pool where they would otherwise not be welcomed. That is parenting while Black, in America.

    I believe that these candid conversations allowed us to grow as mothers, respectively. I had no idea what the adoption process was and the reaction of strangers to a White woman raising Black children. Before speaking with her in-depth, my frame of reference was limited to what I had seen in movies. I was disgusted and floored by her experiences and my ignorance.  It changed the way I viewed the experience of a white woman mothering black children in America.

    Likewise, I opened her eyes to the experience that her black daughters would likely face in America, regardless of who was raising them. The year they moved to the beach town, they invited us to come down for a weekend visit. While we were excited to go visit the neighbors that we missed so much, we were cautious. What I never told my friend, and she will not know until she reads this, is that we had to search the racial breakdown in her town before going so that we knew what to expect. If the speed limit was 35, we drove 25. When we got to her house, she questioned whether or not we got lost since we were late. I politely smiled as a response instead of reminding her what it means to be driving while black. It had been about six or seven months since they moved and a lot had happened in that time. It’s unfortunate to say, but there had been many police killings at that time. So many, that I can’t remember exactly which killing it was but I do remember that she had asked me if I would mind talking to her daughters about the experiences as young black women in case they were uncomfortable speaking to her about what they were feeling. As their neighbor and bonus mom, when they were in my care, I would oftentimes have age-appropriate, race-related conversations with them on the fly. I was able to unknowingly provide them with a nonverbal sense of comfort, sometimes just a common sigh of pain while watching the latest killing of an unarmed Black person on the nightly news. When I spoke to one of her daughters, she was feeling the same pain that black people collectively feel every time they see someone look like them killed unjustly. I briefed my neighbor on some of what her daughter had expressed and given my thoughts to how she might be able to address the issues.

    She was excited to take us to the beach that was in walking distance from her new home. As the two of us walked with five kids in tow and more beach gear than we would ever need, I was cautiously aware of my surroundings. While walking, we encountered a topless Jeep Wrangler parked on the street. On the rear seat laid the exact car seat my friend had been looking for her young son. She excitedly walked over to the Jeep Wrangler and pointed, “look, that’s it!”  I instinctively backed up and said, “oh that’s nice.” Having known me as well as she did, she saw the look in my face and felt the shift of my energy, prompting her to ask what was wrong. I explained to her that this was a prime example of how white privilege worked. She’s so innocently and excitedly wanted to show me the car seat. There’s nothing wrong with that. I would have loved to feel comfortable going over there with her to share in her excitement before hustling the children to the beach. But, I froze. There was no way in hell that I was going to go close to a car that I did not own, in a town with a population of 75% White and less than 8% people that look like me. Period.

    That is parenting while Black, in America.

    While we sat on the beach, laughing and reminiscing, I nervously watched my children the entire time making sure that they didn’t accidentally run into a potentially racist beach patron, while frolicking on the beach with their friends. A time and place where one should be relaxed, my guard was up. What if someone called one of the girls a slur because they stepped on an adult’s foot while running on the beach? Would I be able to be the same mother bear my friend was when she told off the lady at the pool or would I be the angry Black woman who might get detained in front of her children at the beach for trying to protect them? If that happened, how traumatizing would that be for my children? Can you imagine what that kind of stress feels like?  It’s paralyzing.  Do you recall when the country started closing, state-by-state to address the coronavirus pandemic? Do you call the sense of helplessness when the numbers kept rising and the only thing you could do to protect your family was to stay home? Well, Black parents don’t have the option of keeping their kids home forever. Until now, there’s not been a unified call for attention to the disparities among us.  

    Some of us, including me, are more scared of the pandemic of racism than we are the Coronavirus pandemic. There’s hope for developing a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.  The racial pandemic that plagued this country for the past 400 years with no prevention or cure on deck is not novel but just as deadly.  That is, parenting while Black, in America.

    Check back for the upcoming posts in this series, as we address how to speak with your children regarding racism and the importance of diversity…


  • Taking Control of Your Mental Health!

    June is a month filled with sunshine and joy for many of us.  The days are longer and the weather is better.  Students, parents and teachers excitedly start the countdown to summer vacation. At the same time, the corporate culture at offices around the country shift  into a slightly more relaxed mode with stuffy board room meetings exchanged for company gatherings at outdoor cafes.  

    As we try to wrap our minds around “outside being open”, we’re still trying to reconcile what coming out of quarantine will look like for each of us.  Will we be wearing masks in the dead of summer?  Gloves at the beach?  Is it safe?  Should I allow my kids to play with friends?  What if “it” comes back again?  

    These are all very valid concerns.  Many of us are experiencing the same angst.  To be completely honest, no one can offer definitive answers at this time.  That, in itself, is scary.  When things feel as if they are getting out of control, it’s important to try to remain grounded; which is easier said than done.

    Do you need to seek immediate mental health care?  If so, the following may be helpful:   

    • If you believe you are having a mental emergency, call 9-1-1;
    • If you’re not having an emergency and you have a mental health provider, please contact him/her to schedule a teletherapy session;
    • If you don’t have a mental health provider, contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline at 800-950-NAMI or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

    If you believe that you don’t need the assistance of a mental health provider, practicing self-care can provide prospective and relief.  

    • Step away from the situation temporarily, if you can.  Change the routine so that you can come back and reassess the situation through a different lens. Watch a favorite movie, take a long drive or a soothing bath.
    • Do something physical.  Take a walk or run to clear your mind.  Download a workout app such as the Nike Training Club on iOS or on Android
    • Come to terms with the reality of the situation.  Control what you can.  Ask yourself questions.  Can I realistically control my situation?  If not, what can I control.  How do I break this into smaller pieces so that I can handle things piece-by-piece?

    According to NAMI:

    • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
    • 1 in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
    • 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year

    These statistics have undoubtedly increased by the current pandemic.   

    As human beings, we find comfort in knowing that we are not alone. Reach out.  Call a trusted friend.  Oftentimes, sharing personal thoughts and feelings aloud allows one to hear things differently.  Carrying the burden alone is tiresome and unhealthy.  Share it with someone you trust.

    Although the summer months are upon us, some of our family, friends, co-workers or neighbors are feeling dark and gloomy.  Check in with your loved ones and be open to reaching out if you find that you are not okay.  


  • Quarantine Edition: How to Make Up for Lost Time

    It seems like way back in December of 2019, many of us in the United States of America watched the Coronavirus take China by storm. Never, in our wildest dreams, would we imagine that covid-19 would find itself ravaging our own communities. If someone told me that I might be missing my daughter’s 8th-grade graduation and the graduations of other family and friends, I would have never believed you. We are in a new day of video conferencing in lieu of birthday parties and gatherings. While no one is happy about having to miss important milestones, most of us realize that staying home is the only way to keep our loved ones and neighbors safe.
    Our children, who have a more narrow scope of the world are likely to feel robbed of the opportunity to partake in the ceremonial aspect of graduation. Similarly, many parents have watched what feels like a time-lapsed video of their child turned young adult work so hard to get to the culminating point of their education, high school graduation, since as far back as they can remember.
    Socialization, an essential life skill, is a large part of what children learn within a typical school day.  School schedules, structured play and lunch rooms are designed intentionally to promote conversation amongst peers. Children who are not socialized with peers have a tendency to become withdrawn and may show signs of depression or anxiousness.
    If you’re feeling at a loss for how to give your children back some of what being quarantined has taken away, here are a few helpful tips.
    1. Plan virtual gatherings instead of in-person meetings.
    My daughter celebrated her birthday 10 days into our State mandated stay in place order. Her sister celebrated her birthday a month prior. Anyone who has had the pleasure of having same-gender children 2 years or less apart, knows that birthday parties must be equal in nature or no one in their house will be at peace.  
    Being quarantined was completely a new ideal and I was absolutely terrified to have to leave my home in order to get anything for her birthday. As parents, we do what we have to do to make our children happy.  We even got to virtually party with friends and family that live too far away to have celebrated with us in person. The party was a complete success and she was so happy!   If you would like to learn more about how to plan a virtual party, send us a comment in the section below and we will put up a post showing step by step instructions on how to plan the best virtual party ever.
    1. Put a positive spin on the situation for yourself and your children.
    We miss our friends. We miss our old life. We complained about Monday mornings but what wouldn’t we give to be sitting in traffic on our way to the office right now. If we are constantly complaining about being stuck in the house and modeling how miserable we can be to our children then they may internalize our thoughts and feelings as their own. The human brain is not fully developed until about the age of 25. accordingly, most children do not have the emotional intelligence or the cognitive ability to be able to fully process everything that is happening in our world when it comes to the effects of the Coronavirus.
    Our children tend to see the world through their caregivers’ eyes;  good, bad, or indifferent.   Instead of being unhappy not having the ability to physically touch my loved ones, have a dialogue around how fortunate we are to be able to call or video conference our loved ones because the world has slowed down. Children are like sponges, they soak in everything around them. What are you pouring into your children for them to soak up?  
    As adults, we are aware that this situation will not last forever, although it may feel like it has been forever. Children may lack perspective and hearing constant negative thoughts from caregivers, news sources or otherwise may prove to be emotionally taxing for youngsters. It is imperative to take on the mantra that “thoughts become things”.
    1. Use this as an opportunity to teach your children how to Pivot.
    A large part of how we are teaching our children how to respond to being quarantined, or many situations in life, has to do with our mindset. Along with a positive mindset, it is also equally important to teach children that life happens. Teaching resilience and flexibility are important skills that children are going to need to tap into for the rest of their lives.  
    A buzzword in business nowadays is “pivot”. Businesses who made clothing prior to March of 2020 are now churning out masks for essential workers and manufacturers have changed their scope of business to be able to produce much-needed ventilators. Life does not always go as planned. This is a real-life example that we can turn into a teachable moment for our children to learn how to adjust to life’s lemons.
    The effects that covid-19 will have on our society will be emotionally, physically and financially astounding for years to come. How we choose to respond to hardship will, in large part, determine how quickly we are able to recover from it.