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7 Preschool Curriculums You Can Do at Home

As we all make the decisions we feel are best for our kids in this time of uncertainty and try to navigate these uncharted waters, here’s a list of 7 homeschool curriculums for preschoolers that will hopefully give you some direction! 

1. Busy Toddler’s Playing Preschool 

This is the curriculum I’ve chosen for my own preschooler! Susie Allison, creator of Busy Toddler, released her own homeschool curriculum geared towards young children. She focuses on play rather than sit down learning and incorporates a number of different activities into her 190 day program. The curriculum comes with a supply list for each week and allows plenty of room for you to add in your own favorite activities! She has also released a second playing preschool with an additional 190 days of play! The Busy Toddler Playing Preschool Years 1 and 2 are available at the Busy Toddler website. If you enter code HOME25 at checkout, you’ll receive a 25% discount. 

2. Sonlight 

This is a pricier option for homeschool but it does come with all the books needed for the year as well as a handful of supplies. Sonlight focuses on classic children’s books and incorporates games, activities, and songs to get your child learning in a fun and engaging way! Sonlight is currently running a sale on it’s preschool curriculum and can be found here.  

3. My Father’s World 

My Father’s World curriculum offers numerous options for all of your children! There’s a curriculum for preschooler-high school. Like Sonlight, the My Father’s World curriculum comes with all of the materials you will need to homeschool. The preschool lessons focus on letters and numbers, fine motor, gross motor, and cognitive skills.  Visit their website today to take advantage of their deeply discounted homeschool materials. 

4. Michelle Dillon’s Preschool Pack 

If you haven’t started following Michelle Dillon on Instagram, you should do that before you do anything else. In addition to all of her super fun activities, she created a year long, no prep curriculum for preschoolers! It’s fairly inexpensive and comes with everything you need for a year of fun learning with no added prep time for you. You will need to stock your own supplies like dot markers and pompoms but she does all the prep work for you! Check out her TPT website to see her preschool pack along with all of her other fun printables for kids! 

5. Prekwolfpack

So…this isn’t a written down curriculum but Katy over at Prekwolfpack on Instagram is a FANTASTIC resource for the parent who wants to handle all the prep work and enjoys getting creative. Katy is a preschool teacher in California who creates the most fun centers for her students and she lays it all out on her instagram account. She shares lots of how-tos and DIYs to make learning fun and engaging as well as sharing different themes she does in her classroom throughout the year. This would be a fantastic resource to combine with other programs like Busy Toddler or Michelle Dillon. 

6. The Peaceful Preschool

This curriculum is based off the Charlotte Mason/Montessori style of learning. It’s a gentle curriculum that lasts 26 weeks and focuses on a letter a week. There is a ton of flexibility in this curriculum and you could easily stretch it out to last for a full year instead of the 26 weeks. This is another fairly inexpensive curriculum that will help you help your little one prepare for traditional school. I don’t know about your families, but anything that has the potential to keep my house peaceful, even if it’s brief, is a winner in my book! 

7. Blossom and Root Early Years

This is another Montessori style learning program for young children that grows with them. The Blossom and Root Early Years curriculum has 2 volumes. Volume 1 is geared towards 2-4 year olds and Volume 2 is geared towards 4-5 year olds. This inexpensive Montessori style program could take you all the way to kindergarten! Everything in this curriculum is play-based so it won’t feel like you’re working on school all day long and your littles will love how engaging the activities are.

There is no wrong decision with any of these curriculums! No matter what route you’re choosing to take this fall, you’re doing an amazing job and we’re all going to be cleaning up paint and pompoms for the foreseeable future.

Oh, the Places You’ll Breastfeed

Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re headed home from the hospital, your baby is here to stay!

You have formula from a can. You have milk in your boobs. You can feed your baby however you choose. 

You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the mom who’ll decide how they grow. And should you decide to breastfeed…

You’ll read all the books. Look through them with a blank stare. About some, you will say, “I don’t want my baby’s teeth to ever go there.” With your boobs full of milk and love in your heart, you’ll realize this can be really tough from the start! Your boobs will start out feeling like rocks, then quickly resemble eggs inside socks.

Once you get into the swing of things, you’ll little by little start to spread your wings.

OH! THE PLACES YOU’LL BREASTFEED.

You might nurse in a restaurant or maybe the car, you might nurse during a wedding, or maybe in a bar (it IS 2020 – you never know what you’ll see). 

If you’re a working mom, you might have to nurse while doing your job. You might get some stares and rude comments that make you want to sob. 

You’ll nurse on vacation, you’ll nurse going pee, you’ll nurse while getting groceries for your family of three. 

You’ll nurse while you cook, you’ll nurse while you take out the trash, and if you don’t cover up, the Karens will continue to bash. 

You’ll nurse on an airplane, on a train, maybe a boat. Heck, you might even nurse on your swimming pool float. 

And just when you thought you’d figured breastfeeding out, you’ll want to go on a date and you’ll get the pump out. It will squeeze, it will pull, it will not feel good. But have a night out on the town with your husband you should. 

OH! THE PLACES YOU’LL PUMP!

You’ll pump while working out, you’ll pump while drinking wine. You’ll pump on the toilet, or in the shower, it’s fine. 

You’ll pump on your way to work, on every break, and during every lunch. Just so your little one can frequently munch.

You’ll have struggles of course, as you already know. You’ll switch positions and latches as your babies grow. But be sure when you nurse, relax and enjoy. This time will quickly be over and they’ll be big girls and boys.

Breastfeeding is tough, but will you succeed? Yes, yes you will, indeed!

Whether your journey is short or it’s long, just know that the way you feed your baby is never wrong.

Breastfeeding is not glamorous or for the faint of heart, but mamas are heroes, we’ve known this from the start. 

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

Photo credit: Carly Gregory @cregorycreative

 

Ultimate Guide to Private Schools in OKC

Making decisions about our children’s education is one of the most daunting tasks we face as moms – especially in the environment we are living in today. As we wade through these ever-muddying waters, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide of private schools in and around Oklahoma City. Whether you need to make alternate plans for the 2020-2021 school year, or you’re getting a jump start on the 2021-2022 school year, you’ve come to the right place!

It is our belief that there is a “right fit” for every family, and because we cater to the greater Oklahoma City area, your options cover a large area. We hope this helps you decide what is best for you and your family! This guide is a paid listing, brought to you by Oklahoma City Mom and St. Mary’s Episcopal School, as well as the schools featured at the top this guide.

St. Mary's Episcopal School

St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Edmond has been helping children reach their highest potential for over 40 years. We believe that childhood is a time to cherish and protect. As a preschool (age 2.5) through 5th grade school, St. Mary’s students are afforded the opportunity to celebrate successes, learn from failures, and grow into exceptional young people in an environment supporting faith, character, and community.

We adhere to the highest levels of sanitation, hygiene, and safety practices, while remaining focused on creating learning environments full of love, joy, and enthusiasm.

St. Mary’s is committed to opening school on August 19th, while acknowledging that there are some families who may be concerned about returning to school. A virtual option will be available for all students, and families will have the flexibility to choose the format that best suits their needs throughout the year.

As an Episcopal school, we embrace a style and culture unique to other private schools. Inclusivity and diversity are tenets that matter deeply to us as we welcome children and families of all faith traditions and backgrounds to St. Mary’s. Each and every student at St. Mary’s is beloved, known, and an important part of our community. 

Keystone Adventure School and Farm, an accredited preschool and elementary school in Edmond, will begin school on August 13 in a virtual model. But Keystone, launching a space theme for the year called “Mission KASAF: Keystone Adventures in Space and Further,” offers something different in their virtual learning scenario: the chance to still be together in person.

Children will spend mornings online one-on-one or in small groups with their teachers, as teachers attend to each child’s individual learning needs. In the afternoons, students are invited to campus in small groups for outdoor-only, one-hour visits to campus 2-3 times each week. During these visits to campus, students will be with teachers or staff participating in a hands-on project, PE, art, or caring for pasture animals. This allows the Keystone students to maintain and continue to build strong relationships with friends, staff, and even the animals.

When children are on campus, Keystone has implemented new safety protocols, including touchless faucets and soap dispensers, new HEPA air filters, social/physical distancing, daily wellness checks, and staggered pick-ups and drop-offs. When indoors, all children will wear face coverings: sun hat face shields for preschool-1st grade, and masks for 2nd-5th grade. All staff will be masked.

Whether in person or online, Keystone’s mission remains the same: to value the curiosity of each child, nurture compassion, inspire a love of learning, and to allow children the time and experience necessary to embrace their intellectual, creative, and social selves.

King's Gate Christian School

EXPERIENCE the KING’S GATE DIFFERENCE! Preschool through high school students are not just another face at King’s Gate Christian School. King’s Gate integrates biblical truth into the hands-on, experiential education that every student receives. In-person classes start August 19th.

At King’s Gate, the average teacher-to-student ratio is 8 to 1. The small class size, along with a supportive atmosphere, keeps students relaxed and ready to learn! King’s Gate empowers students to impact the world through an eternal, Kingdom perspective. Hands-on and collaborative learning is implemented to engage students in practical problem solving. Our innovative approach includes multimedia technology, social action and a willingness to go beyond the walls of the classroom, all while integrating biblical truth into the student’s experience.

Visit www.kingsgateschool.com or call (405) 283-0144 to enroll! 

Edmond

Holy Trinity Lutheran School – Parochial school serving preschool through 8th grade.

Keystone Adventure School and Farm – Experiential school serving preschool through 5th grade.

Oklahoma Christian Academy – Christian school serving Pre-K through 12th grade.

Oklahoma Christian School – Christian school serving Kindergarten through 12th grade.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton – Parochial Catholic school serving Pre-K through 8th grade.

St. Mary’s Episcopal School – Christian school serving preschool through 5th grade.

Oklahoma City

Academy of Classical Christian Studies – Classical Christian school serving Pre-K through 12th grade. E. Hefner Road.

Antioch Christian Academy – Christian academy serving preschool through 12th grade. SW 119th St.

Bishop John Carroll School – Catholic school serving preschool through 8th grade. NW 32nd St.

Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School – Catholic school serving 9-12 grade. NW 50th St.

Casady School – Independent college preparatory day school serving Pre-K through 12th grade. N. Pennsylvania Ave.

Christ the King Catholic School – Catholic school serving Pre-K through 8th grade. Nichols Hills neighborhood.

Creative Kids Learning Center – Christian school serving Kindergarten through 6th grade. SW 134th St.

Crossings Christian School – Biblically-based college preparatory school serving preschool through 12th grade. Portland Ave.

Heritage Hall – Co-educational college preparatory school serving preschool through 12th grade. NW 122nd St.

King’s Gate Christian School – Christian school serving preschool through 8th grade. Locations in the Village and Surrey Hills.

Messiah Lutheran School – Lutheran school serving preschool through 8th grade. NW Expressway.

Parkview Adventist Academy – Seventh-Day Adventist school serving Pre-K through 12th grade. N. Martin Luther King Ave.

Rosary School – Catholic school serving preschool through 8th grade. NW 18th St.

Sacred Heart Catholic School – Catholic school serving Kindergarten through 8th grade.

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School – Catholic school serving Pre-K through 8th grade. N. Grove Ave., Warr Acres.

St. Eugene Catholic School – Catholic school serving preschool through 8th grade. The Village, OK.

St. James the Greater Catholic School – Catholic school serving Pre-K through 8th grade. SW 41st St.

Trinity School – Specialized school, teaching students with learning differences, from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Trinity serves children who have different learning styles, including dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, ADHD, autism, anxiety, and developmental or intellectual delays. Edgemere neighborhood.

Westminster School – Independent, non-sectarian day school serving Pre-K through 8th grade. NW 44th St.

Young Achievers Christian Academy – Christian School serving preschool through 8th grade. NE 15th St.

Del City/Midwest City

Christian Heritage Academy – Christian school serving grades Pre-K through 12th grade.

Destiny Christian School – Christian school serving preschool through 12th grade.

Good Shepherd Lutheran School – Early Childhood Development Center and Lutheran School serving Pre-K through 8th grade.

St. Philip Neri School – Catholic school serving preschool through 8th grade.

Yukon

Canadian Valley Christian Academy – Christian school serving preschool through 4th grade.

Harvest Hills Christian School – Christian school serving Pre-K through 12th grade.

Southwest Covenant Schools – Christian school serving Pre-K through 12th grade.

St. John Nepomuk Catholic School – Catholic school serving preschool through 8th grade.

Moore

St. John’s Lutheran School – Lutheran school serving preschool through 8th grade.

Norman

All Saints Catholic School – Catholic school serving Pre-K through 8th grade.

Children’s House of Norman – Montessori program serving preschool through 5th grade.

Community Christian School – Christian school serving preschool through 12th grade.

Southwind Montessori School – Montessori program serving preschool through developmental first grade.

Terre Verde School – Progressive, independent day school serving Kindergarten through 8th grade.

Want to be Featured in our Private School Guide?

Please contact us for partnership details.

Brick and Mortar, Online, Hybrid, or Homeschool? How We Made Our Choice.

I don’t know about you, but the strain of COVID-19 on our family unit is REAL.

My spouse and I had to have a long conversation about whether we should keep our 4-year-old home from Pre-K this year. The convo was filled with tears, critical thinking, and rebuttals on both ends of the argument as we weighed our child’s heath, our family’s health, and financial stability.

My spouse and I have been working from home, but my job consists of nearly 7-8 private meetings a day where I can’t have interruptions. We are all on the struggle bus when figuring out what works best for our family. For many families, there really is no good or bad decision, just the best decision we can make for our family.

Things we considered…

  • Child’s temperament at home with little structure
  • Child’s lack of socialization with kiddos his age
  • Child’s ability to learn social norms
  • Challenges with work
  • How my child would manage conflict away from parents
  • Do we have a village that can support us if we keep him home?
  • Do we feel confident in schooling from home?
  • What if, God forbid he gets sick – would we carry guilt?
  • Do we believe that the measures the school is taking the greatest precaution and can it actually be carried out with small kids?
  • Is there an online option?
  • Is it likely that school will close and go completely virtual?

As you can see, this list is not exhaustive, but are several of the points we felt important to consider when making the best decision for our family. When we decided which route to go, I still cried…I cried hard because no options felt fair or right because of the confines that society has placed us in. We have to work, we have to learn, and we have to stay healthy.

I can only imagine how our educators feel. I pray for them daily and support them in any way that I can. Lots of cleaning supplies/gift cards/appreciation.

I implore you: whether you’ve made the decision to send your kids back to school, are doing online or hybrid schooling, or are fully homeschooling your precious kiddos, consider supporting your local school with supplies and tangible acts of appreciation. We all need one another to make it through this.

May you feel peace with whatever decision you make for you and your family.

How to Reduce the Covid-19 Stress

This is my advice for this strange time we’re living in and how to remain calm. Yes, Covid-19 is real and yes, it’s dangerous. There’s a lot that’s unknown about it and we’re learning about it as we go, but there’s a lot about it that’s similar to other coronaviruses that we do know about. 

First, sign up for the Oklahoma State Department of Health email updates HERE. Scroll down to the bottom and enter your email in the box that says GET EMAIL UPDATES. You’re going to receive a lot of informative data and accurate information through these updates. I have a science background, so I’m familiar with looking at data and charts and I appreciate these updates I receive. 

Second, stop reading social media posts about Covid-19. Scroll past without giving them a second glance. They will instill some level of fear in you and will most likely give you inaccurate information.

Let’s face it: the information about this virus is complicated enough already and why amplify that with social media posts? This includes listening to the news as they seem to have benefited from the polarized view of the Covid-19 situation. Very few sources will present you with the data and leave it at that. It’s best to avoid it while tensions are high and get your information from the source mentioned above. 

Third, look at the positive things that have come from this time of Covid-19. Our family has loved the quality time together, and the kids have probably seen their grandparents more often than they normally would. Another bonus for me, being an introvert, is having to distance myself from others in public. Can we have it that way from now until eternity, please? I’m not talking about friends and family, but out in public. I see you, extroverts, and those that like physical contact. I see you, and I understand your need. How are y’all doing? I hope you are meeting your daily hugging quota despite everything going on. 

Fourth, and most importantly for those of us that have chosen to follow Jesus, is to read the Bible every day. It’s amazing that my mind always becomes peaceful and I refocus on the ultimate goal after reading the Bible. There are a lot of good reading plans on your smartphone, like those on the YouVersion Bible App, that send notifications to your phone each day.

I do not deny your struggles as a mom during this strange time, but my hope is that I can help relieve even an ounce of that, if possible. We (moms) already have enough stress in our lives, so if we have the power to minimize the Covid-19 stress, let’s do that. 

 

Family Meetings: The Key to a Happy Household That Thrives

A blended family means blended parenting styles, rules, and expectations. It is a stop of the old family’s way and a start to a new family way. Except – an on and off switch only works for robots. We are humans.

Prior to getting married eight months ago, my husband and I committed to respect and incorporate each other’s parenting styles and house rules in an effort to help our kiddos ages 14, 13, 9 and 7 adjust to our new family structure. We decided that the best way to discuss our new rules and communicate was a family meeting.

We have biweekly family meetings to connect, collaborate, and celebrate. We have emergency family meetings to communicate important news, provide clarity to family expectations, and resolve conflicts. It has been an effective way to build the foundation of our new family and offer opportunities for transparent communication for all six of us.

Here are five quick tips for helping establish and lead effective family meetings. 

Tip 1: Pick a day and time.
Our biweekly family meetings take place on Sunday evenings after dinner. It is a time when everyone is winding down and preparing for the week ahead. We maximize our time together by having fun quality time after the meeting is over. Our meeting is on the family calendar in the kitchen as a reminder of our protected time together. 

Tip 2: Make simple ground rules.
We want the family meeting to be a safe place where everyone has a voice. We expect everyone to be respectful and to treat each other the way that they want to be treated. We strive toward reconciliation and forgiveness in all conflicts. Those are our three rules for behavior at family meetings.

When conflict arises that involves all of us, we call an emergency family meeting. We ask each person to tell their side of the story to others who are involved. Parents serve as the mediator and counselor, if needed to help the kiddos. We hope to teach them the critical life skills of conflict resolution and increase their emotional intelligence necessary to build healthy, long-lasting relationships. If we can achieve it in our home, then we hope it will help them at school, jobs and wherever life takes them in the years ahead. 

Step 3: Have an agenda.
For our biweekly meeting, we follow a five-part agenda that includes:

  1. family happenings,
  2. praises and opportunities to improve as a family,
  3. open discussion from the kiddos’ perspectives,
  4. discussion question to get to know each other in a deeper way, and
  5. a closing prayer.

Prior to the meeting, my husband and I will agree on the agenda and discuss any differing opinions or perspectives between us. As single parents, he led his home one way and I led my home one way. Our biological kiddos formed habits and behaviors to obey. Now, we lead one home together. We must unite as the leaders of our homes and the parents of the blended kiddos. We must build clarity and consistency in our new family to adjust habits and behaviors of our kiddos.  

Step 4: Alternate as the meeting leader.
We take turns facilitating the meeting. I’m the cheesy and mushy leader. He is the stick with the facts leader. This allows both of us to be seen as a respected leader in our home while giving variety to the meeting vibe.

Step 5: Don’t give up.
The first meetings were awkward with simple head nods and short answers when asked a direct questions. It was pretty one-sided with lots of parent talking. Now, several months later, the kiddos actively participate and have a comfort in the discussions. It also has been an effective way to resolve conflicts and quickly restore peace and laughter after a disagreement between the kiddos.

Navigating Divorce: 10 Things Your Lawyer Wants You to Know

This post has been written and sponsored by Attorney Katherine Mazaheri at Mazaheri Law Firm, to provide valuable information to our readers!

You’ve gone through it. The rollercoaster of marriage, the ups and downs, the disagreements, the uncomfortable conversations, the hurtful words, the “entanglements,” and in some cases, the abuse. Things have been said that you can’t take back, loving words were left unsaid, and resolutions never happened because there was no compromise.

You may have tried counseling with a licensed therapist or religious leader. You may have tried to deescalate, avoid, or even stepped outside of the marriage in an attempt to feel loved. But the time has come to admit the truth: this relationship that you held dear for so many years has become toxic and run its course. Our attorneys at the Mazaheri Law Firm have seen just about every scenario that leads someone to our office and we have come up with our top 10 tips for surviving a divorce.

  1. Find a Trusted Attorney – Step one in any divorce is finding an attorney you can trust. Now is the time to figure out your options, and an attorney can be your pillar of strength in this storm. This is one of the most difficult times a person will face in their life, and you MUST find someone you can trust to go through this process with you. In your most vulnerable time, you need an attorney who carries confidence, knows the law, and is ready to fight for all you’re entitled to. If you have children, you’ll need an attorney that will look objectively at what is in the best interests of your children.
  2. Get Your Finances in Order – Many clients need assistance with this part. In a divorce, your attorneys will look at both your assets and your debts. The property you have (personal property and real property) and any assets you may own (retirement accounts, pensions, a business, etc.) will need to be assessed for its value and equitably divided.

Pro tip: Watch the mail. Are there any statements from banks or accounts that you are unaware of, indicating that there may be a separate account where your spouse has been stashing money? Are there unexplained expenses on credit card statements that raise questions? All these things may be relevant and are important to make your attorney aware of.

  1. Analyze Your Debt – When talking finances, I always suggest running a credit report so you know what outstanding debts there are. Start with big items like your marital home: What is the mortgage? Can you afford that payment with your income? Is there any equity in the home? Pull your credit card statements and your tax records for the past 3 years. Your lawyer will need to evaluate all debts for a divorce, so a list of all your bills and outstanding payments can help prepare a marital balance sheet.
  2. Work Out Your Expenses – This is crucial in figuring out what you will need to move on and raise your family moving forward. At our office, we provide a worksheet for clients to determine current living expenses and summarize what they will need to ensure financial stability after the divorce is finalized. Once you figure out what you need, we can determine if alimony/spousal support is a possibility. You will need to verify your current income (if any) with pay stubs and tax records, as well as the income of your spouse to be able to calculate child support if children are involved. Start collecting those records for your lawyer.
  3. Set Realistic Expectations with Your Attorney – What does the ideal situation look like and what areas are you able to compromise, if needed? A good attorney will not tell you what you want to hear, but will guide you to set realistic goals in line with Oklahoma law. They will analyze the facts with case law in mind to find creative solutions that prioritize your goals and keep your expectations realistic.
  4. Indulge in Self-Care – No matter who wants the divorce, there are years of emotions that need to be released. It is so important to find someone close or a counselor to bear the emotional brunt of divorce with you. A counselor can guide you to evaluate your emotional triggers and equip you with healthy coping skills. This may also be the time to reward yourself with small things: a mani/pedi, a massage, a bubble bath, getting fit, or something that is just for you. Set aside time for your individual passions. Make sure that you are balancing the hard work you are doing on yourself with small rewards to remind you that you are worthy!
  5. Think Before You Act – In a divorce, people do and say the most hurtful things that later can come back to bite them when making a case for custody, visitation, or spousal support. It’s best to keep in mind that all your texts and emails to your ex may be read by the judge. Social media can be your enemy and be used against you. Keep your posts to a minimum and DO NOT bad mouth your ex or discuss details of the divorce on social media. Call your counselor or your lawyer before you hurt your chances in court.
  6. Reframe Your Image of Divorce – Naturally, divorce may feel like a failure. From a religious standpoint, you may not feel like you’ve honored your vows. But after assisting many people through this life transition, I realize that it can actually be transformative. An unhappy marriage is like dry soil to a plant. The plant cannot flourish, grow and show its true beauty to the world if it is not watered. This is an opportunity to start fresh with new soil, nourish your soul, and grow into living your best life. Divorce can mean you are free from the negativity that has been stunting your growth all these years. It can mean freedom and new beginnings.
  7. Patiently Visualize Your Phase 2 – Divorce is a process, and it can take months or years to finalize. It’s frustrating when court dates are continued, or when your ex does not respond to discovery timely. Be patient, stay the course, and keep your “Phase 2” in mind. Phase 2 is envisioning: What does your life look like when you are free of this divorce? Who do you want to be when you come out of this dark time? If you have devoted your life and identity to this marriage, who are you without it, how will you emerge stronger, and how will you create an even better life? Get together a vision board, journal, or find inspiration on what your Phase 2 looks like and reflect on it when times get tough. Keeping your goal in mind will help you not get sidetracked.
  8. It Is All About the Kids – If you are going through a divorce with children, remember first and foremost it is all about the kids. Do you want them to carry trauma for you or do you want this transition to be positive? What do they need to come through the other side of this and minimize the scarring? Therapy? More visitation? Joint custody? The ability to maintain relationships with extended family? Supervised visits due to abuse? Think about the things that could make this process easier on your children. Remember that your children did not ask to be put in the middle of this transition in your family and protect them from the negativity you may feel towards your spouse.

At Mazaheri Law Firm, we know that you likely thought you would NEVER be in this situation. We are here to walk with you, support you, and advocate for you in this difficult transition. If you’d like to discuss your options, call us at 405-414-2222.


Katherine Mazaheri-Franze is an Oklahoma City “law mom” of 4 children of a blended, multiracial, and multilingual family.  She has 5 year old boy/girl twins, a 7 year old, and a step-daughter currently attending the University of Oklahoma.

During the day, she works full time as Founder and Managing Attorney of the Mazaheri Law Firm and at night she’s an insta-pot home chef, boogie-monster eradicator, and trying to stay awake long enough to occasionally be the tooth fairy.

A portion of Katherine’s trial practice is devoted to assisting families in times of crisis. She assists clients with divorce, custody and visitation, property division, victim protective orders, and step-parent adoptions. Along with divorce, she assists couples in negotiation of pre-nuptial agreements and protection of assets.

Her heart for social justice has influenced her passion for employment litigation involving claims of wrongful discharge, sexual harassment/assault, employment discrimination (based on race, age, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, and disability), retaliation, as well as disputes involving wage and hour matters, medical leave, confidentiality and non-compete agreements, employee handbook and company policy violations and breaches of employment agreements.  As the Founder and Managing Attorney of the Mazaheri Law Firm she is proud of leading an all-female team of attorneys who for over a decade have gained a powerful reputation for taking on cases that attack various social injustices leading to extensive recoveries for clients with compassion and integrity.

 

9 Things I Hope We Learn from 2020

We had so much hope about 2020. We all hoped it would be a great year, where we met goals, celebrated milestones, and improved our lives. Instead, the entire world has been thrown upside down. Not turned upside down – thrown upside down. And then shaken up and smashed.

Everyone in the world is facing some level of fear, uncertainty, confusion, and anger–and not just because of COVID.

While the events of 2020 have definitely not been fun for anyone, we don’t have to let circumstances determine our lives and our attitude. If there’s one thing 2020 can give us, it’s an endless amount of opportunities to grow and learn.

Here are nine things I hope I learn from all the challenges of 2020.

1. You Can’t Control Your Circumstances

Just a few months ago, you probably had a general plan for the next few years. On some level, we all thought we had a handle on what might happen with our jobs, kids, schedule, finances, etc. Now suddenly, we’re doing things like homeschooling with a full-time job, closing businesses, and starting careers in brand new industries. Whatever semblance of control we thought we had has been thrown out the window.

I don’t know about you, but I do NOT like to feel like things are out of my control. However, the more that I try to control situations that, in reality, are absolutely uncontrollable, the more I suffer. I become more frustrated, anxious, and angry.

It’s terrifying to let go of control and expectations. But I hope that the constant changes and unpredictability of this year allows me to trust God more deeply and take things as they come–even when they feel in control again.

2. You Can’t Control Other People

As deeply as you believe something, as strongly as you feel that one thing is right, you just can’t force other people to agree. Sometimes it feels absolutely illogical and even NECESSARY for other people to believe or act differently. But as impossible as it feels to let go, we can not control other people. We cannot force them to change their mind. We just can’t. And pouring our valuable energy into it only makes us feel worse

3. Kindness Changes More Hearts Than Hatred

The internet had its fair share of hatred before 2020. But now, everyone is struggling. Everyone on the planet is dealing with something new, unfamiliar, confusing, and devastating.

But instead of coming together because of this, we’re just attacking each other with even more vengeance. There is no clear right answer to almost anything right now, but people are still spewing hatred toward anyone who disagrees with them. We are quite literally tearing ourselves apart. 

However, I have yet to see a Facebook fight that ended with people agreeing. Is it me, or does this spewing of hatred strategy seem like it’s not working?

But within my circle of people who I trust and respect, I’ve seen people change their opinion. I’ve seen people ask legitimate questions and have open discussions. Hearing the viewpoints of other people has opened my eyes and molded my own.

When the heartbreak of this season is over, I hope I remember how useless it is to attack others. I hope I remember that allowing hate into my heart does absolutely nothing to move good things forward.

Even when I just CAN’T understand a different point of view, the one who suffers the most from hate in my heart is me.

4. You Can Withstand More Than You Think

If you would have told my January self what was about to happen, I would have passed out. No, like, seriously. I would have told you that what you were saying was 100% impossible. I absolutely, without a doubt did not believe I could actually survive running my online business AND staying home with my kids for months on end. No. No. NOPE.

But look, I’m doing it. We all are.

We are still suffering from this, and I am by no means minimizing that.

But I think a lot of us have faced more difficulty than we ever expected, and we’re still swimming (even if you’re swimming slower and slower). It may not feel like it, but you’re even stronger than you thought.

Even though we’ve had to make heartbreaking decisions–like homeschooling, not homeschooling, getting an emergency job to pay the bills, etc–we’ve done it. We didn’t just give up and let the horror overcome us. We got up, faced the unknown, and fought for ourselves and our families. And that is a victory.

5. Grief is Healthy

Grief is intensely painful. But denying grief is intensely damaging.

It takes courage to face grief and allowing yourself to feel sadness and anger. Pushing the emotions down only makes them worse.

This year, every one of us has lost something. It might have been something seemingly small, or something life-altering. I hope that we all remember how important it is to face grief and not feel ashamed by it.

6. Admitting Your Mistakes is a Strength

It’s almost always easier to ignore problems. And it’s almost never fun to admit you did something wrong.

But we all do make mistakes, and we grow as people when we own that.

7. Grieving For Others is Powerful

We don’t usually feel grief unless something affects us personally. Why would we want to? Grief is the worst.

But there is power in letting yourself feel the pain that someone else is experiencing.

Only a tiny number of people were personally affected when one man died. But when hundreds of thousands of people chose to grieve for him and for the reality of racism, the world was changed. There is power in empathy. 

8. Don’t Worry About Judgemental People

No matter what you do or say right now, somebody is going to judge you for it. It’s useless to try to get out of being judged by someone, somewhere.

All you can do is make the best decisions, and let go of the haters.

9. There’s Always a Positive

Sometimes it’s easy to see the good things, and sometimes it feels impossible.

But even when it feels like the world is falling apart around you, there is always something to be thankful for.

 

Confused? Me too, Mama.

Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made of.

I think we all know this sweet little nursery rhyme. It was hanging in my room growing up. But what are moms made of? Those ingredients that make me who I am today, I guarantee are not even close to the same batch of ingredients that made me who I was six months ago. And that is ok. Some of the best recipes I have tweaked a few ingredients. 

It’s a little exhaustion.
It’s a little chaos (ok, a lot of chaos).
It’s a little fear for the future.
A lot of anxiety.

I feel like most of my existence is just one “What the heck?” moment after the next.

I have one child who will be entering 5th grade this year, and we are 90% sure will be doing online classes. She struggles in school and change is hard for her, especially academically. The school sent an email home saying each student will be issued either an iPad or Chrome Book, for when they close the school down.

I really have no clue what I am doing. I never wanted to home school, yet, here we are! 

I do think the number of days she wakes up “sick” will be greatly reduced.

My youngest daughter is entering kindergarten and I am so crushed that I can not walk her into the school that first day. I cannot bring her lunch. She won’t get to experience class parties, lunch, recess, gym….all will be totally different.

The good thing about kindergarten is she does not know what she will miss, never having experienced it before. My heart hurts for the ones who know what normal was a few months ago.

I am sad for the teachers. I am fearful for the older ones, and those with weak immune systems.

I am sad that our kids may not have the same teacher all year. I worry about my friends who are teachers that are single moms. I have heard their fears. I hurt with them. 

So much is unknown. So much confusion.

Do we have the answers?

The ones we do have, are not really clear.

We are learning a new normal. We are slowly accepting the inevitable that life as we know it, will cease to exist. 

I can fight it all day long. I can drive myself insane, run to my closet, lock the door, and have a good hard cry. I can vent all day. But, nothing will change the world changing. 

So as a mom, confused, mentally exhausted, full of fear and anxiety, I realize I am actually normal. 

I know the power I hold within me to transform little minds to openly accept the new normal. To show them how to make the best of every situation.  To embrace change. To be a light and share a smile. To lead by example and show kindness in a cruel world. 

I have survived every hard day that has come my way so far! Those are pretty good odds. 

We will make it moms. I am not saying it will be easy, but, we are in this together. 

Now, for that sugar…If you need me I will be hiding in my closet eating a candy bar.

Back to School: COVID Edition

Typically when you see a back to school post, you’re expecting to see the best deals on crayons, printable lunchbox notes with funny jokes or memes with moms lounging in the pool sipping on a Truly while her kids look on with sadness.

This one, however, is different. The 2020-2021 school year is unlike one we will have ever experienced before. And, if you’re like me, you may be slightly panicking over the infinite what-if scenarios that are being discussed. One way (at least for me) to squelch anxieties over the unknown is to plan ahead. I’ve got some tips for you to be as prepared as you can be for the upcoming school year! 

1. Model That Mask

If your child will be attending school in person and masks are required, get your child used to it now. Some folks have been wearing masks this entire time, others not so much. But, if your kiddo is going to be expected to wear a mask ALL. DAY. LONG. start getting them used to it now. Etsy has some cute masks for children or you can help your child make their own. Also (and I speak from experience) buy more than one mask. This way you can have a spare while others are being washed or inevitably your kid loses one. 

2. Stock Up 

I’m not advocating hoarding here by any means, but it pays to be prepared. When you receive your child’s supply list, you might consider hitting those sales up and buying an extra of each item. You may want/need crayons, markers, and glue sticks at home should school be forced into another shutdown and Little Timmy’s supplies are under lock and key at school. 

3. Talk with Teachers

When the school year starts, be sure you have an open line of communication with your child’s teacher. If distance-learning takes precedence over in-class instruction, you will need a good relationship with your child’s teacher. Ask for a copy of the class’s daily routine to help you model it at home (just in case).

Does your child work with a para? Ask for a detailed list of strategies that help your child navigate through tough times at school or coping mechanisms that they have found helpful. I guarantee you that your child’s teacher will do whatever they can to help you. If we’ve learned anything through this pandemic, its that teachers have huge hearts. 

4. Set Up a Support Squad

Teachers are there to help but it would also be beneficial to link up with a few mommas from your kiddo’s class. Maybe start a Facebook Group with a few moms to communicate with throughout the school year. This is an awesome way to get advice or assistance with schoolwork, tips on how to help your child navigate through this peculiar school year, or even just someone to understand when you’re struggling. 

5. Make A Plan 

Hopefully, you won’t need a contingency plan in case schools are shutdown this fall, but it will come in handy to have one. Are you a stay-at-home mom? How do you see your day going if your kids will be home and distance learning? Do you work outside of the home? Do you have the ability to work from home in case your child must stay home?

Is there someone who can watch your child while also assisting in remote schooling? Think about any and all possibilities and make an action plan now. This spring was a good “trial run” for what could happen in the fall. Think about how the end of the school year went for you and your crew. What would you do differently now that you’ve been through it? 

6. Give Grace (And Give it Abundantly) 

A few weeks ago, I was listening to a podcast by Rick Warren. He said, “People have said, ‘We’re all in the same boat’. That’s not accurate. We’re not all in the same boat. We’re all in the same storm. But some of us are cruising along on a yacht and are doing great! Others are rowing as hard as they can in little canoes. And then some of us are just holding onto a small piece of driftwood and trying to not get dragged down by the crashing waves.”

I thought this was an accurate description of how we’re all doing.

Some of us are able to withstand a lot while others are struggling to just get out of bed in the morning. And that’s okay. Show grace to those who may not be handling things as well as you. Check-in on them. If there is someone in your life that has anxiety about going school supply shopping, offer to do it for them! If you’re the one that’s not handling things well, reach out for help. Give yourself time to adapt and adjust. Take it easy on yourself and others. 

Do you have any tips you’d add to this list? Share in the comments below! 

4 Tips for Nursing an Infant While Raising Littles

Nursing can be a beautiful bonding experience for moms. Some of the most beautiful newborn pictures I have ever seen have been of moms nursing their babies in a beautiful rocking chair in a nursery taken straight out of a Pottery Barn magazine. These images just scream of peace and love and joy.

What these newborn photos don’t show is the reality of nursing an infant. The lack of sleep, the soreness, the postpartum recovery, the emotions, and hormones. What these photos REALLY don’t show is the reality of nursing a baby while raising other children at the same time. 

When I began nursing my first baby, I had a three-year-old and an eight-month-old (we adopted our oldest two kiddos, so yes, you read that correctly – I had an eight-month-old and a newborn at the same time). My three-year-old was unusually responsible and the eight-month-old was not mobile until a month or so later. I felt like nursing and keeping up with these two at the same time wasn’t too crazy. Skip ahead 20 months to the day I gave birth to our fourth baby. We had a five-year-old, a two-year-old, and a 20-month-old.

This is when things got crazy. 

To put it simply, our two-year-old and almost two-year-old boys got into more cabinets, spilled more food, and made more “pieces of art” than I could ever describe in an 800-word blog. For you mamas currently walking through a similar season or getting ready to embark on this journey, here are a few tips for surviving nursing a baby while raising littles: 

1. Schedule Similar Feeding Times

If one kid is eating, inevitably the others will want to eat too! It can be challenging to line up eating schedules, especially when sleep schedules may not be in sync. It will take some practice, creativity, and organization, but will make your nursing session much smoother! Snacks and meals during nursing sessions do not have to be fancy, organic, or complicated. Keep it simple. Make a basket of quick snacks that you can easily grab. Practice the routine of grabbing the snack basket before feedings and setting your little one up near you. Remember: Hangry kids do not create peace in any situation!

2. Create a Busy Basket

Don’t worry–I’m not going to ask you to become a crafty Pinterest mom and make a 10-step busy basket with homemade sensory tools. If this is your talent, then you rock it! If not, all you have to do is grab a basket, hit the Target dollar aisle, and pick some cheap and novel toys or activities for your littles. Keep these in your Busy Basket and reserve them for nursing sessions only. If you reserve these fun activities for feeding times, your kids will be more likely to stay occupied for a few minutes and not lose interest over time!

3. Expect Messes

It’s going to happen. There’s no way around it. There will be days when feeding times do not match up. There will be other days when the busy basket gets thrown across the room and your toddler runs across the house unsupervised. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to your nursing schedule, so being prepared isn’t possible.

I’ve been there. I’ve cleaned up more messes than I can count. Prepare for these times by creating a safe environment for your kiddos, child-proofing your house, and knowing that if they run out of the room and are quiet for too long, it will be okay. At the end of the day, messes can be cleaned. 

4. Practice Self-Care

Nursing an infant while raising other children instantly takes you to ninja status. You grow an extra arm and are capable of feeding the baby, doing a puzzle with your toddler, letting the dog out the back door, and cooking dinner all at the same time. Your days are full of giving, giving, giving, and at the end of the day, you will often feel like you have nothing left to give. Remember to take care of yourself. Give yourself rest, fill your tank, practice self-care. Slow down to take care of yourself so that you can continue taking care of those babies!

What other tips would you give to mamas nursing and raising babies at the same time?

6 Ways to Cope While Parenting in a Pandemic

Being a parent during a pandemic is super hard. There are lessons to be learned and value to be found amid all of this, but it doesn’t erase the extreme pressure we’re all feeling. Once I allowed myself to feel these emotions and let go of overly positive thinking, I was able to surrender and accept what is. 

Hearing how other families are cobbling together some semblance of a normal existence is of great interest to me because I’ll take all the tips I can get. We need to support each other, you know! Here’s what my experience has been (minus the foul language at particular times and tears here and there ha!) and I’d love to hear yours, too!

An optimistic beginning 

As COVID-19 first made its way into our collective awareness, I had a strange sensation of calm. It was like I imagined myself creating a forcefield around my family to protect us from everything. I was energized by coming up with fun and creative things to do with my 3-year-old that she would’ve otherwise done at her MDO, which has been closed since March. I eagerly planned crafts, activities, etc. As the world was swirling around us, we happily stayed together in our family cacoon. 

A realistic outlook 

As March rolled into April we started settling into this new normal. My husband started working from home. I’ve been working remotely for about 10 years so that part wasn’t an adjustment. Having the whole family in the house all and trying to work while taking care of a 3-year-old was an adjustment. We moved my home office set up into our room so we could take turns working while hiding from the 3- year-old. It became increasingly clear that we wouldn’t be returning to ‘normal’ any time soon. The pressure really started to build.

Parenting in a pandemic is hard. No childcare while working is hard. Doing both at the same time is hard. Making decisions about daycare and/or school, if they’re open, is hard. Every. Thing. Is. Just. So. Hard. We are all having a really hard time! And it seems like it’ll be like this for a while. So while that initial optimistic, calm sensation I had at the onset of this pandemic is gone, I will replace it will resolve and just take one day at a time.

This is what I’m doing to relieve the pressure of this pandemic and maintain some kind of balance. My mental health necessitates this. 

6 things I’m doing to battle coronacrazies

1. Hobbies help

I’m doing projects that bring me joy, like sewing, house improvements, or gardening. But only when I want to for as long as I want. I don’t want to feel obligated to do something fun, that takes away the joy. 

2. Nature therapy

Finding time to be still in nature helps me stay centered and connected. 

3. Playtime playdates

Having regular outdoor playdates with trusted families so my 3-year-old can have interactions with other kids since she’s not attending MDO.

4. Mind, body connection

Waking up early so I have time for a short meditation and workout before a day of working/childcare begins.

5. Acceptance

Giving myself permission to feel what I feel without judgment or comparison. 

6. Structure to the chaos 

Creating a schedule to balance work, childcare, household duties, and family activities so I can stay present at the moment and not feel pulled in all directions. 

    • Whichever parent is with the 3-year-old takes her to a park, splash pad, or someplace outdoors during the morning hours. The afternoons, after her nap, are usually spent at home doing crafts, science experiments, or playing in the blow-up pools. 

This isn’t perfect by any means and it’s still really, really hard. But having this structure helps me stay sane. What are you doing to combat the coronacrazies right now?

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