How to Maintain an Identity Separate from Parenthood

Parenthood can be all-consuming. Caring for a child is no easy feat: it takes a great deal of time, thought and energy. Because we prioritize our children, we give them the first and the best of whatever we have to offer, leaving the leftovers for ourselves. But when our leftover time, attention and energy isn’t enough, we become one dimensional. Many of us begin to limit our identities to being parents and nothing else. We often think this transformation is necessary in order to be devoted caretakers. In reality, this transformation robs us of our ability to be happy and whole. To be the best parent you must first be the best you. However, you can’t achieve that if you no longer know who you are outside of your parental role. If you find yourself in this predicament, try these four tips to maintain your identity separate from parenthood.

Stay in Touch with Friends

Friendship is important. The act of connecting with like-minded individuals who know all the details of your life (past and present) provides a mental outlet that is undeniably necessary in adulthood. Friends give us the chance to reminisce, vent and let loose. They can be a shoulder to cry on, timely comedic relief or simply a hand to hold. But because parenthood keeps us busy our former friendships sometimes get pushed to the back burner or lost altogether. Instead of severing your friendships, make it a point to stay in touch. While your adult companions can serve as reminders of who you were before children, they can also help keep you connected to your individualism, even with children.  

Independent Time

It’s no secret that parenthood requires the biggest time commitment you’ll ever make. From the moment your first child is born, you assume a twenty-four hour, seven day a week responsibility. Because our children rely on us for everything from their physical needs to their mental and moral development, it’s common for many parents to lose track of time in the process. Before we know it the kids are successful young adults in college while we struggle to find our rhythm as empty nesters. Failing to make time to feed your own mind, body and soul can wreak havoc on various parts of your life. Some people end up resenting their choice to selflessly sacrifice so much of their time. Others wind up smothering their kids because they no longer know how to function outside of their parental role. Stay-at-home parents may also harbor hidden animosity toward their children or spouse because of the amount of daily time devoted without a break. The best remedy is to work with your support system to schedule time away. Whether that be a date night, independent time or a tropical getaway, regular time to yourself will help clear your mind and leave you refreshed and ready to be the best parent you can be.

Independent Interests

Lastly, balanced parents need independent interests. We put our children in chess club, soccer and gymnastics to expose them to various people, opportunities to problem solve and life experiences. Why don’t we do the same for ourselves? For the same reason your children need hobbies, parents can also benefit from having interests that are uniquely theirs. Set aside time for yourself to do what makes you happiest. Consider old passions you’ve forgotten. Look into trying something new. You deserve the chance to release some stress, invest in your personal growth or relax and unwind. Parenthood shouldn’t cancel out your ability to make those joys a part of your weekly routine.

Being a parent is a privilege and an honor. The joy of parenthood far exceeds the struggles we may face along the way. Still, it’s important that you don’t lose yourself in the process. Children benefit most when they have happy, balanced adults in their lives. Be honest with yourself and your spouse about what you need in order to restore a feeling of self, and use these three tips as your guide.

Glen and Joya BakerHow to Maintain an Identity Separate from Parenthood
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How To Use Conflicts To Strengthen Relationships

Blissful and harmonious – these are common words that come to mind when describing happy and meaningful relationships. And if you want to keep and maintain a strong bond with someone, you oftentimes go out of your way to avoid conflicts as much as possible. Still, finding a couple who manages to stay together for a long time without finding anything to argue about sounds like something from a fantasy world. In reality, many struggle to come to terms with the people who are closest to them.

Can fights in a relationship be healthy?

Fights and misunderstandings are a normal part of a relationship. It is probably more alarming if you and your partner do not have anything to disagree about. An online survey even revealed that arguing increases a couple’s chance to be happy by 10 times. Having arguments can be a sign of a healthy and mature relationship because it is a way for couples to work out their differences. You do not have to change your ways to avoid conflicts or agree to everything your partner wants just to avoid trouble. By arguing, couples communicate their wants and together they figure out ways to resolve it. If done the right way, conflicts are like bridges that couples cross to further strengthen their union. Even so, not every couple knows how to properly deal with disagreements. Oftentimes the frequency and intensity of quarrels can quickly tear down the foundation of even the strongest relationships.

Broken relationships are always sad and the tragedy is worsened if you think simple and little changes could have been done to save it. One way to protect and nurture your relationship is by changing your attitude and approach towards conflicts. So are you always at odds with your partner? Find ways to turn that to your advantage with the following tips.

Be a better listener.

When issues arise in a relationship, it is so tempting to start trying to air your side. Now, if both partners resort to giving their piece of mind at once, no issue is likely to be resolved. In a healthy discussion, you have time to express your mind but also have open ears for your partner. Give your partner time to explain and listen without judgment. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes and try to be more understanding.

Ditch the blame game.

To pin a mistake on someone else is the easy and immature way of dealing with conflicts. Especially since most of the time you cannot attribute a mistake to only one person. Even if someone is really at fault they do not want to hear it over and over. Blaming others can just lead to contempt. So instead of pointing out the wrongs of someone else, look at the issue constructively as you both think of ways on how to avoid it next time.

Control your emotions.

If you are upset, you are likely to do things that you will regret later. Do your best not to let emotions like anger or bitterness get the better of you. It does not mean that you have to suppress your emotions. You have the right to acknowledge what you feel but you can manage the way you react to it. This is something that is easier said than done but if you truly want to protect your relationships, you need to exert real effort to be a master of your emotions. This is, after all, a trait that you can use in all aspects of your life. In times when controlling emotions seems impossible, it is better to take some time off before talking to your partner.

Do not sweat the small stuff.

Not every issue is worth an argument.  You may discover your partner’s annoying habits but if it is not something that creates big trouble, it is probably better to just be patient about it. Besides, creating relationship is also learning to accept some things about your partner. Be patient and learn to pick your battles as not everything is worth your time or attention.

The relationships we have makes life worth living. It is important to consciously take steps to nurture the relationships we have which includes finding ways to cope with conflicts and issues.

Glen and Joya BakerHow To Use Conflicts To Strengthen Relationships
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Enrich Your Lifestyle & Make A Difference: Do These 4 Things Everyday!

Life is a precious gift given to all, yet not everyone has the strength or wisdom to appreciate and enjoy every moment. Sadly, a recent survey by Gallup, a performance-management consulting company, revealed that the number of people who are sad or in pain have increased over the last ten years. This research exposes the unfortunate truth that unhappiness affects people worldwide.

But to succumb to depression is to accept defeat. Instead of letting life get you down, the results of the survey mentioned above should even give you a reason to strive for a more meaningful existence. Happiness is a daily decision you make if you want to improve your life and make a difference. You can start by a making a firm resolve to do the following things everyday.

Commit to doing a good deed.

Kindness goes a long way because the positive action benefits both the receiver and giver. It boosts your confidence by knowing you can brighten someone’s day, and at the same time, create a positive influence. So why not make it a daily goal to do something good for others? It does not have to be a burdensome task. It can be as simple as lending a hand to someone in need of assistance or being more patient to someone having a hard time.

Commit to see the good side of everything.

You cannot expect for things to always go smoothly or for people to always be on your side. To fully enjoy every moment, you should try to not allow negative people and situations to dampen your cheerful spirit. You may not be able to avoid gloomy people or situations, but you can choose to focus on the good side of things.

If you stay positive, problems come with valuable lessons and losing something opens an opportunity to find something new. Another thing that will help you focus on positivity is realizing that the negative things or people have nothing to do with you. This means that you can ignore or avoid them. You can also overcome the negative energy with your positive outlook.

Commit to loving yourself more.

If you seek happiness in others, you may end up hurt and disappointed. Your joy should come from within. You can nurture your inner happiness by doing things that you love everyday. Life is tough enough, so don’t be too hard on yourself. You can always push yourself to do better, but don’t forget to be gentle with yourself. Take a break if you are tired or find ways to reward yourself after a long, exhausting day.

Commit to learning.

Famous scientist Albert Einstein once said, “I have no special talents, I am only passionately curious.” This quote from a man whose discoveries greatly benefited society states that wonderful things happen when one is always eager to welcome and study new ideas. Learning is a lifelong journey and the vast world will never run out of things for you to discover.

So keep your eyes open for new knowledge and skills to learn. If you find joy in learning new things, you will never lose that sense of wonder which is essential to seeing the beauty of life. Your dedication to gain more knowledge will contribute to your overall satisfaction in life.

So many people are in despair and it isn’t hard to fathom why. Life is not a walk in the park, and sometimes it seems easier to just live in misery day after day. It takes courage, determination and commitment to fully experience the joy of living. To enrich your life, you need guts to rise above failures and disappointments. It may sound difficult to stay happy in a grief-laden world, but it is a challenge worth pursuing.

Glen and Joya BakerEnrich Your Lifestyle & Make A Difference: Do These 4 Things Everyday!
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Six Ways To Continuously Reap Success & Achieve Excellence

People who chased and found success realized that it is not a journey with a definite ending. Rather, it is a breathtaking destination that leads to more magnificent sights. It can also be likened to a door that opens new pathways to more exciting adventures. The only sensible thing to do if you wish to hold on to your success is to move forward. You cannot stop or move backward because it is like turning your back to a wealth of treasures that are within your reach.

Committing to the following behaviors will help you continuously enjoy victory in life:

Be an early riser

If you see yourself as a night owl, you may want to seriously consider shifting to a more active morning routine. Various studies linking the habit of waking up early to productivity and success may just convince you. A study regarding the behaviors of successful people by financial planner and bestselling author, Thomas Corley, revealed that almost half of the self-made millionaires involved in his research make an effort to rise hours before their workday begins. By starting your day an hour or two earlier, you get ample time to prepare for the tasks ahead and you greatly increase the chance of accomplishing more. If being a morning person proves to be a big challenge, remind yourself of the quotes that “The early bird gets the worm” and “You snooze, you lose.”

Be a voracious reader

The fact that a great number of notable individuals such as Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Gates are self-confessed bookworms may just convince you to pick up that book that is just gathering dust in the corner of your room. Books are source of entertainment and knowledge so setting a time for daily reading is a pleasant way to increase your mental power and nurture creativity. At the same time, the knowledge you gained from reading gives you an edge over others.

Challenge yourself every day

Staying in your comfort zone is like setting up a pigeonhole that restrains your growth and potential. Besides, you cannot totally avoid risks if you wish to achieve something great in life. So liven up your routines by finding ways to push yourself to the limit each day. Simple ways to do this include doing an extra set of sit-up exercises or completing a project in half the time.

Keep on learning

The world is an infinite source of knowledge and learning is a continuous process so there will always be new things to discover. Successful individuals never stop upon reaching their goals. Instead, they keep themselves indispensable by acquiring new skills and honing existing strengths. They also manage to stay a step ahead of the game by keeping an eye on latest trends and breakthroughs.

Always be thankful

Life would hand with you a fair share of problems that make it hard to pursue fruitful living. Successful people though resist the pull of negativity by constantly focusing on the bright side. By choosing to be grateful for everything including difficulties, you can stay inspired and motivated to keep on reaching for your dreams.

Invest on good health

Even with strong willpower, soaring to new heights will be next to impossible if you are physically weak. You need energy and stamina to do extraordinary things so nourish your body with essential nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

The determination and discipline to commit to good habits are vital keys that make the quest to achieve your full potential and enjoy continued success possible. The amount of effort you have to exert in the pursuit of excellence will never be wasted because it will allow you to experience the best that this life has to offer.

Glen and Joya BakerSix Ways To Continuously Reap Success & Achieve Excellence
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Are Your Kids Ready For The Future? Give Them An Edge With These Skills

Parenting has always been a huge responsibility. We all want our kids to reap success and lead rewarding lives in the future. Yet, in this fast-paced digital age, parenting seems to have become a harder task. Technology is rapidly changing the way people live all over the world and kids are now faced with a greater challenge more than ever.You can boost your child’s advantage in the digital world by teaching them the following skills:

Teach Them a Foreign Language 

Technological advancements have indeed made the world smaller so raising bilingual or multilingual kids will prove to be beneficial in the long run. The future workforce will most likely be composed of people from various cultures so the ability to speak and understand a foreign language will open more career opportunities. They say it is best to start learning a language at a young age, so it is a good idea to enroll your child in a foreign language class or simply install an app that offers language courses. Learning a new language also leads to other benefits such as wider vocabulary and improved memory. It is also a great way to teach your kids about embracing diversity.

Make Your Kids Social Media Savvy 

Social media is everywhere these days and your kids most likely have or will soon have an account. Get involved by educating your child on how to use the online media platforms responsibly. Teach your kids how they can take advantage of the social media platforms by telling them the good (e.g., sharing knowledge) and bad (e.g., cyber-bullying) side of it. While you do not want to snoop or monitor your child’s every move online, gently remind them to always think before clicking or posting anything. You should also teach them ways on how they can protect their privacy online.

Emphasize the Importance of Offline Time

Kids today spend a great deal of time online, from leisure activities such as watching movies and playing games to serious stuff such as researching and studying. To help them grow-up up as well-rounded kids, parents need to teach their children to balance the time they spend in online and offline activities. A surefire way to impart this knowledge to youngsters is by being a good example. It will be hard to tell your kids to limit screen time to a few hours a day if you spend most of the time online as well. So schedule fun and traditional activities or teach them new skills that do not involve any gadget at all. It will be great for bonding and at the same time will make your child realize that there are other worthwhile activities to do offline.

Inform Them About Emerging In-Demand Skills

Parents should be on the lookout about the latest in the digital trends to know the skills that may be indispensable for their kids in the future. You do not have to force it, but you can encourage your children to take lessons in fields such as robotics or coding.

 

Parents want nothing but the best for their kids, so it is understandable if some will go to great lengths just to ensure it. Still, at the end of the day, the best way to nurture your kid’s potential is by showering them with unconditional love and support.

 

Glen and Joya BakerAre Your Kids Ready For The Future? Give Them An Edge With These Skills
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Five Ways to Better Understand and Appreciate Your Partner

Relationships — no matter how deep the love — are difficult. Just as we matured and evolved from our teen to early adult years, we keep growing. Life’s experiences — joyful, sorrowful and challenging  — affect our personalities, our outlooks and our hopes and dreams. As we grow older, we can’t help but change. That means our relationships do, too. And that means they require care, time and a willingness to walk in the other’s shoes, to see the world through their eyes, to understand their perspective. One of the key elements in healthy, thriving relationships, psychologists and marriage experts say, is understanding each other. We all want to be heard, to be appreciated for who we are.

Here are five simple ways to help you to understand your partner as well as improve your communication and connection with each other.

Be Present In The Moment

When disagreements occur, focus on the present. In other words, be there. Listen actively to what your partner is saying without letting your thoughts and feelings creep in. Allow yourself to really hear him or her. If you’re already formulating your responses while your partner is talking, then you’re not really listening. This same idea applies to any conversation you may have with your partner, not just the difficult ones.

Choose The Right Words

Effectively delivering your message begins with picking and choosing the right words to say. Use “I” rather than “you” when trying to communicate your feelings. By saying, “I felt sad when you didn’t call me  . . . ” rather than “You always ignore me when . . . ” leaves room for conversation and space to meet in the middle. It isn’t accusatory and it doesn’t create feelings of defensiveness. Assumptions many times lead to misunderstandings which you should make a conscious effort to avoid at all costs.

Own Up to Your Mistakes

Take responsibility for your own actions and emotions. If your stress or frustration elicits negative responses or creates tense situations, acknowledge the fact. Be accountable to yourself and to your partner. We sometimes feel that saying “I’m sorry” or explaining that we aren’t at our best is a sign of failure. But it’s really a sign of strength and self-confidence in the relationship, that we will love each other despite our imperfections.

Stay Focused

Keep discussions about an issue brief and concise. Don’t bring additional baggage into the conversation as that can tumbleweed into a much larger ordeal. Focus on one point, keep voices calm and then move on. Bringing up too much or extending the time spent discussing the conflict at hand only stirs the pot and prevents reaching a clear solution to the problem.

Make Time for Each Other

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to improve your understanding of one another is to ensure you set aside time each week just for the two of you. Take turns choosing the date or activity — and be positive about whatever they select, even if that wouldn’t be your first choice. Being willing to do something for your partner, even when it’s not part of your interests, shows you understand what is fulfilling and important to your partner. And, you never know, you might end up enjoying it more than you expected!

So, keeping the fire burning isn’t so difficult when you slow down, take time to listen with heart and head, and are willing to step back a bit to see the perspective of the one you love. Emotions can get messy and muddy the waters. But communicating how you feel with patience, respect and honor for one other can only strengthen and deepen the love that brought you together in the first place.

Glen and Joya BakerFive Ways to Better Understand and Appreciate Your Partner
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Tips For Making Your Mentoring Experience Truly Rewarding

If you’ve ever had someone take you under their wing, then you know how truly rewarding and invaluable a mentoring relationship can be. It can have an impactful influence on someone else’s life. In addition, it is just as much of an important learning experience for you as a mentor as it is for your pupil.

For some, the idea of mentoring can be intimidating. Perhaps you think you don’t have enough experience or time to be of value to your mentee. But instead of thinking “Why me?” change your mindset and instead think “Why not me?”.

Here are three tips to ensure your mentoring experience is truly rewarding, for both you and your mentee.

Make Yourself Available

Have you ever worked in an office that has an “open door” policy? While it is great in theory, oftentimes these well-meaning policies never come to fruition. Many have had their fair share of being shut down by their superiors or mentors who always seem to be too busy, despite having an “open door” policy.

So when it comes to your mentees, make yourself available to them and easy to reach. They are looking to us for feedback and its important to let them know that you care and are there for them. This can go a long way in building trust in your mentor-mentee relationship.

Share Your Experiences and Expertise  

Chances are, you’ve had many times throughout your career where you’ve run into challenging situations. Some of our most trying times and failures can be when we learn the most. Sharing these experiences with your mentee can be big teaching moments, especially when it comes to showing how even our failures can be our successes as long as we learn from them.

There is always value in the experiences you’ve had, whether professional or personal, that can be vital to your mentees growth. You are the expert, and the knowledge you impart will help your mentee apply it to their own situations.

Be a Sounding Board

While mentees look to us for guidance, it is important to be actively engaged and listen when they present their obstacles to us. This helps us as mentors to be best equipped to guide them through difficult situations.

Being able to give sound advice is important in mentorship; but having the discipline to be patient and truly interested in their dialogue is equally as important. Oftentimes there is just as much for us to learn from our mentees as there is for our mentees to learn from us. And having an open ear is just one way to achieve this.

There’s no shortage of people and professionals who need additional guidance in their lives. Mentorship is highly rewarding and helps to develop your leadership skills, which ultimately translate to your professional career. And perhaps more importantly, sharing your insights through mentoring is incredibly rewarding to your mentee and enriching to their life.

 

Glen and Joya BakerTips For Making Your Mentoring Experience Truly Rewarding
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3 Holiday Recipes Your Family Will Love

The holidays are a truly magical time of the year. The holidays are all about showing your loved ones how important they are and letting them know that you cherish them. Bring your family and friends together for a night of laughs and good food with these simple, yet delicious holiday recipes.

The Grinch Kabobs

These are perfect for anyone with young children or grandchildren. Make some precious memories and let the little ones help you make these delicious, healthy kabobs. All you will need is green grapes, bananas, strawberries, mini marshmallows, and toothpicks. You can find the full recipe here.

Holiday Honeycrisp Salad

This salad is the perfect appetizer for any dinner table. The crisp, sweet, and tangy flavors are the perfect start to your holiday family dinner. Not to mention the gorgeous combination of red apples, green salad, and white cheese brings an effortless holiday appearance to the table. You can find the full recipe here.

Cranberry Pecan Mini Goat Cheese Balls

This savory appetizer is sure to dazzle any dinner guest. The combination of goat cheese, cream cheese, white cheddar cheese, cranberries, chives, and pecans will not only taste amazing but look amazing. This recipe is simple, quick, and packed with holiday flavor. Click here to find the full recipe and ingredient list.

The best way to bring people together is through lovingly prepared food and good company. Whether you’re cooking for a large holiday party or a small family dinner, these holiday recipes are sure to dazzle everyone at the table. Just be sure to remember the secret ingredient in every recipe – love!

What’s your family’s favorite holiday recipe?

 

Glen and Joya Baker3 Holiday Recipes Your Family Will Love
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3 Things to Focus on Everyday to Become a Better Person

It’s easy to lose sight of your conscious self-improvement goals when your life is filled with packed schedules and long to-do lists. Especially with the holidays approaching, it’s extra important to make time to re-evaluate where you are on your self-improvement journey to make sure you constantly becoming a better version of yourself whether you’re at home or in your community. Here are 3 things you should focus on everyday to become a better person.

Your values

Your values and priorities in life are essentially what guide your decision making, your actions, and ultimately determine the kind of person you become. That’s why it’s so important to reassess your values and make sure they shine through in every encounter and are reflected in every conversation you have each day. Take time each day to focus on how you will make your values shine through in your life. If you can make your values visible in the way you live, they will become the things that define you as a person.

Your role models

Identify the people in your life who influence you to be better and do better every day. These people may be your mentors, your friends, your family members, or truly whoever pushes you to challenge yourself and become a better version of yourself day in and day out. Once you identify these influential people, strive to make sure you conduct yourself in your daily habits and interactions the same way your role models would. In doing so, you will lead a life you’re proud of.

Your passions

Maintain your vision for the future and whatever it is that excites you in life. If you make an effort to consciously recall your passions every day, you will maintain your excitement and constantly challenge yourself to reach your goals. Whatever it is that fuels you and gives you a source of fulfillment, don’t lose it. Keep your passions visible every day to proactively become a better you.

If you keep these 3 things in mind each day, you will have all the reason you need to improve yourself every morning when you hop out of bed. Remember to focus on these three things to become the person you want to be.

Glen and Joya Baker3 Things to Focus on Everyday to Become a Better Person
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How to Change Your Perspective from the Inside Out

If you’ve decided wholeheartedly to make a lifestyle change, then congratulations! Making the decision to change the way your life looks is a hard decision in itself because it means deciding to live your life with the steady commitment, sacrifice, and dedication that will allow your new lifestyle to become a reality. However, the next step in giving your lifestyle a makeover is not as simple. It means giving it your all and actually following through with the goals you set for yourself in the first place. Essentially, it requires a completely changed, or at least a redirected perspective, in order to transform the way you live your life. Here are three simple steps on how to change your perspective from the inside out.

Start fresh

First things first, to change the way your life looks from the inside out, you will need to detox yourself from all of the unwanted things that clutter your life currently. Detox your mind and body from bad habits and any sort of unhealthy tendencies. Clear your life of anything you don’t want or need in order to make room for positive changes to revolutionize the way you live your life.

Make a plan

Next, you will need a plan of action as to how you will actually follow through with your decision and authentically change your perspective from the inside out. Make sure you have a game plan in place before it’s too late. Consider the hardships you might face along the way and have a strategy in mind that will allow you to defeat these setbacks before they have the chance to defeat you.

Change your routines

The third and final step is to actually launch your new lifestyle into action. Start small by changing one area of your life at a time. Be patient with yourself, and don’t expect every part of your life to change at once. Changing one routine at a time will eventually change your entire perspective and completely alter the way your life looks.

Changing your perspective from the inside out can seem like a daunting and nearly impossible task at first. However, if you break it down into these three steps and commit yourself to whatever it is you want most, anything is possible.

Glen and Joya BakerHow to Change Your Perspective from the Inside Out
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