5 Tips for Moms Struggling with Work-Life Balance

Florida’s 1st Elected Female Lieutenant Governor Offers Lessons Learned from Experience

Despite the many monumental glass ceilings that have been broken for the equal rights of all citizens in the United States, unique challenges persist for many, including, potentially, half the population, says Jennifer Carroll, the first female – and first black – elected lieutenant governor of Florida and a retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander.

“Challenges from my childhood and military career have taught me many valuable lessons — when times get tough, get tougher; stay true to who you are and don’t compromise your principles; be willing to walk away from something that’s causing you clear harm,” says Carroll, (www.jennifercarroll.com), who recently released her autobiography, “When You Get There.”

“The perfect worker, wife and mother – these are ‘the big three’ roles that matter most to women, but you really want to make sure your children don’t get lost in this juggling. Your husband and your coworkers are adults; children, on the other hand, are vulnerable.”

Carroll has the following suggestions for women concerned about their role as Mom.

• Pay close attention to your children; listen. Seems obvious, right? As a little girl in Trinidad, Carroll was accosted by a man who persuaded her to accompany him to an outhouse. After he exposed himself to her, she managed to get away, but the experience haunted her while growing up.

“Listen to children when they have something to talk about,” she says. “They may feel too embarrassed to talk about something that happened to them; they may feel like it’s their fault. Be sensitive to their words and behavior, and be open to what they have to say.”

• Devote one day exclusively to family. While advancing her career in the Navy, Carroll often spent several months away from her family. Later in her career, including as Chairwoman of Space Florida and lieutenant governor, time was also a precious commodity, but she always made sure she had it for her three children, Nolan II, Nyckie and Necho. Since Nolan II has been a player in the NFL, Carroll attends games and make Sundays “Football Sunday” for everyone, including her husband of three decades, Nolan.

• Model the behavior you’d like to see emulated. Children have sensitive consistency detectors; they are quick to realize the disconnection between what parents say and what they do. There’s something to be said for people who are able to follow their own advice. Many don’t.

“Proactive efforts outside the home, like civic and humanitarian projects, are a great way of modeling behavior,” Carroll says. “My models as a child were my adoptive parents; I think adoption is one of the greatest loves you can provide and is a great model behavior.”

• Emphasize the importance of loyalty; family is a lifelong relationship. As important as a career may be, you will never forge bonds in a job that are as strong as those within a family. Children are hungry to know they are secure with love and loyalty, so don’t hesitate in reinforcing this message.

“When you have a secure family foundation, you can approach work with greater strength and confidence,” she says.

• Engage them! This is a two-fold effort: Make sure children are engaged in their studies and extracurricular activities, such as sports, study groups, a job or other productive behavior. And talk to them about what they’re doing and also what you’re doing.

“Conversation is an opportunity to connect with your children, to take advantage of teaching moments, and most of all, to enjoy your children!”

Jennifer Carroll, author of “When You Get There” (www.jennifercarroll.com), is the former lieutenant governor of Florida and a retired decorated lieutenant commander/aviation maintenance for the U.S. Navy. She was a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 2003 to 2010 and was the executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs. Currently, she is a Political Analyst for WJXT CHANNEL News4Jax Jacksonville, Florida, and Senior Adviser for Global Digital Solutions, Inc. (GDSI) in West Palm Beach, FL. Carroll holds an MBA, among other academic degrees. She and her husband, Nolan, have three children.

The Number One Killer of Teens is Motor Vehicle Crashes

In half of fatalities, teen not wearing seat belt; new study explores why

More teens die in motor vehicle crashes than from any other cause of death, about 2,500 per year. Fatalities are split almost equally between teen drivers (56 percent) and passengers (44 percent). In half of the fatal crashes, the teen was not wearing a seat belt. To develop strategies to drive down the number of teens killed in cars (which claims fully 25 percent of all preventable injuries among children), Safe Kids Worldwide conducted a survey among teen passengers and drivers.
The report, “Teens in Cars,” was funded as part of a $2 million grant from the General Motors Foundation. It was based on a national survey of 1,000 teens ages 13 to 19. Read more

Snack Your Way to Game Day

(Family Features) As football season kicks off, game day is a perfect time to show off your best spread while cheering your team to victory. From tailgating outside of the stadium to gearing up in front of the big screen at home, all fans alike can indulge in great game day snacks. Look for options that do double-duty on flavor and texture as these will save time and let you enjoy your favorite treats to the fullest.

Answer appetites with apps. Even for a large crowd, an array of smaller dishes and appetizers can go a long way. A selection of finger foods lets everyone fill up on snacks of their choice without the fuss of a main dish that requires more prep. Be sure to keep in mind who you are serving. For instance, if a guest has dietary restrictions such as gluten intolerance or is vegetarian, several options or additional offerings to meet their needs will be much appreciated. Read more

8 Tips for Helping Children with their First Nursing Home Visit

What’s the next best thing to an amusement park? Visiting a nursing home. Most children (and a few adults) don’t realize the fun that can be had visiting loved ones at a retirement home. In fact, some are down right frightened. Insert picture of the Crypt Keeper and add haunting music here. But a nursing home isn’t a place where people go to die; it’s a place where they go to live. Below is a list to help young children understand how fun, and important, it is to visit a loved one in a nursing home.

1. Explain why

The experience of visiting a relative in a nursing home should begin with the simple explanation of why you are going in the first place. Describe who this person is, what he or she means to your family, and what kind of life experiences he or she has had. Stay upbeat, positive, and respectful.

2. Be honest

Parents should be as honest as they can about the look, smell, and overall feel of a nursing home. Not too graphic now, we don’t want to re-conjure any scary images. However, children will be a lot more comfortable in a strange, new environment if they have some idea of what to expect. Read more

Snack Your Way to Game Day

(Family Features) As football season kicks off, game day is a perfect time to show off your best spread while cheering your team to victory. From tailgating outside of the stadium to gearing up in front of the big screen at home, all fans alike can indulge in great game day snacks. Look for options that do double-duty on flavor and texture as these will save time and let you enjoy your favorite treats to the fullest.

Answer appetites with apps. Even for a large crowd, an array of smaller dishes and appetizers can go a long way. A selection of finger foods lets everyone fill up on snacks of their choice without the fuss of a main dish that requires more prep. Be sure to keep in mind who you are serving. For instance, if a guest has dietary restrictions such as gluten intolerance or is vegetarian, several options or additional offerings to meet their needs will be much appreciated. Read more

Why are the Holidays So Hazardous to Our Health?

Physician Shares Tips for Giving Your Body What It Needs to Fight Illness

It’s a sad statistical fact: The holidays, from Christmas to New Year’s, are a treacherous time when it comes to our health.

“There’s a spike in heart attacks and other cardiac issues,” says Dr. John Young, a physician specializing in the treatment of chronic illnesses through biochemical, physiological and nutraceutical technologies, and the author of “Beyond Treatment: Discover how to build a cellular foundation to achieve optimal health,” www.YoungHealth.com.

“The incidence of pneumonia cases spikes – in both cold and warm climates. And deaths from natural causes spike. In fact, more people die of natural causes on Christmas Day than any other day of the year!”

While those numbers are well-documented, the cause(s) are not.

“Stress plays a role, particularly if your immune system is weakened,” Dr. Young says. “If you look at how most of us eat from Halloween through New Year’s, it’s easy to see how the immune system takes a beating and otherwise healthy people become more susceptible to illness during the holidays.” Read more

Encourage Kids to Give Back This Halloween

(Family Features) As they gear up for Halloween this year, kids across the United States can make a difference in the lives of kids around the world by raising funds for those in need.

Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, a 64-year-old American tradition, is a program that provides donations of medicine, nutrition, clean water, emergency relief and education to children around the world. Below are some of the ways families can get involved.

Donations go digital
In addition to going door-to-door with traditional orange boxes to collect coins for UNICEF, for the first time kids and parents can now set up individual fundraising pages on Crowdrise for their friends and family members to donate. Participants also can turn their Halloween parties into Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF fundraisers by creating a donation page and including a link to it in their party invitation. To get started, visit www.trickortreatforunicef.org Read more