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Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane.
She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (with just ONE bathroom mind you) on a farm - with tons of animals of course. One day, due to her sheer aversion to shoes and her immense love of the sea, she aspires to penning her way to fame on a deserted island in the Florida Keys. For now though, Georgia will do.
Stef moved from Maryland to Georgia on a whim that proved transformational at the age of 21. Soon after she met her husband, got pregnant with twins and decided to give up a career in law enforcement to become a stay at home mother to her children. In an effort to pursue her personal passion for writing, earn some income (for beach vacations), and remain available to her now 4 children she began her freelance writing career from a used laptop in her living room. To date, she has several published works for both adults and children to her name, thousands of credited works and a laundry list of clientele that she works for on a regular basis.
The Mom-Spirational Blog is Stef’s newest endeavor aimed at offering Wisdom, Wisecracks, and Wellbeing for Women. (And men of course, if they’re interested in that sort of thing). You can visit the blog here at Everyday Family, and see the ‘uncut and uncensored’ version at http://www.momspirational.com/. Mom-Spirational is also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mom-spirational/129984033724713!
And of course (because who isn’t these days) I’m on Twitter too at https://twitter.com/momspirational
Stef Daniel is also the author of http://www.softballisforgirls.com/, and several children’s books about softball. Stef and her husband are extremely active in empowering the girls of Fastpitch softball (and other sports) and currently coach three Fastpitch teams. Currently, most of their free time as a family is spent sweating in dugouts at various ballparks in Georgia chanting cheesy softball cheers while encouraging girls to wear deodorant. (But they wouldn’t have it any way!) You can also find Softball is for Girls on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Softball-is-For-Girls/133729620047353
Stef believes that motherhood and womanhood should bind each and every one of together, rather than tear us apart. Her primary focus in life is her family and hearing the laughter of her daughters. She is also interested in nearly anything metaphysical, adores Reiki and meditation and her LIFE MANTRA adopted from her own mother is, “All is Always well!” Which, she is finding out on a daily basis, is pretty much always true!
Thursday, May 16, 2013 by Stef Daniel
There were tons of things that my parents said when I was a child that I swore I would never say. Things like 'because I said so,' and "because I am the boss,' and "you will thank me for this one day.' The parental verbal rhetoric you use with your kids, will eventually feel familiar - as the same rhetoric that your parents used with you. And when it does, you finally have that 'A-HA' moment where you realize why your parents were the way they were.
Even worse, is that sometimes - in the heat of the moment - parents (like me) say things that come out all wrong. One time I asked my 12 year old "Are you stupid? I cannot believe that you put your baby sister on the dog and let her go!" The baby sister of course fell off the dog when the dog stood up and bonked her head well enough to leave a mark. Still, my "Are you stupid?” was admittedly inappropriate. It was just in that moment - I was so shocked and angry that the words just sort of exploded out of my brain. When I apologized for it later, my daughter seemed somewhat unscathed and had apparently forgotten about it already.
Of course, I have also been the one to introduce my children to the majority of the cuss words that they know.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 by Stef Daniel
Social media. The internet. Smartphones and tablets. Laptops.
If you look in the average child’s book bag, from 5th grade on up, you are apt to find one of these technological devices hidden beneath an archaic folder or school book. Today’s kids have access to nearly everything online - and with such social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - they are having an effect on our children.
But is this effect positive? As a mother of 4 girls, who regularly patrols my kids’ online presence, I am not so sure.
Monday, May 13, 2013 by Stef Daniel
Women today are expected to DO IT ALL. They get pregnant and have babies and are expected to return to the workforce in just weeks. In fact, for many working mothers one of the biggest worries of late pregnancy can be finding suitable day care or babysitting arrangements for their child. According to the National Association of Childcare Resource and Referral, nearly 71% of mothers with children are in the workforce. And of course, this is slowly but surely changing the way that mothers mother. (And how they feel about how well they mother!)
It can also make moms feel jealous of their child’s caretaker. After all, this person (or these people) often spends more time on a day to day basis with the child or children than the mother does. And it’s only natural for women to worry that their child won't feel close to them, won't love them enough - or will end up calling the babysitter "mama." Hearing the well intended stories of what your baby did all day, how many first steps they took, or how wonderful they were in your absence, may be aimed at reassuring you that your child was happy. But obviously, it can also pull at the heartstrings of a working mother who may feel she is missing out on too much.
Monday, May 06, 2013 by Stef Daniel
I can remember it well. I had a miscarriage, on the exact day that a family member was admitted to the hospital to have a baby. Same hospital. While I was dying inside from grief and despair - there was a celebration going on around me. I hated myself for not being able to feel happy for my husband’s cousin, and I even refused to visit the nursery and see the beautiful baby boy in the aftermath of my D&C.
Then, weeks later, another family member and a friend sent me invitations to their baby showers. "Come celebrate the birth of our baby," felt like a direct punch in the throat that said, "Since you can't have a baby you might as well come celebrate mine."
I tried to put on my big girl panties and make my way inside Baby's R Us to purchase a baby shower gift. I walked through the aisles looking for nursery items and fell apart in the diaper aisle.
Friday, May 03, 2013 by Stef Daniel
How many times have your lips deceived you by saying, "Yes" when your heart meant NO?
How many times have you taken on more - when your plate was already overflowing?
How often have you bit your tongue, held onto your own opinion, let things go, or put your own personal ambitions, passions, and desires aside simply to please other people?
How many times have you just given in to the kids, or the significant other, or a friend or family member just because it seemed 'easier' than arguing or sticking up for yourself?
As women, mothers - humans - life can take off so quickly that it is easy to lose yourself along the way.
Wednesday, May 01, 2013 by Stef Daniel
"Oh just meditate," people tell me.
And I am always like, "MEDITATE? Really? Are you serious? How do you expect me to meditate when I have sooooooooooooo much to do, and sooooooooo many people talking to me all at once?" Plus, if I close my eyes and meditate - chances are pretty good that I am going to fall asleep, or that my mind is going to wander to the far corners of worry and stress and I will have a full blown panic attack."
Meditation requires calm, peace, and quiet. Three things hard to come by in my life. Meditation requires me to NOT think, which is like telling me to NOT breathe. Meditation. HA! Despite the fact that I believe I was a hippy or a monk in a previous life, meditation is NOT part of my life plan at this point. You feel me, right?
Monday, April 29, 2013 by Stef Daniel
According to the last US Census, there are more stay-at-home dads caring for their family in the traditional maternal sense of the world than ever before in history.
Yes, finally it seems that gender roles in the household are changing. Interestingly, some women aren't exactly thrilled with this idea.
Dads are becoming accepted as not just adept and able - but empowering and loving parental figures in the home. For generations, raising kids and keeping house have been considered women's work. But as more and more women are finding competitive pay in the work force, and are realizing that they can have a career and a family, many men are picking up the slack.
Friday, April 26, 2013 by Stef Daniel
Why is it so hard (or shameful) to admit that we, as parents, can be jealous? Each of us has spent a day or two (or more) with the angry green monster of jealousy. How can we not? Log into Facebook and it seems like a parade of folks in this world are having the times of their lives, and living in such exotic and exciting ways that our own lives of laundry and cooking dinner can seem pale in comparison. Let’s not even mention the pictures, or the kid brags, or the constant updates from those Facebook friends who have to shout their own praises from the highest online mountains.
And of course, we live in a world that is clearly divided by the haves and the have-nots. Our kids feel it every time they go to school. And as parents, we hear it too. It starts early in life the first time our child wants to know why so and so has an in ground swimming pool in their backyard while you have a blow-up Walmart pool on your porch?
The reality is that jealousy is quite a normal feeling.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 by Stef Daniel
Not that long ago, I carried a diaper bag that literally had everything but the kitchen sink. In fact it doubled as an on-site medical kit complete with everything needed for first aid, as well as changes of clothing for my kids, plenty of make-up, nail clippers, scissors, a screwdriver, knife, an instant ice pack, and even a bottle opener in case there was ever a stray bottle of wine that needed to be opened in a hurry. This makes no mention of the fact that I also had water bottles and random food and candy in case we got stuck on the side of the road or in a traffic jam. The back of my car carried a separate bag that had coloring books and crayons, a few toys, and plenty of paper and bubbles so that my kids would always have something to do.
Boy, have things changed.
Monday, April 22, 2013 by Stef Daniel
Just recently, I celebrated my 40-something birthday. I realized looking ahead that pretty soon I would be 50, and was reminded again just how fast time passes.
Then, almost like a little 'hello' from the universe my kids came across a picture of me taken the day I got married. "Mama, you were so pretty - you didn’t have any wrinkles." "Mama, you were so little. How old were you here?" "Mama, you were beautiful."
I looked at the picture and although I recognized myself, I was also slapped in the face with just how much time has changed me. I think inside each of us, there is a part of us that realizes one day - if we are lucky enough to make the long haul through life - we will be the little old lady with the hunched back and the skin tattooed with the wrinkles from time. Yet, we don’t really 'feel' it happening. It happens with the same surprise quickness in which we realize our children have grown up. One moment they are 6 months old, and suddenly they are 15.