I’ve been an online writer for over four years. I’m a mother who’s articles focus primarily on parenting and child-care.
We all love our mothers, but sometimes it’s easy to forget to let her know that. It really doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive to show your mother how much she means to you.
Spend a little time with her or give her the right words, a gift, or a favor to let her know just how well she did in raising a child who loves her. This is important to do now and then, whether you’re still young or grown with a family of your own.
And don’t save it for Mother’s Day or other holidays. You can show your mom that you appreciate her any time of year.
Ways to Show Mom You Care
One of the most appreciated, yet challenging, ways to let your mom know you care is to say so. Here are a few ways you can do it:
- Say it when she does something for you.
Moms do so much for us. When she helps you, make sure you show your appreciation by saying so. Do more than just say, “Thank you”—be specific.
- Sing it.
If you have musical talent, you could write a song for her and sing it. Live is good, but don’t sell a recording short—she can keep and listen to over again.
- Say, “I love you, Mom!”
It’s simple but effective, and she probably doesn’t hear it often enough.
- Tell her how helpful her advice has been.
Moms give a lot of advice. Be sure to let her know when it helps you. You can also tell her about advice in the past that has helped you. She’ll love hearing it.
- Dedicate a song to her on the radio.
Call up her favorite radio station and see if they’ll dedicate a song to her at a time she’s probably listening.
- Call and tell her in the middle of the day.
Call your mother in the middle of the work day and surprise her by telling her how much she means to you. She’ll love that you thought of her even in the middle of the day.
- Fix things in her house. This is especially helpful as your parents get older and can’t do everything for themselves.
- Do her yard work. Whether it’s mowing the lawn, trimming the bushes, or planting a garden, most moms love it when you help keep their yards in good shape.
- Babysit. If you have siblings young enough to still need babysitting, offer to take care of them for one night so that she can get out for an evening, whether alone, with your dad, with her own mother, or with friends.
- Wash her car. Who doesn’t love a clean car? Don’t forget to vacuum out the insides and clean the insides of the windows to make it particularly special.
- Make her breakfast in bed. It’s a much-loved classic. Mom’s worth getting up a little early for, isn’t she?
- Make her dinner. Show off whatever cooking skills you have and make dinner for your mom. Try to make it a little special. Don’t forget to clean up the kitchen after!
- Give her quiet time. A mother’s life is often hectic. Find a way to give her some quiet time to do the things she’d like to do.
- Get everyone to come home. As everyone grows up and starts doing more of their own things, it gets harder and harder to get everyone home at once. Make plans to have everyone home for a special dinner or just simple family time.
- Clean the house. Yes, the whole thing. Get into the details. Hire a housekeeper for the day if you prefer.
- Plan a surprise party in her honor. You don’t have to wait for her birthday or any other special day—in fact, an occasion not tied to a specific day makes it that much more meaningful. Find a way to get in contact with as many special people in her life as possible and have a party in her honor.
- Visit her. If you don’t live with your mom anymore, take some time to visit her. Make your time together a little extra special for her.
- Listen. We all have busy lives. Take a little time and listen to your mother.
- Write a lettter. Write your mom a letter and tell her how much you treasure her. It’s something she can keep and re-read for years.
- Write a list. If you’re not so much into the letter idea, try writing a list of things you appreciate about your mom.
- Write a poem. Express how much you care for your mom in a poem. You can print it on good paper and frame it for her if you like.
- Print out your favorite quotes that make you think of her. There are many online resources to find quotes, or just think up your favorites. Print them up and give them to her.
- Make her a card. Sure, you can buy a card and make it special, but there’s something about one you make yourself. With all the free clipart available online, you can make it look great even if you can’t draw worth anything.
- Write a family history together. This one combines the gift of your time with writing, plus you’ll end up with something the entire family may treasure.
- Leave notes for her. Write little notes about all the things you appreciate about your mom and hide them around her house.
- Take her to dinner. Make a reservation just for the two of you. And make sure it’s special, whether it’s a fancy restaurant, a picnic with a beautiful view, or someplace tied to special memories you both share.
- Take her out for a massage or spa day. Who doesn’t enjoy a day planned for indulgent relaxation? Get a certificate for her from Spa Finder if you can’t come along.
- Take her someplace special to you both. Go together to a place that has meaning to both of you.
- Go skydiving or on other adventures. Has your mom ever dreamed of doing something adventurous, such as skydiving or bungee jumping? Find a place and go have fun together.
- Take her on a picnic. Don’t let her do any of the work. Plan out the picnic at a favorite local site and let her enjoy it.
Make your mom a nice dinner to show her that you care.
Why must your mom look at every single, solitary item on every single, solitary rack?!
1. You’re excited because your mom wants to take you shopping. Unless there’s a huge life event happening, like graduation or prom, it’s not all that often your mom takes you shopping and is willing to foot the bill. Your bank account isn’t exactly overflowing with all the cash from your after school job, so the fact that your mom wants to take you is a huge deal. Maybe you can convince her to buy you that cute skirt you’ve been DYING to get.
2. Noooo! Mom won’t go to that little boutique with your dream skirt because it’s too expensive. Ugh. There go all your hopes and dreams of finally getting that skirt that you’ve been dreaming about for the past three weeks. Mom says you’re going to the mall because it’s more practical. You don’t put up a fight because beggars can’t be choosers.
3. Mom wants to go to all the department stores. Moooom, no! The only stores that matter are Forever 21, H&M, Brandy Melville, Aerie, and Victoria’s Secret. Only old ladies shop at department stores.
4. You take a deep breath, suck it up and go to the department store. There has to be some good stuff there. You will do your best to plant a subliminal message in your mom’s head to go to Express after she’s done dragging you into the depths of every department store at the mall, though.
5. She doesn’t like anything you like. Can I get this shirt? No. How about this skirt? Too short. What about this romper? In that color? Must she have an opinion on everything?!
6. Then she starts picking out all these hideous clothes for you to try on. Oh, the romper was ugly? Really? Says the woman who wants me to try on a a potato sack three seconds later. And she def wants to check out the clearance rack with all the store’s reject clothing. Can’t forget that! Uggg, why did you think going shopping with mom was a good thing?
7. You give up and just let your mom take the reigns. Your mom spends about 15 minutes sifting through every piece of clothing on every rack even though you told her you don’t like anything on it. She barely takes your opinion into account before tossing another four items into the basket. She might as well have gone shopping by herself. At this point, you’re just following her around like a zombie waiting for this day to end so you can go home with your brand new mommy clothes.
8. You spend hours in the dressing room trying on a million things until you’re about to go crazy. Three-fourths of which you didn’t even want. You usually like shopping, but when your mom is forcing you to try on that pink blouse she swears you’ll look “adorable” in (a word you definitely don’t even want to be associated with, mind you) and those flare jeans that were totally “in” when she was your age, the dressing room totally loses its flair.
9. Wait. a few of the things Mom picked out actually look really good. You were so ready to blast every item she picked out and tell her “I told you so,” but you’re actually really feeling a couple of the things she picked out. And even that shirt she found in the clearance section is a little gem. But after all the fuss you made, you hardly want to admit it. Can you tell her you don’t like it and then sneak it into the basket?
10. Even though you hated almost every moment of it, you’re actually checking out with some really nice new clothes. So you didn’t get everything you wanted, but your mom did let you get a few things you loved, and her picks weren’t all that bad either. You’re still not wearing that pink blouse though. That was hideous.
11. Mom says you can get one thing at H&M! Or whatever store it is you really wanted to go to. Your subliminal messaging (AKA, you pestering her the entire trip) worked! What were you thinking? Shopping with mom is AWESOME. Even though it’s going to be hard to find the one thing you want, you are ready for the challenge, and unlike you, your mom isn’t impatient and is willing to walk around the store with you. She even feigns excitement when you pretend you’re going to get the Shawn Mendes t-shirt. This is why you love her.
12. As you head out to the car with your new clothes, you realize you’re going to look fly on Monday morning. Yes, shopping with mom was painful at moments, but she came through. You didn’t get everything you wanted, but how can you complain when Mom paid for everything out of the kindness of her heart? Plus, nobody will be able to take their eyes off you when you walk down the hallway next week. Especially not when they see you in the skirt Mom found that’s a dead ringer for the more expensive one you saw at that little boutique.
It was the kind of email that makes your shoulders clench up tight, right by your ears.
A friend—not a super-close one, but one I respected and admired—wanted my help with a writing project.
Her deadline was seven days away. She just needed a few hours of my time. She was even willing to pay me. Would I help?
I took a deep breath, glanced at my calendar, and chewed it over.
Hmmm. I could probably squeeze this little project into my week if I juggled a few things around, woke up earlier, stayed up later, or carved out some time on a Saturday or Sunday.
But even just thinking about it, I was already feeling bitter and resentful.
The truth was, I simply didn’t want to do it.
The project didn’t excite me. The money didn’t make it any more appealing. I would rather have those hours to myself to work on my other projects. Or just cuddle with my sweetheart.
There was no compelling reason why I ought to say “yes!” to her request—other than just to “be nice” and “help out a friend.” And while I do love being a nice, helpful friend, sometimes, the answer is “not this time.”
It was slightly awkward, but I made my decision.
I was ready to craft a response and say “no.”
And let me tell you, it’s a funny thing—even as a professional writer and communications strategist who makes a living advising people on what to say and how to say it—saying “no” to a friend is still a tricky scenario. Especially when you’re nervous about damaging the relationship.
What I do know, though, is that saying “no” gets easier with practice and repetition.
And having the right script—a starting point, so you’re not starting at a blank screen—can make all the difference.
Here’s a universal script that works for just about any scenario:
Thanks for your note.
I’m so proud of you for ___—and I’m flattered that you’d like to bring my brain into the mix.
I need to say “no,” because ___.
But I would love to support you in a different way.
[Offer an alternative form of support here]
Thank you for being such a wonderful ___. I am honored to be part of your world.
[A few closing words of encouragement, if you’d like]
Thanks for your note.
I’m so proud of you for deciding to apply for that small business owner award—and I’m flattered that you’d like to bring my brain into the mix.
I need to say “no,” because my week is already quite full—and I know it wouldn’t be smart (or humane) for me to add anything new to my plate.
But I would love to support you in a different way.
I’ve attached a couple of worksheets that I created for a recent writing workshop—including a couple of templates that will help you to craft a bio, a manifesto, and a few other pieces for your application.
Thank you for being such a wonderful friend and colleague. I am honored to be part of your world.
Good luck with the contest! I know you’re going to do a terrific job.
Here are three points to remember when you’re using this particular script—or something similar—to say “no” to a friend.
Say it Fast
Don’t keep your friend hanging for days or weeks, hoping she’ll “forget” about it. She won’t.
Depending on the nature of your relationship, you may want to explain why you’re saying no. But don’t over-explain or give your entire life story. That’s not necessary.
In the example above, I mentioned that I have a particularly busy week. Period.
In some instances, no explanation is required. But for close friends, it can often be a nice touch. If you’re concise and honest, friends will (almost) always understand.
Propose Something Else
The key to crafting a gentle “no” is to include an alternative form of support. Think: a link to a helpful blog post, a resource, a worksheet, a few quick tips, or a referral or personal introduction to someone who might be able to help.
This “alternative” should obviously be something that you are willing to give (or do)— because it is easier, less complicated, or less time-consuming, it doesn’t cost money, or it just feels good for you to offer. Not something that takes more of your time.
The late Steve Jobs once said: “Focus is about saying no.”
Ain’t that the truth.
Don’t over-clutter your calendar with commitments that derail your focus, pulling you away from the work that you truly want to do.
It’s not good for your career. It’s not good for your soul.
And if someone gets furious because of your perfectly reasonable, elegantly articulated “no?” Well, they were probably never your true friend to begin with.
Good thing you know.
So that now, you can say “yes!” to a friendship with somebody else.
February 12, 2016
One thing that many people often do not know about are the Dollar General penny deals. This is when items in their store will sell for just $0.01.
The thing is, these items are not marked as such. That means, you need to learn how to understand the code so you can determine if the item is reduced or not.
While this is not 100% a guarantee, there are things you can look for to see if you can track down these deals.
CODE BENEATH THE BARCODE
One thing to check is the code listed beneath the barcode. It will include some of the following combinations:
SP – Spring
SU – Summer
FA – Fall
WI – Winter
11 – 2011
12 – 2012
13 – 2013
So, the code that shows FA11 would be an item from Fall 2011.
That is step 1 in determining if the product has been discounted. If the item is from a prior season, there is a good chance that it has been discounted.
LOOK FOR THE SYMBOL
You should also look for a symbol- such as a PINK dot. These items are usually discounted and qualify for the penny deals. Just because you see a code from a prior year doesn’t mean that the price has dropped – it will also need to include a colored symbol on the tag as well — and be from a prior season (such as FA12, for example).
Keep in mind that some products have a different code than the one above. For instance, if you find Disney products with the code ending in 709 beneath the original bar code, then that means it is just a penny! Just a head up that may not find this same type of code on all products in the store.
(And, I wish that I could explain this with more precise examples, but some of this information is kept close to the hip and the public does not know about them).
THE STORE MAY NOT ALLOW YOU TO BUY IT
One thing you must understand as well, is that the store does not need to sell the item to you at this price. If it scans and that is the price that pulls up, it means that the item has been removed from the store’s inventory. It is no longer an item they sell.
Some stores may allow you to purchase the item, while others may say that it is no longer for sale. This is at the discretion of the store manager. If you are not allowed to purchase, please do not get angry at the store, as they are not obligated to do so.
So, in a nutshell – look for a combination of a code from a prior season along with a symbol to see if your item is priced at just a penny! Of course, nothing is 100% guaranteed, but these are some things you can at least try at your store.
Have you learned any tips to determining the penny deals at your store?
Oftentimes, we’re not 100 percent sure how to tell if our jeans fit properly until it’s too late. The first night I hung out with my now best friends my freshman year of college, we sat in a circle and decided to tell each other our most embarrassing stories (I know, I know, how cliche.) My friend opted for her own story of discovering her denim wasn’t quite the right fit. She was working at a local retail store and as she squatted down to put jeans, ironically, beneath the table, her new blue jeans ripped all the way around her thigh. Thankfully, she was able to buy a new pair вЂ” with an employee discount, of course вЂ” finish her shift like nothing happened.
Leaving wardrobe malfunctions aside, jeans that don’t fit can just be unpleasant вЂ” not to mention, apparently lead to medical problems (very, very rarely). Of course, the easiest way to tell whether your flares fit is if you feel totally comfortable and confident in a pair (feeling like you have to pull at the waistband or squat to stretch the fabric is no good), but if you’re trying a new trend or shopping at a store for the first time, you might need some extra assistance.
In order to avoid your pants ripping in public, Corey Epstein, Co-CEO and Creative Director of DSTLD Jeans, shares a few tips on how you can tell if your jeans fit properly.
1. Examine The Ankles & Crotch
Epstein says excessive bagginess or excessive bunching at the crotch are clear signs that a pair of jeans do not fit properly. If you’re still not sure, however, he says you can tell jeans are too tight if the back inseam is leaning in favor of the left or right cheek.
Another key place to look is the ankles. If your jeans are bunching near your feet, that’s the first sign you need to re-evaluate your size.
2. Check The Fly
“If you feel like you want to unbutton your jeans every time you sit down because youвЂ™re uncomfortable, thatвЂ™s not a good sign!” Epstein tells me over email. Jeans that are too tight tend to squash your butt (ouch) and create an inseam pulling to one side. It’s also annoying to have to check that your jeans are staying zipped.
You particularly want to pay attention to the tightness of the pants when it comes to fit. Aside from the discomfort, super tight pants can hinder circulation, which can lead to a mess of other issues.
3. Watch For Extra Saggage
While convenient to skip, Epstein says you should have to button and unbutton your pants in order to take them off if they fit properly. Being able to simply slip them on and off without messing with the zipper and button likely is a sign they’re too big. Other signs, according to Epstein, include excessive bagginess, sagging, and bunching especially at the waist and crotch when you wear a belt.
4. Look At The Wrinkles
Wrinkles are a sneaky good factor in determining how your jeans fit. According to the designer, wrinkles facing inward mean the jeans are too tight. And wrinkles facing outward mean the jeans are too big.
5. Check Out The Pockets
Aside from depicting poor fit, Epstein encourages shoppers to check out the pockets pants they’re trying on because they can often depict poor construction.
The back pocket, Epstein says, should be centered around your cheeks and cover the “middle third of your backside,” but not extend beyond your cheek’s curve. In other words, your back pockets should not rest on your thighs. Similarly, the front pocket should stay in the front pocket and you should not be able to see its outline against your leg.
6. Remember That It’s The Pants, Not You
Of course fit depends on the type of jeans you wear, but overall Epstein believes pants should actually feel comfortable. You should be excited to wear a pair, not dreading pulling them on.
When you’re in the dressing room shopping for new denim, try on several pairs before making your final decision. If a pair of jeans you love mostly fits, remember you can always get things altered if you’re really infatuated. Epstein says an individual needs to find their personal line between needing a tailor or deciding a pair of jeans is too much work.
7. Use Your Confidence As An Indicator
“So many shoppers get tunnel vision, and will write off a product if itвЂ™s in their ‘size’ and it doesnвЂ™t look right or feel right,” Epstein says. He asks shoppers to have patience and keep in mind that size varies across brands. And it’s “definitely not about the size youвЂ™re wearing, but how you feel when youвЂ™re wearing something that fits well. A well fitting garment is the best confidence booster,” Epstein says. He encourages shoppers to not be afraid to go up a size if doing so will overall make you feel more comfortable and confident.
A Foundational Budgeting Skill
Enis Aksoy/Getty Images
Erin Huffstetler is a writer with experience writing about easy ways to save money at home.
Budgeting is a balancing act. The secret to sustaining yourself from day to day while also reaching financial goals is building a budget that balances your needs with your wants. Pinpointing the difference between the two is a subjective proposition.
In 2005, Senator Elizabeth Warren and her daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi penned a book titled “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan” that proposes a viable way to distinguish between wants and needs. In the book, the pair introduced the 50/30/20 budgeting rule. This method of budgeting, which calls for devoting half of your net income to your needs and then splitting the difference on the remainder between wants (30%) and savings (20%), is often cited as a reliable way of managing expenses.
Before you can gauge how practical this approach might be for you, however, you have to determine how to divide everything up. Although the process of distinguishing between your wants and needs may seem fairly straightforward, these distinctions can be hard to discern.
Understanding Needs vs. Wants
Some needs are easier to nail down. You need a place to live, clothes to wear, and enough food and water to maintain your health—these are the elemental things that you need to survive. They’re indispensable. You can argue that everything else is not imperative, but this is where the lines start to blur. The reality is, we make many of our purchasing decisions subjectively rather than objectively.
For instance, some people consider health care to be a necessity. For others, benefits are a luxury. When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010, people began facing stiff fines for going without coverage. Despite this federal mandate, millions of working Americans remained uninsured because they’re simply unable to afford the premiums.
The ACA fines have since been lifted, but the debate continues about where to draw the lines of what’s essential.
Other purchases can technically be categorized as a need, even though most would consider them a want. Does eating an expensive meal at a high-end restaurant qualify as a need? Or what about clothes? Do you have to stick with generic sneakers or can you splurge on a pair of expensive Adidas? Ultimately, it’s all about perspective and how you choose to manage your money.
Deciding Between Wants and Needs
Figuring out how to divide your income and prioritize your expenses can be as simple as putting everything down on paper. Prateek Vasisht, editor of TotalFootball and the Business Design Rover, wrote about this exact topic.
In the piece, he recommends using a variation of the Growth-Share Matrix developed by the Boston Consulting Group in the early 1970s. The practice calls for listing your wants and needs individually in four different categories. The visualization technique allows you to see where your expenses fit clearly.
Categorizing your priorities, the chart allows you to list your wants in one column and your needs in the other and then divide the columns in half and designate the top choices as a high priority and the bottom as low priority. From there, you can make informed decisions.
You end up with the following four categories:
- High-priority needs
- High-priority wants
- Low-priority needs
- Low-priority wants
Vasisht also suggests trying out the MoSCoW method, which stands for Must Have, Should Have, Could Have, and Won’t Have. Like the Growth-Share Matrix, the MoSCoW prioritization technique, conceived by Dai Clegg in his book, “Case Method Fast-Track: A RAD Approach,” involves breaking things down in four different categories. Both of these methods help you to clarify which things should be the highest-priority items in your budget.
Appreciate What You Have
Once you become better at differentiating between wants and needs, you’ll probably see that you’ve been able to fulfill more of your desires over the years than you realized. And that can be a significant turning point.
When you find things that you want to buy or do that you currently can’t afford, it becomes all too easy to focus on those things to the point of overlooking what you already have. Take time to reflect on all the ways that you’ve been fortunate and the needs you are able to meet every day.
When you get clarity about your wants and needs, you can determine what’s most important and plan your budget to make those dreams a reality.
Are you constantly worried about your kid’s safety? Do you feel it is important to lay down a few safety guidelines for your kid both inside and outside the house?
If you are wondering just how to go about it, we have the answer for you. Keeping your kid safe at all times means constant adult supervision. It also means implementing a few important changes and rules that ensure your kid’s well-being. Read on to know how you can teach safety rules for children.
Top 10 General Safety Rules For Kids At School:
As a parent you may want to always be present near your kid. But this is not possible. You have to let your kid venture out without you. There are places where your kid will meet others in your absence, for example, at school. Your kid may also need to be at the day care or at home with a nanny. Also, it is important to prepare your kid for basic safety steps in the event of an emergency.
Here we list out 10 kids safety rules, that will help in ensuring safety at school and home:
1. Safety Rule #1 Know Your Name, Number And Address:
Your kid may be small but it is important to teach basic contact details like your and your partner’s name and contact number. Your kid should be able to share your contact number with someone in case of an emergency. Also, knowing where home is and any nearby landmark is also important. Help your kid memorize these with regular practice at home. Also, help your kid memorize a backup number to call, like a grandparent, uncle or aunt.
2. Safety Rule #2 Do Not Eat Anything Given By A Stranger:
You need to teach your kid about the dangers of eating food that is given by a stranger. No matter how tempting the treat is, if it comes from a stranger, your kid should not eat it. Teach your kid that it is dangerous to accept food from anyone. Ask them to politely refuse in case someone is offering food without your consent or in your absence.
3. Safety Rule #3 Do Not Climb The Fence:
Your kid may be playing ball and suddenly it bounces off to a space inside a fence. Teach your kid never to try and retrieve something by climbing through a fence. If something like this happens, your kid should ask the help of a grown up, but never go near a fence.
4. Safety Rule #4 Do Not Walk Off The Yard Alone:
Similar to the point above, your kid should know that it is not permissible to walk out of your yard alone. If your kid needs to go out for anything, you or some known adult should be accompanying your kid at all times.
5. Safety Rule #5 Playing Or Experimenting With Fire Is Not Allowed:
Whether or not you are at home, your kid should know that it is absolutely not allowed to play with fire. Only if you are around and have given your permission can your kid be near fire. Make sure all fire outlets are safely out of your kid’s reach.
6. Safety Rule #6 Never Go Anywhere With A Stranger:
Your kid should know that no matter what the reasoning, it is not safe to go anywhere with a stranger. Tell your kid that if a stranger tells them something like ‘Your mom asked you to come with me immediately,’ they should stay where they are and shout out for help. Ensure that if there is an emergency, you will always send a family member, like grandparent or aunt, to be with your kid and not a stranger.
7. Safety Rule #7 No One Is Allowed To Touch Your Kid’s Body:
This is a very important safety rule for kids and you should teach about it as soon as your kid can understand the basics. Teach about good touch and bad touch. Tell your kid that no one is allowed to touch your kid except mommy, and sometimes papa, if needed. If anyone else has touched your kid, your kid should immediately shout for help and alert people around.
8. Safety Rule #8 If You Get Lost, Stay Where You Are:
In the event that your kid gets lost, tell them it is important they stay right where they are. If they see any other mom with kids nearby, they can ask her for help. Your kid should stay inside the place and not go out, even with the other mom. Most common places where kids get lost are the super markets. Tell your kid that they can walk up to the counter of the store and tell the person they are lost.
9. Safety Rule #9 Do Not Share Address And Phone Details With Anyone (Except Emergency Situations As In Point 1):
Your kid should know that it is unsafe to share personal details like phone numbers, address, email ids or pictures with strangers. Any information that is shared should only be with your consent or in your presence.
10. Safety Rule #10 If I Am Uncomfortable I Will Not Do It:
No matter what your kid may be asked to do, if it makes your kid uncomfortable, your kid should NOT do it. This could be something as simple as taking off clothes in front of others and diving in a home pool. If your kid is not comfortable about it, no matter how many friends are doing it, your kid should not do it at all.
It is important that you teach your kid about these basic safety rules for kids as soon as they are able to understand. There are certain things that you can start teaching your kid as early as three years of age. Make sure you speak to your kid in an age-appropriate language. Also, always keep communication open. This will encourage your kid to tell you everything.
- 7 Minute Read
I miss you. I wish you were here. I can tell you a mom is irreplaceable for a child. When a mom dies, her child is no longer whole. The loss makes it hard to breathe. That child flails in the wind like a cottonwood seed. A piece of fluff that gets knocked about the world by the wind. Sometimes I landed on solid ground, sometimes I landed in a pond and almost drowned. But I’m still here.
RELATED: To Those Who Know the Bitter Hurt of Losing a Parent
In the year after your death, my dreams plagued me whether they were about your death or when they fooled me into thinking you were still alive. The waking up and again remembering you were dead was the hardest point of each day.
Know that you are missed more than words could ever say, Mom.
I’ve felt your absence every day of my life since you were stolen from me. I fell into a never-ending well of agony after you died. I dwelled there for years. Depression ran in my veins alongside my blood. The blood became rough and scraped up my heart.
I went haywire as a teenager. Depression left me crawling through my days. I tell you this, Mom, not to make you sad but to let you know how much of an impact losing you had on my young life. I did many things I shouldn’t have. I gave up many things you had loved right alongside me, but somehow with you gone they just didn’t matter anymore. The joy of them was stripped from me. I became empty.
I searched for many things to fill myself up. Many were bad things, but some were good. I had good friends who helped and distracted me. I had the rest of my family too who gave me love. I had pets and cats to console me and give me company. Pets you had loved too. The cats looked for you, I saw them searching, but they could never find you. I understood their sadness and confusion.
I could never forget you. A part of me is still lost and I’m wondering if I will ever get it back. Maybe that piece is in heaven with you and someday you can put it back in me and I will be whole again.
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One day not long after you died I found a card cradled in the grass of our backyard. The card had a picture of Jesus on the front. It looked like an old card. I wondered who put it there. Did it fall from heaven and you dropped it for me to find? Had someone put it in a balloon from far away and that balloon popped over my house leaving the card to fall? Did God put it there? Did a neighbor nestle it into our grass to give me comfort? I still have the card. The words on the card were Psalm 23. It was about comfort and the valley of death. I had to wonder if it was a sign from you that you were in heaven. It made me cry hard. Sharply splintered tears had ripped streaks from my eyes down to my toes leaving me memories of that moment as scars.
We used to light a candle for you at Christmas. You died right before Christmas so I guess this made sense. We don’t do it anymore and I’m not sure why because I still miss you. I guess I’m busy with my own boys and our own Christmas family traditions. I want to light a candle for you at Christmas again.
I cried so many tears I lost myself as that young teen girl. When I looked I couldn’t find myself so I wrote down my agony. The loss of you brought me to writing. It was my counselor, my friend, and my dumping pad. I had to get it all out and writing it down was the only way that worked. When I talked to others they just didn’t get it. They hadn’t gone through what I had gone through. They would judge me even if they didn’t mean to. I could always see it in their eyes. They either felt bad for me and their eyes welled up with pity or they just didn’t know what to say. They were so consumed by the pity that no real help came forth. I don’t even know what would have helped. Probably nothing.
My world fell apart when you died.
The whole world shifted while I made peanut brittle in chemistry class the morning you died. I remember how the peanut brittle shards looked in the tin foil. The classroom lights reflecting brightly off the tin foil. The peanut brittle stack on the black square high top table. The table they called me down to the office from to tell me of your death.
I miss the foods you made. No one can make food the way you made it, Mom. You gave food to me with love and your smile. It can’t be replicated. It’s impossible, no one else has your smile. Sometimes I think of you now when I give my boys plates of food. I focus on that because sometimes I’m busy and it’s hard to get them their food, but I want them to remember me serving them with love and a smile. When I remember this perspective, I feel good. I feel like a mom. I feel more like you.
I learned how to be a mom from you. You were a fantastic mom. I know not everyone can say that about their mothers. I was lucky to have you. Mom, you were fantastic, awesome, loving, creative, giving, and kind. Now that I am an adult I understand how great you were. I learned to give to others and be generous by watching you.
RELATED: To my Mom, I Get it Now
The loss of you made me strong. I became an independent young woman who wanted to do it all on her own. I love that I became strong, but I hate that I had to lose you to do it. I hope and pray my children become strong. I hope and pray they don’t have to lose me to become that way. I will mold them. Give them tasks to make them strong. I don’t want to leave them to strengthen them. There must be another way. I will find it.
I often pray that you are able to know some of my joys.
I hope you can know some small piece of my life. I wish you could have met my husband and I wish you could have felt in your heart the excitement I had on my wedding day. You missed it all, but I’m hoping someday I will see you and you will tell me you were there with me. You will tell me you sat in the church and watched me marry my husband. I hope you will tell me you were able to see my sons’ faces when they burst into this world. Oh, how I could have used your help. How we could have shared laughter and snuggles together with my babies.
RELATED: A Love Letter From Mamas in Heaven to Their Beautiful Daughters on Earth
They are all getting big now. I hope you can see how tall they are getting. They fight a lot but they also play well together. The times they play are sweet jewels in my day. When they make me smile out of pure joy, I know what being a mom is all about. I am a lucky woman, Mom. I had you and now I get to be a mom.
Open-ended questions like “Tell me about yourself” are frequently asked at the beginning of in-person or video interviews to get the conversation started. Other examples include “Walk me through your resume,” “Tell me something about yourself that’s not on your resume” and “How would you describe yourself?” It’s natural to be thrown by these kinds of questions: They are ambiguous, and it can be hard to identify what the interviewer really wants to know. But there is an opportunity for you in that ambiguity—your interviewer is allowing you to choose how to respond.
In this article, you’ll find tips on what to avoid in your answer, how to structure your response and how you can get started. Additionally, at the end of our article, you will find a detailed “Tell me about yourself” sample answer.
Planning your answer
Even for common interview questions, it can be hard to get started crafting your response. To keep you on track, here are a few questions to ask as you brainstorm ways to respond and structure your answer:
What qualities make you a great fit for this position?
Think of what makes you stand out as a job applicant for this role. Perhaps it’s your years of experience or some highly desired specialization, training or technical skills. Review the job description closely and note ways that you exceed the requirements.
Why are you interested in the role?
Brainstorm why this position excites you, how it fits into your larger career goals and why you feel it’s the best next step.
Why are you interested in the company or the industry?
After you’ve spent time researching the company and the industry, you should have a better sense of the mission, goals and trends impacting the industry. Do these align with the professional goals that you’ve set for yourself? What do you like and respect about the company as a whole? What excites you about the future of the industry? As you start building your story, tie together similarities among your professional goals, the future vision of the company and industry trends you feel are especially important.
What are the positive traits or characteristics you possess that will serve you well in this role?
For example, have friends or colleagues described you as especially organized? Curious? Entrepreneurial? Generous? Think about how you’ve long thought of yourself or how others have seen you. Then, think of recent examples from your life when you embodied that characteristic.
How to answer “Tell me about yourself”
How you respond to the “Tell me about yourself” question can set the tone for the rest of the interview. Overall, when you practice your answer, you want to tell a great story about yourself that you can share in no more than two minutes. In your response, do the following:
1 . Mention past experiences and proven successes as they relate to the position.
Begin by rereading the job description. Take note of the required skills that you have, and identify recent stories that demonstrate them (review the STAR method to practice telling great stories in your interviews). Ideally, you should draw primarily from recent professional experience; however, volunteer work can also support your narrative while demonstrating a commitment to your community.
2 . Consider how your current job relates to the job you’re applying for.
Is it a more senior role? If so, explain how you are taking on more responsibilities in your current position. If you are making a lateral transition to a role with different skills, describe how your current skills translate into the new position.
3 . Focus on strengths and abilities that you can support with examples.
When you start building the script of each example, focus on details and outcomes that you can quantify if possible. For example, stating that you “improved customer service” is less impactful than “increased customer service response rates each quarter by 10–15%.” If you don’t have the exact information, estimate a realistic value.
4 . Highlight your personality to break the ice.
Since the “Tell me about yourself” interview question is about getting to know you, it’s a good idea to share your personality with your interviewer—but not personal details. You may want to briefly mention hobbies that demonstrate intellectual development and/or community engagement (e.g., reading, music, sports league, volunteering) or those that showcase personal discipline and achievement (e.g., learning a new skill, training for a half marathon). Discussing personal interests is a good way to wrap up your response while maintaining a professional tone.
Example answer to “Tell me about yourself”
Sometimes seeing an example can be helpful, though each person’s “Tell me about yourself” answer will be different. Below is a short script showing how this question can highlight someone’s strengths supported by successful results in just under two minutes:
“I began my career in retail management, but a few years ago, I was drawn to the healthcare space. I’ve always been skilled at bringing people together and working towards common goals. My experience successfully leading teams and managing stores led me to consider administration, and I’ve been building a career as a driven health administrator for the last four years.”
“In my current role at XYZ Medical Center, the efficiency of the office has been a personal focus—especially as it relates to patient outcomes. I set and oversee goals related to department budget and patient volume. Last year, I worked with our IT department to implement a communication system for scheduling procedures and protocols to ensure that all departments were adequately staffed at all times. With our new online scheduling portal, we increased communication efficiency by 20%. To stay informed about their ongoing concerns, I hold regular meetings with physicians, nurses and other healthcare staff. In my role, I also manage marketing and advertising efforts on behalf of the Center. I’ve been really enjoying that part of my work and I’m especially interested in bringing the experience I’ve gained as well as my commitment to efficiency to the team at ABC Health. Outside of the office, I’m an avid reader and I love to hike. On weekends, you might find me at the local bookstore or exploring hiking trails in the area.”
Fundamentally, “Tell me about yourself” really boils down to “What do you want the interviewer to remember about you?” Answering this opening question effectively gives you the power to make a good first impression and structure the rest of the interview to your benefit.
Do’s and don’ts for answering “Tell me about yourself” in an interview
To recap, here is a list of great ways to answer this common interview question as well as items to consider avoiding.
Sometimes, it’s more about whether or not *you’re* ready to give up Santa.
Only a Grinch would enjoy breaking the news about the Santa lie to a hopeful little one — it’s a conversation no parent wants to have. But, someday, they’re going to start doubting Santa’s magic, and it’s good to be ready for what will be one of many tricky conversations you’ll get to navigate as a parent. Here’s how to make the process less painful — for you and your kids.
Know when they’re ready, and then let go.
Figure out who really needs to hold on to Santa. “Sometimes, it’s less about when your child is ready and more about when you are ready,” says MegAnne Ford, a parenting coach and owner/CEO of Be Kind Coaching. “We as adults started the story, and it’s our job as adults to finish the story. However, I think as soon as your child starts questioning, it’s time to start the planning process. Think of this as an invitation to decide how your family will view the story of Santa, in your unique way.”
Sometimes, the signal that they’re ready comes from a subtle shift in a way they ask the Santa question. “When a child starts asking if Santa Claus is real, most parents I know — myself included — either say ‘of course,’ or redirect the question to not quite answer it,” says Emily Edlynn, Ph.D., who runs The Art and Science of Mom. “When a child is satisfied with this, even if they start to have doubts, they may not be ready to stop believing. When a child says something along the lines of, ‘Santa isn’t real, is he?’ it can be useful to reflect the question back to them to figure out why they think so. When they’re older and can think more critically, they’ll tell you Santa isn’t real, and especially when their peers are talking about Santa not being real. These are good indicators they’re really to hear the truth.“
As for when the shift starts to happen, it’s different depending on the child, but expect the questioning to get serious somewhere between the ages of 7 and 10. In 2019, House Method surveyed more than 4,500 families across the United States, and found the overall average age for no longer believing in Santa Claus is 8.4 years old. (But it varies by state: Kids in Mississippi generally believe until they’re 10, while kids in Oregon stop believing at 7.)
Respond to your child’s emotions.
Children react differently to hearing the news about Santa. “My 9-year-old daughter seemed proud to have matured into this grown-up secret she could keep from her younger siblings!” Dr. Edlynn says. Others might feel embarrassed that they believed for so long, or are sad to lose the Santa myth.
Don’t try to direct your kids to react a certain way. “Your role as a parent is not to govern your child’s emotions, whether positive or negative,” Ford says. “It’s your role to create a safe, loving, and validating environment. Make sure that the focus is on honesty, connection, and compassion, and that’ll ensure the conversation ends in everyone’s favor.”
You can also focus on ways to keep the good feelings associated with Santa going without the myth. “It’s fun to talk to kids about ways we can keep up the Santa spirit during the holidays even if we are too old to believe in the red-suited man handing out gifts all night,” Dr. Edlynn says. “Talking about the spirit of Santa — generosity, kindness, happiness — can help keep the magic alive, no matter our age.”
Take them from believing in Santa to being Santa.
One anonymous parent, whose idea went viral through an admiring Facebook post, came up with a brilliant idea that takes that last point to the extreme: Tell children that, while they don’t receive presents from Santa, they’re now old enough to become Santa. She explains:
When they are 6 or 7, whenever you see that dawning suspicion that Santa may not be a material being, that means the child is ready. I take them out “for coffee” at the local wherever. We get a booth, order our drinks, and the following pronouncement is made: “You sure have grown an awful lot this year. Not only are you taller, but I can see that your heart has grown, too. [Point out 2-3 examples of empathetic behavior, consideration of people’s feelings, good deeds etc, the kid has done in the past year]. In fact, your heart has grown so much that I think you are ready to become a Santa Claus. You probably have noticed that most of the Santas you see are people dressed up like him. Some of your friends might have even told you that there is no Santa. A lot of children think that, because they aren’t ready to BE a Santa yet, but YOU ARE . We then have the child choose someone they know — a neighbor, usually. The child’s mission is to secretly, deviously, find out something that the person needs, and then provide it, wrap it, deliver it — and never reveal to the target where it came from. Being a Santa isn’t about getting credit, you see. It’s unselfish giving.
While its exact origins are unclear, the little essay has circulated online forums for years, and before popping up in that viral Facebook post (where you can read more details about the mom’s technique for revealing the Santa truth):
Charity Hutchinson, the admirer who shared the story, told the Huffington Post that she doesn’t know where it came from, but “I wish I could say I had thought of it myself ― it’s pretty brilliant!” Since she has two sons, she wants to her children enjoy Santa at first but eventually learn that the holiday involves more than just presents.
“Christmas is about helping others, giving selflessly and being thankful for what you do have and not what you don’t,” she said. “Reading this parent’s story made me feel like I could, even as a Christian, encourage my children to believe in him so that one day they could become a Santa and give to others.” While that day may come faster than most parents like, it can be the beginning of a new holiday tradition for years to come.
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I’m a little nervous, to tell you this story about my childhood, and how we celebrated Christmas in my family growing up. First off, I don’t want to offend anyone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas. Secondly, I’m calling into question the long standing Christmas tradition of telling kids about Santa, especially the part about “if you aren’t good, Santa won’t bring you any gifts”.
You might disagree with me. And that’s okay! I have faith and trust in you to respectfully disagree. So, thanks, in advance for being a safe space! And thanks for reading.
When I was two years old my parents told me that Santa Claus didn’t exist. Most people I tell this to, let out a long sighing, “Ohhhh!” as if I just told them that my dog died. Yet growing up while knowing the truth about Santa didn’t destroy the magic of Christmas. And we did the same thing with our own kids when they were young.
The “you be good this year otherwise Santa won’t give you any gifts” aspect of Christmas is a little problematic for parents, like you and me, who choose to raise their kids knowing that they are loved unconditionally. But the my discomfort with Santa doesn’t end there.
Historically the story of Santa is actually about unconditional love; it’s the story of Saint Nicholas
Nicholas, an early Christian, secretly gave money three separate times for three sisters whose father didn’t have enough money for a dowry for them to get married. During the night he snuck the money into their stockings. But one night the father caught St. Nicholas, Nick asked for him to keep his secret. St. Nick gave to this family unconditionally because of his love for God.
The modern story of Santa is about surveillance, stuffing your feelings down, and not expressing your emotions
“You’d better watch out, you’d better not cry, you’d better not pout I’m telling you why. . . He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake . .” Those lyrics are just creepy! I think that kids need to have privacy, space away from adults, freedom to fully express their feelings.
We want our kids to know that we love them unconditionally
No matter what our children do, our love for them will never diminish. I don’t like all the things my child does, but I always love her, for everything she is and everything she isn’t. In that loving space, I find ways to teach her to be more of who she is meant to be.
Behavioral science tells us that we get more enjoyment from being kind to others when we don’t get anything in return
When our kids act kindly out of the goodness in their hearts, not because of threats or bribes, it is naturally reinforcing. Kids that get rewarded for doing something experience less enjoyment, and are less motivated to do that behavior again!
Telling kids lies–about Santa or anything else–doesn’t help build a trusting relationship with them
Kids trust us fully and need us to help them make sense of the world. They rely on us to be truthful. They rely on us for security and safety. I know kids who have gotten angry with their parents after hearing that “Santa isn’t real”. I also know kids who are frightened by Santa. I know a little girl who was so scared that a strange person was coming into their house in the middle of the night that she wouldn’t go to sleep on Christmas eve, finally her parents convinced her that it was actually a Christmas bunny who would deliver the gifts (a lie on top of a lie).
If gifts are unconditionally given, a child doesn’t have to worry about whether he’ll get gifts on Christmas and he is freed up to think of giving to other people
Christmas is about giving, not receiving, right? A problem occurs when parents use gifts as a reward for “good behavior”; it distracts kids from their focus on giving. If gifts are conditionally given, kids focus on themselves. If gifts are given unconditionally, kids can focus on others, giving unconditionally to them as well.
Telling kids the truth about Santa does not take away the magic of Christmas
The fun of Santa is playing the “Santa game”: writing a letter to Santa, leaving out cookies and milk, having the gifts appear magically overnight! You can still play the “Santa game” (I did and I still do!) and have all the magic of Christmas without lying to your kids. Kids can handle the duality of knowing that Santa is/isn’t real all at the same time. They will still believe in magic! You won’t be taking anything away from them.
Now I’m curious about you. Tell me in the comments section… How have you handled telling/not telling your kids about Santa? How do you preserve the magic of Christmas?
And if you’d like more on this topic on read about “Why I Hate Elf on the Shelf”…
By Laura Lifshitz | Sep 23rd, 2020
From the moment you two separated, admit it…. you’ve been thinking about what it will be like to have sex with someone else.
It’s one of the scariest and most exciting (most likely) aspects of divorce. Being intimate with someone again after losing a love that may even have been a lifetime love,wondering if it really is like “getting back on a bike again.”
Obviously, having “new sex” is thrilling but not a reason to divorce (tell that to perpetual cheaters though),but you are getting a divorce. This means having new sex. Being naked with someone else. Intimate with someone else. Vulnerable with someone else.
If you’ve wondered what it’s like to get back in the sexual saddle after divorce but are afraid to ask anyone the truth, don’t worry. I’m here to be honest.
1. You are probably going to feel like your whole body is on fire
New sex. It’s exciting. You may have been completely sexless in your marriage towards the end… or the whole time. Or maybe not. Don’t be surprised if you feel sort of like a cat in heat. Some of this is due to normal female hormonal changes,and a lot of it has to do with wanting to feel desired and sexy again. Wanting to feel wanted. This is normal. Just be careful. Don’t get involved with anyone you’re not ready to be involved with, and don’t have sex with anyone unless you’re ready and understand what the “sex means,” whether it’s a long-term commitment thing, a dating situation or casual.
2. You might feel like you cheated, but you didn’t
The first time you might almost feel as if you did something wrong. You might feel as if the experience was strange. It’s normal to feel some sense of guilt, but don’t be-really. You’re obviously not doing anything wrong, but it’s normal after you’ve been with someone for a long time to feel awkward when you’re with someone else for the first time.
3. You might set your standards too low, so be wary of that
In an attempt to feel wanted and sexy, (see point #1) you may be tempted to set your standards a little low in order to just feel alive ( i.e., have sex again).
If you are the kind of woman who needs attachment or has low self-esteem, do not do this. It will only make you feel worse about yourself. The catch-22 here is that most likely if you have low self-esteem, you’ll be more susceptible to doing this.
If however, you’re a real-life “Samantha” from Sex in the City and you just want to have sex and have the “heebie-jeebies” over commitment, just be safe and don’t worry about Mr. Perfect.
I tend to advise caution on this. We have all heard about “Cougars”—how women are turning the paradigm on sexism by having younger men after divorce.And hey, there is nothing wrong with this, but be honest with yourself:
Who are you? How do you feel about yourself? What do you really want? Are you ready for this, truly?
Just don’t jump in too soon if you’re not ready.
4. You will be hit on by a lot of younger men for many reasons
Even if you divorce young, you are now “seasoned.” Younger men love this. They see you as exciting, exotic, interesting, and confident and not one of their peers who are most likely pressuring him into commitment or marriage
Young men will flock your front yard. Practically.
If that’s your thing, go for it. If it’s not, just appreciate your sexual vitality as long as they are respectful. If they’re not, knee them in their juvenile testicles and walk on.
5. You may “over-value” the first time experience
Because it’s been so long since you’ve felt wanted…be wary of this and also, relish it.
You’ll probably be like, “Wow! This sex was awesome. Yay!”
And after being hurt, it may feel like the best sex of your lifetime, and that’s great.But be cautious with “high feelings.”
What do I mean by that?
I mean just be sure that you are keeping perspective and not getting caught up in someone unless you are ready and this person is really all that “amazing.”
This person very well may be!
Either way, pay attention to your vulnerability.
6. You may be tempted to have sex as revenge
This is not my way of being, but some women just long to go out there quickly after a divorce in order to “get back” at the love injuries they have had to endure during divorce.
Hey—to each her own, but be careful that you are not acting or having sex out of anger. Anger only consumes the angry, not the person who made you angry. Remember that.
7. You may be tempted to go back to your ex’s of the past
And they will appear at your doorstep practically. I guarantee it.
Every ex-boyfriend you had since preschool (yup, that’s right) will be on your Facebook page, email inbox and doorstep once they even smell your marriage is troubled.
That’s how they work, it seems.
Be careful of tango-ing with the past. Sure, your long-lost true love could be your high school sweetheart. I’ve seen that happen, but I’ve also seen a lot of people reunite with an ex and it be just as disastrous as the last time around.
Is your former ex a good guy? Is he someone you really loved?
Is he a scum looking for a vulnerable woman? Is he just looking to hook up?
There are no clear-cut rules about life, love or anything. The only rule I’ll tell you to abide by is to only be intimate and loving with someone who is on the same page as you, respects you and wants what you want, whether it’s one night, ten nights or a lifetime.
And no matter what you do, guard your heart—but this doesn’t mean keep it locked up. The most miserable people after divorce are the ones who refuse to try again.
The second most miserable are those who are desperate.
Recognize how worthy you are, (no pun intended here) and set your price high and watch who bids.
Target has got you in its aim
Every time you go shopping, you share intimate details about your consumption patterns with retailers. And many of those retailers are studying those details to figure out what you like, what you need, and which coupons are most likely to make you happy. Target , for example, has figured out how to data-mine its way into your womb, to figure out whether you have a baby on the way long before you need to start buying diapers.
Charles Duhigg outlines in the New York Times how Target tries to hook parents-to-be at that crucial moment before they turn into rampant — and loyal — buyers of all things pastel, plastic, and miniature. He talked to Target statistician Andrew Pole — before Target freaked out and cut off all communications — about the clues to a customer’s impending bundle of joy. Target assigns every customer a Guest ID number, tied to their credit card, name, or email address that becomes a bucket that stores a history of everything they’ve bought and any demographic information Target has collected from them or bought from other sources. Using that, Pole looked at historical buying data for all the ladies who had signed up for Target baby registries in the past. From the NYT:
[Pole] ran test after test, analyzing the data, and before long some useful patterns emerged. Lotions, for example. Lots of people buy lotion, but one of Pole’s colleagues noticed that women on the baby registry were buying larger quantities of unscented lotion around the beginning of their second trimester. Another analyst noted that sometime in the first 20 weeks, pregnant women loaded up on supplements like calcium, magnesium and zinc. Many shoppers purchase soap and cotton balls, but when someone suddenly starts buying lots of scent-free soap and extra-big bags of cotton balls, in addition to hand sanitizers and washcloths, it signals they could be getting close to their delivery date.
Or have a rather nasty infection.
As Pole’s computers crawled through the data, he was able to identify about 25 products that, when analyzed together, allowed him to assign each shopper a “pregnancy prediction” score. More important, he could also estimate her due date to within a small window, so Target could send coupons timed to very specific stages of her pregnancy.
One Target employee I spoke to provided a hypothetical example. Take a fictional Target shopper named Jenny Ward, who is 23, lives in Atlanta and in March bought cocoa-butter lotion, a purse large enough to double as a diaper bag, zinc and magnesium supplements and a bright blue rug. There’s, say, an 87 percent chance that she’s pregnant and that her delivery date is sometime in late August.
And perhaps that it’s a boy based on the color of that rug?
So Target started sending coupons for baby items to customers according to their pregnancy scores. Duhigg shares an anecdote — so good that it sounds made up — that conveys how eerily accurate the targeting is. An angry man went into a Target outside of Minneapolis, demanding to talk to a manager:
Target knows before it shows.
“My daughter got this in the mail!” he said. “She’s still in high school, and you’re sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant?”
The manager didn’t have any idea what the man was talking about. He looked at the mailer. Sure enough, it was addressed to the man’s daughter and contained advertisements for maternity clothing, nursery furniture and pictures of smiling infants. The manager apologized and then called a few days later to apologize again.
(Nice customer service, Target.)
On the phone, though, the father was somewhat abashed. “I had a talk with my daughter,” he said. “It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of. She’s due in August. I owe you an apology.”
Target’s Andrew Pole (from LinkedIn)
What Target discovered fairly quickly is that it creeped people out that the company knew about their pregnancies in advance.
“If we send someone a catalog and say, ‘Congratulations on your first child!’ and they’ve never told us they’re pregnant, that’s going to make some people uncomfortable,” Pole told me. “We are very conservative about compliance with all privacy laws. But even if you’re following the law, you can do things where people get queasy.”
Bold is mine. That’s a quote for our times.
So Target got sneakier about sending the coupons. The company can create personalized booklets; instead of sending people with high pregnancy scores books o’ coupons solely for diapers, rattles, strollers, and the “Go the F*** to Sleep” book, they more subtly spread them about:
“Then we started mixing in all these ads for things we knew pregnant women would never buy, so the baby ads looked random. We’d put an ad for a lawn mower next to diapers. We’d put a coupon for wineglasses next to infant clothes. That way, it looked like all the products were chosen by chance.
“And we found out that as long as a pregnant woman thinks she hasn’t been spied on, she’ll use the coupons. She just assumes that everyone else on her block got the same mailer for diapers and cribs. As long as we don’t spook her, it works.”
So the Target philosophy towards expecting parents is similar to the first date philosophy? Even if you’ve fully stalked the person on Facebook and Google beforehand, pretend like you know less than you do so as not to creep the person out.
Duhigg suggests that Target’s gangbusters revenue growth — $44 billion in 2002, when Pole was hired, to $67 billion in 2010 — is attributable to Pole’s helping the retail giant corner the baby-on-board market, citing company president Gregg Steinhafel boasting to investors about the company’s “heightened focus on items and categories that appeal to specific guest segments such as mom and baby.”
Target was none too happy about Duhigg’s plans to write this story. They refused to let him go to Target headquarters. When he flew out anyway, he discovered he was on a list of prohibited visitors.
I think most readers of the excellent piece will find it both unsettling and unsurprising. With all the talk these days about the data grab most companies are engaged in, Target’s collection and analysis seem as expected as its customers’ babies. But with their analysis moving into areas as sensitive as pregnancy, and so accurately, who knows how else they might start profiling Target shoppers? The store’s bulls-eye logo may now send a little shiver of fear down the closely-watched spines of some, though I can promise you that Target is not the only store doing this. Those people chilled by stores’ tracking and profiling them may want to consider going the way of the common criminal — and paying for far more of their purchases in cash.
A must read: How Companies Learn Your Secrets [New York Times] drawn from Charles Duhigg’s forthcoming book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
Using coupons to really maximize your savings means that you will have to actually do some work. Read on to learn how to really get the most out of your coupons.
MATCH UP COUPONS WITH SALES: It can seem like a poker game sometime in knowing when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. In the coupon “game”, playing your coupon at the right time can really save you money. If you match up an item on sale with a coupon, you can really increase your savings — sometimes even getting free products!
This can take some time, so that is where I come in. I do the hard work for you each week. I match-up Price Chopper, Hy-Vee, Hen House, Target, Walmart (when available), CVS and Walgreens each week so you know which coupons to use. So, now that you know how to read and use your coupons, you probably want to know how to find them. Stay tuned and we’ll cover that next week!
COUPON STACKING: Stacking is when you stack two or more coupons together to save even more. This is allowed when you have both store coupons and manufacturer’s coupons. Target is a great example of this. Target has access to many store coupon right from it’s website. When you match these up with manufacturer’s coupons, you can save even more.
Be sure to pay attention to quantities on coupons when stacking. For example, if Target has a store coupon for $1.00/1 Juicy Juice and you have a manufacturer’s coupon for $1.00/2 Juicy Juice Products, then you can actually use TWO Target coupons, resulting in $3.00/2 Juicy Juice Products.
One type of stacking is using Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupons PLUS value off coupons. I cover this in a separate post, which you can find here.
PRESENT YOUR COUPONS IN THE RIGHT ORDER: If you have a coupon that reads (for example) $5.00 off of a $25.00 purchase — always hand that one over first and then give any store and manufacturer coupons. That way, you can really tack on the savings. Otherwise, if you use the coupons, you could fall below the required purchase amount and then not be able to use this coupon.
For example, if your purchase total is $28.00 and you have $4.00 in coupons and a $5.00 off of a $25.00 purchase, you would want the $5.00 to come off first. Then, they would reduce your purchase by an additional $4.00, making your final amount due $19.00. However, if you give the $4.00 in coupons first, then your total is now $24.00 and the $5.00 off of a $25.00 purchase is no longer applicable.
The only caution with this is to read the lingo on the $5.00 off of a $25.00 coupon – it may state that this coupon can be used only after all coupons are deducted. So be sure to read the fine print.
BUY ONE GET ONE STORE SALE + COUPONS: When a store runs a B1G1 Free promotion, you can purchase two items and use two coupons – one for each. After all, you are still purchasing two items, so you should get the discount on both. So, if your item you are purchasing as B1G1 Free retails for $4.00 and you have two coupons for $0.50/1, you will actually get two items for only $3.00 (One is free and then $0.50*2=$1.00).
The only caution I have to cashing in on store B1G1 is if you have a coupon for B1G1. When this occurs, you will need to check with the store’s coupon policy to see how this works. This would be handled one of two ways:
Option 1 – Both items will be free. The store gives you one free (which is considered to be the one you paid for) and then the coupon gives you the other one for free.
Option 2 – You would need to purchase 4 items. Two of them would be free due to the store’s promotion, one would be free as a result of your coupon and you would pay for the last item. So, this is like getting 4 products for the price of one.
It can be tricky to learn how to use your coupons. You will make some mistakes that might result in you paying a little more than you should have. However, with time and patience, you will learn exactly how to play the crazy coupon game like a pro!
Working from home is becoming more common, as people realize the advantages of not having to commute to an office to bring in an income. However, it is important to be aware of work-at-home cons and scams, which can put you at risk. By unknowingly giving your personal information to a scammer, you run the risk of losing all of your money and other assets. Here’s how to protect yourself to avoid this type of trouble.
Know How to Recognize a Scam
Knowledge is the best defense when you venture onto the internet in search of home-based employment.
So before you do, take the time to learn how to tell which opportunities are legitimate work-at-home jobs and which are work-at-home scams. The more work-at-home job postings and ads that you call, the more scams you will encounter and a pattern of deception will become clearer.
This, in turn, will make the truly legitimate work-at-home jobs easier to spot. You will begin to discern the tell-tale signs of a work-at-home scam, in part, because of the sameness of their pitches.
Use Your Common Sense
When evaluating an opportunity, first think if it seems profitable from the company’s perspective, particularly if it seems very lucrative. How would the promoters of the opportunity make money if they are paying you so much for so little work?
Also, if a company’s marketing strategy is based primarily on appearing legitimate, that is likely because it is offering a work-at-home scam or, at the very least, a poor money-making opportunity. That’s why any job that promotes itself in search engine ads as a “legitimate work-at-home job” most likely is not legitimate.
Remember if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t a good opportunity. But scammers are sneaky, so common sense alone is not enough.
Keep Your Emotions in Check
The most common way that scammers find victims is to play on their emotions. When you want something badly, your emotions can lead you to make illogical decisions in pursuit of it. Finding a work-at-home job is not easy, so you will need patience and a clear head. Be especially wary of any opportunity that tries to play on your emotions by saying you “deserve” something.
Do Your Homework
Begin by doubting everything you see, then do your research with a clear head. Even if an opportunity looks honest, do not send money to any organization without thoroughly checking it out. This includes finding out where it is physically based, determining if there is contact information, and contacting them via phone. Look it up on social media and do an internet search for any reviews. It often helps to do an internet search with the name of the company and “scam” or “review.” The results may not yield much concrete information, but it can be a starting point. Keep in mind that most legitimate companies do not charge job applicants and that business opportunities are never risk-free.
Be Aware of Risky Opportunities
While work-at-home scammers are always coming up with new schemes, they tend to vary on a few themes. Some of these opportunities should be avoided, while others may be legitimate work-at-home jobs. However, often they are not, so be very careful with any of these:
- Direct sales or multilevel marketing
- Pyramid schemes—always avoid!
- Business start-up kits
- Anything involving cashing checks/wiring money—always avoid!
- Home assembly/envelope stuffing—always avoid!
- Becoming a product re-seller or wholesaler
- Stock trading systems—always avoid!
- Directories of telecommuting jobs or businesses
- Taking online surveys
- Mystery shopping
- Data entry/call centers
One tricky scam technique is to set up a whole website dedicated to revealing work-at-home scams that funnels people to the few “legitimate” work-at-home jobs, which, of course, are not legitimate.
Avoid Opportunities on Search Engine Advertising and in Unsolicited Emails
Use traditional channels for job searches to find a work-at-home job, such as job boards, job search engines, and newspapers. While there is no guarantee leads found in these places are always legitimate, those sent via email or found in internet ads usually are not. Always go directly to a company’s employment website if you find a job opportunity in another place. Not only can you check if it’s legitimate, you can learn more about the position and the company.
Keep in mind that companies hiring for legitimate work-from-home jobs are looking for qualified, reliable people to do the work. Screening applicants is a time-consuming process, so those casting a wide net by using Google, search engine ads, or social media advertising are not as likely to be legitimate.
Don’t Pay for Opportunities
Employers don’t charge employees to work for them, and scams posing as legitimate business opportunities will ask for money. The pitch is that businesses are expected to have start-up costs. However, true businesses are typically not simple exchanges of unskilled labor for payment, as in home assembly and envelope-stuffing schemes. A true home business is developed over time with careful planning and research, not purchased online sight unseen. There are many free reliable resources that list legitimate companies offering work-from-home jobs by industry.
My favorite show is “Call The Midwife.” If you haven’t seen it, it’s a lovely little period drama set in 1950s East London and follows bicycling midwives around the slums of Poplar as they welcome a new generation in the poverty stricken area. I love seeing all the pregnant moms and new babies and hearing some of the crazy advice they gave parents over 60 years ago (like telling them to have a nice relaxing smoke). I guess there were just some things moms did in the ’50s that not a single parent would be caught dead doing today.
While basic parenting concepts are pretty steadfast and universal вЂ” keep your kid safe, fed, loved, clothes, etc. вЂ” parenting “strategies” are always evolving and changing. What’s considered culturally appropriate one year, may be obsolete in five or ten. So, ’50s parenting practices, like prescribing thalidomide, a medication to treat morning sickness that tragically led to birth defects and deaths in thousands of babies, isn’t really a thing we do, as a culture, anymore.
Being a woman, and especially a mother, in the ’50s was arguably a lot harder than it is today. Prevailing gender stereotypes, undeniable gender inequality, and little-to-no representation of women in the media made women’s choices nothing if not miniscule. As a result, most women’s lives revolved around keeping a home and raising children, and in a time of less innovation and motorization something as simple as doing the laundry could take all day. Once you had taken care of the home, children, and made a meal, you were also expected to pretty yourself up before “the man of the house arrived.” Gross. I don’t know about you, but I’m glad times have changed and the following ’50s parenting techniques are no longer prevelant:
They Didn’t Use Home Pregnancy Tests
If you suspected you might be pregnant in the ’50s, you had to wait to have it confirmed by a doctor. That’s right, at-home pregnancy tests were not available until 1968.
We thought the 2 week wait was the worst, but moms-to-be back in the day had to go to the bother (and possible lack of privacy) of attending a doctor’s appointment, just to know if they were actually pregnant. Yuck.
They Treated Pregnancy Like An Illness
Pregnant women were referred to as “delicate” and “infirm” and were often unnecessarily ordered to remain on bed rest. If they put on more than the recommended amount of weight gain, they would be put on strict, reduced calorie regimen and prescribed diet pills. Diet pills, you guys.
They Gave Birth Asleep
During the ’50s, birth practices were moving away from unmediated home births and attended by midwives, and towards hospital births overseen by doctors.
Laboring women of the ’50s were often given medication to anesthetize them and, as a result, many passed out for the entire birth. These heavily medicated births were referred to as “twilight sleep births,” although it did fall out of “style” after many women reported unpleasant side effects. (And, you know, didn’t necessarily like being drugged against their will. Go figure.)
They Didn’t Baby Proof Their Homes
Mothers of the post war era were told to “train” their young children not to touch special ornaments or dangerous objects, by saying in a clear authoritarian voice, “No, don’t touch. Those are mother’s things.”
They Didn’t Install Car Seats
Infant car seats were not introduced until the early sixties, and not legislated until the ’80s. So, parents in the ’50s routinely had babies rattling around in the back of the car, or seated in a Moses basket on the back seat. Honestly, just thinking about this gives me panic attacks.
They Left Babies Outside
It doesn’t matter how many times I see an episode of “Call The Midwife,” I am always amazed that they would place their babies in large carriages (without straps) and then leave them outside the front door “to get some fresh air.”
My mother confirms this was not that unusual until the ’80s, when paranoia about child abductions and “stranger danger” made the practice extinct.
They Didn’t Rock Their Babies
Rocking or “jostling” babies was thought to be too much stimulation and, as a result, parents were advised against providing too much motion for their babies.
They Left Babies To Cry
In the ’50s, doctors advised parents to allow their babies to cry without being comforted or picked up. Sure, we have sleep training now, but sleep training doesn’t mean leaving your kid to cry for however long it takes for them to stop. Yikes.
They Were Permissive
You only need to catch a glimpse of Mad Men‘s Betty Draper’s attitude towards her children, to notice that parents in the ’50s had a very permissive parenting style.
Very young children were sent to the market to get the groceries and were left to play alone without any supervision at all, often with dangerous objects. Yikes.
They Let Their Children Play In The Streets
Like literally, parents didn’t see their children for hours on end and until they stood at the door and called them in for dinner.
Without any screen time at all, as most people didn’t even own a TV set, children had to learn how to entertain themselves.
They Blamed Mothers For Everything
If your baby had colic in the ’50s, it was believed to be the result of a mother’s tainted milk. And by “tainted,” I mean the mom had a “bad attitude” or was “angry,” and it “tainted” her breast milk. Unreal.
If your baby’s umbilical cord became wrapped around their neck (something that is actually pretty common and happened with my son) the mother was blamed for reaching for high things off shelves or being too active.
This took mom shaming to a whole new level.
They Believed It Took A Village
Everyone in the neighborhood took responsibility for all the children. Of course, an extra hand was nice however, as physical punishment was encouraged, this meant children could expect a spanking from a stranger, just as much as they could their own parents.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t know too many parents who would be OK with a random stranger hitting their kid. Hard pass.