Enchanted Mommy

Keeping up a beauty routine as a mom

Between taking the kids to sports, staying on top of homework, cooking dinner, and wearing the many capes we superheroes put on each day, it’s no doubt that our own beauty and self-care can be put on the back burner at times. 

I wanted to know if I was the only one that goes through phases when it comes to my skincare. Of course, sometimes I’m very on top of it, but just like most things, other times life just gets in the way. I found one survey that said 30% of women never miss a day doing their skincare routine. While I strive to be that type of woman, I lean more towards the 70%. Another survey I found said that women said the most neglected parts of their bodies are their back and feet. If that’s not ironic, I don’t know what is. So this got me thinking. What tips can I use myself and try to help others so we can start taking care of ourselves?

  1. Make time for yourself

We make time for literally everything else. School, extracurricular activities, PTO meetings, date night, etc. Why not carve out time on a saturday morning or after work for a much needed facial or pedicure?

  1. Your well being is just as important as your loved ones

It’s easy to feel guilty about putting your needs first. “This is time I could be putting towards the family.” “This is time I could be putting into work.” Remember, you can’t give your 100% self unless you feel you are at 100%. Sometimes, a simple night time face mask can rejuvenate you into feeling recharged. 

  1. Treat it as a priority, not a reward

Self-care shouldn’t be looked at as something to reward yourself with after a long day of mommy duty, it should be part of your “task list”. Consider it one of the most relaxing “tasks.”

What to expect when your kids call home

One of the most exciting yet terrifying moments as a parent is when it is time for one of your children to leave the house. Whether they are off to college, the military, or moving away to gain independence; it can be one of the hardest yet proudest moments for parents. 

The good news is that they are only a phone call away. But how much can we expect to hear from them? 

Chicco did a new study about how much Americans call their parents and some of the big questions they might ask. It may come as no surprise that kids will likely call their dads about car problems and home improvement, whereas moms may get questions about cooking and relationships. 

Regardless, there is no guide to how to live on your own. The closest thing to it is a call to your parents.  

So moms, according to this article, here’s what to expect. Mama knows best, as they say, and 32% of Americans turn to their moms for major life decision advice. Another big call to prepare for is cooking advice. 22% of Americans turn to their moms for cooking tips because nothing beats a home-cooked meal made with love. A valuable gift is putting together a small cookbook of your children’s favorite easy recipes. The other big calls to expect are relationship advice and childcare tips. The first time for everything is scary, definitely need some advice from an expert! You may receive occasional questions about financial needs, home care, and laundry.

Now dads, get ready to take your How-To manuals and spreadsheets out. Fatherly advice is extremely helpful and valuable, and 28% of Americans call their dads for major life decisions. The following big calls are home maintenance (24%), car issues (22%), and finances (18.5%). The least expected calls are the parenting and babysitting tips and cooking advice. 

Regardless of what your kids are calling to talk about, whether a real-life problem or to say hello, 68% of Americans call their parents a fair amount—only 62% of parents expect a call. If you have a daughter(s), you can expect calls more often than if you have a son(s). No matter how you put it, parenting comes with challenges, and one important thing to remember is communication.

Just because they may be moving out, it does not mean your role as a parent stops. You have spent 18 years providing all the best life advice to prepare them for the real world. Find ways to communicate with your children while giving them the freedom to navigate their own life and be there for them to fall back on for advice, love, and guidance.

Brunch, please! These are the best cities for your next Sunday Funday.

Ecaterina Tanase

Calling all mommas! The verdict is in: you are required to phone your sitter and call up your girlfriends for a Sunday Funday. 

I know, I know. We all love our children dearly and want to spend our weekends with them. From soccer practice, to playdates, your Saturday and Sundays can be brimming with too many activities for you to take an afternoon for yourself. 

The thing is, moms do deserve time reserved for themselves on those busy Sunday afternoons, and it’s okay to call in some back up while you call up your girlfriends. 

That’s why I wanted to share this list of the best cities for a Sunday Funday to inspire you to take some time, grab some wine, and head out on the town. 

The team at Fashion Nova (you know, that clothing company you’ve probably seen all over social media) recently crunched the numbers on Sunday Funday hotspots across the country. First, they determined what makes the best Sunday, like best cocktails, most brunch spots, and affordability. Then, they weighted each factor on a 50 point scale to determine the best cities for your next Sunday Funday. 

Fashion Nova

So if you are in or near one of these top 10 cities, send this article to your besties so you can explore all of what Sunday has to offer. Your after work hours don’t always have to be so busy, girl! Sometimes we gotta be selfish on a Sunday so we can be refreshed for another busy week giving it all to our kids. 

Have fun! 

Are you one of America’s shopaholics? This new survey may have an answer.

Would you consider yourself a shopaholic mommy? Let’s face it, overspending is so easy to do when you’ve got littles ones to purchase for, and your budget can get a little blurred.

Bella Ella Boutique, an online boutique that sells women’s apparel, recently asked people across the country to disclose their spending habits to determine where people are doing the most shopping. 

After all, the past two years have been stressful for everyone—and retail therapy might be the way some are coping with pandemic blues. “Whether it’s coping with a stressful situation or celebrating an exciting, new opportunity, there’s something extremely empowering about buying a brand new outfit that perfectly matches your aesthetic,” says Bella Ella Boutique. 

To find out which states are spending the most on shopping, the researchers asked over 2100 people to disclose how much they spend annually on clothes and accessories, then compared that to the median annual income in their respective state. 

According to the survey, Louisiana is home to the most shopaholics. The average person spends over 8% of their annual income solely on fashion purchases in the Creole state, which adds up to roughly $2,276 each year reserved for the trendiest clothes. 

Following behind Louisiana at No. 2 is Texas, where residents spend more than 7% of their income on clothes and accessories—Go big or go home! Alabama, Nevada, and Nebraska rounded out the top five. 

Is your state included in the list? You can check out the full report here

Single Mom Seeks Love—and a Co-Parent?

Let’s get real, shall we? Being a single mom is hard work. I’m talking back-pain-at-33 hard work. And don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter! She is kind and curious and never fails to make me laugh—40 pounds of magic with a crooked front tooth and dimples I want to build a home in. 

But sometimes—when we’ve had grilled cheese for dinner yet again because I was too tired to cook after work, or when she’s sick and my cool hand on her fevered forehead doesn’t feel like enough, or when I forget to wash her tiny soccer jersey in time for her to stumble back and forth across a muddy field—I wish I didn’t have to do it alone, that there was someone else to say, “look at what we’re building together.”

Dating, though, seems harder than my hardest day as a mom. I’ve been out of the game for a while, but I’m pretty sure a single mom with stretch marks isn’t anyone’s dream girl. Finding a sitter I can trust to watch my baby girl is next to impossible; I was 15 once, and I know exactly just how many boys “helped me watch the kids” when I scored a neighborhood babysitting job.  And honestly, spending money and precious time on two hours of excruciating small talk with  Brad, Chad, or Kevin just doesn’t rev my engine, if you know what I mean. It all feels next to impossible.

But I found this study on the best cities for single parents looking for love, and y’all, it’s a gold mine. Do you want tips on where you’re most likely to find another single parent for a night on the town? The cities with the most affordable dinners for two? Hourly babysitter rates by city? It’s all there, making dating less of a burden for busy moms and dads. My own hometown of Birmingham, AL is ranked #9, which means I’m getting back out there, stretch marks and all. Ugh, but what will I wear?!  

My 2021 DIY Outdoor Entertainment Space Project

It’s official: Summer is here! And I’m spending way too much time and money trying to get the most vibey back patio in the neighborhood this summer.

It’s my favorite time of the year again. The weather’s warm, the kids are out of school, and the mouth-watering smell of a backyard barbecue is just around the corner. As our first season post-pandemic—or at least, post-vaccine—I’m determined to make this the best summer yet. And that starts with creating the perfect space to bring friends and family together. 

With this in mind, I set my sights on turning the backyard into a beautiful space for entertaining guests. I’ve been slowly adding furniture and outdoor decor to my space, and trying to save money by buying secondhand through Facebook Marketplace. I’ve spent so much time and money making my outdoor space look presentable, it’s crazy! But I recently read that 40% of Americans have spent thousands of dollars landscaping their yards, so at least I’m not alone.

Read on for more on the DIY projects I used to turn my outdoor space into a fun and idyllic gathering place!

The first project that I tackled was a simple, single post pergola. Though easy to assemble, this is a DIY project that will have guests swooning over its graceful appearance and beauty. And even better– it costs a fraction of what pergolas sell for in-stores! You can even use repurposed or reclaimed wood to bring the cost down more. 

The pergola took me a total of three days to complete. I spent two days gathering materials, reading instructions and building the frame. The third day, I took to decorating my new staple piece. I decided to use the pergola as a structure for climbing plants, and took to my local Lowe’s to buy a beautiful morning glory vine. Over time, the vines will overtake the pergola and create a stunning screen for shade and privacy.

Now that I had a gorgeous staple-piece, I switched my focus to seating. My yard already had a patio with several chairs and a table, but I wanted something with a bit more character. So, I built this outdoor bench. I never would have thought that cinder blocks, some wood and fun-colored paint would turn into such a hit, but they sure did! Guests and neighbors alike often ask where they could find such a bench, and the look on their face is priceless when I tell them how easy and affordable it is to do it yourself.

My final addition to the outdoor space was a rustic fire pit. The kids love s’mores– almost as much as us adults do! So, this project was a given. 

These three DIY projects transformed my yard into the perfect space for a summer full of fun, relaxation, good food and many reunions.

How Moms can Achieve a Work/Life Balance During COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed virtually all parts of our work lives. Most of us working moms are now working remotely from home, many of us have had to pivot in our projects, and regardless of which industry we are in, personal safety and health take precedent more than ever. However, an all-too-familiar struggle for working moms persists in the fight for a work/life balance. 

The burden to help children and families navigate COVID-19 has disproportionately fallen on working mothers. Research from Syracuse University showed that over 80% of individuals taking time off from work for childcare due to COVID-19 were women. 

We all want the best for our children, but finding the right balance can be frustrating and hard. Disproportionate time away from our work could put us years behind in our professional trajectory.

Still, there are some practices we can all aspire to in order to achieve a work-life balance. 

First, share your goals with those around you.  At home, clearly communicate boundaries to your children, and ask your partner or other family members for help. At work, communicate your increased demands with your team. I was recently surprised to learn that nearly half of business industry workers reported feeling failures in maintaining family relationships due to their work. Still, on the plus side, this means that plenty of people on your work team will be able to empathize with you and work with your hectic schedule. 

Next, it’s important to set yourself up for success. If possible try to set up a space for your remote work separate from where you work as a mother. This will signal to your own brain and to those around you that you are either in work mode or mom mode, not both. 

Finally, take some time for yourself. For me, taking time to workout in the morning before my work has started or my children are awake is the best way to get in a good state of mind. It’s during alone time that I am able to set goals for work/life balance and check in on myself. 

Certainly, finding balance during this difficult time is no easy feat. But, if there’s one group of people who can find a way to juggle it all, it’s working moms. Good luck ladies!

Where You Live Matters: Looking at Children’s Healthcare Costs Across the Country

It’s no secret that American healthcare is wildly complicated, and, for many young families, intensely intimidating. When figuring out how to insure your child’s health, managing trips to clinics versus the hospital and trying to create a healthy baseline for your child with as much preventative care as possible, it can be hard to determine what’s right. A factor that adds yet another layer of complexity to the youth healthcare dilemma is cost. And certainly, taking care of kids is expensive. 

Interestingly, as pointed out in a recent study by Weiss & Paarz, a medical malpractice attorney team, where you live in the United States has major implications on the expenses associated with a child’s health. 

According to their study, the cost of healthcare for children from birth through age 18 spans over $14,300 in statewide averages across the country. 

On the low side of costs is Hawaii, where healthcare costs through age 18 average out to around $7,500. According to the Honolulu Civil Beat, Hawaii’s low healthcare costs are no accident. Per Hawaii’s 1974  Prepaid Health Care Act, all employers must provide health insurance to employees working over 20 hours a week. This means that Hawaii is generations ahead of the rest of the country in terms of healthcare accessibility and employer stipulations, helping create a healthier state, which, in turn, has lower childhood healthcare costs. 

But, as much as we’d like, not every family can up and move to Hawaii to save some money on healthcare. It may be more realistic for families to rule out states with exorbitantly high childhood healthcare costs. 

The state with the highest healthcare expenses through age 18 was Washington, D.C., where childhood healthcare expenses averaged around $21,900, over 39% above the national average. There has to be some explanation for these huge numbers. 

It just might be that everything associated with raising a child becomes more expensive D.C. lines. According to the Economic Policy Institute, Washington, D.C. has some of the highest costs of childcare across the country. The district ranked 1st of 50 states for the most expensive infant care, averaging at around $2,020 a month according to the 2019 report. Childcare costs remain high and exceed the costs associated with yearly housing and college payments for parents in the area.

Given these high costs of childcare, the costs of healthcare might appropriately match the location-specific inflation. And so, for young families looking to move near the D.C. area, living in a nearby suburb where both babysitters and routine check-ups are cheaper might be a huge budget saver. 

No matter where you live, child healthcare costs may be helped down by offering your child a healthy life, full of nutrition, exercise, and education in between doctor’s visits. So here’s to healthy kids and happy families!

Ladies Can Pop the Question Too!: Here are Some Fun and Exciting Ways to Propose to Him

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that life is too unpredictable to wait around for happiness to come. The same can be said for the future of your relationship. Despite women leaders like Elizabeth Warren famously beginning marriage with their own proposals, centuries of tradition tell women that they must wait for men to propose in order to start planning for a future of married joy. 

Well, according to a new survey from Shane Co., over 60% of men would be thrilled if their girlfriend proposed to them-exciting news for all the ladies who are ready and excited to ask their partners the big question. 

Still, it can be a little tricky to brainstorm a proposal to the man in your life. So, here are some ideas, tips and encouragement on how to propose to your boyfriend. 

  1. Know If You Want to Give Him Something

As discussed in a Slate.com interview, one complication for women proposing to men is the question of the engagement ring. While the Shane Co. survey reported that over 60% of men think a ring isn’t necessary, you might still want something to symbolize a proposal. Whether that be a ring, a donation to a cause you both care about or a couple of tickets to start out life’s adventure, decide if you think a gift should be part of your proposal. 

  1. Get Some Inspiration

Look to some other ladies who have popped the question to their man! Coming through some ideas and super cute stories like these ones on HowTheyAsked.com can get you excited about proposing to your partner, and help you leave behind any old narratives that say you can’t take a knee! 

  1. Be Yourself

As stated in a list of tips from TheKnot.com, it’s most important to be yourself. No matter what your proposal is like, your hopeful fiance will want to see you and all your wonderful personality in your proposal. After all, a lifetime of happiness depends on love for your truest self! 

Double Digits: How to Plan a Birthday Party for Your 10-Year-Old

And then there was 10! This is perhaps the most important milestone birthday since the first birthday. Your child has gone through so many changes and grown so much up to this point, and you want to celebrate how far they have come. It’s time, they are crossing over into the double digits, and on the hills of adolescence. 

This is such an important and exciting time as kids begin to develop a better sense of who they are in the world. Many are preparing for junior high school and are ready to navigate new social situations. According to Very Well Family, 10-year-olds have the ability to sense the emotions of others and read facial and body language. At this age, the acceptance by peer groups is very important and is a critical step that can strongly affect the next level of development.  

At ten, most children have developed the ability to be pleasant company at social gatherings such as parties and dinners. They can clearly express their thoughts on current events, music, art, etc. 

The type of party you throw will not only help further groom your child for social settings, but it can also play a major role in peer connection and acceptance. So, let’s jump into a few tips on how to through a rockin’ party for your 10-year-old. 

Theme Ideas 

Picking a theme can difficult, whether it’s for a boy or girl. So here are a few theme ideas for boys and girls. 

Boy Theme:

  • Sports Theme (Base the party theme around your kid’s favorite sport)
  • Space Theme 
  • Super-hero Theme (Base the party theme around your kid’s favorite superhero) 

Girl Theme: 

  • Tea Party Theme
  • Slumber Party 
  • Fairytale Theme (Base the party theme on Disney Princesses) 

Venue Ideas

When it comes to parties, venues are everything! You may want to keep it traditional and have a themed birthday party at your house, but if you’d like to take it to the next level, book a venue. Your 10-year-old will probably appreciate it, and you don’t have to worry about a huge clean-up!

  • Bowling Alley
  • Movie Theaters
  • Bouncy House
  • Park Party 
  • Skating Rink

Food 

Food can be difficult to get right at a party. Kids may have allergies or preferences, so simple is better. Check out these food ideas, that allow everyone to enjoy. 

  • Chips and Dip (Buy an assortment of chips, so that kids have a variety to choose from)
  • Pigs and a Blanket (This fun activity allows kids to participate by making their own snack, and it’s a classic party hit) 
  • Make Your Own Pizza (This allows kids to pick what they want on their pizza, and leave out things they can’t eat or don’t like to eat)

With these tips, you can provide the basics for a good party! However, 10-year-olds are at an age where they can entertain themselves and their guests, for the most part. You don’t have to over-plan activities, because they’ll most likely want to do their own thing, and engage with their peers. Ready, set, let’s go party!