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Neighborhood Firework Find!

The Boston Moms Neighborhood Firework Find starts NOW! Much like the “bear hunts,” “rainbow walks,” and “egg hunts” we saw earlier this spring, the Neighborhood Firework Find allows us to SEE “fireworks” — even without our typical town displays!

Print out some fireworks or design your own, place them in your window, and let your neighbors know to get in on the fun!

Don't forget!

Tag Boston Moms with the hashtag #bostonmomsfireworkfind, and we’ll share your images on our social media channels! 

Boston Moms would love to hear your ideas! How do you plan to celebrate the 4th of July with your family? Tell us in the comments!

SHOP LOCAL :: Red, White, and Blue Apparel for the Whole Family!

We might be celebrating at home, but we can still get decked out in our favorite red, white, and blue apparel and accessories!

Boston Moms has sourced some awesome local options for your red, white, and blue apparel and accessory needs. Each of these businesses is a LOCAL business, and some have even offered our readers a special discount!

Scroll down to see options for mom, dad, the kids, and even the dog!

Allison Cole Jewelry :: Use code BOSTONMOMS for 15% off.

Harding Lane :: Use code BOSTONMOMS20 for 20% off. 

Chappy Wrap :: Use code BOSTONMOMS10 for 10% off of your order.

HABIT :: Shop their Instagram page!

Long Wharf Supply :: Use code BOSTONMOMS for 20% off.

Whisper Boutique :: Use code BOSTONMOMS15 for 15% off.

The Cue

FLOCK :: Use code BOSTONMOMS for 20% off your first order.

SAULT NE :: Use code BOSTONMOM for 20% of your purchase through June 26.

Emily & Addie :: Use code BOSTONMOMS20 to save 20%. Excludes masks, baby gift bundles, and markdowns.

Sidetrack Products :: Use code BOSMOM for 15% off of your entire purchase.

Tiny Hanger :: Use code MOMS to take 10% off of your online purchase July 1-7.

The Merry Lion :: Use code BOSTONMOMS now through July 3 for 15% off your order online.

The Red Wagon 

Harding Lane :: Use code BOSTONMOMS20 for 20% off. 

Cape Kids

Boston Moms would love to hear your ideas! How do you plan to celebrate the 4th of July with your family? Tell us in the comments!

How I Met Your Father

   

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Kids, I’m going to tell you an incredible story… the story of how I met your father. Why have I decided to do this, you ask? Well, because I like to think our story is pretty amazing, and it’s almost Father’s Day so it seemed like a fun idea.

The beginning

The story begins in the year 1998. I know, right? Ages ago! It was January of 1999 when I first walked into Professor Mariante’s sociology class (a class I can never correctly recall the name of — something about developing worlds). I was a freshman in college, and your father was a junior. The class fulfilled a sociology requirement for all majors, and by pure coincidence, we both wound up in this one.

I noticed your father right away. He was handsome, smart, funny, and talented. You see, this guy was a biology and chemistry double major, and he also DJed for the college radio station and at parties! But we didn’t become fast friends or anything. We shared a class and we sometimes saw each other at parties around campus. He told me years later that he noticed me right away, too, and thought I was cute. But I had no idea back then.

Over the next two years — leading up to your father’s graduation in 2000 — we flirted once or twice and hung out a few times, but that was it. We did not date (of this I’m glad, kids — it would NOT have worked out). I do recall, though, having told a friend of mine that I had a “top 3” list of guys from college that I could see myself ending up with, and your father was on that list. We will not discuss who else was on it.

The messy middle

Your father and I would end up seeing each other two times between 2000 and 2004. The second time, in 2002, we would spend a significant amount of time talking outside a party that we had both attended with different people. And then, nothing. Until fate, by way of AOL Instant Messenger, also known as “AIM,” would bring us back into each other’s lives in the summer of 2004, as I prepared to return to Boston to attend law school — at the same university where your father was getting his master’s in chemistry! Yes, kids, your father and I have the same two alma maters for undergraduate and graduate school. If you do not think our ending up together was meant to be, well that’s because I’m keeping this as short as I can and you’re not getting the whole story (yet).

When we reconnected that summer of 2004 via AIM, we made plans to meet up once I started law school in the fall. We did just that, and soon enough your father was coming over to visit me once a week after his evening class, and during these visits we managed to watch all ten seasons of “Friends” on a portable DVD player (oh yeah!) because I did not own a TV.

The rest of our lives and beyond

While some of my classmates were finding themselves ending relationships due to the stress of law school, I found myself falling in love with the man who would become my husband four years later. And it’s been such a great adventure, kids! Your father and I have written our own story. We have done things our way each step of the way. We have shared values but have also taught each other so much that has shaped our values as a couple. We are far from perfect individuals, and we do not always get it right when it comes to showing each other our unconditional love. But we continue to learn and grow together, and, in turn, our love and commitment to one another grow as well. 

On our wedding day I told your father I believed God chose him for me, even if I would like to think I chose him for myself. And to this day, I still firmly believe this, especially after having been blessed with the two of you. I look forward to continuing to show you two what unconditional, imperfect love looks like. And I pray we can be a good example for both of you so that you might write your own life stories, exactly the way that feels right to you! 

Now go wish your dad a happy Father’s Day and do something nice for him, OK?

What the Pandemic Has Done to Us

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I’ll never forget it; one day in my classroom, a colleague mentioned she was worried about the coronavirus and whether it would make its way to the U.S. I admit, I was not scared that day. The word “pandemic” was not on my radar. So I did not think much of it until…

Schools closed.

Restaurants closed.

Stores closed.

Daycare closed.

My compromised husband couldn’t work.

A relative was diagnosed with COVID-19. 

A friend working in healthcare was sending pictures of her PPE.

Masks were worn.

Hand sanitizer was a high-priced commodity. 

People were afraid.

I was afraid. 

My husband, family, and I have been through some trying times. But this time has proven to be the hardest. The family member who was diagnosed with COVID-19 passed away. My husband was furloughed. I was just laid off.

I don’t know what the future will look like for our family. But I can honestly say that when we recover from this, I know we will be better. Better at telling each other we love them. Better at washing our hands. Better at cherishing the moments together. We can get through this. And we’ll be better — stronger — for it.

5 Lessons in Fatherhood (from One Boston Dad)

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John Rich turned 40 in April. He is married to Boston Moms contributor Rachel Rich, and together they live in Scituate with their five children (ages 7, 5, 3, 2, and 4 months). John is the vice president of operations for Rich Dairy Products, which is his family’s dairy trading business. He has worked there with his family and team for 20 years. In his free time John enjoys working out and training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu while he finishes up a double master’s degree program at Northeastern University.

Boston dad - Boston Moms

One silver lining of all this time at home has been the opportunity to spend a ton of time with my family. It has given me a chance to think about what I’ve learned so far about fatherhood. I still have a lot to learn, but I have picked up some good nuggets over the last seven years. For Father’s Day I am taking this opportunity to share five things that I feel are important for being a good father.

Be present

As a businessperson who has traveled often and who has friends who work crazy hours as police officers, doctors, nurses, etc., I understand we can’t all physically be with our families as much as we want to be sometimes. However, we can control whether we are present with our children whenever we do spend time with them. I am often guilty of getting caught up with work, my phone, and other distractions while I’m with my kids. Being present just means making my kids the focus. It’s hard in this day and age but also very important.

Set an example

It may seem cliché, but for me, it is hugely important to be the example for my kids. I start with how I treat them and their mom. I know I am far from perfect, but I am working to be more mindful that my words, thoughts, and actions are being imprinted on my kids all the time. My goal is to be the person they look to as the example to follow. I do not want them looking to celebrities or pro athletes or others.

Participate with them

When your kids are participating in their sports or activities, participate with them. It is tempting to look at kids’ activities as an opportunity to drop them off somewhere and get a break, but I have found that by engaging, it can be a hugely rewarding experience. Our oldest child is involved in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). He started when he was 4, and when he was 6 I started training with him. It is one of the best things I have ever done, not only for my relationship with him but also for the friends I have made and all I have learned. On Saturdays we do class together, and we have even participated in a competition together. Think about being a coach for your kids’ sports teams, or, if your kids want to ride horses, sign yourself up too. Find time to volunteer at their school or in their classroom. I grew up learning golf with my dad and grandfather, and it is one of the fondest memories of my life. 

Surround your children with good people

Our kids won’t always listen to us. I am young enough to remember that it wasn’t always easy to hear everything from my parents. Therefore, it is important that we surround our kids with the type of people we would hope they become. Whether it is their teachers, coaches, teammates, friends, or any other group of people in their lives, it isn’t a bad idea to ask ourselves if these are the type of people we want our kids to learn from. I am very grateful for the group of people we have become associated with. They are not only good people but good role models. I know that if my kids need someone to talk to, there will be plenty of people around them who care about them and who have good values.

Be humble and learn from your kids

Perhaps the most important thing I have learned so far in seven-plus years of fatherhood — including having five kids — is that I can learn from my kids as much as they learn from me. I picked up this concept by doing Jiu Jitsu with my son. One of the key lessons on the mat is that we can learn from everyone, no matter their age, rank, or experience, and that we should be humble in order to keep this idea in mind. I have learned so much from my kids already, and if I do my job right, we are building a relationship where we will be learning from each other for years to come.

As we emerge from this current situation there will be a lot of changes and adjustments to make. It is going to be important to understand how our roles as fathers and mothers will change. How will we adapt to whatever the new normal is? A lot is uncertain, but these are five things we can all do for our kids, no matter what.

To the Class of 2020, and Their Moms

class of 2020 - Boston Moms

To the class of 2020 — whether it’s high school, preschool, college, or whatever — you are getting a bad deal here. COVID-19 has taken away a lot, and now, it’s taking away the end of your final year. And it’s not fair. But because I teach high school, this post is mostly for you seniors — and your mamas.

First, seniors, don’t let anyone try to minimize your sadness.

You’re allowed to mourn the loss of your senior year. Don’t let anyone try to belittle you for being upset about prom being canceled. Don’t let anyone try to make your hurt seem less because they also hurt during their final year of high school, or anytime in their lives. You are allowed to be sad about this. It’s a sad thing, and pretending it’s not is unfair to you. 

Second, be wary of anger.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be angry. You have every right to be angry about what is happening right now. But be wary of who you direct that anger toward, and for how long you allow that anger to remain with you. Anger is a tricky emotion. Sometimes it covers sorrow. Sometimes it stays longer than it should. Sometimes it leads to a dark place that is difficult to leave. Sometimes anger causes you to lash out at the people who care for you most. Feel your anger, but then let it go. Look for the silver linings. Look for the good all around you. It’s there — I promise. 

Third, be proactive.

If this is all too much, if you find yourself isolating, if you’re more anxious or sad or irritable than usual, reach out for help. Being stuck at home is no picnic, especially when there are fewer and fewer outlets available. There are, however, always resources, if you know where to look. Your high school guidance counselor or school psychologist is an email or Zoom chat away. Your primary care doctor is another option. Or, if you have a history with a mental health counselor, turn to them. It’s important to remember that while COVID-19 is scary and dangerous, there are other health issues that need attending, and your mental health is of the utmost importance. With telehealth both available and covered by insurances in Massachusetts right now, you are able to get access to great medical care from the comfort and safety of your home. Please, be proactive, and get help if you need it. 

Last.

This is for the moms of graduates. As moms, we play an important role. As an educator and a mom, I get to play both roles, so I present you with this reminder: This is it. This is our time to shine. As the seasoned adults in this situation, we moms have to be as level-headed as possible. We have to show them how to mourn. This is your time to be sad and angry alongside your child, and then to help them let it go, because unfortunately, this is bigger than a high school graduation. COVID-19 doesn’t care that you want to celebrate. It wants you in the hospital, on a ventilator.

Moms, this is your time to recognize that there is a lot going on behind the scenes to celebrate you and your graduates, whether it’s lawn signs, virtual presentations, late summer graduation plans, yearbooks, gifts, postcards, letters, and whatever else a building’s worth of adults (who are stuck at home, and who love your children) are racking their brains to develop. We know you love your kids and you want to celebrate them. We love them too.

I don’t know what the future holds. I do know I would love to celebrate these graduates the best way we can right now, even if that means a video commemorating their accomplishments. Once this passes, and I’m hopeful it will, we can return to our in-person celebrations and remember this as a time in history when we came together by staying apart.

What Is That Yellow Stuff? (Welcome to Allergy Season!)

allergies - Boston Moms

Pollen!

The yellow stuff on my car, the backyard toys, and basically every surface in the house when the windows are open is hurting my 5-year-old. I have never seen someone use as many tissues as my 5-year-old suffering from seasonal allergies. And to top it off, this is something new!

I started noticing how frequently he was asking for the tissues. And each morning it seemed like he was sneezing five times before even making it to the bathroom. (And let me tell you, those were not pretty sneezes.) Now that we were home together all the time, I realized how much this was affecting him each day — I could actually see how many tissues were left around, hardly ever making it to the trash. One day, I counted 33 tissues!

My husband was also waking up sneezing, blowing his nose, and itching his eyes. So, it had to be seasonal allergies and would clear up quickly. 

Then, BAM, before we knew it, my 5-year-old boy woke up with a bloody nose I will never forget. As a child, I had bloody noses, so I knew immediately to pinch the bridge of his nose and wait for it to stop. Which, it eventually did. Unfortunately for us, he had snuck into our bed in the middle of the night, and now our white comforter was spotted red. Once the bloody nose stopped, he seemed to be doing fine. Some sneezes, but not bad. 

Then, later that afternoon, BAM, his eyes were bloodshot and itchy. His face was getting swollen. I immediately reached for the Benadryl and cold cloths for his eyes. He was so uncomfortable and itchy. It was heartbreaking to see him like this. This time, I needed more information, so I made a call to the pediatrician. She was very informative and gave some great tips:

  • Zyrtec in the morning (to replace our previously purchased Claritin)
  • Eye drops twice a day
  • Nightly showers
  • Change clothes when coming in from outside

We immediately started this regimen, we closed our windows, and we actually spent two full days inside. The sneezing and constant nose blowing stopped after those two days, so we began to limit our outside time and, even then, hosed down all the toys and play area in the backyard to minimize the pollen exposure.

It has been about two weeks since the first flare-up, and with our new daily routine, I am happy to report that the use of tissues, the bloody noses, and the itchy red eyes have minimized. There are still some nights when we are proactive and give him a dose of Benadryl, but, for the most part, his allergies have calmed down. 

I am hopeful this pollen season is coming to an end — and that we’ll soon be enjoying our days outside!

Emotional Dysregulation — and the Puffer Fish Who Can Help

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Emotional regulation. 

Sigh.

The absolute bane of my existence during this quarantine. Everyone is dysregulated — myself included. Mostly, though, my preschooler is struggling more than usual. 

I can’t blame her, because her whole life was uprooted and changed in less than a day. Her routine, her teachers and therapists, her friends, and her extended family suddenly became off-limits with no warning; she had no closure. It was traumatizing for her, as I’m sure it was for many kids of all ages. 

So, we got stuck. We struggled, and I had to brainstorm and work hard to help us climb out of the hole we were suddenly thrown into. What I couldn’t control was the situation and her feelings about it, but I could use the opportunity to teach her little ways to help manage her emotions when times are hard. 

And that brings me to belly breathing. Upon hearing our struggles, her OT from Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital suggested we make a habit of doing belly breathing exercises so we can easily “call on them” when a tough moment arises. Admittedly, I thought she was a little nutty at first. After all, my daughter’s only in preschool. But at that point, I was ready to try just about anything, and realistically, I had nothing left to lose. So we tried to implement this new strategy.

Much to my shock and amazement, it actually worked.

The “Puffer Fish” video she sent to us turned out to be magical. In one minute, the puffer fish works to teach kids big belly breathing without using words. It’s simple, visually appealing, and effective. Most importantly, it’s saved my bacon more times than I can count these past few weeks. After all, one less meltdown is one less meltdown, and that feels huge for us right now.

Homeschooling Is Bringing Out the Worst Parts of Me

Homeschooling my kids during COVID-19 has been a bit like living with the worst version of myself constantly and inescapably.

When my husband and I first started dating, I told him two things: One, I was pretty sure I wanted to be in Boston long-term (check). And two, I had no intention of homeschooling my future children (still check).

Lest you find this stipulation completely out of the blue, I should clarify: Both my husband and I were homeschooled from birth until college. We both received stellar educations, and he had a very positive experience with it. I struggled a lot with the relationship with my teacher-parent because of a less-than-healthy power dynamic and literally no breaks from one another. While my education was excellent, I didn’t want to replicate the unhealthy relational patterns I had experienced. I knew I was, by nature, not patient, I struggled with anger, and I could spiral quickly into despair or unrealistically high standards and fail to see the growth that was in process.

I knew that for me, the healthiest mother-child relationship would come from maintaining my own identity, giving my kids breaks from me being their only authority, and having the opportunity to see others’ perspectives on their growth and goals. (Homeschool friends, I’m not afraid, nor am I broken. Can we not mom shame, please?)

For years now, I have been so thankful to be able to send them to an amazing private school and see the benefits to our relationship, as well as the ways my children are thriving academically. I’ve gotten to focus on my littles while they’re home, as well as grow my own business and focus on things that make me a better human/mom. I’ve gotten to advocate for them, add to their education in fun ways, and bless them to be passionate about the things they’re passionate about.

And then came COVID-19.

Now, I know this isn’t “real” homeschooling. I was expertly homeschooled for twelve years, remember? I’m thankful for the skills and flexibility that experience taught me; it certainly helps now. But all of a sudden, my kids and I are in each other’s hair 100% of the time. I get to help teach phonics and handwriting and math and break up fights ALL DAY LONG.  My own temper and impatience flair up, and it affects how they learn. I wish I could opt out of homeschooling, but my personality (and my kids’) won’t allow that.

Holding in my frustration at the kids, I end up taking it out on the only other grown-up in the house (sorry, hubby), which doesn’t help relieve any of the stress. I see my kids’ frustration grow as I snap. I feel the tension in our relationship, with me feeling responsible for every aspect of their lives right now. I see the ways my youngest isn’t getting the attention she needs because her school-aged brothers require more time and focus. I feel the exhaustion as my own work and the things I’m good at suffer because I am juggling everything. I hate that by the end of the day, I don’t want to spend another waking moment with them because I’m just done.

This is not a judgment on homeschooling — it’s absolutely the right fit for some families. It’s just not the right fit for me.

But I don’t have a choice in the matter right now… so every day, I have to wrestle with the worst parts of myself.

My kids are fine — they’re adjusting better than I am. We’re making the best of our situation, but it’s a daily struggle against myself. And to think that we might have to do this again in the fall! It just feels like too much.

I’d love to end this post with an optimistic, action-oriented plan. But the reality is that I don’t have one. I guess all I can say is, if you’re here also, please know you’re not alone. It’s OK if this situation is leading you to wrestle with the worst parts of yourself and feel frustrated constantly. This is hard and abnormal and is forcing all of us to adapt in ways we’ve never had to before. It’s bringing out the worst in some of us.

Find healthy outlets for the frustration so you don’t take it out on your kids or your spouse. For me, that’s running and exercise and letting my husband handle things in the morning before he “goes” to work. Reach out to a friend if you’re in the dark place — or maybe even try a virtual counseling appointment. Know that even in (maybe especially in) a crisis, your mental health matters. 

And hope, with me, that this too will (eventually) pass.

Father’s Day Printable Gifts for the Dads in Your Life | From Boston Baby Nurse and Nanny

Father’s Day is right around the corner, moms! Our friends at Boston Baby Nurse and Nanny have sponsored this resource for YOU — FREE printable gifts for all the wonderful dads in your life!

We know homemade gifts are always the sweetest expressions of our love. Print out these PDFs {linked below} and work with your child to make something extra special for the dads and grandpas in your life.

About Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny:

The team at Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny knows that welcoming a new caregiver into the home is a big decision for parents. That’s why, for over a decade, they have committed to providing families with the absolute best in newborn support, overnight care, sleep coaching, and an award-winning nanny placement service.

Founder Carole Kramer Arsenault is a renowned expert in the field of maternal/child health and is the author of the award-winning book “Newborn 101” and “The Baby Nurse Bible.” As a health-care provider and mother of three she has the credentials and experience to lead and train the specialized team of registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), overnight newborn care experts (NCEs), and infant sleep coaches. The team at Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny has a genuine desire to be known for its high standards, integrity, and dedication to the families they serve. This commitment to excellence has made them Boston’s most trusted and sought after childcare resource.

Dear Daycare Provider, I Miss You Most of All

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daycare provider - Boston Moms

I get my son up every morning. There’s always a bit of disappointment that it’s me waking him up these days and not Daddy, as he is a daddy’s boy. We have breakfast. He makes my coffee by pushing the start button on the Keurig, and we sing songs and have our own little circle time. Then I let him play in the living room with the TV as a distraction so I can get some work done.

On most days, I can maybe get through a few emails and correspond a couple of letters in peace. Daniel Tiger and Elmo tunes hum in the background and then linger in my head for days after. A few minutes in, I will see a sippy cup appear over the top of my laptop. I’ll move it aside and see two huge brown eyes staring at me anxiously. “Milk! Milk!” Sometimes, I’ll get a book thrown in my direction. “Book! Book!” Naptime is when I’m most productive, for obvious reasons.

Like many parents, I am currently working remotely while having a child at home. It’s hard, it’s exhausting, we didn’t sign up for it. But we’re making it work. Or at least trying to. Some days are fine. And some are difficult. Like, feeling-like-a-complete-failure difficult.

There are many things about pre-COVID life that I miss. I miss my morning commute, where I had a blissful half-hour to read a book in peace. I miss my co-workers and having conversations with other adults all day long. And I miss our daycare provider.

When we were researching daycares, I knew we hit the jackpot with the place we chose. The search started while I was pregnant, as I read horror stories about waiting lists, lost deposits, and spots getting taken. Not to mention, finding something that was even affordable. And through our search, we found an in-home daycare about five minutes away from our place. She had been in business for a number of years and was highly qualified. When I saw the back room for the children and the big fenced-in backyard with a swing set and other playground equipment, I knew this was the place for our child.

My son has been going to this in-home daycare since he was 4 months old. And our provider and her family have become like our family. He loves going there and seeing all of his friends. The children in her care are all happy, well-disciplined, and, most importantly, cared for. While he’s stuck at home he is not getting the same kind of stimulation and experiences he would at his daycare — and I feel guilty about that. But I have to remind myself that this is something far beyond my control at the moment.

During this time of social distancing, I miss my family and my friends. But I also miss my son’s daycare provider. We have Facetimed with her, which has been nice, but it’s not the same. I look forward to the day when he can go back and resume his daily routines of finger painting and playing outside with his friends. And I will be bringing him back with an understanding and appreciation of how important daycare providers are.

Meet a Boston Mom :: Alexandra Rogers, LexRx

Moms don’t get the recognition they deserve! As a business run BY local moms FOR local moms, Boston Moms is excited to showcase the hard work local moms are doing — both at home and in their professions.

Boston Moms is proud to feature Alexandra Rogers for this “Meet a Boston Mom Monday!” You may recognize Alexandra’s face from social media or her business’s Best of Boston feature! Alexandra is the mom to two sweet girls under 2, a nurse practitioner, and the co-founder of LexRx.

Join us in celebrating Alexandra and the important contributions she makes at home and at work! 

We asked Alex to share a bit about herself. Get to know her here!

Full Name: Alexandra Rogers

Occupation/business name: Nurse practitioner and business owner of LexRx and Inject With Lex

Children: Caroline (2 years old) and Raegan (6 months)

Hometown: I grew up in Pembroke and currently live in Brighton with my husband, two girls, and our fur-baby.

Favorite local restaurant: Brighton Bodega

Favorite local business or brand: Boston NAPS — a local company founded by two moms (also nurses) with a mission to educate and support expecting and new parents. They are a trusted brand in our community and have been lifesavers to me in all stages of motherhood (pregnancy, infancy, toddlerhood).

Tell us a bit about LexRx: LexRx is a nurse practitioner-owned and -operated aesthetic dermatology/injectables practice and lifestyle brand, offering expertise in neurotoxin and dermal fillers, as well as the “Best of Boston” LexRx skincare line. LexRx has grown organically over the past five years, and we now have two locations in Boston and a team of amazing nurse practitioners and practice coordinators. Our goal is to help our clients look and feel their best so they can embrace a “look good, feel good, and play good” mentality in all aspects of their lives.

Inject With Lex is an injectables training program offering advisory/consulting services and didactic and hands-on trainings, empowering clinicians through knowledge to start a new career or even their own injectables practice!

What is the one thing that surprised you the most about motherhood?: I was surprised by the emotional and mental exhaustion! I knew I would be physically exhausted, but I didn’t consider the emotional and mental toll I would feel as a new (working) mom. I learned to take things one day at a time, and to be gracious with myself.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer another working mom?: Don’t be afraid to ask for help! You’re not expected to do it alone, nor should you have to. Lean on your support network, but also know it’s OK to let some things go. (Dishes and laundry might pile up, but that’s OK. Focus on what’s important and ask for help if you need it.)

What is one way you take care of yourself?: I work out every morning (oftentimes before the kids wake up). It’s a guaranteed hour to myself and helps me to be a better mom/wife/friend/sister/daughter/business partner.

Is there anything else we should know about you or your work?: At LexRx we feel passionately about helping men and women look and feel their best and embrace self-care. If injectables aren’t for you, be sure to check out our “Best of Boston” skincare line and embrace a little self-care at home.

Who are two other women who inspire you?: Alexa Nicolls Costa, my business partner and an incredible businesswoman, and my mom, a fiercely loving mother who taught me to work hard at everything I do.

Keep up with Alexandra at @AlexandraLRogers and @LexRx on Instagram.

Are you interested in being highlighted in a “Meet a Boston Mom” feature, or do you know someone who deserves this recognition? Let us know! Please email Meghan Block at [email protected] to discuss a feature.

Create a Safe, Efficient, and Uplifting Family Home :: Upgrade to Design Build

This post is sponsored by our friends at New England Design & Construction. Below, you'll find a heartfelt letter by Dave Supple, Boston dad and founder/chief executive officer of NEDC. We encourage you to read more about Design Build and seek out NEDC for your renovation needs!

Over the past few months we have all gotten familiar with the interiors of our homes at levels never previously anticipated.

Add school closures, several young children per household, mounting stress of trying to work from home while tending children, and the collective scream forming on the lips of parents across New England can very nearly be heard.

I understand. We understand — very much so. Being home 24/7 with my two young ones — ages 6 and 3 — has been quite an experience. 

We now know our homes inside and out at a level never previously imagined. Our familiarity with their interiors and exteriors is on par with the intimacy of a 20-year married couple. How many steps to the refrigerator. The texture of the bathroom paint. The inadequate lighting in the living room. Lack of a properly isolated and equipped workspace. That illogical kitchen layout that we have tolerated for years. Shelves that are too high. Drawers that are too low.

Household deficiencies that previously seemed like distant possibilities now feel like musts.  A home workplace. A home gym space. These were fleeting thoughts of fantasy previously. They now seem as essential as our morning coffee.

We are talking about quality of life. Quality of home. Happiness. Family. Future.

I’ve had these thoughts run through my mind over these past weeks as the world, workplace, family, and educational dynamics shift in front of our faces and, by cultural necessity, seem to collapse into one venue — our homes.

In a world full of uncertainty, I have come to the conclusion there is at least ONE immediate vital certainty that can be created over which we can directly control. 

Our homes.

And by that I mean the homes/workplaces/schools/gyms/theatres/adventure parks that our homes have now become for the present and foreseeable future.

Home and family as a pillar of certainty seems like it has never been more vital. The importance of creating a staunch and solid Winterfell amidst the swirling turmoil of Westeros — a Game of Homes, in so many words.

Design Build is the medium through which this can be achieved.

It is a route of planning, creativity, and execution that is cost-effective, efficient, and fully accountable. This is nature’s way of building and has been done for thousands of years.

So as a father of two and a Boston professional, this is my personal message to mothers: Quite simply, it is time to upgrade to Design Build. Now IS the time. You can have your ideal home, kitchen, and living space, free of stress and at a cost and speed that is both economical and efficient.

Design Build can help families achieve the living space and home environment that will help facilitate and propel their lives to their own design, vision, and satisfaction.

How does this work, and why am I saying this? Let’s start with the fundamentals:

What is Design Build?

Design Build is the natural course of design, planning, and construction that has been used since the advent of humanity. It is the natural sequencing of vision, design, planning, and construction execution under one single responsible individual or group.

Sound simple and sane? It is. It is also faster, more efficient, and less expensive than separating the functions and responsibilities of designer, architect, and contractor. This arbitrary and damaging fracture of inherent responsibility often leads to over-budget and off-schedule projects with finger-pointing and no clearly responsible individual.

You or someone close to you may already have lived this headache previously. It’s not fun. Conflict and over-expenditure are good for exactly no one right now.

Design Build is the opposite: A single professional entity responsible for delivering the project from start to finish, exactly as the client wishes and within their own creative standards and budgeting objectives. Think of Design Build as organic and paleo compared to an array of GMO-laden items fraught with refined sugar in the cereal aisle. 

Will Design Build save me and my family money?

Yes. Design Build projects routinely come in 6 percent less expensive while being delivered 12 percent or more faster. In real, tangible terms that means a potential $12K saved on a $200K project, completed several weeks or more in advance.

Who is that good for? Everyone.

What are the advantages of using Design Build now?

Here are some of the most basic:

Design Build allows the owners and Design Build planning team to design the project exactly to the wishes of the client, both aesthetically and along budgeting lines. Meaning the project doesn’t get designed then suddenly turn out to cost $200K more than initially planned after the planning stage is completed and bid out to contractors, rendering the planning useless… which you have already paid for. Ouch.

The Design Build team is thinking about and owning the project from start to finish. From design conception to the last nail driven, it’s a truly accountable individual and team.

Power and value can actually be simple.

So, Design Build will do the following:

  1. Save you money — valuable in all times, especially now.

  2. Complete your project swiftly and rapidly.

  3. Increase the general quality of your project and ensure it is the right and optimal project for you and your family. You have a direct line to a solely responsible entity the entire project. Not three professionals with partial responsibility. One with full responsibility available to you at all times. No headaches.

There is truly no better or more intelligent time to put in place the practical and ideal home setting for you and your family.

This is not a sales pitch, but a true and sincere offer of value and experience from a Boston father with nearly 20 years experience in this field. After all, this is your children’s sanctuary — and yours.

The place where they will grow, plan, and reach for their futures.

Feel free to reach out with any thoughts or questions. I’d love to help.

Love,
Dave (617-474-0309)

To learn more about New England Design & Construction, please give Dave a call, or visit their website at https://www.nedesignbuild.com/.

Warning: Facebook Lives Are Less Real than They Appear

Facebook - Boston Moms

My daughter was doing OK. She loved the increased family time. She loved not being rushed in the morning and instead being able to do her own thing. She loved playing with her sister more (except when she didn’t). And they both loved the increased screen time.

The kids were basically parenting themselves since my husband and I were both working from home. I would look at Facebook and see people’s kids’ school assignments and art projects, both of which were practically non-existent at my house. I would see their family hikes, which couldn’t happen during the week for us. I would feel less-than. I would feel guilt. I would feel shame. I would try to tell myself my kids were secure, healthy, and happy, and the rest just didn’t matter.

Then, week 9 or 10 of coronavirus hit. And things got ugly(er). The physical isolation was really starting to affect my daughter (and me), although she couldn’t verbalize it. She was yelling and raging so much more. She cried so easily and for so much longer. It was so difficult to watch, and I felt her pain. I knew it wasn’t about me, but it was so hard to not take it personally or feel like I was failing. Especially when everyone, it seemed, whether in Facebook groups or people I knew in real life, was posting picture-perfect lives.

Then, I took a risk. I posted on my local moms’ group and asked if anyone else’s kid had gone from Mr. Hyde to Dr. Jekyll. And, guess what? There was a resounding yes. This yes came from people I knew in real life, too, whose Facebook lives made me think otherwise. Even though this didn’t lessen the pain and sadness my daughter feels, it offered me a giant sigh of relief. It made me feel like less of a failure.

The truth is, this is hard. We are all struggling. We are also all going to get through this. And, Facebook impression management is nothing new. Everything is amplified right now — fear, uncertainty, worry, guilt, and falling victim to Facebook lies. Please, dear ones, remember, Facebook lives are less real than they appear, and it’s OK for you and your family to not be OK right now. We are all doing our best, even if our best is not our typical best. And that’s OK.

Ice Cream for Dinner

ice cream for dinner - Boston Moms

Last night we had ice cream for dinner.

There was no reason for it. Nothing to celebrate, nothing to lament. Just no solid dinner plan, and a Facebook ad for make-your-own-sundae kits at a local ice cream shop that caught my attention.

So, we didn’t say anything to the kids, and at dinner time we set down a different flavor for each person, with a myriad of toppings in the center. There was shrieking, laughter, and giddy, unabashed joy. We piled on far too many toppings and drowned our ice cream in every kind of sauce imaginable.

It was messy, unhealthy, and totally against the rules.

And last night, it didn’t matter.

Last night, hot fudge was our vegetable.

Maybe this makes me not so great at adulting. Maybe it makes me really great at it. Who knows.

Last night, we put aside heavy thoughts and seriousness. We forgot about school work and laundry. We abandoned normal.

We were just happy. And it was good.

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