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MomForce Podcast Episode 45: Working from Home with the Original MomForce

March 31, 2020

Welcome to the MomForce Podcast! Vanessa Quigley, mother of 7, entrepreneur and co-founder of Chatbooks, hosts this refreshing take on all things mom. Along with her 4 sisters, they’ll get into the nitty-gritty of real life parenting together, bringing you some tried and true tips and tricks to help make mom-life a little easier. And check out the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page. Episode 45: Working from Home with the Original MomForce Listen Here There is an acronym that is having its time in the spotlight: WFH. Working From Home is not a new concept, but due to the world wide pandemic and #socialdistancing, many of us have found ourselves trying to figure out how to make the most of this new norm! Chatbooks co-founder and podcast host Vanessa Quigley is talking to Ashley aka AB, our marketing product manager about how she is managing her WFH schedule while having a 6 month old baby at home.  Vanessa also gets some best tips from some veteran WFH Chatbooks employees. Did you know the majority of Chatbooks Customer service team is all remote, and mostly all mothers - 12 babies born to our MomForce team this past year! ! So when questions come up about how to balance WFH and motherhood (and for so many of us - HOMESCHOOLING) we knew we would get the best tips from these women. Tip 1: Krista, who has been WFH for 10 years says do NOT get rid of “me time”! Whether it is a walk outside or taking a bath, taking care of yourself is what will give you the stamina to keep going. Tip 2 : Hilary likes to block out 30 minutes in the day to tidy up. With kids home all day and schoolwork and homework and meals, the house can get away from you. Take some time to pick up - enlist kids to help. Having a tidy workspace can help improve everyone's mood and productivity.  Tip 3 : This tip comes from Ashley, who knows all too well that the 3pm slump happens at home as well as at the office! Her go to fix - Dr. Pepper! Find something that you love, a treat, a drink, a snack and allow a moment of indulgence.  Tip 4 : Alyce is 100% cool with tech! When she really needs some time to buckle down and get work done, or if she needs to take a call with a client, allowing screen time for her kids is top of her go to strategy! And especially now, with kids home from school, all day, everyday, relaxing whatever screen limits you may have just might prove to be the best course.  This sudden change of circumstances can be hard. On everyone. It might take a hot minute to find what works for you and your family. Vanessa’s final tip is it's ok to let things go! And we get a new day to try again! Good luck mamas! We are rooting for you.  Also, want more tips and tricks on tackling motherhood - Follow us at @themomforcepodcast Then be sure to head over to our MomForce Facebook group - full of thousands of moms from all over the world, helping each other through the highs and lows of motherhood/womanhood and life, including WFH, homeschooling, self care!

Sleep Expert Christine Lawler On Bedtime Habits That’ll Change Your Life

March 25, 2020

Let’s face it: Sleep is often the first thing to go when you get busy, stressed, or overwhelmed. Deeming it an unnecessary part of your routine, there’s a chance you will occasionally get a mere 3-5 hours of sleep a night when stuff gets crazy. And tbh, stuff IS crazy. Whether you're working from home or really busy with family life, there are a bunch of things that could be keeping you up at night. Not only does sleep affect your attitude, but it’s also a determining factor in your baseline health. Did you know that roughly 80% of people with mental health challenges have underlying sleep problems? When you can learn to take control of your sleep habits, then you can really get your life under control (unless the kids are home from school and then everything goes out the window).  This week, we chatted with Christine Lawler of The Peaceful Sleeper about adult sleep habits. Whether you’re not getting enough sleep, waking up at random times, or trying to improve co-sleeping with your partner, these 7 tips for improving your sleep habits will totally upgrade your evening routine. Don’t get overwhelmed about not getting a lot of sleep. Spending too much time and energy worrying about the fact that you’re lying in bed and not sleeping will be nothing but harmful for your relationship with sleep. This creates an unproductive association between the bed and a place where you lie awake and stress. You can then easily tell yourself, “I don’t sleep well and the bed is the place where I’m not sleeping,” which naturally causes you to associate the bed with stress. According to Lawler, “becoming a ‘clock watcher’ and just reminding yourself every passing minute that you’re still awake will only be harmful for your sleep habits moving forward.” Relax your mind, rest your eyes, and stop worrying about how much sleep you are or aren’t getting. If you aren’t sleeping, get out of bed. Lawler suggests that you shouldn’t go to bed until you feel like you can fall asleep within 15 and 30 minutes. You may be thinking, “If I waited to get into bed until I could fall asleep that quickly, I wouldn’t be in bed until the wee hours of the night, if at all!” However, Lawler says that, as you try to implement this practice, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you feel your body get tired and want to go to sleep. The bed should be where you sleep, not where you scroll. Don’t fight the optimal sleep window. “Thinking back to the beginning of humankind, there weren’t lights, late night activities, and TV shows to keep people awake,” Lawler says. As a result, when the sun went down, that’s when people went to sleep. Even now, when the sun goes down, our body’s natural melatonin hormone kicks in and tells us to start winding down and get to bed. However, when you're tired and you choose to push through those natural chemicals, your body is assuming that you need an extra boost of adrenaline for some reason. When you have pushed through that optimal sleep window, you then have competing chemicals and at this point it’s best to just stay out of bed so you don’t lay there aimlessly. Don’t let sleep aids become your go-to. Who doesn’t want results without having to put in any work? But, you should know that sleep habits (like any healthy habit) have to follow a routine in order for them to work. Also, an aid is not a cure-all, so make sure you keep your use of sleeping aids in check. Lawler notes that if you consistently take sleep aids, you can become dependent on them and it might be harder to build healthy habits. Natural, scientifically proven sleep habits are the best approach for healthy sleep patterns. Fall asleep and stay asleep. There is often a mismatch between how much you are actually sleeping and how much time you are giving yourself to sleep. If you’re only sleeping 5 hours a night, but you lay in bed for at least 8 hours, you need to tell yourself that your new bedtime is 12:30 AM rather than 10:30 PM. You’ll be spending less time tossing and turning before actually sleeping and playing a little trick on your brain. Here’s how: This new problem of “how am I going to stay up until 12:30” will make you more tired more quickly and can solidify healthier, longer sleeping habits. Lawler simply states: When your brain is motivated by scarcity, you’ll learn new habits.  Have an affirmation. Battling stressful dreams also comes with battling adrenaline surges and struggling to go back to bed. When you wake up and can’t get back to sleep, it’s best to get out of bed, change your scenery, and remind yourself that everything is ok. Lawler’s favorite affirmation statement is:  “I am here, I am now, I am safe”. This allows you to come back to your environment and be present, giving you an opportunity to get back to bed.  Create an optimal sleep environment.  According to Lawler, having a comfortable mattress and sheets that don’t make you too hot are essential to having an ideal night’s rest. Optimal sleeping temperature ranges from 68 to 72 degrees. This makes it possible to have a comfortable sleeping temperature where you can be under the covers, snuggled up, and not feeling too hot or cold.  Listen to this episode of The MomForce Podcast to hear more of this discussion about sleep. Christine Lawler also offers certified sleep instruction on her website The Peaceful Sleeper. You can find her on Instagram @the.peaceful.sleeper. 

26 Photo Scavenger Hunt Ideas Perfect For When You're Stuck Indoors

March 25, 2020

Finding ways to entertain kids isn’t easy. And finding ways to entertain kids for more than 30 minutes at a time is even harder! This photo scavenger hunt is guaranteed to keep the kids entertained indoors for an entire afternoon. All you’ll need is a camera or your phone for your child to use. Have your child take photos with the items, instead of just the item itself. After the fun activity is finished, you’ll be able to take the photos and turn them into a memory book to remember the fun times you had together! Enjoy this photo scavenger hunt, print out and color in our free family portrait coloring book page, and then have the kids call their grandparents for a personal history interview if you're looking for hours of creative fun in your home. Here are 26 items to photograph on your indoor picture scavenger hunt... Something red  Something that keeps you warm Something you have cooked Something living (a plant, a pet, etc.) A favorite stuffed animal  Something round  Something you love to read Something used on a holiday Something that plays music  Something that starts with the letter “A” You and a member of your family Something old that you love Something new that you love Something you only use indoors  Something you only use outdoors Something that has wheels Something you’ve created that was school-related Something you’ve created that was play-related  A decoration you love Something used during the summer  Something you use to stay active or exercise  An art piece you’ve created  The oldest coin in your house Something with rainbow colors Something bright Something that sparkles Something that shows your family together Something that belonged to or shows your grandparents

MomForce Podcast Episode 44: Rules for Bed with Sleep and Sex Therapist Christine Lawler of @the.peaceful.sleeper

March 24, 2020

Welcome to the MomForce Podcast! Vanessa Quigley, mother of 7, entrepreneur and co-founder of Chatbooks, hosts this refreshing take on all things mom. Along with her 4 sisters, they’ll get into the nitty-gritty of real life parenting together, bringing you some tried and true tips and tricks to help make mom-life a little easier. And check out the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page. Episode 44: Rule for Bed with Sleep and Sex Therapist Christine Lawler of @the.peaceful.sleeper Listen Here Sleep impacts our mental well-being. And during times of stress and anxiety, sleep suffers even more. New parents, especially, can suffer, not just from lack of sleep, but lack of intimacy that can be a result of no sleep. Host Vanessa Quigley is joined by co-host (and sister) Erika to talk to licensed sex therapist and sleep expert Christine Lawler about how parents/adults can get the best sleep they can (and hopefully better intimacy will follow) Tip 1. If you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes of lying down, get out of bed.Go do something productive until you start to feel drowsy.  Tip 2. Stop the negative talk. When we tell ourselves, “I can’t sleep. I’m a terrible sleeper. I’m just going to lie in bed, awake, all night.” we create an association that can make it even more difficult to get rest. Our beds need to be the place where we sleep, not scroll social media, so we need to change the behavioral association we have with our beds.  Tip 3. Find your ideal amount of sleep. Some people can function perfectly on 6 hours while others need 7.5 hours. Christine helps her clients find that sweet spot that allows them to get the most beneficial nights sleep. Tip 4. Talk about sex. Tiredness can be interpreted as disinterest. Open conversations about where your head is at can clear most confusion about desire and frequency. Dry spells happen. As long as you are still communicating with your partner, sex will happen. Professional counseling can help get to the roots of the issue, when needed. Tip 5. It’s ok for both partners not to go to bed at the same time. You may just need to get more creative at when you can be intimate.  Sleep can make or break us, as parents and as partners. There will always be a quick fix pill, but real change happens when you put in the work, with your sleep cycle and your sex cycle! You can check out Christine’s websites The Peaceful Sleeper and Christine Lawler for more tips and resources on both topics!  Also, want more tips and tricks on tackling motherhood?? Follow us at @themomforcepodcast Then be sure to head over to our MomForce Facebook group - full of thousands of moms from all over the world, helping each other through the highs and lows of motherhood/womanhood and life!

Infant Sleep Expert Becca Campbell On the 6 Newborn Sleep Tips She Swears By

March 22, 2020

*New mom sleep* is like regular sleep but without sleep, amiright? And if you’ve been struggling with living in this new, very exhausting world of parenthood, then know that you’re not alone. One of the most asked questions in our #MomForce Facebook group is: How do I get my newborn baby to sleep? We know that sleep habits are so important for all ages, so we brought your questions to baby sleep consultant Becca Campbell of Little Z Sleep. Campbell dove into the nitty-gritty of what those sleepless nights look like, talked through some of the bad habits many of us have picked up and explained how every baby really can sleep through the night. Here are Campbell’s top tips for getting infants to sleep… 1. There is no such thing as a junk nap. Many parents will stress that short naps mean the baby isn’t getting enough sleep. “You know, 45 to 60 minutes is really okay,”  says Campbell. “It’s really not a junk nap.” Instead, Campbell recommends parents look at how much awake time their child can handle. Newborns can handle being awake for about 45 to 60 minutes, and then it’s back to sleep. So it’s important to find that pattern of awake time and asleep time for your baby. And remember: All naps are good naps. Additionally, parents might feel that holding their baby while they're napping will ruin their sleep patterns. “That’s the joy of a newborn,” says Campbell. “It’s okay to hold the baby while they are sleeping.” And honestly, is there anything better than newborn snuggles? *heart eyes* 2. Redefine co-sleeping. “I myself don’t teach co-sleeping,” says Campbell. She warns that there are risks of babies going under the covers and other safety hazards associated with co-sleeping. However, Campbell is fine with parents putting their newborns in cribs or bassinets next to their beds. And if your baby coos a lot in their sleep, maybe don’t have the crib right next to your pillow. “I’m not asking you to move the baby to their own room — that’s whenever you’re ready — but maybe a few feet from your head,” Campbell advises. Those little grunts that are the best sounds in the world can quickly turn into a no-sleep soundtrack for every mom struggling with postpartum. 3. Don’t let your babies get used to containers. A lot of parents might be all too familiar with driving an extra few laps around the block to keep their babies sleeping in those carseats. And many of you may be asking the same question that we got in our #MomForce Facebook group, which was: How can I get this child comfortable enough to fall asleep? There are a lot of marketing gimmicks out there, according to Campbell. “I try to be anti-container as much as possible,” she says. “In all safe sleep practices, back is best.” Campbell recommends firm bassinets or cribs, and one of her favorites is the Fisher Price Soothing Motions™ Bassinet. 4. Shift into self-soothe. Campbell uses an analogy of a driver and a passenger when it comes to newborns and sleep. For the first few months of their lives, you are the driver to get your baby to sleep: whether it be rocking, holding, or literally driving to get that baby to fall asleep. Of course, at this time, the baby is the passenger in their sleep habits. Babies that are a little older — around 4 months or so — will start to shift from being the passenger to the driver. They learn to self-soothe. “You teach your baby, when it’s age appropriate, to be in the driver’s seat,” she explains. “Teach them to put themselves to sleep by sucking on their thumb or their two middle fingers, or a stuffed animal.” This will help babies when they wake up in the middle of the night to recognize that they are their own driver and they will be able to self-soothe to go back to sleep. 5. Don’t hit the reset button every time. The “cry-it-out” method is especially hard for parents because no one wants to leave their helpless baby crying all night. But Campbell says that, once that baby figures out that they are the driver, you’ve got to make a plan. Consistency is the biggest thing in sleep training. “I ask parents to look at why their baby keeps crying,” says Campbell. “If there is no consistency, it’s because you don’t have a plan.” Campbell advises parents to be as consistent as possible. Don’t half-heartedly attempt sleep training only to give in and get the baby a bottle in the middle of the night when they won’t stop crying. Campbell says that, by the third night of sleep-training, parents should see a light at the end of the tunnel. “I’m incredibly passionate about people doing things with a purpose, and not hitting the reset every single night.” 6. Evaluate your routine. A lot of parents wrote that they have babies a bit older (12 to 16 months) who, once they are sleep trained, will start waking up at unseemly morning hours (we’re talking 4:00am). Campbell suggests that sleep for these babies is like a math equation. “If that kid is on two naps a day, then the first place it will take away sleep from is the mornings.” For those older babies, it might be time to start moving toward one nap a day. Additionally, parents will want to take a look at their bedtime and morning routines. Older babies need to start consuming three meals a day. If you’re feeding your children immediately in the morning, they might be waking up earlier because they sense that excitement of food. If you are putting them down in front of the TV before bed or in the morning, you may be training them to have an unhealthy sleep pattern. Evaluating your routine and regulating that routine will give babies much better consistent habits. To hear Becca Campbell’s full episode “Your Baby CAN Sleep” on infant sleep training, head over to The MomForce Podcast. Campbell also offers great consultations on her website Little Z Sleep and you can find her on Instagram @LittleZSleep

41 Questions To Ask Your Grandparents ASAP

March 22, 2020

 Chances are you could really use a hug from grandma right now… the whole world could probably use a hug from grandma right now. While visiting in person is not a good idea, there are other ways to let her know you love her (tbh, sending her a Chatbook is a great one). Protecting vulnerable audiences doesn’t mean ignoring them! Give your grandparents a call (and maybe even send them a link to our adult coloring book page or give them a pro tip from one of our sleep experts). This is such a great time to learn more about their personal history. We all know they have a lot to say, and right now you likely have the time to listen. Here are some questions to get started... Where did you grow up? What was it like there? Who was your childhood best friend?  What was your first date? Who was your first love? How did you meet your spouse? Describe the personalities of each of your siblings What music did you like as a teenager? Did you ever go on vacation as a child? Where did you go? What is your favorite city in the world? Tell me about one of your happiest memories. What’s the most important lesson you have learned during your life?  What was dating like when you were a teenager? Describe your teenage self in 3 words. What were your parents like? What were some of the fashions when you were in high school? What was the first home you ever bought? Describe the moment you proposed/were proposed to. What made you choose each of your children’s names? What is one thing you want people to remember about you? Do you think money can buy happiness? Why or why not? What was your first job?  What did you want to be when you grew up? If you could go back in time and choose a new career for yourself, would you? What would you choose? Who was your celebrity crush growing up? Tell me about when you learned to drive a car.  What have you always been good at? Do you believe in love at first sight? What are some significant world events that you lived through?  How do you feel about faith? Have you ever had surgery? Have you ever done anything crazy? What was the hardest thing for you to go through?  What do you remember about your grandparents?  Which decade of life has been your favorite?  Do you have any regrets in life? What is the best decision you have ever made?  Who is your current best friend?  What did your childhood bedroom look like? What is the best gift you’ve ever received?  Who is someone you miss? Did you ever have a pet?

Sleep Expert Lauren Olson Reveals Pro Tips for Toddler Sleep Regression

March 18, 2020

Is there anything more terrifying than the words “toddler sleep regression”? Having little ones means barely getting any time for yourself, and that’s why those few hours during which they’re passed out can be so completely and utterly life-changing. That being said, sleep can be hard to come by for kids. Getting toddlers and young children to go to sleep and stay asleep is an adventure all on its own. That’s why we asked Lauren Olson, a certified sleep expert, mother and founder of Sleep and the City, for all of her pro tips on how to get kids to sleep through the night. Our main takeaway: Sleep training is not one-size-fits-all. “It’s your journey and you know your child best,” she says. Here are Lauren’s top tips for restful sleep... 1. No Food After 7pm If your young children are eating right before bed, you might be throwing off their sleep patterns. Lauren suggests to close the kitchen after dinner. This gives children time to process their food and find a routine.  There are also some foods that are a total no-no when it comes to a restful sleep. “There are things that compete against kids’ bodies for sleep,” explains Lauren. Sugars, even those found in fruits, will be a stimulant in keeping your child up at night. Instead, she recommends berries, bananas, cherries and other foods that contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps our brains produce serotonin.  2. Keep Food in the Kitchen “Distraction during the day can cause kids to eat less,” Lauren says. “Make sure when you are feeding a child that it is in a very boring area [of your home].” So nix having snack time in the playroom or in front of the TV and keep food at the kitchen table. 3. Maintain a Routine “However a child is used to falling asleep is how they will want to be throughout a sleep cycle,” says Lauren. “For example, if you’re falling asleep next to your spouse and then, in the middle of the night, they moved you to your neighbor’s house, can you imagine what you would go through?” If your children are used to falling asleep with you in the room, you reinforce their expectation that you will be there when they wake up. “If you want them to wake up at night and get used to you not being there, you have to get them used to your not being there,” she says. 4. Wean Them in Stages No parent wants to watch their children become upset, and often the “cry it out” method doesn’t work. “I’m not in a huge camp of ‘cold turkey’ on anything when it comes to sleep,” says Lauren. Instead, she recommends that parents wean from associations. So if a mother wakes up and breast feeds in the middle of the night, that can be a hard association to break away from. When this is the case, Lauren recommends that a parent wean from an association by introducing another association and then weaning from that. “Instead of you going in and offering a full bottle, for the next three nights you’re only offering half the bottle. Then on the fourth night, maybe a sip of water,” she explains. Slowly weaning from habits takes some practice, but children can learn to self-soothe. The same process can work when removing yourself from the child’s room. 5. Evaluate Your Social Schedule Many moms in The Momforce had questions about when a toddler, who was once a great sleeper, seemingly randomly regresses. Lauren suggests for parents to evaluate their social schedules and routines. “It could be because they just moved into a new home, or that they just started a new daycare,” she explains. Among these changes may be a parent starting a new job and coming home at new hours, a baby sibling being born, nightmares becoming more sequential, potty training being introduced, or starting preschool. 6. Redirect Children One mom in The Momforce asked us for advice to help one of her daughters who has been afraid to go to bed ever since the white noise machine ran out of batteries and a robotic voice said, “batteries low, replace now,” causing her daughter to have nightmares. An experience like that may be enough to keep anyone awake at night and similar issues like this persist for many children.  As parents, you may have tried combat methods for fears such as “monster spray” where you give a child a spray-bottle to fight off monsters, but Lauren suggests that this will only validate their fears. “I really like to give toddlers a worry item,” she says. Things like pictures (maybe a Chatbook!), dream sticks and rocks so that children can redirect their fear into something of comfort. “It’s just something to redirect them.” Lauren also recommends Hatch Rest, a sound machine, night light and audio monitor all-in-one as a great noise machine that won’t have a robotic voice to haunt your child’s dreams. 7. Have a Consistent Bedtime Routine “How you can speed up the body’s production of melatonin is to have a bedtime routine that lasts 60 minutes,” advises Lauren. The last 30 minutes of that routine is crucial to do in low-light. No TVs, no iPads and no overhead light.  So what does this routine look like? After the kitchen closes at 7pm, make sure to be consistent with your schedule. The kids brush their teeth, maybe get a few minutes of television, and then parents can read a book to them in bed. 8. Let Your Kids Know Your Expectations We love our children, and it’s easy to give in to them when they have us wrapped around their little fingers. If you let them sleep in your bed once at 5:00am when they cannot go back to sleep, pretty soon they will be waking up at 3:00am, then 1:00am, and eventually your bed will become their bed. “It’s a really slippery slope with toddlers,” says Lauren. “So before they go to sleep, you set expectations.” Some incentives can help reinforce those expectations. Lauren says that she will do little prizes if her children follow the sleep rules.  9. Be Patient When asked what her greatest piece of advice is, Lauren says to just be patient. The overnight success that many ads promise is unrealistic when evaluating individual needs. Remember that things take time and that each child is different. Many parents are going through the same things as you. You’re not alone, and you can find your community over here at The MomForce.  Listen to this episode of The MomForce Podcast to hear more of this discussion about toddler sleep. Lauren Olson also offers certified sleep instruction on her website Sleep and the City as well as free downloadables for sleep guides. Find her on Instagram @SleepAndTheCity. 

MomForce Podcast Episode 43: Quality Sleep for Kids and Moms with Lauren Olsen of @sleepandthecity

March 17, 2020

Welcome to the MomForce Podcast! Vanessa Quigley, mother of 7, entrepreneur and co-founder of Chatbooks, hosts this refreshing take on all things mom. Along with her 4 sisters, they’ll get into the nitty-gritty of real life parenting together, bringing you some tried and true tips and tricks to help make mom-life a little easier. And check out the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page. Episode 43: Quality Sleep for Kids and Moms with Lauren Olsen of @sleepandthecity Listen Here Host Vanessa Quigley is joined by co-host (and sister) Shelly to talk to pediatric sleep expert Lauren Olson about how we can get our kids to sleep - and Shelly REALLY needs the help. Her darling 18 month old is waking up 5x a night and mama needs some help. Thankfully, Christine is full of great tips. Tip 1. Try not to give your toddler food an hour before bedtime - their bodies will be wanting to digest instead of falling asleep. BUT - if you have to give a snack, did you know bananas have tryptophan in it??? Go with that. Tip 2. Make sure your child is getting their caloric needs met during the day  Tip 3. Wean your child off their dependency. If they are falling asleep with a bottle, Chrisitne tells us to only offer half a bottle. And then the next night, maybe it’s water instead of milk. And then the next night, it's a sip of water. Older children have a much more difficult time with the “cry it out” method. Weaning requires work on our part, but ultimately is the best solution, Tip 4. For a child that used to be a great sleeper but suddenly stops, look for outside stressors. Has there been a change in their daily routine? Are they going through a growth spurt? Is a parent traveling more? A new baby? Once you identify that stressor, you can help talk your child through their feelings, or if they are too young, it will give you more patience while working through the night wakings. Tip 5. If you child wakes up scared, redirection works well. Christine gives the example of giving them a “dream stick” or rock, so that when they wake and are scared, they can hold the stick or rock in their hand a feel mom’s love for them. You might be in the trenches for a bit, but they will get there in time. Tip 6. If you give melatonin, 2-3 days max. That’s all she suggests. Don’t rely on it as a permanent solution to sleep problems. And perhaps the best tip of all, be patient. You child does want to sleep. Sometimes they just need a little help getting there. For more information on Lauren and her sleep solutions, check out Want to hear more from Lauren? Follow her on Instagram: @sleepandthecity And while you're at it, follow us at @themomforcepodcast Then be sure to head over to our MomForce Facebook group - full of thousands of moms from all over the world, helping each other through the highs and lows of motherhood/womanhood and life!

This Free Phone Background Is The Perfect Little Pick-Me-Up

March 17, 2020

Now more than ever, people are looking for little bits of inspiration to brighten their day (like free, indoor activities!). Whether that means Googling a positive quote or archiving a sweet message on Instagram, we definitely turn to our phones to keep track of these little pick-me-ups. And that's why we here at Chatbooks wanted to design a phone background that would make you smile, even when you're really going through it. Our "Hope Will Not Be Cancelled" phone background comes in two color palettes (pink and navy) and serves as a little reminder to hold onto what matters most. Save it to your photos on your phone and share it with friends — it will make the perfect squad phone background for the whole fam! And if you find yourself grinning at our mini message, take a pic and tag us @chatbooks so we can admire your phone game. Click for the pink background here and save it to your photos. Click for the blue background here and save it to your photos. And if you haven't already, check out our free, kid- and adult-friendly coloring book page. Join us on the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page and follow Chatbooks on Instagram! undefined undefined

This Free Coloring Page Is Perfect For Making Family Portraits That'll Make You Smile

March 17, 2020

Looking for some fun, free activities to keep your little ones occupied? Maybe you're working from home and are running low on craft ideas, or perhaps you're just finding yourself indoors a bit more and are hoping for a fam-friendly activity you can all enjoy. Well, we're here to help out in whatever way we can. That's why we created this kid- and adult-friendly coloring book page so you can all take a brain break together! Ask kids to draw a portrait of a family member. They can either draw from memory or, if you're hoping to occupy 2 kids at once, have them model for each other as the other one draws. You too can get in on the fun and draw someone! Then, spend some extra time coloring in the squiggly frame. Once everyone finishes, have an art show-and-tell and hang up family portraits in a spot where everyone can see. Speaking of showing off your work, we'd love to see it, too! Take a pic of your new family gallery wall, post it on social media and tag us @chatbooks so we can admire your artsy crew. Print your coloring page here! undefined Join us on the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page and follow Chatbooks on Instagram!

This Rainbow Coloring Book Page Will Totally Brighten Up Your Day

March 17, 2020

There's a good chance that, on recent strolls through your neighborhood while trying to keep the kids entertained, you've spotted some rainbows. With kids staying home from school these days, people have gotten creative with ways that they can help local kids fight off boredom and take a little load off of parents who have spent the day "homeschooling" while likely also working from home. After the first wave of rainbows hit windows and doors alike, people have now started leaning into the phrase "Let's All Be Well" as a little note to add to their multi-colored window-scapes. There's even a pretty robust Instagram trend of #letsallbewell. That's why we made a printable coloring page just for you (after we saw that you loved our family portrait coloring page so much!). In our "Let's All Be Well" coloring book page, you and the kids can fill in the letters and then take some extra time to color in the surrounding shapes in ROYGBIV. We're always looking out for you, so these extra shapes are intended to occupy a bit more of your kids' time and, of course, give you a much-needed brain break. Print your "Let's All Be Well" coloring page here. Hang your coloring book page up with your pre-existing rainbow, or use this an excuse to do a whole lot of coloring all in one day. And we'd love to see how your window turns out, so be sure to post a photo of your colorful sky to social media and tag us here @Chatbooks. undefined Looking for more fun freebies? Check out our: Bedtime reward chart for kids who always end up in your room This inspirational free phone background Also, join us on the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page and follow Chatbooks on Instagram to crazy relatable parenting tips and tricks.

13 Life-Saving Tips for Working from Home with Kids

March 17, 2020

Among the many acronyms you have to learn to keep up with kids these days — LOL, WTF, BRB — a new abbreviation has cropped up that working parents all over the nation are adding to their lexicon: WFH. And trust us when we say that we understand this razor-thin balance of work-life and home-life is no easy feat. Though technology is making this easier than ever, figuring out your new normal can be rough. But don’t worry, we’re all in this together. In fact, here at Chatbooks, a lot of us are working parents. Some of us have been working from home for a long time. In fact, our Chatbooks Customer Experience Team is a 100% remote team made up of parents who work from home with kids ALL YEAR ROUND. We also have colleagues who are now newly adjusting to losing nannies, rearranging school schedules, creating make-shift office spaces in their kitchens and trying to get their work hours in while there is still daylight. That’s why polled our support team to glean some pro tips. We also led a discussion about working from home with a few long-time remote-working moms Krista, Hillary and Alyce; and newly-adjusting WFH mom Ashley, our project manager.  Keep Snacks Within Reach of Little Hands Someone will likely be hungry when you’re working, and the tune of “mom, I’m hungry!” is one every working parent has heard one too many times. Preempt the interruption by prepping healthy snacks beforehand (like pre-cutting fruits and veggies) and putting them in a spot where little hands can get them. “I keep snacks at a level and in places they can reach,” advises Cami. “They still have to check in with me to make sure it’s ok to take them, but it’s one less thing I have to get up and do to help them.”  If your kids are a little older, Court recommends “bins of snacks they can open and choose themselves.” Even better, put kids’ plates, silverware and cups at a reachable-level so snack time can become completely self-service. One Activity at a Time It can be tempting to let your kids play with anything they want right now, but “one activity at a time is a rule here,” says Nikki. “It saves me from getting done with work and having my house turned upside down.” One way to do this is to put toys in bins organized by category: coloring, play-dough, crafts. Jeanette uses the flat, under-bed bins to organize activities for her kids. “It has helped so much because we can pull one out at a time and use whatever is in each bin. Then they have to pick up everything in that bin before moving onto another one,” she advises.  When I Work, You Work Train your little ones to “work” alongside you. While you work, invite them to do homework or quiet activities, like coloring or writing letters, next to you. “If you have an extra computer or even an extra keyboard, let them work next to you,” recommends Jaycay. You can even open a Word document and let them type along with you, or download an educational game that they can play while you focus. This crowd-sourced Google Sheet has a mega-list of educational resources that are offering free subscriptions or resources right now, and you’re likely to find something age-appropriate for your little one to work on beside you.   Create Scavenger Hunts and Secret Missions If you need a few minutes of quiet time, send your kids off on a scavenger hunt. When her little boy was younger and asking for attention, Jaycay would tell him, “I’m working, but I need your help. Can you find this one thing for me?” And he loved it! If you have a few kids at home, ask them to create scavenger hunts for each other to self-direct their play, and help them pick prizes. If your kids need more direction, and you need a longer stretch of quiet time, Court suggests giving your kids secret missions: “I give my kids secret missions that they have to do, like jump off the bed, then go around the couch, clean up 10 toys, then come back to me. If I hear them while they are doing any of this, they have to start over. This makes it a lot quieter so that I can work, but my kids also love it.” Get Creative in the Kitchen For older kids who can navigate their way around the kitchen unsupervised, ask them to be in charge of preparing meals for the family. Angel creates a calendar with lunch and dinner sign-ups for her older kids to prep meals for the family. “It’s a golden opportunity to help them become awesome cooks and relieve some of my stress with dinner ideas and the responsibility of cooking every meal for everyone,” she says. Jeanette suggests taking it one step further and having your kids play “restaurant,” or letting your kids create the menu and serve the family like a waiter or chef. “It is fun for them to feel grown up and ‘in charge’ and takes up a lot of the afternoon to prepare everything, decorations and all!” Get in the Flow Especially with kids stuck inside, how can you let them express their pent-up energy without creating chaos in the background of your video chats? Many of our Customer Experience team members recommend trying out Cosmic Kids Yoga, which has a free YouTube channel full of videos that will keep kids entertained, in the flow, and calm for 10-15 minutes an episode. Let them watch a few in a row! Headspace also has guided meditations for kids, targeted for age groups (and a great free trial option) if you are looking for a way to calm your little ones down. If your kids have tons of energy and mindfulness doesn’t quite cut it, have them create an obstacle course for each other. This option is ideal if you have a backyard and the weather is good enough. “Kids will entertain each other and have fun together, giving you a little space to work,” says Courtney.  Set Up Focused Play Pull out a puzzle or bring out the Legos, and help your kids get started by offering up a challenge like: “Today, your challenge is to build a dinosaur!” Alternately, Chatbooks Customer Experience team members highlighted the magic of building toys like Picasso Tiles or Magna Tiles. “Picasso Tiles on Amazon have literally changed the work-from-home-game for me,” says Court. “My boys are only allowed to play with them while I'm working, and they keep them entertained for hours building spaceships, houses, pins for their dinosaurs. They LOVE them.” Bonus: Amazon has a \u00245 off coupon right now!   Save the Best Toys This is the time to introduce new books (hello, library) and rediscover old toys to make them new again. Be strategic around when you'll need the most focused quiet time, whether it's for deep work or a phone call, and bring out an exciting new activity that your kids haven’t done in a while to keep them occupied during that time. Unleash the Screens and Squash the Guilt  “If there are times you know you have to work and the only thing in that moment to keep a child stationary, quiet and safe is a screen, do not feel bad about that!” encourages Jeannette. Many parents are worried about an hour or two of screen time, but when the iPad is the only thing that will keep your kids quiet and you have a call with your boss: that’s okay! Nikki confesses “I have no shame in saying that I schedule screen time around my work time.” Get Some Fresh Air When all else fails, take yourself and the whole crew outdoors. “I notice a huge swing in everyone's mood when we find time to go outside” advises Court. “I'll even bring my computer outside just for a little break from indoors.” A recent 2019 study showed that spending just 20 minutes in a park, even if you don’t exercise, is enough to improve your mood and mental health.  Get the Schedule Right “We are basically taking it hour by hour,” says Ashley as she describes how she and her husband are navigating working in the same space and also caring for their 6-month-old daughter. “Quite literally. We have a schedule that goes hour by hour for the whole day, planning out who's going to watch the baby.” With all the adjustments, your schedule will definitely not look like it did if you were in an office from 9 to 5 everyday. Find a schedule that works for everyone in the home and take each adjustment as it comes. Be patient in figuring out what works best for you, your spouse and your children. Don’t Forget Self-Care This tip comes in many different forms. Hillary says she always gives herself time to work out in the morning. For some parents, going outside on a quick walk around the block will help clear your head and break up the day. For others, it might be falling down the YouTube rabbit hole and watching dog videos just to remember that there is still some good that exists in the world. To each their own… “Making sure that I get enough sleep is so important,” continues Hillary. Perhaps you’re reading this thinking to yourself that getting enough sleep is item #50 on the list of top 50 priorities right now. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Especially since bedtime might be the only time when you can get some peace and quiet. But sleep is a major part of self-care, and it is the best way to ensure a sense of normalcy in your schedule. Get Your Social Fill, Even If It Looks Different than Before If you are used to working in an office, you probably had an environment where you became friends with many of your co-workers, and those social breaks were always welcome. Perhaps some of your best friends even came out of your work friends. One tip that each of the moms shared across the board was to take time to reconnect with friends throughout the work day. Apps like Marco Polo or FaceTime help to just fill your social cup. If you are with a spouse at home, eat lunch together and talk to each other about your work. It’s important to interact with other adults. Among all these tips, it's important to remember that you are doing the best you can. You are learning right alongside everyone else, and sharing your tips and learning from other people can be a great way to improve.  Be sure to listen to this episode of The MomForce Podcast for more tips on working from home, or if you just want real moms sharing their real struggles.

This Bedtime Reward Chart Will Help Keep The Kids In Bed

March 17, 2020

You know what's more important than caffeine? Sleep. Sleep is what makes the world go 'round and it most definitely helps ensure that you can be your best self. And the same thing goes for kids! When your kids wake up in the middle of the night to come sleep in your bed — even though it can be the sweetest moment ever — it throws EVERYONE'S sleep cycle out of whack. And if you happen to be dealing with toddler sleep regression in the midst of it all, we feel your pain. You might find yourself pleading with them to just try to count sheep, but to no avail. (Hopefully, you've printed out our free bedtime reward tracker to incentivize them to nap it out!) That's why we designed this bedtime reward chart with you in mind... How It Works For every night your child sleeps in their own bed (rather than in a sleeping bag on your bedroom floor), they get to color in a shape. Once every shape is colored in, they can get a prize. Maybe it's a small toy or an extra hour of screen time or an organization they can choose that you'll donate money to. It's a fun way to incentivize kids to stay put in the middle of the night so you can actually get some shuteye. Print your bedtime reward chart here. If you have any restless sleepers in your home, definitely give it a go and post a photo of their colored-in sleep chart on Instagram, tagging us here @Chatbooks. undefined Also, join us on the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page and follow Chatbooks on Instagram to crazy relatable parenting tips and tricks.

This Sleep Log Will Get Rid of Those Designer Bags Under Your Eyes

March 17, 2020

Sleep can be hard to come by these days. There's all the juggling you have to do between the kids and work (you could be your very own circus act at this point). Then, there's worrying about putting enough energy into your relationship and, of course, the world's current events to consider. All of this means that sleep can truly feel like a precious resource, and you're running low on it at the moment. If you've already tried mixing up your bedtime habits and have worked out exactly how to get the kids to sleep through the night, then your next step should be to start a sleep log. A sleep log is a place where you can document how much sleep you're getting and jot down some notes about a dream you had or maybe something unique that happened that day or night that you think may have resulted in a really good or incredibly poor sleep sesh. Rather than sending you off into the Internet to find your own, we made one for you! Sleep Log: How It Works Start this log at the beginning of the month (or jump in mid-month if you're eager to get started). Just fill out your sleep duration about last night's sleep and be sure to include any notes (especially if you experience insomnia). Sometimes noting that you worked out particularly hard or you spent a lot of time scrolling on your phone before bed can help you make a connection between your sleep cycle and your bedtime habits. Try it out yourself or print it for your teen who is looking more and more exhausted with each passing day. And be sure to post a photo of your completed log on Instagram, tagging your besties @Chatbooks. Print your sleep log here. undefined Also, join us on the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page and follow Chatbooks on Instagram to crazy relatable parenting tips and tricks.

35 Super Creative and Totally Free Family Activities To Do At Home

March 14, 2020

You may find yourself with more family time in the next few weeks, and with that comes the question: What can I do to entertain the kids without totally burning out? Of course, some strategic screen time can take the edge off, but extra time together can also be an opportunity to make some memories.  So if you’re on the hunt for some creative, free activities that’ll keep your family busy for hours, we’ve got your back. From DIY games to easy crafts that won’t leave you vacuuming up glitter for the rest of the year, we’ve compiled some out-of-the-box ways to hang with your squad.  ”Our family loves all kinds of games: card games, board games, charades, and our favorite, Qwirkle! It’s the perfect game for all ages and it helps get the wiggles out of your little ones,” says Chatbooks co-founder Vanessa Quigley. Here are some of the most popular boredom busters, recommended by parents who have been there... Go for a walk. Bring a baggie and pick up litter you might find along the way. Make a sensory bin. Fill a shoebox or large tupperware with rice. Add marbles, toys, or race cars for a fun, tactile experience to keep little ones mesmerized for hours. Concoct slime from scratch. Use food coloring to personalize your slime creation. Do a TikTok challenge. Get your teen to teach you iconic TikTok dances and just try to keep up. Bake cookies. Younger kids can gather ingredients, older kids can help measure them out. Paint or draw together. Use old newspapers to protect your surfaces. Create a fort in your living room out of blankets. Flat sheets work great for forts! Have family movie night during the day. Pop some popcorn and snuggle on the couch. Facetime a family member. Grandparents will definitely appreciate seeing everyone. Stage a family photo shoot. Pick a theme (like princess glam or crazy colors) and have the kids come up with their own looks to photograph for a printable mini magazine. Create a treasure hunt. Leave clues all around your house. Use picture clues for younger kids. Write a play. You can use Halloween costumes to get into character. Perform it for other family members.  Learn a new skill like latch hooking. YouTube has endless tutorials for all stages of learners. Play a board game. Monopoly and Scrabble are perfect for older kids, while Candyland is a good option for younger kids. Write and illustrate a “book” or comic. Use characters from your favorite show or book for inspiration. Draw outside with sidewalk chalk. If you have empty spray bottles, fill them with crushed chalk, add water and now it’s “spray paint.” Plan and create a family herb garden. Create a diagram of where all of the plants will go in your yard and then let little ones help you dig out the holes. Organize dressers and closets. Kids can sort out some clothes and toys that they don’t use and you can donate them. Build paper airplanes and have a flying contest. Whoever makes a plane that can stay airborne the longest, wins! Put together a time capsule. Include family photographs and handwriting samples. Listen to audiobooks. Most local libraries have audiobooks online that you can listen to for free. Tell ghost stories in the dark with a flashlight. If you have little ones that scare easily, opt for fairytales. Research a favorite animal and give a presentation to your family. Give them a pop quiz to see who paid attention. Collect rocks and decorate them. Write inspirational words on them with paint pens for cute memory stones. Look up funny jokes. Put on a comedy show for family members. Tackle a household project together. It’s the perfect opportunity to teach kids how to use basic tools properly. Make homemade playdough. Then, use the dough to create an animal kingdom or fun fairytale characters. Do a puzzle together. Put little kids in charge of finding all of the edge pieces. Have a dance party. Make up your own dance routine to your favorite music. Do yoga. Check YouTube for kid-friendly yoga sequences. Use bath towels for mats. Write a letter to a family member. Younger kids can draw a picture to include. Create a gratitude or vision board. Use old magazines or newspapers.  Have an indoor teddy bear picnic. Older kids can help make the food. Younger kids can choose their stuffed animals. Do an act of kindness for a family member. Make their bed or fold their laundry. Let them be bored! It’s ok for kids to get bored. It forces them to use their own imagination to come up with ideas for how to entertain themselves. Offer up some suggestions and watch them run it! Check out this MomForce Podcast episode for Vanessa Quigley, co-founder of Chatbooks and her sister/co-host take on simple things to do while "social distancing"

MomForce Podcast Episode 42: Your Baby CAN Sleep with Becca Campbell of @littlezsleep

March 10, 2020

Welcome to the MomForce Podcast! Vanessa Quigley, mother of 7, entrepreneur and co-founder of Chatbooks, hosts this refreshing take on all things mom. Along with her 4 sisters, they’ll get into the nitty-gritty of real life parenting together, bringing you some tried and true tips and tricks to help make mom-life a little easier. And check out the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page. Episode 42: Your Baby CAN Sleep with Becca Campbell of @littlezsleep  Listen Here March is National Sleep Month and to kick off our 3 part series dedicated to helping us get the best sleep possible, we have pediatric sleep consultant and podcast host Becca Campbell joining us on today’s episode of the MomForce podcast. Our host Vanessa and co-host Kara (and sister) ask Becca a few questions specific to baby sleep and she gives us some very useful tips Tip #1: Many moms like to have their baby’s close to them at night. A bassinet next to the bed is a great way to keep your newborn close. But do you find yourself waking up to every coo and grunt? Try moving the bassinet a little further down the bed, or to the other side of the room. Your baby is still nearby, but all those sweet nighttime sounds aren’t disturbing your own sleep. Tip #2: Does this scenario sound familiar? Baby is tired and cranky but won’t go down for a nap, so you strap him in the carseat for a quick ride around the neighborhood to fall asleep? Becca says eliminate the props. Teaching your baby to fall asleep without pacifiers or bottles or car rides allows them to self soothe, so when they wake up 20 minutes into their nap, they can roll over and fall back asleep on their own. Tip #3: It’s 5 am and your toddler is ready to roll for the day.. So to buy ourselves more precious sleep, we give her a sippy of chocolate milk, turn a show on and we go back to bed. Yes, we might get an hour or so of sleep, but this teaches your child that as soon as they wake up, they get their “fix”. Becca suggests waiting at least 10 minutes before giving any drinks or shows or “fixes”.  Need more help? Use code MOMFORCE to get \u002410 off Becca’s sleep course. And check out her website for a free napping calendar.  Want to hear more from Becca? Follow her on Instagram: @littlezsleep And while you're at it, follow us at @themomforcepodcast Then be sure to head over to our MomForce Facebook group - full of thousands of moms from all over the world, helping each other through the highs and lows of motherhood/womanhood and life!

MomForce Podcast Episode 41: How to Put the Yay! In Everyday with Meaghan Murphy

March 3, 2020

Welcome to the MomForce Podcast! Vanessa Quigley, mother of 7, entrepreneur and co-founder of Chatbooks, hosts this refreshing take on all things mom. Along with her 4 sisters, they’ll get into the nitty-gritty of real life parenting together, bringing you some tried and true tips and tricks to help make mom-life a little easier. And check out the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page. Episode 41: How to Put the Yay! In Everyday with Meaghan Murphy Listen Here Do you wish you had endless energy to do everything on your to-do list? What if we told you, we interviewed a real life Energizer Bunny and have some simple tips and tricks to share! On today’s episode of the MomForce Podcast, our host Vanessa and her sis Shelly Hyde are chatting with a literal powerhouse, Meaghan Murphy. Meaghan is the new editor in chief of Women’s Day magazine. Previously she worked at MTV, Victoria Secret, Self Magazine, Cosmo, and Good Housekeeping magazine. She’s also a regular on TV shows like Live with Kelly & Ryan and she is a co host on a new podcast. AND she has 3 kids! Are you ready to learn what her  “secret sauce” is for managing her life? Exercise. Let’s say that again. Exercise. Meaghan is passionate about moving her body everyday.  Vanessa asked how she motivates herself to workout and she gave some great advice. Make it bite-sized and actionable. Avoid an all or nothing mindset. Enlist a friend. It’s always more fun when with a buddy. And our favorite tip - reward yourself! And not with food (food is just fuel). Tell yourself that after 3 gym days, you get to buy yourself a new cute sports bra.  Sleep. Meaghan’s advice is to be as specific as we can will our sleep schedule. And is anyone else guilty about falling asleep with your phone in your hand? Put it away and create a pre-bedtime routine and stick to it.  Relationships. Surround yourself with people who lift you up. It can be emotionally and physically draining trying to keep a dying / toxic relationship afloat. Healthy friendships make you happier! It’s also important to nurture your family relationships. Meaghan loves to take her family on adventures, taking pictures along the way, and then reliving those adventures through her Chatbooks - simple photo books she prints out for her kids. “We help author our kids' memories” through Chatbooks.  Gratitude might be Meaghan’s #1 ingredient in her “secret sauce”. She likes to look for one thing that makes her say YAY each day. She created @theyaylist on Instagram to post those things and she encourages everyone to do the same. Practicing the act of gratitude daily is transformative. Want to hear more from Meaghan? Follow her on Instagram: @meaghanbmurphy @offthegrampodcast and @theyaylist and follow hashtag #theyaylist for more inspiration on daily gratitude. And while you're at it, follow us at @themomforcepodcast Then be sure to head over to our MomForce Facebook group - full of thousands of moms from all over the world, helping each other through the highs and lows of motherhood/womanhood and life!

Opinion: Let's Celebrate Moms

February 20, 2020

An opinion piece from our friends at HP Let’s talk about moms! What don't moms do? We're pretty sure they do anything and everything—they're amazing! There’s also a behind-the-scenes role that many moms fill for their families, and too often it goes unrecognized: the family documentarian. Not only is a mom there when the family needs her (rocking babies to sleep, chasing toddlers, resolving tweens’ disputes), she is creating and documenting both the big milestones and the little moments that create unforgettable family memories. Those eagerly anticipated first smiles, steps, or bike rides are so often recorded in photos and videos by mom. She’s also documenting those funny, everyday moments. Who grabs her phone to snap a pic when the toddler proudly uses lipstick as head-to-toe body paint? Mom. Who snaps a meme-worthy photo of the baby’s bubble-bath hair? Mom. So many wonderful memories would be lost without her tireless efforts to capture these moments. And yet—who is often the one person missing from those priceless family photos? It’s mom! Because she's usually the one who remembers to grab her phone and snap a cute pic, too often she ends up literally out of the picture. It's time to change that. Moms deserve to be documented in their family’s story! Celebrating our shared memories helps them last longer (and Chatbooks has proof about that). Let’s make sure the moms around us are included in those everyday photo ops. When was the last time you saw a mom documenting her family’s memories with social posts, snapshots on the fridge, or photo albums—but she isn’t in many of the photos? Whether she’s your mom, your spouse, your sister, your daughter, or your friend, moms around the world need to be documented and start getting in the photo! The birthdays, dance recitals and trips to Disneyland all involved mom, but she wasn't in the photo. Let's all make an effort to get her in the photo! Instead of just including her, let’s celebrate her by making a point to take photos of her, and then actually print them so they’ll last. Let’s post proud photos of mom on the fridge, the living room wall, and the year’s Chatbooks. With a camera in your hand every day, everyone in the family can take turns being the family documentarian. Let's celebrate those who work hard to preserve memories! That’s why I’m pledging to make sure to capture and print plenty of photos of moms (including myself) that we can enjoy for decades to come. Let’s hear it for the moms! About the Author Michelle Price Senior Manager, Global Strategic Alliances HP Michelle Price is Senior Manager, Global Strategic Alliances for HP, Inc. In this role, Price is responsible for recruiting, activating and nurturing partnerships for HP Home Printing Solutions. During her 22-year tenure at HP, Price held a variety of leadership positions in marketing, sales, strategy and planning. Most recently, she was the Manager, National Sales for PC Services and launched HP Device-as-a-Service into the channel. Previously, Price managed marketing and planning for HP Managed Print Services worldwide and led HP’s Imaging and Printing Group’s global environment marketing strategy. She also held advertising, marketing communications and new product introduction management positions. Price has experience in the consumer, small and medium business and enterprise segments. Prior to joining HP, Price worked as account executive and creative business manager at Rives Carlberg Advertising. Price has a master’s degree in marketing and finance from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design from Mississippi State University. She resides in Vancouver, Wash., with her husband, 14-year-old son and 2-year-old Maltese/Yorkie mix, Alex.

MomForce Podcast Episode 39: Positive Discipline with Ralphie Jacobs of Simply On Purpose

February 18, 2020

Welcome to the MomForce Podcast! Vanessa Quigley, mother of 7, entrepreneur and co-founder of Chatbooks, hosts this refreshing take on all things mom. Along with her 4 sisters, they’ll get into the nitty-gritty of real life parenting together, bringing you some tried and true tips and tricks to help make mom-life a little easier. And check out the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page. Episode 39: Positive Discipline with Ralphie Jacobs of Simply On Purpose Listen Here For years, Ralphie Jacobs of @simplyonpurpose has been teaching parents to find the good in their children! And today, she is answering a few of the most common questions we see in our MomForce Facebook group. Question 1: How do you discipline a child when they do NOT listen? Ralphi tells us to first think about what we are expecting our child to do and then to remmebr that there are 2 steps to compliance: starting to comply and then full compliance. So if you want your child to turn off the TV and come to dinner, tell them they have 20 seconds to get ready to come to dinner. Then follow up with “Now it’s time to come to dinner” Children want to please their parents but they need to know what their expectations are - and remember - they model what they see.  Question 2: How do you stop children from teasing/fighting? Did you know that 90% of sibling conflict is inconsequential - meaning it does not require your attention. As soon as you insert yourself into the conflict, it prolongs the problem and it turns into sibling rivalry - who gets mom on their side!? Ralphie reminds us that when she overhears her children argue, instead of getting upset, she reminds herself that they are safe. They feel secure enough to talk about their problems in a home that is full of love, knowing they will be supported when they make mistakes. Children learn valuable lessons on how to properly resolve conflicts when they are given the chance to do so. Remeber. You are the parent and you get to decide how far you will let the conflict go and when to step in. SImple, direct statements, said in love and compassion will help diffuse a situation that may have gotten out of hand. They are kids, after all. Question 3: How do you discipline a two and a half year old? I need something that I can do consistently and everywhere. Our favorite quote from the episode came when Ralphie was answering this question. She said that to discipline is to teach! She also says that most of our children’s misbehavior is actually stress behavior. Ask yourself - Is my child tired? Hungry? Anxious?  The same goes for teenagers. Instead of a tantrum, they act tough and “intimidate” But are they tired? Overworked? Stressed? A good night’s sleep does wonder for toddlers and teenagers alike! Ralphie leaves our listeners with her last words of encouragement which are “It’s never too late to make positive changes” Kids are inherently good. And we are the exact best parents our kids need. And like Ralphie likes to say - “When a child feels well, they behave well!”  Wanna follow along with Vanessa & Ralphie You can find them at @vanessaquigley and @simplyonpurpose - - while you're at it, follow us at @themomforcepodcast You can also find more information on Ralphie's parenting course and how you can attend an in-person workshop on her website - Simply On Purpose Then be sure to head over to our MomForce Facebook group - full of thousands of moms from all over the world, helping each other through the highs and lows of motherhood/womanhood and life!

MomForce Podcast Episode 38: Strong Marriages Take Work! with Nate and Vanessa Quigley

February 11, 2020

Welcome to the MomForce Podcast! Vanessa Quigley, mother of 7, entrepreneur and co-founder of Chatbooks, hosts this refreshing take on all things mom. Along with her 4 sisters, they’ll get into the nitty-gritty of real life parenting together, bringing you some tried and true tips and tricks to help make mom-life a little easier. And check out the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook page. Episode 38: Strong Marriages Take Work! with Nate and Vanessa Quigley Listen Here Being married 25 years is an accomplishment. Throw in raising 7 children and running a successful business and you may feel like you’re looking at a unicorn. Please meet Chatbooks co-founders Nate and Vanessa Quigley. In today’s extra special episode, Nate joins Vanessa as they talk about her 7 tips for feeling more connected to Nate. And in true yin and yang form, Nate shares his commentary on what he thinks helps him to feel more connected to Vanessa. Tip 1. The Check-in. Just a simple quick text asking how the day is going so far can help keep you connected throughout the day. This is especially easy for Vanessa and Nate as they work together. They can just look across their desks and check in on each other.  Tip 2. Assume the Best. This can be hard sometimes. Imagine you come home and your partner is ignoring your questions about their day. It can be easy to think they are upset with you. But according to Nate, “It never is!” Assuming the best makes it easier to look past a moody partner that probably had a long day and is exhausted and might just need some extra loving attention.  Tip 3. Cheer Each Other On. Be your partner’s biggest cheerleader. Everyone loves to be told they are doing a great job, especially in front of other people. So look for the good and let them know you see it and that you love it! Tip 4. Date Each Other. The regular date night is usually the first casualty of a busy workload and growing family, but reconnecting with your partner is essential to keeping love alive. Want to take it to the next level? Go out with other couples. Watching your spouse interact in social settings can remind you of what you were so attracted to in the beginning of the relationship. Tip 5. Have Fun! Nate knows Vanessa loves to laugh, so he likes to save funny videos or memes to share with her at night.  Laughing can reduce stress so why not be the reason your partner can decompress? Win Win! Tip 6. Work at the Relationship. We can always find ways we can improve. Take the time to learn what experts have to say and then apply it in your relationship. Vanessa loves the Connexions podcast and Couples Coaching with Natalie Clay podcast and so many other books like Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and The 5 Love Languages. Tip 7. Don’t Compare. You know the saying - Comparison is the thief of joy. No two people are the same and no two relationships are the same. You never know what is going on behind closed doors. Focus on the good right in front of you.  Marriage and running a business are not for the faint of heart. But if you put the work in, you can reap the dividends and happiness in your marriage. And if all else fails, take Nate’s advice for - “I know that if I’m doing the dishes, Vanessa’s happy.“ Wanna follow along with Vanessa You can find her at @vanessaquigley and while you're at it, follow us at @themomforcepodcast Then be sure to head over to our MomForce Facebook group - full of thousands of moms from all over the world, helping each other through the highs and lows of motherhood/womanhood and life!