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So your “baby” is graduating high school…

Here are 7 things that your child should know before they leave the nest…

1.  Spending money only happens after you earn it!

2.  Good grades are the rule, not the exception.  You shouldn’t expect a high-five or money each time you come home with an A.  You need to learn that your grades in high school will effect you in college. It isn’t about the letter grade as much as it’s about the study and learning habits you create while in high school. 

3.  Learn the importance of saving. If you want to buy something with the money that you have saved, go ahead!   But only spend half!

4.  Get to know your professors! They aren’t there to give you a hard time.  They are a wealth of knowledge and for the most part, believe it or not, they actually know what they are talking about! Appreciate that and learn from them! 

5.  No matter how much you hate it, realize the importance of taking a speech class! 

6.  Your high school friends are great and you’ll probably stay in touch with 2-3 of them, but college is not an extension of high school!  Don’t be afraid to meet new friends in college. 

7.  Don’t cram!! True learning can not be done in 1-2 cram sessions. Set aside an hour a day for studying and you won’t be as stressed out come test time!
You’re going to college for a reason, see it for what it really is, an opportunity to get the life you want! Take advantage of this opportunity and make the best of it!!

The End of Another School Year!

The end of another school year is finally here!  For most it’s a nice summer break before another year to come, but for some, this is the end of a long journey, the end of high school!! Graduating high school is quite the accomplishment and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  But my hope for those graduating high school is for them to know it doesn’t end there, it shouldn’t end there.  Sorry, but if there was anything that I wish I would’ve been told, or that I was told when I graduated high school but didn’t listen, it would be to keep going.  You’re already used to the school routine, it already fits into your life, now is the time to keep going and get ahead!  Do you know how many people take years off after high school before getting the degree that will launch their careers?  Well, by 2020 the older students will comprise 19% in the classroom. That’s a huge number!  Many of these older adults who go back to school have families, which makes it that much harder to go back to school.

A lot of people think that life right after high school is the time to party, that college can wait, or they are ready to get married and settle down.  All I can say is, please don’t.  Seriously, just don’t.  You should be getting yourself in order before you bring in anyone else.  You have a lot of growing to still do.  The person who is your “high school sweetheart” is going to change and grow too…and sometimes that doesn’t mesh well.   Yes, you have a lot more freedom now, but choose carefully and spend your time wisely. Your twenties are not to be taken lightly.  This is not a time to sit around and say, “Well, I have plenty of time.  I can go to school later.  I can get my dream job later.”  Why are you willing to waste your life to only have it be that much harder when “later” comes?   This is a time for reflection, a time to decide what you want to do with your life and DO IT!

Why do I care so much?  Well, because I’m there right now. I am speaking to you as a mother who is turning 38 this year, who is just finishing up her master’s degree.   I took a year off of high school, got my AA in Paralegal Studies and then took about 12 years to go back to school to get my BA in Psychology which took 2 years…and then another 2 years for my Master’s in Psychology –Child & Adolescent Development.   I really want to go after my PhD…but that’s another 6 years of school.  There’s no time for a “break” if I wanted one, but I have a family that comes first and frankly, I’m tired of school right now.  I’ve been going 4 years straight, and at this older age it’s just hard….really hard.  Then I look back and realize if I would’ve kept going I would’ve finished by the time I was 25, that’s 5 years before I had my daughter!  Let me tell you, it is HARD AS HELL to work full time, go to school full time AND raise a child!!  Hard, but I did it because I had to…you don’t have to!

Now I understand that what you want to do when you’re 18 is probably going to be different than when you’re in your 30s.  That’s what happened to me.  But, by the time you want to make a change in your career later on, it is much easier to at least have the majority of your schooling done when you’re younger.  If you want to go back and get your master’s degree or PhD because you’re 35 and want to up your game, that makes sense and is very doable!  But when you’re 25 and decide that you should probably start thinking about going to school, you’re already behind all of those people who started when they were 18.  The competition is fierce and now you’ll be on a time crunch!  I know school isn’t for everyone, but if you have dreams of being a doctor, or being a professor or a therapist, the fact is you can’t get there without school! So you want to be a newscaster or sportscaster?  Guess what, the schooling is going to put you ahead of everyone else.  Again, the competition is fierce!

So while you are celebrating the end of another school year, keep in mind that you still need a plan, you still need that motivation and determination to set up a better life for yourself.  I’m not saying you have to have it all figured out, but you can at least get started until you do.

A couple of more words of wisdom for those still in high school and those about to graduate:

“Tell them to keep up with his studies and to not fool around! High school passes by quickly” ~ Kelly

“Start saving for retirement with your first pay check, don’t spend more than you have because debt causes stress, always have a balance between work and play, and don’t get married for the first time until at least 30. LOL   Travel and make lots of memories.” ~Lori

ava grad
End of another school year


5 Ways to know you’re in a real relationship!

How many relationships have you been in?  What were the reasons those relationships ended?  Have you found yourself swearing off relationships or men in general?  Are you doubting that you can trust yourself?  Are you questioning whether or not you’re in a good relationship?

Here are 5 ways to know that You’re In a Real Relationship!

  1. Work on yourself, but keep the door open!  Just because you’re in school for your Master’s or just because you’re getting your business off the ground, it doesn’t mean that adding a partner will derail you.  You need to recognize the importance of finding a healthy and positive relationship to include in your circle.  They may just be the push in the right direction that you’ve been looking for.
  2. Don’t rule out professions as a whole!  Yes, you may have met a few bad apples along the way, but recognize that it’s the person more than the job.  There are realities to certain professions that you should certainly consider:  long hours, different shifts, safety concerns, deployment, high layoffs, etc., but who is that person and how do they handle those situations?  That is where your focus should be.  If you keep an open mind and open heart you just might meet the man of your dreams who just happens to be a police officer.  Just never say never.
  3. Saying I love you is powerful, but you need to realize that it takes more than love for a relationship to work.  There must be commitment, flexibility, friendship, and communication.  For myself, we are strong on all of these fronts with me working harder on the communication side.  However, because we talk about everything, I am aware of this.
  4. Be with someone who makes you genuinely happy.  However, you need to realize that overall, you are in control of your own happiness.  You need to have the ability to cope with all of the things life throws at us.
  5. Relationships change us.  But it’s up to you on how they change you.  We all change when we’re in a relationship, our priorities change, our interests and even our hobbies change. For me, I am doing more things that I never would’ve done on my own.  Eating different foods, cooking more, getting into baseball, coaching softball and liking it, to name a few.  Being in a healthy and positive relationship that allows you to change and grow for the better is worth everything, don’t give up!

From One REAL Mom to Another…

For my last post I asked 13 moms to give me some advice to those who are becoming moms or who have just entered the new mom club.  The advice was amazing!!  But there was one that went above and beyond.  It was honest, blunt, and just what every mom should hear.  She wants to remain anonymous, I’ll just call her my friend “D”, but I had to share anyway.  Enjoy and pass it on to someone you know who needs to read this!

“So I was asked by a friend for “working mommy advice”.

I used to love writing, I used to actually be pretty good at it (I was told J).  In grade 12, I had the highest score on the provincial exam (100%) for all of Manitoba.  I feel like this new generation of texting has destroyed that a bit.  Today, we only speak in sound bytes.  I am guilty of this too.  When I see 4 paragraphs, I just hit “pass”.  But writing is so therapeutic for the soul, so I’m going to buck the trend and be a little long winded.

So here’s a confession….I get annoyed by a LOT of mommy blogs. I think they make moms sound whiny and self-depricating and get way too over-sensitive about things.   So I’m not sure my advice will resonate on the “mommy blog scene”.  I have not mastered this by all means…..I fuck up all the time.   But this is what I strive for.  Here goes…..

First off, I didn’t have a “typical” mother raising me.   I was raised by a single mom who ran a 150 cow-calf beef farm raising 4 kids with 100% custody.   Still today, I have not met another single mom that took on what my mom did.  There was no 8-5, there was no pink & blue jobs around the house, money was very tight, and Mom was usually over-stressed and quick to anger.  For this life, I am very grateful, (and maybe a little over hardened).  I admire and understand her so much more as a mother myself.

Today, as a mother of a 5 year old girl and newborn boy, I don’t fit many of the mother molds either (as I read these mommy blogs…)

How to balance life as a working mom: I’m not at any place to give any advice!

I just had my second baby and am on my 1 year maternity (O’ Canada, Our Home and Native Land!). Two kids (even 5 years apart) are more like triple the work than double.  Running a home is hard work, there is so much shit to do every day!  My FitBit clocks 15,000 steps almost every day just keeping everyone fed and not living in filth.  Serious, that’s just cleaning, laundry and meals.  When I was working, it would be more like 5,000 steps a day.   But regardless, at the end of the day, now living both lives, I know the truth, I feel equally as exhausted and both are equally as important!

I’m the “corporate mom”. I love my job and I’m very good at it and am OK saying that loud and proud.  It provides me with a lot of self-worth.  I work in a very competitive environment where the harder you push, the more you accomplish.  I’ve always done better under pressure.  That’s why Mom Life is hard for me sometimes, it’s too easy to be lazy.  There is no budget to hit to benchmark accomplishments against.  I realize that many Moms will not be able to relate to this, so sometimes I feel uncomfortable sharing my true thoughts for fear of sounding selfish.  One thing I learned with Mommy World: selfish = bad mom.

I’m the higher income earner in our house and working part time is not a possibility in my career. My husband works full time also and double/triple time in spring and fall and I am very proud of him.  But I have always been the more career focused of us two.  Many couples live this life, it’s less common that it’s the woman’s career that drives the household’s directions.

So I feel before giving any advice, it’s fair to know what glasses I’m looking from.

  1. Treat your home like your job.
    1. A lot of mommy blogs are “it’s ok, you’re doing enough, love yourself…..”   I get it, I do…its important. But sometimes I feel like a good kick in the ass does a Mom good. What if we were to take the exact same language and put in the work force? Nobody wants to work with that chick. Seriously, just think about it for a minute……That shit wouldn’t fly!
    2. I am not a creature of habit, my husband is. I think it’s a good balance for us…most days. But I am not an A-type, lots of lists organized mommy (although I so admire you!). I thrive in a high stress sink or swim environment. I suck at consistency. When it comes to sleeping habits, my husband compares it to a train…….really slow to get going, really hard to slow down. He’s the light switch: he can wake up and fall asleep within minutes.
    3. Sometimes, you just have to push really hard and get your shit done. Treat your home like your workplace. Sometimes overtime is needed, other times it’s ok to check out early without explanation or justification.
    4. I’ve learned to embrace my energy bursts and push hard getting as much done as possible. It’s truly exhilarating. But totally accepting the fact that tomorrow may be a write-off of ordering in Chicken Chef and 3 hours of NetFlix.
    5. I wish “Mommy Blogs” were more like the inspirational corporate leadership training I get. We all work really hard to get it ALL done (without the need to showcase proof on social media).   So my ‘working mommy’ advice is suck it up, push harder and get your shit done and you’ll feel awesome! And then unforgivingly crash and reboot!
  2. Hire Out – seriously…..just do it!
    1. It seriously takes me 2 hours to prepare for my bi-weekly housekeeper to come and do a scrub down of our house. It’s a LOT of work to remove the clutter just to make room to clean! Those days I get 25,000 steps in just putting shit away…
    2. Here’s the thing: If there’s something you suck at, that’s OK. Just own it, get some extra help and move on! I suck at cleaning and tidying up, like full on F. But I love cooking my family a meal, I have friends that are complete opposites. Just own your strengths, and don’t guilt yourself into submission on weaknesses.
    3. We all waste our money on such stupid shit. Why are we not willing to buy less new trendy stuff and instead hire someone to help us out with those things that stress us out instead? Why am I hesitant to spend $50/week on housekeeping/ yard work / child care but I can blow $300 at Costco like a fart in the wind????
    4. Whatever your weakness is, just ask for help (paid or unpaid). Don’t put all the pressure on yourself trying to do it all!   That gives you more energy to kick ass at what you’re good at!
  3. Treat your husband / family help as co-workers.
    1. The only way I can survive is by embracing my network the same as my co-workers!
    2. “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg changed my perspective of working moms. “Make your partner a partner”.
    3. Let (and pressure) your husband to being an equal partner at home. Sometimes this means shutting your mouth and letting him figure out things his own way without critique.
    4. Here’s an example: I’m more than capable of mowing a lawn. I’m comfortable around tractors and did this myself for many years on my own when single. But now, when I do it I get reminded that I didn’t check the oil, and I drive too fast and didn’t pick up debris first…’s just easier to let him do it the way he likes. It’s no fun being ordered what to do every step (even if it’s so very right!) Don’t be bitter at husbands for feeling the same way about child care and home maintenance. “She likes it done a certain way, it’s easier to just let her do it”. It’s amazing what we each can accomplish when given the challenge and encouraged instead of critiqued! Both of us are still working on this! This is hard for me, but key to our survival of a double working household!
    5. In the same breath, appreciate them like you would a co-worker. Don’t take them for granted. Verbalize what you appreciate. It goes a long way.

Every day I try to figure this out. Some days I feel like I’m kicking ass and I do a silent fist pump.  Other days I hang my head in shame that I should have done so much better.  I remember life before kids, and I did the same in my work life.  So this is why I’ve tried to treat Mommy life like my career.   I think working mommies are amazing inspirations to their kids and teach their kids to be independent and driven to push hard when things are tough and crazy.  This is something to be very proud of and don’t feel bad about taking value away from stay at home moms if you say it out loud.  SAHM are so amazing too and I so admire them.  I struggle with this, scared to say out loud what I love about being a working mom as opposed to SAHM, worried of offending someone in this over-sensitive social media world.

I’ve learned that women are just as powerful at inspiring each other and giving each other the kick in the butt we need too! So let’s all just focus on that piece!  Push on girl!  We can do this!”  ~ “D”

Mom Motivation
Mom Motivation



I live in Las Vegas but…

Yes, I live in Las Vegas and I don’t gamble have only really gambled once and oh yeah, I don’t live on the strip either.

Isn’t it funny how when you tell someone where you live or where you work you get asked all of these crazy questions? I remember after I moved to Las Vegas in 1996, the first time I flew to see my parents in NC, a sweet older lady on the plane asked me “Don’t you just love the strip!?  I bet you’re one of those fancy showgirls!”  Um, no and no.  Actually, I worked off the strip as a legal secretary and had no interest in being on the strip. And still almost 20 years later I still don’t like to go to the strip that often.  My boyfriend and I will go for special occasions but it’s freaking stressful driving down there (thankfully he always drives!)!  Also, almost 20 years later I have only gambled for real once, and that was this past weekend…and it was at a local casino, NOT on the strip (Red Rock Casino)… The strip just isn’t the same as it used to be.  There’s a hell of lot more people, more people pushing their “CDs”, “preachers” standing on the corners yelling at everyone and then there are the grown adults dressed up as cartoon characters for money.  Yeah, no thanks.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love living in Las Vegas, I really do…but I love the outskirts, away from the strip.  I love that there are a lot of things to do with kids that don’t involve all of that chaos.

We go bowling, we have kids places for lots of fun, we have family Easter egg hunts, there’s the Lion Habitat, outdoor movies, we’re very patriotic, we have beautiful ponds and parks, and we have a lot of options for sports!  I wish people could see that side of Las Vegas more than the hustle and bustle of the strip.  With online gambling and gambling in almost every state now, this city really does have so much more to offer, because no, locals don’t live in the casinos!

BTW, I also work for the police department…no I’m not a police officer and no I can’t get you out of your speeding ticket.