It’s the Little Moments that Count

Little moments do count a lot. Of course, with a big present, your child’s eyes are going to be as big as pizza pies and their mouths are so wide, they look like mini tunnels, but believe me, the little moments are more important in the long run.

Children are little replicas of us. They just haven’t matured fully yet. However, they have a lot of the same needs. They need to feel understood, heard, validated, and loved. So take the time, even if you’re tired. You would take the time if your friend text you or emailed you. Do the same for your little one.

Don’t be too tired or too busy to interact with your child. Make a big deal about each picture and if you have absolutely no idea what it is, ask your child to explain it to you. You don’t want to say, “Nice cat” when in fact they drew grandma! If they want to tell you about Mary or Sam and what they said and they what they did and then……….. pay attention and offer kind words and a hug if necessary. It is these moments that add up that give your child the feeling he/she is loved and knows he/she always has a gentle place to fall.

No one is perfect. You’re not looking for perfection. You’re looking to have way more moments you made time for your child while you were home, than not. Before you know it, all the little moments add up to the type of parental relationship you eventually have with your child. So enjoy; in no time, you’d give anything for them to still be at home drawing you a picture. Oh R A C H E L…………

Take Time To Smile

You never know what kind of day someone is having. Giving them a little smile can make a huge difference. Sometimes all we need is to feel just a little kindness from somebody. So smile at someone; not just today, but at least once a day. Challenge yourself at least once a week to smile tenderly at someone who looks especially mean. Who knows what is going on in their life! Smiling makes you feel good and is such a gift for the person you are smiling at. The best gifts in life are free!

Your Treasures

Your child is about to begin school and soon your fridge, your cork board, or whatever your  designated display area is for your children’s school work will soon begin to fill up. Like presents under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, soon you may no longer have room to put even one more drawing or school project anywhere. I mean you really have to put limits on pasting stuff to the dog’s bed or putting Timmy’s version of the solar system hanging from the dining-room chandelier!

The solution: A bin of treasures. You don’t have to feel guilty for throwing anything out. You and your child together can choose what is displayed and what goes into the treasure bin. The best part: Each year, you can pick out at least two things that were just outstanding or your favorite or your child’s favorite. It could be something that had emotional value or just something that had a funny story attached to it. Take those two things, write down the story and create a separate: “Treasures from your Treasure Bin”. Decorate a box or bin beautifully and tie it with a bow. On graduation day, put your gift inside this box, along with all their past treasures. It will be a gift your child will never forget. If money is an issue at graduation – no worries – the treasure box of memories will be more than enough.


When I was a child, I spent most of my life trying to figure out if I was going to get a beating that day. Did I look at my mom the wrong way? Was she in a bad mood after work? Did not eating vegetables that night mean opening up the closet door and listening to those belts knocking into each other as she made her choice for the weapon to “tear my behind” as she used to say? I was a straight A student and never got into trouble but there was something about me that irked my mother and beatings were just part of my life. Most likely, it was that I looked like my father, at least she told me that on several occasions. At times, she would pull me by the hair and take me in front of the bathroom mirror so I could see the red blotches on my face, made by my tears and point out to me how ugly I was. Now, she is in denial and says it never happened. I made it up.

The scariest moment in my life was when I was either pregnant or my daughter was little, I can’t remember any more, but I was watching Oprah – of course! She said most abused children become abusive parents.It was as if Oprah came through my TV set and slapped me across my face, punched me, and then kicked me down a flight of stairs, where once at the bottom of the flight, I uttered the word,”what!”

I couldn’t imagine giving my daughter the same life I had to endure. It just couldn’t be possible. But what if she were right! I mean, after all, she was Oprah Winfrey! I wasn’t going to take any chances. I started to read many books about raising children. My favorite: How to Talk to Kids so they Listen and Listen so they Talk. I checked out so many books. Most of all, I was honest with my daughter. I told her it is never ok for me to yell at her and if I ever scream at her and scare her, just say to me calmly, “Mommy, I don’t wish to speak to you when you’re yelling at me. I will talk to you when you calm down.”

So Rachel and I had a life together of mutual respect. I never hit her. I only yelled at her a total of three times in her life. She never had a Curfew. She didn’t need one. We respected each other enough to be honest with one another and lying was just not allowed. Rachel grew up with a great sense of self. She is smart and confident and enjoys her life. She is currently in grad school. She is respectful and of course for me – an amazing human being.

She was never spanked. She turned out fine and special and loves her self. So which way is better? Teaching your children to fear you and the one with power is the one you have to listen to? OR mutual respect should be earned and you are just as important as anyone else – no matter what. The healthiest children are the ones who love themselves as well as others.

Don’t spank your children and steal who they were born to be. Honor them. Respect them. Love them. Teach them to do the same for themselves as well as for you. You don’t ever need to spank. The five letter word you need is TEACH. It is a privilege to be a parent or a guardian, remember that. When they look in the mirror, they should only see love.

Jeannine Marie


To Spank or Not to Spank

The answer is easy – never spank. It’s that simple. People try to complicate it but it is a simple NO! All spanking or beatings do is teach a child that the only way to resolve an issue is by being bigger and stronger than the other person or by having something they can’t do without (like a place to live and food to eat). It is the laziest and most ignorant way of parenting. I cringe when a parent will tell me “John, hit this little boy in school. I was so embarrassed. When he got home, I gave him such a beating so he’ll never hit again.”. My response is always, “So you hit your child to get him to stop hitting and most likely, it’s not the first time you have hit him. Do you see how it doesn’t make any sense?” I never understand how parents don’t see how crazy that is.

There are so many parents that still want to parent by force, instead of by logic or teaching. Sure, the latter takes a lot more work, so what! You will produce more confident, healthier children. It is worth it for you to put in the work. In fact, you owe it to your children. Put in the work now and you and your children will reap the rewards for a lifetime.

Do’s and Don’ts for School Shopping


  1. Make a list
  2. Discuss with your child your budget and give him/her one or two things he/she can pick out on his/her own. This will give them a sense of independence and allow you to stay within your budget. A budget is very different than complaining about money!
  3. It is ok to take this time to teach a little bit about money. If your child is young, break it down for him to understand or give a simple math problem, i.e. “If mommy has $1 and this cost 79 cents, how much change would mommy get back?” If you have an older child, you can talk to your child about allowance or a part time job and start the conversation by saying,” You can see how expensive things are, if you need some extra money, do you think you can handle a part time job and still do well with school?”
  4. Be rested and as pleasant as possible. This should be a bonding experience for you and your child, not hard labor or some form of punishment you feel has been handed to you in the form of a school list.
  5. Use this time to have a conversation with your child to find out his/her anticipated joys and/or fears for the upcoming school year. Don’t dismiss either one. This is your chance to LISTEN. Set the mood for the rest of the school year so your child feels safe to come to you.


1. If money is an issue, do not make it your child’s issue in a negative way. Your child should not be made to feel guilty he/she needs school supplies, so don’t make him/her feel that way. Encourage learning, not guilt.

2. This is not time for “Ask your mother, ask your father” crap. It is never the time to do that stuff in front of your child. If you’re not mature enough to ask your ex spouse yourself, please don’t ask your child to do your dirty work:

Q “Mom, why can’t I have those markers?”

A:”Ask your father, that cheap bastard” –

What the hec does one thing have to do with another??? Get the point!!! Plus, they’re your children. You chose to have them. You are responsible to nurture them when you have them, no matter what the other spouse is or isn’t doing. Don’t turn your children into receivers of your anger.

3. If you are cranky, stay home. Go another day. If you have nine children and two have colds, with snot all over their face, and one has diarrhea, three are whining, and they are all under the age of nine, the others are pissed off teens – THIS IS NOT THE DAY TO GO! WAIT!! First, no one in the store wants to witness or listen to you and your group screaming at each other.  Second, by the time you get to that poor cashier, she is going to wish she stayed home that day; and third you will inevitably forget at least half a dozen things on your list because you will be in such a rush to get in and out of there as quickly as you can.

4. Don’t go on an empty stomach or when the kids are tired. If everyone had something to eat and is well rested, you have a much better chance of cooperation. Give each child one thing to find. It will make them feel responsible.

5. Don’t fall for the “But I Neeeeeeeeeeed it” scam. If you do, you’ll be walking out of there with $300 worth of junk they will never use!

Good luck!!!!!



The only moment that matters is right now……..

I was in a car accident last July. I was hit from behind on the Merritt parkway in CT. Traffic was coming to a full stop by exit 42. I was going north and a 19 year old teenager was obviously not paying attention because he slammed into me at such a high speed, I hit the car in front of me in the left lane and the car in the right lane and was somehow perpendicular to the road, right smack in the middle of both lanes. Right before I lost consciousness, in that one second – in that blink of an eye moment you have where your thoughts are still functioning – and I do mean one second, I thought about my daughter Rachel, and how I couldn’t believe I never published my books.

Well, I obviously didn’t die. In fact, other than some annoying vertigo, some ringing in my ears, and an annoying pain in my arm, I really can’t complain. But I didn’t forget the two thoughts I had before I blacked out. When I thought about my daughter, there was a peace because I knew she knew she is my life. No child could be loved more than I love Rachel. My eyes are tearing up as I write this. You know how parents say,”Oh my child is a miracle” and then you see them screaming at their kids and sending them out of the room or shutting them up when they have company or never valuing their opinion; Rachel always knew her opinion and her company was more important than anyone else’s.

I used to believe I was a great mom, and I was – until she left home. Go figure. That’s when I made some mistakes. Anyway – I digress!

My books – I wanted to write since 1995. First, my then husband laughed at me. Then, after the divorce, I used the excuse, I was a single mom, I had no time. I had excuse after excuse. Even after Rachel left the house, more excuses. The truth was, I was scared. I was scared to put myself out there. Scared for the world to see me fail. Scared to be laughed at or embarrass my daughter. That car accident was the best thing that happened to me. At the time, I was p-i-s-s-e-d!!! I had only one year left of payments on my hard-top convertible 280SLK Mercedes. Now it was gone. PISSED I tell you. Insurance only pays for what is left on the loan and that is it, no car. Soon I was driving my daughter’s, 2005 Honda with material seats. PISSED! Oh, this isn’t a comment on anyone who can’t afford a Mercedes. Let me tell you up front, my experience with them was the worst ever. I always dreamed of having one. For a poor kid from the Bronx, I thought that was a sign of wealth. It turns out, at least for me, it was a sign of a massive headache. They were horrible. I always left there PISSED!!!!

Anyway, having that accident and that feeling that it can be over in a second, pushed me to do what I needed to do. It reminded me we don’t get a memo when our time is up. We don’t get a warning. It happens in a moment. Even if you get cancer, the doctor gives you the news, and right after that, in that moment, your life has just changed.

The accident felt like a foreshadowing. The universe was telling me to listen, and listen quickly. I felt an urgency for once in my life that time was ticking and I needed to get this done, for me, as well as for my daughter. I’ve been talking about them for so long and I wanted to show her that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. Whether they are successful or not, I don’t want her memory of me to be of someone who never followed through. My books aren’t for me. I believe it is what I was sent here to do. I never had self-esteem. I still suffer from a lack of self-love. I know while I’m an A+ mother in how much I love and adore my daughter, I’m a C- as a role model in showing her confidence about body image and self worth and loving yourself as you are. That breaks my heart. Rachel has fabulous self-esteem. She really does. I told her since she was young how beautiful she is, especially when she first got up in the morning, still in pajamas. It just would have been nice if I could have talked the talk and walk the walk for her as well.

So whatever you need to do or want to do – Do it now. If you haven’t had patience for your child, apologize and/or get help now. If there is something you have been dreaming about, stop dreaming and instead, live your dream now, because you can, if you really want it, you can.

In the blink of an eye in can all be gone! Now go hug the ones you love and thank them for who they are and then……… celebrate who you are……now have fun and enjoy NOW – it’s all you have!


My Thoughts Go Out To……….

………all those who lost their lives in Colorado and their friends and family who are suffering along with them. May you some day find peace and be able to think of your loved one without grief and pain. What a Cuckoo Bananas world we live in when you are shot by an automatic weapon while watching a movie. It makes me frightened for my daughter’s generation and the children they will one day have.