What Happened to the American Dinner Time?

Last summer, my kids traveled abroad for the very first time. They saw for themselves what it meant to leave their homeland and visit another country – a different culture, different language, and a completely different way of life.

In so many ways, I think the Italian people are doing it right – they work to live, they don’t live to work.

Italian_MealtimeFor the Italian people, family values and traditions are paramount. These things are not blurred by hours of homework, excessive afternoon activities and endless evening schedules. Eating and talking together as a family is their timetable.

I can’t remember the last time our family was all present to sit down together at the same time to eat – and really talk and enjoy one another’s company. I don’t mean the nights you “sit” together but hardly speak because within ten minutes, one kid is off and running to practice while the other kid works on homework. At dinner time, there’s no real conversation because we’re all trying to just make it to the next “thing” on our busy schedule. There’s no real relaxing family time. No quality time.

When we were in Italy, it is so obvious that families celebrate their meal. They eat their food slowly. They talk. They laugh. There is no rush to get on to the next activity because mealtime is the activity – it’s an integral part of the daily routine.

The other major difference I noted while we were there is that people are not buried in their Smartphones and tablets the way we are here. Kids are outside playing, throwing a ball to one another or playing tag. Adults sit at café’s and converse with one another over coffee. Have you ever entered a coffee shop in the United States and watched people actually talking to one another? It’s a rarity. I think you are in the minority if you don’t attend to your mobile device in Starbucks.

On so many levels, I think that’s sad.

As Americans, we are rushed. We have become a slave to the over-scheduling of our children. We are obsessed with social media and schools have piled on more homework (which certainly isn’t the answer in education) but that’s another post…

And then we wonder why we are stressed, why we never have any quality time to ourselves or for those in our family.

Well, as they say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” right?

Maybe it’s time to implement some of the Italian traditions in my own American home. Less stressing over homework. Less over-scheduling. Less rushing around every single day. Instead, more face time. I mean, real face time. And more mealtime. Quality mealtime.

I vow to have dinner time mean more than just a survival tactic at least twice a week on weeknights to serve as a celebration; a gentle reminder to our family that these are moments we should cherish.

Perhaps we should all take a cue from the Italians – who certainly appear to be doing it right.

The Perfect Class Treat on Valentine’s Day

If you’re anything like me, you wander around stores searching aimlessly for some Valentine’s Day treats for your kids and 20 of their classmates. If you have more than one child, well that number just doubled and the search just got even harder.

Are you looking for a fun way to wrap up those special treats and stop the endless search? Well look no further because Lunchbox Love® has the perfect solution!


Introducing Lunchbox Love® Valentine’s Day cards!

LBL_ValcardsThese cards are the perfect way to show your child and their friends they were thinking about them this holiday! The best part is your child can handwrite names on the card as well as print their own name so classmates will know who it is from. You can also attach the cards to virtually any packaged treat to make this holiday super special.

LBLmomsVDayI originally planned on punching a hole on the side of the card to add ribbon and wrap the ribbon around each individual lollipop, but my daughter loves Fun Dip and wanted to incorporate that treat. So, all I needed to do was tape a Lunchbox Love card to the Fun Dip. Now we have some added love to our Valentine’s Day message!

LBL_YouandMemugAre you still looking for something to give that someone special in your life? Consider surprising them with a mug from this adorable new line from Lunchbox Love®. This is the perfect little gift for a parent, grandparent, or any other loved one. The mug is dishwasher and microwavable safe and made right here in the USA. Fill this mug with cookies, candy or any other treat, too! You can purchase any line of Lunchbox® Love directly from the company siteStay updated on the latest Lunchbox Love® news and promos on Twitter and Facebook. Follow the hashtag #LBLmoms to stay updated on the latest Mom Panel news.

Say Please, Inc. was founded by Judi Willard, a mom of two and licensed psychotherapist. Lunchbox Love® has been seen on Good Morning AmericaThe Today Show, and The Wall Street Journal. Parents love this product because of the positive messaging that helps boost a child’s self-esteem.

Theta Mom® abides by word of mouth marketing standards and believes in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity. As the Brand Ambassador for Say Please, Inc., I received Valentine’s Day Lunchbox Love® product to facilitate this review. However, all opinions expressed are purely my own and the content of this post was not influenced.

The COMM Search is On: Paid Blogging Opp

I absolutely love when I have exciting news to share, especially when it’s a paid blogging opportunity for my fellow bloggers! As you may know, I have been an avid spokesperson for the brand momAgenda® for nearly four years. Part of my job as a brand ambassador is to lead and manage an amazing, talented team of women: Council of Media Moms – and Nina and I are at it again, we are looking to expand the team!


Not a mom? No worries! We are also seeking influential women to help market the myAgenda product line, especially those bloggers that fulfill any of the following blog niches:

Mom Bloggers

Wedding/Bridal Bloggers

Fashion Bloggers

Foodie Bloggers

Design Bloggers

Fitness Bloggers

Craft Bloggers

Business Owner Bloggers

Frugal Bloggers

Finance Bloggers

Tech Bloggers

Travel Bloggers

Council of Media Moms is an online initiative that was established to garner important insight into the needs and wants of the momAgenda® community. The brand strives to cultivate a supportive community of bloggers that embraces this mission and is dedicated to high standards of integrity in the digital space.

Are you interested in this paid opportunity? Of course you are!

We are currently accepting applications now through Feb. 27th. For compensation information, full details about this program and the benefits of being a member of COMM, be sure to check out the momAgenda website.

***Please help us spread the word about COMM on social media. Tag any of your updates, posts, and photos with #momAgendaCOMM  On Twitter, copy/paste the following to tweet as often as you like:

Paid Blogging Opp with Council of Media Moms @momAgenda Details: http://www.momagenda.com/council-of-media-moms-application #momAgendaCOMM

New Launch of Theta Mom®: A Professional Mom Blog

Several years ago I bid farewell to my graphic girl, the stroller chick who was pushing a baby carriage that was closely tied to my blog. But the problem surfaced when I no longer had babies at home to write about anymore, so the graphic of the woman pushing the baby stroller no longer fit me or my personal blog. My children were growing up and I was growing up, too.

As I mentioned recently, I am once again evolving alongside of this blog.


Welcome to the new and improved Theta Mom® where you’ll find everything from parenting tips, educational expertise, lifestyle and tech trends, blog advice and support for women in business – all packaged up in one professional mom blog.

That’s right – one professional mom blog.

Blogging is a business and I’m determined to continue to grow Theta Mom® into a lifestyle brand. This will be your one-stop-shop for everything relevant to your life as a Theta Mom® as we continue to redefine motherhood.

WineSo grab your favorite a cocktail and stick around for awhile. Take a peek at all of the exciting new things in this space!

With this new redesign there are a few things that did not change all that much; I still stand firmly behind this (newly updated) Mission, and what I am Aboutbut this time I share my whole story about how I fell into blogging. Just think of this update like Theta Mom® 2.0 – the kind of blog you expect to see in the year 2014. And have you tested my site on your tablet or mobile device? Yes, Theta Mom® looks absolutely fabulous there, too!

You’ll notice many new pages in the navigation bar including Parenting, Lifestyle, Education and Technology where I’ll be providing the latest and greatest information in those content areas. I also have an amazing new series lined up that you will not want to miss!!

I cleaned up the sidebar and added in some fancy new widgets. You’ll also soon come to know that I am recently obsessed with Google+. I’m finding that it’s the best way to connect with experts in your field and learn important information to continue to grow your own brand and blog. If we’re not following one another, let’s change that. Connect with me on Google+ 

Since this blog launched in 2009, it has evolved – and so have I. Theta Mom® has become more than just a space for women to connect – it has turned into a lifestyle brand, offering women and mothers the tips, tools, products and resources that are redefining motherhood. This blog will continue to give you the very best in consumer products, parenting advice, digital trends, and of course all things small business and education. Theta Mom® will provide you and your evolving role as a mother with exactly what you need.

I welcome you back to Theta Mom®, a place that enriches the lives of all mothers to help us understand the ups and downs of motherhood; a place for women and mothers to connect; a space to promote and support women-owned brands and offer the very best in lifestyle, education, business and tech.

Thanks again to the extremely talented Lauren who continues to inspire me and make all things possible – she always knows how to make my blog vision come to fruition.

Sooooooooooooooo…….what do you think of Theta Mom®  2.0???

Competitive Youth Sports: Our New Reality


Your fifth grader comes home and announces she wants to play soccer. As you speak the words, “Wow, that’s great honey,” your heart sinks because you know exactly what she’s about to be up against – since your daughter never played a day of soccer in her life.

For the last ten years, a swarm of girls have played soccer since they were three; they were on travel teams together and coached by private instructors. Their skills were accelerated through parental coaching both on and off the field. They attended expensive and exclusive summer camps and can run circles around other kids.

So when your daughter comes home from school and shares that she wants to play a sport for the very first time in her entire life? Yes, you know this is going to be a real challenge.

What happened to the days of playing a sport for F-U-N?

What happened to the days of playing a sport for social interaction, to build relationships and foster a child’s self-esteem?

Instead, parents feel pressured to place kids at the age of five directly into a youth sport. Then they pray to the sports-Gods that their children have the kind of skill set required to take them to the next level and if they don’t, parents quickly throw their kids into another sport and pray to the Gods again.

It’s a vicious cycle.

As a parent, you think you’re doing the right thing by getting your child involved in something they show an interest in. But the pressure mounts the moment your child shows doubt or sadness. Slowly, they begin to lose interest in the very sport or activity they were once so excited about because they feel as though they are not good enough. They sit more and more on the sidelines and their self-esteem diminishes as each game passes.

Suddenly, other kids are light years ahead of your child and now, she knows it. And this is the very moment when your heart breaks.

You want to do anything in your power to stop this hurt. You want to immediately try another sport or activity and once you do, you quickly see the cycle has started again. In this day and age, it’s a never-ending battle.


Because unless your child starts to play a sport at an early age, the odds are stacked against your child to feel accomplished in that sport. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but the reality is that it’s very tough to break into a sport late in the game, especially when other kids have years upon years of training over your kid.


Don’t get me wrong – if a child loves a sport and is passionate about it, I absolutely encourage the idea of supporting your child to foster a deep interest and skill for the game. However, the problem begins when it’s just not fun for the kid anymore – it feels more like a job with grueling practice schedules, intense games, long tournaments and endless hours of private coaching.

Youth sports shouldn’t feel like a job.

When I was a child, I cheered for Pop Warner from an early age – but guess what? We didn’t compete. We didn’t attend fancy summer camps. We didn’t have a grueling practice schedule because I was only in elementary school and it was fun. I made some of the best friendships from that team and we didn’t contend with one another, we were a team. We had fun and it was AWESOME.

Unfortunately, I don’t think our kids have fun anymore – they’re too busy trying to keep up with the rest of the team without feeling lost in the process. Or, they’re playing a sport because their parents pushed them into it and everyone is just hoping for the best.

It’s a sad reality for kids in America and I wish I had the magic answer that would make things reverse to a different time; a time such as 1985 when kids had the chance to play a sport, meet some new friends, and just have fun without all of this pressure and competition.

So when your fifth grader comes home and asks to play soccer for the very first time in her life, take a deep breath and encourage her – and then be there to lift her up if she falls.