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Dr Diana Barnes

Covey Spotlight: Dr Diana Barnes, Psy D, LMFT

The most common complication in pregnancy is the easiest to prevent and treat.

About 1 in every 6 new moms suffers from postpartum depression. Even so, there is a stigma associated with the disease and a cultural discomfort in discussing it. This stigma gets in the way of diagnosis and leads to far more suffering than necessary.

The things that are expected of new mothers are so unreasonable. You can be madly in love with your baby, but still feel overwhelmed in the early weeks and months.

Dr Diana Barnes, an internationally recognized expert on the assessment and treatment of perinatal mood disorders, personally struggled with postpartum depression. “The stigma is built around the cultural mythology that new mothers are blissful, they’re always happy, and they can withstand postpartum depressionsleep deprivation, malnutrition, a crying baby: new motherhood, ” says Barnes. “The things that are expected of new mothers are so unreasonable. You can be madly in love with your baby, but still feel overwhelmed in the early weeks and months. Then, you’re ashamed that you’re miserable, because you’re supposed to feel happy.”

Dr Barnes brought up her symptoms to numerous experts and health care providers over 25 years ago when nobody was talking about this. They all told her that what she was experiencing was normal anxiety due to the adjustment to her new baby. As a result, her symptoms became quite severe before she finally found somebody who would listen to her and knew how to treat her.

If Dr Barnes had been diagnosed appropriately from the outset, her struggle with postpartum depression could have lasted only weeks instead of 3 long years. Huge changes were needed in the field, and Dr Barnes has since played a major role carrying out those changes. She now passionately educates women, families, clinicians, physicians and other health care providers about assessment, treatment, and the critical need for early intervention of “perinatal mood and anxiety disorders” (the inclusive term that describes postpartum depression and related disorders).

Ask for help, and don’t stop asking until you find somebody who will listen.

The fact is, some anxiety is normal and part of adjusting to having a new baby in your life. But those feelings, referred to as ‘baby blues’, go away after 2 or 3 weeks time. The concern comes if you’re still feeling anxious after a few weeks, or if you’re not sleeping, not eating, feeling disoriented and confused. Postpartum depression doesn’t look like depression — it feels like anxiety.

Dr Barnes’ top piece of advice for anybody who feels that they may be suffering from these symptoms: “Ask for help, and don’t stop asking until you find somebody who will listen.” There is a tendency to go to friends or care providers who are not experts in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. In these cases, new mothers are often told that they’re just adjusting and otherwise totally fine. If the disease is not diagnosed, it can’t be treated.

“The most important way we can prevent postpartum depression is to increase awareness. As women, most of us are sensitive to what we’re going through. We just need someone to validate that. Just as we educate ourselves about breast cancer, we need to educate ourselves about postpartum depression. It’s great for women to know that they’re not to blame, they’re not alone. There’s treatment, there’s help, there are other people who know what you’re going through. With proper treatment you’re going to get well.”

What’s involved with treatment? It all starts with sharing your specific story with an expert in the field. As Dr Barnes describes it, “the diagnosis is far less important than the story.” Even simply sharing her story openly goes a long way towards helping a woman feel better. From there, typically there is a combination of therapy and medicine.

We know that absence of social support is high on the list of risk factors. If we increase someone’s access to support, we eliminate one of the risk factors.

circle-159252_1280Dr Barnes also offers a group therapy option for additional social support. “Group support is a very important aspect of treatment. Because there’s so much stigma attached to postpartum depression, there’s a tendency to feel very isolated and alone. Sitting in a room with someone else who says ‘oh my gosh, that’s how I felt’ lessens that sense of isolation. That’s really appealing. We know that an absence of social support is high on the list of risk factors. If we increase someone’s access to support, we eliminate one of the risk factors.”

At Covey we strive to provide a safe, supportive community to help new parents connect and lessen feelings of isolation. Helping our members find the social support they need is our top priority. We are proud to announce that Covey is partnering with Dr Barnes to launch an ‘Emotional Health’ covey within the Covey app. Dr Barnes will engage in the community as a listening ear, a facilitator and a source of support for anyone who needs it.

“I’m hoping that through the Covey community, women will be able to educate themselves and increase their awareness of the potentially serious mood disorders that are absolutely treatable.”

More Great Ideas from the Authors of The Happy Sleeper

We continue our fascinating in-app chat with The Happy Sleeper authors Julie Wright and Heather Turgeon, in our second of two posts. For many moms and dads, swaddling and feeding are two go-to’s for getting baby to go to sleep. But these techniques don’t necessarily work for every baby. Here are a few more ideas to settle her down, with the ultimate goal of self-soothing her way to dreamland.

To Swaddle—Or Not To Swaddle?

Author Julie Wright: “Most babies like swaddling and it benefits sleep due to the startle reflex. But some babies just don’t like it.”

Member Louisa H: “So there are no negative effects if you don’t swaddle?”

Wright: “No, in some ways [not swaddling] is a benefit because you don’t have to transition out of swaddle and baby has more freedom to move and get her hands to her mouth to soothe. But if she’s startling a lot, it may be an issue.”

Member Angel M: “I tried to swaddle my son. He cried every time. He hated it. So I didn’t do it. He slept all sprawled out and was happy. Every baby is different.”

How to Stop Nursing at Night

Member Coley E: “Am I throwing my 3-month old off of her feeding schedule by nursing her to sleep during her nighttime wake-ups? How do I get her back to sleep without nursing?”

Wright: “You can try putting her back down before she falls asleep. You may have to do it over and over as we don’t want her to cry more than one minute at her age. We also have a tool called the soothing ladder that means you start with the least helpful thing like your presence, the sound of your voice, a little pat or jiggle, and gradually go up the ladder to feeding or rocking to sleep.”

Coley E: “Since the only thing that puts her to sleep is side-lying nursing next to me and staying next to me, what would be the final step?”

Author Heather Turgeon: “Nursing to sleep would be the final step. You’d just want to try the other steps first as a way to give her a little practice/space to fall asleep another way. Over time it may let her develop other self soothing skills.”

How Helpful is Formula for Stretching Out graham_sleepingSleep?

Turgeon: “Good question. Research really doesn’t really support the idea of adding formula or rice cereal before bed to help with sleep. Breastfed and formula fed babies sleep more or less the same, but also after a certain age (maybe 3-5 months), sleep has little to do with feeding and more to do with a baby’s ability to self soothe and fall asleep independently.”

Magic Sleep Makers: Other Techniques That Might Work

Member Sue H: “One of my children would go to sleep with the sound of vacuum cleaner, why is that?”

Turgeon: “Interesting! Some babies are soothed by white noise in the “fourth trimester,” which includes the hair dryer and vacuum noises you hear about. We like nature sounds like waves or rain on a low volume.”

Timing Is Everything: Ideal Baby Bedtimes

Wright: “The magic time is 7pm for babies about 6-8 weeks and older. Babies stretch out their sleep best from an early bedtime and need to go to bed before they get overtired.”

Member Jessica S: “Wow, that’s good to know. We have been putting our six week-old down at 10pm when we go to bed to make the most of her having a longer stretch. Do you think we should move that up gradually or just jump into an earlier time?”

Wright: “It depends. If she’s fussy for the few hours before 10 you can jump her to 7. But if she’s pretty happy and alert I would move that up gradually, about 10 minutes every night.”

When To Give Baby Her Own Space

Member Luke S: “How long should we let our infant sleep in the bedside bassinet? We have a crib in the nursery so I’m wondering when we should begin the transition?”

Turgeon: “I like keeping baby in the same room until 4 months or so, but after that it really depends on how it’s working, how everyone’s sleeping and what your preference is.”

Since every baby is so different, what works for one may not work as well for another. The soothing ladder can help you pinpoint what works best for your little one. Check out thehappysleeper.com for some more sound strategies for sound sleeping. Let us know what questions you might have. And let us know what works for you. We all could use a little more shut-eye around here!

Julie Wright, MFT is a psychotherapist specializing in babies, children and their parents, in groups, private practice and sleep consults. She created the curriculum and approach for the popular Wright Mommy and Me classes in Los Angeles, which focus on empathic, mindful parenting and topics following baby's development throughout their first year.  Julie lives in Los Angeles, has a son in college and visits her east coast family often.

Heather Turgeon writes about child development and parenting. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, as the long-running "Science of Kids" column for Babble, and she is a science writer for the National Sleep Foundation. A Northeasterner at heart, Heather lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two little ones. Both of whom are happy sleepers.

Meet the Authors of The Happy Sleeper!

Covey recently had the pleasure of hosting an in-app chat with Julie Wright and Heather Turgeon, acclaimed authors of the groundbreaking book, The Happy Sleeper.

Dr. Mehmet Oz says of the book, “The Happy Sleeper makes happier parents by unleashing their child’s natural ability to sleep with a sensitive, structured approach based on the authors’ combined 20 years of clinical experience.” 

In our discussion, we learned a lot about the sleep issues plaguing our parents—and about compassionate ways to overcome them. Here’s the first in a series of two posts:

 

A Different Approach to Sleep

Moderator and Covey CEO Vanessa Jameson: “For those that haven’t read your book: What makes your approach on sleep different from the rest?”

Author Julie Wright: “We face the question of how secure attachment and good healthy sleep are natural partners head on and describe how to satisfy both as you work on sleep.”

Jameson: “Are you saying that what we do in the day can influence how well baby sleeps?”

Wright: “Attuning to your baby during the day is important but also, our sleep approach satisfies baby’s needs to know that you’re nearby while also giving her space to access her natural ability to self soothe to sleep. So secure attachment and good sleep are not only both possible but help and inform each other.”

 

How Do They Approach Colic?

Sarah A: “Can you share how your approach differs in the cases of babies with colic?”

Wright: “Babies with colic usually just need a little more time for their self-soothing to emerge. So the strategies in our book are all relevant, just a little bit later. The chapter three info is relevant for all babies but we wouldn’t implement the Sleep Wave until the colic was completely resolved and the baby is at least five months old (The Sleep Wave is a tool described in the book; there is a worksheet included online).”

 

How Do They Approach Non-Sleepers?

Jameson: “What is the deal: Are some babies just bad sleepers?”

Author Heather Turgeon: “No! Babies are built to sleep. It’s really true. There’s a lot of variability in how newborns sleep (just depends on how their little nervous systems develop), but after about five months they all have the capacity to sleep well.”

 

What About Naps?

Member Coley E: “Is it more important to get my baby to nap by any means, even if that means in a carrier on me?”

Wright: “If your baby is under five months old, a carrier or a stroller is fine for some naps. After that a crib is best…. I would start with the first nap of the day and try putting baby down 60 minutes after walking. You can do a nice routine 20 minutes before and make sure room is cool and dark. If baby cries you can use the soothing ladder to get her to sleep even if it means rocking or feeding. It takes time for this transition. (The soothing ladder is a tool we use; you start with the least helpful thing like your presence, the sound of your voice, a little pat or jiggle – and then gradually go up the ladder to feeding or rocking to sleep.”

Member Jamie K: “My one year old just dropped her morning nap but hasn’t gotten into real rhythm of when she wants her new long nap to be. Should it be at the same time everyday? And how can I help get her there?”

Turgeon: “When they first switch to one nap, 11am or so is a good nap time, but she may be tired for a bit until she gets used to it. Yes I’d try keep it the same everyday to help her adjust! Also move her bedtime a bit earlier.”

 

Next Up

Keep an eye out for our next post, which answers questions on whether or not swaddling is important, how to get an older baby to stop nursing at night, and ideal baby bedtimes, among others.

 

Thank you, Julie and Heather. There’s rest for the weary in sight!

Covey Parent Recommendation: The Klub Gymnastics

Los Angeles parents: make sure you bounce on over to The Klub Gymnastics. My 18 month old son and I attended the Toddler Time class at The Klub, located in Elysian Valley. The building is very easy to spot as it is enormous, and there was plenty of parking (a bonus for LA). I was there on a weekday so I can’t attest to what the weekend parking situation is but there seemed to be plenty of street parking, if their lot was full. I was unsure of what a gymnastics class for 1 year olds to 3 year olds would entail. But let me tell you, it was fantastic and my son loved it!

 

The Space

We were greeted upon arrival and shown to the area where the class was held. The space for the kids and parents/caretakers to explore was huge and all softly padded. The class is semi-structured where they weave structured activities in with free play. There are low to the ground balance beams to practice on, a large pit filled with foam blocks for kids and adults to jump into, two trampolines and a number of other items to explore and practice movement and balance.

 

The Class

We had a great time jumping into the ball pit and exploring the trampoline, which was definitely my son’s favorite part. The class included free play, parachute time, ABC’s on the trampoline, balance beam practice and the little ones could even give the rings a try to practice gripping and hanging from. The teacher was very friendly, energetic and approachable. I appreciated that the teacher shared that during the activities if your child prefers to continue free play that is fine. It’s so nice that you don’t have to drag a screaming toddler to a part of a class that they’re not interested in.

“We’ve been to a number of classes, and this one was the best we’ve been to for toddlers.”

We especially enjoyed the ABC’s on the trampoline. All of the adults and children circled around the trampoline and the kids each took a turn jumping on the trampoline one at a time whilst we sang. It is fun for them to bounce and sing along to the ABC’s but it also helps to show them how to wait their turn and participate in a group activity. My son who was one of the youngest in the class needed some coaxing to go onto the trampoline by himself but once he was out there and had encouragement from the teacher he was pleased as punch to be bouncing. We’ve been to a number of classes and this one was the best we’ve been to for toddlers. It really allows the children to explore movement and balance and also have a lot of fun!

 

The Klub

The facility is very clean (it is a new space) and there is a great shop on site that has snacks, water and a very cool fish tank that was a favorite amongst the toddlers. If you have multiple children, they have a number of classes for all ages. They currently don’t offer drop in and play sessions but it is something they’re working on which would be great if you don’t want to commit to a weekly class.

“My son really enjoyed himself and burned off a lot of his energy, as he had a lengthy nap that afternoon (hello productive time for mom!).”

I noticed they also were promoting The Klub Night Out, which is for parents with children 5 and up. Every month they offer a Friday night where you can drop your kids off for free play, pizza, popcorn and a movie. This is a great offering as it is cheaper than a babysitter and I’d imagine the kids would have a great time. I am also going to keep this venue in the back of my mind for future birthday parties.  Overall, it was a great place. My son really enjoyed himself and burned off a lot of his energy, as he had a lengthy nap that afternoon (hello productive time for mom!).

 

Anne is a lover of coffee, guacamole, the beach and a good box set. She recently located to sunny LA after nearly a decade of living in London. Anne works in marketing and communications and can often be found traversing the highway system of LA to check out cool spots with her husband and 1.5 year old.

new mom kimberley robinson

New mom spotlight: Kimberley R

We recently interviewed Kimberley, a new mom, for our Los Angeles newsletter. She had so much incredible wisdom to share that we knew we had to give her a bigger platform. Enjoy! If you have your own stories to share, please send them our way: info@coveymom.com

On Adjusting: Logistics

It took some time for us to figure out our schedules when we went from just the two of us, to three. We are unable to do daycare and we don’t have family close by that can watch our daughter while we work. Thankfully we both have jobs that are almost opposites in schedules so we’ve been able to make it work between the two of us.

On Adjusting: Emotions

I have my good days which outweigh the bad and frustrating ones, thank goodness. There are days that I think I’ve already messed up, but then I read other parents comments and articles and I realize that I am not alone. I’m still learning to be a better communicator with my husband. Before our little girl was here, we never had an issue in that department. It’s amazing how one little life will change your whole world.

On Connecting

I’ve realized how lonely this stage in life can be. How it’s difficult as a new mom to connect with other moms and to form new friendships. I didn’t realize that my previous single/childless friends would stop inviting me out or stop coming over because they were in a completely different stage in life. That part is frustrating, but I don’t know if I’d change that if it meant less time with my baby. Eventually, probably. But while she’s so little, probably not. I find myself avoiding places that aren’t child friendly for that reason.

On Surprises: Love

I never knew how much love I would have for my own baby. It’s almost indescribable. You hear everyday how you will instantly have this bond with your baby and it made sense to me. I looked forward to it. But what this is… it feels like it’s beyond a bond. And just when you think that you couldn’t love them more, the next day you realize how wrong you were.

On Surprises: Milestones

All of the milestones are such a huge deal. Bigger than I ever imagined they would be. And even though I’ve read and have been told which milestone is coming up, when she reaches it, I’m always amazed. I also never imagined watching your own baby experience things/foods etc for the first time, would be so incredible.

On Support

I was lucky that my mom was able to come help out for the first two weeks after my daughter was born. She made me relax, take naps, shower, cooked my meals and made sure I didn’t feel like I was being lazy for snuggling my baby all day. I felt guilty every time I saw her cleaning my house while I relaxed, and she’d simply remind me that she is here to support me, and right now that means keeping up with my household duties while I take care of and bond with my little one. It was one of the greatest gifts she could ever give me as a new parent. I had a few friends offer to bring me groceries and cook meals, and I declined because I thought that I needed to figure it out and do it myself. I didn’t realize how difficult going to the grocery store with an infant would be. How much room they’d take up in the cart. How shopping with a stroller can be exhausting and nearly impossible unless you’re only grabbing a few items. How a grocery trip could take 2 hours easily. Looking back, I wish I would have taken them up on their offer, and I will offer the same to my soon to be mommy friends.

Advice for other new moms

Sleep whenever you can and accept help. It’s natural to feel like you need to be a super parent and do it all… And it’s okay when you realize when it is impossible.

Thank you Kimberley for sharing your experiences with us! Sending you and your family the very best wishes.

Calvin Dragon and His First Fire

They named their baby Calvin Dragon. Little did they know when they named him that there was about to be a real fire breathing on their surroundings.

The Roaring Lion wildfire flared dangerously in Montana near the home of my brother, Greg, and sister-in-law, Val, one week and two days after their first child was born. Greg and Val have worked in the national forests for over 10 years, so they have come to expect wildfires as a fact of life. The fires help forests to regenerate and keep the ecosystem balanced. This fire, however, came at an incredibly challenging time.

Emerging Community of Families

Their cozy wooden house, 15 minutes from town, is right up at the edge of the Bitterroot National Forest. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper, so they have spent time putting down wood floors, and various other projects to make it their own. In December, they found out that they were expecting their first child. This added some urgency to their house projects. They hustled through their work and settled into their new home, along the way learning about their new, amazing community. 

Greg and Val’s local friends began having babies, mostly boys, starting in Spring 2016. A community of parents emerged as the babies were born, and little Calvin had a group of ready made playmates as soon as he arrived.

A Community Disrupted

Then on Sunday, July 31, 2016, the forest fire started in a neighborhood also on the edge of the national forest, not far from their home. The small fire grew quickly under perfect conditions for a fire: a hot summer day with very low humidity. It was stoked by wind gusts coming in from the west and the fact that it was surrounded by good fuel to sustain it, namely, lots of big old trees. Quicker than a baby’s nap, the fire increased in size and power. An evacuation order was given later that day for most of the communities near them, including their neighborhood.

In that moment, questions flashed through their mind: Where to go? What to bring?

roaringlion2

The Roaring Lion wildfire

They went into the town of Hamilton, and were welcomed by close friends. There followed some very worried nights with the windows closed to protect Calvin’s lungs from the smoke. Almost no information was available about how the fire was spreading, whether it would get their property, and what would be left for them and their neighbors. Needless to say, the initial nights of newborn sleeplessness were amplified by this situation.

The Impact of Support

While displaced from their home, Val and Greg were overwhelmed by support from their local and disthanksfirefighterstant communities of friends and strangers. They received many offers for places to stay nearby, both within the Bitterroot Valley and the Flathead Valley in Montana. Greg was gifted bulk cat food when he stopped into a pet store to purchase supplies for their cat’s litter box while Val received multiple packages of newborn diapers from a local children’s clothing store. Offers from the community to help the new family were endless, and Val and Greg felt lucky to be living where they were at such a time of uncertainty.

This story has a good ending. They are all safe. The fire was fought and managed by a knowledgeable team of responders, who worked hard to contain the fire and keep it from spreading into the Bitterroot Valley. Friends provided support for the new little family for all the nights they needed it. Nine days after the fire started, they were allowed to return home. In the end, the fire avoided their property, and the house is safe. Even if trees fall all winter long, as winds blow down tall pines with no root systems left, the forests are resilient. They will regenerate and life will begin again, startlingly fast.

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As I learned about these events from far away, I kept thinking about the community that supported my family members, and all the others displaced due to the fire. Food, shelter, clothing and companionship seemed to be available to those who needed it, and people came together to help. Life with a newborn would have been tremendously difficult without the support they got from others.

 

 

– Sarah Aerni, User Happiness

becca hackett

Covey Spotlight: Becca Hackett and Yoga Therapy

To manage her chronic back pain, Becca Hackett saw a variety of professionals: a general physician, a chiropractor, a surgeon, a therapist, a yoga instructor, and so on. But nobody was looking at the whole picture. Her therapist focused on the neck up. Her chiropractor focused on her back. Nobody took a holistic view of her body and wbecca hackettell being. Nobody was talking about how what’s in her head affects her body, and how body affects mind.

Becca began to explore the interconnectedness of her body on her own. For example, she found that doing yoga helped her to release some of the anger that she felt about her chronic back pain. By releasing her anger, some of her pain actually went away. She found that the opposite effect was possible, too. The stress and anxiety caused by doctor’s appointments was actually increasing the pain that she felt.

“At least for a little bit, I could forget about my pain”

From these experiences, Becca Hackett shaped the building blocks of her career. She fell in love with yoga when it was the only physical activity that was possible with her pain. “At least for a little bit, I could forget about my pain.” She became a yoga instructor after her 3rd back surgery, a spinal fusion, in 2012. Then, combining her yoga education with a degree in social work, she earned her certification in Yoga Therapy: the perfect intersection of her passions.

What is Yoga Therapy?

Yoga Therapy is an approach to overall wellness that addresses physical, mental and emotional areas of an individual’s life. Its impact depends on each person’s needs, ranging from improving stress management skills, to reducing anxiety and depression, to helping with chronic pain. The practice typically includes a combination of breathing, meditation, poses and discussion.

Becca begins private sessions by asking about what is going on in her clients’ lives. Through discussion, she identifies each person’s needs and caters the practice specifically to them. Her goal? To help clients to “learn how to take yourself out of fight, flight or freeze so that you can release the effects of that from your body before they build up.” It’s the build up that can cause numerous issues like stress, anxiety and chronic pain.

How can Yoga Therapy help parents?

Becoming a parent has led Becca to focus on the needs of new and expecting parents. She has developed a number of techniques to manage some common issues:

  • Heartburn, nausea and back pain associated with pregnancy
  • Labor pain
  • Overwhelm, stress, anxiety and depression suffered by new parents
  • Difficulty making space for self care in a busy and often chaotic time

“If you want to be the best parent you can be, you have to be able to take care of yourself.”

becca hackettFor expecting moms, Becca teaches prenatal yoga which helps moms to get comfortable in their body and connect breath with movement. Breath and movement are the core concepts that are used during labor. She also teaches breathing, visualization and meditation techniques to equip expecting moms for labor.

For new parents, Becca believes the key is self care. “If you want to be the best parent you can be, you have to be able to take care of yourself. If we are healthy, if we are in a good space, we can take care of our children the way that we want to.” Likewise, if we are feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, anxious or depressed, it inhibits our ability to parent well.

Even for dedicated yogis like Becca, taking a large block of time out of a day is challenging as a parent. For new parents, Becca offers suggestions for home exercises to do throughout the day. For example, she may recommend breathing exercises to incorporate with folding laundry or stretches to do before and after picking up the baby. She teaches new parents how to take a beat, let things go for a moment and then jump back in with renewed energy and perspective.

How can I get involved?

If you’re interested in group sessions, check out Becca Hackett’s website for a complete group class schedule. Otherwise, your best bet is to start working with her on an individual basis. A private session can be used as an initial assessment to evaluate a person’s needs and plan for ongoing private instruction or ongoing group classes. If you have a specific issue, are not physically ready for group classes, are new to yoga or just unsure where to start, private is a great option as well. Private instruction is catered to who you are and where you are in your life, and will be formatted in a way that will fit into your life.

To set up a private appointment, contact Becca Hackett atinfo@joyfulpathyogatherapy.com. Don’t forget to mention that you’re a Covey parent! For Covey parents, she offers 25% off the first session.

Parents, take heed of Becca’s advice: “We have to care for ourselves so we’re able to care for others”. If you think you could use a little TLC, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Elaine Barrington

Covey Spotlight: Elaine Barrington, LCSW

At times, families need the help of an outside perspective to bring them closer. In those situations, there’s nothing quite like working with a professional who deeply understands the issues at stake.

Elaine Barrington combines her life experiences with her psychotherapy and clinical social work credentials to elaine_barrington_2bsupport parents through their parenting journey. She is also the mother of two children, so she has the powerful ability to relate to the families that she helps.

Elaine’s process involves acknowledging and accepting emotions: all feelings are okay; it’s what you do with them that matters. She helps families to examine emotions and really get to the root of what’s causing them. This is critical for parents when they have strong feelings, because, in order to take great care of our children, we need to take great care of ourselves.

Each step of the way, Elaine helps parents to understand what is developmentally appropriate for their children at any age. Then she helps parents build a toolkit of techniques for managing their own emotions and relating to their children.

On her site, Elaine captures the following:

“Parenting challenges us in ways we never could have imagined. At times it is messy and overwhelming, and we make mistakes. But being a good parent has little to do with whatever idyllic, unrealistic vision we hold in our heads and everything to do with our genuine engagement in the moment and the effort we put toward being our best selves. Parenting is a wonderful opportunity for learning, growing, and healing.”

While she works with a wide variety of families, Elaine specializes in a few key topics that most strongly represent her own personal experiences. Here are a few examples:

Adoption

“Adoption is a deeply personal and passionate area of focus for me”

Elaine adopted both of her daughters from birth and brings a personal understanding of the unique challenges that can be associated with adoption. Elaine helps parents with making the decision to adopt, supports them through the adoption process, and helps during the transition once a child is placed.

Later in Life

It’s becoming more common to start a family later in life, but this kind of timing comes with its own challenges. Waiting longer to start a family means that you have more time to establish yourself in adulthood, in your career and in your relationships before becoming a parent. This leads to additional intensity in an already massive life shift, so Elaine helps parents to explore the many issues that come up during this major transition.

Families Wielaine_barrington_1bth Young Children

The connection of young children to their parents is critical to their well-being and development. Elaine knows what to expect developmentally at each age, and equips parents with tools for managing the many changes that occur during the early stages.

Highly Sensitive People

Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) feel vivid emotions and react strongly to other people’s emotions. This often very observant contingent has temperament and personality traits that reflect the fact that they feel things very intensely. Both children and parents can be HSPs, but both scenarios lead to unique family experiences that Elaine can help manage.

No matter what your parenting experience is, Elaine is available to help.

“Working with me is to bring more love and acceptance into your life. And being able to see things differently so that you can experience more joy and more love with an open heart for yourself, your partner, and your children.”

How to potty train your toddler without flushing your sanity

Have you seen Bad Moms? If not, step away from your overflowing inbox and overflowing sink, call a friend, and find yourself a sitter. This movie rails against being the “perfect mom.” While it’s absolutely hilarious, it’s also desperately needed because it gives moms permission to fail. To stop judging other moms. To help each other instead.

And with potty training, you’re going to fail, get judged, and need all the help you can get!

So here are 9 tips on how to potty train your toddler and still enjoy your life:

  1. There’s no “right” age to start. Some experts say that between ages two and three is a great time, but if your child does not fit into that box, that is just fine. We moms need to remember that in so many instances; numbers mean nothing (I’m talking to you, morphing dress size!). Readiness is everything.
  2. It’s a try, try, TRY again game. A 3-day training is usually just a fantasy because it’s your kid’s timeline, silly! Even if your child is dying to sit on the toilet, she might still balk when it’s time to get down to business. Pushing harder on her will not make her push harder (sorry) on the potty—just harder against you. If she’s not budging, give yourselves a break, then try, try, try again.
  3. Be as consistent as you can. Try to “offer” the potty after she wakes up, before leaving the house, and before bedtime. Try to keep offering throughout the day (it’s just like offering veggies, although this can be equally frustrating)!
  4. Rewards do work! Many moms treat themselves too. I say we all deserve a piece of chocolate for sitting in a stinky room for 30 minutes!
  5. Remember that each kid is different. What works for your first child may not work for your second. This can be a real bummer, so hang in there.
  6. Keep wipes handy at all times. When your child does want to try, she will inevitably find the grossest bathroom out there.
  7. When you’re cleaning up yet another messy accident, you’ll feel a lot more like crying than like chirping, “No problem,” through clenched teeth. So have a good cry. And then have a good laugh. It’s only life after all, and we don’t get to keep these crazy kids forever.how to potty train your toddler
  8. Get the help you need. Whether it’s your partner’s turn to sit on the edge of the tub, or your friend’s turn to hear your latest potty fail, asking for help gives you the refresh you need to keep trying.
  9. Here’s a trick that worked for my first son: He handled number one on the toilet, but screamed for a diaper for number two. One day I cut a diaper in half and placed each leg on each side of the seat, like a mini cushioned throne. Voilà! He went. And the next time (and most times after) he went even without the puffery. Of course this did not work for my second. Bummer.

When you’re working out how to potty train your toddler, the try, try, try again game can be ridiculously trying. So take a break when you need it and find something fun to do.

And if you run into a mom who had her daughter potty trained at age 9 months, don’t believe her. Take her to go see Bad Moms and let yourselves both off the hook.

Sam Smith is mom to two fun and busy boys:  Sutter, age ten, and Graham, age six. She is a freelance commercial writer in Pittsburgh, tackling topics from tech to toilet training in her blog posts, websites, and articles. Her first children’s picture book, Cate’s Magic Garden, will be published in February.

similac box

Similac: I’m not going to need that formula

When I received that free box of formula from Similac, packed pretty with a bow on top, I smiled. This is a massive mistake. I opened the box and saw the bold, decorative text: “We all parent differently but the Joy Of Parenthood is something we all share.”

The text reminded me of the viral campaign “Sisterhood of Motherhood” that came out from Similac last year. It emphasized that, working or stay-at-home, breastfeeding or formula feeding, and overall no matter what choices we make as parents, we do what we think is best for our kids. We’re all in this together as parents.

“We all parent differently but the Joy Of Parenthood is something we all share.”

The campaign was a groundbreaking response to the “mommy wars” and led to one of the most effective brand upheavals in history at a time when formula was no longer a trendy choice. The message was clear: research does show that breastfeeding is the besimilac boxst option for babies, but sometimes breastfeeding is not an option. If breastfeeding is not possible for you, Similac (a company that clearly ‘gets it’!) is here for you.

I sifted through the box and found that it reflected the ideals from the campaign. It was filled with a variety of formula options and even a pamphlet which included information about breastfeeding. Great gift. Great message. Great idea to spread the word about Similac to expecting moms.

The only problem was: Similac sent the box to me, and I’m not expecting. I lost a pregnancy earlier this year and had been due next month. So when I realized that Similac sent me the gift box for my miscarried baby, I smiled. The Joy of Parenthood is something we all share. This is incredibly bad.

Similac sent me the gift box for my miscarried baby

I never made it out of my first trimester, so most people in my life never even knew that I was pregnant. Why was Similac in on the secret? And why did they miss the memo about my miscarriage?

Privacy for Expecting Moms

The list of businesses that I notified of my pregnancy is short:

  • Pregnancy tracker apps (BabyCenter & What to Expect)
  • A prenatal fitness program
  • My healthcare provider

I get it — stuff you put on the internet isn’t private. But everything on my list is a basic resource for expecting moms. Expecting moms care possibly more than any other demographic about privacy of information. They deserve businesses that serve them to be equally passionate and vigilant about the topic.

So, to whoever sold my information to Similac: you should be doing better by your moms. Receiving a happy new-mom box from Similac made me feel violated and betrayed. It needlessly reminded me of something that I’ve been working hard to put behind me.

To Similac: up to 25% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. If you want to show any kind of respect to your target consumer, I suggest you find a better way to track failed pregnancies. I unsubscribed from every list and let my small list of businesses know about my miscarriage. I made no purchases for my baby-to-be. You’re already violating my sense of privacy by buying my information. At least take a beat to get it right.

As for me, I’m ready to move on. Does anybody want some free formula?

Vanessa Jameson, Covey CEO

Covey Spotlight: Pasadena Piano Academy

At the beginning of the private piano lesson, Vivian got down to business. “Let’s hear your homework.”

door5 year-old J beamed with pride. “I showed it to my grandpa!” He proceeded to play a beginner piano piece by reading sheet music and singing the name of each note as he was playing.  “E-E-F-G…”  Clearly he had been practicing all week and had it nailed.

“My mission is also teaching parents how to help their kid.”

Vivian told me later that J, a native Spanish speaker, didn’t know English well. In fact, reading music was his first introduction to the English alphabet. She commented on his progress to his mother, who was sitting in the room during the session. “I noticed that he doesn’t look at his fingers anymore.”

“You get to know your child in a much deeper way.”

Vivian actively engages J’s mother throughout the class by offering observations on how J is progressing, making suggestions on how to approach practicing and playing at home, and offering a few music tips for her along the way. “My mission is also teaching parents how to help their kid”, she told me later. Vivian believes that involving parents their child’s music education also makes their relationship stronger. “You get to know your child in a much deeper way”.

Vivian herself began playing piano when she was only 3 years old. When she was 9, she started formal training with Steinway and at 13 her mentor suggested that she leave school and became a full-time concert pianist. While Vivian loved piano, she knew that concert piano was not going to be enough for her. She craved more interaction and thought she could provide music education that met the standards of what she received — while making it a little more fun. She started teaching with this philosophy at 15 years old and 20 years later she’s still at it.

The classes at Pasadena Piano Academy are intimate: either private or in groups of no more than 5 students at a time. Group lessons are broken into a few different categories: Beginner Piano (ages 4-6), Pre-piano (ages 2-4), and their latest offering: Piano & Me (3 months – 2 years).

“This is not just learning piano. It’s shaping a kid’s personality.”

baby

In the group lessons room, there is a large piano that rests right on the floor.  Vivian keeps it there to show kids that instruments aren’t scary. They can experiment, play and learn in an accessible way. Over time kids develop more confidence and learn core music concepts. By 4 years old, kids can even learn how to read music on their own.

For young children, Vivian says, it’s not all about developing piano skills. “This is not just learning piano. It’s shaping a kid’s personality.”  Nobody else can practice piano for a child. They have to take the initiative, sit down, and play a song start to finish by themselves. Vivian believes that this plants the seed for independence and responsibility. The pride I saw on J’s face when he performed his homework for Vivian showed me that she just might be onto something.

If getting a jump-start on reading is what you’re looking for, Vivian believes learning to read music can help with that too. Reading music is easier for children than reading words, although they require many similar skills. By the time they reach school age, kids that understand how to read music already have many of the foundational skills that they need to read words. They also have a jump start on discipline gained from practicing piano. Vivian finds that this combination makes her students very equipped for school.

“I want my students to use music education to be a better person, to be more responsible, to grow stronger.”

The benefits are clear, but Vivian’s style of education is not for everyone. She urges parents to consider the following before enrolling in her classes:

  1. Your own personal style of education: Vivian prioritizes structure and education, but also believes that you should have fun and let kids be kids.
  2. Whether music is right for your child: Does your child show interest in music and enjoy it at home?
  3. Your family’s ability to take on music classes: Will you be able to consistently practice at home and show up for lessons?

If you think her classes are a match for you, you would be pressed to find a more passionate instructor. “I want my students to use music education to be a better person, to be more responsible, to grow stronger.”
To learn more about Pasadena Piano Academy, check out their website and follow them on Covey.

Covey Spotlight: The Klub Gymnastics

Painted on the outside image6of The Klub Gymnastics’ new building is the mission: “Strength… Self-Esteem… Success!”

Inside is a wonderland of color, vast space, innovative design and brand new shiny gymnastics equipment. This is the result of the steadfast vision and hard work of co-owners Michael Eschenbrenner and Edward Yonek.
A few minutes into our meeting, Michael politely interrupted our conversation to give out high fives to a group of passing gymnasts. He left his job in finance to get back into gymnastics — he had spent most of his youth inside gymnasiums, practicing, competing and coaching. “I could never imagine that any job I had in the finance world would be as fulfilling as gymnastics and teaching kids.”

The original Klub van. Don't call that number, though! Now they're at 323.227.KLUB.

The original Klub van. Don’t call that number, though! Now they’re at 323.227.KLUB.

Edward and Michael started their first gymnastics classes out of a van. They transported their equipment, gym mats and balance beams from the van to schools and community centers. Eventually, the entrepreneurs planted roots at the Jewish Community Center in Silver Lake. But The Klub soon outgrew that 5 thousand square feet of space.

The brand new facility opened in February 2016 and increased their space to nearly 40 thousand square feet. Nestled against the LA river in the neighborhood of Frogtown, the building that once operated as an old wood working facility back in the 1930s and 1940s is now a fully-functioning gymnastics center.

“We finally have room to expand our programming, grow our enrollment to accommodate the kids on our wait list and have more gymnastics time for the kids.”

“The new space is so large”, Edward said, “and it’s an amazing feeling to be in a space that’s so open. From the ceilings to the floor, everything is open and very visual.” Michael agreed, “We finally have room to expand our programming, grow our enrollment to accommodate the kids on our wait list and have more gymnastics time for the kids who are in classes.”

_MG_2628Guests are greeted with a gymnastics utopia of rings, parallel bars, pommel horses and spacious floor mats. Gymnasts can even bounce from a trampoline into a foam pit. Every detail is carefully thought out — like replacing a 4-foot wall with a stainless steel fence so that children can see into the space. “When you have a two or three year old that’s walking through the space,” Edward said, “they get to look through to see past that wall.”

Michael beamed with pride about their progress. “The kids are blown away: jumping out of their parents arms and running in saying ‘can’t wait, can’t wait’. ”

The co-owners want parents to be just as excited about being at The Klub. A workout space filled with exercise equipment (“Klub Kardio”) allows parents to get a workout in while they watch their kids’ classes. They’re planning image2to expand this concept to include adult boot camp fitness programs that will coincide with the children’s class times. And a monthly “Klub Night Out” gives parents a break while their kids enjoy an open gym, a bounce house, pizza and a movie with fresh made popcorn.

“[We want The Klub to be] the centerpiece for a family: a community space for parents to come and hang out with their child.”

Also coming soon: year round day kamps, a doggie daycare (“Klub K9”), a coffee and juice bar and a bike rental program to encourage parents to ride while while their kids practice gymnastics.

At Covey we’re big on encouraging parents to take care of themselves as well as they take care of their kids. We loved seeing how Michael and Edward have designed The Klub to be “the centerpiece for the entire family; a community space for parents to come and hang out with their child.”

To learn more about The Klub, check out their website and follow them on Covey.

– Louisa Horn, LA Marketing & Media

Covey Spotlight: Wright Mommy & Me Classes

If you’re interested in mommy and me classes in Los Angeles, check out our sneak peek into one recent class with Julie Wright at Wright Mommy & Me. For new parents, it’s incredibly important to find connection and support from other parents. As Julie says — “We are not meant to do this alone!”

 

In her mommy & me classes, Julie is bringing moms, dads and their babies together to learn, to share their experiences and to support each other during baby’s first year. Her approach is research-based — she believes in using a mindful approach to raising a baby. Through her classes, Julie lets parents know that they’re not alone and that as parents we’re better in a group.

You can find Julie and her team teaching classes in Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks and Pasadena. Each class is grouped by baby’s age and meets weekly for 90 minutes, 8 weeks in each session. However, we’re told that the community and friendships developed during the classes extend well beyond the first year.

We loved our visit to her mommy and me class — but how could we not with all those cute babies?

Wright Mommy & Me Classes

http://www.wrightmommy.com

Giving

Starting a company typically means relying on personal networks to move forward. If you know me personally, I’ve asked you for help with Covey in some way. You have helped me by giving me product feedback, testing new features and spreading the word. You have also helped me with your professional skills. Covey’s goal is to help parents, but the reality is we can’t make the impact we want to without your help.

This is so often true when we intend to give. Our individual efforts do help, but support from our communities dramatically improves our impact. This is why I’m so proud to take a moment on this Day of Giving to announce a new “Giving Covey” in the app. This new community provides a platform for you to support each other in your giving efforts.

Most of us want to give more of ourselves and teach our children to do the same. That said, it’s not always easy to know how or when to give. Now you can use the “Giving Covey” as a resource to guide your giving efforts. You can exchange ideas on charitable opportunities and gain support for your own efforts. You can post details on donation drives, volunteer opportunities and fundraising events. Anything you share will enrich the community. Anything you share helps to spread the word about the charitable opportunities you support.

Check it out in the app, and as always, let us know what you think!

Vanessa Jameson
Covey CEO


Get it on Google Play

Download from the App Store

Live Chat on Covey

Recently we announced the launch of communities on Covey and your response has been simply awesome. Through this launch, many of you learned about one or more of our partner bloggers for the first time. Some of you have requested an opportunity to get to know them better, and we think that’s a great idea!

This Wednesday from 8:30pm – 9:30pm EST we will be hosting our very first live chat on Covey with Melissa Mowry (One Mother To Another), Michelle Stephens (Juicebox Confession) and Jill Robbins (Ripped Jeans & Bifocals).

Here’s how you can participate:

  1. If you haven’t downloaded the app – download it! What are you waiting for?
  2. From the ‘Coveys’ tab, select ‘Ask the Team’. Select ‘Join’ to join the covey.
  3. On Wednesday evening, select ‘Discuss’ from the ‘Ask the Team’ page. Select the plus button on the top right of the screen to post a question for Melissa, Michelle and Jill. If the question is for someone in particular, be sure to mention that in the post.
  4. Melissa, Michelle and Jill will be available to comment on your posts and answer your questions live. Between them, they can cover questions about parenting, fashion, adoption, finding community as parents and more.

Enjoy – and see you on the app this Wednesday!

Vanessa Jameson
Covey CEO

Introducing Communities

The few months since our iPhone launch have been incredible. We have loved hearing your stories and getting reports from your mom dates. It has been wonderful to hear your ideas for what Covey could become.

Today we are sunsetting our individual matching system as you know it. In its place, you will see the following key changes:

  1. Recommendations for parents you might like and the ability to reach out to them directly. It’s no longer necessary to wait for an anonymous matching process to take place.
  2. Parenting communities called ‘Coveys’. We are partnering with community leaders to provide tools for connecting community members.  Within each Covey you can share your questions and experiences with like-minded parents. You can also find parents nearby and coordinate play dates & get-togethers.
  3. Dads are a welcome addition to Covey’s parenting communities. We’ve added a couple of Coveys that specifically focus on them. We’re thrilled to have them on board.

We are kicking off our community-driven features with an amazing group of Coveys. For this initial slate, each Covey supports the readership of a different blog. We qualified each blog based on the strength of its community. I’m thrilled to share details about them with you today:

Developing Dad (Joe Medler):
Parenting    Fatherhood    Marriage    Toddlers  
Joe writes about fatherhood, marriage and family from the heart. His community emphasizes sentimental subjects, but doesn’t forget to laugh.

Juicebox Confession (Michelle Stephens):
Parenting    Motherhood    Toddlers   Beauty
Michelle provides an open, authentic take on parenting, beauty, and life. Her community connects through their shared experiences and their differences.

One Mother To Another (Melissa Mowry):
Parenting    Motherhood    Rhode Island Moms    Toddlers    Parenting Advice
One Mother to Another is a community for moms (and dads) who aren’t afraid to tell their parenthood story like it really is. They are open about the hardships of parenthood, but they do so with a sense of humor and, sometimes, a glass (or three) of wine. Breastfeeder, formula feeder, working mom, stay-at-home mom, 20 kids or 1 kid — it’s all the same to them. They’re just trying to figure out how to get through the day with a little support from their fellow parents.

Papa Does Preach (Mike Cruse):
Fatherhood    Lifestyle     Humor     Comedy
Mike describes his blog as the ramblings of a father just making it up as he goes along. His community loves to laugh about the tough moments in parenting and always remembers to keep things light.

Pittsburgh Momtourage (Kelly Hughes):
Motherhood    Adoption     Pittsburgh     Events
The Pgh Momtourage is a community of parents who love to connect with other parents & caregivers, sharing experiences – and the craziness – of parenthood. Kelly lives in Pittsburgh and organizes play dates for local parents. She also runs the Foster Love Project, which collects donated items for foster children.

Ripped Jeans & Bifocals (Jill Robbins):
Parenting    Menopause     Adoption     Humor
Jill describes her blog as honest talk about motherhood, midlife and adoption for women (and men!) “who don’t have a stick up their rear”. She writes candidly about being an adoptive mom and about being an older mom. Her community actively engages around what’s going on in the world – typically linking to parenting or women’s themes.

Scribbles & Crumbs (Lexi Behrndt):
Grief    Loss    Hope    Joy    Love    Faith
The Scribbles & Crumbs community is finding hope in the brokenness of losing a child together. Lexi has two sons, Lincoln and Charlie. Lincoln is with her, keeping her busy with his toddler ways, and Charlie is now in heaven. Lexi started Scribbles & Crumbs after she lost Charlie to congenital heart disease in October 2014.

The Outnumbered Mother (Amy Hunter):
Parenting    Motherhood     Humor    
Amy is a Florida-living, butt-wiping, soccer team-carting, gourmet chef attempting, tennis skirt wearing, non-tennis playing, self-proclaimed bad mamma jamma to 3 sons and a very understanding husband. Her community loves to laugh and share humorous stories around parenting.

When Crazy Meets Exhaustion (Stephanie Jankowski):
Parenting    Humor     Education    
When Crazy Meets Exhaustion is community for parents and educators who love to laugh. They are coming together in solidarity and humor to discuss the highs and lows of parenting and education. It is a judgement-free zone that will make you think, laugh and appreciate your crazy life!
As always, thanks for your support of Covey. I look forward to seeing you on the app!

Vanessa Jameson
Covey CEO


Get it on Google Play

Download from the App Store

Covey Mom Date

Want the inside scoop on what a real mom date is like? We talked to Jenna, one of the moms we sent out to dinner last night, and she let us in on the details of the night!

What led you to connect with Carly on Covey?
The initial thing that stood out to me was that she also described herself as “semi-crunchy” which I thought was a fun coincidence because I also included it in the  About Me section on my Covey profile. Also, I received the advice when I first had Teddy to look for mom friends who “look like you” and I think she kind of does so that also played a part in me deciding to connect with her.

What other ways have you been trying to meet other moms?
I have tried to meet moms at library groups we go to and through Facebook mom groups. I have also met a few moms at a local La Leche League meeting.

Tell us the truth… were you nervous before your date?
I really wasn’t nervous. I was excited. Carly and I had exchanged a few messages so I knew a little about her and knew there were things I wanted to talk to her about.

We’re dying for the details! Are there any highlights or funny stories you can share from your date?
Carly and I seemed to connect on similar experiences we have had at our pediatrician’s offices. It was nice to share those stories and feel like, “Ok, I’m not the only one”. And we shared funny stories about our families (and their opinions). 

Do you have any tips for others who are looking to meet new parents?
I would tell others to not be afraid to say “Hi” to a stranger at the park or library or wherever you are. And don’t be embarrassed to reintroduce yourself to someone you have met or seen before. And DEFINITELY connect with folks on Covey without fear! We are all using it for the same reason, right? The more connections you make, the more likely you are to make a real world connection and a new friend. 
mom_date_2

Jenna and Carly sent us this picture from dinner.

Thanks for sharing Jenna! We wish you, Carly, and your families all the best. Thanks for trying out Covey, we are glad we could help you make the connection!

11 Things I Learned by Giving Parenthood a Trial Run

If you’ve read my previous post about the week I spent subbing for a mom, you were probably expecting tears, maybe some cuts, scrapes, bruises etc., and quite a bit of frustration. Here is a list of conclusions from the week:

1. I’m a sucker for thinking that hiding candy anywhere mildly within reach will stay put.giphy-climbing

Somehow they got to the hidden candy 4 out of 5 mornings.

2. I was pretty sure I wasn’t a morning person, but now I’m sure.

How I felt at the end of every day.

3. My biggest pet peeve with kids is the tattle tailing.

giphy-annoyedI couldn’t care less who “started it.” Please just stop.

4. My eyes glaze over now when watching the opening credits to Star Wars Episode II. I watched it enough in one week to last a lifetime.

starwars_FotorThey had to get a picture with the new Star Wars movie poster.

5. Garbage trucks are cool.

giphy-garbage
The best thing about Monday morning was the truck’s arrival on the street.

6. One of the best things ever is when a kid turns to you and says they love you and wants a hug for no reason.

giphy-hugI received lots of hugs, kisses, and I love you’s throughout the week. I’m sure some were due to me giving into the begging.

7. How is it that at the end of every day it looks like a bomb went off inside the house?peeking

Hiding to avoid cleaning.

 8. Don’t always give in to cries for ice cream after dinner.

giphy-laundryOr you’ll end up doing laundry and cleaning up vomit at midnight.

9. Boys like Star Wars.

painting …and wrestling and garbage trucks, but they also love Frozen, painting, dancing and dressing up too.

10. I never could have done this without help.

giphy-productiveIf my parents weren’t a walk away I don’t know what I would have done. I had help from someone every day, even if it was just for a few minutes. Those were the most productive times of the week.

11. I love kids.

giphy-moneyThey say what’s on their mind, they’re full of energy, they like to snuggle, and they’re masters of getting away with things by being cute. One day parenthood will be in my future, but for now I’ll enjoy my sleep and disposable income. Maybe I’ll pay off my student loans first.

 

-Hannah Sandoval

*images courtesy of Giphy

Launch Announcement

Today is a great day.

We are approaching one year since Covey officially formed as a company. From day one, our team has been pouring their hearts into helping moms meet and find the support that they need. The love and long hours that the team dedicates to Covey are not always visible to the outside world, so I’m here to tell you directly: We are still working around the clock to make moms’ lives better.

birdBlue

Nine months ago we rolled out our very first version of Covey on Android, a product that was designed to answer the question: “What does it take for two moms who don’t know each other to meet in person?” Since then, we’ve studied this question like crazy. We researched dating apps (which make a surprising amount of sense for mom friends)! We tried new interfaces and designs. We prototyped ideas. Most importantly, we talked to you, our community, one by one (and if we haven’t talked to you yet – please reach out and say hello!). We have learned so much.

 

Today I am thrilled to announce that we have launched Covey for iPhone. iPhone moms: you now have a new way to meet other moms like you. And this is just the beginning. In the coming weeks, we will be releasing brand new features (on Android and iPhone!) that will give you visibility into your local community of moms in a way that was never possible before. I hope you will join us for this adventure by downloading the app and sending your thoughts, feedback and ideas to feedback@coveymom.com. I can’t wait to see what we can do together. Thanks to everyone for their support of Covey!

 

Vanessa Jameson
Covey CEO

In the Wild

When I was six, my parents went on a two-week trip to Germany. I was left in the hands of my grandparents, who I loved.  However, my grandpa, as a retired doctor, was ever cautious. Colds and falling trees and even splinters were lurking around every corner — I can cite specific examples of each of these. So as fate would have it, I got the chicken pox while I was there. The rest of the two weeks were a horrible mashup of oatmeal baths, wearing oven mitts, and laying in a bed with a sheet over my head pretending like I didn’t itch. And god forbid I came into contact with anyone else. Needless to say, it was traumatic and I didn’t take too kindly to my parents ever leaving for longer than a night again.

Why is this relevant now, you ask? Starting next week, I have agreed to take on the same role my grandparents took, but times three. Family of mine is going on a well-deserved vacation and they have three boys under the age of ten, who are prone to broken limbs, bruises, scrapes, lightsaber hits to the head, and lego wounds on bare feet. And they are placing their trust in me to watch these lovable hooligans. My biggest fear is that something will go wrong and the boys will never want their parents to go away again. They might even associate me with any traumatic events that occur. If they’re anything like me, they might still take jabs at their parents about this trip, even when they’re fully grown adults.

photobooth

When the oldest discovered the Photo Booth program on my computer.

Although, perhaps, it should be me worrying about what they’ll get into this week….  As I’m not a parent (yes, that’s right, some of us work at Covey too), I’m sure there will be mishaps and crazy adventures.  I’ve agreed to share them out in the open on our social media channels.  This is your chance to get all the laughs and “I-told-you-so’s” out on the table as I try to navigate this whole parenthood thing. Perhaps it will bring back memories of those far-off days when you were childless.  Please offer advice, I’m sure I’ll need it!

So prepare yourself and follow my up close and personal, “in the wild” misadventures as I post them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And check back in a couple weeks when I write my follow-up review on parenting and see if I made it out alive.

DISCLAIMER: I am not saying that I am a parent or single parent, because I know that at the end of the week I still get to hand them over to their loving parents. But this is a test run, and I hope there’s some humor in the midst of the chaos!

-Hannah Sandoval