Stepmoms are wonderful creatures. As well as stepfathers. Well, let’s be real. Step anything are amazing individuals. They come in and care for children who aren’t technically “theirs.” Stepmoms experience highs and lows. Haley’s daddy and I aren’t together. But, for the most part, we co-parent quite well together. We’ve been divorced almost 3 years now. In those 3 years, I’ve met 4 women who came into Haley’s life. So, needless to say, I’ve experienced all sides of stepmoms.
Divorce isn’t something anyone wishes for. When you marry someone, most of the time, it’s because you love them. But, it happens. It’s part of life. Divorce is just part of the reality of the world today. Regardless of the reason, divorce can be difficult when kids are involved. Where will the kids live? Where will they go to school? There are so many questions that cloud a divorced parents mind.
Quite often on social media you see stepmoms, stepdads, and parents alike bash each other. Now, I don’t know about you, but I like peace. As a divorced parents, I did my research after our divorce. I knew there would be trials and tribulations. As much mental preparation as possible was what I was aiming for. But, not every situation is the same. One parent may disappear. One parent may have been abusive. You never know the case. There are always two sides of every story.
My ex-husband and I have joint custody. But, I am the primary custodial parent. We only live 7 miles away from each other. That makes visiting easy. During the summer we even do it where he gets her a whole week then I get her a whole week. Often he will drive her to school if he is off. He works night shifts as a police officer. I get her half the day on holidays, they get her the other half. Believe me, I know not all relationships are that easy. Parenting isn’t easy in general.
But, this isn’t about me. This is a letter to stepmoms from, well, “the mom.” When I say you are appreciated. It’s not an understatement. You come in and you love children like they’re your own. Sometimes you have to come in and take a “mom” role on by yourself. But, you do it. You put someone else above your own needs.
My exhusband has introduced Haley to a few ladies. Some who really tried. A couple that just did not like me. But, that didn’t make me respect them any less. His current girlfriend is young, pretty, and full of energy. But, she doesn’t like me. I don’t think I’ve ever gave her a real reason not to like me. I’ve attempted to be cordial with her. But, she turns her back when I talk. She gets angry when Jamie and I co-parent. But, I’m hoping and praying over time that she will adjust. That she will realize I’m not here to interfere.
Stepmoms are true gifts from God. They step up. Stepmoms take on a major role in children’s lives.
I want the women in my ex-husbands life to respect him. My biggest wish is that they care for him and my daughter. Because, with respect towards my ex, hopefully they’ll have the same respect with Haley. My wish is that Haley runs and hugs her stepmom. That her stepmom and I can have conversations. We don’t have to be best friends. But, I don’t see an issue with that. I’ll never turn down coffee and adult conversation.
My life has moved on. My ex-husbands life has moved on. He’s with you and I’m with someone else. My ex and I have a beautiful daughter. But, I also have a beautiful son as well. Nobody wishes for divorce. But, it happens. It’s hard. For a while the feelings are wonky. But, it passes. All we want now is for someone to love our children as much as we do.
We don’t co-parent to show you how “good” we are together. We co-parent to make sure Haley knows that we are both behind her. It isn’t our goal to go to parent-teacher conferences looking like one big happy family. More than likely, the teachers know we’re not together. They are supportive of the co-parenting we do. It isn’t for show. Co-parenting is for Haley’s happiness, safety, and health.
There may come a day when being in the “stepmoms club” is behind you. You may add to the family by giving Haley a little sister or brother. When that day comes, I hope you love them equally. I pray that Haley knows she has a family with you. That she knows she has a family with me. That we’re all in this together.
Stepmoms, as a mom, I want to tell you that I care about you. That I am so appreciative that you step in and give our children that “mother figure” when they are with our ex’s. We aren’t here to interfere with your new life. I wish ya’ll nothing but the best.
Do you love all things furry and four legged? Then pet sitting may be the step you need to take. Pet sitting allows you to spend time with furry friends all while making money. What’s the best part? If you start your own pet sitting business you have flexible hours, too. The pet industry continues to boom every year. Why not put your foot out there? It’s time for you to become part of the pet industry, too!
About 8 years ago I took on my first pet sitting gig. I was working at a local veterinarian clinic that offered boarding. We had an older couple that were regular clients. They had the sweetest, senior Chihuahua mix. The couple was aware we offered boarding. But, due to the numerous health problems their dog had, they wanted another option. They asked the veterinarian at the clinic about other options. In response, she began to spread the word around the office. Then she asked me, directly, if I would be interested.
Prior to that invitation, I had never pet sat. What was pet sitting anyways?! But, apparently I was the perfect candidate. I only had one other dog at the time. Another senior Chihuahua. After talking it over with my roommate, I agreed to do it. I contacted the owners, they dropped the dog off, I watched him a few days, and they picked him up and paid me. Easy peasy, right? Well, it depends.
When I took on my first “pet sitting client” 8 years ago, I didn’t know about the legal side of it. I thought I was just doing a favor. The couple never made me sign a contract or threaten me with legal action. Plus, at the end of it all they paid me in cash. This may still be the scenario in some cases, too. But, there is a lot more behind running a successful pet sitting business.
Shortly after my first pet sitting gig, I wanted to turn it into a business. My #1 information avenue was searching the internet.
There are so many amazing pet sitting resources out there. People really have a passion for the pet industry. Plus, numbers don’t lie when it comes to statistics. The pet industry is a billion dollar industry. It’s a billion dollar industry that blooms every year. People love their pets, that’s for sure.
So, let’s start with the basics. There are a few things that should be prepared before you go in full force. I hate to be blunt. But, we live in a sue happy society. You just have to be prepared.
Pet Sitting Business Basics
In 2016, it was noted that 65% of households own at least one pet.
Pet owners spent $5.73 billion on their pets. That’s compared to the $5.41 billion spent in 2015.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an 11% increase in pet industry job growth between 2014 and 2024. Which is considered above average.
The proof is there. The pet industry isn’t going anywhere. It’s a billion dollar industry! So, pet sitting experts are in top demand.
There is a harsh reality to face when considering pet sitting. Well, a few harsh realities. Pet sitting isn’t always playing with cute puppies. Sometimes it can even lead to heartache. But, none the less, it’s a rewarding job that allows you many opportunities. Pet sitting gives you the chance to connect with your community. You can set your own hours (for the most part). Also, there is the opportunity to play with adorable puppies.
Harsh Realities of Pet Sitting
You’re going to get dirty. There will be poop and urine to clean up. You may even deal with some vomiting. A lot of dogs like to get dirty, too.
People like to sue people. Why? Because it can equal up to some major dollars. That’s why protecting your pet sitting business is important. But, we’ll touch on that in a little bit.
There’s a chance you may have to administer medications. That’s why it’s important to be up front with pet owners. If you’re not comfortable, or don’t know how to give insulin – be up front! Proper medicating of pets is very important.
You’ll experience heartache. Some of your favorite clients will pass.
Some pet owners are very particular. You may be making homemade dog food. You may even be on a strict schedule.
Emergencies happen. Make sure you’re 100% honest with what you’re capable of doing.
Be prepared to have some house cleaning to do. Pets can be messy. Inside and outside.
Sometimes you may be out in less than desirable conditions. Ya know, like snow, rain, all that good stuff.
Don’t let the harsh realities of the pet sitting businesses scare you away. There are a lot of positive aspects, too. I hope the reality of pet sitting hasn’t scared you off. Because, now it’s time to learn how to ROCK your pet sitting business!
How to Rock Your Pet Sitting Business
At my other blog, TheThriftyBark.com, you can find a neat little infographic I put together. I’ve posted it below for ya’ll.
Pack the Ultimate Pet Sitting Tote
Extra Leashes – Accidents happen. Better safe than sorry to keep a few extra on you.
Treats – A great reward system. Plus, a great way to get the attention of a pet who isn’t quite interested in you. 😉
Pet First Aid Kit – Once again, accidents happen. Better safe than sorry.
Cleaning Supplies – I don’t think I have to repeat the “accidents happen” again. Always keep paper towels, disinfectant, extra bags, etc. in case of the occasional “uh oh.”
Extra Collars – To go with the extra leashes, of course!
Pet Waste Bags – This kind of falls into the “cleaning supplies” list.
Extra Pet Toys – I know a few dogs who can’t resist the sound of a squeaky toy.
Bottled Water – Those walks can get hot. Make sure you and your furry friend stay hydrated.
Pet Sitting Contracts – These are important to keep. They ensure you’re doing the job the way the pet owner wanted it done.
Notepad + Pen – This will allow you to jot down any notes about your pet sitting visit.
Business Cards – You never know who you’ll meet on your walk. Have business cards available in case anyone inquires about your services.
Camera/Smartphone – One of the things pet owners ask for are pictures. They love seeing their pets while they’re away. Capture your pet sitting stay.
Remember earlier when I talked about people being “sue happy?” This is where the “legal” aspect of pet sitting comes in.
The best way to obtain insurance for your pet sitting business is to look into a pet sitting agency.
Right now, as of 11/21/2016, NAPPS is offering a 10-day sneak preview of what you can get as a member. This is absolutely free. Thanks to NAPPS, though, you can receive many discounts on your pet sitting insurance.
I was a member of Pet Sitters International during my pet sitting career. The best part is they have memberships for the United States, Canada, and International. You can also get discounts on pet sitting insurance through them as well.
Branding your Pet Sitting Business
If you want to go the professional route, make sure you make a name for your business. Create a logo. Have your logo on your business cards and your contracts. Make sure your clients remember you.
This is a guest post thanks to Demi over at Clean Start Cleaning Services.
Ah, pets! The kids that we have not given birth to! As much as we love our furry little friends and take care of them, accidents do happen and instead of getting angry or disappointed in your pet, you should just make sure that you are prepared to act fast and deal with the issue. Below you will find help and instructions on how to make yourself DIY pet stains and odor removal cleaning detergents that are efficient and all-natural.
And it does not matter how many pets you have, whether they are cats or dogs, or both, the following recipes for home-made pet stains cleaning products should be efficient for either case.
DIY Pet Stains & Odor Removal
For the new urine smells you need to make sure to remove as much of the urine as possible, use paper towels for the purpose. Then you can put the soaked towels at your pet’s bathroom place so that it is reminded of where their bathroom is.
Then act fast and use a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to prevent the stain from setting into your carpet. Mix a ½ cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide in a bowl and add a teaspoon of a liquid dish soap. Then sprinkle the entire stain with baking soda and add the liquid. Start scrubbing gently the mixture with a cloth or a brush, but gently, and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Then simply vacuum off the baking soda. If the stain is still there you can repeat this action as many times as it is necessary.
The baking soda acts as a deodorizer in this case and the hydrogen peroxide removes the stain.
Another cleaning product that you can DIY to help you in the fight against pet urine smell and stains is to use both vinegar and baking soda. You will need 2 cups of warm water and 2 cups white (distilled) vinegar, a spray bottle (not necessary) and about 4 -5 teaspoons of baking soda.
Again, the first thing to do is remove the excess urine from your carpet using paper towels. Mix the water and the vinegar in the bottle or in a bowl and add the baking soda. When it stops fizzing it is ready to use. Spray the area or apply the solution with a sponge and let it soak for about 5 minutes. When the time has passed gently scrub and blot the area.
There is another interesting way to eliminate pet odors from your home provided by Canary Wharf CleanStart. Not just the urine smell but the dog or respectively, cat smell that they have. You can use the following recipe on any upholstery in your home – carpet, sofa, pillows, mattress, etc.
In a spray bottle mix two parts water and one part mouthwash – shake the bottle well and spray your couch or carpet with it. Put newspaper on the sprayed area and let it sit for a while. The newspaper will absorb the bad smell and the mouthwash will leave it fresh-scented for a while. The mouthwash smell will wear off and the pet odor will be gone as well. You can use this even on your pet’s bed.
If you do not have carpets to deal with, but have a hard floor you can make a floor cleaner specifically to take care of the smells and stains left by your pet – mix a teaspoon of baking soda, a teaspoon of Dawn dish soap, ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide and a ½ cup of white vinegar in a bowl or a spray bottle. Either spray on your floor and wipe with a rag or simply use a mop. This will clean your floors from muddy or any other stains your pet has made and also remove any unpleasant odor.
These DIY cleaning products are easy to make, save you money and work miraculously. Make sure you try them soon.
** Disclosure: I received a Kidioke book for free in exchange for my review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Christmas is right around the corner. Are you still at a lost when it comes to buying for your smallest fan? Then you have to check out Kidioke! Plus, Kidioke has a cool app you can download to go with the book, too. My daughter has made me promise her I will get her another one. I think it’s a great idea. It’s a fun product and plus it’s educational, too. Especially when Haley is now learning to read.
The past few months have been a roller coaster for our family. As many of you know, my kids stay sick. Dray goes to physical and speech therapy. Haley has epilepsy. Which means we spend a lot of time at the local children’s hospital. About two months ago I quit my job. I didn’t want to. But, with how often my kids were sick, I missed a lot of work. I didn’t feel like I was part of the “team.” Because of the missed work it became hard to afford gas. Not to mention paying a babysitter on top of that, too.
Right before I quit, Haley came down with pneumonia. She had just started kindergarten. Which was really awful. Because. from the get go she missed 2 whole weeks of school. Now, we’re just now getting over another case of pneumonia. Poor girl has been through the ringer. But, that doesn’t stop her excitement. She’s a lot of fun. Even if her 3 hour long stories make absolutely no sense. She loves school. Her intelligence is amazing.
Every afternoon Dray and I sit in the car line at the elementary school waiting to pick her up. We’re waiting at least an hour every day. At first it was hard. Dray is only a year old. It’s hard to keep him entertained. I would bring toys, drinks, snacks, and even let him tear up magazines. But, he gets bored fast. Even his favorite toy doesn’t keep him entertained more than a couple of minutes. Especially if we’re in the car and not moving. He’s great for car rides. Just not sitting still and the car isn’t moving.
Thankfully, a few weeks ago, a miracle came into our lives. We discovered Kidioke. Now waiting in the car rider line isn’t so unbearable. He’s entertained the whole time. Which is amazing to me. All thanks to a book. But, a book that we will stock up on this Christmas season.
What is Kidioke?
Kidioke is basically a book that allows your kids to enjoy the “karaoke” side of life. Each book includes a popular song. The Kidoke books also look cool with the side guitar on each book. The books also have a LED timer display. This helps little ones know when each verse will start.
The Kidioke is a great way to help your little one learn to read. In a fun way, too! Parents will love the song selection, too. Kidioke is bringing back the classics that’s for sure.
Check out my post “5 Christmas Family Traditions You Can Start This Year.” One of the ideas is wrapping up 25 books. Then starting December 1st allow your child to open one book each day until Christmas. I can’t wait to see how stoked Haley is when she sees a few Kidioke books in the mix.
If you have a chance to check out the Kidioke series, let me know how you like it. Plus, what’s your favorite one? The songs are oldies but definitely goodies. I’ll post a review of the Kidioke app next week. So, if you’re familiar with the app – shhh! Don’t give any spoilers. 😉
So, I’ve began to realize how popular these “Starter Pack Memes” are. I have to admit, some of them are hilarious to me. Plus, some of them you can’t deny aren’t true. I’ve decided to create a few of those “Starter Pack Memes” for your entertainment. Well, for my entertainment, too. In my Starter Pack Memes I tried to be considerate. Because I believe that every person I listed is a vital part of the community.
Ya’ll have seen those “Starter Pack Memes” right?! You know the ones that show what you need to be a certain type of person. Now, some of them are quite judgmental. But, some of them are right on par. Plus. pretty hilarious, too.
Some of the great people I know deserve to be celebrated. In order to do that, I created my own “Starter Pack Memes.” Yep. But, these aren’t to degrade these professionals. These “Starter Pack Memes” are to hopefully bring a smile upon a blogger or even a pet owners face.
Now I’d like to introduce you to my newly designed “Starter Pack Memes.” Created just for ya’ll, of course! 😉
Dogs and Kids “Starter Pack” Memes
The Cat Lady “Starter Pack” Meme
I’m not ashamed to say at one time I was the “crazy cat lady.” I worked in a cat sanctuary for a year. It housed over 300 cats. Yep, that’s right 300 of them. I loved my job. Plus, I loved the cats. At one time my family and I fostered 14 cats. That’s a lot. So, I love this “Cat Lady Starter Pack” meme!
The “Animal Rescue” Starter Pack Meme
For over 10 years, I’ve dedicated my life to animal rescue. So, I’d say this “Animal Rescue” Starter Pack meme really hits home. I remember crawling under cars in a junk yard. Just to rescue a dozen puppies. It involved knee high boots and welding gloves. These puppies were feral. Completely feral.
The “I Can’t, It’s My Dogs Birthday” Starter Pack Meme
I know you’ve seen the memes with the dog and their human cuddled up in bed. Then a friend calls asking for a night out. But, nope not happening. Wanna know why? Because it’s the dogs birthday! Now, I’ll have to admit. I’ve owned quite a few dogs in my lifetime. I’ve thrown a birthday party for just one of them. I know. I’m a horrible pet owner. 😉
The “I Just Got A Puppy” Starter Pack Meme
We all get excited when we get a new pet. Nothing is more fun to watch than someone who got a new puppy. Be prepared to see cute outfits, cute bows, and lots of treats. Oh, had to add the chewed up book. Because, that comes with puppy territory, too.
So, let’s talk all you social media moguls. Do you love memes?! If so, share with me some of YOUR favorite “Starter Pack Memes.” I’m always looking for a good laugh. Oh, and don’t worry pet professionals. I’ve got a few more coming just for you!
I’m doing the unthinkable. I’m thinking about Christmas before it’s Thanksgiving. Crazy, right?! Not when we have Christmas family traditions to prepare! Last year we were a family of 4. But, Dray was only two months old. So, the excitement this year is high! I can’t wait to start Christmas family traditions with my little, wild family of four.
Alright ya’ll, I know Thanksgiving isn’t here. But, I can’t stop thinking about Christmas. Of course Haley is over the moon. But, this year will be so much fun. Because, Dray can open presents this year, too! Plus, he can try all the yummy food that will be on the table. Talk about the crazy mixture of senses he’ll experience this year! I can not wait.
We haven’t began to prep for Christmas. Don’t worry, my tree isn’t up. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t wish it was. All of ya’ll with trees already up, send me pictures. I will leave out my early Christmas dreams through you. But, I do want to start some Christmas family traditions this year. Haley is old enough to remember fun holiday activities now. So, I think this is the perfect time to begin a few.
Now, where do we all go when we’re looking for fun holiday stuff? Pinterest of course! Which then leads you to some amazing bloggers as well. Well, in preparation for our NEW Christmas family traditions, I hit up Pinterest. When I say the ideas are endless, I mean endless. I thought I’d fill ya’ll in on some of the fun pins I found that can help you create your own Christmas family traditions this year.
5 Christmas Family Traditions Your Family Can Start This Year!
How fun does “Reindeer Chow” sound? Plus, it’s easy to make. I found quite a few tutorials on Pinterest that show you how to make this fun snack. What a great way to bring in the Christmas holiday!
Another great Christmas family tradition to start is a “Christmas Eve Box.” I know you’ve seen them on Pinterest, Facebook, and all over social media. They’re the gift wrapped boxes filled with fun stuff for Christmas Eve activities.
Some great things to put in a “Christmas Eve Box” may be:
A Christmas Movie
Here’s a few great blog posts on ideas on what YOU can put in your “Christmas Eve Box.”
I’m pretty sure I saw this idea on Facebook. But, it’s a great idea. We all know how important reading is. Reading can be fun, too. So, why not get your kids all jacked up and excited about reading?!
This is real simple to do, too. You get 25 books and wrap them in wrapping paper individually. Then from December 1st until Christmas Day you give them one book every day to open.
I’m a HUGE breakfast eater. I love breakfast. There’s no better way to wake up Christmas morning than the smell of a yummy breakfast waiting for you. Thankfully, there are a lot of recipes you can just throw in the crock pot overnight. Little prep and it will be ready for you in the morning.
Check out these yummy recipes you can try out to begin your Christmas Breakfast Tradition:
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a fan of being in pictures. I don’t mind taking pictures. But, I’d rather not be in them. It’s important to capture moments though. So, make sure that taking pictures is part of your Christmas family traditions.
Some ideas for great Christmas pictures include:
Decorating the tree
Wearing a Santa hat
Wearing Christmas pajams
A mistletoe kiss
Reading a Christmas book together
Visiting Christmas lights
Putting up Christmas lights
I know ya’ll are kicking me. Why would I even start talking about Christmas before Thanksgiving?! I just can’t help myself. Plus, I plan on publishing Dogs + Kids FIRST ever Holiday Gift Guide within the next two weeks. Before I get that published, I had to spread some holiday cheer. How do you celebrate the holidays with your family? What traditions does your family have?
As a mom, I always worry about my kids. Especially when they’re not with me. Of course I want to spend a lot of time with them. But, every second their whole life isn’t possible. Sometimes I’d love to be able to see what they’re doing when I’m not around. I guess that sounds a little creepy. But, I know quite a few moms who use mommy cams. But, is recording someone legal? Well, it depends.
Disclosure: I am not a lawyer. I have absolutely no previous experience in the “law field.” All information below is information I’ve acquired through research and speaking to law professionals. This is just for personal informational purposes only.
During college, I took on quite a few side jobs. Side jobs that included being a nanny. I pet sat as well. One of my nanny jobs as well as one of my pet sitting assignments included cameras. I know this for sure. The home owners were up front with me. They told me they recorded activity in their homes 24/7. This is something I consented to. I’ve never had a personal problem with someone recording me. I mean, of course, as long as I know. It would just be creepy to me that someone is watching me and I have no idea. Thankfully all my clients have always been up front with me.
I’m sure the question has crossed your mind quite a few times. Especially if you’re a mom.
Is recording people legal?
Well, here in the United States, there are 38 states that allow the “one party consent.” Which allows the conversation to be recorded as long as at least one person consents. That one person can be the person that is recording the conversation. As long as they are part of the conversation.
Let’s start with what the United States law considers “illegal.”
It is illegal to record a conversation that at least one consenting party is not a part of. Example: Two individuals are having a conversation. You record the conversation that you’re not a part of. Neither individual gave you the okay to record them. This is illegal.
You can not hack into a telephone line if you want to hear conversations that were previously recorded.
You can not pretend to be someone you’re not in order to get someone else’s phone records.
These are the Federal guidelines if you are thinking about is it legal to record someone or not. But, each state carries their own set of laws in regards to recording someone.
States That Require ALL Parties To Consent To Being Recorded
In order for a telephone company to record a phone conversation, they have a few rules to follow, too.
Prior oral and/or oral consent saying that all parties agree to be recorded.
A notification, prior to the conversation starting, that the conversation is being recorded.
A beep tone throughout the conversation. Both parties must be able to hear the tone. This lets all parties know that the conversation is still being recorded.
So, is recording someone legal?
To sum it up, recording someone, in most states in the United States, is legal as long as you’re part of the conversation. Also, as long as you consent to the recording.
But, keep in mind: not all states follow the “one consent” agreement. Some require all parties to be aware that they are being recorded. You will have to check with your state.
As a mom, I always want to know what my kids are up to. But, I don’t think I’d ever want anyone uncomfortable. That’s why I’m so thankful for the technology today. I may not be able to see every movement my kids make. But, the people they are with are always kind enough to snap a picture or video and send it to my phone. Have you ever done the whole “nanny cam” thing? Either for a sitter or a pet sitter? Did you inform your sitter? I’d love to hear some funny “nanny cam” stories, too! With all the sad stuff going on in the world today, a happy story is always appreciated.
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dogs and kids
Hey ya'll! I'm a 20-something mom of two amazing kids. Both under the age of five. I've also enjoyed working in the pet industry for 10+ years now. Find out more about our little gang here.
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