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Inside His Head: My husband won’t say no to our kids

By nwamamas - Last updated: Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dear Inside His Head,

My husband doesn’t seem to be able to say no to our kids. They’ll go to him rather than me when we’re shopping (for example) because they know he’ll let them buy a certain toy or candy. He works long hours and I think he might be trying to make up for not being home as much, but it makes it harder on me when I try to put limits on spending — or taking them on outings, etc. How can I help my husband understand he’s not doing them any favors by saying yes most of the time?

GRAY: Kids can smell which parent will say yes and which will say no. Whether it’s asking for a piece of candy or the keys for the car, they know how to play the two of you off each other better than anyone else you’ll ever encounter.

I know when my daughter puts on her puppy dog eyes it’s difficult for me not to just open my wallet and say “Here, just take it all.” It doesn’t have anything to do with the hours I work, I just think some kids know how to wrap parents around their finger.

I’d suggest three things to make sure he doesn’t rock the boat too much:

Set limits. Nothing makes me feel better than seeing a smile on my daughter’s face, but the reality is she’ll often be just as happy with something that cost a buck as she would something costing twenty. Set a cap on what he has to spend – or, better yet, suggest they get that money as an allowance so they’ll learn how to be responsible with their own money. He can still have fun with them picking out what they want to buy for themselves.

Back each other up. In the heat of the moment we can forget how saying yes to that piece of candy may be undermining the lesson you were teaching them about finishing their dinner. Take some time to talk about what’s important to teach your kids so you’re not pulling on opposite sides of the same issue. Being on the same page about those goals can keep you covering each other’s backs when the kids zoom in on the weakest link.

Focus on the long term. That $2 pack of gum at the cash register sometimes seems innocent enough, but if you succumb to that every week you’re looking at over $100 a year. Make plans for that family vacation, maybe something really obvious like a jar with how much money you need to make the vacation happen. It’s a lot harder to spend that $2 when you can see how it would instantly make an impact on a long-term goal. It’s also easier for a kid to weigh the merits of a piece of gum they’ll spit out in 5 minutes against some genuine fun, such as a roller coaster ride.

MAVERICK: First you have to ask yourself if this is how your husband has always been or if its a new behavior.

If it’s his standard, go-to move to spoil the kids with material stuff, particularly in a store, it’s likely how he was raised.

Some families put a lot of emphasis on stuff. Likely his dad got him stuff and that’s how he perceived he was cared for and loved. Not always, but you often see this behavior with folks who focus on the material. Often they’re oblivious that they were basically bought off as a child. With some folks, it doesn’t matter. Nature or nurture, you make the call.

It didn’t matter that my dad never had an honest-to-God conversation with me, he bought me a new car when I turned 16.

It didn’t matter that my father never spent four hours with me uninterrupted, understood me, or even ever tried to, since, you see, he paid for my college.

If the stuff equals affection/love link is hardwired in your hubby, it will be slow going getting him to change.

In this case I’d suggest you just point out, when you’re away from the kids,  that he’s clearly buying them stuff so they’ll like him maybe he could quit the Santa Claus act for a while and just act like an actual father.

Fathers consider the long term implications of what they do with their children. So they don’t do stuff like lie to to their kids because it’s easier in the short term; or let their kids watch something on TV that’s inappropriate because they want to watch it for themselves or buy them the latest device, or shoes or heaven help us car, so their kids can keep up with trends because they don’t want to face the blowback or even worse. It’s important to them that they look as cool as their peer’s kids.

In the same vein, tell him lovingly that actual fathers don’t let their kids buy everything at a store because it’s a vital lesson to learn that A) they can’t always have everything they want whenever they want it. B) Stuff costs money and even though you can afford to buy them tons of crap, it’s still crap at the end of the day and they don’t need it C) That fathers are confident enough in their relationships with their kids that it can survive the kid being mad at him because the kid didn’t get  a Coke, pop-rocks and a bag of sugar at 10 p.m. at Walmart on a school night.

If this is a sudden thing, then I think your assessment that it could be guilt because of all the hours is dead on. Try to be gentle but let him know he’s not doing you any favors because he’s making it harder and harder for you to keep the troops in order. Use some of the examples above but give him more slack if he’s not actually a materialistic numbskull.

Bottom line is,  a simple, non-critical discussion is the best solution. He might  not even realize he’s doing it. If it’s an ingrained behavior, it’ll take quite a while but you should eventually be able to convince him always saying yes does nobody any favors.

MICHAEL: You have to tell him. You’re most likely right.

He probably feels like he’s not giving his children enough of his time so he compensates by giving them things. I doubt he’s doing it just to make your life difficult, though. But you can’t tell him he’s doing something wrong.

Raising children requires that the parents come to an agreement about how to best compromise and give their children the direction they can both agree on. You can’t fix the problem if you can’t agree that there is one.

Tell him you’ve noticed he’s been doing this and question whether he thinks it’s happening as well. If he doesn’t, then you need to have several concrete examples. Let him know that since you’re the one that spends the most time with the children, he’s undermining your authority by circumventing the rules and guidelines you’re giving them while he isn’t there.

You also have to give him an outlet to show his affection to the children. Some people see gifts as a way to communicate that, so it just needs to be controlled. Have him do it as a reward for something the children have done for you instead of just because they ask.

In the end you both need to get to the root cause, discuss the impacts of the actions and reconcile to a common approach.

Have a question for the guys? Email it to mamas{at}nwaMotherlode{dot}com.

Pet Parenting: How to take the dog on your Disney trip

By nwamamas - Last updated: Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Guest post by Denise Holmes, dog-trainer and blogger at

Recently, I wrote a post for Travel Tails recounting a trip to Orlando with my dog, Henri. In the retelling of that adventure I mentioned that next time, I needed a visit to the Happy Place.

disneyworld1As in, Disney World.

Yes, I’m one of those.

That got me thinking. EPCOT Food and Wine Festival is September 19th – November 10th, and Christmas, my all-time favorite time to visit Disney EVER, is coming. I was in need a of a return visit, and I wanted to take Henri with me. But taking a dog on a Disney trip? How does that work?

The parks are obviously kid and family friendly, but what if your family includes your dog? (I’m 43 and single; Henri is the sole benefactor of my maternal instincts. I don’t expect him to be able to go to the parks with me, but I don’t want to board him for a week either.)

Fort Wilderness, for RVs and camping, is the only on-property Disney resort (‘on property’ means ‘on Disney property’) that allows dogs. We don’t have an RV, and camping in November, even in Orlando, isn’t really what I had in mind.

Well, as a former cast member, I was sure I could solve this little problem with some research. I knew Disney had a dog boarding, grooming, and daycare facility. Daycare isn’t really Henri’s favorite thing in the world, but it did solve the problem of what he’d be doing all day while I was traipsing through the parks.

Best-Friends-Pet-CareBest Friends Pet Care is a large chain pet care facility with 42 locations in 18 states, including one at Disney World. This is good news for guests, because the old kennels were just that. Kennels. The new facility is located on property, and much improved. It definitely meets what I envision Disney standard to be.

You can choose from a wide range of services (grooming, special treats) and activities (play group, a movie) for your dog. There is even a private dog park where you can play with your dog, or take a walk around the grounds. They open one-hour before the parks, and close one-hour later. Perfect for drop-off and pick-up, because I don’t envision leaving Henri there overnight.

(We’re co-dependent.)

Now, all I needed to find was a nearby dog-friendly hotel. I figured the easiest way to do that was ask. I wouldn’t recommend calling to ask because, when I called one of the Disney Reservation Agents, I got stuck talking to one of those electronic voices that ask 50 personal questions.

If you have questions concerning anything Disney, go online to, click ‘contact us,’ then, ‘chat.’ It took about 10 minutes to disney-good-neighbor-hotel-largeget a cast member to answer my questions. In my brief chat with the online cast member, I discovered Good Neighbor Hotels and Resorts. These are properties not owned by Disney but located on or near Disney property. THAT’S what I needed! There was even a website:

Once you’re on the site, click the link ‘Explore Hotels Now.’  It will take you to a page that allows you to select your hotel location, category, and features preferences. For location, you want Lake Buena Vista. (That’s where Disney World is located. Kissimmee and I-Drive would likely provide less expensive options, but they are, in my opinion, too far away.)

The only other feature I selected was ‘Pet Friendly.’ I found three choices: Clarion Inn, Holiday Inn, and the Sheraton.

Clarion has what they call VIP service (Very Important Pet), but it doesn’t offer any extra amenities like some hotels do. It’s just a fancy way of saying they allow pets. They accept dogs under 50 lbs., and require a $50 non-refundable deposit, along with an extra $15/day. Dogs must be crated if left in the room unattended. That’s a NO for us. Henri doesn’t crate.

The Sheraton allows dogs 80 lbs. or less, which is awesome for the folks traveling with big dogs. If your dog is over 50 lbs., it can be difficult to find a place. They require no deposit or extra room fee; however, they do not allow your dog to be left unattended. That could be a little inconvenient, even for someone who rarely leaves her dog.

dogs welcomeThe Holiday Inn seems the best choice for us. We meet their weight limit, 65 lbs. or less, and there were no other stated rules about crates or attendance. They charge a $50/ 5 days fee with a $10/ day after that. Not too bad.

All three of the hotels have shuttle transportation to and from the parks. But none of the shuttles allow dogs. I needed to get Henri to and from daycare, but I didn’t want to drive. It didn’t make any sense to drive him to daycare, then drive back to the hotel and take a shuttle to the park. I also didn’t want to drive to the park, walk, lose my car, walk some more, and then hope to eventually find my car in that ginormous parking lot.

Lucky for me, one of the hotels I called couldn’t answer my question concerning dogs on the shuttles and referred me directly to the company that operates them. To confirm: no dogs on the shuttles. Solution? Fleetwood Transportation will arrange to have a taxi pick up you and your dog. They will take you wherever you want to go. Personal service. Even better.DickeyStephens

So, if you are headed to Orlando for a Disney vacation and you want to take the family dog, you can do it! Book your room at one of the previously mentioned hotels; make reservations for your dog at Best Friends Pet Care; then call Fleetwood Transportation to schedule your ride. Easy as 1, 2, 3!

Now, don’t you think Henri and I should get to ride in the Grand Marshal car for the three o’clock parade?

Follow Denise’s adventures on her blog,, as she travels the world with her beloved Henri. 


Good Gossip: Latest news on favorite celebs

By nwamamas - Last updated: Tuesday, October 21, 2014

good gossip celebrities

Yes, we do love a little celebrity gossip but we also know it’s not cool to do something we teach our kids NOT to do. It’s never okay to indulge in stuff meant to humiliate or hurt another person. That’s why we came up with the concept of “Good Gossip,” which is celeb news minus any mean stuff. Have as much as you want because this “dish” is all guilt-free.

As always, this feature is sponsored by Great Day Farms, a national brand based right here in NWA. Look for their products at the Walmart Supercenter. Click HERE to like them and get coupons on their Facebook page.

ryan-reynolds-and-blake-livelyAwwww, Ryan Reynolds is going to be a daddy. Ryan and his wife actress Blake Lively are expecting their first baby. Blake revealed the good news on her website called Congrats to the new parents-to-be!

jennifer lawrenceLooks like Jennifer Lawrence may have cozied up to a new boyfriend. She has been spotted recently with singer Chris Martin (who “uncoupled” from Gwyneth Paltrow not long ago.) Chris is the lead singer for Coldplay. They’ve been spotted together in London and in Malibu, where Chris lives. Jennifer once said that all she needs in a relationship is somebody “to watch TV with me.” Pass the remote!

tony goldwynScandal‘s fake president, actor Tony Goldwyn, met the real President this year. He said that President Obama came up to him and said, “Mr. President! How do you do it? Where’s the grey hair? Where are the wrinkles?” Goldwyn said he was very charming. The actor’s response was this: “Sir, my job isn’t nearly as stressful as yours.”

emma stoneEmma Stone is SO pretty in a picture in the most recently issue of People magazine. And she is getting some Oscar buzz for her new movie called Birdman with Michael Keaton. Her next job is to play Sally Bowles in Cabaret on Broadway. When she does get a little time away from work, she hangs out with boyfriend Andrew Garfield (who starred with her in Spider-Man,) and her perfect day off would be reading, watching a movie or walking along the river. Emma says that, in 10 years, she hopes for “family, peace, a home and challenging work.”

hilary swankWhen she’s not busy making movies or winning Oscars, Hilary Swank loves to dance. For her 40th birthday party, she hired a teacher who taught everyone at the party how to line dance. “We danced the night away under the stars at this incredible ranch north of Los Angeles,” she said.

Josh-ElliottJosh Elliot of NBC Sports (formerly on Good Morning America) got engaged to Liz Cho, who is an anchor on a local news station in New York City. Josh proposed to her during a trip to Europe.

Source: People magazine, October 27, 2014 issue

Good Gossip is sponsored by CCF Brands, a Northwest Arkansas company which makes Great Day All Natural Eggs. These eggs are produced by happy hens who are fed premium vegetarian diets with no animal fats, animal by-products, or antibiotics. Great Day Farms also offers hard-boiled eggs, which you can find in the deli section of the Walmart Supercenter. (Love the hard-boiled eggs because they’re peeled and ready to eat! Perfect in salads.)

Giveaway: Photo Shoot with Freedom Dreamer Photography

By nwamamas - Last updated: Monday, October 20, 2014

Happy Monday, mamas! The winner of this week’s giveaway is going to see herself in a whole new way. We’re sending one local woman to a 5-hour photo shoot experience courtesy of photographer Marsha Foster of Freedom Dreamer Photography. The winner also gets one free 8×10 print of her favorite image from the photo shoot. This package would normally cost more than $500!

freedom dreamer 3Marsha specializes in boudoir photography, which can be as conservative or as bold as you want it to be. (Click HERE to read an earlier article we wrote about Marsha’s work.) The client decides what to wear — which could include a range of outfits like a fabulous dress, your favorite jeans or the kind of lingerie that would make your husband’s head spin. (Many of Marsha’s clients give some of their photos to their husbands as an anniversary, birthday or Christmas gift.)

If there are certain areas of your body you’re not too crazy about, don’t sweat it. A professional photographer knows how to position you in each shot so that your best features are emphasized and your not-so-favorite features fade away. Marsha is in the business of photographing REAL women and mothers — not stick-thin twenty-somethings who have never wrangled a toddler in their lives.

Boudoir photography captures images that help you see yourself the way your husband sees you — as that beautiful, feminine and, yes, even sexy woman that you are.

freedom dreamer 4At least two weeks before the photo shoot, Marsha will meet with the photo shoot winner for a consultation. She’ll get to know more about you and your personality and what freedom dreamer sportytype of feeling you want your photos to convey. (Flirty and sporty in a sports jersey, jeans or a tank top? Soft and feminine in silk or lace? Bold and edgy in a leather jacket?) She’ll give you tips on the kind of outfits that photograph best and show you plenty of photography Pinterest boards where she has collected great ideas to help inspire you.

On the day of the photo shoot, all you have to do is arrive at the studio with your outfits and a make-up free face. Marsha’s makeup artist and hair stylist Ashley Gregory will do the rest — including eyelashes, hair extensions, professional makeup — the works! After a couple hours to relax and get gorgeous, the 3-hour photo shoot begins. If you’ve ever wanted to experience the full supermodel treatment, this is your chance. Marsha calls it the “Full Day of Sexy.”

After the photo shoot, Marsha will meet with you to review more than 200 shots she will capture during the photo shoot. She’ll help you review the shots so you can narrow down your favorites. CLICK HERE to see a short video of what a photo shoot in session looks like. Click on any of the photos shown here to visit the Freedom Dreamer website and get more info.

HOW TO ENTER: To throw your name in the online hat for the complimentary photo shoot and print, click the words “post a comment” below and tell us what makes you feel beautiful. Is it a certain dress? The way your freedom dreamer legshusband smiles at you? A killer pair of stilettos? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

INCREASE YOUR ODDS OF WINNING: If you’d like to increase your odds of winning the Freedom Dreamer photo shoot, just email friends and family about the giveaway and CC us so we’ll be sure to give you credit. We’ll give you an extra chance to win for each person you tell. The email is

(You can also earn an extra chance to win by signing up to receive the free email newsletter we send once a week. The sign-up box is at the top right of this page.)

BE SOCIAL: You can also earn extra chances to win by commenting on our Facebook page, following us on Twitter or following us on Pinterest. If you do any of those, just mention it in your comment or email so we can give you proper credit.

We’ll tell the winner the good news via email at the end of the week, so watch your inbox. Good luck, mamas!

Devotion in Motion: Befriending the unfriendly

By nwamamas - Last updated: Sunday, October 19, 2014

22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart. 

1 Peter 1:22   (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

“Well, the Bible says I have to LOVE him, but it doesn’t say I have to LIKE him!” You’ve heard someone say that before, haven’t you? (I’ll bet it was one of your aunts.) The opening quote is a common (Southern) utterance expressing exasperation at having to deal with an irritating person.

Those who say it indicate that they’re willing to extend the bare-bones-goodwill of Christian tolerance to people who bother them — but absolutely nothing more than that. They base this upon their understanding of the Scriptures. And although it is a statement that is often spoken, my study of the Scriptures has led me to believe that it’s not entirely true.

Look at today’s Bible verse (at the top), and think about it carefully. Did you notice that St. Peter uses the word “love” two times? He is twice giving us an cat friends2exhortation to love other people — using a different Greek word (with different shades of meaning) for “love” each time.

If I were making a translation of the verse, I would say something like this: “You already have Christian love for others. Now, go past that. Love them some more. And then be friends with them.”

So, the next time you hear it, (gently) tell your aunt or friend or neighbor that she is mistaken. And charge right ahead and love that person who is so difficult to love. And then ask the Lord to fill your heart with love and touch your heart with grace so that you can begin to “like” that difficult person.

After all, isn’t that just the sort of thing that Jesus would do?

john l cashDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 29 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the weather has been gorgeous the past few days.) Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 23), and Seth (age 20).

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