By Shara Lawrence-Weiss

I recently wrote a post related to the idea that December ought not be the “Season of Giving.” http://www.mommyperks.com/vip/?p=15777

The same might also be said for those who consider themselves Champions of Small Business. I’ve been working with small business owners for a few years now and there’s one topic that doesn’t come up all that often but it’s there, buried underneath much resentment and frustration:

“I would love to support others more but I need others to support me first.”

When the holidays roll around I see more of these women supporting other businesses, buying holiday gifts from their fellow business owners and so on. After the holidays are done, sales fall short. Now, this is very typical for many businesses:  the holidays bring an uptick in traffic, promotions and sales, sure. We all know, though, that spending continues throughout the year, right? From birthday parties and Easter to summer time crafts and Fall gatherings – people continue to spend money but generally speaking they seek purchases outside the small business realm at this point. They figure, “I supported someone at Christmas time – I’m done now.”

No doubt this is their right. We have every right to spend our money where we please. It’s interesting to note, however, that the small business owners I work with who continue to support small biz year round, seem to have a more successful run.

Some might chalk this up to “what goes around comes around” while others would credit a Spiritual way of thinking: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Luke 6:31). Whatever you believe you have probably seen it for yourself at some point: that the givers get more back.

From my perspective, working with so many small business owners, there appears to be something in common with the moms who truly succeed long term:

  • They have giving and generous hearts and an outgoing nature
  • They typically welcome people into their lives
  • They chat openly about things and don’t keep the emotional doors closed
  • They maintain a good sense of humor and are capable of laughing at themselves and their mistakes
  • They enjoy what they are doing and they want to support others, even when others do not support them in return

I certainly cannot say that these observations are based on scientific research or $10,000 studies, using tax payer money to find the answers. The observations are based on my own experiences over the years. The women who do well in small business seem to have this overall package personality: a Givers Gain mentality. That’s not to say that all givers do succeed because they do not. I have seen far more of the givers succeed than the takers, though – I can tell you that much. When the givers seem to be struggling, others surround them and help to pull them back up; as though a fleet of warriors are there in the waiting. Those who have continually taken, asked for things, waited on others to support them first and so on… find that their boat is quite lonely when the ship begins to sink.

Givers gain more than Takers? I would say yes.

Shara Lawrence-Weiss has a background in education, early childhood, special needs, freelance and marketing. She owns various websites including: Mommy Perks, Kids Perks, Personal Child Stories, Early Childhood News and Resources and Pine Media (co owner). Shara is an active member of her town charity group and a Library Board Member. Learn more about her at Mommy Perks.

It’s that time of year again- cold weather, snow, ice, clouds and days with less sunlight.  For parents, winter is a tough time- finding activities that are always inside, worrying about snow days and delays and making sure kids get plenty of physical exercise even though the weather is cold and the days are shorter. On top of that some parents have to deal with a type of depression called Seasonal Disorder. This type of depression usually happens in the winter months due to the weather and shorter periods of daylight. Being that this type of depression is seasonal, the symptoms usually come back the same time every year and go away around the same time. The symptoms usually start late fall or early winter and the symptoms start to disappear when the warmer weather and longer days of sunlight return.
 
If you are feeling under the weather during the cold winter months but not sure if you are having seasonal disorder, here are some of the symptoms associated with SAD.
 
1. Feelings of sadness, hopelessness and anxiety during the winter months
 
2. Feeling fatigue, loss of energy, trouble concentrating and unmotivated.
 
3.  The feelings of sadness, fatigue, isolated, etc start out mild and become more severe as the winter progresses.
 
4. Change in appetite and sleeping habits.
 
5. Social withdrawal – loss of interest in social activities and hobbies. I know a few clients who “Hibernate” during the winter months. They don’t leave their house very often during the winter months, they stop socializing and enjoying their daily activities – they start feeling isolated, lonely and depressed. Watch out for this pattern.
 
The cause of Seasonal disorder is still unknown but we know environmental factors plays a role. I have a client who lives in upstate New York near a lake and gets “the lake effect” where he gets so much snow and very little sun all winter. This client has had seasonal disorder at the same time every year since his move to upstate New York.  We also know that Seasonal disorder can run in the family – genetics plays a role. Seasonal disorder is more common in women and we usually see symptoms starting in young adulthood.
 
Treatment:
 
There are treatment options for Seasonal disorder. If you have a mild case, you can take preventive methods such as seeking a counselor right before late fall to start talking to someone who can help. For some, having more sunlight added to their office and home helps. For other clients, keeping physically active and busy helps. Some clients feel a sense of isolation and loneliness in the winter months, if this is the case setting up vacation time  in warm, sunny spots can help and give you something to look forward to. Also, adding more social activities where you will be surrounded with family and friends can give the extra support you need. The weather is cold and snowy but we do know that being outside in the winter months is beneficial. Go outside for quick walks and sit in the sun to help lift your spirits.
 
Light Therapy – we know that increased sunlight helps improve the symptoms of seasonal disorder. There are certain lights you can buy called “ Light Therapy Box” which mimics outside light and helps you lift your mood and spirits
 
Meds- Doctors have prescribed anti-depressants that have worked well for some patients.
 
Psychotherapy – is another great option. The therapist can help you identify your negative thoughts and behaviors and help change them. A therapist can also help you find good coping skills to feel better.
 
Diane Lang is a member of our Expert Blogger Panel. For more information on Lang, or her new book: Creating balance & finding happiness, please visit her website: www.dlcounseling.com or contact her at [email protected]

Lorie Martinez started her online business, Royal Feather, in September of this year. Her shop offers a variety of children’s gifts and home décor.

As a stay-at-home-mom, Martinez works on her business when her son is napping and later in the evening when he’s asleep for the night. “I have an amazing and supportive husband who helps with everything from dinner to changing stinky diapers,” she added.

“Don’t ever put aside your dreams of starting your own business,” she said. “When you discover exactly what you would love to do, you manage to find the time to make it all happen.” Martinez also encourages aspiring mom entrepreneurs to talk about their business idea with others. “You never know who you will meet and can either give you first-hand advice or has a business of their own that could be of some help to you.”

According to Martinez, it’s very rewarding to be able to say “this was all just an idea, and now it’s a reality.” 

You can save 10% at Royal Feather with coupon code MOMMY10. Readers of the blog will receive 10% off their entire order from now until December 31 and receive free gift wrapping as well. In addition to the website, you can also find Royal Feather on Facebook, Twitter and their blog.

Do you have most of your shopping done but still looking for a few great items to top it off? Visit the Stocking Stuffer listings in our Holiday Gift Guide for a few ideas.

All of the companies featured in our guide are small, mom-owned businesses. So, when you purchase from them, you are helping to support a family, rather than pad the pockets of corporate executives. Take a look and see what these businesses have to offer before you shop elsewhere this year!

EatSmart Precision Voyager Luggage Scale:: Never pay overweight bag fees again! The scale is compact, lightweight and durable so you can take it along for the return journey. The Precision Voyager is a practical solution from the casual vacationer to the road warrior!

Love Mom Specialties:: Stocking stuffers for sweet dreams. Creative and engaging gifts under $10! You can save even more when you use coupon code Holiday2011 to save 10%!

Did you know that feelings can make you hungry? Ava Parnass has been a child and family psychotherapist for over 15 years and is a strong advocate for a comprehensive approach to a healthy lifestyle.

She developed a line of products, including the book she sent me, with children in mind. She hopes to help them better communicate their thoughts and feelings to their parents and loved ones in order to grow up in a healthier environment.

She sent me an e-copy of “My Feelings are Hungry.” The book highlighted reasons why a child might be overeating and ways to talk through feelings that may be causing it.

According to Parnass, “Children dont know what they feel and need to be taught the words to describe the feelings inside so they feel better and behavior improves. My Feelings Are Hungry teaches them to express themselves in a creative way while still knowing they are in a safe environment,” she said.

I really enjoyed the book and the character ‘Mushy The Magic Book’ helped make it entertaining for my six-year-old too. It was a great way to open up conversation.

To purchase the book, or check out some other great resources from Parnass, visit her website at Listen to Me Please.

Have you done your holiday cards yet? If not, it’s time to get started! Sometimes, with the hustle and bustle of the season, cards can get overlooked. However, I still recommend sending them. Nothing compares to getting a nice greeting in the mail, especially at the holidays. Our Holiday Gift Guide is a great place to look when choosing cards, especially if you’d like something unique and custom.

Not to mention, all of the businesses featured in our guide are small, mom-owned businesses. So, when you purchase from them, you are helping to support a family, rather than pad the pockets of corporate executives. Take a look and see what our gift guide has to offer, before you shop elsewhere!

Print Art Kids:: Turn your children’s artwork into unique, one-of-a-kind holiday cards. I’ve used their services before, and I highly recommend them. Read about my experiences here. Hurry; there is still time to get custom cards ordered for Christmas!

Kerry Lehman Chope opened KLC Studio in August of this year. She specializes in personalized paintings, small works on canvas, children’s room art as well as other commissioned pieces for the entire home.

Like most mom entrepreneurs, she must make a conscious effort to balance family and business effectively. “I do most of my creative work in the morning after I get the kids on the bus,” she said, “and I try to be available and present for them when they are home in the afternoons.” On some occasions, Chope needs to get a little work done while they are home. “I will set them up with an activity they love, then sneak in a half an hour or so nearby.”

Chope is passionate about what she does and advises other moms to do the same. “We only have our one life to live, if there is something you truly enjoy doing, make the time to do it!”

KLC Studio is offering free shipping to Market Mommy readers. Simply enter code SHIPFREE23 to qualify.  You can find KLC Studio on Esty.

Do you have a foodie on your holiday shopping list? Food and gourmet gifts have always been a popular option, and now it seems as though you can ship almost anything! The Holiday Gift Guide at Market Mommy dedicated a section this year to ‘Gourmet Gifts’ for the foodies on your list!

All of the companies featured in our guide are small, mom-owned businesses. So, when you purchase from them, you are helping to support a family, rather than pad the pockets of corporate executives. Take a look and see what these businesses have to offer before you shop elsewhere this year. 

Prepared Housewives (Go Foods):: Their mission is to help millions of people feed their freedoms while providing a vehicle for financial prosperity. Try six meals for free this holiday season! Visit their website for details.

I was recently provided with a Five Pocket Clutch from Amber Davis and Thirty-one gifts to review. As an on-the-go mom, I’m always in need of something that will make my life simpler and more organized. The clutch has been a welcome addition for that reason.

The clutch has worked perfectly for filling and then throwing in my gym bag. On most days it holds my Kindle, ear phones, keys, my cell phone and other odds and ends. I toss it in my gym bag and when my clothes and bag stay in my locker, the clutch and its contents go with me to the elliptical.

The clutch has five pockets, so it’s easy to keep organized. My phone goes in one place, the Kindle in another and the earphones in yet another. When I need to grab something I know exactly where it is.

The clutch is roomy, too. For most intents and purposes, this is a good thing. However, I think it is just a tad too big to be used with the wristlet strap. I prefer to carry it as an actual clutch, under my arm or in my hand. That’s the only downside, if you even consider that a downside, that I’ve experienced.

As you can see, mine is in the Black Parisian Pop fabric. It’s modern and attractive and since it’s black and white, coordinates with almost anything. The fabric choices are one of my favorite things about Thirty-one products. They really do look great. And, the clutch has been holding up great. It shows no signs of wear and tear from the past couple of months of being used regularly.

I’m thrilled with my new clutch, just like I have been with the other products from Thirty-one that I own.

If you’re interested in purchasing any Thirty-one gifts or perhaps joining a team to earn some extra income, contact Davis! She’s featured in our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide, too!

*A free clutch was provided to Market Mommy in order to write this review, however all opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

Gifts for home are always popular during the holidays. From kitchen gadgets to home décor, there’s most likely someone on your list who would appreciate a gift for their home. The Holiday Gift Guide at Market Mommy features several great gift ideas for the these people on your list!

The companies featured in our guide are small, mom-owned businesses. So, when you purchase from them, you are helping to support a family, rather than pad the pockets of corporate executives. Take a look and see what these businesses have to offer before you shop elsewhere for this year!

Candles for Christ:: Candles that feature inspirational and faithful statements on their labels. Sell them for a fundraiser or become an independent consultant today!

Eat Smart Get Fit Scale:: Products from EatSmart promote healthy living!  The Get Fit Scale measures body fat, body water, muscle mass and bone mass.

Old Town Imports:: For more than 10 years, Old Town Imports has been the premier source for entertaining, decorating and gift giving needs at affordable prices. Save 10% off your online order with code MM2011!

Oma’s Quilts:: Oma’s offers a vast selection of finely stitched embroidered quilts, comforters, bedspreads, sheets and other bedding. Save 10% until Dec. 15 with code FALLFRIEND.

Timeless Christmas Stockings::  Stockings that are hand crocheted with a wool blend yarn. Feature fur tops that are soft and warm to the touch. All handmade!