3 Tips for Shopping with Kids

The joys of shopping with kids, it’s such a wonderful experience! The kids walk behind you in two, happy to be bored for the next couple hours as you shop for whatever it is that you need. Oh wait, this only happens in dreamland or occasionally when the kids want something … here in the real world kids aren’t so fun to shop with all of the time.  Today I am going to share a few tips for those of you who are shopping with kids in tow.

3 Tips for Shopping with Kids Parent Influence Blog

Shop Online

You must have realized that I was going to advise against you going out into the store with the kids, right? In all reality shopping online has become widely popular. It’s easy to do and you can do this while the kids sleep. No more dragging the kids during their nap times to the store or requiring the whole family to hop into the vehicle to head to the store. You can even get online savings with Target coupons and more when you shop online! I advise you to shop online whenever you can to avoid the store with kids any chance you have.

Go During Good Time of Day

Every parent knows the best time of day to take their kids anywhere. The good times of day to take your kids shopping usually are earlier in the morning right after they are awake or right after a nap. All too often parents take their kids shopping at a horrible time of day for the kids and then get stressed because the kids are acting amuck! Learn to work around your kids schedule the best you can and go shopping during the good time of day.

Communicate Expectations

I am super famous for this third tip, communicate expectations. Prior to heading into any store to shop with kids, inform the kids of your expectations regarding behavior and what consequences will happen if they don’t behave. When you set clear expectations immediately before entering the store for your shopping trip with kids they are more apt to behave as you have initiated the conversation immediately before the shopping situation.

You Can Survive Shopping with Kids

It’s really easy to have a tolerable experience when you have to go shopping with kids; my number one tip of shopping online really goes a long way. In this day in age of technology, there’s no reason why you can’t start shopping online for a lot of your needs. If you must enter a store to shop with kids, then be certain to set the proper time to leave and communicate with the kids. When you follow these tips I have shared today, you will soon find that shopping with kids isn’t as bad as it used to be.

Issue with Invite the Whole Class to Birthday Party Rule

I recall having a conversation with one of my children awhile back; it was in regards to inviting the whole class to a birthday party. This concept that has become the rule at most schools, when you hand out birthday invitations you must invite the whole class has me frustrated. Here I am listening to my child who most certainly doesn’t want their non-friends at their birthday party leaves me with two options, stick to the rule of inviting the whole class or hunting down each parent of my child’s friend to invite that child to the birthday party. This whole rule of having to invite the whole class leaves parents stuck, because sometimes you can’t afford having the whole class showing up for a party and other times, you don’t believe in “life is fair”.

Issue with Inviting all to Birthday party Rule in Classrooms

Here’s my thoughts on the whole invite the whole class rule many classrooms now abide by; it is not setting children up for the real world. As your child grows into the teen years they will suffer more when that teen peer invites certain people to a party while they don’t invite others. These children will grow up to think that the norm is that everyone is always invited to a special event. The real world isn’t like that. We do not always get invited to the party our friends or peers are hosting. There have been many a gatherings I haven’t been invited to, and that’s okay, because I learned to deal with the feeling of being left out. I have learned to deal with the feeling and acceptance that not everyone likes me. Children should be learning this when they are young, so they can cope with this mentality as adults.

I firmly believe the world is fair to everyone mentality is hurting our future generation of adults; we see it with the millennials. Most millennials feel entitled and the work force even molds their rules to suit this generation of adults. It sickens me that society is making this an okay thing. When it comes to birthday parties, it should be all about the birthday child. The birthday child shouldn’t feel obligated to invite people who are either not their friends simply because they have nothing in common or not their friends because the child is mean. Who wants to have to invite the class bully over to a birthday party? That’s just insane, yet the school system requires that you hand out invites to the whole class or nobody.

Parent Influence Blog Stop Inviting All to Childrens Birthday Parties

I have for a long time struggled with this concept and often times have not hosted a birthday party for my sons, who have a true difficulty with this concept. They would much rather me take the extra effort in hunting down parents than have to hand an invitation to someone who isn’t their friend. How awkward it would be as adults, having a party and having to have people there who are not your friends celebrating your birthday. Why is it okay to require children to do this? When I was growing up we had mailboxes in our classroom, we dropped the invites in our friends mailboxes and were done with it. Some children felt left out, but that’s part of life.

I wish for the sake of helping children cope with feelings they will incur as teenagers and then adults that we stop making life fair across the board. The silliness has got to stop! As parents, it is our duty to teach our children to rise above differences, to accept that some people won’t like us and that is certainly okay. When you aren’t invited to a peer’s birthday party, it simply means that you two are not friends; it doesn’t mean you are less of a person nor does it mean you are enemies. It is simply a fact that not all human beings get along or have common interests that create that level of friendship versus just another peer in the classroom. Why do we, as parents, have to force this life is fair mentality upon our children? I for one don’t do it. I feel it’s much more important to teach my children that life isn’t fair. I teach my children that they are awesome, unique and just fantastic the way they are.

I teach my children to learn their flaws and work to be better tomorrow than they were today, without pressure to become what society pushes upon them.

My oldest is a great example of how this technique has worked, she has been in many scenarios where girls at another table in the lunch room were talking rudely about her. One of my daughter’s friends went over and informed her that these girls were being rude about her. My daughter’s reply made me proud, she said to her friend, “that’s okay, seriously it isn’t a big deal. I know people don’t like me and I am okay with that. No one has to like me, and they have a right to talk that way among themselves. It’s when they start harassing me, calling me names or being rude to me that they cross a line!” While that is paraphrased, as it happened awhile back, that is how we must raise our children.

This invite everyone to the birthday party, in my opinion, is setting our children up for failure as teenagers and adults for they will lack the experience of handling the emotions that come with being left out!

So how is it that we, as parents, handle this school rule? I am not entirely sure because the school rules apply when our children are at school. It doesn’t appear the school system will be changing this rule anytime soon. I guess all we can do, as parents, is to not force this rule upon our own children, find creative ways to invite only friends to the birthday party. Continue to teach our children to rise above our differences, to know that you can be kind to peer without having the pressure of ‘being friends’. There’s nothing wrong with children not liking other children; seriously, this concept goes well into adulthood. What a shock it will be to these children who are being raised with the “life is fair” mentality to find out that the real world isn’t so fair, that not everyone likes us. Even adult’s deal with those feelings of being left out, wondering why they aren’t good enough. It starts at a young age, these feelings of negativity. When children are raised by parents who encourage this “life is fair” mentality they struggle worse in adulthood. I firmly believe a lot of societal rules we have to deal with as parents, make parenting more difficult but we don’t have to conform to society standards.

At a young age my daughter and I worked to write and publish a book that was geared towards building confidence in others, mainly tween girls. That book is available on Amazon and is called Positive Girl – The Power of Your Thoughts. While not everyone will agree with me in how to raise children, I just wish more parents would realize the negative impact you are placing upon your child when you teach them that they will always be included in everything.

Success Can Happen … The American Dream

As I look around the world we live in, from social media posts to everyday interactions with people in person, I am sad about society. Many people came to America all those years back for freedom, the ability to work hard and make a home for their family. Many desired to create success in America. America was the new world where hope was fueled. That all happened, jobs were created and laborers were able to make a decent living to support a family and times, albeit tough, were good. Today all I see is people complaining or asking for pity because they lost a job, they can’t find a job or that they want the rich to be taxed more because, “how dare they get away with making a fortune while the little guy is left not being able to feed their family.”

“We all have the power to rise above our circumstances, choose a more positive path and run with it.” – @brandyellen

I was That Single Mom

I was that little guy, the poor single mom living on pasta and barely able to make ends meet. I wasn’t able to buy my first born Christmas gifts, there was one Christmas that she had two gifts. Literally one gift from me, one from Toys for Tots and that was it. I was so upset, but being that she was a young toddler, maybe around one year of age, she had no idea. There was another Christmas year that her father gave me $45 to spend on her for gifts because he found me in tears over not being able to get her any gifts one year. Another year we were blessed to have a stranger’s family adopt us and there were a boat load of gifts on my office desk at the place I worked. I cried.

While I was lucky in that good things started happening to me, and one could argue that doesn’t happen for everyone. Regardless of the help or surprises that occurred for me as a single mom, I stood firm in wanting to create my own success. I had no desire to live on state assistance forever or get hand outs every holiday season. I wanted success, I wanted to create my own success story … and I did. More on that another day.

When you become humble, honest and okay with your scenario, great things start to happen. We don’t need to take from those who worked their butts off to create success, after all isn’t that why so many came to America in the first place? To have a place where they were free to create their own success story?

“We are all born of flesh, bones, thoughts and feelings which allows us to choose where you go from here.” – @brandyellen

Mom Influence Success Happens

Success is Different

Each of us has a different success story, mine is different than yours, my boyfriend’s is different than mine and that’s okay. Success has a similar definition for us all but the how we got there or how we view that definition is different across the board. I personally feel that changing who I was to be a better person as a mother to a daughter all those years back was my first taste of success. I also feel that the next portion of my life where I got married and then divorced after having two boys was a success. I once again felt success when I started to learn how to properly train my mind to be optimistic versus pessimistic. Armed with an optimistic attitude my life changed yet again when I met my current boyfriend.

Practice Mindfulness

There are little pieces of my life where I can see success, it’s not one large story, it’s many impactful moments built into one life – mine.  I have empathy and compassion for those who are struggling, for those who have divorced and are now broke and not certain what is going to come next. I feel sad for those struggling with illness and can’t seem to find their happy during these trying times. I get all of the feelings that consume one when enthralled in a bad scenario, I have been there. I have been in your shoes, with a different scenario, more often than not. With that being said, I also believe that I can feel empathy and compassion for you while still having this little thought in the back of my head that reminds me:

“We all are allowed to go downward or upward in life. We all have the free choice to learn from mistakes or just keep making the same ones again, without judgement from others.” – @brandyellen

I understand that you are all wrapped up inside of this difficult time and it’s not easy to see the light. Life was never meant to be easy, it was meant to be lived. We were all meant to have hardships, to have difficult times and in turn have beautiful moments as well. It’s all about how you look at the situation as to whether or not you choose to build your success story or not, today I invite you to think about your thoughts.

#mominfluence We all have the power to rise above our circumstances, choose a more positive path and run with it.

Ask Yourself Some Questions

  • Are you constantly focused on the problem versus the solution?
  • Do you spend more time dwelling on what occurred to create this hardship than focusing on how you can rise above it?

I now invite you to take a moment to jot down some ideas on how you can focus on a solution, focus on surviving today with a smile upon your face. Jot down some moments that you cherish among this madness of bad times. If you can start there, I promise you, life will start to look up and you will soon realize that the American dream is still very much alive within each of us. You, too, can have a little piece of success, if you only open your mind to view the situation slightly different.

Boys Should Never, Ever Hit Girls. Period.

I cannot believe the society I live in, the things I witness other parents, mostly moms, saying about their little boys. I have witnessed time and time again moms who condone a little boy hitting back a girl. I get it, yes there are girls who can hit as hard as boys and there are topics such as self-defense. I can comprehend on some level the argument that little boys should hit back a little girl, so at least with the type of society we live in today. The one where girls and boys are supposed to be on some level playing ground, but the old school lady in me feels a boy should never, ever hit a girl. Ever. I am entitled to feel that way, while I won’t tell you that you are wrong in condoning your little boy to hit a little girl; I will discuss why I personally feel I won’t condone that behavior ever from my sons.

I guess I am slightly blessed to still have a lot of the old school mentality in me. I was also raised in a violent environment for at least the first ten years of my life. I have seen an abusive man and I have had my fair share of abusive men, I also used to be that abusive girl who would provoke men to get them angry. I have hit men, I have been hit. The things I have gone through are intense, insane and still I sit here saying I would never, ever be okay with my sons hitting a girl. Ever. I firmly feel that no matter how crazy a girl gets, no matter how mean a girl gets, that your little boy shouldn’t hit that little girl. Do whatever you can to work around it. I am a firm believer that violence returns violence and I much prefer to spread happiness, peace and amicable ways to resolve conflict without laying a hand upon another person. I have learned all of this in my experiences of a 35 year old woman.

Allowing a little boy to hit back a little girl, even if said girl is “as strong as a boy” is never a good idea because you are now creating this mentality that hitting back a girl is acceptable. Little boys who are encouraged to hit back a little girl, regardless of her size and strength, will soon start to develop into teenage boys who hit girls and then become that abusive adult man who hits his spouse. Studies have shown time and time again that a boy who is allowed to hit girls at a young age will morph into that as an adult. It’s sort of common sense in my opinion.

What happened to the days when girls were raised to be well behaved little girls? No they don’t have to be princesses all dressed girly, my first born daughter is far from a princess but she was raised to be respectful, courteous and use common sense while still being a strong, leadership type young woman. My sons are still a work in progress as they are much younger, but one thing is for certain you won’t ever hear me telling them to hit a girl back. Sure, I may say if a boy hits you and you need to hit them back, go ahead but be smart about it and use violence as a last resort.

Many say that’s a double standard, sure maybe it is but that’s the uniqueness about males vs females – we are different and there should be some double standards as you call them.

When confronted with a little girl who continuously bullies your little boy, I can also see why you would say hit her back. I get it, no other methods seem to be resolving this conflict and in your protective parental role you feel that your boy has a right to “stand up for himself”. Well I am here to tell you that may be a mistake, while again I won’t tell you that you are wrong, I do feel creating this reality that your son can hit a little girl is what may lead my daughter to be in an abusive relationship and after all I have lived through, that’s the last thing I ever want for my daughter and for my sons.

I will continue keeping my mouth shut in judging you for telling that little boy to hit another little girl, after all I respect that we all raise our children as we see fit. I will sit here worried that the little boy you are telling to hit a girl is going to grow up to be an abusive man, because that’s proven to happen. I will have heartache in hearing that a woman would actually condone a boy hitting a girl. After all, I have seen what an abusive relationship can do to their offspring. I spent many years being an angry child internally because of all the violence I witnessed as a young child. I just cannot ever imagine condoning that and raising little boys who think that hitting a girl is ever okay. Please, the next time you see a little girl picking on, hitting or bullying your little boy use words to uplift that little boy. Work hard to build his self-esteem to a point where he is unbreakable. That’s the method I much prefer because it teaches my children to be who they are and never, ever let anyone allow them to feel inferior.

We don’t need violence to feel empowered; it starts deep within our souls. As parents, it’s our job to instill this self-empowerment. I firmly believe in teaching my boys that they are strong, resilient and independent souls who do not ever need to hit another human being and hitting a little girl would have tremendous consequences because it simply is just not right.

How Eyebrow Piercing Showcased Unconditional Love

My first born child is what I call my first “experiment” in motherhood. None of us really know if we are doing this mom gig right but all of us hope to be that mom influence on our children. With that being said, each new day as the first born child gets older I am faced with new experiences, challenges and heart felt moments. Most recently my first born child, Miss Ki, had expressed an interest in getting a piercing. It started with her showing me some photos of random body piercings such as an industrial. The industrial piercing is a long bar across the top of your ear, well that’s how I explain it anyway. Then she went on to show me other piercing ideas, all of which make me mostly cringe.

Mom Not Into Piercings

You see, I am not big into piercings, sure I had my tongue, nose and at one point my belly button pierced. This all occurred around age 16 through early 20’s. I outgrew that phase quickly and have found I am more of a tattoo person. I prefer small tattoos in areas not regularly visible so I still uphold that “office professional” look. With that being said, I am all about supporting your children in what they love. All three of my children are more artistic in self-expression, which is something I am happy about. I wasn’t so artistic, well I did write, but overall I went for the bad crowds. I am proud that, thus far, my freshman child is not interested in the drama, the bad crowd or what everyone else is doing. She remains her own self.

Deal For Eyebrow Piercing Made

After a bit of asking about permission to get a piercing and the eldest child doing her own research she approached me with a location in Nashua, NH called Precision Body Arts. She stated this location will pierce the eyebrow of age 14 and up. Apparently this is the first piercing, besides ear lobes that she wanted to go with. The funny thing is, she had the backup plan to ask for an industrial piercing if I said no because that’s “in the ear” at least and she knows I am cool with ear piercings. After much consideration, and procrastination, I said yes under one condition – she let me research the facility and that she pay for half of this piercing. The deal was made!

One of these pictures is not like the other. #teens #lovemydaughter

A photo posted by Brandy Ellen (@brandyellen1) on

We ventured over to Nashua, NH on the second day of January 2017 after I gathered up paperwork to prove that I am indeed her Mom and could give parental consent. The trip was nice, but long, about a two hour drive with the way I drive – slow. We arrived at Precision Body Art and were welcomed by the nice lady at the front desk. This lady checked us in, took our proof of identifications and had us sign paperwork for permission to get the daughter’s eyebrow pierced. I was shaking. I had tears in my eyes. This was a nervous time for me, for I never have seen anyone get their eyebrow pierced and this is my first born baby. She needs to stop growing, dangit!

The Process Was Complete

Then, before we knew it, it was over. My eldest child walked away with a cute little eyebrow piercing that actually looks cute on her face. This whole experience may not seem like a big deal to others, but to me and I presume to my daughter, this was a moment where she was able to realize that her Mama supports her and loves her for who she is. In this moment, this time in Nashua NH at Precision Body Arts, we bonded as mother and daughter over something that was important to her … not me. I showed Miss Ki that I will be here, regardless of her age and desires, to support her form of self-expression always and love her unconditionally regardless of our differences.

Be a Positive Mom Influence

This, my friends, is all that one should do as a mom. We need to be the positive mom influence on our children. Through our decisions to support and love unconditionally when it comes to our children, we are subconsciously teaching them to do the same to others.

Cheers to supporting our children for who they are growing up to be!

Debbie Reynolds Dies One Day After Daughter Carrie Fisher

During December 2016 the world lost two beautiful ladies; Debbie Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher. What is so shocking about this mother daughter combo is that Debbie, the mother of Carrie Fisher died just one day after Carrie’s passing. I have always believed that husband and wife have a deep connection, in that one will pass within a couple of years after the other due to a broken heart but what I never dreamed of is that this can also happen for a mother and daughter so deeply bonded.

Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher in 1980
Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher in 1980. Image Courtesy – AP

There are many stories surfacing about this mother and daughter combo, in fact HBO will be releasing a documentary about these two lovely woman in early January 2017 titled “Bright Lights”. Upon researching this duo, it seems Carrie grew up watching her mother perform and it was as if Carrie was just as mesmerized of her mother as the public was. Yet, just as it goes with most mother & daughter relations; their relationship was quite complicated. Truth be told a mother and daughter relationship is full of many ups and downs, it’s simply one of the bittersweet realities of being a mother to a daughter.

One could say that, although complicated, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds had a close enough bond that at age 84 just one day after Carrie’s passing, Debbie too passed away after suffering from a heart attack. Could the deep love Debbie held for her daughter be the cause of a heart attack? One couldn’t be too sure, but one thing is for sure these two beautiful woman were a huge part of history in the media and will forever be missed.

MTV Interviews Carrie Fisher About Her Mother

RIP Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, you were a huge part of history in the making and we are grateful to have known you through the spotlight. At MomInfluence we wish you peace and hope that you both are up in Heaven looking down below, keeping an eye on those you love who are still with us on Earth.

The Single Mom Influence

There are so many single moms out there in the world today. They struggle, they cry and they work to be stronger every day. Then there are other single moms who just give up, they focus on what failed and why they are now forced to raise a child or more than one child alone. The thing is, you can focus on anything you desire. If you are the single mom who chooses to focus on the difficulties of motherhood as you face them alone then chances are you will forever play a negative influence in your child’s life. This child will grow up to see that being a single mom means that you are less fortunate, that the world sucks and that you are not worthy of having a partner in life.

As a single mom you must remember one key thing –

You are the one person your child(ren) look up to and you are the one person your child(ren) will look back upon as a guiding light when they are adults.

I have been the single mom, the married mom and the dating mom. I have played many roles as a mom influence to my children. I have made mistakes.  I have curled up in a fetal position crying my eyes out ready to just give in. I have been exhausted; I have been consumed with self-pity. There are many chapters of life that bring to me sadness if I focus on them. I have been that single mom.  I woke up from those moments though as soon as I realized that I am the mom influence that my children look up to. I didn’t and still don’t ever want my children to look at me as a weak mother. A mother who couldn’t suck it up and be the provider then needed while growing up. I made a choice.

You, the single mom today, can make a choice as well. You can make a choice to be a positive mom influence on your child(ren). To rise above your circumstances as you learn to work with them versus against them.

The Single Mom Influence #mominfluence

Single Moms Have a Choice

I see you struggling to make ends meet. I see the heartache in your eyes as you hand your child(ren) off for a weekend with their dad. I see the hurt of that broken relationship flicker within your eyes while you watch your child(ren) exhibit signs of their father. These reminders you have to work through and live with, for your child(ren) are a beautiful creation of both parents. Like it or not.

The single mom works harder than any other mother in the world. The single mom develops this mentality that they will figure it out. The single mom often cries behind closed doors so that their child(ren) don’t feel and see the heartache that surrounds the lifestyle of a single mom. Regardless of what occurred to bring you to this place of being a single mom, you are still a survivor. You are still a fighter. You can still make the best out of this scenario.

Single Mom Influence

Today I invite you to find a way to work through the problems that you struggle with, focus on a solution and closure to current and past events.  Today is the day you need to tell yourself that you are brave, you are strong and you deserve to be happy even as a single mom struggling.

Cheers to the single moms out there who work through their problems, rise above and find a way to be that positive mom influence on their child(ren) day in and day out. Keep it real single moms. Be thankful that you are blessed to raise these little children you call yours and remember their love is forever, so as long as you raise them right.

Previous Owner of Happily Blended Launches ParentInfluence

Update: June 2017 – Brandy Ellen did sell Happily Blended in October 2016 and rebranded as MomInfluence but decided that ParentInfluence was a better fit. Announcing ParentInfluence.com by former owner of Happily Blended Media/Blog.


After eight years of being known as Happily Blended online, it came time to sell off that blog and brand myself into a new person. You see, I have learned a lot in the eight years I spent blogging as Brandy Ellen over at my first born blog Happily Blended but I had taken that particular blog as far as I could. With much work to be done to figure out what direction that site would go in and what I really wanted the blog to be, I just felt I outgrew the name. When asked about selling it, I was confident selling Happily Blended for a price that made sense for me would be okay.

I walked away from Happily Blended in October 2016 and focused solely on client work as well as customer service for three membership sites we developed: retweetchores.com, roundups.io and tacks.io. Each of these sites have been up and running for a bit now, but in the beginning they required a lot of my focus to work with my man on managing them. To current date, we have a bit more free time as he works to code new sites and I manage the customer service side.

This left me some time to determine what brand Brandy Ellen would be again.

Surely I could be BrandyEllen.com, after all that has been my business site where I showcase services I offer and write blog posts to showcase things I have learned along the ride of being a work at home mom. Yet, Brandy Ellen really didn’t feel like “home” to me as a blogger. I purchased a domain Pediddle.com and thought that was the one, I would soon be branded to Pediddle.com. I began to write and felt myself much like I had become with Happily Blended, not truly feeling that brand.

Researching Domains

Sitting down the other day, researching ideas for domain names and what I wanted to be as a blogger, it happened upon me that I still wanted the word Mom in my brand. I needed to have Mom be a part of my new “name”. I had all sorts of ideas and visions; I shared my thoughts with my man who then started looking up ideas for me. Within Google Chat he would send over a couple of domains that were available and when he sent over mominfluence.com … I was sold!

Mom Influence NH Mom Blog

I sat down, purchased the domain MomInfluence.com, created a logo using Canva and started writing. The blog posts came naturally to me. It was as if this brand most certainly was the right one for me. With a full launch date of January 1, 2017, I wanted to take a moment on this fine last day of December to introduce you to Brandy Ellen – the proud NH blogger at MomInfluence.com!

Prior Owner of Happily Blended brands new site - MomInfluence #mominfluence

Brandy Ellen Still Inspires

I hope to inspire you with positive blog posts that discuss the true impact a mom can have upon a child’s life. Be it positive or negative, at the end of the day, we all have our mom to thank for being in this world today. They are perhaps one of the strongest people we know, for they nurtured a baby within their womb for approximately 9 months and then let us out into this scary world as newborns.

You will quickly learn through stories and content shared on MomInfluence.com that I believe and understand that our birth mom may not always be our true light we see as the Mom Influence who touched our soul deepest, and that is okay.

All that matters is that we understand any woman can shed light into our lives as Mom and that it’s important we remember we need to be that same light for our children.