The Bare Necessities and Accessories

I decided to curate my wardrobe because I wanted to simplify my life. So far so good. Now that my wardrobe is pared down, I have been concentrating on creating outfits, or looks.  I’ve recently begun writing down the outfits that I feel really confident in  because if I’m in a time pinch I like having the ability to pull something out quickly but not look like I threw just anything on.  I hate the ambivalence of “Oh- what am I going to wear?” I don’t like the thought of pulling out a shirt that I love only to realize that I have no bottom that looks good with it. So here’s the rule- every piece of clothing you own should pair well with at least one other thing in your wardrobe.

I use a color palette for my clothes.  90% of my wardrobe is black, 5% grey, 5 % a mix of white, pink (varying shades), olive green and burgundy. There is never going to be a day in the winter where I’m not wearing something black. All my winter bags are black. Almost all of my winter shoes are black. I feel cool, chic and elegant in black, so it is what I use as my base. I’m going to suggest you have a base color.  It doesn’t have to be 90% of your wardrobe, but I would aim for 50%. It’s just simpler.

So how do I switch up my wardrobe? I admit, the formula is sort of like a uniform: Today I am going to write, then I am meeting up with a friend at a museum, then I am going to attempt to run errands, then I am meeting my husband for date night (this is a maybe because we’re supposed to go to a place with a winterized rooftop and as it’s a tad brisk in the northeast, I don’t know if they will be able to adequately heat it) But the point of giving you my itinerary is to say that I want to wear the same outfit all day- so I’m going with black slacks, grey long sleeve t shirt and burg/black/grey poncho sweater thing.  For day I’m wearing black sneakers, but I’m switching to booties for dinner. I will also switch from small earrings to larger ones, and switch wrist candy – oversized watch for day, silver cuff for night.

Now- we can start with the black slacks and grey t shirt, but I can switch up the look by adding a blazer, or a cardigan, or a scarf, or a bold necklace….see “wear” I’m going? Two basic pieces, a top and a bottom can turn into a variety of different looks and feels just by switching up what you pair with it. Sneaker, flats or heels? Chunky jewelry vs delicate? Big satchel or small clutch?

So maybe you don’t need a whole bunch of clothes.  Maybe you just need some pieces that you love, and a few accessories that you adore and define who you are….or who you want to be at that moment. And then you really don’t have to worry about what you’re going to wear ever again…

Here’s a primer on my winter accessories:

4 scarves (these are not my winter scarves, but jaunty little things I wear around my neck) that add flair

3 long necklaces (silver, grey beads and clear beads)

3 chokers (silver boho, grey stones, funky silver)

(I have a few “normal” length necklaces, but they don’t really mesh well with my winter clothes, so I rarely pull them out)

Earrings- I have 9 pairs of earrings, 3 simple studs and 6 varying sizes and styles ranging from funky to evening

Bracelets- I have really small wrists and this is a problem because many bracelets are just too large- I must stick to tight cuffs or ones with clasps.  I can’t wear bangles because they slide off. So I have  3 cuff bracelets, 2 leather wrap bracelets and two chain bracelets.

Watches- watches are my vice, though I admit that I never set the time on them- I just like the way they look.

Rings- other than my wedding rings I do not own any others.  My fingers are really small and wearing rings makes me look like I’m a child wearing adult jewelry.

FYI- none of my jewelry is “real” – it is all costume.  I don’t like spending a lot of money on jewelry- it’s not my thing. But every piece of costume that I have I love. They make me feel good and help me pull together my look.

Some of you are thinking that this sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. I have a much easier time getting dressed now than I did when I had twice as many clothes. I also feel more put together, which is making me feel more confident, which just makes me feel better.

I’ve been working on my style for a year, and on my closet for a few months.  It’s taken me a little bit of time to figure out the rhythm, but I’m finally getting in step. I know that this is not for everyone- judging by home shows, people still have a lot of clothes. But simplifying my wardrobe has been great for me. As with anything- it all comes down to what works for you.

With a little luck there will be pictures tomorrow…

 

 

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The Magic Number (of clothes)

I have been purging clothing for a few weeks now and I feel I am down to a manageable number. Sort of.  I’m in sort of a refinement process- I have a few maybe’s and I probably still have more clothes than I need.

After reading about closet purges, minimalist closets and curating wardrobes I have come to the conclusion that the number of seasonal clothes one should have is somewhere between 30 and 40 items. But this does not mean you need 120 items in your wardrobe.  I live in a true four season environment (which I may regret tomorrow) so some pieces of my wardrobe are multi seasonal- for example I always have a black short sleeve t shirt accessible.

In this number I am not including:

  • winter coats
  • weather related shoes
  • athletic wear
  • accessories
  • pajamas
  • the gross clothes you tuck away when you need to paint or do heavy cleaning

So here it is-my winter wardrobe- and there will be some explanation in some cases:

  • heavy, oversized turtleneck sweater.  Now right off the bat I have an issue.  I love all of these sweaters (one is a cashmere I have owned for about twenty years) but I find that they are too heavy to wear because though they might be fine when walking somewhere, they are too hot to wear inside.  As they are turtlenecks they are not conducive to wearing something under them.  But I actually love all of them. I’m in a quandary.
  • 4 sweatshirts. Two are polar fleece and I love them because if we do a nature walk (like last weekend) they are perfect. But these are really more a fall item when I wear them instead of a jacket- truth be told they are not really a winter item.  One is my favorite medium weight writing top. The other is an all purpose zip up hoodie. I am confident with this number. I love and use all of these items.
  • 5 medium weight sweaters. These are the mainstay of my afternoon casual wardrobe. It’s probably one too many but I love them.
  • 3 cardigans- one long grey medium weight, burgundy that looks more like a blazer and heavier, and black grey and burgundy which is more like a poncho- also heavier. I must admit I have become obsessed with cardigans- they are perfect for me and my lifestyle. Much more versatile than a pullover sweater when it’s cold out
  • 3 long sleeve t shirts (two black and one grey) One of them is strictly a writing t shirt as it’s comfy.
  • 3 short sleeve t shirts (one grey graphic, one black, and one black velvet)
  • 2 long sleeve blouses (white with stripes and white with black stars)
  • 1 short sleeve blouse (metallic pink and dressy)
  • 1 black silk tank (also dressy)
  • 3 blazers (one structured, one knit moto style and a tapestry one that I’ve owned since college and I adore though when my college friends read this they are going to mock me)
  • 1 black jeans
  • 1 black slacks
  • 3 black leggings (one is dressier with faux leather patches and two are 5$ old navy specials)
  • 1 fleece sweatpants
  • 3 winter weight dresses (black, grey and black and grey)
  • 1 all purpose lbd for afternoon events
  • 1 all purpose lbd for evening events

Which puts me at 39 pieces.  Yikes.

  • 1 black suede sneakers
  • 2 knee high black boots (low heel and high heel)
  • 2 booties (black and grey animal print)
  • 1 furry lined boot
  • 1 black kitten heel pump

7 shoes

  • 2 black satchel bags- large and medium
  • 2 crossbody- one small for errands, one large for outdoor treks when I want to carry camera and such
  • 1 small suede shoulder bag for evening casual
  • 1 large black tote

6 bags

Bringing my grand total to 52 pieces.

So here’s the thing: how much smaller can I go?  Do I want to go smaller? (For the record, I also have a few maybe items still floating around that I did not take into account.  Guess what’s going in the donation pile?)

Now that I have this number I’m going to drill down and see if all of these items are really worth keeping.  That will depend on how many other seasons they can be worn in. Much of this list works for late fall as well as early spring.

Tomorrow will be a little glimpse into how I make outfits out of these pieces, and why I like outfits. But for now, I’m off to reevaluate.

 

How I Whittled Down My Wardrobe

How many clothes are too many? Ten tops? Twenty? Fifty? How many clothes do you own? How many clothes do you wear? How many clothes do you need? Numbers!  I want the numbers!

Right now at least some of you are thinking- ‘OK- there’s probably something I can get rid of. But LA- what do I do? Where do I start? Please LA- help me.”

Ok- maybe that’s a bit of a stretch.  Maybe I shouldn’t think of myself as  “WhittleWoman” the superhero who blogs by day and curates wardrobes by night (FYI- I do have few enough clothes that they would fit in a standard size, old school phone booth) But- this is how I started my less is more closet philosophy.

  1. Take a week and write down exactly what you wore everyday. Every item of clothing or accessory, and what were you wearing it for: Work, date, coffee, etc
  2. Really look at your clothing diary: determine the categories that you normally dress in and figure out what percentage of the week you need to wear a certain type of clothing. (If you work a job which requires you to wear clothing of a certain style that you do not wear any other time, you have to account for how much time is spent at job versus other activities.  If it’s a third of your waking moments, then guess what a third of your wardrobe should be)
  3. Which leads us to: percentages. (yes- there is math involved) What percent of your week are you in comfy clothing? Active wear? Formal? Casual? Elegant? Knowing how often you wear certain types of clothing helps us know how much we need.
  4. Now- go into your wardrobe and pull out the pieces that you LOVE (these are the pieces you automatically reach for when you get dressed) These are going to be the building blocks of your wardrobe.
  5. Make outfits using these pieces. Outfits that you love and feel confident wearing.
  6. Put these pieces of clothing in another place.  These are the clothes that are not going anywhere for the time being.
  7. Take out every item of clothing that you own and put it on you bed.  Every item.
  8. Once your clothes are out of your drawers and closets pick up each item of clothing:
  9. Does it still fit?  If the answer is no, unless it has HUGE sentimental value, put it in the donation pile.  If you are keeping it for any other reason than wardrobe, put it aside where you keep memory things.  Keepsakes do not belong in active wardrobe.
  10. Does it need repair? Buttons?  Seams? If you can and feel it’s worth it to repair, then put it in a “fix” pile.  But if it’s not repairable or not worth it to you? It’s ok if you don’t want to fix something- just put it in donations- someone else will gladly wear it
  11. Do you love it?  Seriously, is there something about the item that makes you feel good? Does it serve a specific purpose or need? (you need it for work, for an activity- you don’t necessarily love it, but definitely need it) If it doesn’t, put it in the donation pile.
  12. What if it’s a maybe?  Here’s my thing with maybe items.  I understand how you might want to narrow your closet down more before you start tossing everything, so I will allow you a maybe pile.  But here’s the catch.  You can’t have more than five items of clothing in your maybe pile at a time.  When it looks like a sixth item is making it’s way in, you must pick one of those items and either donate or keep.  It is imperative that you keep the maybe pile manageable because otherwise you will just have a big maybe pile and not have gotten rid of anything.
  13. Things with tags still on them.  If you bought the item in the past week, or bought it on sale at the end of a season and you haven’t reached appropriate time to wear it, then fine.  But if you have things you’ve bought and haven’t worn…..

It is not easy to evaluate every item of clothing that you own. It can be an emotional experience.  But getting rid of extra baggage is a good thing.  Think of the space, both in your head and in your closet, that you will save. I know there are a lot of people that equate material possessions with happiness. And I want you to think if owning things really makes you happy: is it owning a lot of things, or is it owning certain special things?

This seems like a lot of steps, but really, this whole thing is step one. You have to get rid of what doesn’t belong before you work on what does belong.

Tomorrow- we start to curate.

The Closet

I’ve become obsessed with a curated closet. My Pinterest boards are fill with visions of streamlined closets and 37 piece seasonal wardrobes.  Though I don’t often buy into trends, I am all in with this one.

Basically, a curated closet contains a bunch of pieces that can be multiplied into a variety of looks.  But today is not about the how, it’s about the why- why did I decide this was an approach worth taking?

  1. Less clothes are just easier to take care of.
  2. You need much less room to store a smaller wardrobe. I’m not done yet and I’m down to one closet bar that’s about four feet wide, and a part of an armoire that’s about three feet by three feet.
  3. It takes about five minutes for me to choose an outfit, for any occasion
  4. I love everything in my wardrobe (almost) – or for the Kondo’s out there, my clothes spark joy
  5. By streamlining the whole dressing process, I have created time to do other, more enjoyable things.

There’s a saying that people wear 20% of their clothing 80% of the time.  If that’s true, why are we holding onto those other clothes? Why do we keep things that we do not wear? Wouldn’t it be easier to just purge?

I’ve been on a kick to simplify my life.  I do not want or need to overcomplicate my already stressful life (for the record- life is stressful- unless you are living in a Tibetan monastery and are going the one outfit, one cup, one spoon route and you meditate all day and take a vow of silence and obviously have no children)

Paring down the items in my life is the best way to start.  Get rid of the things that weigh you down, keep the things that bring you up. (this includes people)

This week I am going to give you the practical.  I will explain to you how I pared down my wardrobe.  There will be visual aids for all those who are super excited about seeing what my closet and wardrobe look like.  Of course, there will be a period of reflection- this process is teaching me a lot about myself.

Tonight’s homework: start thinking about the clothes you tend to reach for every day.  And the clothes that have dust on them….

 

Gratitude Saturday January 26

I’m telling you- some weeks….hard to feel grateful…but, I try…

  1. As you might know I the newsletter/blog put out by Shannon Ables: The Simply Luxurious Life.  On Monday she commented on one of my older posts, so I got to have a bit of a fangirl moment
  2. Presently it is not 9 degrees
  3. My daughter was deferred from another school (but most of her friends were rejected outright, so I have to find a little solace)
  4. My daughter was able to recover my playlist that I thought I lost
  5. slice of vodka pizza from Sauce Pizzeria
  6. that our brand new boiler started working again (don’t get me started on boiler issues)
  7. I’ve seen almost every movie nominated for a major Oscar (not including docs and animated)
  8. That I reread Jane Eyre in time for bookclub today
  9. unsubscribe button for email
  10. closet purge

 

Parenting 105: It’s Always a Process

This week I gave you some tips and ideas, things that I have used in my parenting journey.  Today I remind you that it is always a learning process.  You never know how to answer everything, how to handle every situation.

After four days of parenting blogs, I was feeling pretty good about myself as a parent.  Until my daughter asked me something and I fumbled on the reply.  Here we were, communicating in person, no devices present.  So communication- check.  I was acting as a parent, not friend- check. There wasn’t a battle- check.  Perfection?  Was I seeking perfection? Hmmmm….

So my daughter asked a question regarding how she should handle something via one of the teams she captains.  And I tried the standard level of questions: what is she doing now? What does she think she can do better? I gave her a list of things to try, and she has either tried them or they would not be effective in this situation.  I came up with every question I could think of to make her think about the situation from a different angle.  I came up with every strategy that I could think of that might work in that situation.  And none of it was working for her. I got frustrated. I think I ended with “Sorry dude.  I got nothing.” Which of course brought a tear to her eye because she’s frustrated with the situation. And now she was frustrated with me.

So here I was, riding high on my blogs from the week, and I had a parenting fail.

Hubris.  The downfall of everything.

So when I saw her tear I knew I screwed up.  I knew I had to recover.

I took a deep breath and I apologized.  I told her that that was not the right response, I shouldn’t have gotten so frustrated in the moment.  Then I told her that sometimes there’s just not a good answer for every situation.  Sometimes you can do everything right and it still doesn’t work. And maybe she’s in one of those situations, and she just has to focus on doing her best. And she shook her head as I kissed the top of it.

So I guess I’m closing out parenting week with this: one of the greatest things we can try to teach our kids is the ability to realize when we are wrong, or could have done something better- and to own it.  Admit it and apologize.  We also need to teach them that sometimes things will not work out the way we want them to,  no matter how much we try, no matter how much we want them to. But we still have to get on with it. Life is not easy, or nice, or fair.

Just love them.  Make sure they know how much you love them. In the end, that’s really what matters.

 

Parenting 104: The Perfection Myth

Perfect is a lovely word.

Perfect is also an overused word, because perfection is rare. How often is anything actually perfect?

Now let’s move onto another P word: Pinterest.  I’m a little obsessed with Pinterest.  I love looking at how to lists, and pictures of closets and organizing tips.  I love the pictures, which frankly, are perfect.  But there’s also the reality: these photos are choreographed and staged. Who knows how many cakes were made before the picture was finally taken?  Who knows if it’s actually a cake? What we see looks perfect, but we really don’t know, do we?

The final P word: Parent.

When did we decide that parents were supposed to be pinterest perfect?

Here’s the deal: as a parent you are going to make mistakes. You are going to make a lot of mistakes.  And even if you don’t think you made any mistakes, your child might think differently. Remember, my Daughter told me I was too nurturing because I make her breakfast.  See, I thought making her breakfast was a good thing.  Who knew it would be my parenting flaw…

So…

Stop thinking you need to be perfect.  Stop thinking you will go eighteen years without making a mistake.  Stop thinking that everyone is doing it better than you.  As stated, appearances are deceiving.

Here’s my basic advice:

  1. Keep them healthy- exercise, good food options, sleep
  2. teach them the benefits of hard work
  3. stress that they should do their best, not anyone else’s best
  4. embrace whatever they are passionate about and help them reach their dreams
  5. remind them that they are special to you
  6. Remind yourself that you are doing the best job you can at being a parent
  7. Own your mistakes when you make them and rectify them
  8. don’t worry about what everyone else is doing: who’s to say that what they’re doing is right
  9. delete pinterest

Parenting is not a social media photo op.  It’s a really hard job that has absolutely no glamour- it’s like fighting a war in the trenches. If you think things are going to be perfect you will be setting yourself up for a lifetime of failure. Be confident that YOU are doing the best job for YOUR child.  And it doesn’t have to be perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

Parenting 103: Pick your Battles

Here’s the thing about parenting: it’s hard. You have this person/persons that you are responsible for, and you have no idea what to do.  When they’re little they mainly listen to you and do what you ask…but as they get older…

Here’s the other thing: they are supposed to become more independent as they get older.  They are supposed to start thinking for themselves.  Which often comes at odds with what our rules and expectations are as parents.  And yesterday I clearly stated that we are parents, not friends and we have to respect the parent/child relationship as such.

But..

You have to be logical.

Which means that while you have and should have rules (kids need boundaries) you also have to figure out what to push and what to pull back from.  You must choose which battles are the ones you really want to fight.

Example: the hills I will die on are drinking, smoking and drugs. I will not tolerate any of these while she is a teenager living in my house and I am financially supporting her. End of discussion.  My family has issues with addictive behavior, and if there is a genetic component to addiction (which I firmly believe there is) I want her to be aware of it, and I want to go to whatever length possible to make sure she doesn’t go down this road. These are the battles I will fight and I don’t care what anyone else thinks about it.

Since I really hold the line on these things, I loosen up on others.  My daughter doesn’t eat beef, pork or poultry, and hasn’t since fifth grade.  I have had people tell me I’m crazy to “allow” this.  My feeling is as long as she’s healthy and makes healthy food choices and the Doctor says she’s OK, then I’m OK with that.  My daughter is often up till 2am studying- and then up at 6:30 (you do the math on how much sleep she isn’t getting) I have learned to lighten up on this.  (Of course- at her 9th grade physical I told the Doctor my concern at her lack of sleep and the Doctor said not to worry- high achievers don’t sleep much) I don’t blink when she leaves the house with midriff bearing shirts.  I wince at high heels but only because I fear she will break a leg because she is not always gazelle like. And I could go on.

I choose battles because I know that I can’t fight with her all the time.  This does not make me her friend.  This makes me someone who knows that she has to learn what choices to make. And to be fair, we don’t fight about clothing or curfews or any of these things because if there’s an issue I’m worried about we sit down and discuss it rationally. We’ve talked about how, like it or not, people will judge you by your clothes, and while wearing a belly shirt to Gov Ball is totally appropriate, is it the right thing to wear to school? Being up late studying is fine, assuming she has spent her other hours productively and hasn’t started her homework at 11pm.

Discuss the things that concern you, behaviors that you have problems with.  Discuss actions and their consequences, if/then statements. If you rationally present things, your kids might not listen, but they might learn.  They might learn how to think for themselves. And that’s the ultimate goal: to raise rational, logical adults who think about what they are doing.

Pick the things that are most important to you and hold to them. Lighten up on the ones that don’t matter as much. FYI- this works in partner relationships as well.

Which battles are most important to you?

Parenting 102: Parent- Not Friend

When you have a child, you become a parent.  This is for giving birth, adopting, hiring a surrogate, becoming a guardian.  The minute you accept that responsibility is the moment you become a parent.

Friend.  Well, that’s a whole other thing.  When you hold your baby/child you say I’m going to be the best parent that I am capable of being.  You do not say I’m going to be your best friend ever.

You should not be saying that.

Because parent and friend are two different things.

If you want a friend I am going to suggest joining a club….

Because a child needs a parent.

Period.

This is what parents do:

  1. Tell you what behaviors are wrong vs right (you know- stealing is bad)
  2. Teach you about respect, both of yourself and of others
  3. Teach you about sex and your body
  4. Explain to you the responsibilities that one must face as they get older
  5. Teach you about personal hygiene
  6. Show you that hard work and perseverance pay off
  7. Show you how special you are and how you will always love them
  8. Explain to them that even though you think they are the most special thing in the world, others might not think so, but you just have to deal with that
  9. Teach them that life isn’t fair, but we need to get up every day anyway

And there are other things, but you get the basic idea.  A parent teaches you how to behave in this world, both as an individual and as a member of society.

Friends- sometimes they do this, but more often they do not.  Friends don’t have to love you unconditionally.  Friends don’t always help you make the right decisions (you know- peer pressure and all) Friends try to play nice. And sometimes friends are hurtful and mean.

Parenting is not about playing nice.  Parenting is hard.  It is really hard. Every time you make a tough parenting decision there is a little voice in the back of your head saying “Is this right?” because there is no definitive right or wrong. You have to go mainly on instinct.

Now I know there are some of you saying: But you need to remember what being a kid is like. Sometimes your kid needs a friend.

Yeah yeah yeah.

Let’s get something straight: you are allowed to have empathy.  Of course we all remember how horrible it can be to be young.  There is a lot of pressure when you are a child, tween or teen.  But that doesn’t mean you give your kid carte blanche to do something just because you remember what it felt like to not fit in (cause for the record- there is almost no child that feels like they fit in 100% of the time).  Do you really want to say- “Ok- you can juul, because all your friends are doing it and I guess it’s better than actual smoking cause it comes in bubblegum flavor.” Seriously? Because the person that makes that statement is a friend, not a parent. The parent that say’s that statement is saying that fitting in is more important than your health, your self respect and that bowing to peer pressure is fine. Are those the life lessons that you want your kid carrying forward? That nothing matters as long as you fit in? Multiply that towards nude photos sent to people, drugs, shoplifting…..Think about all the things that kids will do to fit in. Then tell me if you want a parent or a friend talking to them about that.

This being said- this does not mean you can’t be friendly with your child.  My daughter and I are going to the New-York Historical Society today to see the Harry Potter exhibit (mid term week and the teachers gave the seniors their midterms last week in a show of- OK you deserve a few days off) I’m sure we are going to have a lovely time.  We will talk and laugh and have fun.  We will mainly respect one another (OK- it’s still two strong minded people who have a tendency to argue debate.) But there is no more moment when I will not be her Mother and she will not be the Daughter.  I will shield her it danger is imminent.  I will try to model appropriate adult behavior.  I will try to throw in a lesson as well. I will make a mistake at something and I’ll get over it. I will squeeze her hand and kiss the top of her head.

I will be her parent.

 

Parenting 101: Communication

Parenting is really hard. There is no manual or guide book- no matter how many books you see in the store- none of them are adequate to help raise your child, because you child is unique.  Every child needs to be parented differently- that’s just the way it is. But that being said, this week I’m going to explore some universal parenting things that I have found helpful.

Communication.  Really- this isn’t just about parenting.  It’s the first thing you need in any relationship. Without communication you have nothing.

  1. Set aside time to talk to your child every day.  Every day.  I don’t care how busy you are.  I don’t care how busy they are.  I want you to ask yourself: what is more important than carving out 10 or 15 minutes to actually talk to your kid.
  2. When I say talk, I really mean listen. Listen to what your child is saying to you when they answer a question or share an anecdote. Are they looking away from you? Are they smiling? Are they trying to gauge your reaction to what they are saying? How are they answering you? Look for the unspoken clues.
  3. Ask them questions. I know we have all faced the “What did you do in school?” “Nothing” scenario. But don’t leave it at that. I say to my kid- “Really? You stared at the walls all day?” (this was when she was younger) Now if my daughter is stupid enough to say “Nothing” I will say something like “Ok- so when you left the apartment today, did you see anyone in the lobby? Did you bus or subway? How long did you have to wait?” After a minute of me going through the first steps of her day, she eventually comes up with something to tell me.
  4. Catch them when they’re tired. When my daughter was younger I would read to her at night. After book time was the absolute best time to talk to her because her defenses were down- she would just tell me everything on her mind.
  5. Talk to your kid about your life. We play a dinner “game” called best/worst.  We all say the best part of our day and the worst part of our day. this is great because my kid has learned from an early age that we all have bad days, we all have lousy things happen to us, but we still survive. I think kids sometimes think that nothing ever goes wrong for anyone else.  They see that life does suck but we all bounce back.
  6. Tell your kids about your life.  All of it. Age appropriately of course.
  7. Be the one to talk to your kids about sex and their bodies. From an early age, and of course, age appropriately.  Make sure they have the correct facts.
  8. Don’t lie to them.  But remember, sometimes a simple truthful answer is all you need. Don’t tell them every gory detail.  Start simple.  It usually works, especially when they are young.  On the other side, you can go into a very complex answer- chances are they’ll be bored by what you are saying. But at least you were honest…

At the end of the day, keep the conversation going, with your kids, your partner, your best friend.  Talking to one another is the simples most basic tool we have at our disposal.  Use it.