I find that often, when I am angry at the children, it is because I am tired or I am frustrated because I don’t know how to deal with this situation.

I am really frustrated and angry at myself but my child triggers the helplessness and feels the emotion or anger directed at them.

Most of the time, the children are just being children, doing what comes naturally for them to do. Children need to be taught what not to do.  We often assume they know, yet, if we think about it, they may not have encountered this situation this way before.They don’t have the skill set to transfer one piece of data and apply it to another situation.

Yet we get frustrated with these little beings who are still learning about the world. We know we’ve told them, explained to them, so why don’t they get it?  Do we expect too much?  Often, the answer is “yes.”

Angela DiCicco


The Sanitary Solution:

When your first baby drops her pacifier, you sterilize it and was the baby.

When your second baby drops his pacifier, you pick it up off the floor, wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in his mouth.

When your third baby drops her pacifier, you let the dog fetch it for her.


From: Mother Murphy’s Law by Bruce Lansky.


Sometimes I feel ill-equipped to be a parent.

Raising children has made me question all of my values and everything I believe in.  I am responsible for molding and shaping another human being.  I have to choose what I want to teach them and what values I want to instill in them.

This takes soul-searching.  It takes a commitment, a willingness to pull apart, to dredge up, to ask myself, “What do I believe in?”  It takes a willingness to question, to challenge each belief so that I may decide for myself, not because of how I was raised, not because of how I was taught, not because of how others do things, but because I have made a conscious choice about what morals, values and convictions I believe in.  And what I want to impress on my children.

Values are often taught by accident.  I prefer to decide what is important to me and teach it to my children on purpose.

Angela DiCicco

A Letter to Mom


I know you don’t feel too good about yourself but you should! You have every reason to!

To name a few:

  • Your laughter brought joy to the women you worked with
  •  You are excellent with handicapped or ill people; you always know how to handle them
  • How many mouths have smiled from one of your baked goods?
  • You are fun to have at a party.
  • You handle emergencies well.  Like when the little boy caught his finger in the door where you worked.
  • You are great with flower arranging.  A skill you don’t forget.
  •  You are organized.
  • You taught me, by your example, to stop and smell the roses or notice the rainbow in the sky.


I think you have many more skills you don’t give yourself credit for.

I admire the skills you have that don’t come easy or natural to me like talking to strangers, handling people with disabilities.

Some special thoughts about things that have affected me or impressed me somehow:

  •  I remember and appreciate you being home with me when I was small.  It couldn’t have been easy for you to stop working but you did because I was unhappy.  Thanks.
  •  You were always prepared, or so it seemed, for unexpected guests.
  • From watching you, I learned to get things ready ahead of time.  Set the table, plan the menu, wrap the gifts.
  •  I learned that it is okay to take a nap during the day.
  • Have some food prepared in advance in the freezer Keep greeting cards and gift wrap on hand.
  • Always dress with style and flair!

Did you know that……

I’ve been proud to have you as a mom, especially in high school.

I always think of you as beautiful.  I’ll say “I hope I look as beautiful when I am her age.”

Angela DiCicco

Peeking Through the Window

A holiday party is in progress and a photo is being snapped.  This is the scene as you watch through the frosted windowpane:  A woman wears a black velvet dress cut to a “V” in back.  Her hair is upswept and perfectly lacquered.  Her nails are perfectly manicured and her smile shows perfect teeth.  Her children, too, are dressed festively.  The girl is dressed in red velvet with lace at her collar and cuffs and hairbow to match.  A smile lights up her face as brother stands by in his fancy shorts/vest/bow tie attire looking like Little Boy Blue.  The promises pf dreams fulfilled.  Of course the stockings ar hung over the crackling fireplace and the gifts all have perfect hows in gold or silver to complete the look.  Even the dog has a bow! (All this in a single frame.)

Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?  Something to strive for, hang our dreams on.  Well, the real truth behind the window is this:

Junior ran 15 minutes late from playing football and, sweaty and dirty, jumped into the shower.  His mother was frantic that his hair wouldn’t be dry on time.  Junior refused to wear the clothes mama picked out and mama threatened a bleak Christmas if he didn’t comply.  Meanwhile, lil’ Susie was in tears because her hair bow was missing, a button fell off her dress, and she couldn’t get the gum out of her hair that Junior put in! Mother, all showered and fresh, was running around in her undergarments brushing Susie’s hair, arguing with Junior and swearing because she discovered a run in her pantyhose.  The steam from the shower threatens to wilt her hair and she was desperately trying not to ruin her manicure as she quickly sewed on Susie’s button.  Where’s dad in all of this?  Why he’s working late!

If this sounds more like your family- don’t despair. You’re normal.  Photos in magazines and commercials on TV are glossy versions of minute in time that took 10 to 12 hours to set up.  We shouldn’t have to live up to such high standards! We aren’t perfect be we are 3D unlike the advertisement.

We live, we breath, we argue, we yell, we love, we laugh.  This is our reality.

Written by Angela DiCicco

Encouragement:A publication by Angela DiCicco and Gail Signor

See you in September….

Remember how you felt in September when you were child getting ready for school?  The newness, the excitement.  Were you eager to see your friends again?  Did the excitement wear off by the end of September as you look forward to June again?

Recall buying new clothes, new shoes, pencils, erasers, rulers, copybooks with blank pages waiting to be filled.

I was always full of resolution.  “This year will be my best.  I’m going to study hard and get all A’s.”  Learning was and is exciting to me.  A new year waiting to unfold before me with all of its unknown wonders was enticing. That feeling wore off quickly too.

How did you feel about your new teacher?  Were you frightened or happy, relieved or disappointed?  A new teacher meant you could be a new person without the stigmas from previous years.  You could be a new you.

Where did you sit?  First seat or last? Next to someone you liked?  Did you get in the same class as your best friend?

Everything is so clean, so new, so fresh and untouched at the beginning of the school year.  Books have that “new smell”, lunch boxes are clean, backpacks in good condition.  If you wore a uniform, it wasn’t too short year and your socks stayed up at the beginning of the year.

What field trips will we take this year?  Maybe I’ll get first honors, have perfect attendance, be smarter than Francis Romagano.  ANything seems possible on that first day.

Too soon, the pencils are worn down, books are used, backpacks frayed, friendships formed, reputations made.  The year is under way.  Quickly it is Fall with Harvest parties, pumpkin drawings, Thanksgiving with Pilgrim plays and turkey feasts, followed by the Holidays.  Suddenly the year is nearly half over!

But in September- the slate is clean.  Each year at this time I feel sad and a little lonely for my childhood memories; the friends of my youth.  This is a season for reflection.  I miss the pencils and the orange and black construction paper and the promise of something new.  But I do enjoy reliving this time of year with my children as we anticipate (or dread) the start of a new school year.  (Angela DiCicco, 1991)


Children cannot always help their behavior.  While we must communicate to them responsibility for their actions, we as parents need lots of wisdom to know how much correction they need given situation.  variables such as fatigue, improper diet, stress at school all add up to less than desire performance on their parts.  Like us, they require understanding and patience and lots of overlooking of things said or done out of human shortcomings.  A warm embrace so often does more good than all our words could ever hope to produce.  (Gail Signor)

Taken from Encouragement a publication by Angela DiCicco and Gail Signor

Women Friendships

Gail Signor shares her feelings:

For me, friendships with other women have always been virtually important.  Ironically, I feel I have deprived myself of having a close female friend most of my married years.  When I ask myself why, I come up with a few possible reasons.

For one, we’ve moved several times to different states.  The challenges of maintaining a relationship are obvious.  Secondly, with having small children, one hardly has time to come up for air!  When I do, I usually think I must accomplish something tangible or I’ll be “wasting time.”  I usually interpret these moments (if the dishes don’t need washing) as a good time to run to the grocery store and WHEN I come back and IF i have time I’ll make that phone call to a friend!

I have also found that as much as I need to get together with an understanding friend, I may not have the energy.  Where little children are involved, it may not seem with the effort.  This is unfortunate and there are creative ways to cure this problem.  Sometimes I’ll meet a friend at a restaurant for breakfast while the Dads take over at home.

Thirdly, I may be guilty of relying too heavily on my husband to meet my emotional needs.  In my sincere desire to regard him as my  “best friend”, I may have forfeited a healthy balance.  Anyone familiar with Dr. James Dobson knows he strongly advocates the notion that women need women and men are simply not equipped to meet our emotional needs.

Thankfully, the past twelve months have found me more freed up inside to make the sacrifices needed to “befriend” my friends more often.

I feel blessed to have on particular friend with whom I enjoy a warm fellowship.  We have laughingly remark that we are more like teenage girls than grown women the way we call each other so often.  We nurture our relationship that we’ve made a commitment to.  We’ll send each other notes and cards from time to time to let each other know we don’t take her for granted.  Love of children and music are shared interest and we have strengths where the other has weaknesses.  From this friend, I have been encouraged to be the person God intends for me to do.  She loves me when I’m miserable to be around and lets me know she loves me anyway.  She allows me to “dump” on her and will pray for me faithfully.  Somehow this dear friend manages to bring out my good qualities and I have gained confidence.  I haven’t noticed how much this relationship has cost me in time and energy, but I know the investment has been well worth it.  My family has benefited greatly as well.  She is also their friend, and my kids love her too.

Without a doubt this special person has taught me how important friendship really are and how much we women need other women. (Gail Signor)

Thoughts from other Moms:

There are some women who seem to make friends easily and have many good friends.  I sometimes wonder why I don’t do that.  Actually, I do have many women “friends”- most whom I think of as acquaintances.  But there are three women that are truly my friends.  Women that I can always count on for anything and that I stay in close touch with.  These are the women that spontaneously offer their support when I was on alert to go to Saudi Arabia.  I feel very lucky to have such good friends and realize it is much better to have a couple of friends like that than all the acquaintances in the world. (Karen Burnham)

Women friendships are very important.  I couldn’t live without girlfriends.  THey’re what keep you sane.  Who else would understand but another woman?  I’ve moved around a lot and I’ve always made sure I found a special friend.  I made sure I wasn’t alone.  Having my friends around at the birth of my children was very special and important to me. (Marian Honig)

At least once a week I make sure I do something with a friend outside my home.  It is hard, but I feel it is important to nurture those relationships, or try to do so.  (Angela Massie)

Women friends helps us keep perspective in our own lives.  SOmetimes we get too caught up with our family and problems get blown out of proportion.  Every problem seems worse until shared with a friend. (Connie Nokes-Roberts)

I find that there are different friends for filling different needs.  The “bare-my-soul” friend, the “chat over breakfast” friend; I indistinctly call upon the friend I need.  Of course, sometimes they overlap and fill several needs.  Friendships take nurturing.  A friendship cannot survive without two people making an effort.  Maintaining a relationship takes work. (Angela DiCicco)

Encouragement: A publication by Angela DiCicco and Gail Signor

Take care of yourself!

Have you ever heard a little voice inside your head saying, “What are you doing???? You know you’re overreacting!”  Parents, we all get overwhelmed with the millions of things that need to be done. Here’s the antidote:

Take time for yourself.  It will recharge you and make you a better parent.  Children need to see their parents taking care of themselves in a healthy way.  It sets a good example and gives them permission to take care of their own needs rather than push them down, ignore them or having them come out sideways!

Here’s a few ideas to get you started on your path to a healthy, sane self:

When fatigue & stress have the best of you: 

– Turn off the phone, the TV, the stereo and listen to the quiet.  Enjoy it.  Embrace it.  Revel in it.  For just a    few moments….all is right with the world.
– Sit quietly for 10 minutes and breathe – deeply – from your belly.  It is so relaxing!
–  Take a bath with flowers or aromatic oils in it.  Or use the shower massage to relax tense muscles.
–  Put your feet up and take a quick nap.  20 minutes is ideal.
– Listen to your favorite music – and dance!
– Take a walk through a park.  Notice the butterflies, the new buds blooming.  Smell the fresh air, feel the breeze, listen to the sound of the birds, the squirrels. 

For comfort:

 – Eat a food you enjoyed as a child like soup the way your mom made it. 
 – Put clean fresh sheets on the bed!  I love going to sleep on a fresh pillowcase!
 – Enjoy a cup of peppermint tea and cozy up with a good book.  Use a cup that makes you feel special.
 – Cuddle with your pet, husband or children.  We all need touch and without it we shrivel.  So give yourself a hug and your family a hug and make sure you get one back! 
 – Fill your living space with a favorite aroma – vanilla or cinnamon.  I light candles and enjoy the scent wafting when I walk into a room. 
 – Dig in the dirt, knead dough or play with playdough.  It’s soothing and the repetition quiets our mind.

Pamper yourself:

 – Buy yourself flowers and put them around the house! 
 – Arrange for a free day without children or obligations. Okay – can you arrange for one hour?
 – Treat yourself to a professional mani-pedi, facial or massage.  Mmmmmm the ultimate pampering! 
 – Buy your favorite ice cream and keep it all to yourself!  Decadent indulging!

We NEVER outgrow the need for comfort.  Taking care of yourself in small ways helps you be an energized and more effective parent and person! 

Angela Di Cicco

Adapted from ENCOURAGEMENT, a publication of Angela (Shorter) Di Cicco and Gail Signor.