Mediation Advantage Services March 2018

MAR 2018

(508) 795-1557 | www.mediationadvantage com LIFE IN BALANCE

there for them while giving each other the space we needed. I would take them to school, and my ex-husband would pick them up. That way, both of us got to see them every day. We would also alternate weekends. That plan allowed us to enjoy our special one-on-one time with our girls, and we also appreciated the time we had to ourselves (even more so when they were teenagers). Through it all, we prioritized the well-being of our children. We weren’t husband and wife anymore, but our daughters were still our daughters. Our girls are our priority, so when it came to co-parenting, that fact led our decisions. Today, I see the adventures and challenges our girls have encountered, and I’m so proud of how they’ve handled them. They’re truly incredible. I’m also proud of the way my former spouse and I co-parented them. Jasmine, my oldest, lives in Massachusetts. She’s a marketing strategist and wellness entrepreneur. Last month, she followed her wellness journey to Jamaica to become a certified Kemetic yoga instructor. Her focus is on helping others, both through healing and helping them find balance in their lives. My middle daughter, Jamese, just started a position in Los Angeles at the XPRIZE Company which is a company that IS an innovation engine. A facilitator of exponenential change and a catalyst for the benefit of humanity. Jamese has a law degree and planned to become a lawyer. During law school, she worked at the District Attorney’s office, but she soon realized that wasn’t her calling. She found herself searching for her place in the world. Wanting a change of scenery, she bought a one-way ticket to L.A. After connecting with foundations focusing on global change, she found her calling in giving back to others. Jamelah, my youngest, also cares for others as a nurse. Right now, she’s on a two-year nursing assignment in Alaska, so we don’t get to see her as often, but we’re proud to see her following her dreams. Though our version of parenting bucked many traditions, my former spouse and I collaborated to raise our daughters. They have grown up more beautifully than we ever could have dreamed, and they give us hope for the future. –Polly Tatum

In January, I celebrated the holidays with my family. For me, that means dinner with my daughters and my ex-husband. Our middle daughter, Jamese, wasn’t able to join us, so we included her using FaceTime. We spent the day talking and reminiscing, fostering our version of family. Figuring out how to co-parent after divorce is an adventure. Sometimes, the best thing for a family is for the parents to no longer be together. After recognizing that, you can decide what your family looks like and how you can still both be present for your kids. It took us a while to figure that out. BE PRESENT, WHETHER TOGETHER OR SEPARATE

Since then, our values have helped define our family.

Postdivorce, we navigated middle school, high school, college, and law school graduations — all the milestones of our kids’ lives — so that both of us could be present during their upbringing. We celebrated major holidays together and even went on a family vacation about six years after our divorce. When our daughters were younger, we had to figure out how we could both be

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be at dinnertime. If there’s time in the mornings, sit down for breakfast. If you have the opportunity on weekends or during a school break, grab lunch together. CALL ALL HANDS ON DECK Mom or Dad shouldn’t be expected to cook by themselves for every meal. This is family time, after all, so call in the kids! Make sure their tasks are age-appropriate — leave sautéing vegetables to the high schooler and let your first-grader set out the cups instead. This is the perfect opportunity to teach kids valuable kitchen skills and to take some of the burden off your plate. Plus, if your kids are picky eaters, inviting them to be part of the cooking process can make them more inclined to try the finished product. DON’T STRESS YOURSELF OUT It’s okay if you’re too busy on a Monday to cook dinner. There’s always Tuesday. Or you can take a trip to your favorite family restaurant. Family meals should be fun, and that can’t happen if you’re stressed. Don’t feel pressured to make each meal perfect or to prepare a three-course dinner every night. Chicken and rice can get the job done as long as you’re all sitting around the table as a family.

The family dinner is a staple of years gone by. These days, the only time you see a family sit together and break bread seems to be at Thanksgiving. This is a shame,

because regular family dinners are incredibly important! It’s a time to bond with your loved ones that can have a positive impact on your kids’ lives. A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that kids who regularly partake in family meals are less likely to experience depression or engage in drug use. Furthermore, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University determined that kids who eat family meals five to seven times a week bring home better report cards. Even when schedules are busy, you can make family dinners fit into your agenda with these tips. BE FLEXIBLE ABOUT MEALTIMES Dinner doesn’t have to be at 6 p.m. on the dot. If Kamala has a karate tournament in the evening or Peter needs to stay late at school for art club, why not break out the healthy snacks and make dinner happen a little later or earlier? Plus, the meal you share as a family doesn’t have to MODIFICATIONS MADE EASY WITH THESE 2 SERVICES PLUS A COMPLIMENTARY SESSION WHEN YOU SCHEDULE NOW After your divorce, it may take time to find the best plan for your family. You’re adapting to new situations, and you might discover your needs are different than what your original plan reflected. You may find you left some aspects out or didn’t account for unexpected events. When that happens, you may need to adapt your plan. Because you worked with us to create your plan, we can help you modify it to reflect these changes.

No matter how hectic your schedule may be, making family meals a priority is always worth the investment. Who’s in the mood for meatloaf?


There are two services we offer that you may find helpful.

Taking care of your family goes beyond feeding them and watching their soccer games each week. What will they do if something happens to you? Make sure you have a plan in place. For the month of March, be one of the first five people to book an estate planning session with Polly, and you’ll get a complimentary health care proxy. Your health care proxy should be updated so that the right person is appointed to make critical health care decisions in the event that you’re unable to.


You utilized mediation during your divorce and found it to be helpful. Still, there comes a time when you need to modify one or multiple parts of the initial family plan you made. That may include changes to your parenting plan, child support, or custody.

If you find yourself at that point, Mediation Advantage Services is here for you.

For the month of March, the first five clients to sign up for a modification mediation session with Polly will get a complimentary one- hour follow-up session.

Call (508) 795-1557 today to take advantage of these offers.

If your relationship has changed, shouldn’t your plans change with it? 2


NOURISH Pasta lovers, rejoice! You’ll get to make your pasta and eat it, too —with wine pairings to boot — at Volturno Framingham’s Pasta Class on March 7. Volturno is an Italian restaurant in Framingham, and this class gives you a rare chance to learn from and interact with their amazing chef. Every Tuesday, Milk Street Cooking School in Boston puts on Tuesday Night Dinners , a chance to learn easy and delicious meals from experienced chefs. For the series starting March 20, you’ll learn to make winter bread; salad with kale, beets, and bleu cheese; Vietnamese meatball lettuce wraps; and Portuguese garlic and chickpea soup. PLAY While it’s still chilly out, head to Nashoba Valley Tubing in Littleton to breathe in the fresh air and recover from cabin fever. The tubing park is open 7 days a week until 10 p.m. in the winter season. Must be 6 years old or 42” tall to tube. When you need to get some frustration out, the bumper cars at Providence Rink in Alex and ANI City Center in nearby Providence, Rhode Island, provide the perfect relief. Make reservations by calling (401) 331-5544.

The spring equinox marks increasingly longer days after March 21, so there are fewer reasons to stay inside and plenty of reasons to go out. You’ll benefit from some relaxing time outside of the house, and your kids will appreciate a day of play, whether it’s ice skating for the littles or making pasta with the older kids.

With activities throughout March, you’ll hop into spring feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and refueled.

RELAX Marathon Sports in Shrewsbury is offering a free Yoga for Runners class on March 22. If you’ve been feeling in need of a good stretch after your long runs, this is the opportunity for you. Audubon’s Drumlin FarmWildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln presents Fireside Fridays , a chance to gather with family and friends for a warm, comforting evening of camaraderie. On March 16, it’s a yoga and potluck night. Come for the ohms, stay for the food.

MONTHLY CHALLENGE LEND A HELPING HAND GIVE BACK TO YOUR COMMUNITY Spring is almost here, and with the new season comes a chance to lend a helping hand.


This simple and delicious one-pot recipe is perfect for a weeknight. It only requires about 15 minutes of hands-on work, but will taste like you spent all day building flavors. It’s a hearty comfort food that’s sure to delight eaters of all ages.

For March, let’s give back to our community! Our challenge to you this month is to


• • •

4 large carrots, cut into sticks

• • • •

1 tablespoon olive oil

participate in at least one local volunteer activity. Feel good while doing good!

1 tablespoon sugar

8 small bone-in chicken thighs 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

12 radishes, halved

Salt and pepper


To find a volunteer opportunity near

1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. 2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Brown in pan for 6 to 7 minutes per side.

3. Remove chicken from pan and scrape off excess fat. Add broth and stir in radishes, carrots, and sugar. 4. Return chicken to pan, placing on

you, check out the United Way of Central Massachusetts website, where you can connect to one-time and ongoing events based on your interests. For example, on March 2, you can sign up to read Dr. Seuss books to local schoolchildren. Learn more at

top of vegetables. Gently simmer with lid on pan for 15 to 20 minutes. Finish with chives. 3 (508) 795-1557

Recipe inspired by Real Simple


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19 Cedar St Worcester, MA 016069


How We Defined Our Family After Divorce What Every Parent Needs to Know About Family Dinners


2 Ways to Modify Your Plans


Monthly Challenge

Braised Chicken and Spring Vegetables


The 3 Best Places to See Beautiful Flowers


WASHINGTON, D.C. Besides the monuments and historic buildings, one of the biggest attractions in Washington, D.C. is the cherry tree blossoms. Travelers who visit the Tidal Basin during the spring can witness 3,000 trees, which were a gift from Tokyo in 1912, flaunt their beautiful pink blossoms. The best time to see the spectacle is from the end of March through the end of April. ANZA-BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK Desert lavender, flowering cacti, pygmy poppies, and rock daisies are just a few of the many wildflowers decorating Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The various native species are often seen weaved together to form a colorful carpet over any barren patch in the park, which is located just two hours from San Diego. In addition to flowers, visitors often spot bighorn sheep. Wildflower blossoms vary in intensity each year, but they typically begin to bloom in late February or early March.

Spring is here, which means flora will soon be in full bloom. Flowers can be an easy pick-me-up or a great way to add color to your home, but some people take their flower obsession to the next level by planning botanical-themed vacations. Here are some of the most impressive gardens and flower displays in the world. NETHERLANDS Holland, most famous for its tulips, always draws visitors at the first sign of spring. One of its most famous destinations, Keukenhof, located in Lisse, is among the world’s largest flower gardens. The park is 79 acres and boasts approximately 7 million flowers each year. This colorful garden is open annually from mid-March to mid-May, but mid-April is the ideal time to see the tulips.

Next time you’re planning a spring trip, consider visiting one of the world’s most beautiful flower displays. No green thumb required. 4

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