Mediation Advantage Services - May 2020

MAY 2020

(508) 795-1557 |


S chools closing in mid-March meant we now have my grandnephews and niece out of school — four kids under the age of 8 at home. What we’ve noticed is that as we’ve gotten out of the usual hustle and bustle of our everyday routines, there’s more space in our lives. We’re stepping back and slowing down. We’re spending more time with each other and doing activities that nourish and inspire us.

While we’ve been home, our health care workers have been serving our community. My youngest daughter, Jamelah, recently started a nursing assignment that has her working on the front lines helping coronavirus patients. I’m so proud of the work she’s doing. I’m so grateful for her and all the other health care workers who are there for us. Right now, it’s about everyone pitching in however they can for the good of our community, whether that’s by staying home or being on the front lines. Through all of this, I’ve had to remind myself to give myself some grace. With my fitness, I’ve had to relax some of my goals a bit. Maybe I’m not exercising as much as I want to or not eating on point all the time, and that’s okay. I need to take care of myself first. Walks have been really good, and we’ve also enjoyed making home-cooked meals. Cooking and baking have been wonderful ways to nourish our minds and bodies. I know it’s not easy to stay positive and motivated when it feels like your world is upside down. If you are feeling overwhelmed, try to think about this time as a gift to slow down and refocus on the things that are important in your life. Find ways to not put so much pressure on yourself. Find ways to practice self-care. When we slow down a little, we can make space for what’s important. –Polly Tatum

“When we slow down a little, we can make space for what’s important.”

We start off every morning with affirmations. The two older kids read their affirmations, and we talk about what they’re grateful for and their challenges. I think it’s such a great way to start the day and set a positive tone. I highly recommend it! Then they spend their day doing lessons and activities. We’ve found some really great resources for helping them stay moving and learning. They’re doing daily dance, guitar, karate, and even boxing lessons! We’ve also been doing a lot of walks and bike rides, and I’m pretty sure we go through a box of chalk at least once a week.

Each night, instead of tuning in to the news, we watch a family movie together. We got a Disney+ subscription, and the kids are enjoying that.

Caring for the kids wouldn’t be possible without a team. It really does take a village to raise a child, and my daughters have been implementing a lot of the daily structure for the kids. The last couple of months have been a big team effort.

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Jack Gilbert, a scientist at the University of Chicago and a parent himself, and his co-author, Rob Knight, emphasize the health benefits of garden time in their book, “Dirt Is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System.” The two found that exposure to different microbes, like those found in a garden, strengthens a child’s immune system and makes them less likely to develop allergies. If this is your first time gardening, you don’t need much to get started. Grab a few shovels, a pair of gloves for each family member, and fresh potting soil, and you’ll be set. Then, you can decide together which plants you’d like to grow! Carrots are fun because of the surprise factor — just imagine your child discovering that the part they eat grows below the ground! Peas are tasty and fairly easy to grow, as are strawberries. The options really are endless. Depending on the growing season in your area, you can choose to buy seeds or opt for rooted plants.

Yes, there will always be football season, basketball season, and soccer season, but right now, it’s gardening season. That means it’s time to roll up your sleeves and play in the dirt. If you’ve been searching for a way to get the kids away from technology and engaged with the real world, gardening is the perfect activity for the whole family to enjoy. Not only is it fun, but it’s also beneficial for your kids’ development. For example, gardening can improve your children’s analytical abilities. As Dr. Wendy Matthews says, “Gardening exercises important reasoning, initiation, planning, and organization skills.” Furthermore, several studies, including one at Texas A&M University, suggest that gardening improves a child’s attitude toward fruits and vegetables and may make them more likely to choose them as snacks. Gardening helps kids identify with where their food is coming from, and nothing tastes better than a freshly picked strawberry or pea pod they grew themselves. We plan in order to feel secure. We plan so we have peace of mind and can be ready for the different directions life may take us. We plan so we have safeguards in place for the times life takes us on unexpected journeys. At Mediation Advantage Services, we make plans with our clients so their loved ones have a set of instructions for what they want their life to be like once they are no longer capable of directing it. These plans give instructions for how our clients’ children will be cared for, including the guardians who will watch over them and the schools they will attend as they grow. These plans encompass a life and the lives that will go on once the person creating them has passed. IT’S ABOUT MORE THAN MONEY Our plans are about more than money. We call them Family Wealth Planning™ sessions because a large part of the process focuses on helping you get financially organized to create the best plan for the people you love. But they encompass so much more than finances. WHY DO WE PLAN?

Last but certainly not least, the best part of gardening as a family is the healthy, fresh produce you’ll get to enjoy all summer long!

During your Family Wealth Planning™ session, in addition to designing wills and trusts for your assets, we can create documents that designate the person who will make medical decisions for you if you are no longer able to. Called a health care proxy, the proxy, or agent, designated in this document will be confident about your attitudes toward palliative care, life-sustaining care, and other medical preferences. We can also designate a backup proxy should the primary person be unable to fulfill their duties. Like each part of your Family Wealth Planning™ strategy, these documents should be updated when anything changes. It’s a good idea to revisit your plan every couple years or after a life change to ensure it accounts for any shifts. SPECIAL OFFER, THIS MONTH ONLY: Call us to schedule your Family Wealth Planning™ session, and we will provide a complimentary health care proxy. Put instructions in place so your loved one can speak for your care on your behalf if you’re not able to. 2



F or those of you navigating divorce or co-parenting, your life is challenging enough without any added factors. Throw a global health crisis into the ring, and it can all feel overwhelming. But remember that even through these unique circumstances, the tenets of conflict resolution and successful co-parenting remain true. PRACTICE OPEN COMMUNICATION. Being open and communicative with your former partner is key to creating a positive environment for everyone. If you are both navigating co-parenting from different households, it may be helpful to assess the best way to carry out your current parenting plan. Creating and maintaining excellent open dialogue with your co-parent results in the best outcomes for your children. Also, be open with your children about the situation to foster your relationship with them. SET HEALTHY BOUNDARIES.

establishing boundaries with your co-parent and making your objectives clear, you can define the perimeters of what kind of relationship you’ll have. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. It’s understandable that you might feel frustrated with your former partner at times. Rather than airing these feelings in exchanges with them, especially in front of your kids, talk to a friend or mental health professional about what you’re going through. Many counselors and

therapists are offering virtual appointments right now. KEEP YOUR PRIORITIES AT THE FOREFRONT.

Focusing on what matters can bring sources of conflict back into perspective. For both of you, your children matter — you wouldn’t be figuring out how to co-parent otherwise. Focus on creating a routine for your kids that gives them some stability and calm through an uncertain time. As you navigate all of this, we are here for you. We are available for virtual appointments and can discuss healthy strategies for resolving temporary conflict around divorce, co-parenting, and other family dynamics. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.

While you will need to have some kind of relationship with your former spouse to co-parent, you don’t have to be friends. By

YOUR 30-DAY CHALLENGE MAKE A HOME-COOKED MEAL AND TRY SOMETHING NEW With being home a little more these days, we have the opportunity to slow down and care for ourselves in different ways. One of those ways is by nurturing yourself with some home-cooked meals. In that spirit, this month, we’d like to challenge you to try a new recipe. Whether it’s making a fancy dinner or trying out a cake recipe inspired by the “Great British Baking Show,” get creative and have fun with it!


Nothing is more comforting than a big bowl of cacio e pepe, which is Italian for cheese and pepper. This dish combines a wholesome flavor profile with fresh, seasonal ingredients to satisfy any craving.



1. Heat oven to 425 F. 2. In a large pot, cook spaghetti until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of water before draining and put spaghetti in a covered pot to keep warm. 3. Line a 15x10-inch baking pan with foil and toss in asparagus and olive oil. 4. Cook asparagus for 5–7 minutes and sprinkle with lemon zest. 5. Add 3/4 cup of the reserved water, Parmesan cheese, and pepper to the spaghetti. Stir until creamy. 6. Toss in asparagus and arugula before serving. 3 (508) 795-1557

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6 oz multigrain spaghetti 8 oz fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

Here are some food sites filled with recipes to get you started:

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1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp lemon zest

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated 1/2 tsp black pepper

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1 cup baby arugula

Happy making, and enjoy the process as much as you enjoy the results!

Inspired by Eating Well




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19 Cedar St. Worcester, MA 01609

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Time to Step Back and Slow Down

What Is Gardening Good For? Plan for Peace of Mind Today and Tomorrow


How to Keep the Peace Springtime Cacio e Pepe


The Best Technology for Graduates

FOR THE STREAMER There’s no shortage of streaming services, and depending on what your graduate enjoys watching, you may consider gifting them a subscription. Nostalgic Disney lovers looking for some stress relief would certainly love a Disney+ subscription, but if you know someone who has an affinity for the dramatic sagas, a subscription to HBO Now could satisfy their cravings. Hulu + Live TV can also be a great alternative for a grad who is out of the house! The best part is that this gift keeps on giving with every SAY CONGRATULATIONS With These Tech Gifts for Grads

Spring is all about new beginnings, and for many, graduation is just the start of something big. Whether your favorite graduate is heading off to college, serve in our nation’s military, or join the workforce, there’s a gadget out there that will give them a great start — or at least make you their favorite relative. Check out this guide to find the perfect tech gift. FOR THE AUDIO LOVER From wireless headphones that surround you with sound to Bluetooth speakers that offer crystal-clear quality, the options are endless when it comes to choosing an audio device. But before purchasing the “next best thing,” consider the person who will use it. If your graduate exercises frequently, they may want wireless headphones like Apple’s AirPods or one of the many Samsung varieties. On the flip side, if they enjoy action movies, a great sound bar for their entertainment system just might do the trick.

movie or show they stream. FOR THE ACADEMIC

This May will mark the start of a new academic adventure for many. AI systems like the Amazon Alexa and Google Home can make staying in touch and studying easier, while an e-reader could house all their textbooks in one handy place. Laptop cases, screen covers, and other protective gear can keep their technology safe from wear and tear. (After all, what college kid can afford a new laptop on a whim?) Charging stations and cord organizers can also protect their tech and keep their space clean. 4

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