Jenny Riojas, our Family Placement Counselor, was chosen as Mom of the Month by a local blogger! Here’s the story!

I met Jenny a few years ago at a moms group at church.  She was unbelievably sweet.  She and her sister in law were just so open and considerate.

Our kiddos are the same age as mine and it’s so nice to see a mom handle these ages so great.  Especially with two boys.

Jenny is funny and kind and takes great joy in her boys and it shows all over her face!
She is very dear to me and reading her answers below you can see why.

Here is Jenny’s story…..

1. How many children do you have?

List ages and names I have 2 rambunctious yet loving boys.  Carter Preston is 9 and Chase Kelan is 7.

2. Your occupation: I am the Family Placement Director at Caring Nannies in Scottsdale.  I place nannies and domestic staff with families all over the Valley.  I love my job!  It’s a business I am passionate about and it gives me the flexibility to be with my children when I need to be.

3. What is your most strict parenting rule?

At the ages that my boys are right now, I am strict about back talk and disrespect.  To anyone.  If that type of behavior is displayed, an immediate consequence is given.

4. What is the best motherly advice you have received? From who?

My parents were all about “creating memories” when I was growing up.  I have very fond childhood memories of camping, RV road trips, BBQ’s, my Dad’s silly magic shows, family game nights, and so forth.  I think that was the best advice: to create memories with your children.  It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant but I try to do things that they will remember when they are older and will tell their children about.

5.What is the biggest challenge you face balancing yourself and being a mom?

The key word there is ‘balance.’  I’m like every other Mom with lots of things to juggle every week and sometimes I feel if I’m putting too much time and energy in one area, then things are falling through the cracks in another. More often than not, I don’t feel like I have it all together.  I just do my best to fit in quality time whenever I can.  For me, that may mean leaving the laundry and sticky floors for another time….and going out for a family bike ride.  Or putting away the work laptop so I can snuggle with the kiddos before bedtime. Every little bit counts.

6. Can you share any mom tips with us?

#1  Carve out Mommy time. It’s a natural thing for Moms to put everyone else’s needs first.  I believe it is also important to remember to take care of yourself and do some things that you enjoy so that you are a re-charged and happy Mommy.

#2  Don’t beat yourself up.  We all have bad days (or weeks) and it’s easy to go to bed at night and beat ourselves up for what we feel we did wrong in our parenting.  Let the bad days go.  Moms are their own worst critics.  The next morning, those little munchkins are still going to run up to you and give you a big hug, regardless of how the prior day went.

#3 Don’t compare.  It’s great to get advice from fellow Moms but if your child isn’t reading and conjugating verbs by the age of 3 like your friend’s kid is, don’t feel like you’ve failed as a parent.

#4 Be spontaneous sometimes.  All moms need structure and routines to their days or they’d go insane; but many, many times things do not go as planned in mommyhood.  When that happens, throw the plans out the window, be spontaneous, and make the most of it.  A lot of times those turn out to be the best days.

#5  If you have more than one child, plan special one-on-one Mommy dates with each child.  My kids really look forward to this and I’m always amazed at the special conversations that take place when I am focused on them one at a time.

7. What is the hardest part about being a mom?

Moms worry a lot.  That’s a given.  We want the best for our kids.  When they are hurting, we are hurting.  We want to always protect them and shield them. But we can’t.  That’s the hardest thing.  And seeing them grow up so fast!

8. What is your favorite part about being a mom?

I’m one of those people who dreamed about being a Mommy when I was a young girl.  I’ve always loved kids, especially babies, and I simply could not wait to be a mom myself.  It’s the most rewarding yet challenging job!  I love that my kids melt my heart and keep me laughing everyday.  I love how forgiving they are of me.  I love that it is ever-changing.  Once you think you’ve mastered one stage, you’re on to the next.  I love experiencing things through their eyes.  I love that they teach me just as much, if not more, than I teach them.

9. Tell us a story….. it can be something funny your kids did, it can be an embarrassing thing that happened to you as a mother, it can be your proudest moment, the moment you felt like you were  a good mother…anything you want.


Whenever I am away from my kids or I’m traveling, I’ll leave prizes hidden throughout the house for them to find each day that I’m gone.  I’ll call with a clue that will help them find the prize. So once when they were gone for a few days and I was home alone, they surprised me by hiding notes and prizes for me.  I was cracking up with what they came up with.  One note said, “Mom, I know you are going out with your friends.  Here is a piece of gum.”
Thank you Jenny for sharing your story with us today!
Keep connected to us
Hop on over to The Hankful House Facebook page and give us a “like”
Follow us on Instagram
Linking up to these great parties
The Inspiration Gallery Inspire Me Please Work It Wednesday Weekend Wowza Craft Frenzy Friday
Inspiration Monday Hit Me With Your Best Shot Fluster Buster

Read More
How can we put the fun back into the holidays? Let’s be honest, the social obligations, impossibly long lists of things to do on top of already overloaded family schedules makes us hope that the holidays will  bring us a break but actually, the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas only intensifies the schedule, the activities and the stress. Here’s how to de-stress:
1. Create a Holiday Journal. In a journal make two columns and label them “What Works” and “Not That Again.” Under “What Works” list activities that come naturally, bring you joy, and ease into place. Under “Not That Again” list challenges. Jot down energy-draining activities that bring you down. What changes will you make to delegate, dump, or modify the items in the “Not That Again” column and embrace more of what is in the “What Works” column? This idea is from Beth Tabak, personal and business life
2. Shift thinking from, “What am I getting?” to, “It’s fun to give!” Allow the kids to give from their own savings, rather than you giving them money to give to those in need. Give them two or three options of local kids’ charity. Make a list of what each family member will give. Then make delivery a family event.

 3. Plan one family activity each week, like driving around town to see the lights. We love singing carols in the car. Come home for hot cocoa and popcorn. Another night, bake cut-out cookies for friends and neighbors, go shopping for that charity, or enjoy a game night or movie marathon.
4. Keep up that thankfulness habit and consistently ask the kids what they’re grateful for each day, either at dinner or bedtime.
5. Be on the lookout for friends, family members or co-workers who are feeling stressed or depressed. Maybe your own spouse or child is one of them. Say, “What can I do to help?”
The key to joyful holidays is to plan ahead, refuse to continue traditions that aren’t uplifting, target family activities and relationships rather than ‘stuff’, and meet the needs of those around you.

Beth Weise

Read More

Get a free book and help a great cause

I have exciting news to share. I’m featured in a new parenting book that my friend and colleague Toni Schutta has published called 20 Great Ways to Raise Great Kids that’s available free to parents at . You’ll gain over 200 practical tips that you can use immediately to help raise a loving, kind, responsible, confident and successful child.
No other parenting book contains interviews with 27 top experts in the field and 10 wise parents who all give you their very best strategies all in one book.  I’m one of the experts featured in a chapter called, “Mealtime Dilemmas Solved.”
20 Great Ways to Raise Great Kids helps you find practical solutions for nagging problems like getting your kids to listen; reducing back talk, bedtime struggles, mealtime hassles, and overuse of electronics; and getting chores and homework done without a lot of hassle.
You’ll discover tools to help you evaluate whether you’re overindulging, overscheduling, or over-nurturing your kids so you can ensure their success rather than harm them in unexpected ways.
You’ll also gain a road map for reducing stress and creating a balanced life where your own needs are consciously integrated into family life for greater happiness.
20 Great Ways to Raise Great Kids Will Help You:
  • Pry your kids away from electronics so you can connect in more meaningful ways.
  • Reduce your stress so you enjoy your kids more.
  • Create a balanced life so you have time to connect with your spouse and pursue passions of your own.
  • Get your kids to bed on time so you gain back valuable time for yourself.
  • Find solutions to the top 10 parenting challenges so you handle misbehavior with confidence and ease.
  • And much more!
You can get a free copy here: All profits made from the sale of the E-book and print versions will be donated to help prevent child abuse. The goal is to raise $25,000 for the Family Enhancement Center, a non-profit devoted to preventing child abuse.
Best Wishes,  Beth
P.S.  Don’t just take my word for it, here’s what one mom shared: “Toni’s book is the ESSENTIAL handbook for raising a happy & successful child for us parents struggling to keep our heads above water.  Toni has assembled a mastermind group of experts who compassionately and generously provide relevant, simple tips on everyday challenges we face, including how to manage “screen time”, get respect from our kids, and be the consistent and strong role models we want to be. I will give this book to every parent in our network!” Erin Owen, mother of two.
Get your free book 20 Great Ways to Raise Great Kids now:

Beth Weise

Read More