Ever since I read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry in third or fourth grade, I have devoured books about the World War II era. I find something about the time period so hauntingly beautiful. While there were so many awful things happening throughout Eastern Europe during the war, there was also so much humanity, resilience, and strength of human spirit. That's probably why I enjoyed The German Midwife so much.
The book takes place in Germany in 1944. Anke, a prisoner in the camps, does what she can to keep her pregnant campmates and their newborns alive.
But when the Reich notices Anke's work, she is silently whisked away from camp and given a task more dangerous than being in a camp. Anke is assigned to be the midwife of Eva, a woman who is pregnant with the Führer’s child. Her family is threatened if she doesn't complete this task, so what is there to do?
The book weaves through Anke's story, bringing in a few kind characters to help Anke along this impossible journey, and reminding us that good and evil are not always black and white, and that gray areas do exist. Will Anke deliver this baby and keep it safe, furthering the cause of the Reich she so detests? Or will she sacrifice this child to help fix a broken world?
The German Midwife is a solidly told, well-written read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and if World War II novels are something you enjoy, then I think this is something you will enjoy as well. I honestly couldn't put the book down and even sacrificed a good night's rest to read a couple more chapters (a decision I really regretted when the kids woke up at 5:45 am).
We all know that as moms, we juggle a lot. Especially when our kids are young - we have to make decisions for them and remember ALL THE THINGS for them. Our brains are occupied a lot of the time by tasks, which although menial, take up so much of our brain power. For a lot of us, this means that other things fall to the wayside - things that we feel like we can address later, or that don't need our immediate attention. Finances is one of those things.
Parenting often results in women being time-poor, acutely so when their children are young or when they’re single mothers. As recently as 2016, mothers of children under six reported dedicating nearly twice the amount of time per day as fathers spent dedicated to childcare, including when both parents work. In more than half (54%) of homes where both parents work full time, the mother does more to manage children’s schedules and activities. That leaves less time for financial management, planning, saving and investing during critical years that can help build a nest egg."
But the truth is, it's so important for us as women to understand our finances, and to plan for our futures. I sat down with Financial Advisor Alicia Figueroa to chat about what financial planning means and how we as women and mothers can actively participate in planning the financial needs of our families.
When you say “Financial Planning” what do you really mean by that?
Financial Planning is a holistic way to approach someone’s personal finances. When people think of a Financial Advisor they may only think about investments and the stock market. Financial Planning is about working with everyday people to make sure that they are creating the right infrastructure to help build good savings habits and protect their family, with the goal of achieving financial freedom. For example, taking advantage of retirement accounts at work, properly funding an Emergency Savings account and Budgeting to understand long term financial needs are all topics I address with clients.
Why do you think it is important for moms to understand Financial Planning?
I think it is important for several reasons. One, women tend to be responsible for the majority of household decisions but are often not informed on the finances of the home. Two, on average women live longer than men. What this means is that women will need more money over the long run, which needs to be planned for.
Most people think they can’t afford a Financial Advisor. What do you usually say to that?
Unfortunately, the word Financial Advisor usually carries a negative stigma because people think that you need a lot of money to even merit seeing one or people are embarrassed about their current financial situation. The reality is Financial Advisors work with people from all different financial backgrounds with the same goal of achieving financial freedom. Often Financial Advisors do not charge a fee for meeting with them. More importantly every meeting is an opportunity to teach our clients the Personal Finance skills that are not taught in school. My goal is for every client to leave a meeting better prepared to make decisions in their everyday life.
What are some of the topics we are going to cover over our next sessions?
I would like to cover some of the topics that I know every parent thinks about like College funding strategies, Budgeting and Retirement. Then I want to go over the ones that some people don’t really have on their radar but that I would argue are even more important than the earlier topics and that is protecting your family from the risk of an unexpected death, sickness or injury.
Alicia is a Financial Planner dedicated to helping individuals become financially independent by creating good savings habits, protecting their assets, and achieving their goals of growing and transferring their wealth. Her goal is to make financial independence a reality for Americans.
Alicia has been in the financial services industry for over 10 years; having worked at Morgan Stanley and Citi prior to joining MassMutual South Florida.
She has an MBA from Wharton and a Masters in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her Bachelors in Business Administration from Loyola University New Orleans where she majored in Finance and Marketing. Alicia currently lives in Miami. Prior to that she spent time living in New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Sao Paulo. She is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with Alicia, you can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her directly at (305) 776-1032.
Alicia Figueroa is a registered representative of and offers securities and investment advisory services through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. 1000 Corporate Drive, Suite 700, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. (954) 938-8800.
The views and opinions expressed are those of Alicia Figueroa. Alicia Figueroa’s views are not necessarily those of MML Investors Services, LLC or its subsidiaries.
Have questions you'd like for us to answer in this series? Shoot me an e-mail or comment below!
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you will know that Florida is once again facing the threat of a hurricane. I’ve been meaning to get this post out for a little bit and I kept putting it off. But I guess there’s no time like the present!
As soon as I hear that there is the threat of a storm, we buy water. Worst case scenario, we bought it for nothing and we’ll use it later. The other thing I do is fill up my gas tank. That way once the lines get really bad I don’t have to go. Here’s a list of the things we do, starting with when we first find out there’s the possibility of a storm, leading to right up until the storm begins.
Before the Storm
During the Storm
After the Storm
Stay safe, friends!
This post had been sponsored by JOHNSON’S®. All opinions are my own.
My word for the year this year has been to Simplify. While it’s not always at the forefront of my mind, I find myself making subconscious decisions all the time that help to simplify my life. One of those decisions was to start bathing the kids together.
With both of my kids, there are a few things that have always stayed consistent through their bath time routine. For one thing, bath time almost always comes after dinner. But as their needs change, the routine is adjusted and the products we use change. When Chloe was tiny, I would bathe her alone in a baby bathtub, but as she got older and sturdier, I started to bathe her with Caleb. I want bath time to be as easy as possible, so they go in at the same time, get washed up with the same products, and they come out at the same time.
Once they started bathing together, we made the switch to JOHNSON’S® Head-to-Toe Wash & Shampoo. This is something else that has helped me to simplify. It’s one product that works for everything from - you guessed it - their heads down to their toes. Head-To-Toe® Wash and Shampoo is an ultra-mild, gentle cleanser that is safe for a baby’s sensitive skin (and eyes). It’s also free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and dyes, which was a big part of JOHNSON’S® renewed commitment to Choose Gentle. The pump bottle makes it easy for me to get the product out and onto the kids without having to pick up a slippery bottle, and the kids love to use it on themselves - even Chloe holds out her hand so I can put some in it and then she scrubs her belly.
JOHNSON’S® Head-to-Toe Wash & Shampoo really streamlines the bath time process, and when you’re in the middle of the crazy evening hours, one less step counts for a lot! Because it is such a great multi-purpose product, when we go on vacation, I make sure we always buy a bottle and we can all use it all over (including Mom & Dad)!
Another product that we have added into our routine, especially with all the drying activities of summer like swimming and sweating, is JOHNSON’S® Baby Lotion. Their classic baby lotion is now made with coconut oil, and it keeps delicate skin soft, smooth and feeling healthy. Baby’s skin is nourished for 24 hours with this mild formula. It has the classic smell we all know and love but it has no parabens, phthalates or dyes. I keep this on Chloe’s changing table and after her bath, I make sure to apply some. The best part about it is that is absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave any unwanted residue, so my hands aren’t slippery or greasy afterwards (because it doesn’t leave a residue, this is actually what I use on myself, too!).
The great thing about these products is that they are really affordable, and you can find them anywhere, including online at Target.com or Walmart.com
Have you ever felt like the thing you experience with your kids couldn’t possibly be true unless somebody else was there to witness them? A lot of times I wish I had been recording my kids when certain things happen, or that someone else had been there to witness whatever funny/crazy/unbelievable thing they did.
I have never felt as seen before as I did when I was reading Whitney Bausman‘s soon-to-be-released book, Herding Cats. Her stories about raising her toddlers Clark and Annie feel like they were pulled straight out of a scene in my house. The challenges, the atrocities, the hilarity, and the really special moments that just tug at your heart strings are what make Herding Cats a fun, relatable, and at times even tear-inducing read. If you are currently a parent of a toddler or toddlers, have been a parent of toddlers in the past, or even just know any toddlers in a capacity which is more than in passing, then you will definitely enjoy this book. I couldn’t believe how many times I literally laughed out loud. From stories about poop, to boogers, to germs and illnesses, when it comes to kids it was truly one of the most relatable and funniest reads!
It was also honest and authentic. Whitney isn’t talking about parenting in the most popular way, she’s talking about parenting in the most real, authentic, and “Oh, good, I’m not the only one who feels this way” way possible. More than once I breathed a sigh of relief that there are more parents out there like me who are middle of the road, who don’t think the TV is pure evil (only partially), and who are totally okay with giving their kids frozen waffles in the mornings.
Through several parts of the book, I thought to myself, “Whitney and I must share a brain,” but then I realized that it’s not only Whitney and I who could be sharing a brain, but nearly any parent of any toddler out there. I write this as Chloe is pulling my hair, has fought her nap today tooth and nail, and I am getting ready to go sit in the car with her until she falls asleep and has a decent nap. If you’re looking for a funny and relatable read that will make you think of your own toddlers’ antics, and make you realize you aren’t alone, then check out Herding Cats by Whitney Bausman, which will be available on Amazon this Friday, August 30 (you can preorder now, though!).