By: Heather Desmond O’Neill

Safety drill“Mama, we had a drill at school today!”

“Wow! A fire drill?”

“Nope …. A LOCKDOWN drill!”

And my heart sank. Thankfully, I was on the phone with my son so he did not see the tears that immediately formed in the corners of my eyes.

My mind immediately thought of the Sandy Hook kids. They were first and second graders. Just babies. My son is in first grade. He has no idea about the importance or relevance of what a lockdown is.

I have a sense of helplessness.

This was just a drill. He was excited about learning something new. I was terrified that he may actually have to use it.

I work in a school. I get it. We practice lockdown drills so that everyone is on the same page as to what to do in an emergency. The kids get used to practicing these drills so if there is ever an emergency they are prepared. The fact that this even needs to exist disgusts me. But the realist in me knows that we need lockdown drills.

What did you do in the drill?” I ask.

We went over to a super secret place and all sat on the floor,” he replied.

What did they tell you was the most important thing to do?”

Be quiet,” he states matter-of-factly.

I’m afraid if I say anything else he will know I’m crying. So I stay silent.

Bye Mama. See you when you get home!”

And I am off the hook. “Bye baby. See you soon,” I choke out.

I can’t stop the tears. I think of the angels who protected as many children as they could that fateful day in December 2012. I pray there are people of the same caliber working at my son’s school. I picture the faces of innocent elementary school children and my heart hurts.

I think of the families, the parents, the siblings, the grandparents, the surviving classmates and faculty. I wonder if they practice lockdown drills.

I hate this feeling of doom I have while discussing the drill with my son. I want school to be a safe, secure and enjoyable place for him. But I know that this is out of my control.

All I can do is support his teachers and discuss with him how to behave during these drills. I want him to take them seriously, but not be scared. I want for him to never have to experience terror in school. I pray this will be the case.

Posted in Family, Heather Desmond O'Neill, Mommy Advice, School | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Coping with the Death of a Co-Worker

By: Carolyn Coleman

death of a coworkerI recently experienced the death of a co-worker. It’s been hard to process because you don’t always know how to cope with the death of a co-worker. Our co-workers are very much like extended family; we spend most of our waking hours with them.

There are many reasons why coping with the loss of a co-worker can present unique challenges. Co-workers are not always acknowledged for the significant role they play in our lives, so we may not feel supported in our feelings of grief. People may assume you should get over it quickly. Our family and other friends may not know the co-worker who has died; we may not know the family and friends of our co-worker. If we cannot grieve with our co-workers, we may feel completely alone, yet our employers don’t always encourage us to grieve openly or together. Emotions and work are not things that usually go together. Work has long been considered a place to be productive, not to shed tears, which can be a hard habit to break.

We spend a lot of time with our co-workers. They touch or lives every day. We laugh and complain to one another, experience successes and failures, and go through our good days and bad days together. But yet with the loss of a co-worker we often don’t have permission to grieve as we would a family member or friend.

I don’t feel as though grief should be lost in the workplace – we just need to be more proactive in handling it.

As with any loss, I’ve learned to value family more and to take care of our physical and emotional health.

Posted in Carolyn Coleman, Working | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making Friends

By: Jessica Aldred

“Do you wanna have a play date?”

“Mom, I made a new friend today!”

“My new friend thinks spiders are icky, too!”

These are just a few of the statements I’ve heard from my cherubs as they started off the school year in their new classrooms. As an adult, I can’t remember the last time making a friend was so simple. A time when all it took to be BFF’s was bonding over a love of matchbox cars or Barbie dolls. A time when you literally felt comfortable just walking up to another human being and saying, “Hey, let’s be friends.” They’d say yes and you’d skip off, onto the next game or activity.

Can you imagine if it were so simple as adults? We’ve all become so insecure with who we are that we can’t imagine that other adults might actually like us. We’re so afraid of being rejected that we often sit on the sidelines, quietly busying ourselves so as not to be adult friendshipsbothered with. I can’t be the only one fighting this battle. In fact, I know I’m not, and I’ve made it a point to try to squash this fear by taking it head on.

It’s not that I’m antisocial, just insecure I guess. The cool kids in school can only psychologically batter you so long before it leaves its mark for life. In the past few weeks I have it made a point to actively walk up to groups of pseudo-strangers and start conversation. I’ve also gone solo to some town, adult-only, events in hopes of winning this war over my own psyche. While I haven’t been surprised by the response I’ve received, I still find it awkward. Why is so hard to feel confident in yourself and your ability to make friends just as you did decades ago on the playground? I don’t need them to come over and play with my stuff, but I do need these people, these other parents who will become some of my closest friends over the next 12+ years, to know who I am and appreciate what I bring to the table.

My husband has taken to calling me the definition of a soccer mom, as I show up at my children’s events, cordially say hello to half a dozen people, and almost immediately engage in conversation with someone. Like I said, I’m not anti-social. I can hold my own in most social circles, but defeating my inner demons is an ongoing battle. What if they don’t like me? What if I’m not into what they’re into? Come on! We’re all into our kids and that’s our innate bond.

Friendships of the past, while majorly still there, fall by the wayside when kids come along. We’re almost forced to unite with these kindred spirits who shiver on the sidelines with us. We’ll share stories of the trials and tribulations of child rearing. We’ll share our past or present careers and make random connections we didn’t know were there at the start. And we’ll allow these people to become some of our most trusted resources when it comes to our family, our town/city, and life in general. How can they not? I’m still in the early years, but I know many more hours will be spent at committee meetings, sporting events and conferences alongside these increasingly familiar faces.

If I have learned anything in my years as an adult, and specifically as a parent, it is that I am the example my children will follow. The choices I make will give them permission to follow suit. So, when my preschooler walks confidently up to another small child, offers his hand and says “Hi!” I feel good about that. Although I don’t always feel that confidence he exudes so effortlessly, at least I’m putting on a good show and he’s benefiting from that.

Posted in Jessica Aldred, Mommy Advice | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Signature Healthcare’s Ladies Night

Want a night off from your typical household and parenting duties? Grab a few girlfriends and join Signature Healthcare for Ladies Night on Thursday, October 9th from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Shaw’s Center in Brockton!

This fun – and FREE!  – event will give women an excuse to make time for their health while relaxing and indulging in fun activities, such as painting, messages, and shopping. The event will also feature women’s health discussions led by Dr. Laurie Han and Dr. Kristin Ratcliff, and the opportunity to make appointments for your annual mammogram and other health needs.

What are you waiting for? Head to http://bit.ly/1BbomGL or call (508) 941-7654 to reserve your spot at this fun event.

Signature Healthcare Ladies Night

Posted in Community Events, Events, Health | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Signature Moms Blog Hits 200,000 Views Milestone!

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 4.25.38 PMA little over a year ago we were celebrating this wonderful blog achieving 100,000 views in its first two years of life. Evidently, that was just a sign of good things to come! Today the blog has reached the 200,000 views milestone, an amazing accomplishment and one largely due to the great work of our bloggers! Congratulations to each of you. We’d also like to send out a special thank you to all of our readers.

Our amazing bloggers were identified through a series of contests, sponsored by Signature Healthcare, in which moms were encouraged to visit the hospital’s Facebook page and post a written narrative explaining why they would be a great blogger. Since being selected, these women have created a vibrant, online community where local mothers can come together to obtain new ideas and share experiences on the many roles they have to play as mothers, wives, caregivers, professionals, sisters, friends and providers each and every day.

Even before the blog reached these milestones, it was acclaimed within the healthcare industry as a marketing best practice and an innovative communications platform of value to families in the region. The blog keeps garnering awards within the healthcare industry. In 2013 it has received a Gold Aster Award within the blog category, a Silver Lamplighter Award in the blog category, a Gold Lamplighter Award for Excellence in Writing, and a Gold SIAA Award for Social Media. In 2014, the blog was recognized with a Silver National Aster Award and five Lamplighter Awards from the New England Society for Healthcare Communications.

The blog has also been the focus of stories in a number of industry publications include Healthcare Strategy Alert, Marketing Healthcare Today, eHealthcare Strategy & Trends, H&HN and Healthcare Marketing Advisor. The blog even received coverage on USA Today online.


Posted in Mommy Blogger in the News, Press Coverage | Tagged | 1 Comment

Texting While Driving

By:  Guest Blogger – Marie Gross

Several months ago, I took the opportunity to share with my favorite Mommy Bloggers and their audience a video illustrating the hazards of distracted drivers.  Messages addressing “driving while intexticated” abound on roadside signs (in Massachusetts where teen texting and driving is prohibited and carries a $100 fine), in schools, and certainly at family dinner tables.  Yet as a frequent traveler with a long commute, I am a first hand witness of this texting danger and know it is growing day by day. In 2011 23% of all collisions involved some form of texting or phone usage and 13% of teens admitted (note – admitted…how many are not sharing?) to using phones while driving.

So when I came upon this great video, I thought it might be another way to get the message to our teens.  We need to be creative to get through to their very busy, distracted minds.  This may jolt them to think before picking up the phone – if  only for one more ride home from school.  Share, share, share!

  ­­- A Triplets Mommy

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Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Roll

By: Kathy Trainor

Until recently, peanut butter and marshmallow was something that was really only known up in the Northeast. But in the past few years it has been rolling across the country.

Think about peanut butter and marshmallow together. It is pure comfort food for most people, ages 1-100. For me, it brings back memories of marshmallow all over my lunch bag, with gooey goodness I could then lick off my fingers as I returned to class. Using actual “Fluff” for this recipe would be difficult since it is not easy to spread, so I subbed marshmallows for a touch of melted goodness.


  • 1 Can of pizza dough (Found in the refrigerated section.)
  • 1 Cup of peanut butter chips
  • 1 Cup of mini marshmallows


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Unroll the pizza dough on a flat surface.

Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Roll

3. Add a layer of peanut butter chips and a layer of mini marshmallows.

Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Roll

4. Roll the dough and make sure the edges are sealed.

Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Roll

5. Place the dough roll in a greased bread pan. I used a disposable pan because I didn’t want any dishes.

Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Roll

6. Bake for 20 minutes until cooked through.

Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Roll

7. Let the roll sit for 20 minutes before slicing and enjoying.

Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Roll

Posted in Cooking, Food, Kathy Trainor, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment