hang up the gloves

gloves

When it comes to motherhood, all bets are off. Any woman out there will tell you that having a baby changes everything. Motherhood is an incredibly important job AND an incredibly hard job. There is no instruction manual to follow. No step-by-step guide for guaranteed success. We all just take a deep breath and jump in.

That being said, there is an enormous amount of pressure for us to do everything the “right way” when it comes to raising a family. This pressure comes from expectations we’ve set for ourselves, as well as from outside sources such as our own moms, family members, friends and yes, even strangers. And probably the harshest critics of all: OTHER MOMS. No one tells you before you become a mom that you will soon be entering the Mommy Wars. A place where everyone has an opinion of what you’re doing wrong, what you should be doing instead, and why they want to punch you in the throat.

I think one of the hottest topics when it comes to bringing up babies is breast-feeding. There seems to be this ongoing war between moms about the pressures to breast feed, the successes and failures, how long to do it (short-term, extended), and the thought that bottle-feeding (not only formula, but breast milk as well- yikes!) somehow makes you inferior as a mother. This is all a bunch of malarkey. While everyone clearly understands that breast milk is best, there are barriers that keep 100% of all moms from breast-feeding. Some of these include milk production (or lack thereof), premature deliveries, latching problems, medications, single-parenting, working full-time, lack of support, etc., etc. Add to those the fact that breast-feeding is certainly not all sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, and lemon drops all of the time.

Breast-feeding is hard work. Bleeding nipples, cracked nipples, inverted nipples, flat nipples, blah, blah, ouch. Exhaustion, confusion, infection. Cradle hold, cross-over hold, football hold. The list goes on and on. You know what else is hard work? Yep, you guessed it- everything else that goes along with having a new baby in your life.

I am a breast-feeding mom. I extended breast-fed both of my children well past one year of age. I was extremely lucky and my babies were perfect little latchers. I had a great supply (I seriously could have fed a small country) and everything just seemed to click for me. What does this mean for you? Really, it should mean nothing. I am not in competition with you. I do what’s best for my kids and my family and I would expect you to do the same.

The greatest caveat to achieving and maintaining the health of my children and myself is AWARENESS.  It is unacceptable for me to “just go with the flow” so to say when it comes to decisions that impact my family. It takes education, tons of reading, mucho support, and positive assurance to stand firm in my beliefs. I take what I learn and apply it to my life as best I can. If others warrant my opinion or advice, then I give it. I’ve created this blog to help, not to divide.

The bottom line: Be informed, confident and secure in the choices you make for your kids and there will be absolutely no room for others to knock you down. Be willing to have an open mind and to think critically outside that big old box.

I can only hope that sometime soon we see motherhood as a journey we’re all facing together.

So ladies, whatta ya say-

Shall we hang up the gloves?

Hang Up the Gloves is an oldie but goodie. It was published March 2, 2012 on newhealthom.com

when parenting meets reality

reality

Have you ever met the perfect parent? Well I have to say that before I had kids, I was the perfect parent. In my pre-kids era, I had a big old list of all the things my kids would NEVER ever do, say, or wear. Here are some examples:

  1. My kids will always listen.
  2. My kids will never have snot hanging from their nose.
  3. My kids will always be respectful and use “inside voices” in appropriate places and situations.
  4. My kids will never hang off the shopping cart crying at Target or run away from me and hide in a sea of clothes racks.
  5. My kids will never have meltdowns in public places.
  6. My kids will never jump on furniture or on each other for that matter.
  7. My kids will always say “please” and “thank you.”
  8. My kids will always be dressed neatly and will never “wear” their breakfast, lunch, or dinner or eat off of the floor.
  9. My kids will never push, hit, or pull the hair of another human being.
  10. My kids will never throw things while having a tantrum. Oh heck, my kids will never throw a tantrum.
Then reality set in when I became a mom. I had to tweak my list a bit. Here goes:
1. My kids will always listen. Except when they don’t and I have to send them to time out.
2. My kids will never have snot hanging from their nose. Except when they’re sick or when I haven’t gotten around to wiping them yet or when I forgot to use my sleeve/shirt,pants,etc.etc.
3. My kids will always be respectful and use “inside voices” in appropriate places and situations. Except when they shout and I have to remove them from said place (museum, movie theater, grocery store, library, etc.).
4. My kids will never hang off the shopping cart crying at Target or run away from me and hide in a sea of clothes racks. Except when I lose sight of them for one second and I start frantically calling their name and searching for them, only to find them hiding in a sea of flannel pajamas. 
Can you find my kid? Yeah, me neither.
5My kids will never have meltdowns in public places. Except when they are cranky and they want something and I say “NO!”
6My kids will never jump on furniture or on each other for that matter. Except when they get excited about something and decide to celebrate by cannon-balling off the sofa.
7My kids will always say “please” and “thank you.” Except when they forget or don’t want to and I have to remind them. {again and again and again and again}.
8. My kids will always be dressed neatly and will never “wear” their breakfast, lunch, or dinner or eat off of the floor. Except when they are babies and toddlers and kids, because HELLO- kids are messy and get dirty.
9. My kids will never push, hit, or pull the hair of another human beingExcept every so often when said human being steals their toy and I can’t get in there quick enough to prevent the pushing or hitting or pulling from happening. 
10My kids will never throw things while having a tantrum. Oh heck, my kids will never throw a tantrum. Except when they do. Because kids are kids and sometimes they get upset and don’t have the capacity to control their feelings. After all, they’re just kids. 

As you can see, I had extremely high parenting expectations before I had kids. I think a lot of (first time) parents do. But now that they’re here in the flesh, I have succumbed to the reality that I can’t control everything. Really. My family is not perfect. The best I can do is teach my kids right from wrong, instill proper values into their lives, and above all else, love them unconditionally. Oh and hope for the best.

Reblogged from February 2012 archives by Mommy OM.

Encourage Your Kids Fashion Personality

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Children are naturally expressive. Their diverse personalities are reflected through their voice, body movements, imaginations, and teachings. We learn more and more about our children as they grow: What makes them giggle. What makes them cry. Their favorite foods. Favorite colors. Blocks versus Legos. Crayons versus paint. More importantly, children too, learn to identify with themselves through the choices they make as they continually strive for independence.

One great way to encourage personality development and expression is through clothing. From early on, it is essentially ‘we the parents’ who define our children through their clothing. The clothing we choose for our infants and toddlers usually reflects our own sense of ideals, beliefs, and style. But soon, even younger children begin to show signs of fondness for certain colors, textures, and patterns in clothing. Long sleeves versus short. Stripes versus polka dots. Skirts versus pants. Most often, children will naturally gravitate towards apparel which reflects how they are feeling in that particular moment.

You may have a child who loves to wear tutu’s and princess crowns all day long. Or one that wears his favorite blue t-shirt every single day no matter what. A superhero who needs a red cape. A little one who won’t go anywhere without flowers in her hair and mismatched plaids and prints. Rain boots in winter and snow boots in summer. Sunglasses, hats, knitted scarves, etc. As long as they are safe and dressed in what is deemed “appropriate,” I say let them get creative.

By allowing our kids the freedom to decide we are instilling and encouraging not only sense of self, but critical thinking, positive assertion, and problem solving skills. And along with our guidance and love, these kids are destined to be little rock stars in their own right.

baby, it’s cold outside

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The winter blues are in full swing here at my house and this family is in need of some sort of “lifting of the winter spirits” exercise. You know, maybe something where we all get together in the morning, stand holding hands in a circle, and chant for the sun gods to shine some light and send some heat and bathing suit weather our way. I don’t know about where you live, but winter can get pretty damn depressing in the northeast. Every day is like groundhog day. Get up, look outside- cloudy. Make breakfast, get the kids dressed, start the car- freeze my ass off. Run back into the house, bundle the kids up in winter jackets-boots-hats-mittens, and scoot them out the door as quickly as possible- would you look at that it’s raining/sleeting/snowing/a blizzard. And pretty much every morning, I have the same conversation with my kids as we leave the house. Here’s my end:

“Hurry up and get in, I need to buckle you my head is getting wet.”

“Yes, you have to wear your hat, it’s cold.”

“Because I said so.”

“No, you can’t open your window.”

“Your boogies will freeze.”

“Sorry, but we can’t play outside today.”

“How are you going to roller skate in slush?”

“Your bike is put away for the winter.”

“I’m pretty sure your training wheels wouldn’t make it through that snow bank.”

“The park is closed.”

“Because they took the swings down.”

“No, we can’t go swimming.”

“Baby, it’s cold outside.”

As a mom of two very active and energetic young kids, the best way to keep them happy and thus maintain my sanity is to open the door and let them go, go, go. In spring, we throw on our rain gear and stomp in muddy puddles. In summer, we ride bikes, run through sprinklers, and picnic under a shady tree. In fall, we take hikes and go on nature walks.

Then comes winter.

It’s great in the beginning because the holiday season is in full throttle and the kids are preoccupied with Santa and sleigh rides. But then comes January, February, March. Can you say boring? After I’ve exhausted every do-it-yourself craft activity, book reading session, puzzle time, watch-mama-cook-dinner-fun, and the kids are still bouncing off the walls, it’s time to bundle them up and brave the cold.

My kids are desperate to get outdoors in the winter even when it’s 6 degrees and I can’t say I blame them. I’m desperate, too. Being cooped up inside (home, work, school) for months on end starts to take its toll. Any sign of sunlight and 30+ degree temperatures and my family is hitting the front yard like it’s an 80 degree beach day.

The benefits of keeping kids active during the winter are key to their optimum development and overall well-being. Outdoor exercise builds strong bones and muscles, reduces stress, strengthens immunity, releases endorphins in the body, increases much-needed Vitamin D levels, and allows for an overall better mood and night’s sleep.

So get outside with your kids even if it’s just for a brisk walk. And the next time you find yourself hauling out the Radio Flyer wagon and trudging through six inches of snow and slush in late January – take a deep breath, smile, and know that I am right there with ya.

Reblogged from February 2012 Archives by Mommy OM

Six Green Activities for Kids

wagon

Turn off the television. Power down the computer. Hand over the Nintendo DS. It’s time to unplug and get our heads thinking, our hands doing, and our bodies moving. Here are a few activities that can help develop a generation of kids that are mindful of their environment, themselves, and others.

1. Take a walk. Take a stroll, a wagon ride, a jog. Play tag, hide-and-go-seek, climb a tree. It really doesn’t matter. Just get your kids together and get outside. What better way to take in mother nature than to be surrounded by it? Point out the sunlight and how it feels on your face. Be conscious of your breath as you inhale the fresh air. Look up at the beautiful blue sky and twirl in circles. Round and round, again and again. Go on, get out there.

2. Read. Read. Read. Set aside the Kindle and Nook and head out to the local library for story time. If you don’t live close to a library pick some children’s books from your own collection. Sit down with the kids and have them turn the pages, point out characters, and pick their favorite parts. Get them involved in the story by letting them act out scenes from the book. Ask them questions about the story and listen closely as their imaginations run wild.

3. Yoga. Yoga gives kids (and adults too!) strength, flexibility, discipline, and balance. Yoga is a joyous way to connect with your mind and body. The challenges presented with each pose help to promote confidence and self-compassion. There are so many fun yoga poses for kids to do as well. Some of these include: Tree Pose (Vrksasana), Butterfly, Fish Pose (Matsyasana), Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana), Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), and Child’s Pose (Balasana).

4. Arts & Crafts. There’s nothing like covering the table in paper and pulling out the glue, crayons, paint, and glitter. So many fun memories to be made by drawing and creating original works of art. For added texture and style you can include yarn, buttons, popsicle sticks, aluminum cans, water bottles, and so on. Check out Pinterest for more ideas.

5. Garden. Ready. Set. Garden. Grab an old window box or use a beach pail. Have the kids shovel in some soil and plant some herbs together. If you have the ability to grow your own garden, get the kids involved with planning which fruits and vegetables or flowers to grow, when and where to plant them, and then break ground together. Plan a day to visit the local nursery and have the kids pick out their own gardening gloves and shovels. Gardening projects are a great way to encourage an eco-friendly lifestyle.

6. Prepare food together. Start by shopping at the local farmer’s market or ideally your own backyard garden. Teach your children the importance of supporting local food. Help them connect with their food by explaining how it is grown, packaged, and delivered. After the food is picked or bought, get the kids in the kitchen and show them how to wash it. Then prepare a dish together. Finally, sit down at the table and relish in the beauty of nourishing your body with healthy sustainable foods.

Hello Moon

Reblogging this one. Originally posted March 2012 by Mommy OM. Have a wonderful night.

Hello moon. It’s great to see you, finally. I’m freaking exhausted. I’ve looked forward to our rendezvous all day. You look beautiful as always. Bright and pure as you light up the night sky. Now excuse me while my head hits the pillow and my body lies still for the next six to eight hours (hopefully, fingers crossed). Hold on. I don’t know why I just said that. I jinxed myself.

Yep. Where’s some wood?

Knock on wood.

Knock on wood!

Knock on wood!

Quick.

Hurry up!

Whaaaa!!!”

Too late.

There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

New Year, New Beginnings

Newx0020Yearx00_LDMosquito

As the new year rolls in I can’t help but feel the need to reflect upon all of the lessons wisdom from all of the screw-ups  experiences that 2012 has so graciously thrown unraveled for me throughout the past twelve months. What better time than now to review, renew and revitalize my passions, goals, and self-criticism self-growth? As I was zoning out meditating tonight, I felt this beautiful new beginning course through my body. I’m serious. I actually felt a slight quiver resonate within me and all I could think of was WOW, new energy! Never mind the fact that my phone just happened to be on vibrate and it’s location was, yep you guessed it, tucked between the couch cushions directly beneath me. But, this is the New Year, people – and I for one say bring it on!

Some of my intentions for 2013 include:

~Letting go. This one is a biggie for me. I am the type of person who has a hard time surrendering. I’m not quite the control freak per say, but I have a tendency to create unwanted anxiety within myself for no apparent reason {or for every apparent reason possible} – you pick. Do you follow me? I’m almost positive a lot of mothers feel this way, and ladies we need to just accept the fact we will inevitably wear ourselves out down the road if we haven’t already. I’m afraid if I don’t start wiping the slate clean every once in a while my body will be permanently planted face down on the living room carpet with gummy treats stuck in my hair and glitter glue coming out of my eyeballs. Now that’s a pin I’d like to see on Pinterest.

~Inviting More Positive Influence into My Life. I have been contemplating lately how I can attract more positive energy and flow into my life. What I keep coming back to is looking within myself. By accepting the reality of who I am, focusing on the parts I want to change, and consciously working towards being the person I attain to be – I hope to become a magnetic force for all that is good and loving and kind.

~Stop Taking Things Too Personally. I am a very non-confrontational person. In fact, I want nothing more than to hold hands with everyone and sing Kumbaya. Problem is, not everyone wants to hold hands with me and sing Kumbaya. Really.

~ Enjoy Living in the Moment. This one speaks for itself. When we live in a more, more, more culture, it’s easy to get caught up in the I need this, this, this and this. And when I get this, this, this, and this, I will happier or bigger or better or richer or smaller or smarter or prettier or blah blah blah. Dear Lisa, Stop feeding this vicious cycle. Live for today with what you already have: An open heart. A beautiful family. A willingness to learn. A zest for life. A love for the present. A new year. A new beginning. 

What are your intentions for the New Year?