Tag Archives: motherhood

Thank You, Target

3 May

I don’t shy away from nursing in public, for a host of reasons.  Mostly? I’m just feeding my baby.  And I’m not about to put the discomfort of a few strangers above the needs of my child.  But since Bean is 16 months old, she doesn’t often need to nurse while we’re out and about.

Today was a different story.  No matter how many times I offered a sippy and no matter how many toy aisles we walked down, she desperately wanted to nurse in Target, in the middle of our shopping trip.  She signed for milk half a dozen times, but it was when she signed “please,” that I finally paused my shopping to indulge her.

I found a quiet spot behind the children’s clothes and plopped myself down on the ground near the stroller display.  A Target employee came over to ask if I was okay, uncertain why I was sitting on the carpet.  When she noticed I was nursing, I braced to defend myself.

And then she said, “There’s a rocking chair on the endcap where you’ll be more comfortable.  Do you want to move there?” I thanked her and assured her I was fine, finished nursing Bean, and went about my shopping.

I’ve only ever had two strangers address me while breastfeeding.  I’m fortunate that they have both been kind.  And this?  This was exactly how a nursing mother wants to be (and should be) treated when nursing her child, especially by a store employee.

Target has gotten a bad rap in the last few years for their treatment of nursing mothers.  And if I had been treated poorly today, you’d better believe I’d share.  But I bet there are many positive stories, too, and I wanted to be a part of accentuating the positive.

Thank you, Target.  Your team member treated me with kindness and respect.  I really appreciated it.  I hope this is a sign of progress in your company since November of 2011.

Also?  You’re welcome for the $120 I ended up spending despite my short shopping list.  You win.  Again.

Logistical Nightmare

29 Apr

My oldest daughter will be 5 this fall.  And in the last few months, it’s become more and more obvious that she’s a little girl now and not my baby.  Along with her fashion sense and her ability to manipulate and lie, has come the desire to “hang out with friends.”  What used to be a play-date, arranged so mothers could escape the solitary confinement that is life with a toddler (or two) has morphed into a social life for my preschooler.

Other moms? Are ready at a whim to have neighborhood friends over and after-school visits.  Daily.  Until now, I haven’t felt any pressure to join in.  But I can tell the days of play-dates arranged days or weeks in advance are fading.

Which leaves me with one question:

If my house needs to be ready for company at a moment’s notice, when will I have time to relax in my pajamas with three-day hair and no makeup?

By “relax,” I mean chase my children around the house, refereeing their constant bickering and cleaning up the tornado they leave behind.  And by “ready for company,” I mean clean enough that I don’t end up on an episode of hoarders.

I’m not hoping to invite my daughter’s friends into a cover from House and Home Magazine.  I’d just like it if playmates and their parents were exempt from seeing my underwear on the bathroom floor and dried yogurt painted onto the kitchen table.  Currently, if we’ve scheduled a play-date, I probably made sure I would have time to wipe the boogers off my clothes and sweep the cheerios under a rug.  With two kids under 5, any attempts at picking up are merely exercises in futility, so tidying the house requires a nap time or the strategic sacrifice of one room while I clean another.  It’s a logistical nightmare.

So what I really want to know is: How do they do it, those families with tidy houses?  Just the idea of being “on” 24-7 leaves me feeling exhausted.  But I also can’t stomach the idea of friends (and even family) coming over to the disaster that is my house (and me) on a regular basis.  I need a few days a week when I can focus on my kids and taking care of myself.  Sometimes that means a shower and a trip to the library.  Many times it means crafts in our pajamas at 2:30p p.m.

I’m seriously looking for wisdom here.  Do you keep a tidy house?  What is your secret?  Or are you like me, hiding in your messy house?

Paying For Sanity

1 Apr

As I sit here typing, my four-year-old and one-year-old are in the other room playing nicely together, sharing toys and building a town out of Duplo blocks.  I haven’t gotten my butt out of this overstuffed chair in over 15 minutes and the music of my choice is playing in the background (I’m on a Brett Dennan kick, if you must know).

I pay for this time every Monday afternoon.  You see, I have the world’s best babysitter.  Her sister babysat for No1 before heading off to college, passing the babysitting legacy to J.  They are both great neighborhood kids from an amazing family, and they are all mine (I may share their number with you for a small finders’ fee and a signed non-compete clause).  J has known No1 from the time she was 9 months old and is one of the only people outside of the family that No2 is comfortable around.  She has this playful yet stern nature and has wisdom befitting someone much older than her 13 years.  And she LOVES my kids.  I’m pretty sure she would come over and play with them even if I didn’t pay her.

When J was unable to babysit on piano lesson days, I was initially reluctant to shell out $10 an hour on a different day for “no good reason.”  But it’s turned out to be one of the highlights of my week.  I get time to write, or cook, or do something for myself, and the kids get time with someone much better at playing pretend than I am.

It always feels like money well-spent.

JamesandJax.com/2013/03/04/making-time-for-girlfriends/

I’m Doing It Right

6 Feb

Thank you to my friend Story over at Sometimes It’s Hard for giving me a little nudge and allowing myself to feel like I can write without polishing.  A list it shall be.

I’m linking up with Jaime at James and Jax to celebrate the things I’m doing right, which I so desperately need to stop and examine because the last few weeks have been exhausting.  It seems I am not to get a break this winter and instead each member of the family is going to contract every possible germ in the area.  Thankfully, the baby’s double ear infection is clearing up and I think (knocks on wood) we’re all on the mend.

So what have I done right lately?  When I stop being so hard on myself, quite a bit as it turns out.

  1. When faced with a baby who screamed from 8pm to 4am last Wednesday night, I stayed calm, asked for help, and did whatever I could to make the baby comfortable.  She finally crashed, laying her body across me, and there was a moment of sweetness in being her home.
  2. Instead of losing my mind when my plans to shop at Target (for the dish detergent we desperately needed) fell apart, I just texted my mom for some help.  I asked for a few Cascade pods to get me through a couple of days.  She showed up with two big boxes.
  3. Every time the preschooler or the toddler have pushed my buttons today, I stopped and took a breath before speaking or opening a door.  I needed that breath and I’m glad I remembered it.

So that’s it.  Because it’s late and I’m sure the baby will need me tonight.  What are you doing right these days?

JamesandJax.com

And then I shared my boobs with the internet…

25 Jan

I never imagined that I would find myself  nursing past a year, nursing uncovered in public, or advocating for breastfeeding.  And I certainly didn’t expect to write about it or post pictures of myself nursing on the internet for all to see.  And yet here I am. And I’m somewhere in this photo set from Gina’s 72 hour Facebook photo ban campaign.  And if you follow me on instagram, chances are you’ve gotten a few peeks, too.  So why am I sharing something I had always considered so private?

It’s been a hard road breastfeeding this baby toddler, but one I’m so glad to be traveling.  From dairy intolerance, to oversupply and overactive letdown, to thrush, to sleep deprivation, the struggle has been intense but the the payoff is enormous. Sleepy milk-drunk newborn smiles… snuggles given freely after a morning nurse… watching the numbers on the scale grow because of your milk… the first time my baby signed for milk… being physically connected to my baby long after she has left the womb.  And of course the health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child are well-researched and well-documented.  Breastmilk is alive – full of antibodies, cells, and proteins.  Breastfeeding has nurtured me and my baby for the last 12 months.

Let me say that though the benefits are great, breastfeeding or breast milk is not best for every baby-mother pair.  Maybe a mother tries to nurse and has to stop because of supply issues, medication incompatibility, depression, her baby’s needs, or any one of dozens of reasons.  Maybe she knows from the get-go that breastfeeding isn’t a match for her parenting style or lifestyle.  Perhaps she just doesn’t want to.  I fully support each mother’s choice to make such a personal decision for herself, and I truly understand why formula or bottle feeding moms sometimes feel defensive when faced with a statement such as “breast is best” or when a mother is nursing, uncovered, in front of her.  After all, my first attempt to breastfeed fell apart (which ended up being the best thing for both of us) after a few months and I remember not understanding why breastfeeding moms thought what they were doing was so special.  Now that I’ve been nursing for over a year?  I get it.  It can be magical.

Am I a better mother because I breastfeed my baby?  Of course not.  Just as a mother who carries her baby in her womb is not a better mother than one who adopts or uses a surrogate.  Being a mother is about more than where your child comes from or how they are fed.  But just because it doesn’t define me as a mother doesn’t make it unimportant or any less beautiful.  Carrying my babies in my body felt empowering, and similarly, breastfeeding No2 has been a life-changing experience.

And so, I choose to share.  I want to support mothers who are considering nursing or are currently trying to breastfeed their babies…I want to normalize something that carries stigma in our culture…and to celebrate checking something off my life-list.  It’s been an enormous part of my daily life for the last 13 months and I don’t think this space would be complete without its story.

 

By the way, this is what breasfeeding uncovered usually looks like for us.  Nothin' to see here, folks. ;)

By the way, this is what breasfeeding uncovered usually looks like for us. Nothin’ to see here, folks. 😉

Lost For Words

6 Jan

We were trapped in the car when the questions started.

Hey, Mommy?

If somebody dies in their house, and the mailman brings them their mail but they’re dead, how does the mailman get them their mail?

Um, what?!

The mailman would come to their door but they’d be dead.

Um….

So what would happen to the mail?

I think the mail would pile up and the mailman would eventually take it back to the post office.

Then new people would live the in house?

Yes, then new people would get their mail delivered to the house.

What about if all the mommies and daddies were dead and there were no more mommies or daddies.  Who would make more mommies?  Would robots make more mommies and daddies?

Um, Daddy?  Want to take this one?

No1 asks deep, serious questions, and we’re committed to answering her as honestly as possible.  But sometimes, her left-field questions just make us giggle and we stumble over our words, searching for what to say.  These moments are my favorite with my four-year-old.  Her innocence, her curiosity, her direct nature.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

What’s the strangest, funniest, or most awkward question your child has asked you?

I Don’t Gladly Give It Up

4 Jan

There was an “inspirational” Facebook status roaming around a few months back that read something like this:

“I used to wear mascara and do my hair.  I used to spend hours on my makeup and take long showers.  But I gladly give it up every day for my kids.  Like and share if you love being a mom!”

Look, I get it.  Being a mother *is* the most rewarding job of my life.  We all love our kids fiercely.  But something about the message rubbed me the wrong way and it’s taken me a while to figure out why.

FIrst of all, I detest the “like and share if” posts.  If your status or post is worthy of sharing, you won’t find yourself needing to ask for likes and shares.  I participate in Facebook for the pics of your kids eating spaghetti and your recent drunken Vegas trip shenanigans – not to see your chain mail.

And more importantly, read carefully, the status measures the quality of motherhood by what a woman sacrifices.  It insinuates that if you don’t gladly give up showers and makeup and instead, (like me) begrudge the days when you greet the world with two-day hair and chapstick, that you don’t love being a mom.  It spreads the message that it’s okay (and maybe even important?) to put yourself last when it comes to your family.  This may seem like small potatoes, but I’m committed to keeping it real when it comes to motherhood (and life in general), and this social standard that mothers have to do it all and like every moment only hurts us as a sisterhood.  It makes new moms feel inferior, contributes to risk factors for postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, and fosters distance between women.

Two-day hair and chapstick, folks.

Two-day hair and chapstick, folks.

Motherhood is hard enough without the added guilt, don’t you think?

So, I’d like to contribute my own mantra.  It goes a little something like this:

I love my kids.  You love your kids.  And it’s important to take good care of them – to meet their physical and emotional needs.  But I’m important too, and that’s okay.  I want to set a good example for my children and to teach them about self-care and life balance.  There are days I will wear makeup and there are days I won’t.  And it’s okay if I hate the days I won’t.  I don’t have to give up the woman I was to be a great mom.

 

Almost One

29 Nov

Maybe it’s the mid-cycle hormones, or all the pictures of friends’ new babies, but I find myself craving that newborn smell and the way a teeny baby fits into the crook of my arm.  I haven’t forgotten how hard those first few months were, and I adore this age – all the amazing milestones, the personality, the new experiences that happen between 6 and 12 months –  but as No2’s first birthday quickly approaches, I find myself increasingly nostalgic for her first few days and weeks.

My Life is Literally a Blur

5 Sep

 

This is pretty much what my days look like.

If I turn my back for a moment,

the baby has already reached the door,

and the preschooler is a blur.

I know I will miss these days,

so I’m trying not to wish them away.

But oh,

I am so very tired.

Image

Panda Cam

20 Aug

Panda Cam

Have you seen the new baby panda at the San Diego Zoo? It was born July 29th and they’re not even sure of the gender yet because the mother won’t leave it for more than a couple of minutes a day. She spends all her time in the den snuggling it in her arms, keeping her razor-sharp claws safely away from her blind baby. Seeing as I am up at odd hours of the night, I’ve managed to catch some great screen shots on my phone. This is my favorite.

I know it’s silly, but I feel a kinship with this mother who has given up everything for the time being…who has mastered the art of living in the moment and who knows that all she has to do is be her baby’s environment. When I’m up nursing No2 late at night, I sometimes watch Bai Yun and feel a little less alone.

Clicking on the photo should take you to the Panda Cam live feed, but the San Diego Zoo iPhone app has the camera, too!

%d bloggers like this: