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A day (actually 3 months ish) late.

3 Feb

This blog post by Nerdy Apple Bottom went viral back in November.  I laughed, I cried and it got my brain moving (which really is a feat these days).

I love that Boo dressed as Daphne and I commend Nerdy Apple for encouraging her son to be the boy he wants to be.  Had I seen him enter into school in his costume I would have been utterly charmed and would have high fived his mother on my way in. 

Her post struck so many chords with me.  Maybe because my little boy has a big sister and he really digs all of her things.  His “lovey” is a pink blanket that MM never really cared for. 

Of course, he’s still a baby but he really, really loves that blanket.  Like a lot.  Do I need to worry about him dragging that sucker into school and listening to a rude mom make a snarky comment?  I certainly hope  not.

Generally speaking, MM is all girl.  Her hobbies include walking around the house looking for “princess stuff”.  Princess stuff can be anything from plastic dress up shoes to a pink ribbon to a purple bouncy ball.  Pretty much whatever strikes her fancy.  She loves pink and purple and anything that sparkles (much like a magpie).  I fully expected my girlie to want to be a ballerina or a princess or something along those likes for Halloween but she surprised me when she said she wanted a Batman costume.  Pink Batman.

Forgive the awful picture. 

When we walked into school she saw her friends in their princess atire and I felt her hesitate.  She was starting to feel self conscious and I wasn’t quite sure what to do.  It seems like not quite 3 is so, so young to have to worry about self esteem but that’s the world we live in.  I gave her a huge hug and told her I loved her.  I reminded her that Grandma made her costume and that she was going to have so much fun at the school party.  Apparently that was enough to get her through her hesitation because she took off and played with her friends and  seemingly didn’t give her lack of princessness another thought. 

I tried (and am still trying) to be thoughtful about gender issues.  Having one of each gender makes it both easier and harder, especially since they’re close in age and are still developing their personalities.  When MM was our only we conscientiously purchased toys for her that would appeal to “boys” and “girls”.  She has baby dolls and trucks and a non-pink kitchen and enough blocks to construct her own private superdome.  As she’s gotten older she shows a clear preference for “girl” things.  And blocks.  But mostly “girl” stuff.

And so does MC.  Don’t get me wrong, he’ll pick up a truck and make cute little “vroom” sound effects but at the ripe old age of 14 months he’ll grab for the pink and shiny over blue and manly time and time again.  Will that change over time?  I don’t know.  I personally don’t care if he grows up and wants butterflies stenciled on his walls but my heart hurt thinking about how much harder his path through life will be.  The pain I felt watching MM’s little lip start to quiver when I took her to school in her Batman costume was hard.  It hit me then that as my children grow the issues we face will only get harder and more complicated.  The joy will increase but so will the sorrow. 

As lovely as it would be to keep them as babies forever…

This is really rubbing me the wrong way.

2 Feb

This article was posted on Facebook yesterday by Natural Parenting: Can Working Parents be AP?

The article itself is fine. Nothing earth shattering but perfectly fine.  The comments on Facebook blew my mind.  I can’t believe there are people out there that actually believe that working parents mothers can’t practice attachment parenting (please note that dads seem to get a free pass – it’s okay if they work.  Not mothers though – they’re crucified for making that choice.)

I’ve been a working mom since MM turned 4 months old and I returned to work.  Sadly, my boss at the time was not open to a nontraditional work schedule so full time it was.  There was a small school across the parking lot from my office so we opted to use them for MM.  I was able to visit with her on my lunch break to nurse and play with her – it was as good as it gets.  I would have rather have been home with her but that wasn’t in the cards at the time.  My husband works in the mortgage industry – the market crashed right after she was born.  Thinking about relying solely on his income made me nervous so we did what we had to do.  I’m secure with my decision and I don’t think anyone could point a finger and say that MM does not have a secure attachement to her family.  She made sure of it by never, ever sleeping for the first year of her life 🙂

I hate the mommy wars.  The judgement.  The name calling.  If it take a village then why do so many women try so hard to burn the village down? 

I took  MC to the eye doctor yesterday.  We waited for an hour and a half during which I was reprimanded by another mother for letting him climb up onto a child sized chair and pull a bead maze thingy closer to him so the edge was hanging off of the table.  The mother told me that the maze was going to fall on him.  *I* wasn’t worried about it and didn’t really see the big deal – it’s not like it weighed a ton or was really big – it just would have made some noise.  She was clearly judging me for my neglectful ways.  I didn’t really care. 

I’m far from perfect and certainly do my own fair share of judging other mothers but I like to think I know enough to keep those thoughts in my own head.  It’s probably good that I’m an older mother – I know my discretion in my younger years wasn’t nearly as fine tuned.  But then again, Facebook didn’t exist so my opportunity to make the world at large feel like crap would have been limited.

Not gentle parenting, gentle…friendship.

22 Nov

I have a hard time walking the line between sharing my experiences, philosophies and what works best for my family and being that pushy busy body that you don’t want to hang out with. Here’s a good facebook example:

Friend A: Anyone have a sling or carrier I can borrow on Thursday?
Me: I do! Let’s meet up today at the park and I can show you what I have and how to use it.
Friend B: Be careful, A. It will probably be made from organic wheat flour and hemp.
Friend C: I love my Bjorn but baby is about to outgrow it.
Me: Actually B, hemp is great! C – if you’re looking for something Bjorn like that you can use longer check out a Beco or an Ergo. A little spendy but totally worth their weight in gold. You can even use it when baby is a toddler. I loved mine for traveling especially blah blah blah blah blah.

Why can’t I just quit while I’m ahead?

On breastfeeding

12 Aug

I love nursing.  It was a rough start for me and MM.  She had a crummy latch and the hospital lactation consultant wasn’t very helpful.  But I was determined – we WERE going to make this work. 

We stayed at the hospital for 48 hours or whatever until we were discharged.  Within two days of getting home my nipples were a bruised, bleeding mess and I was dreading every single time she wanted to nurse.  My milk still wasn’t in. 

Our pediatrician has an in-house lactation consultant.  My husband made us an appointment as I sobbed my heart out.  She saw us (all three of us) first thing the next morning.  She told me was to ditch the boppy.  It wasn’t a good fit for me.  She got me hooked up with My Brest Friend (cheesy name but a total lifesaver!) and it made a world of a difference. 

My milk was starting to come in that morning though I wasn’t feeling the painful engorgement that I had heard about.  The LC recommended a nipple shield to give my poor nips a chance to heal – I knew of the perils of nipple shields but given the amount of pain I was in and my determination to be successful I gave it a try. 

And of course, MM became a nipple shield addict. 

For three freaking months I attempted to wean her from those things.  Fortunately, she never had weight gain issues so it was just inconvenient as opposed to troublesome.  Every time I tried to ditch them she’d wail her heart out.  Until one day she didn’t and that was it.  That’s pretty much been a constant in her life. 

We continued our nursing relationship until she was 18 months old and I was 20 weeks pregnant.  I hadn’t decided one way or the other about tandem nursing.  After a lot of angst I decided to not decide and just let her lead the way.  We were out of town visiting my parents and I nursed her to sleep praying that she would make it through the trip so I could nurse her down for a nap on the plane home (she did).  She nursed one more time at home in our rocker and that was it.  She never asked for it again.

MC was born at a local freestanding birth center.  Dude latched on right away without any trouble.  We just made it to the other side of a nursing semi-strike where he wouldn’t nurse anywhere unless we were side lying, it was dark and it was quiet.  Well, with a 2.5 year old girl in the house those opportunities were few and far between.  I was honestly afraid that he would quit altogether but he’s doing just fine now.

When MC was roughly 4 days old MM told me she wanted some “baby milk”.  I was flabbergasted and honestly taken aback.  I said sure and offered her a breast.  She got pretty close (I’m sure I was cringing) and then pulled back and made a toddler version of a joke about it being baby milk.  I’m not going to lie – I was relieved.  

All of that was to show that I’m a huge supporter of breastfeeding.  I think every woman owes it to her baby to educate herself and give it her best effort.  There are those women out there that can’t.  They’ve tried their hardest and for whatever reason it just isn’t working.  Maybe they need to get back on their heart medication and that’s not compatible with nursing.  Maybe they’re teachers and they have to return to work and they don’t have anyone to cover their classroom while they pump.  Who knows?  Until you’ve walked a step in their shoes you don’t know their situation.  EVERY MOTHER (well, MOST mothers anyway) wants to do the best they can for their babies.  That’s what moms do. 

Formula was invented for those mothers that can’t make nursing work.  There shouldn’t be guilt involved but of course there is.  I’ve tried to make the best decisions for my family and knowing that I’m doing everything I can I still feel guilty about 100 different things.  We’re human, we’re not perfect and yet we expect to be.   

I’m working hard to stop being so judgemental about the decisions other mothers have made.  I’ll admit to judginess surrounding c-sections, formula feeding and other parenting choices.  It’s not fair – I don’t know everyone’s stories.  I’ve been judged for the choices I’ve made – returning to work and putting my kids into part-time daycare especially.  It stings, especially since I’m not always confident in the decision I made.  And there aren’t campaigns, billboards and flashmobs (wish I was there instead of on an airplane with two kids and no husband) touting the advantages of staying at home with the kids. 

I still think it’s important to normalize nursing and educate the masses on why breast is best but I’m committed to doing so in a compassionate, thoughtful  manner.