Today wraps up National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. I hope your social media feeds weren’t over-flooded with articles and photos about the joy and benefits of breastfeeding. Lactivists telling you why breastmilk is the only way to ensure a healthy, happy baby. Studies claiming that breastmilk will make your baby more intelligent and have less ear infections and allergies. Then there’s my all-time favorite claim: Breastfeeding can reduce a mom’s stress level and risk for postpartum depression. Um, yeah, not so much…have they met me? And let us not forget about the infamous mom-shamers criticizing anyone who chooses the alternative or not to breastfeed for as long as they have ruled acceptable. I mean, can’t we all just get along.
I’m here to tell you, breast is not always best. Also, formula is not always best. You know what’s best? What works for you, makes you happy and keeps your baby’s belly full. Moms have all different reasons for how they choose to feed their babies and they are none of your business.
When I had my son, I thought I would be a breastfeeding master. He would latch easily and we would be unbreakably bonded. I would breastfeed at least until the baby weight melted off. (Why shouldn’t I reap the benefits too?) Full disclosure, I had always planned to supplement with formula because I wanted to be able to sleep and let my husband help with feedings, but I never thought I would suck at breastfeeding. And It never occurred to me that I might hate it too.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of the F-word. It’s extremely versatile and can be used in so many different situations. As a writer, I love that it can be a noun, verb, adjective, and more. As a mom, it comes in very handy when I’m frustrated, tired, and overwhelmed or I feel the need to be dramatic about all the above. You step on a Lego and scream, “FUCK!” Your kid wakes up four times in the middle of the night and you quietly pray each time, “Stay the fuck asleep.” You get projectile vomited on and blurt out, “Fuck me!”
And when you can’t take it anymore you dramatically declare that if anyone needs you, you can be found hiding in your closet with that pint of Haagen Dazs chocolate-chocolate-chip ice cream because you are frustrated, tired, and overwhelmed “As Fuck” (AF). I’ve even recently heard it used to describe the phase my son just entered: “The Fucking Fours.”
When I gave birth to my son almost four years ago (before I made regular use of the F-word in everyday motherhood), I discovered my second favorite F word. Formula. Yes, you heard me correctly. Formula. Let me say now that this is not an anti-breastfeeding, pro-formula-feeding post, nor am I exclusively in support of one food source over the other. I am exclusively for feeding your baby, however that works best for you. Now back to our regularly scheduled program…
Hey mommas! I’m so honored to share my first video interview with you. Please ignore the messy hair and lack of makeup, but I didn’t have much time to get ready. Four-year olds don’t give a shit about their mom’s appointments and mine decided to move at a sloth-like pace that morning before school. At least I was able to shower so that was a win! I think the lesson the here is that it’s better to show up as you are and accept yourself as you are. Plus, pretending to always be so put together is just way too much effort. And I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted enough as it is. I just don’t have the energy for that.
Anyway, on to the interview. I had the honor of talking to mompreneur Bree Whitlock, founder of The Easy Breezy Way, about achieving balance as a mom and entrepreneur.
I’m not sure balance even exists. Are you? How do you achieve balance as a mom? Let me know in the comments!
“The greatest tragedy of the family is the unlived lives of the parents.” –C.G. Jung
I’m putting a different spin on this year’s Mother’s Day themed post. For Mother’s day, I’m discussing what I will NOT be doing for my child, what’s NOT my job, and why.
I know many of you are gasping just from reading the title of this article, but if you would put the pitchforks down for just a minute, I can explain.
I love my child. I love him so much it can be overwhelming, even scary at times. So much it keeps me up at night as my mind races with all the “what ifs,” hopes for his happiness, and prayers I’m not screwing him up. So much that I want him to always be successful and have whatever he needs and wants.
But as I reflect on my son turning 4 this past month, I’ve realized he can’t just have everything handed to him, and certainly not by me. That’s not my job as his mother. My job as his mom is to love him unconditionally, make sure he feels safe, that he belongs, and provide him with the coaching and tools he needs to learn to advocate for himself and what he needs so he can create his own path to happiness and success.
Do you remember what I was like when you were holding my new baby boy, your first grandson in this photo? You said it was as if a light suddenly went out in my eyes. That I looked like a ghost of my former self.
You also told me you would never let me stay that way. You said that one day my son would be my little buddy. You answered your phone every morning when I called you as I was walking circles around the neighborhood ugly crying to you that I would never get better. You promised me I would.
I’m probably going to get some slack for writing this article, but I want to discuss a parenting phenomenon I’ve observed too often lately. Why is it so much easier for dads to hire help and make their lives easier when watching their children? Why don’t they appear to feel guilty about this? And why do we, as moms judge and criticize them for it?
I know lots of moms, that when they make plans with friends for an afternoon or evening, their husbands often call a nanny, babysitter, or family member to come over and help with the kids. And when mom hears this, she responds with anger and frustration, complaining that she doesn’t understand why her husband can’t handle taking care of all the children alone, something she does every single day of the week.
I want to first differentiate between the men who are literally never alone with their children and refuse to be, forcing their wives to never be able to take a trip, attend a special event, or a night off with the girls unless they arrange for their own child care. I’m not talking about these men. That topic deserves its own post. I’m referring to the average hands-on, involved dad who likes an extra set of hand with his kids when mom isn’t home. Why shouldn’t these dads ask for help if they believe it will make their afternoon or evening easier?
I knew I wanted to write this post immediately after leaving my son’s occupational therapy evaluation, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted anyone to read it. Since I’m a mom who owns her flaws and believes in sharing my mistakes and what I’ve learned from them (thank you postpartum depression), here it goes. Maybe I can save you the time of repeating this one and you can move straight to the lesson learned part.
At the end of 2016, I met with my son’s preschool teacher for the mid-year conference. I always go into these things excited. My son loves school. He is so curious. He loves to discover new things. His imagination blows me away. I always want to learn more about what he does all day at preschool and the progress he is making.
I also go in nervous because we live in a world where we have become obsessed about our children’s development. Don’t try to tell me you’ve never obsessed. I’m guilty of it too. Before a parent teacher conference, even at his young age of four, there are always the thoughts of, “What if he isn’t making progress? What if he isn’t hitting the milestones appropriate for his age? What if he isn’t socializing with the other kids? What if he finds certain tasks more difficult than his classmates? And what will I do if his teacher expresses concern about any of these issues?”
My son turned four this past weekend. For his first birthday, I went big. As a mom who sucks at crafting, I found my inspiration on Pinterest and paid people on Etsy to execute my vision of Mason’s little man birthday bash complete with bowties, mustaches, musical entertainment, photo booth, and of course, signature cocktails served in mason jars.
Everyone knows a child’s first birthday party is actually for the parents to celebrate surviving the first year of parenthood, where they have successfully kept the tiny human they are now responsible for alive. They have figured out how to fit showers into their daily routines, become accustomed to regularly getting spit up on, peed on, shit on, caught throw up with their bare hands, and if they’re lucky, the accomplished the amazing and life-changing task of getting their child to sleep through the night.
I didn’t stop celebrating myself after Mason’s first birthday. Why should I? I never take any attention away from him. I don’t get presents. It’s his birthday. His party. But there are little things I do each year for me too, because his parties always serve as a reminder of the first one, where I can remember stopping to think that “Wow. I’m a mom–Mason’s mom, and I got this whole motherhood thing.”
Remember on Friends, when Monica was about to move in with Chandler and she cried to Rachel, “I have to live with a boy!” That’s how I feel sometimes. I live with three boys. My husband, four-year old son, and dog Harry Potter. And this week, it’s really noticeable because I just got back from a Campowerment weekend with 75 other women, 12 of whom I lived in a bunk with, and the only guys allowed were the hot Ropes men who scream inspiring words at you as you gather up the courage to climb up a really tall, narrow pole, stand up on top of it, and then jump.
I get it. Farts are really funny for guys no matter how old they are. My four-year old and my husband love to fart and laugh about it regardless of the 30 year age difference between them. But maybe, just maybe you both could fart somewhere other than in my face or while piling on top me. And while this is going on, Potter just has to come and slobber all over my face. He’s probably joined in on the farting for all I know!
Speaking of piling on top of me, why is it that I’m the one that gets to be the human trampoline. My son’s favorite extracurricular activity is jumping on mommy while she tries to relax. I’m reading and there is a tiny human climbing on my head. I’ve been elbowed in the boobs, kneed in the crotch, and head-butted in the face too many times to count while my husband cheers him on in the background. Why can’t you both just wrestle with each other and leave me out of it?
In the years leading up to motherhood (as in my late twenties), I sucked at sleeping late on weekends. I consistently popped up between 6:30 and 7 a.m. every morning because my body was conditioned for the weekday wakeup. And I was a middle school teacher! If that’s not almost as exhausting as motherhood, I don’t know what is.
If I was able to sleep past 8:30 on a Saturday or Sunday morning, that was a victory. Then I had a child and my body suddenly thought it was back in college, where it never wanted to get out of bed before ten in the morning, ever. Okay, maybe noon. The one that couldn’t get its ass out of bed for those 8:15 a.m. Italian classes. The one who never picked classes if they met on Fridays.
Too bad preschool doesn’t work like college. Drop-off is at 8:50 every day and there is class on Friday. Thank god there is class on Friday! My almost four-year old has no problem getting out of bed by 7 every morning, even though his mommy could use just a few more minutes in hers. Okay, maybe hours. And even though I don’t pride myself on being a morning person like my son, I hate missing drop-off. It’s my right to be able to stay in the car, unshowered, without a bra, and possibly wearing the clothes I slept in the night before.