10 Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman

I know a few women right now who are pregnant.  It is such an exciting time for them.  I think back to that time and smile.  However, I also do remember the incredible things people eCard_twins-300x210said to me.  At the time it took everything in my power to not either be offended, cry, yell or do all three.  Now when I think about it, I think people were actually trying to either help or show interest, but it just came out the wrong way.  With that said I came up with my “favorite” 10 things people said to me when I was pregnant.

  1. Are you afraid your cats are going to smother your baby in its sleep?

Well, I am now!   In all honesty Ringo twice jumped into the crib at the same time Liam was in there and the one time he jumped right back out.  The second time he curled up and went to sleep.  I am probably going to get blasted for this, but I thought it was so cute I took a few pictures of it.  I then removed Ringo from the crib.  He never did it again.

  1. Wow, you are huge. I can’t believe you still have another 2 months to go.

Thanks for reminding me on how big and uncomfortable I am.  Also I appreciate you pointing out that I still have another 60 days of this in which I will inevitably get larger and more uncomfortable.

    8.  You look awful! Are you ok?

No, no I am not ok.  I have not been able to hold anything down for 5 months.  I spend most of my time hanging over a toilet bowl.   But thank you for confirming what I feared.  I look as bad as I feel.

  1. Why are you going back to work? Surely you can afford to stay home?

Well, I am so glad you have an insight on my family’s finances and what we can afford.  The truth is yes I need to go back and furthermore, I want to go back to work.

  1. It’s about time

I waited for almost five years after getting married to have a baby.  For the first two years after I got married people were constantly asking me when we were going to have a baby.  Every time I was sick or had a headache someone asked if I was pregnant.  When I finally was pregnant I had one woman say to me, “It’s about time.”

  1. You know breastfeeding is better, right? No judgment.

Umm, that sounds like judgment to me.  It always made people slightly uncomfortable when I told them I had postpartum depression after Liam, so with Ava it was suggested that I try to take some things off the table that gave me stress in my last pregnancy.  Breastfeeding had been a huge issue for me.  Still I had one person say to me, “Well you could at least try.”

  1. Did you plan it?

I was always taken aback by the number of people who were basically asking me, were we not being careful and are now having an unplanned pregnancy.  I got this only once with Liam, but several people asked me when I was pregnant with Ava.  I feel bad for the one person who had asked me, as they got me on a particularly raw day and I snapped back, “No it wasn’t planned, thank you for reminding me.”  (Of course that wasn’t true, but I was tired of hearing it)

  1. Two babies under two. How are you going to manage it?  What were you thinking?

Well for starters I was thinking people weren’t going to be so rude, but the truth is I wanted my kids close together.  I didn’t want to get through the sleepless night, diapers, and whatnot and then start all over again.  I figured we were already in the trenches let’s just plow through it.  I am not going to lie it was really, really hard in the beginning, but I am so glad we did.  Liam and Ava are very close.

  1. Enjoy your sleep now because when the baby comes you won’t be getting any?

Alright first of all who is sleeping at 9 months pregnant?  Really?!  Between the back aches, the impossibility to find a comfortable spot, and every ten minutes you feel like you have to pee, sleeping is not happening.  Also, the idea that you can stock pile sleep so when the baby comes it will help you, blows my mind.

  1. How much weight did you gain?  I only gained 15lbs.  Did your doctor say you are ok?  How are going to lose all the weight?

I mean, I am not sure which one to hit first.  If asking a woman what her weight is not acceptable, why would you think its ok to do so when she is pregnant?  Good for you and you 15lb weight gain.  I hate you, but good for you.  I plan to lose the weight on a strict diet of never sleeping or eating or what some would call being a parent.  The truth is each time I had to work hard to lose the weight.  It didn’t just fall off for me, but no pain no gain.

Good luck mommas.  Don’t let it get to you and if you can laugh it off.

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Bathroom wars

A few weeks ago I had an afternoon that was just with my son. After finishing our lunch in the food court I decided I needed to use the restroom before we moved on to our next destination.  I was pretty familiar with this mall, however it was apparent that they had just recently done renovations.  In the past there used to be a family bathroom, which I never used to give much thought to, but now as a mother I find it a necessity.  To my surprise however in the renovations done to the bathrooms the family bathroom was no longer there.  I had a fleeting moment of, “What’s too old to bring your son in the woman’s bathroom?” but quickly pushed it out as I was completely uncomfortable with the thought of Liam waiting outside the bathroom for me.  This mall in general was very popular with high foot traffic and this was lunch time so it was even busier.

1401x788-42-25816125I held Liam’s hand as we entered the ladies bathroom and there was a line.  He was excited I had just bought him a balloon shaped like Spiderman so he was completely engaged with that.  I heard a woman say, “Oh you are one of those,” but I didn’t really pay much attention at the time as I didn’t think it was directed to me.  A stall emptied and I brought Liam in.  At home we had instilled a privacy rule as Liam and Ava had been notorious for busting in on anyone who was in the bathroom.  Liam closed his eyes without me saying a word (to be quite honest I hadn’t given it much thought), and he said, “Mommy I am giving you privacy.”  I smiled and thought how considerate that was.  I quickly went and then we left the stall.  I directed Liam over to the sinks to wash my hands and that’s when it happened.

A woman came up to me and said, “So you are one of those.”  Completely dumbfounded by what she was talking about I said “One of who?”  She replied back, “Making a political statement by bringing your son into the opposite sex’s bathroom.”

In split seconds I felt like my whole body was on fire.  I was so angry I felt like I was shaking.  I must have given off some impressions because Liam asked, “Mommy are you ok?”

I don’t often get like that, but when I do I rarely hold back, and this case was no different.  “If by one of those you mean, a mother who would do or say anything to protect her five year old child, then yes I am one of those.  I have no political agenda I am trying to make, except being a good mother.  And by the way, if I had left my son outside to wait for me, I bet you anything you would be the first one to say, where’s his parent?  How dare you!”

I was so flustered, angered, and oddly mortified I grabbed Liam’s hand and stormed out of the bathroom.  It wasn’t until we got to the car and Liam asked me, “Mommy did I so something wrong,” that I realized he didn’t understand what was going on.  As I placed him in his car seat I tried to explain to him what had happened and he had done nothing wrong.  Just as I was backing out of the parking spot he said to me, “But mommy I don’t get it.  If the rooms (he called the stalls rooms) have doors why does it matter.  At home we all use the same bathroom and we shut the door.  How is it different?”

And while I again I am not trying to make any political statement in this entry, Liam does have a point.  I struggled to come up with an answer and yet nothing in my mind sufficed.  I think either side of this whole bathroom wars would have a response to his question, but me I am just mom.  I am just looking out for what’s best for him and always will.

Mommy Is Going to Get a Bookbag

For some time now I have debated about going back to school.  My husband and I have had many talks about it, but in the end I have always decided not to go back.  Primarily because I was…am….too afraid of missing something with my kids.  Even so, there has been this gnawing ache in me to go back.  Quite frankly I have wanted to go back since I graduated.  Now twelve years later nothing has changed except that I am older.

I look at my sister-in-law and my cousin who are both young mothers and are in school.  They amaze me how they juggle it and make it work.  The funny thing is I think no matter what, if you really want something, you make it work, and you find the time.   I know it isn’t going to be easy.  I am not going to be able to snap my fingers and poof have more time, but I do think if it is important to make it happen.  I know that there have been times I missed things with my kids.  I didn’t get to see Liam give his first love in preschool the handmade card he made for her (but I did sit with him the night before while he made it).  I did not get to see Ava at her dress rehearsal for her recital last year (but I took her to every class, picture, and was there for the day of the recital).   I will always have time for the extra hug before I run out the door in the morning.  I will always be late to work to miss my kid’s holiday performance at school.   In the end the important thing is that I am always there for them.  Every night my husband and I end the night with our kids saying how much we love them and no matter what we will always love them.

MEME.jpgI know I can give myself the easy out on why not to go back to school and it would it be a valid excuse.  But here in lies the problem.  I want my kids to see their mom as a happy, fulfilled, ambitious, hardworking mom.   It took me a long time career wise to be in a place that I can say I am happy.  And while everyone’s definition is different on what fulfills them and drives them, for me it’s going to back to school.  So this momma in the next year besides writing in her blog, selling her Avon, going to work, and soaking up every moment with my kids and husband, will also be studying for the GRE’s.   No more excuses.  It’s time to hit the books.

 

 

 

I’m Not Lucky

I was talking to a mother the other day about bedtimes and how my kids go to bed without a fuss.  She said to me, “You are so lucky.”  Later on that day I started to think about our conversation and how “lucky” I was.  That is when I came to the conclusion, I’m not lucky.  It was not by some random stroke of luck that this occurs.  I didn’t pick some numbers and win the lottery.  As I have written in the past one of the things my husband and I decided early on was that we would dictate bedtimes, schedules, etc., not the children.  It is not by luck at all that my kids go to bed without a fight.

In any schedule, rule, or manner, that we wanted our children to maintain it took a lot of patience, time, and sometimes tears to accomplish it.  It was hard at times and my husband and I sometimes would have to take turns to give the other person a break.  There were moments when one of us was on the brink of giving in.  I questioned myself and fought internally debating whether we were doing the right thing.  No there was no luck about it, it was work.

parenting LuckLike any good parent I have doubted myself in my methods, read numerous articles regarding whatever particular topic we were trying to hurdle, and surveyed other parents to get feedback on what they did.  I asked my pediatrician and read books on parenting.   No it was definitely not luck, it took a lot of studying and research.

I admit there were times that we headed down a path and realized it was not working.  We were not getting the results we wanted.  The kids were not responding in the way we thought they would.  We had to go back to square one, decide what we needed to tweak or change altogether, and start all over again.  I made my mistakes and I will continue to make them, but as the bumps come up we will iron them out.  No it was not luck, it was perseverance.

So I guess what I am trying to say is that it was not by some small miracle that my kids are acting in a way that you admire.  And believe me they do act up.  They are not perfect, my husband and I are not perfect, but it was not by luck they behave they way they do good and bad.  It was work and I am so proud of it.

 

 

 

Hypocrite

Hypocrite.  That is what I am.  A person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.  After a morning of being yelled at, being told I am a mean mommy, cried at, and threatened to be hit, I yelled at both of my kids for yelling.  Well if that is not the anti-message, I do not know what is.

Sure I could make a lot of excuses of why I am burnt out and they are all valid ones, but what kiParenting -hypocritend of message am I sending to my children to not yell, as I yell at them for yelling?  Granted they both looked stunned at me and quieted down, but I feel really ashamed of myself.  They are both in their rooms sleeping or quietly quaking and I feel horrible.

Liam and Ava recently have been having a hard time listening and many times I feel like they are not made to do so.  It is true that the path of least resistance works, but it cannot be done for every occasion.  In the last 24 hours I have repeated myself giving the same instructions over and over again.  Granted that partly comes with the territory of little children behavior, but it has gone too far as evidence of my own temper tantrum with the children.  Why is it that my yelling got exactly what I wanted, but now I feel horrible?

Sometimes I feel like I am really failing at this parent job.  I question my ability, my strength, and my effectiveness.  I am sure all parents have those moments and I am not the only one to feel this way, however I am worn out.  I just wish there could be one day, just one day with no battles, no arguing, and no negotiating, just “Yes mommy”.

Its 12:15 right now and the kids will probably get up in an hour from nap.  I would like to erase this whole morning, however I cannot.  I need to reset and so do they.  Together we will figure this out.  If nothing else maybe instead of my next entry being entitled “Hypocrite”, it will be “The Art of Patience.”  Now that is something worth writing about.

A Gentle Reminder From a Special Child

I saw you in the store today and my heart went out to you. I on a rare occasion went food shopping alone and we first bumped into each other in the vinegar /cooking oil aisle. I saw you struggling as you were slowly losing your patience and I wished I could have made the others stop staring. Your son was knocking tuna cans to the floor and I saw an elderly woman shake her head in disapproval. I saw the embarrassment on your face and I wondered how do you do it.

Two aisles later we met again as we scoped out the different flavored coffees. Your son spoke loudly and you tried to hush him. I could tell you were in a hurry, no doubt trying to get through the store as quickly as possible. I had a moment thinking in my head, “Thank God that isn’t me.” I quickly felt selfish for thinking that and instead concentrated on being just thankful.

We ran into each one more time on the checkout line. You were in front of me quickly trying to bag your groceries as your son was having a breakdown. People stared and I noticed your hands shook as you quickly handed the money to the cashier. Your son began to dart for the door and you abandoned your cart to go after him. Once you got back I heard you say,“ You can’t run out of the store like that you can get hit by a car.” I realized how fearful and panicked you must feel on a rather frequent basis.

id-10034793When we have children we always think of our children as special, however for some that transcends to a whole another level. Special needs children are beautiful, loving, energetic, curious children, but unfortunately are seen as unruly, loud, misbehaving children. What makes matters worse many look onto the parent thinking, how can they let their children carry on like that? Of course there are the children who are truly defiant kids who need to be more obedient. However, sometimes it is not always that evident that a child is acting the way they are because of a social or mental disorder versus poor parenting. I know I have in the past been quick to judge and think, why would a parent let that happen? But today was a gentle reminder of the idea that, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view — until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” – To Kill a Mockingbird – Atticus Finch

The Art of Roughhousing

In the last couple of weeks the new game Liam and Ava like to play with daddy specifically, is wrestling. My husband roughhouses with them and they giggle, laugh, and eventually they tire out (which is key). It’s funny that they inherently know to go to daddy for this interaction.   They have never approached me and asked me to wrestle them. Although some people might warn that someone could get hurt I think that this is a very important process to go through.

Let’s face it when you are roughhousing every once in a while someone is going to get hurt. However, I can’t help but think that this might make them a little more resilient. Although there are times that I worry that it is getting too rough (and that is why they pick daddy over mommy) for the most part it teaches them to bounce back. Will is careful in his play and the kids always come back for more. Even though, this physical play can cause a few playoff-payoffbruises now and then, I think it outweighs the alternative of them being less active.

I also believe that roughhousing can help sharpen reflects. Kids have to think fast as they are rolling, pillow fighting, wrestling with dad. They are constantly changing their approach on how to defeat dad. Of course this is all done in good natured fun, but it still does take some problem solving skills to overcome him. This kind of play also teaches boundaries of what behavior is acceptable and not acceptable.

I am not a worthy competitor. Routinely as part of the game my husband drops the kids on their beds and they giggle with delight. The truth is I have tried to do this and my height on dropping the kids onto their bed is not as exciting as dad, who can lift them over his head. Daddy takes chances that either I would not do or physically are unable to do. Sometimes it is good to push pass the limit of normal active play just a little bit to be challenging and entertaining.

My husband is very involved in all aspects of Liam and Ava’s lives; however this is one specific activity that he just does with them. I think it is important that both Liam and Ava feel a bond between themselves and their father. In creating this bond, Liam and Ava will recognize that they each have a distinct relationship with their father in which it can develop into a very special parent-child connection.

I guess in short, if you are one of the many mothers who anxiously watch as a bystander as your kids and husband roll around and wonder is this ok? Consider what your kids might be getting out of it besides a few laughs and a good time with dad.

 

A Letter of Love

Dear Liam, Ava, and All Children,

I have three wishes for my dear children and really all children.  Be curious, passionate, and loving.

Liam and the Catepillar Be curious about the world around you.  Don’t shy away from things that are new and different.  Be willing to give these ideas a chance.  Step out of your comfort zone once in awhile, it will be worth a memory or at least a laugh in a few years.  Never stop asking questions.  Try new things and experiment with new ideas.  In exploration you not only find out new and exciting things, but you will find out new things about yourself.  With that learn who you are and love yourself for that.  Do not make excuses for the person you are.  You are wonderful and gifted in your own specific way.  It is hard to always feel comfortable with yourself.  However, if you can find peace and happiness with yourself, trust me you will know contentment that many others around only dream of.

Be passionate.  Find something or many things that drive and excite you.  Don’t let others Ava all smilestell you it’s not important or silly.  Whatever it is that lights you up, go for it and enjoy it.  Passions give us purpose, and drive us to work hard towards a goal.  Passions also make us feel that we have purpose in our lives. Being passionate isn’t just about knowing – it’s also about feeling. That’s what makes passions so important; they give us hope for a happy and exciting future.  Don’t hold back on your emotions.  Get excited.  Being passionate is a risk, but even if it doesn’t work out you will feel fulfilled.

And of course be loving.  Love with all of your might.  First learn to love yourself fully.  Once you can do this you will be able to give and receive love from others.  There will be different forms of love in your love.  Love of family, friends, a significant SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESother, but love these people entirely for who they are too.  Do not hold onto those who do not love you back in the same way.  You will be hurt at times from those you love.  Forgive and let go.  Don’t let those bad experiences ruin future opportunities to love.  To love is to be alive.  Do not be ashamed of your love.  To give love to someone is the sincerest gift you can give.  Love is what heals wounds and overcomes differences.

I love you both dearly and wish you both a lifetime of curiosity, passion, and love.

 

Love always,

Mom

The Phenomena of the Housewife

Desperate Housewives and all versions of the Real Housewives of Orange County, New York City, Miami, etc., created a new look on the housewife.  These shows could almost be deemed acceptable if they had stayed on our television screens and never seeped into our society.  Unfortunately, it has infiltrated our social norms.  Growing up as a child of a stay at home mother, my idea of a housewife was exhausting.  The stay at home mom was the caregiver, the cook, the tutor, the chauffeur, the maid, the seamstress, the dog walker, and too many other busy titles to list here.  However, somehow in the last 15 years the housewife has become a title for a woman who has perfectly manicured nails, a personal trainer, and more often than not a laissez-faire approach to raising her children.  Moreover somehow this new breed of housewife, has turned her children to an accessory right alongside the designer handbag.  This is not to say by any means this is by definition all housewives, however it seems to becoming increasingly popular.

This past weekend my husband and I took our children to the park. When we arrived there, there were three girls and two mothers.  The girls ranged in age from 8-10 and they were running about.  The two mothers were sitting at picnic tables on the other side of the park in the pavilion engaged in a deep conversation.  I had this moment of self-reflection as I looked at them.  They were so well put together, I was envious.  Even on a good day my hair and makeup never looked so pristine.  How did these moms manage it? Nearby the mothers was a water fountain that Liam asked me to lift him up to get some water.  I overheard them busily chatting about a dinner party one was planning and what the chef was going to cook.  I walked out the pavilion and toward the playground, ready to push Liam and Ava on the swings.

As we approached the swings the three girls yelled to Liam and Ava, “The babies are here.  You can’t play here.”  I felt a surge of anger at this but I quickly quenched it.  The girls continued to point and yell at Liam and Ava as they got on the swings, calling them babies and telling them they could not play.  Just then two other cars pulled into the parking lot and families with young children (younger than Liam) came out of the car.  The girls then carried on to say, “Look more babies.  They can’t come here.”  I glanced over to the two mothers who were now looking at their phones, unaware of what was going on.  As the families approached the playground two of the young children began climbing the jungle gym.  One of the girls quickly scooted in and intervened in front of the young children and said, “You can’t climb this.  You are just a baby.”  Staring at the two mothers who were oblivious to what was going on, the father shot back in a very loud and stern voice, “I don’t know where your parents are, but this playground is for everyone. Please get out of my children’s way, and play nicely.  You are being fresh.”  The mothers then looked up and called their daughters over.

There were many things about that whole interaction that shocked me.  When I was their age I was eager to be a mother’s helper and someday a babysitter.  This blatant superiority complex in such young children was unnerving to me.  On top of that, to see two mothers so disengaged with their children that they had no idea what was going on, seemed very irresponsible.  I understand as children get older they do not need their parents hovering over them.  But these mothers were so out of tune to what was going on they were completely clueless to how rude their daughters were behaving.  Now I am not insinuating that every well-manicured mother raises ill-behaved children, but it was Liam in Ava in their mud puddleevident that these mothers had fallen victim to the Housewifitis that has fallen over this country.  Designer handbags and expensive nights out on the town don’t translate to meaningful experiences for children.  It’s spending quality time with them, whether it is reading a book to them every night before they go to bed or running around in the backyard.  Our children are truly a reflection on ourselves.  I see it all that all the time with my kids.  The good and the not so good habits they have picked up from me.  They are only in each phase for so long before they move onto the next stage.  Although, I miss each one of the stages as they grow out of it, I continue to enjoy the new one they go into.  I couldn’t help but think that these mothers were missing all of that as I have a hard time believing involved and engaged parents would allow such behavior.  Money can’t buy happiness, nor will it buy you memories or manners.

The Fearful Parent

Liam asleepPrior to Liam’s birth I read many articles about SIDS. The disease terrified me. The fact that there was no explanation and only speculation on prevention of the disease really unnerved me. Even though his bedding came with it, no bumpers were in his bed, or for that matter blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals. To add to this fear, during my pregnancy I heard several stories of someone knowing someone whose baby died of SIDS. Liam was born in February and I kept our house at cool 67 (it’s recommended to keep bedroom Ava Asleeptemperatures cool as there seems to be a parallel between deaths in SIDS and overheated babies). After he was born I would check on him multiple times during the night. Liam was a silent sound sleeper.   On a few occasions I was caught (by my husband) sitting him up in his crib to wake him and once he opened his eyes I quickly put him back down. When Liam turned one a huge sense of relief came over me (SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age.) After Ava was born even though she was a light sleeper and the smallest disturbance would wake her, I checked on her all the time. I took all the same precautions as I did with Liam and when Ava turned one I breathed a sigh of relief. Until a week ago ….

I was on Facebook and someone posted an article about a two year old that died of Sudden Death Unexplained in Childhood (SUDC). SUDC (Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood) is the sudden and unexpected death of a child over the age of twelve months, which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, is conducted. Similar to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), SUDC is a diagnosis of exclusion – given when all known and possible causes of death have been ruled out. I was heartbroken for the parents and felt the fear creep over me. I remembered in my head all of those times that I checked on Liam and Ava because they had slept longer than normal during naptime.

That is when I had to shake myself a little bit. I could easily let this terrify me. Being a parent is a balancing act of living and not letting the fear overtake and control you.  Finding the balance between being concerned and even at times fearful without it dictating how you live. It is something every parent experiences, but it is important to not let it overtake you. I think about Ava and Liam when they were babies and all though I did not obsess over it, I did think about it a lot. After reading the article about SUDC, I knew I could quickly get carried away with worrying. The problem is besides always being in a constant state of fear and unable to enjoy anything, you will also miss out on a lot of opportunities and experiences. Life is about the unexpected and the ever changing flow.   With that being said below are the few known facts about SUDC for informational purposes only. Read them and then go give your kids a hug and do something worth living for today.

Here are the known facts about SUDC:

  • Occurs in children over the age of 12 months. Is a diagnosis of exclusion- assigned when all known causes of death have been ruled out
  • Its incidence is approximately 1.2 deaths per 100,000 children. In comparison, the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is 45 times more common
  • We do not know of any way to reduce the risk of SUDC. Presently, SUDC cannot be predicted and/or prevented since its cause is unknown. Most SUDC deaths occur between the ages of 1 and 3, but researchers have looked at cases of children as old as 15.