How to be Super-Mom

Here is it ladies, how to be Super-mom in just five easy steps. Are you ready?

  1. Keep play dough in the house for those really bad days when you all just need some stress relief. Break out the squishy stuff, and some cookie cutters; and just — chill. Listen to your kids as they describe what they are making. Mix a few colors. Roll a giant snake, or make a snowman. Breath. Be a kid for a few minutes.
  2. Read books. Lots of books. Preferably, read the books before trying to finish an article on your phone, that way you don’t have to hear “do I just need to figure out how to read it myself?” from your 3.5 year old.
  3. Make a mess. Have your kids help cook. (Deep breathing, required) Try to keep your instructions to a minimum — at least the ones that come out like “I SAID STOP TOUCHING! SERIOUSLY. JUST WAIT!!!” Smile. Let them help with dishes. And then show them how to dry the counter, and floor. Tell them thank you for helping you …and mean it.
  4. Teach your kids to work. Have them do chores. Make them responsible for a few things. “Oh you left the house with no cup? You should have grabbed that, huh?” Turn those babies into Handy-Helpers, and then into grown-ups.
  5. Stop trying to be Super-Mom. None of us have it all together. We all raise our voice and then need to apologize (don’t forget to set that example.) We all over schedule some days and end up tired and frustrated. We all get distracted. No mom is perfect. Seriously, your kid doesn’t need super-mom; they need their mom. They need you. They need you to focus on them some times. And sometimes, whether they like it or not, they need you to tell them “GO play. Alone.” They really do. And they will be better for it.

Hang in there, mommas. (Hang in there, self.)

Mental Ramblings on Abortion

I just read an article about abortion; and as I always do after reading such things I began to ponder the entire situation surrounding abortion.

I’m pro-life, and have a hard time wrapping my head around the thought of killing an unborn child. It turns my stomach to think of a woman volunteering to have her own baby cut out of her body and thrown away as trash. But that is an all too common practice, both here in the U.S. and around the world. I wish it weren’t. I wish I could make every mother and father love the life that they created together. But I cannot.

So, tonight as I washed dishes and thought about abortion I let my mind wonder over reasons women may choose abortion. And reasons so many feel it is their only choice at all.

Statistically, it is much easier to go about finding information on abortion, than information or resources to help a mother raise an unexpected child, or finding an adoption agency. I won’t bore you with numbers but suffice it to say, I have read many articles where people have researched or taken polls on the streets to learn what it is like to choose between life, and abortion. It is very much easier to google “abortion” and find a clinic, than it is to google “pregnancy help,” or something similar, and get a good outreach program or adoption agency. So, that is probably a huge reason women (particularly young women, and teenagers, I would guess) choose abortion. If there is so much information available so quickly for one choice, and the other choices take so much more digging; then panic kicks in and you go with the first choice — abortion.

Second, I would guess nerves probably get the best of many women (and men, because we don’t need to leave them out of this equation.) Raising a child is a HUGE undertaking. Perhaps these women look back at their own childhood and see pain, instead of a steady, guiding hand. They don’t know how to be a parent because they realize they were dealt a pretty crappy example in their own parents. Perhaps the reason for late term abortion is simply nerves on overdrive. “I thought I could raise a child, but I have a dead end job, my family has disowned me, I don’t know who the father is, the costs are going to cripple me…” Until abortion seems like the only way to survive. (Remember, self preservation is a hard-core instinct in all of us. We all worry about our own survival.)

As a society, and particularly as Christians, we have largely dropped the ball on caring for women at “risk” of abortion. Think about it for a minute. If a new family comes to church and they have a 16 year old, very pregnant daughter, how is that family welcomed? They aren’t. They are stared at. People whisper as they walk by. Nobody goes up and shakes hands with them all and then offers to help. Oh sure, they may pass the dad a brochure on family counseling. Maybe they even give mom sympathetic smiles. They may welcome the other children. But the one girl feels like the elephant in the room. And heaven forbid she walk into church alone. Things would only feel a million times more stressful for her. Even a young woman, pregnant, in her twenties that might try to attend a singles group would be judged in many churches. I don’t feel like we have any concept of how hard we make it on women when we act this way toward them for carrying a baby, and then we preach long and hard on the evils of abortion. We can not lean both ways! We can not.

To just step back a minute, all mothers need to ask themselves, honestly, if they have always felt “ready” to have and raise a baby. I know I sure as heck have questioned my judgment! I’m expecting baby number 3 and I still question “how on earth am I going to survive this? How can we afford this? Is this even the right thing for our family?” Having a baby is a BIG DEAL. Bringing a baby home is a BIG DEAL. Not only are there expenses to prepare for baby (and I’m talking minimal preparation — a few clothes, diapers, car seat, crib… expenses $$$.) There are doctor visits; how many of us want to go alone to find out what we are having, because mom and dad won’t talk to us, don’t know who the dad is… whatever? Not easy. There are medical bills, hospital bills, insurance questions, on and on, and on. I think most of us, who are currently moms, can all agree that we could not have survived even 9 months of pregnancy, let alone the first week or so at home, without some support. Not all of these women who seek an abortion have any such support. In fact, many do not. Instead they have a boy friend threatening to leave, a husband mad because he never wanted kids, maybe angry parents… Abortion seems like the only option.

I don’t have the answers to all of this. I really do not. There is one wonderful program that has really learned to stand behind women. Save the Storks is doing things right. They are offering real help, and real support. Showing women real options to these real questions. I love what they do, and encourage you to check them out here https://savethestorks.com/

I also think we, pro-life-ers, need to stand behind pregnancy outreach centers. I volunteered some at such a center when my husband and I were newly wed, and broke did not even begin to describe our financial situation. I wanted children but there was no way that it was the right time for us. We lived in an RV (cheap rent, by the way) I had a crappy babysitting job that barely paid $5 an hour, he worked part time and was going to school full time… broke. But I’d go volunteer when I could. And now I encourage others to give to pregnancy outreaches whenever possible. These places pretty much have to survive on grants because, obviously, they don’t charge for their services; and people aren’t just lining up to volunteer, or give money. Even donations of items — diapers, wipes, formula, clothes, toys, blankets, etc — are a huge help most of the time. And this is one way to get behind these women who may otherwise choose abortion.

We need to also remember our own resources and use them too. I have a great desire to help women through unexpected pregnancy. Some day I hope to be able to find these women and help them financially, either with a cash gift, or by taking them to buy things to prepare for a baby. Right now I am not able to do that, because money is tight. Just like it isn’t smart to jump in the water to save a drowning person, it’s much safer and more effective to rescue them with your own feet planted on the ground; now is not the time for me to try to “rescue” other mothers. I wish I could but right now all I can do is help a little, instead of a lot. I don’t say all this for a pat on the back, I just want others to catch the vision and look for ways they can help too. Maybe you are done having kids and could give your crib, swing, and other “gear” to a young mom. Maybe your kids are grown and gone but you could mentor and “grandmother” a new mother and child. Find a way to be a part of the solution.

My final thought before I go is a sad one. This is at the very end because I don’t have a solution for it. It breaks my heart, and I hope others can see how it is truly an issue and together we can work to correct the damage. Think of the children. The unborn children. The unwanted children. Where would they be, if they had not been aborted? We like to proclaim the great things these lost lives would have done…but who would have raised them to do those great things? If millions of babies have been aborted since abortion became legal; how many of those millions would have been foster care system statistics? This hurts to write, but we can not ignore that we have thousands of “unwanted” children already in the system. Where would thousands more go? What will we do to fix that broken system so that babies can be raised in homes with loving families, instead of in group homes, or tossed around between foster homes until they age out of the system? Think of the children.

 

I Can’t Parent Today

I’m having one of those weeks, where I just can’t seem to parent. ADD is kicking tail, 3rd trimester of pregnancy has me worn out, I’m overwhelmed with “junk” on the brain. I just can’t parent…can’t really even “adult” for that matter.

So, I find myself falling back to the way my brain has always handled ADD, and system overload. I zone out. Totally, out. My kids are jumping on a bed. I told them to stop. Now one is crying. Oh…head bang. He came to me for a kiss. And here I sit.

I tell myself over and over I need to be more present with my kids. Just being in the same house, or the same room, is not the same as being WITH them. But then a week like this comes. Playing with the kids feels like torture. I can’t focus. They are talking and climbing on me. I can’t figure any of it out. Reading a Little Golden Book to myself seems more logical than trying to follow their games. So, I find myself on my phone or on the computer. Most of the time I’m not even seeing what is in front of me. But it gives my eyes somewhere to go.

I was diagnosed with ADD (no H) when I was about 8. I’ve always been thin and my mom worried I’d loose weight on medication, so they let me learn to deal with it. (I’m super glad they did, and I wish more parents would help their kids learn to cope, rather than running to the pharmacy.) Unfortunately, there is just so much you can do to override the brain when it shuts off.

Guys can think about “nothing.” Literally nothing on their mind. Girls do not come with this ability… unless you have ADD. Then you still can’t think of “nothing” you just get so many thoughts running at the same time that none of them make sense. If I was to just sit and think (aka zone out) my brain would go 150mph. Until some one walked up and touched or spoke to me. Then nothing. I wouldn’t even be able to tell you what I was thinking about just the nano-second before.

So, this week, I can’t parent. I’m really not sure what is going on around me. I probably shouldn’t be allowed to drive. Maybe I shouldn’t be in charge of children. I’m really glad the kids are playing together well. And I’m glad the house is mostly child-resistant.

Maybe, next week will be better.

Budget Baby

I wrote this on another blog before baby number two was born. I came across it again today and thought I’d share it again, with a few updates.

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Have you seen them yet? All those ridiculously overwhelming lists of “Registry must haves?” Holy smokes…no wonder people move out of apartments and buy houses when they find out a baby is on the way! Yea, I’m talking about those lists that pop up when you sign in to make a baby registry at Target or Babies R Us — those lists are so long! And then there are all the mommy bloggers with equally long lists of “must haves.”

Here’s the deal ladies (and gentlemen) you do not need that much stuff to have a baby. No really, in fact, you don’t NEED much at all. As far as NEEDS go that list is really short.

You NEED:

  • Something for the baby to sleep in (typically a crib)
  • Diapers
  • Baby wipes
  • Some clothes (not that many — and nothing fancy or expensive)
  • A blanket or two

That’s it. Those are the big NEEDS. Those are the things you really would not want to bring a baby home without. Then there are a few other needs (little letters this time.)

You need:

  • A car seat
  • Burp rags
  • One or two rattles or other toys
  • Baby shampoo/soap and lotion
  • Bottles (even if you are going to nurse, having a bottle on hand is not a terrible idea)

And that covers the little letter needs. See, babies really don’t require THAT much stuff. But then, of course, there are the things that it really helps to have around.

Things that really help:

  • A swing
  • A Boppy or other nursing pillow
  • A stroller
  • Baby bath towels and rags (They really can use yours, but it’s nice to have the smaller/softer ones for Baby)
  • A few additional toys
  • Tummy time mat or play gym
  • Bibs for drool
  • A Rock ‘n Play

And those are the things that really help in the first few months. Later, a high chair will be helpful, as well as child size spoons.

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And now…the stuff I WOULD NOT BUY.

Like I say, those darn lists are sooooo long. And the Mommy bloggers all have opinions (kind of like me! Ha!). It’s really easy to get caught up in that and buy a whole bunch of stuff you won’t really end up using that much. Here are a few examples of what I mean.

Stuff I would NOT buy:

The notorious Pack ‘n Play. Nope, I wouldn’t recommend that one at all. I had one given to me, and after a few months I sold it at a resale shop. Never again.

  • Here’s why I think some moms like them: They make a convenient living room changing station/crib.
  • Here’s why I hated mine: They’re bulky and very hard to take down or set up. If I needed to change baby, I carried her to the nursery. If she needed a nap I used the crib, or put her in the Rock ‘n Play or swing. I needed a play pen that was easy to set up outside and move around when I was working. The Pack ‘n Play, is not that play pen. If you need something portable skip this bulky thing.
  • This time I’m trying: This play pen from Summer Infant. http://www.summerinfant.com/popnplayportableplayard I’m most excited about how light it is.
  • ***Update: This dude is AMAZING! No other play pen compares! It’s light weight, fold easy, sets up easy…the ONLY down side is using it in the wind.

Any fancy high chair. My in-laws wanted to give us the best of the best when it came to high chairs. I was sooo excited when I first set up the one they picked out for us, but then we started using it….

  • Here’s why I think some moms like them: There is a huge trend toward all baby gear matching. High chairs can be purchased to match the car seat, stroller, etc. Or they can be “designer” chairs to look fabulous in your dining area.
  • Here’s why I disliked mine: I used our fancy high chair all the way until Cowgirl moved to a booster seat at the table, so I can’t say I hated the chair. But it did have some pretty major flaws. Most fancy chairs have a washable fabric seat pad; mine did not (thank goodness, or I would have burned that pad instead of washing it 8 million times). A wipe-able plastic seat cushion sounds great in theory, but it still has too many folds, nooks, and crannies for food to hide.
  • This time I’m trying: This Safety 1st seat. http://safety1st.djgusa.com/en/djgusa/safety1st/feeding-boosters/clean—comfy-booster—decor-bo069dec The whole seat is one solid, wipe-able piece of molded plastic. I’m sure I will need some type of support slipped in there when Farmer Boy first starts to eat at about 4 months, but by the time he is feeding himself…yea, buddy. I’m excited about this one.
  • ***Update: Heck yes! Skeet did not need any extra support in this chair, but it did have him sitting pretty straight up, so he couldn’t just comfortably sit there after he ate.

Rolling walker seats. You’ve seen these things. Baby sits in there and shuffles their feet around making it go around the house.

  • Here’s why I think some moms like them: I think these give moms the feeling they are letting their baby safely explore the house. And some of them are pretty cute too.
  • Here’s why I never had one: Two words — Safety Hazard. Steps or stairs pose a huge hazard. But then there are smaller hazards like baby getting too close to a stove or other hot surface. Or baby getting into cabinets or shelves with things he/she might not otherwise be able to reach.
  • What I use instead: A push behind walker works much better. Yes, your child has to be older and stronger before they can use one; but I hardly see how it’s bad to let your child wait until they are strong enough to walk before you send them out walking? Cowgirl LOVED this one. http://www.fisher-price.com/en_US/brands/babytoys/products/Musical-Lion-Walker
  • *** Update: turns out these are still fun for big siblings. Be careful that the older child doesn’t try to run off pushing the walker and dragging little one behind.

And there you have the top three items I would never recommend. Bottom line, there is no reason to break the bank when you have a baby. Most of the mumbo-jumbo out there isn’t really that helpful anyway…or it’s helpful life span is so short you can live without it.