Sunday, November 8, 2015

When parenting is illegal...

So many things race through my mind since becoming a parent for the second times. Some thoughts of worry and self doubt are the same. Others of sharing my time and love with another child are new. Either way, as any new mother will tell you, it is exhausting and challenging having a new baby. 
With the challenges come the decisions a parent has to make. We all make small, some what trivial ones all the time. Things like weather to give your child a bath everyday or the time of the bed time or even how much tv they can watch are pretty minor. But then there are the major decisions every parent has to make. The huge ones. The scary ones. The controversial ones.
In today's world so much info is thrown at parents on how to raise children. Every doctor, nurse, and grandmother has an opinion on if you ( or me) are doing this parenting thing correctly. 
The scary thing is that every parent has choices and options. Most people will tell you there is no "right" way to raise a baby or child since every kid, family and situation is different. Yet, according to the law, there sort of is...
Today, as everyone knows, every kid has to be in an approved car seat when in the car. This seems like common sense now, but 40- 50years ago the ideas of  car seats were pretty new. Kids just sat in cars and were fine. Babies were held in the front seat and that's the way it was. Obviously, car seats are for the child's safety and do help tremendously, but like with any seat belt regulation, why is it the governments business to tell parents a specific way to have their child in the car? I'm not saying I believe kids shouldn't ride in car seats, but when did it become not a parenting decision and a turned into a everyone else's problem? You may be rolling your eyes at this point but stay with me.
From the day your child is born, every mother is urged to breast feed, not co sleep, have their child sleep on their backs and not smoke. These are supposedly the things that help prevent SIDS. ( to be clear, I am not saying they do or don't as I am no expert). Yet, even if a parent does all these " correct " things, their child could still fall victim to this scary thing called SIDS. It is every parents worst night mare and I am so glad I don't have personal experience with it, yet I know people who have. Right now, all the things doctors tell you to do to prevent SIDS are suggestions. They can't make you breastfeed or not smoke around your child as neither one of those things are illegal. But will they be in the future? Parents choose to do "un suggested" things all the time that could put their baby at risk. If you choose to formula feed for whatever reason and your baby dies of SIDS will you be arrested for child endangerment in the future?  You knew the risk was higher, yet did it anyway. If you let your infant sleep on their stomach because they sleep much sounder and won't sleep on their backs will you have your child taken away from you if someone finds out? According to doctors, both of those things are risk factors in SIDS deaths so it would make sense that doing those would cause you to contribute to your child's death, thus leaving the law room to find you guilty of negligence? 
If you think that sounds far fetched, look at the whole "leaving kids in the car" issue that is such a hot topic these days. I don't know about you but me and my sisters spent some time alone in the car from time to time when we were kids. Not when it was hot and the windows were always down, but it wasn't a big deal when we were younger for us to stay in the car when my mom ran into the gas station to get some milk. Obviously, my mom considered this to be safe, and it was. It was her call to decide what was safe for us and what was not. She wouldn't have left us there all day in the heat, but you get what I am saying right? All over today you hear about parents getting arrested for leaving kids in cars,but there is not actual law saying "you may not leave a child in a car" if there was, it would have to be super specific. Like you can't leave a child in the car for X amount of minutes during whitch the outside tempurature has to be less than X amount. What about putting your kids in the car seat and running back inside the house to get something you forgot? Is that legal? If someone saw me do that ( or videoed it, since that's what people do now) would I get in trouble? Do I have to keep an eye on my child every single second of the day?
I read an article about a mom who left her 5 year old child in the car for 5 minutes, on a cool day to go get something in a store. The child was fine, nothing happened and all was ok until she got arrested several days later because someone had videoed her and sent it to the police and they got her license plate number... It's things like that make me wonder, wasn't that just the moms choice? She deemed itsafe, and her child is fine, so why wasn't it? It's the same thing when you consider how old a child can be to stay home alone. Some children may be ready at 10 years old, others may not be. Or when a child can play alone at a park or even walk home from school? But shouldn't it be your call as a parent to decide that?
It just get so confusing because obviously there are parents who abuse their kids, or put them in extremely unsafe environments, or neglect them completely and of course I think the law should be involved in those cases, but it just begs the question.
 Where is the line drawn?
When are the choices parent have to make every day going to become illegal? And who gets to decide the exact "right" way to raise your child?
To clear things up, I am not anti government control or against laws about car seats or things that keep kids safe. I just often wonder about how much parenting can be questioned now a days.  And it makes a bit wary having 2 kids and learning and trying to be the best parent I can be for them and myself.
Dare I bring it up, but the hugely controversial vaccines debate always brings this to my mind too. If a parent vaccinated their child and signs the form saying she knows the risks and benefits, but that child ends up dying from that vaccine ( apparently there is a teeny tiny chance that this can happen with any vaccine because of unknown reasons, read the fine print:) will that parent be blamed? She knew the risk, and decided, because of the benefits to go ahead and vaccinate, yet her child was ultimatly harmed. And the same can go for anti vacciners. If they don't vaccinate their child and he gets the measles and passes away, or even more gives it to another child and that child passes away, can the mother be charged with Manslaughther? 
For the record, I am pro vaccination, but I do understand there are risks involved in any choice I make as a parent.
I could talk about this forever. Things from drinking wine during pregnancy, ( or even eating sushi) to letting your kids ride their bikes around with no helmet all cross my mind from time to time. As parents we have to decide the best and safest way to raise our kids according to us. Isn't that part of the glory and fear of being parents? But when should it be left up to the parent and when shouldn't it? I don't know the answer... I wish I did. I guess it's just one more thing that will keep me up at night! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

To the First Time Mom

Ok, So... ( I feel like I start out a lot of my blogs like that) .... anyway, as many of you know and have heard, once you have a child or are expecting one, every mother on the planet will bombard you advice and suggestions on everything from getting your child to sleep, what is the best formula and even tips on how basically how to have the perfect baby. Every mom (myself included) it seems, can't wait to share her opinion on how to raise your child. Every mother is insistent that her way is best. I remember it being way over whelming when I was pregnant with Max. So much so that I didn't even look up or google things, I stopped asking people questions about labor, newborns and the whole child thing in general. I heard so much advice that I didn't know where to turn. I was confused and went with the ideal that I would just figure out this "MOM" thing as I go. After all, people had been doing it for years so how hard can it be? Although I did hear the advice many times that I should just follow my "Mommy Gut" when it came to making decisions for my child, and I gotta tell ya, as a first time mom, I honestly just thought this so called mothers instinct would kick in like people said and I would just know what to do all the time, because duh, I had  a child now, I knew what I was doing.
Well, I found out quick that I absolutely did not know what to do at all. That so called Mom's instinct was very slight, and I mostly doubted it. I didn't know how to trust myself with this new role I had been given. I was lost.
I started looking into that ever-annoying baby advice that I had so easily cast off while I was pregnant. I searched for anything that could help. It was embarrassing for me to ask for help/advice. It was like I was admitting I was failing at the "most natural job" on earth. Fortunately for me, I have some very honest sisters and a mom who tell all tell me the cold hard truth about raising babies. I am so thankful for that because so many times did I hear the words from acquaintances like " Being a Mom is hard, but it is so worth it!" or " Babies are amazing, you will just be so happy all the time!". Seriously. Hearing vague words like that about babies when you are struggling to not cry all the time because you don't know what the freak you are doing as a mom is.. well... less than helpful...

 Hearing HONEST, TRUE, REAL LIFE ADVICE is one the main things that helped me through the hard times. Not some, Hallmark version of motherhood, but the real stuff. The stuff that sucks to hear, the stuff that only a true best friend, a sister or a mom will admit to you... motherhood is not always pretty, it can be downright depressing.

So, in an attempt to reach other first time moms who may be struggling but afraid to ask in fear of getting a thousand mixed answers or the glossed over version. I asked a few mom friends I know (on a Mothers With Questions Facebook page that my sister and I started so we could go and ask the tough mom questions) what HONEST advice they would give to first time moms or moms struggling with the job. So, if you aren't worn out from endless mom advice here are a few tips I wish I had known before giving birth and hopefully will help realize you are not alone!

Don't be afraid to ask for help or advice. You feel like you should be able to "do it all" and know what to do. The reality is mommy does need a break and get some rest to be able to function (although it's a lot less than you thought possible). Also even if you have several children, everyone is different. It always helps to have some mom friends that you trust for advice. You don't have to take any of it, but a fresh perspective is always helpful.
 For first time moms I buy some variation of the following "must haves" depending on budget: Tylenol, motrin, baby q-tips, baby toothbrush, Aquaphor (for chapped cheeks), saline, pedialyte, mylocon or gripe water, mam pacifiers, homedics sound spa, and a nose frida. I also like to buy "On the Night You Were Born". Such a sweet book.

I also tell moms that when they take baby's blood in the hospital to have them use a heating pack on their heel. This makes the process SO much easier. The first person that took my daughter's blood didn't use it and she screamed and screamed and ended up with a bruised heel. The next day another nurse came in and used a heating pack - not a peep. I felt so awful for day one.

 I wish someone told me it was ok to tell people no. So many people wanted me to go places to show them Baby and then people wanted to come over all the time and it was so over whelming to me to try to plan things out I just wanted to be left alone and get used to my new life and get settled in but I felt so guilty like all these people want to see the baby and I'm being selfish not letting them. If I had to go somewhere I literally cried because it stressed me out so much. That only lasted a few weeks but I felt really bad. I wish someone would have told me just say no maybe in a few weeks. And also I learned this quick not to stress out when baby cries. I realize it's a hard one. But I just felt like if he was fed and full. Clean. And there was nothing wrong sometimes babies just cry. So if I knew he was ok I would just hold him and read my book while he cried or put him in his pack and play. I really felt like he cried more when I stressed out. But could be just me. Oh and breastfeeding is really hard! But worth it. But really stupid hard!
     I would say that there are going to be things that don't go as you hoped or planned. There will be curve balls that are frustrating and scary. But that Gods plans and vision for you as a parent are so much bigger than your own. You may not be able to have the all natural birth you hoped for or breastfeeding as long as you wanted. There are lots of little things that seem big in the scheme of things. They will pass, and all that matters is that you love your child unconditionally and do your best. I'm still a newbie and learning every day that I can't be perfect and that there is grace when I'm not!.
  •  Sometimes your instinct as a mom is better than any people around you advice and books you read- trust your gut! Be flexible! It WILL be hard at times, you will break down and cry often but it's normal(even if you look around and it 'appears' all the moms around you have it together), it's worth it, and focus on all the awesome moments that far outweigh the tough ones! You are strong, beautiful, and capable!
  • I felt totally inadequate as a mom when Baby 1 was born and throughout his first year. Definitely fell victim to comparing myself to the "super mom" that exists only in my imagination and on Pinterest. The Lord spoke to that lie of inadequacy a lot during my pregnancy with my second through friends and my time with him. So I'd tell a first time mom that though she won't be a perfect person (because who is?) she will be the perfect mother for that baby. Regardless of how much she enjoys or doesn't enjoy throwing huge birthday parties, or her stance on vaccination, or if she breastfeeds, or if she gives them a LOT of peanut butter and jelly instead of well rounded organic meals... (we go thru an insane amount of peanut butter at our house)... All of these things are not what make you a "good mom." A good mom is someone who loves her children well, and that looks really different for each person because all kids and all mothers are really different. That's what I'd say! Oh and I second breastfeeding being stupid hard
  •  The only thing I can think to add is to not overshop. We ended up with way more clothes than he needed and an annoying amount of toys and stuffed animals. All of the baby gear sounds necessary, but you can probably do without most if the budget is tight. We had a cute jumperoo that Baby only used for about 2 weeks.
  •  Be prepared to throw all your plans in the trash.  Babies are unpredictable and change all plans you may have also if she's going to bf then be prepared for hourly feeding the first week or two. .. It's normal!
  • New moms-look into belly binding. I really wish I would have. (I have 3 kids, ages 4, 2, and 9 months). And have a split in my abdominal muscles that I'm still trying to heal. If you have a "mummy tummy" look into Diastasis Recti, might help you

  •  When my daughter was born I planned to breastfeed. That first week though was hell. I seriously was considering giving it up but both my mom and my doctor kept telling me that if I could just make it through that first week it would get so much better. They were right. And, don't hesitate to utilize a lactation consultant. I do say this even though my lactation consultant wasn't really good. I ended up learning a lot through La Leche League (can just Google it). They had some great videos online so I guess if you can't get a lactation consultant or you have a crappy one like mine there's always that.....
  • Yes, ask for help with boobie feeding. Its hard and it can really suck and be painful. If it wasn't for the lactation consultants, I never would have made it as far as I did. But on the same side, don't fear formula, your doing just fine if that's what needs to happen or if you make that decision. Your sanity is whats most important... speaking of sanity, don't be afraid to ask for help for yourself. The baby blues and Post Partum Depression are scary and can come on super quick. We all react in different ways to childbirth and that little thing is a blessing but can give massive stress too. You aren't failing as a mom, it takes help to get through those rough patches... they will pass, everything does, but it can seem like the end of the world at the time...
  • My biggest piece of advice is to not let everything you read and hear in trying to do things "right" get so loud in your head that it overwhelms your ability to find your instinct. Yes, it's helpful to listen to advice from mothers who have been there,done that, and consult them when you have questions - but you ultimately get to make the decisions and you will not always know what's right and often times you just have to give it your best guess.
    But the sooner you become in-tune to your "mommy gut" the better off you'll be and the easier all those choices and decisions will be for you. Because ultimately, YOU get to make the choices that work not only for your child, but also work best for YOU.
    The sooner you learn to own the choices you make for yourself and your family, the more confident you'll become about your mothering ability
     I'd say to not get offended when people offer advice and suggestions. If you like what they have to say, cool; learn something from it. If you don't agree with what they have to say, then just say thanks for the suggestion and let it roll off. There's no time to get "offended" by other people disagreeing with your mothering choices. Who cares what they think? I mean, there's no need to be rude to people offering suggestions either (most have good intentions and are just trying to help), but don't yourself get bent out of shape if you disagree either

    Tuesday, February 3, 2015

    Just about Max!

    Just decide to write a quick blog about Max. Not sure if anyone cares, but here is what he has been up to lately:)
    He is a funny kid who really likes to identify things. He points out things he sees all the time! He will go to someone new house and go around and point out the fridge and the microwave and couch and TV. He is really into flags recently and he and Jeffrey go over flag of the world every night, he has a flag poster in his bedroom and loves to point out all the flag he knows. Which, for the record, is more flags than I know. He knows nearly all the European flags... It's actually pretty impressive. 

    He also really loves his trains. He will play with them more than any other toy and loves him Thomas movies! He always wants someone to play with him. He loves doing puzzles and playing with cars and planes. He makes the sound affects for them and it is so cute! He likes to build things. Mostly he is into mazes and car washes and garges. He likes Jeffrey and I to build them too and then he likes to destroy them. He laughs a lot! I am so thankful I have such an easy to please kid. 

    He loves the moon and tries to find it every time we go outside, day or night. He loves watching the stop lights as we drive and tell me what each light means and when I need to stop or go.
    He absolutely loves to play at parks, playgrounds and play places more than anything else! Once he sees one it is impossible to not let him play on it. He could actually play for hours and if other kids are playing too, it make it even better, he loves playing with other kids! He is a little bit of a climber and always finds wierd way to climb on things. He is not shy kid at all and loves to give " big hugs" and kisses! He talks to everyone and likes to tell people random things. Whenever he sees babies he pats them on the head and says"nice baby" , and then leaves them alone. 

    He is very loud and likes to make noises of all kinds. He knows how to fake cry too and it's actually pretty hilarious. He is doing pretty well at potty training, mostly trained during the day. And it's nice not using diapers anymore. He does like to talk about his poop and pee though and he hasn't mastered always getting pee in the toilet. He talks a lot and is always listening to us even when we think he isn't. He remembers so much and can repeat things back all the time.  

    He knows a lot of Spanish words. Jeffrey has been reading to him in Spanish since he was a baby and max asks me all time who to say something in Spanish and I have to say " uh, we have to ask dada when he gets home". 

    He is super ticklish and loves having his back scratched. He loves the song " wheels on the bus" and I have to sing it to him every night before bed. Although he will never sing it for me when I ask, I often hear him singing to himself while he lays in bed at night. It is the cutest thing! 

    He also loves playing with the iPad. We have to set timers for him and every time the timer goes off he looks up at me and smiles, like he's trying to get away with still playing even when his time is up. He really likes watching you tube videos of car washes and kids playing with Thomas the train. 

    He is still a picky eater. Foods he loves are chicken nuggets, all types of cheese, yogurt, French fries, grapes, blueberries, crackers, hummus, ice cream, cupcakes, green beans, bananas, mandarin oranges , goldfish, food pouches, spaghetti, bread, waffles, oatmeal, cereal, fish sticks, macaroni, and Popsicles!
    Food he hates and I cannot get him to eat are hot dogs, any kind of beef, any new type of veggie, or basically anything new at all. It is so hard to get him to try new things,  it once he does he usally likes it. 

    He is a pretty decent sleeper  most of the time, but likes to play during nap time and doesn't always sleep. He has to have his Lovey to sleep and still has to listen to the waves on his sound machine.

    I love my little boy so much more than I ever thought possible! He is a super funny kid and does wierd things sometimes! I thank God for my little 2 1/2 year old boy every day!