Sunday, November 14, 2010
Today's thing is an empty pencil box that I will instead use to put my daughter's hair curlers into. And the plastic bag with holes in it the curlers used to reside in, will be recycled. Okay. Not too hard. My mind feels freer already.......
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I've been hit by a case of the overwhelms. And it's not that my life is sooo hard or that I'm sooo busy or that I'm sooo important. I just can't get on top of being a good mama, spouse, friend, housekeeper to the level that makes me feel good about being each of these things. I keep telling myself, "IF ..." You know, "if I could get this done" or "if I had the patience" or "if I did" then everything would magically change and POOF! I could be the best (fill in the blank) for each person in my life.
I keep amassing books about how to be a good parent, better housekeeper, more patient partner. Perhaps what I really need to do instead of read all of these is do what makes me feel good about myself in the myriad of roles I am cast in. Is there a way to get over this feeling of 'not good enough'? Can I embrace my shortcomings and still be a good person?
Aha! That's it. Being a good person encompasses all of the roles each of us performs daily. It's not so much 'how to be a good wife' but how to be a good person whose traits can be found in a wife. Right? Does this make sense? If I'm polite and giving and kind, then it would make sense that each relationship that I have would then bear these qualities as well. (Although, as a 'homemaker' furniture/dust/dishes don't require *quite* the same qualities...)
Being a good person sure sounds easy. Perhaps the hardest part for me won't be 'being good' but instead accepting my shortcomings. So if that means I only mop twice a year, at least it got done! And if that means I play tea party with my girls so often they learn to speak with a British accent, but in the mean time, I forget to teach them to skip, so be it. And even if that means I eat cookies when I should be exercising, at least I can be comfortable in my own body.
To finish my ramblings, I guess what is most important is to be a person people both look up to and respect. I want my children to be nice, kind people, so I'm going to be the person they want to be. And maybe some afternoon, we'll cut our tea party short, go outside and skip. Or perhaps instead, we'll just bake some cookies to go with our tea. How lovely.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
2) Coffee shops ARE everywhere ... but that doesn't mean the coffee is always better. (Best cup I had was waiting in line to get on a ferry. Thanks, Crusty Crab man.)
3) If you wanna feel competitive, take a whale-watching boat out to see the orcas. If you think people trying to catch a bride's bouquet throw elbows - you ain't seen nuthin' until the whales are spotted. HOLD ON TO THE SIDE OF THE BOAT or risk being pushed over so that the person beside you can get the picture they want! Kids are in just as much danger, fyi.
4) When hanging out with adults, you will seem like a super-parent for bringing your family of five across the United States. (Especially if they are very well-behaved.)
5) Don't forget your pajamas if you are camping in a colder climate. You will then have to go into town to buy something and look like a walking advertisement for that town.
6) ALWAYS bring more clothes for your children than you think you need.
7) When transferring the groom's ring from the box to the shell it will be carried in, do not drop it. It will sink immediately. And then every person there will give advice on where to find it.
8) Finding a metal detector on a Sunday morning, in a tourist town, that you then use to find said ring will make you into a hero.
9) Weddings on the beach at sunrise are beautiful, even if there is no sun because it's raining for the first time since you arrived.
10) Hotels are worth every penny after four days of camping.
11) Apparently if the airline misplaces your carseat/stroller, you can RENT one from them.
12) The airline will return the missing carseat/stroller HOURS after they call at 6 in the morning to let you know that they will be returning it to you.
13) Men are just as captivated as women by toothless, smiling, good babies. (Except for plain ol' jerks who recline their seats, but sit forward in them. And then sigh loudly every time they are kicked by babies who are very excitable.)
14) If you plan to bring home shells/sea glass/beach rocks - rinse them before you put them into your suitcase. Otherwise your bag will smell like rotting seaweed.
15) Hero or not, colds will attack anyone standing out in the rain for hours not properly dressed...
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public
This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at NursingFreedom.org. All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public ("NIP"). See the bottom of this post for more information.
When I birthed my first child in 2004, I knew that breastfeeding was beneficial for my baby but I had no idea it was also supposed to be enjoyable for me. Looking back at my struggles now, it makes me so sad to remember that I was offered help, but just didn’t take it. Part of why I continued to have trouble nursing for almost two years was that I was too embarrassed to ask for help. I couldn’t imagine yet another person (other than the nurses and midwives that had already tried) touching my breasts. The other reason I continually struggled was pride. I didn’t want anyone else to know that I couldn’t get something as ‘easy’ as breastfeeding. I didn’t realize that breastfeeding is not as easy as it looks for everyone, but with the right help, it could have been something that my baby and I took pleasure and comfort in together.
I had high expectations of myself in the role as a mother, beginning with pregnancy. I ate well, exercised daily and took as many naps as I could, resulting in a relatively easy pregnancy. My labor was normal, a little long, but peaceful in general. The trouble started after my babe was earth side… in my arms and ready to eat. For the life of me, I couldn’t get the hang of breastfeeding. Not only that, but this was the first time in my life that my breasts were not mine. They were there to be pinched, sucked, squeezed and I was mortified. I was very shy and the thought of someone else coming in and trying to force my nipple into my baby’s mouth was almost too much for me. The nurse brought by a breastfeeding ‘how-to’ video for me to watch. The only thing worse than watching that was watching the same nurse pinch my breast and force my daughter’s mouth on it. It was terrible.
Once I was home, I thought I would be able to get the hang of it by myself without anyone around. I had no idea that it wouldn’t be that simple. Within a week my nipples were cracked and bleeding, beyond what was normal, as my midwife exclaimed in surprise. I lubed them up with lanolin; let them air dry; cried; but nothing was working. I called the local La Leche leader for advice over the phone, but I couldn’t get my baby to latch on the correct way. I tried different positions, all to no avail. A friend offered to come help, but I was too bashful. I dreaded each nursing and cried for weeks every time she latched on. I finally gave up. Not nursing – no, I nursed her almost two years, wincing with pain practically every time she took her first swallow. I gave up on thinking anything was wrong. I just figured some women must not be able to enjoy nursing as much as others do.
Having been through this cycle two more times (currently nursing baby number three) I am here to say two things. One – breastfeeding does get easier with practice. Two – ask for help. Nurses, doctors, midwives have seen it all, as have La Leche leaders. If a friend offers to help – let her help; she’s not going to judge you (or your breasts.) Birthing a baby is one of those times in a woman’s life where she is allowed, even encouraged, to ask for help. Asking for help in no way makes us bad mamas – quite the reverse. Being able to ask and receive help prepares us for all of those other situations that will be presented to us as mothers. Comfortably enjoying the brief time you and your baby have together while breastfeeding is worth so much more than worrying about pride or embarrassment.
(And to those mamas out there who have been through it – give advice, offer to help, share your story! You may be just what a new nursing mama needs.)
Welcome to the Carnival of Nursing in Public
Please join us all week, July 5-9, as we celebrate and support breastfeeding mothers. And visit NursingFreedom.org any time to connect with other breastfeeding supporters, learn more about your legal right to nurse in public, and read (and contribute!) articles about breastfeeding and N.I.P.
Do you support breastfeeding in public? Grab this badge for your blog or website to show your support and encourage others to educate themselves about the benefits of breastfeeding and the rights of breastfeeding mothers and children.
This post is just one of many being featured as part of the Carnival of Nursing in Public. Please visit our other writers each day of the Carnival. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts - new articles will be posted on the following days:
July 5 - Making Breastfeeding the Norm: Creating a Culture of Breastfeeding in a Hyper-Sexualized World
July 6 – Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers: the New, the Experienced, and the Mothers of More Than One Nursing Child
July 7 – Creating a Supportive Network: Your Stories and Celebrations of N.I.P.
July 8 – Breastfeeding: International and Religious Perspectives
July 9 – Your Legal Right to Nurse in Public, and How to Respond to Anyone Who Questions It
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Hard to tell...
Hours drag on (and on and on.)
Prepare supper with
One eye on the driveway.
Set the table - don't forget
Papa's plate, fork, cup.
Gravel crunches -
You are here!
Bare feet running to see
Who can get to you first.
Squeals of laughter;
Hugs and giggling girls...
Hands washed and then
Here you are.
Hey babe, smiling face;
Strong arms, gentle kiss;
Slow relaxing breath...
Another week done.
You are home!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
When I was pregnant with my first baby in 2003, my husband and I attended a birth class. It was a small class, consisting of just my husband and I and one other couple. The other couple was due two months before me and they were planning a home birth. I was floored! What? Excuse me? People actually have a choice to give birth at home? I thought a home birth was something that happened *on accident* when labor begins and goes sooooooo fast. You know – like they portray it on TV. My husband and I had done research and settled on a birthing center … attached to a hospital. We have learned since that first birth class that being active in choosing how we want to participate in birth makes birthing a better experience.
This choice that had been brought to my attention on where I could choose to birth opened my eyes to the fact that there are all sorts of ways of doing things surrounding birth that I was completely unaware. I had so much more to learn! The first time I heard the word “doula” was during these birthing classes. I learned you could move around during labor. You could eat and drink, walk and squat, sleep and get in a bathtub. One of the most shocking things I learned was about my husband. My husband was actually encouraged to help out during all of the labor and birth. He wasn’t supposed to just sit there and pass out cigars afterwards. Wow. How can this be? I had begun reading all of the books I was supposed to read. I was prepared and excited to meet my baby. I just had no idea that there were other ways in which we could be introduced.
Recently, this choice of where and how to give birth has been brought into the spotlight. This is in part due to media normalizing birth, as the popularity of Ricki Lake’s documentary, “The Business of Being Born” showed. This documentary follows women who are pregnant making choices about birth, in addition to giving statistics on a scope of issues (home birth vs. hospital birth, natural vs. caesarean.) While there are other films out there, this one was available to a wider audience, rather than to people already aware of choice in childbirth. I believe the increased awareness about choice is also due to the fact that more women are talking about birth and their choices with each other. Not only do my friends and I dish weekly about some aspect of childbirth, but also plugging “childbirth” into Google (or Facebook) brings up numerous blogs and websites, in addition to respected magazine articles and books. Growing up, I led a typical life in a small town in the Midwest. I was astonished when my aunt not only chose a birthing center within a hospital but also breastfed while on maternity leave. These two choices she made were so far out there to me as a pre-teen. It was so surprising to discover that I could have an active role in the birth of my children.
I’m so thankful I was able to ask questions and make decisions based on what I learned from many different sources. How many other women are out there, nodding dumbly to the doctor (or midwife or newspaper article) because they don’t know they can have an active role in their birthing decisions? How many other expectant, first-time mamas are like I used to be – ready to believe anything my doctor (or mom or in-laws) said without doing any other research because s/he had to know what was best; after all, s/he had been through childbirth before. While I’m not saying that your doctor (or your mother-in-law) doesn’t have information that is important to consider, rather there are usually safe alternatives that you can choose to make your birth experience more enjoyable to you and your babe.
I now have three children and each birth was a new and different experience. With each one, I have become more confident in both my body and my choices. I’m discovering things I’m excited to try during each pregnancy and labor/birth, but most importantly I am proactive about my births. I ask myself what I want and then find a way to make it happen.If I hadn't attended those first birth classes, (and read a few different books and talked with other women and midwives…) I would never have known that there are other ways. It’s up to you to decide how you want to celebrate the miracle within you. Ask; discuss; and ponder the different ways you can participate in labor and birth. Take control of bringing your sweet baby “earth-side” and creating the experience you want. Birth is a journey, but if you are knowledgeable in what you want, you’ll enjoy the passage even more.