For me, breastfeeding was far from easy. I was nervous, unsure I was doing it correctly and always worried about whether my babies were getting enough food. Because of the pressure I felt from doctors, nurses, family, and myself—basically, everyone—I did it for a while with both of my children until, one day, I didn’t.
Whether you have little ones running rampant, or teenagers getting social all on their own—most moms will tell you that their household is running a busy schedule. Between carpooling and household duties, combined with working outside the home, or the never-ending battle that is being a stay-at-home-mom—coordinating a family’s activities is something that many women are balancing very, very carefully. It’s easy to forget to enjoy the journey, there’s often not enough time, but there are some easy ways to avoid succumbing to the ongoing state of ‘being busy’ and find your inner calm. Here are five simple ways to help bring the joy back to the chaos.
It happens at some point for every mom and it was happening for me today, one and a half months before he would turn the big oh-two: the first trip away from my baby.
I’m a journalist and editor, so it’s been easy to find reasons to work from home over the past few years, scrambling to squeeze every workable second out of naps, evenings, and weekends—but when a press trip came up for Ann Arbor and my first choice writer couldn’t make the dates, I considered whether it was perhaps time to get back into the game and go myself—a mom’s getaway.
I am positively giddy!!! Many readers know that I trained as an actor, singer and dancer before falling into my current career. I can sing most songs from most Broadway shows, and have studied choreography from Jerome Robbins by watching films and live performances over and over again until I memorized the moves.
Even before ‘Frozen’ fame, Idina Menzel was an extreme girl-crush of mine. And Julie Andrews? I can’t even bear to sing along to the Sound of Music because I may drown out her beautiful voice. Think of it: Musical Theatre on Netflix. The streaming company has announced that Ms. Andrews will star in ‘Julie’s Greenroom‘, a new preschool show from The Jim Henson Company that features an all-new puppet cast of kids learning about the performing arts. The series will be available exclusively to Netflix members globally in early 2017.
Anyone else’s roses in bloom? It’s spring, and as days get longer we experience the perfect time for al fresco meals—and that idea needn’t just extend to grand family dinners where your kids must exhibit perfect manners. Family dinners have actually always been slightly intimidating to me, and I’ve always slinked away from the judgmental moms who ask with disdain why we are at the park eating takeout and NOT HAVING A FAMILY DINNER at the table. So, if dinners are difficult, you can imagine how breakfast suffers.
Stay-at-home mothers are lucky. We get to be with our babies full-time and witness all of the coveted milestones that make parenthood so special in those early days. We have unlimited time to spend with these tiny creatures who hold our hearts so tightly, and we are free from the guilt and anguish that so many mothers feel for sending their little ones to daycare. We don’t have to put on a suit and drag our tired asses to an office, tearfully kissing our little ones goodbye. And we don’t answer to anyone but our own children, who, in reality, are the worst bosses anyone could ever have. As temping as it is, we must not fall prey to the idea that staying at home with children is a leisurely endeavour—it is work, and yet, somehow, this job that nobody really considers a job, has been placed on the bottom of the totem pole. Yes, we are lucky, but this shit is hard and asking for support shouldn’t be anything to be ashamed of.
But, it is.
There’s a lot of unhappy going on out there. Buzz words that conjure the worst viral stories and make our hearts drop into the pits of our stomachs. Words that lose all authentic meaning in the moment and become emblems of pure emotion, driving parents to despair. A once normal word like ‘gorilla’ triggers conflicting feelings of anger and hopelessness. Add ‘anti-vax’, ‘forward-facing’, and ‘breastfed‘ to the list and you’re sunk; it’s evolving and eternal. And it’s also true—these things do happen and they’re awful, but reading about them on Facebook every day doesn’t empower us, it drowns us. Sure we’re drawn to the heavy, but shouldn’t we also celebrate the light? 100 happy days was my shift in focus, my commitment to happy—and it can be yours too.
I know every word to the theme song for Paw Patrol. I can recite Goodnight Moon forwards, backwards, upside down, and inebriated. I spend the majority of my days creating with play dough, kicking balls, singing nursery rhymes, and playing make believe games with plastic toys. There are a myriad of reasons behind my participation in all of these activities, the most important being that they interest my children. I repeat. They interest my children. When the sun goes down and the babies are tucked in to bed, you will not find me re-reading Goodnight Moon for the kajillionth time. As it turns out, I have a few interests of my own and none of them involve pups who save the day.
As your child gets older and more independent, the summer break takes on a whole different vibe. Your now-teenager has successfully navigated middle school, some of high school, and possibly even completed Drivers’ Ed (eek!) At this point, they’re likely pretty entrenched in their daily routine: getting to class, completing assignments, attending practice, and (hopefully) doing their chores. And then summer arrives and it all falls apart. Your once busy teenager suddenly has hours and hours of time to play with and no direction creating a situation that can quickly escalate out of moms control—so here are some summer tips for moms with teens to help nip it in the bud right from the start.
“Here should be a picture of my favorite apple.
It is also a nude & bottle.
It is also a landscape.
There are no such things as still lifes.” ~ Erica Jong
Dear Mr. Whitten,
You probably had no idea.