The S-Word

What if I’m too selfish to do it all?

Am I too selfish?

This is my constant fear as a mom, friend, and spouse.

Even before having children, I always worried that I couldn’t be selfless enough to be a good mom.

After making it through the round-the-clock-nursing, what-the-hell-am-I-doing, sleep-deprived newborn days, I know that I am capable of putting my son’s needs before my own. It may be incredibly hard to do some days, but for this tiny human who depends completely upon me – I’ll do it.

For other people… not always. Continue reading “The S-Word”

Breast is best, but formula is fabulous

Breastfeeding bumming you out? Formula might be the solution!

“Breast is best.” (Yes, we knoooow!) There is so much information out there about the benefits of breastfeeding, and every first-time mother I’ve met intends or intended to breastfeed exclusively in order to give her baby the “best.” But what happens when the best isn’t an option, or when what’s best for baby isn’t best for mom?

We are so fortunate to live in a time and place that offers an alternative: formula. Because we also have access to clean water (in this country), formula is perfectly safe for babies, and it can be a lifesaver for those unable to breastfeed. Unfortunately, many moms feel overwhelming guilt and shame when they turn to formula, feeling that they’ve failed their babies by being unable or unwilling to continue breastfeeding. No woman should have to feel this way, and as a former breast-feeder, former exclusive-pumper, and current formula feeder, I want to share the awesome benefits of formula feeding for any moms who may need or want to use formula.  Continue reading “Breast is best, but formula is fabulous”

The Feminist Homemaker

Can you be a feminist and a stay-at-home mom at the same time?

I am a stay-at-home mom. I am also a licensed mental health counselor. One of those sentences fills me with pride, the other makes me cringe a bit. Can you guess which is which?

Technically, I should say that I used to be a counselor since I’m no longer seeing clients (unless you count the toy disputes that I mediate between my dog and toddler), but I can’t quite bring myself to use the past tense. It feels like a failure, like I’m surrendering part of my identity or betraying the ideals of feminism if I admit that – for right now – I’m just a stay-at-home mom.

Even now, I compulsively qualify my statements. I set an imaginary time limit (“for right now…”) or minimize the role itself (“just a stay-at-home mom”) so that I don’t risk appearing too content with my choice. Can I call myself a feminist and a modern woman if I’m happy – or even proud – to be a homemaker?  Continue reading “The Feminist Homemaker”

Don’t make these 5 sleep mistakes with your baby

Baby won’t sleep? We may not have any good advice, but we can tell you what NOT to do!

Baby sleep is a lot like the stock market. Sometimes it’s up, sometimes it’s down, sometimes you can help nudge it in the right direction, and sometimes it’s completely out of your control. Sometimes it feels like you’ve hit the jackpot, and sometimes it will RUIN YOUR LIFE.

Sleep is notoriously tricky because so many variables are involved. Your baby may need less sleep than average or be a naturally short napper. She may have tummy issues or reflux which interrupt her sleep. He could simply be at a developmental stage when he is waking more frequently (like a growth spurt, sleep regression, or teething). Her temperament might make it harder for her to self-soothe, or he might be so easily distracted that it’s difficult for him to fall asleep. Basically, you and I could be doing exactly the same routines and achieve very different results, depending on each of our babies.

This is not a “how to get your baby to sleep, guaranteed!” type of article. This is a “holy crap, baby sleep is ridiculously difficult to figure out and here are some mistakes I’ve made so hopefully you can avoid some of these same issues but ultimately good luck because who the hell knows” type of article.  Continue reading “Don’t make these 5 sleep mistakes with your baby”

4 Benefits of raising my child without religion

What I gained from taking religion out of the parenting equation.

Before I wade into a potentially thorny issue, allow me to give you a little context. Religion is a touchy topic, so I’ll try to provide some background so that you can understand where I’m coming from.

I was born into a strong religious tradition (Southern Baptist, to be specific), and you would be hard-pressed to find a family who went to church more frequently than we did. Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday evening, plus various extracurricular activities (visiting people’s homes, mission trips, choir, pageants) – you name it, we did it.

I also hold a degree in Religion from a prestigious Baptist university, so it’s safe to say I know my way around religious topics!  Continue reading “4 Benefits of raising my child without religion”

Toddler Marketing 101

Wondering how to convince your toddler to eat his peas? Check out our handy Toddler Marketing course!

Class, welcome to Toddler Marketing 101. I’m so glad you’ve elected to take this course, and I can say with some confidence that you will find the information we will cover this semester invaluable within the next 10 to 15 years. In fact, I would go so far as to recommend you hold onto your notes. While other marketing positions require someone to actually hire you, Toddler Marketing only requires one night of unfettered passion to become a survival skill more valuable than making fire.

As I’m sure most of you learned in fifth-grade science, the name of the Tyrannosaurus Rex is derived from the Greek words meaning “tyrant” and “lizard” and the Latin word for “king.” While that was probably the same year you learned that Pluto was a planet, this information is actually still correct. Now, a lesser known piece of trivia is the origin of the word toddler. The name is from the Greek word meaning “tiny” and the Latin word meaning “tyrant,” and there has rarely been a more accurate name for anything that roams the earth. Personally, I’d rather meet a hungry T-Rex than a toddler on the warpath.  Continue reading “Toddler Marketing 101”

Should I call the doctor?

Not sure if you should call your child’s doctor for that minor injury or illness? Me neither!

Recently, my 10-month old son dropped a metal mixing bowl on his finger, resulting in a subungual hematoma. That’s fancy speak for a bunch of blood pooling under his fingernail. He was understandably upset, but after several bottles of milk and some baby Tylenol, he finally settled down. My husband and I decided that no medical intervention was necessary (that’s fancy speak for “it’s after hours and I don’t think it’s worth calling the doctor, so let’s put him to bed and hope for the best”). He slept fine and seemed normal when he woke up, so I figured that was that. From my understanding, the only reason to treat a subungual hematoma is if the pressure under the nail becomes very painful, and he didn’t seem bothered by it at all.

However, I had some lingering concerns about long-term damage to his nail since the bowl landed directly on his cuticle, so I found myself headed down the same path I always go down whenever my son has a minor medical concern. Here’s the general thought timeline:  Continue reading “Should I call the doctor?”