To The Mother Reading This – Know That Your Work Is Not Invisible

To the mother reading this – know that
Your work is not invisible

To the mother who makes sure there are clean clothes for everyone to wear
Your work is not invisible

To the mother who sacrifices sleep due to cries, sicknesses, early wake-ups, worry…
Your work is not invisible

To the mother who nurtures her sick baby at home or in a hospital
Your work is not invisible

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To the mother who schedules and takes the kids to get their hair cut
Your work is not invisible

To the mother who buys shoes and clothes that fit for only a short time
Your work is not invisible

To the mother who finds the lost teddy bear underneath the couch
Your work is not invisible

To the mother who sings lullabies, reads stories, and
somehow gets her children to dream
Your work is not invisible

To the mother who kisses and mends more tiny wounds than she can count
Your work is not invisible

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To the mother who pays the bills
Your work is not invisible

To the mother who counts to five and sets expectations
Your work is not invisible

To the mother who gives bubble baths
Your work is not invisible

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To the mother who makes dinner from scratch, orders takeout, or microwaves
Your work is not invisible

To the mother who grabs and sorts the mail
Your work is not invisible

To the mother who changes diapers, potty trains, or wipes pee off a seat
Your work is not invisible

To the mother who attends sports, dance, violin recitals, art shows, award ceremonies, teacher conferences, pediatric appointments…
Your work is not invisible

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To the mother who goes on walks and teaches her kid to look both ways
Your work is not invisible

To the mother who sweeps and mops the floors, changes the sheets, wipes down the tables, cleans the dishes, scrubs the toilets, throws the toys back in the box . . .
Your work is not invisible

To the mother who drives a van without a taxi sign
Your work is not invisible

To the mother who grocery shops in record time while trying to prevent a toddler tantrum
Your work is not invisible

To the mother who makes phone calls, writes thank you notes, organizes visits and Skype calls with relatives. . .
Your work is not invisible

To the mother who somehow exhaustedly makes it to the playground and manages to push a swing
Your work is not invisible

To the mother who advocates
Your work is not invisible

To the mother who loves that beautiful, sweet child . . . Don’t forget to look in front of you

because Your work is visible.

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6 Life Hack Products for the New Baby

When I became a new mom, I learned quickly that you have to come up with some life hacks for the new baby to make it all work. For example, I had no idea that many snaps on baby clothing were so irritating, and I learned that zippers, for me, were the easier way to go. Learning life hacks for the baby was a learning process, and like many moms, I am still learning while I go.

Here are 6 baby hacks that make a new mom’s life easier:

1. Clothes that have feet and zippers:
Like I mentioned above, too many snaps annoy me. When I tried to put my first son in this cute little tiger outfit, I could not believe that there were like twenty snaps. I kept screwing up and could not figure out how those darn snaps worked on the legs. That is why I opted for zippers along the front – so much easier. It took me like five minutes less to get him dressed, and I am all about time saving.

Also, I love the outfits with the feet; this saved me from taking the time to find those itty bitty socks that disappear to another galaxy. I felt like an outfit with a zipper and feet gave me some of my life back, for real.

2. Plant a Bouncer in the bathroom
I never understood until I had children what mothers of young children meant when they said they didn’t have time to shower. For my first maternity leave, I pictured long baths while a baby slept contently in his crib. Ha! Hilarious. Once you leave that baby’s sight, even if he is sleeping, he will start to cry. I don’t know how, but babies know when their mother leaves them.

My fantasy long baths were just that – a fantasy. I found the best way to be able to clean myself was to bring a bouncer in the bathroom and set it up facing the shower. New moms quickly realize that it will be a long time before they shower or pee in privacy.

3. Don’t buy a changing table. Use a blanket on a changing pad.

I never bought a changing table. We used a bureau with a changing pad on top. I also received advice from a lady working at a baby thrift store to not even buy the changing pad covers. “Just use blankets,” she said, “don’t waste your money on the fancy covers, they poop all over them anyway, and blankets are not only cheaper, but they are easier to wash.” I wish I remembered this woman’s name because her advice about poop changed my life – poop, so much poop!

4. Use a click and connect stroller and car seat base
My click and connect stroller from Graco saved me. It was a life hack for my new baby that was key for me when traveling. Both of my boys always fell asleep in the car, and this product allowed me to easily lift the car seat out of the car, click it on my stroller, and be on my way without interrupting their sleep!

I also recommend the base that you strap into your car and then click this car seat into. This base made it so much easier for me when my second was born because I was able to just click the baby in while holding my toddler’s hand – instead of running around my car like a freak.

5. Make the swaddling madness easier by using SwaddleMes
Swaddling is a life hack in itself that quiets babies and helps them sleep. I always admired the nurses who so effortlessly swaddled my sons like perfect burritos, then I tried, and my swaddle resembled more of a piece of lettuce that was falling apart. I would even ask for tutorials, but I could never swaddle as well as those nurses. When I got home, and no nurses were in sight, I needed a baby hack and quick. That is when I discovered SwaddleMes that used velcro, and they were so fool proof that a chimp could use them. Just lay out the SwaddleMes like a blanket, then put your babes on top and velcro. No nurse needed.

6. Quiet your crying baby with the Shhh App
I was a huge fan of the book The Happiest Baby on the Block. In that book, one of the five major ways to quiet a baby was shushing over an over again. Sounds ridiculous – but it works. So I found myself shushing until I could barely breathe during long car rides. That’s why I was psyched to discover the shhh app. Press play, crank up the volume, and it does the shushing for you. This app has saved me valuable breathing time.

These are just some baby hacks that worked for me, and I learned some by accident, some out of desperation, and some from trial and error, because we mother’s find clever ways to make it work.

We want to hear from you. Please comment below about life hacks for your new baby that made your life easier.

Yes, Medically Speaking – You Are of “Advanced Maternal Age” Part 1

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Yes, during my second pregnancy I was what the medical field termed “advanced maternal age.” In other words: an old mom.

For those of you unfamiliar, in medical mommy world, you are considered of “advanced maternal age” when you reach the ripe old age of 35.

Now I was 34 when I got pregnant with my second child, and for three glorious months there was no mention of the above term; apparently, for those few months I was still just a typical mom, but as soon as my 35th birthday rolled around, I received much more than a cake. It was like I went from being an average mom to one who was old – literally overnight.

From then on at every appointment, I was reminded that I was of advanced maternal age.

All of a sudden, more appointments, tests, etc. were being added because of my age. It was almost as if the insurance wouldn’t cover anything extra until I hit this magical number, and once I hit 35, the extra appointments and tests were insane.

When I asked why I was receiving all of this sudden attention, the standard response was always – you are of advanced maternal age.

At least this is better than the older term (pun intended) “geriatric pregnancy”. That term makes me picture an elderly lady nursing who has a cane.

Now I understand that there are some risks when you become a mother later in life. And I feel that some of these tests were certainly necessary, but I also feel that they became a bit overly excessive at the end of my pregnancy.

I also admit that the constant reminders that I was of advanced maternal age made me irritable, and I still do not see the need to constantly throw around this semi-derogatory term. 

Additionally, I think that there are more factors to consider than just a woman’s age when it comes to pregnancy. I had a healthy first pregnancy, and every test during my second pregnancy I passed with flying colors.

There were no risks identified throughout; yet even up until the birth of my second child, I was barraged with extra appointments, tests, etc., and in spite of having insurance, I encountered numerous extra charges, and I could not help but wonder if it was all absolutely necessary.

So I did some digging, and it turns out that there are a lot of different takes on the subject.

I first stumbled upon these details on Evidence Based Birth.

It refers to previous studies that show having a baby with down syndrome at term increases from 1 in 939 at age 30, to 1 in 353 by age 35, and 1 in 85 by age 40.

Studies also found an increase in miscarriages in mothers who were 35 and older, but interestingly this number was not a significant increase from ages 30-35. At age 30 there is an 18% rate, and at 35, there is a 20% risk. At age 40, this doubles to a 40% rate.

Researchers point to the fact that most of these studies lump five years of women’s ages together.

So a 39-year-old-women’s risk factors were averaged with a 35-year-old-women’s risk factors. This is one reason why some experts are saying that not all advanced maternal pregnancies should be labeled as high risk and more factors should be considered than just age.

Science News explores this concept further in the article, “A Mother’s Age Doesn’t Matter, Studies Suggest.”

Laura Kenny, a mother who was labeled as a mother of advanced maternal age with her second pregnancy and also a writer for Self, experienced many of the same feelings I did and delved into the research too.

In her article, “Is Having a Baby Over 35 Really as Risky as We Thought?”, she stated this quote by Doctor Sarah K. Kilapatrick: “Age by itself should not be major criteria for a high-risk pregnancy. It’s really age plus whatever else is going on with that woman.”

After a little digging and reflection, my personal verdict is that some tests and screenings early on for pregnant women 35 and older can help identify risks and set up these women for healthier pregnancies, so I tend to be grateful for the extra care and attention I received during the first half of my pregnancy.

However, after numerous tests, and being deemed fine over and over again, I am still confused about the excessive appointments and tests towards the end of my pregnancy. For example, the non-stress test, which only resulted in extra stress that I didn’t need.

I will delve into this and more next week in Part 2 of Yes, Medically Speaking I am of “Advanced Maternal Age.”

Suggested Further Reading

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

What to Expect Before You’re Expecting: The Complete Guide to Getting Pregnant

Recommended Product:

The Velociraptor of Guilt Shows Its Head Again During Maternity Leave

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I have a difficult time relaxing.

Ever since I was a child, I had to be constantly doing something mental or physical. I have numerous memories of being on vacation with my parents, and they just wanted to take a justifiable breath and relax, but I always had other plans.

“What are we doing today? I’m bored. Let’s go!”
I was so so that kid.

My parents figured out how to keep me entertained with books, crafts, and an uncanny obsession with 3-2-1 Contact and The Wizard of Oz, but as a parent now, I can only imagine how much of an annoying little kid I must have been: intuitive or not.

I would have driven my own adult self – crazy.

This preface relates to my situation right now. For the last two months leading up to my second son’s birth, I was basically working double time as a teacher while writing approximately 12,000 words a week.

I felt that I had to do this in order to save for a month of maternity leave and because I was about to stop teaching to write and stay home with my two children.

Anyhow, I successfully was able to save for a month of maternity leave while also convincing my writing clients to give me this break and making sure I had more than enough ongoing work to help pay the bills after a month of leave.

It should be known that I worked my tail off to make this all possible, and it took tremendous determination, organization, and discipline to pull it all off.

Although it really shouldn’t be anyone’s business how I made it justifiably happen, I still find myself constantly feeling the need to defend myself even when people who genuinely know me know that I am intelligent and analytical when making life-changing decisions, and outsiders have no idea about the full context of my situation.

But again, I digress.

The point is that I am currently on a month leave, and just like that little redheaded girl on vacation, I am having a difficult time relaxing. I have felt tempted to write thousands of words again, and even though I have more than enough work for when my month ends, I find myself scouring Upwork for more writing jobs.

It is almost like I have an addiction to the challenge of obtaining them.

Many people in my life have told me that I need to learn to relax. My husband (also my complete balancing opposite) tells me to chill quite frequently. I apparently have issues with “chilling”.

Although I know how incredibly important it is to bond and relax with my newborn son, and although I am more than aware that I earned this time, I still feel like a restless little kid, and I also feel guilty.

Yes, the guilt always manages to shine through and peep its ugly velociraptor head through the door.

The funny thing is that I see a lot less of this velociraptor lately.

I used to see him everywhere: creeping in the shower, on my morning commutes, on my computer, etc.

He used to be all around, but I do feel I have somewhat tamed the beast, even though he is still there, drooling with his sharp fangs – beckoning me to come closer.

The truth is that although my children are my world, It’s hard being a mom in today’s world.

You are damned if you work and damned if you don’t and damned if you compromise.

You are damned if you breastfeed or use formula.

You are damned if you go a mile a minute or move at a slower pace.

Everyone seems to be an “expert” and everywhere you look you seem to be damned.

The question I ask myself now is how come I feel so damned after I found a way to take care of me?

Here lies the problem.

Part of this is my own fault. I am still that restless little kid who always needs something to do, but the unrealistic societal expectations are also contributors.

Why is it that so many women feel that whatever they choose, they just can’t win?

I, for one, don’t get it.

Here is my take: Do what works for you and your family. After all, you know yourself and them best.

As long as you are doing your best, loving yourself and your family, and causing no pain, who am I to judge?

Even I have had to accept that there is more than one right way to raise a child.

So today I am going to send my two-year-old to daycare (we have in him there for another month), and I am going to lie on the couch, kick my feet up, and put my newborn on my chest, and I am going to binge watch Girl Boss on Netflix.

I do not care to hear any opinions on this decision, and when the snarling velociraptor peers at me from my living room corner, I am going to chuck a rattle at him and watch as he temporarily disappears for a couple of hours.

I am going to force myself to relax until the urge to do the laundry, clean the kitchen, and search for more writing jobs takes over again.

Further Suggested Reading

Maternity Leave: A Novel

The Wise Mama Guide to Maternity Leave: Avoid Burnout, “Bad Mom Syndrome,” and Other Common Pitfalls of Motherhood

 Leave Guilt (thisbrightonmum.com)

 

Second Birth: More Like Being Plowed with a Bike Instead of a Mack Truck

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It’s now been nine days since I gave birth to my second son, Liam. Although it has not been long, my experience so far has been much different than I anticipated.

For one, I was terrified how my older son would react to Liam, as explained in my last post. I feared my older son, Parker, would have major freak outs, meltdowns, and jealous tantrums, but I have lucked out so far, and Parker has been more of a helper, fetching blankets and diapers and making me more than aware when the baby cries for even two seconds. He also kisses Liam’s head and pats his back to burp him.

I feel like I lucked out, but yes, there are also moments when Parker wants me to hold him while I am nursing Liam: this, of course, is an impossible feat. Sometimes Parker also tells me to put Liam in the Rock ‘n Play so he can play with me, and he gives me the lip curl of sadness if I do not abide.

These moments do tug at my heartstrings because although Parker is adjusting much better than I could have anticipated, he is still adjusting. And even though he undoubtedly cares deeply for this new little human in the family, he also is dealing with a loss of the way life once was. So yes, I feel lucky that Parker seems to be excited about his new baby brother, but I also know that there are a lot of emotions that he probably doesn’t understand about the whole situation.

I also want to mention that Parker doesn’t quite understand that he can’t pick up the baby on his own. He needs to be constantly supervised around Liam or else he tries to feed him pizza, offer him his toy cars, or give him a pillow (I no longer turn my back for even 10 seconds). None of these behaviors are malicious, in fact, they are actually endearing, for Parker doesn’t understand that the last things Liam needs right now are a slice of pizza and a pillow. 

But overall, I am blessed and incredibly fortunate for my little family. This time around I feel more rested, less anxiety, and more of a sense of calmness than I did the first time around. I was not expecting this.

I was a train wreck after Parker was born. This was not his fault; I just had no idea what I was getting into after the birth of my first child. Everything was new, uncertain, and somewhat terrifying. I mean I used to sometimes poke the poor kid in the middle of the night just to make sure he was breathing; I do not do this with Liam. I am just more relaxed, and my demeanor is more peaceful (for now).

Don’t get me wrong, I am tired, and my first outing with a newborn and toddler in the car (outnumbering me) was a bit terrifying, but I have a tendency to always prepare myself for the worst, and so far, I am grateful that I actually do not feel like I have been hit by a Mack Truck and spewed out onto the highway. 

I just feel like I have been plowed over by a bike, and this I can deal with, but I am also well aware that variables rarely stay constant with parenting, so check-in with me again next week.

Further Suggested Reading

SECOND LABOR: Mothers Share POST-Birth Stories: Twenty-Four Mothers Write Bold, Honest Accounts About Life with a Newborn 

The Second Baby Survival Guide

Why Having Babies Close Together is not as Hard as You Think

Dear Liam: A Letter to My Unborn Son

Dear Liam,

I am not going to lie to you son,
the world is in rough shape
and there are many conflicts that I cannot explain or fathom. I would like to be able to say that I will shield you from all the indecencies of it all, but truth has always been a constant of my nature.

I would like to say I could melt away all the injustices, but again, deception is not the answer.

However, my dearest unborn son,

I can tell you this: Although darkness resonates, there are still glorious patches of sunlight that we must explore. It will be up to you to seek that light and revel in its beauty, for you must never forget that it does exist.

I only hope that you learn to find the rays amid the mist
and faith within the blackened sea.

I can only expose you to people who love, tolerate, encourage and believe in those tracts of hope that you will walk upon.

I can only show you peaceful rivers, majestic mountains, fields of sunflowers, and calm skies as reminders that beauty does, indeed, prevail.

I can only teach you to be kind, respectful, empathetic, and faithful.

I can only do my best to magnify the good. To relish the importance of a handshake, a shared meal, a quest towards peace, a stranger’s act of charity.

I can only hold your hand and guide you to the rays of a sunrise—where we will someday sit and gaze at the overwhelming beauty of it all, and I will be reassured as sprinkles of light dance among your forehead.

Suggested Reading:

Dear Child: Letters to My Unborn Child Journals for the Soul

A Letter to My Unborn Son: Here’s What I Promise You by Laura Marie Meyers

I Surrender: How A Mother’s Second Pregnancy Taught Her To Relax a Little With Her First Born

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It was seven months into my second pregnancy when I chose moments to surrender.

It occurred one evening when I was feeling quite ill, achy, irritated, and hormonal.

My second pregnancy had been much more difficult than my first, and although it was healthy and could have been much worst, running after my two-year-old while pregnant was something I still do not have a proper comparison for, but I will try:

A marshmallow man trying to put out fires for hours on end, a penguin chasing a gazelle, a blob of slime being asked to transform into an energetic princess. .. okay, you get the idea.

I was always on my son. If he was throwing blocks, I told him to stop, if he was drawing on his hands, I redirected him, if he was emptying his toy box, I was right behind him telling him to clean up.

I was on it: always.

And then this one evening my son climbed up on his chair and began throwing Christmas cards on the floor.

I had just finally lain down on the couch and getting up was becoming quite a chore.

I looked at him and was about to get up to stop him; but instead, I didn’t.

I didn’t say one word. I didn’t attempt to interject. I just lay there…motionless and ignored him.

You heard me right. This was a moment, keyword: moment–when I chose to surrender.

He wasn’t in danger, he wasn’t hurting anyone, and I didn’t think he would turn into an evil being because I didn’t stop him from throwing cards on the floor.

In fact, he got bored once he noticed I wasn’t paying attention to him and switched gears to build a tower.

And then the next day, when he was outside playing, I let him step into his wet sandbox—shoes on and all.

I didn’t run to stop him. I didn’t yell at him. Again, I had a moment of surrender.

He eventually realized the shoes were uncomfortable and requested to go inside and change them.

Now I chose these moments carefully, and mind you, that in those two days there were probably hundreds of moments when I did interject.

It wasn’t like I was letting my kid flail around knives, tip over candles, or eat lightbulbs (all of which I have prevented in the past), but I did let him throw cards and get his shoes wet.

I had a couple moments of surrender, and I feel that this is okay.

Now I know that some may disagree with me. I can hear the comments now, but most probably relate.

I needed a few moments of surrender–now and then–to preserve my sanity.

Like many pregnant mothers with toddlers, I was exhausted, guilt-stricken, and achy.

I was lacking the mobility, patience, and energy that I had before.

Because of this, I admit, I loosened up a bit.

Now I don’t want you thinking that I just let my kid run haywire. Not at all.

I just let go of the idea of perfection.

I let go of being able to correct every little thing.

I began to give my firstborn a little more space.

And instead of viewing this as negative, I viewed the positivity in allowing moments of surrender.

Being pregnant while chasing after my toddler provided me the realization that my firstborn was going to have to figure some stuff out for himself.

I knew that once my second child arrived, there was no way I would be able to be on my first born like I had been for the last two-and-a-half years.

So sometimes when my son was clawing at me and demanding apple juice after I just gave him a full cup of milk, I would tell him, “Sorry, little man, not right now. Mommy needs a little downtime. Now would be a good time for you play with your trains. Give mommy fifteen minutes.”

Sometimes this amount of time was not possible and if my son somehow found the superglue that I did not even know existed, obviously my time was cut short, but after trying this a few times, he soon got the idea, and I ended up getting less peanut butter handprints on my shirt and more time on the couch.

Being pregnant while chasing a toddler also made me realize that daddy needed to step up more. I couldn’t swing my toddler around like I used to, I couldn’t run after him like I used to, and I knew I needed to get some rest before baby #2 arrived.

This is why my husband needed to take on more responsibilities. Two months before my due date, my husband became responsible for all of my son’s wakeups. My toddler was going through a nightmare stage, and I had always been the one who took care of the majority of these nighttime wakes.

I knew from previous experience, that once the new baby arrived, I would be taking care of all of the nighttime wakings for a newborn. This was due to a lot of breastfeeding and the fact that I tend to wake up anyway when I hear a newborn whimper.

So I knew that in a short matter of time, there would be no way I was going to wake up with both of them. Daddy should start preparing now–and he did. 

Daddy also received a little less time in the garage and was responsible for more meals. He even took on some laundry. These changes needed to be implemented before the new baby came home, and these changes made a world of difference.

Still, there were a few moments of surrender that had not happened before I was pregnant, but again, these moments were okay.

As you can see from above, these moments of surrender resulted in a few epiphanies and a lot of good.

So the next time you have a moment of surrender, I want you to not beat yourself up. I want you to know that you are amazing. I want you to know that you need a breather every once in a while, and as long as your child is safe and doing no harm, now and then, it’s okay to sit back and let him throw a few cards on the floor. . .

just try to make sure that he picks them up later.

Suggested further reading:

Check out another blog I wrote for peacequarters.com called Why I Was Fearfully Uncertain to Give Birth to my Second Child.

Twice Blessed: Everything You Need To Know About Having A Second Child– Preparing Yourself, Your Marriage, And Your Firstborn For A New Family Of Four by Joan Leonard

The Second Baby Survival Guide: How to stay calm and enjoy life with a new baby and a toddler by Naia Edwards

Did You Really Just Say That? 8 Crazy Questions and Comments that I have Encountered while being Pregnant

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When I became pregnant with my first child, I was not prepared for the unsolicited advice, inappropriate comments, and awkward questions that I would receive.

I had no idea that being pregnant would cause some people to think that my sexuality, body, and personal convictions were up for discussion, even with strangers.

I admit, it caught me totally off guard. It seems that everyone has an opinion: my closest friends, neighbors, strangers in the grocery line, etc.

It is a topic that I now know is quite common but at the time when I was pregnant with my first child, it was a startling learning experience.

Now I am pregnant with my second child and nothing seems to surprise me. Still, I feel that others should be cognizant of the comments and questions they ask pregnant women.

After all, I am fully aware that a lot of this unsolicited advice and curiosity comes from a very innocent place, but I also feel that there needs to more tact and consideration.

That is why I feel that it is important to share my story so that maybe others can learn and be thoughtful when you see that next pregnant lady in the grocery line.

These are the top crazy questions and comments that I have encountered while being pregnant:

1. Well, if you are having a girl, don’t feel like you have to get an abortion.

I am going to start off with the craziest, most inappropriate comment I ever received while being pregnant. It took place in a thrift shop when I was perusing baby clothes.

This random lady came up to me and looked at the cute little pair of newborn blue jeans I was holding, as well as my ever-expanding belly, and asked, “What are you having?”

“I am not sure yet,” I responded.

“Well, if you are having a girl, don’t feel like you have to get an abortion.”

My mouth dropped.

“So many people get an abortion nowadays because it’s a girl, and in other countries…”

This is when I stopped listening. No expansion needed.

2. Was it planned?

This next question was quite common, but it still took me by surprise. The main reason it annoyed me was because even though our baby had been planned, what if the opposite had been true?

Would I answer nope, not planned at all? It also seemed a bit more personal than I felt comfortable with.

Or what if I answered, “Yes, it was planned, we got it on for months before it happened.” I am well aware of the attitude in this last phrase, but the was it planned question got to me.

I guess I just didn’t feel that that information should be important to others. What was important is that we were having a baby.

The future was what I wanted to focus on.

My standard answer to this question ended up being, “We are very excited for this baby.” And then I would change the subject.

So many times I did want to be a wise ass and say comments like the following: “Oh, you are supposed to plan these things? Or, “Yes, and it was fantastic!

Here are some more hilarious responses to that question from a BabyCenter blog by Katherine Martin.

I wish I said them all.

3. You are drinking a Coffee!

This is another comment that did not come from an evil place.

It has been important for me to recognize that a lot of people say inappropriate comments because they actually care about you.

Still, I encountered freak outs when having my one latte for the day.

You’re going to end up with a caffeine-induced baby.” Or, “What are you thinking? That is so bad for the baby!”

You get the picture.

My response was always something to the effect,”The baby is doing great, thank you. My doctor said that actually, a couple cups of coffee a day is fine, but thanks for your concern.”

Moving on.

4. Are you really sure there is only one in there?

This is usually said in a humorous way, but it is still irritating. Yes, I am getting fat; I am pregnant.

No, it does not mean that I am octomom; it just means that my body made space for a watermelon that was not there before.

How about rephrasing this question to a compliment, “You look vibrant today.” That’s a comment that would have been welcomed as I waddled to the checkout line.

5. You need to gain more weight!

On the opposite end, I also received this comment: You need to gain more weight!

I did not know everyone was a doctor.

I was told many times that I needed to eat more, I was not big enough, etc. Now, this is different than the comment, “You do not look (insert amount of months) pregnant.”

This did not bother me but telling me that I had to gain weight was an entirely different story.

My response to this one was “At my recent appointment, my doctor said I was measuring perfectly.”

I have learned that people seem to respond quite well when you quote doctors.

6. How long did you try to get pregnant?

Again, personal. We are talking about sex here, and it’s one thing for my dearest girlfriends to ask this question, but another for a random stranger.

Yes, strangers asked me this question. . . a couple times.

I do not feel like having small talk about how often my husband and I tried to conceive.

Next topic, please.

7. You’ll never sleep again.

Again, this is usually said with the best of intentions, but it drove me nuts!

I am having insomnia every night, I wake up to pee every hour, and my bowling ball of a stomach is making it difficult to even sleep comfortably on my side.

I do not need to hear that it gets worst.

Now truth be told, it does, but I didn’t need to hear that at the time.

How about asking, “How are you feeling? Have you been getting any rest?”

I would have appreciated these questions.

8. You are planning on a natural childbirth, that is not going to happen honey.

This comment also caught me off guard. My goal was to have a natural childbirth for personal reasons that should not matter to anyone else.

But when some people found out that was what I was planning, the responses were anything from scowls to flat out telling me that it wasn’t going to happen.

A woman who has chosen to try to have a natural childbirth needs encouragement. She needs others to believe in her. She needs support.

She does not need the opposite.

Yes, a natural birth is difficult. . . VERY DIFFICULT. But it is possible, and support is key. After all, our species did survive for centuries before epidurals, and just like the decision to use medication during childbirth, a natural approach is a personal choice.

It’s important that I reiterate that I know a lot of these comments and questions were not malicious in nature. In fact, quite the contrary, but I do feel that all of us need to have a little more self-awareness when speaking to a pregnant woman.

This goes for me as well. Before I became pregnant, I am sure I probably said at least a couple of these comments and questions.

But being the receiver changes things, and I also recognize that a pregnant woman’s hormones can sometimes make already sensitive topics even more so.

I think it’s important to really think about the comment you are making and the question you are asking.

Does it feel inappropriate?

Would you ask a person this who was not pregnant?

Is this question too personal?

Would I feel comfortable responding to this comment or question?

These are the questions we should be asking ourselves before pouncing on that pregnant lady who really just wants her one latte, some ice cream, a good night’s sleep, and your support.

Suggestions for further reading:

Pregnancy is not an Invitation to Comment on My Body by Jessica N. Turner

8 Compliments Every Pregnant Woman Wants to Hear by Devan McGuinness

Here’s to All the Mothers Out There

mother-429158_960_720Here’s to all the mothers out there
Who do their best each day
Who stay at home, who go to work, who meditate, who pray.

Here’s to all the mothers out there
Who with the sun do rise
Who watch TV, who read books, who sing constant lullabies.

Here’s to all the mothers out there
Who do what works for them
Who co-sleep, don’t sleep, or enjoy a crib.

Here’s to all the mothers out there who nourish how they decide
Who use a bottle who use a boob,
Who take each for a ride.

Here’s to all the mothers out there
Who deal with a shrieking cry

Who wait a bit, who jump right in, who pause a moment and sigh.

Here’s to all the mothers out there
Who compare themselves to others
Who look in on friends, relatives,
and especially their own mothers.

Here’s to all the mothers out there
Who have just had a rough day
Who took it out on the ones they love, who let it sink in and stay.

Here’s to all the mothers out there
Who reevaluate the concept of time
Who now treasure it so dearly, who pack away the rhymes.

Here’s to all the mothers who
Will do whatever they can
To make sure that little baby
Grows up into a decent woman or a man

Here’s to all the mothers out there who know that they are all different too
Who recognize, that despite these differences,
They still have
The right to choose.

But, you see, there is another great lesson that motherhood has taught me,
And I will take with me above

We all have one universal truth in common
and that, of course, is
love.

Suggested Further Reading:

Brave New Mama by Vicki Revard

 

 

Hey You!

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Hey you
with the crescent moon circles under your eyes,

Hey you
With the peanut butter fingerprints on your business shirt,

Hey you
With the safe arms and nurturing smile,

Hey you
With that inner perception of weakness
That is radiated
Through unrealistic expectations of perfection,

Hey you
who despite doing your best,
Giving it all, and caring so passionately feels like she just can’t win.

Hey you
Who analyzes major decisions like you are prepping for surgery

Hey you
Who finally takes a stand
And realizes the time for change
Who rationalizes what needs to be done like a complex equation

Hey you
Who only knows how possible
a declaration may be
Due to so many changes in circumstances
and variables
Yet the outside world is unaware

Hey you
Who makes a choice
That is the best choice for you
Who knows herself and situation
Better than any outsider
Peering through an icy window

Hey you—
Yeah, you right there:

Remember this on your way to work
Or on your way to the playground
Or on your way to a conference
Or on your way to the pediatrician
Or on your way to a soccer game
Or on your way to your bed
Or on the way to the hospital
Or on your way to cook
Or on your way to fast food
Or on your way to the grocery store
Or on your way to a recital
Or on the way to your boss’s office
Or on the way to your playgroup
Or on the way to your daycare
Or on the way home

Just know, my strong, resilient, imperfect soul,
That you are worthy
You are beautiful
You are loved
You are spectacular
You are important
You are good
You are intelligent
You are admired
You are real
You belong

You.       Are.          Justified.

 

Suggested Further Reading:

Strong As a Mother: How to Stay Healthy, Happy (and Most Importantly) Sane…

A Poem to a Mother by Pamela MacDonald

Writing for Myself: My Latest Articles Accepted by Medium Publications

 

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I’ve been making an effort to find time to write outside of freelancing. I love working with so many excellent companies, but I also know the value of writing for myself.

Yes, it’s hard to find the time, but I try to submit articles to quality Medium publications once in a while. I’m so excited about my last two works. What If I just Stopped? was recently published in Writer Mom. It explores the question many mothers have probably asked themselves. I tackle this topic in a humorous but rational way, and I’m so excited to be added as a writer to the Writer Mom publication.

The other article was for MAQTOOB for Entrepreneurs. I wrote an article called The Best Technology Tools for the Freelancing Mama. This article not only offers valuable insights for freelancers but can benefit any writer, including students.

It’s funny how these articles I wrote during my “free time” both allude to freelancing and motherhood. But this is my life.

If you enjoy the articles, follow me on Medium and maybe leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

What If I Just Stopped? Published in Writer Mom

The Best Technology Tools for A Freelancing Mama Published in MAQTOOB For Entrepreneurs

A Freelancing Mom Writes for Atlas Mission

What if you could download an app that did some good in the world? That’s the way I feel about Atlas Mission. This educational app helps young kids read and understand other cultures.

I write listicles for this company on educational topics for young kids. It’s awesome because I use my own personal experiences with my two boys, and this gig encourages me to keep exploring educational activities with my little munchkins. The company also donates tablets to third-world countries!

Check out three of my posts for them here.

6 Awesome Kindergarten Science Experiments for Your Little Genius

9 Outdoor Social Studies Activites for Your Little Dirt Monster

8 Exciting Preschool Writing Games that Are Technology Free

 

How Can it Be? Our Boy is Three!

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How can it be? Our boy is three.
Wasn’t it yesterday when he was kicking inside me?

Now this rascal is faster than light
And he talks and talks with all of his might
Did I mention that he goes, goes, goes from morning until night?

He loves balloons, fruit, and trains
He enjoys his books; this kid’s got brains

Of course, I’m biased for he is mine
And he cracks me up; we have a fun time

He points out directions when we go on our walks
And he’s three so he talks and talks and talks … and talks

And sometimes his ceaseless exploring makes my hair frizzy
But I wouldn’t want him any less busy

Because right now he’s always learning
And knowing the world is his yearning

His energy is to be expected – not bad
He certainly is an inquisitive lad

Let’s highlight the fact that this boy’s got wheels
I try to catch him but breathe hard at his heels

He flashes this grin that’s the cutest of all,
And he continues to get up after countless falls

He runs me ragged, but that’s the way it’s supposed to be
He’s a stellar boy, and today he’s three!
 
He looks out for his brother and rubs that baby’s head
He rests on my arm when it’s time for bed

He always cuddles and whispers, “I love you so,”
This is something he still wants us to know
He truly is a sensitive soul

Continue to prosper
Continue to dream
Continue to entertain at the scene

Continue to question
Continue to grow
And always, always, always know
how your daddy and I love you so

Keep moving forward and looking up towards the sky
Keep holding out your arms to fly

Keep exploring the world and being just you
I can’t believe that you’re no longer two!

It’s crazy how the time just flew
You’re terrific sweet son – happy birthday to you!

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Freelancing about Breastfeeding: Two Journeys that Complement Each Other

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What do freelancing and breastfeeding have in common? They both emphasize the journey.

As I began to develop a writing style and work my way up the ladder, I found that I could pick clients that had positive messages and mindsets similar to my own.

I no longer needed to write about period panties (we all have to start somewhere) or for clients who hit the publish button way too soon.

I had options. I had stories to tell. I had a vision that could coincide with the companies that provided my income.

I am fortunate to write breastfeeding blogs for Bonita Bluum. This company sells elegant white nursing covers and runs a blog that respects mothers at any stage of their breastfeeding journey. They also respect a mother’s choice in regards to her situation.

I love how this company aims to educate others about breastfeeding in a non-judgemental way and respects all mothers choices on how to feed their babes.

It’s a supportive breastfeeding blog. And I think it does a great job of offering varying perspectives and advice for all mothers regardless of your situation.

I have written some funny listicles such as 5 Breastfeeding Tips for the Working Mom and 5 Breastfeeding Tips for the New Mom that you should check out at Bonita Bluum.

 

 

Activity: Children’s Styrofoam Tool Bench

This guest post was contributed by Education.com

What do large appliances and golf tees have in common? A lot, if you’re trying to create a safe space for your little tool-inclined construction worker.

Kids love to pound and smash just about anything, and that includes your favorite items around the house.

Have you ever noticed how a young boy can make a hammer out of anything? Give him a stick, he’ll turn it into a hammer. Give him a wooden spoon, and he’s hammering away on your wall.

So here’s a fun idea to let him go crazy with his hammering ways without destroying your house!

The next time you order something large from an appliance store, and you’ve got a big piece of Styrofoam lying around, don’t throw it out.

Gather up some old golf tees and a toy hammer and you’ve got a great activity that will keep him pounding away!

For more fun and engaging activities to develop your child’s fine motor skills, go to Education.com!

What You Need:

  • Large chunk of Styrofoam
  • Golf tees
  • Hammer (preferably the kind for kids)
  • Table surface

What You Do:

  1. Take a large chunk of Styrofoam and place it on a surface low enough for your child to reach comfortably. (The floor would probably work best for this activity.)
  2. Give your child a cup of old golf tees and let him practice placing them into the Styrofoam with one hand, his hammer in the other. It may take him awhile to get the hang of pounding something so small into something so big, without banging his fingers!
  3. The best thing is this activity is relatively quiet (the Styrofoam doesn’t make much noise) and it actually helps your child build up his fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. When he gets tired of golf tees, look around the house for items that can be hammered into the Styrofoam. Try chopsticks, pencils or even old crayons.
  4. The risk with Styrofoam is that there is always the potential for a mess, so make sure your chunk of Styrofoam is solid enough that it won’t break into a million pieces.
  5. When he’s done, he’ll have made a masterpiece sculpture to boot!

Starting Out: A Freelancing Mom Revisits One of Her First Posts and Clients

freeAs a freelancing mom, I am grateful to a lot of companies that have made this venture possible.

As a thank you, I am going to be posting links to some of my freelancing articles that relate to lovemommynow.

I want first to introduce an article that I wrote for Endanzoo; this company was a  beginning freelancing mom’s dream gig.

A few companies, like Endanzoo, provided me with the experience I needed to make my freelancing mommy life possible.

In addition to paying me, they sent me some of their organic baby clothes. My son absolutely loves his comfy, green shirt with an artsy cartoon rhino on it.

I love Endanzoo because 10% of their proceeds aid endangered species, and their clothes are great educational conversation starters for kids about how we are part of a much bigger picture.

Endanzoo was the first about us page I ever wrote as a freelancing mom. They gave me a story, and I built on it. The company’s history about a toddler at the zoo resonated with me.

I also wrote this article: How I plan to Teach My Children About Wildlife Conservation.

I still stand by its powerful message. Check it out. Thanks, Endanzoo!

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