Coming Back to a Blog

I don’t normally follow craft or fashion blogs, but something about Wanna Be Sewing Something caught my eye.  I read Najah’s post, How to Return to Blogging with a Vengeance, several times before commenting.  It seems that, like me, she had a long hiatus from blogging due to a new family addition, and like me, she’s working to get back into it.

Her post got me thinking about how radically different our lives become when our little ones are born.  How suddenly things we once cared so much about and spent so much time on slip away.  And, you know, that’s okay.  There’s something powerful in babies and children that reset your life perspective forever.

And that growth isn’t a single moment, either.  Both of my girls help me to grow and change each day.  Priorities shift and change.  What was once important becomes less so.  And yet, as I grow and change as a mother, I still maintain the core of who I am.  Writing is still a passion for me (rusty though I am) just like sewing is still a passion for Najah.

I am eager to continue reading Najah’s blog and fantasizing about what I might like to sew.  She seems like the kind of person with whom you just want to sit down and have a cup of tea and a good chat.  Her fashion sense has incredible flair.  And I can’t wait to see what comes from her next as she, like me, rediscovers blogging.

Guest Post: Misconceptions about Motherhood

P1040069_2Liz is taking a leave of absence from public education to care for her 18 month old and emotionally needy border collie. Before Liz stayed home, she taught every grade from Kindergarten to 8th, but loved middle school because that is where the real changes in life happen.  When she was working, her husband cared for their daughter and then he worked afternoons and nights. Being a mom to her daughter is the best job she has ever had.

I thought having a baby would be easy, like having another dog. I know, don’t laugh at me. I assumed I would feed it and it would sleep, or that I would be able to sit and write while my baby would play on the floor by my feet. Ha Ha Ha. Right now I have to decide if I take this moment of peace while she plays with her shoes to pee or start writing this blog. write while my baby would play on the floor by my feet. Ha Ha Ha.

Right now I have to decide if I take this moment of peace while she plays with her shoes to pee or start writing this blog. Keep in mind that I went back to work at 8 weeks, but I definitely did not have any idea of how much a baby would need me, it’s mother.

The purpose of this blog is not to scare people, but to tell the honest truth so people can have some idea of what they are getting into so they can schedule their lives. My husband always jokes, “You mean it’s not as simple as the new parenting videos make it out to be?”

In the beginning:
A few months before my baby was born, a friend told me that nursing was a part time job. I didn’t really believe it. But no, she is right. A new baby needs to nurse every two to three hours, and sometimes will want more, especially during growth spurts, every four, six and eight weeks. A new baby nurses 10-12 times a day; this is important because it establishes milk supply. During this time I watched a lot of Gilmore Girls. Some people read. Learning to sideways nurse helped a lot because then I could sort of sleep.

The first eight weeks are hard, very hard for someone who isn’t used to sitting down. I had to tell myself that the time would pass and it sure did. It seems like only yesterday I was holding her on a breastfeeding pillow.

A new baby wants to be held, a lot. I assumed that I would nurse the baby and put it to sleep in it’s bed. I learned that that moment between sleep and awake is a fragile moment to a baby, and that they cry. A lot.

I also learned that the best way to maintain my sanity was to wear her on me in either a sling or a wrap; my Moby Wrap and I became great friends because I could have my hands free.

We also danced a lot and bounced on a yoga ball because babies have gas, lots of it. The first eight weeks we nursed, I burped her after each feeding, sometimes we nursed again, we went for walks with her in the Moby, I tried to nap during the day as I was used to getting more than five hours of sleep at a time (a record for new moms actually), she would fall asleep on me or in the Moby and I would have a few moments to relax before it all started up again.

Motherhood is hard. No one tells you that. Sometimes we assume that they will be like little dolls that we can just give a bottle or pacifier and all will be alright. That’s certainly a fantasy world. My child had no interest in a pacifier, which turned out to be a good thing because now I don’t have to figure out how to take it away from her.

Now I went back to work at 8 weeks and I pumped at work. When I came home I still had all the usual chores like shopping, laundry, pulling weeds, cooking and cleaning etc. For getting these things done, I found my Ergo and sling to be indispensable because I could wear her and be close to her and not feel like I was away from her too much. Every day when I got home if it was still light out, I either put her in the Moby or Ergo and we walked, my favorite part of the day. She was happiest when she was involved and up close by me because I could talk to her, sing to her, and she could look at me and feel me.

When she got older and could sit up on her own, I put her in our Bob stroller and we went for longer walks. Of course I also brought a carrier and kept it underneath after learning that pushing a stroller and holding a sad baby is not a fun thing to do.

When she was nine months old I took some time off work, but that month my baby, who crawled at six months, started walking. Before she was born, I assumed there would be so much down time, time to do other things like I used to always. I didn’t count on all the time it takes to dress a baby, comfort and nurse a baby, bathe a baby, and then when baby was eating food, clean up the food that ended up on the ground and in baby’s hair etc. What I’m getting at is that life is different. So different. But so good! I wouldn’t trade a moment of this because watching her grow is the most fascinating thing I have ever seen.

The great thing about babies is that they are portable and travel well. When she was 4 months, we took her to Washington DC and the Smithsonian. From 10 days to 9 months, she spent quite a lot of time traveling to San Diego to visit family and also went camping a few times. At 10-11 months, we took a three week road trip up to Washington. A few weeks shy of her first birthday, we went to Hawaii. Since then she has been camping in Sequoia and has also flown to Michigan. Having a baby changes life, but she’s just a little person who can enjoy the adventure, too.

In the time that I wrote this blog (a little over an hour), I have also stopped my now 18 month old from taking my books off the shelf, have read her a book about South African animals (she picked it!), taken out the ice packs from the freezer because she wanted them (I don’t know why), watched her climb in and out of our Bob stroller and play with the buckle while putting on and off a hat and putting a hat on a ratty dog toy. She has worked on a puzzle, gotten frustrated with the puzzle and crawled on my lap because she wanted to type. I have taken her to sit on the potty and we read her farm book four times. I just left her in her room after we played with her farm animals for a minute, but now I hear her taking out her books. Things change a lot between 8 weeks and 18 months. Now excuse me, I’m being handed a Dr. Seuss book. Time for me to exercise my oscar winning actress skills on my rendition of Oh the Things You Can Think.

Links: Pumping at work: http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/pumping/what-to-expect-when-pumping/

The first week: http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/newborn-nursing/

Nursing: http://kellymom.com/ages/newborn/bf-basics/latch-resources/

breastfriend pillow: http://www.mybrestfriend.com

carriers: http://www.thebabywearer.com

Setting the bar too high for nursing moms

With everything that Cricket and I have been through so far on our nursing journey, I’ve been thinking about what all we (and by we I don’t mean me, I mean society) ask of breastfeeding moms.  This particular line of thought was sparked by a conversation with a cranial osteopath who was seeing Cricket to help her with her jaw muscles.  He grilled me a bit about my diet, and I felt ashamed to tell him that I’m just so thrilled about being able to eat again that I am just eating whatever I can get my hands on.  Lots of meat, cheese, spices, Indian food, Thai food, Mexican, etc.  I was embarrassed to admit that we don’t always eat home cooked meals.  In fact, we eat out fairly frequently.

This confession of mine earned me a lecture on healthy eating.  I should eat only organic food.  Whole grains.  Home cooked.  Gluten free.  And while I’m at it, I should stop eating dairy and soy because that’s probably why Cricket has a stuffy nose.  What I eat goes directly to her, didn’t I know, so I must avoid foods with chemicals of any kind and by the way, I should only eat brown rice, not white rice.  Scratch that, don’t eat rice at all because of the gluten in it. Does rice even have gluten? I don’t know.

I left the appointment feeling guilty, overwhelmed, and exhausted.  The more I thought about his speech to me, though, the more irritated I got.  Aside from any rare allergy issues in kids (where there are very specific and dramatic clinical signs) milk is milk.  Milk is not made from stomach contents.  You don’t go to the drive through and then have cheeseburgers coming out of your nipples.  Unless the situation is one of extreme famine, a mother’s milk will always be rich enough, nutritious enough, and wonderful enough.

I kept turning this over and over in my head and getting madder.  If I was another woman, one who wasn’t as plugged in to breastfeeding resources, I might have walked away from that conversation believing that since I couldn’t live up to this doctor’s impossibly high standards, my child would be better off on formula.

I experienced this kind of situation again following Cricket’s tongue tie clip.  First I had to get her clipped by a very specific doctor out in L.A.  Then I was supposed to see a very specific lactation consultant (also in L.A.) to retrain her to latch.  On top of that, I needed to get her in to see a cranial osteopath to get her jaw muscles working properly.  Follow that up by special exercises and speech therapy, and you’ve got one seriously overwhelmed mama.  How many specialists do I need to take my kid to?  Can’t we just nurse?

Confession: I took her to LA for the clip, but I stuck with local lactation consultants to help with the latch.  I only saw the cranial osteopath three times instead of the recommended five visits because darn it, it’s expensive and I don’t really dig it anyway.  I haven’t been doing the exercises very religiously.  We probably won’t do speech therapy at all unless we find out that she actually has a speech issue.  Her sister didn’t.  Her father and I didn’t.  If she does, we’ll deal with it, but I’m not prepared to assume that she will.

Want to know something else?  I eat fast food sometimes.  Sometimes I even feed my family fast food.  I don’t always cook.  I do my best, but some nights, it just doesn’t happen.  I take ibuprofen when I have a headache.  And I cook with butter.  So there.

There is so much pressure for breastfeeding moms to be perfect.  Setting the bar so high can ultimately drive women away from breastfeeding, and it’s critical that we not do that.

So nursing moms–all moms for that matter–Be good to yourselves.  You’re not perfect and that’s okay.

Mommy Mantras

I’ve thought a lot lately about my own mental health and taking care of myself. I’ve also noticed other moms that I know face-to-face and through the internet stressing about everything from babies waking during the night to finding enough time to get kids to and from school.

I’ve gotten some good advice from you guys in the comments here and on Facebook, and I just wanted to share a few little mantras that I’ve been using lately as reminders to be kind to myself.  Mantras, affirmations, whatever you want to call it, I’ve tried really hard to use some positive self-talk these days to help change my patterns of thought for the positive.

Here are some of the things I tell myself when I start to feel overwhelmed.

Time does pass.

Perfection is a myth.

The Grasshopper is going to remember this pizza eating and cartoon watching as fun, not me being neglectful.

You’re doing a great job with what you have right now. – Thanks Diana!

You’re not Superwoman and no one expects you to be.

Just say NO! – Thanks Kerri!

Be gentle to yourself.

and my personal favorite from my mother…

This, too, shall pass.

On a related note, there’s a fantastic blog out there called Self Care Tips for Women.  They posted recently about the myths vs. the realities of motherhood, and the article really hit home for me.

Let’s Get REAL About Motherhood and Life

Do you have any sayings or mantras that you use to help yourself get through challenging times?  I’d love to expand my list!

Some additions to the Mantra List thanks to my readers:

I can choose peace instead of this. – JamesandJax

And a whole list from Diana at The Whining Puker:

“First it gets better, then it goes away.”
– Becky Taylor

“Progress, not perfection.”
– Flylady

“Give yourself lots of grace.”
– Wendi

World Breastfeeding Week – Talk to Me!

World Breastfeeding Week kicked off yesterday!  For those that don’t know, WBW is an annual event sponsored by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, an international group dedicated to promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding around the world.

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The theme for this year’s WBW is “Talk to Me! Breastfeeding – A 3D Experience”

 

Communication is an essential part of protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding. We live in a world where individuals and global communities connect across small and great distances at an instant’s notice. New lines of communication are being created every day, and we have the ability to use these information channels to broaden our horizons and spread breastfeeding information beyond our immediate time and place to activate important dialogue.

The focus is on cross generational communication, particularly communicating with young people.

Why is this important?  From my perspective, it’s important for the next generation to view breastfeeding as biologically normal.  Not special.  Not best. Not better than the alternative.  Just normal.

For the first time since becoming a mom, I won’t be able to celebrate WBW by nursing a child.  But since the theme this year is communication and I do have a platform from which to speak on this blog, I’ll still be able to participate!

Throughout the week, I’m going to talk about different aspects of communicating about breastfeeding.  Here are some topics you can expect to see me cover during WBW (I may change these around if I get better ideas):

  • Talking to my daughter about breastfeeding
  • The power of words
  • Talking to others about breastfeeding
  • Building a Community of Support for the Future

I’ll also be tweeting breastfeeding-related news and articles and posting them to my Facebook page.  If you aren’t following me on Twitter and if you haven’t *liked* us on Facebook, now is the time to do it!

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I’m celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with Natural Parents Network!

You can, too — link up your breastfeeding posts from August 1-7 in the linky below, and enjoy reading, commenting on, and sharing the posts collected here and on Natural Parents Network.

(Visit NPN for the code to place on your blog.)

Confessions of a Bad Mother

I am feeling like a horrible mother right now.  I have no patience with the Grasshopper and it seems like all we do is butt heads.  Over everything.

Let me start by stating unequivocally that we are a no-spank household.  We try to be a no shouting household, too, but I’m pretty much failing at that.

Last night was awful.  It was right before bath time. She’d spent the entire evening dragging her feet and not listening and just generally being difficult. Mr. Grasshopper was using the restroom which meant that the next 30 minutes were going to involve me trying to get her in and out of the tub and reaching across my enormous belly to try to get her clean while she danced in the middle of the shower instead of standing where I could actually reach her.

Right after I undressed her, she grabbed her comb and acted like she was going to put it in her butt. Her naked, sweaty, running around all day, filthy butt. I say, “Do NOT put the comb in your bootie.” And you know what she did?  She grinned at me and scrubbed it really quickly a few times right in her butt crack. And you know what I did? I reached around and spanked her. And then I felt horrible. Like I said before, we are a no-spank household. And I was spanking out of anger, which isn’t spanking at all. That’s just hitting. I didn’t do it very hard, certainly not hard enough to actually hurt, but her look of utter betrayal just killed me.

I ended up apologizing and explaining that I was just so frustrated because she did something on purpose just because I told her not to, but that it wasn’t okay to hit. And we hugged.  And we both cried.  I explained to her that she has poopoo germs in her bootie and that when she put her comb in her bootie she got poopoo germs on her comb. I told her that poopoo germs can make her very sick and it’s important not to put her hands and things in her bootie and that when Mama tells her something it’s to keep her safe and that she must listen to Mama.

Then when it was time to comb her hair after her shower (which was spent dancing mostly out of reach just like I thought it would), I reminded her about the poopoo germs on her comb and asked her why they were there. “Umm… I don’t know.” “Think really hard.” “Because I put my comb in my bootie?” “Yep. And you know what? I’m about to comb your hair with those poopoo germs.” Cue the dramatics: “I don’t want poopoo germs in my hair! No Mama! I don’t want poopoo germs in my hair!” “Well, you should’ve listened when Mama told you not to put the comb in your bootie.” And I combed her hair.

Then my husband came out of the bathroom and told me I was being mean so I left.

Right now she is really drawing out the worst in me. It seems like all I do is yell at her all the time. I hate it.  She’s just so darn contrary right now and my patience is so short from feeling crappy all day that I just snap at her constantly. The pregnancy hormones and just the pregnancy in general are making me cranky to a pretty strong degree.  And then last night I smacked her bottom. I feel like a horrible mother.

I just feel so overwhelmed with everything right now.  Thankfully I’m not nauseated 24/7, but there are some times that I just can’t get up off the couch.  It’s like she can sense those times.  She’s like a shark smelling blood in the water.  This weekend I was feeling very ill and I asked her to wash her hands in the bathroom as the kitchen sink had dirty dishes and a knife or two in it.  She grinned at me and washed her hands in the  kitchen sink anyway.

Later, I asked her to pick up her toys and she crawled under the table and kicked the chairs for half an hour.  Now, she knows I can’t pick her up and carry her.  She knows I can’t bend over without getting sick.  She knows this.  Which is why she deliberately crawled under the table where I couldn’t pull her out.  And it’s not like she was at much of a risk for me taking the toys away because I couldn’t bend over and get them anyway.

Here’s the thing:  She’s normally a really easy-going kid.  I mean, this is the kid who, aside from a brief run-around on the grass and a few potty breaks, sat through an entire UCLA graduation ceremony.  She was better behaved than the very large group of adults that were sitting around us chatting at full volume the whole time.  For a kid, that’s pretty impressive.  For a 3-year-old, that’s just jaw-dropping.

But lately, she’s pushing her boundaries and I’m feeling really lost as to how to show her where the boundaries are.  My temper is incredibly short, I’m not physically able to chase her or move her or put her somewhere, and I just feel like I’m failing at the whole motherhood thing.

A friend commented recently that while parenthood shows you these deep wells of love that you never knew you had, it also shows you these deep wells of anger.  This is really ringing true for me right now.

I think recognizing that she’s testing her boundaries right now will really help me handle things better.  So will finding a way to be more consistent with discipline.  Right now she gets so many warnings to stop doing something that the whole thing becomes meaningless.

I think I need to find a way to reconnect with her.  It seems like the days turn into wake-up, shower, help Mr. Grasshopper get her ready, work all day, come home, crash on the couch, watch Mr. Grasshopper shower her, read her a story, go to sleep.  I really need to find some time in there for us to just connect together.  Heck, I’m even getting cranky during story time!

Something’s got to give.

I know adding a second child into the mix will just fuel the chaos, but I can’t help thinking it will be so much better because at least I won’t be pregnant anymore.

Meantime, I need to go cuddle with my firstborn and try to reach some middle ground with her.

Attachment Parenting: Stopping to Listen

Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Essentials

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared the parenting essentials that they could not live without. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I can’t imagine parenting without listening.

I’ll start with a confession:  I’ve never been a very good listener.  It’s something I struggle with.  I’m very much a waiting-for-my-turn-to-talk kind of person.

When my daughter was first born, we struggled a lot.  Nursing did not come easily to us.  I didn’t listen to her signals.  I don’t think I knew how.  Instead I listened to well-meaning nurses and pamphlets.  I fell into a lot of booby traps.  Eventually, we managed to get through the worst of it, and nursing became easier.  Time had solved many of our problems.

It was right around that time that I found out about Attachment Parenting.  It seemed to fit with my instincts so I went with it.  Intellectually, I understood the hallmarks of it.  You know, that checklist that you see sometimes: breastfeeding, babywearing, cosleeping, etc.  I got the laundry-list down, but I still hadn’t internalized the mindset.  I still hadn’t learned to really listen.  Attachment parenting was something I did.  It wasn’t something the Grasshopper and I did together.  She was an easy baby.  We managed to coast along for a while.

All that was about to change.

When she turned 8 months old, the Grasshopper hit an intense wakeful period.  Suddenly, instead of cruising and just going with the easy flow, I felt like I had a problem.  I went out and bought all the books on sleep that I could find that would (supposedly) mesh with our attachment parenting ideals.  I won’t list them here.  They didn’t help.

Instead of helping, those books placed me at odds with my daughter.  I found myself mentally gearing up for battle each night.  I was determined to make this work.  And every night, despite all the “gentle” techniques that the books recommended, it just didn’t work.  I wanted very much for her to be like the fantasy babies in the books, and every night that it didn’t quite work out, I felt bad about myself.

One night I gave up.  I just gave in.  I quit.  I couldn’t hack it.  I couldn’t do the stupid pull-off without her crying.  I couldn’t set her down in her crib while she was still slightly awake without her getting upset.  I couldn’t gently settle her by rubbing her tummy.  I couldn’t do it.

I felt so bad.  I felt like a failure.

It was a few nights later that I noticed a difference:  Since I had “given up”, I didn’t feel upset and stressed anymore.  Nights had become easier.  That’s when I started looking back and trying to understand what had happened.

Our mainstream society teaches up that babies should fit into neat models.  We see it all the time in the questions people ask us: “Is she sleeping through the night yet?”  “How much does she eat?”  And the one that really curls my toes: “Is she a good baby?”

Intellectually, I knew the traditional notions of how babies should be are false.  Deep inside, I had still been struggling with it.  I realized that I had been looking for control over the situation.  I was trying to find a way to fit our daughter into our lives.  I hadn’t been listening to what she had been telling me from the beginning.

Instead of control and sleep, what I ended up with were endless battles, stress, and the feeling that I must be doing something really wrong. Ultimately, it wasn’t until I just gave up, that things started changing.

I thought that in giving up I had lost.   What had actually happened was that I let go of the need to shape her into our lives.  More importantly, I stopped thinking about my relationship with my daughter as a battle to be won or lost.  Most importantly, I started listening.

When I stopped focusing on getting her to sleep, I found myself focusing instead on her needs, listening to what she was trying to tell me in her tiny way.  The mental conversation used to go a little something like this: “Oh, no, she woke up again!  I have to get up to get ready for work at 5!  I’m going to be so tired!  I just want her to sleep!  PLEASE STOP CRYING!”  Now it was going a little more like this: “Wow, she’s really hungry.  Let’s get you fed little one.”

In really listening to her needs instead of my own frustration, I found a deep sense of peace.  The Grasshopper, I am sure, sensed that peace, too.  Nights became easier.  Our relationship became one based on love and respect instead of conflict.

Looking back, I’m not sure how I made it through those first few months without listening to her.  How did we manage to figure out nursing when I was listening to someone telling me to dump the transitional milk I pumped because it wasn’t “real milk” yet?  How did we survive that?  I wonder what kind of a difference listening would have made in the beginning when we were struggling so much to nurse.  Would I have been able to notice her hunger cues better?  Would I have been able to help her latch more easily?  I wonder what kind of a difference it will make with this new baby.

Now that she’s a very verbal three, I can’t imagine being able to parent without stopping first to listen to her.  She’s still a pretty laid back kid, but even the most relaxed children have their moments.  Stopping, taking a deep breath, listening to what she is trying to say, instead of that voice in my head telling me that she shouldn’t be acting a certain way, seems to head off a lot of conflict before it even starts.  What kind of frustration would we be feeling with each other if I wasn’t listening to her?

With being pregnant now, listening to the Grasshopper is more important than ever.  I want her to be able to welcome our new baby warmly, so I’m doing my best to listen to her and validate her feelings.  Even ones that might be negative.  Especially with the illness I am facing, how will I nurture her through it if I’m not listening to her?  I think, with out relationship of trust and respect that we will get through it.  It will be hard, but we can do it if I take the time to listen.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Not Without Him — The love Starr at Taking Time shares with her husband is the foundation of her parenting.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without B(.)(.)bs — From an uneducated dreamer to a breastfeeding mother of a toddler, nursing has forever changed Kristy at Strings to Things’s relationship with her daughter and her outlook on life.
  • Raising a Child in the Internet Village — When Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has a question or concern about parenting, she turns to the Internet. What did parents do before Google?
  • Partner in Crime and ParentingBethy at Bounce Me to the Moon can’t imagine parenting without her husband’s sense of humor – he brings her laughter and love every day.)
  • I Make MilkPatti at Jazzy Mama can’t imagine trying to mother her babies without her breasts, but she could do it if she had to.
  • New Perspectives Bring New BeginningsMJ at Wander Wonder Discover, who is a former authoritarian mamma, has gained perspective via parenting.
  • Time Out!Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog explores how time apart can increase your capacity to give unconditionally.
  • Unimaginable Without HimKristina at heyred designs is celebrating her amazing partner, without whom none of her parenting experience would be possible.
  • My Parenting NecessityClaire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl needs “me time” in order to be the Mama she wants to be.
  • Babywearing As a Way of LifeDarcel at The Mahogany Way talks about the benefits of babywearing in everyday life.
  • Parenting Partnership — Sometimes Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter doesn’t appreciate her husband enough, but she definitely couldn’t imagine parenting without his help.
  • Parenting EssentialsMomma Jorje loves her parenting products, but she needs you even more.
  • My Parenting Must-Have: SupportJoella at Fine and Fair wrote a letter to her daughter about the role that support from friends and family plays in her mothering.
  • It’s More Than Just Hair — Think doing hair is full of fluff? Too girly? Useless? Karli from Curly Hairdo Ideas used to think so too.
  • The Minimalist Parent — The parents at Living Peacefully with Children embrace a minimalist perspective when it comes to baby gear. A good sling is all they need.
  • Without My BreastsCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama can’t imagine parenting without her breasts; here’s why.
  • Loves Books, Loves PeopleSeonaid at the Practical Dilettante discovers that the library is a perfect fit for her family’s needs.
  • An Ode to the Maya WrapRevMama’s next child might be named Maya, because of her fondness for the sling.
  • Avoiding the Padded RoomPecky at Benny and Bex is here to testify that it takes a village to raise a child.
  • My parenting essentials, from Tivo to battery-operated monstrositiesLauren at Hobo Mama presents a list of parenting essentials you didn’t even know you needed (and probably don’t…).
  • Attachment Parenting Through Separation: It Makes It a Little BetterJessica at This Is Worthwhile talks about how she couldn’t survive her separation without attachment parenting and the bond it’s afforded her with her 3 year old son.
  • Parenting EssentialsDeb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the principles she used to parent her children from infants to adults.
  • My Parenting Essentials — The things that are truly essential to Kim at In Desperate Need of Entertainment aren’t things at all.
  • I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without…Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about what she needs to raise her children.
  • February Carnival of Natural Parenting — Through her experiences over the last five and a half years, Casey at Love What Is has discovered her most important tool for parenting is using her instincts.
  • CNP: I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without __________.The Artsymama discloses the one thing that gave her back control of herself as a parent.
  • Laugh Until I Cry — Laughing with her sons keeps Acacia at Fingerpaint & Superheroes connected and grounded.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting WithoutLuschka at Diary of a First Child realizes what the one thing she can’t imagine parenting without is, and it turns out it’s not a thing after all.
  • It Takes Two — Here are a few of the reasons why Jenn at Adventures Down Under cannot imagine parenting without her fabulous husband.
  • Stopping to Listen — Though it wasn’t easy at first, Knocked Up – Knocked Over cannot imagine parenting her daughter without listening first to what she is telling her.
  • The Essence of Parenting — There are many wonderful resources that make life easier for Michelle at the Parent Vortex to parent, but the essence is the relationship between parent and child.
  • What I Cannot Live WithoutSybil at Musings of a Milk Maker considers her computer to be a parenting lifeline.
  • True Blessings: White Noise and GrandparentsKat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment can’t live without her white noise machine and the support of her parents.
  • The Necessities! — What “stuff” does a natural parent like Lily, aka Witch Mom really need? Not much, it turns out.
  • Mama Showed MeMama Mo at Attached at the Nip writes about how parenting wisdom is passed on by example.
  • Ode to the Loo — For Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch, the bathroom is her safe place, where she can take a minute to calm down if she is feeling touched out.
  • Go, Mama. Go!Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has been able to integrate her many roles through her get-up-and-go parenting essential, exercise!
  • My Other HalfBecky at Old New Legacy realizes what a relief it is to have her husband parent alongside her.
  • Grace, Love, and CoffeeMrsH at Fleeting Moments realizes that lifelines can take the form of the profound, or the mundane. Both are ok.
  • Supportive Spouse, Check! — There are so many parenting tools and gadgets that are superfluous, but the one essential, for Danielle at born.in.japan, has been her supportive spouse.
  • Why I’m a BabywearerMeredith at Becoming Mamas reflects on the ways babywearing has enhanced her mama baby relationship…and made life easier to boot.
  • It’s Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo!Rachael at The Variegated Life can’t imagine parenting in the big city without the marvels of Prospect Park to share with her Critter.
  • Yes, Thank YouAmy at Anktangle offers tips on how to ask for and accept help, an essential for successful parenting.
  • Parenting Essentials Checklist: Mom’s Inner Rebel and Her Kids’ VoicesOlivia at Write About Birth reflects on raising global citizens and saying no to societal norms.
  • Eco-Mama Online! — An Eco-Mama living in the mountains of a nature island, Terri at Child of the Nature Isle finds it essential to connect to nature and to connect online.
  • Sorry, We Just Sold the Last OneNev at The Adventures of Lime confesses she missed out the day they handed out patience.
  • LaughTashmica at The Mother Flippin’ Blog reveals her super power, her talisman agains mean mommy.
  • My Priceless Parenting Resource — What do books, a magazine community, my mother and the local playgroup have in common? Lucy at Dreaming Aloud tells us…
  • The Gift of Shared TimeTree at Mom Grooves strives to experience the world from her daughter’s perspective.
  • Follow the GigglesDionna at Code Name: Mama can’t live without the sound of her child’s giggles – come watch her video and you’ll agree!
  • Can I Mommy Without Boob?Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama shares her fears about weaning and losing part of that the mother/child bond.

My Inspiration Smells Like Cookies

Hyperemesis Gravidarum is awful.  I mean, really awful.  It’s so awful that many women experience it once and then take immediate measures to ensure they’ll never be pregnant again.  I’d like to be really clear before I go any further that I completely and totally respect this.  HG is truly horrible and there is nothing selfish, cowardly, or weak about not wanting to go through it again.

Let me also say to any mother who might be feeling guilt over this situation:  Despite what some folks may say, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having an only child.  Being an only child won’t “ruin” a kid.  There are lots of wonderful things that come along with being an only child.  Believe me.  I know.  I am one.  Trust yourselves, parents.  If stopping at one is the right choice for you, that’s okay.  And practice some really good zingers for folks who would tell you otherwise!

I’ll say it again:  HG is awful.  So why is it that there are those of us who, knowing what’s behind that door, want to have more children?  I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but here’s my answer:

Grasshopper eating a bagel

She is amazing.  She turned 3 years old on Friday.  When I was pregnant with her, I didn’t like her very much.  I was so sick.  I imagined she was hanging from my rib cage and gnawing on my bones.  But when she was born, it was like the world disappeared and it was just us.  Just me and this precious little miracle cuddled in my arms.  That’s when I knew it was worth it.

When she was born, I became a better person.  She made me a better person.  Something about her had given me more patience, more kindness, and more love than I ever thought it was possible to have.  That tiny, squirming baby, the one for whom I risked my life to bring into the world, changed me in ways that I can’t even completely understand.

Now that tiny, squirming baby has grown up into a bright, curious child.  She’s smart (boy is she smart!), and funny, and completely silly.

This:

Grasshopper Saxophone

This why I want to do it all over again.

HG is awful, but the reward at the end makes it all worthwhile.