Confessions of an Older Mom

Recently I attended a baby shower where someone videoed little advice tidbits for the expecting couple. It was fun to hear all the advice that was passed around the room. At first, I wasn’t overly interested in chiming in, after all, I don’t consider myself a mom of the year material. Besides, my son is grown now and things have changed. But you know what? I thought about how my son has turned out and realized I did have something to say!

Let your child experience life. It’s that simple and yet it seems to be so hard! We always want to protect our kids. We don’t want them to get physically or emotionally hurt. While trying to protect our kids is certainly expected sometimes as parents we go a little too far and forget to let our kids still experience what life is about.

Like I said before I certainly am not the mom of the year material but I’m proud of what my son has become. It was ok that he got a few bruises jumping his bike. He likes to get dirty and his hands aren’t always perfectly clean when he eats but he never gets sick.

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Mom Meltdowns

I come from a long line of non-breast feeders. (I’d love it if you’d check out that link and post a response – I’m still curious if my theory is right) I had no intention of breastfeeding Bob. I was completely skeeved out by the idea of a baby sucking on my boobs.

I had two friends who had felt the same way and they’d pumped for their boys. I was open to the idea of pumping for him, and that was my plan. I wasn’t big on letting a bunch of people invade my privacy and my boobs. It all seemed very invasive to me – the LLL, the Lactation Consultants, it was all more drama than I really wanted to get into.

Then Sara framed it for me in a simple way. Dawn, she said, babies are geared to nurse. A friend told me that you put the naked baby on your naked stomach, you let it root around and find your boob and it will nurse. It’s probably worth giving it a shot to see if it works for you, if not, hit the pump. This simple statement totally changed my point of view.

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I love Friday’s

I like Fridays. Fridays, to me, are awesome because when Chris gets home it means I get two days with him and Caitlin, and she really enjoys her weekends with her daddy. I also get to sleep in (if I’m lucky) because there is no guilt about waking Chris up to take care of her for maybe an hour because he doesn’t have work at any point during the day.

Friday is also payday. Chris gets his awesome IT paycheck every week, so it’s nice to log into our bank account on Friday and see it sitting there. But then I remember, since Friday is payday, that means Friday is bill day too. And nothing sets my anxiety at an all-time high like doing the bills.

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7 survival tips for single moms

A friend of mine has been a single mom since pregnancy in a small town where she has friends but not her family (she moved from her original city 6 years ago) so this has given her some wisdom on the topic. In fact, she gets asked very often: “How do you manage it on your own?” Well, this is what she told me and I’d love to share her story with you, my dear readers…

“When faced with this question, I’m always quite humble and try not to make a big deal out of it. I mean, come one, many people out there have a much harder time than me. I can´t imagine being a single mom and having to work full time, for example. But it´s true that being alone with a kid all the time has its challenges.

So I organized a few guidelines that had helped me along the way:

1. Trust yourself – All women are designed from birth to be mothers. We have all the physical and psychological apparatus for this role. Be confident that you can do this. Mostly what your child needs is you and you to be there. So, don´t worry, you can do it.

2. Be organized – Make sure you have what you will need at hand before you need it. This means that if you have a small baby, you need his changer ready with diapers and clean clothes at all times. When you bathe him, his towel and cosmetics have to be in place. When you are going to cook, you need the food there. Prepare all you need when the baby is sleeping. Make sure everything is in order.

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Does Your Food Budget Dictate Your Nutrition?

A few weeks back two women who I really respect were having a discussion about making healthy food choices.  As far as I know, they are both stay-at-home moms trying to support their families on one salary.

One was raised in a single parent home and one was a single mom herself not too long ago.  I tell you all this just to say that both of these women have had unique life experiences.  Their discussion centered around whether you could be poor and still eat healthy food, or if being poor meant that you could not afford to eat healthily. Obviously, they both had different opinions.

Both acknowledged it was difficult, but they differed on how possible it was to not have money and still eat healthily.

Then today, I came up with this article saying that healthy food is a privilege of the rich. it’s not what GED students as myself want to hear! I saved some money because together with my friend Michael we followed online GED classes (that I highly recommend), but I am far from being rich!

And it made me think of their discussion all over again. Are those who have a lower socioeconomic level destined to not be able to access healthy nutrition?

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Sign of the times

There’s thousands of dollars worth of entertainment for my little darlings sitting on shelves and strewn across the floors of our house – planes, trains and automobiles, musical instruments, blocks, balls, and bats – you name it, we probably have it.

The loudest, flashiest toys are the most seductive, all dolled up in their primary colors, those sluts. Julia has this piano that, unless it’s turned off, will suddenly start blinking and screaming out of nowhere.

Dave and I are convinced that the manufacturer secretly set it to start randomly playing on its own in order to lure our children to it, who suck the battery juice from it and force us to go buy more goddamn batteries, which, in turn, makes us wonder why the f*** we haven’t invested in battery stock already.

I didn’t have toys like these when I was a kid. I had crayons and paper, a colander and a kitchen sink full of water and my mom’s pantyhose that I put on my head and pretended the legs were actually my long, flowing locks of hair.

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Changing strategy to stop spoiling my kid

There are many valid reasons for this to happen: I´m a newbie at taking care of a kid (I only held a baby for the first time when I was pregnant and I simply was never around any kid before), I´m very soft and easy to bend in any relationship (it pisses me off my ability to be submissive), and the strongest one must be the fact that I´m really doing it all by myself (no family nearby, and changing countries twice in five years didn´t help much in the support system department).

So, I do have some excuses to be a lousy, permissive mom, but I´m not going to settle for them. I decided I have a last chance to enhance my influence on this kid right now. I only have 1,5 years till she´s 6, and that´s basically when our influence as parents cease dramatically.

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The Motherhood Throne

How to seal the ability to feel like a complete loser as a mother…meet another mom who seems to have it all together.

Some time ago, I noticed a trend. A lot of mothers were feeling like I did. I felt like I couldn’t do enough, plan enough, clean enough, do the right things with my kids, I couldn’t keep myself up, in shape…I couldn’t keep up with the things that seemed to come effortlessly to other mothers.

I question (as I often do) my ability and decision to be a mother and felt bad for my children that they were stuck with me.

Eventually, I came to the realization that most if not all of us feel like that, even if it’s deeply rooted in some denial place that we can’t “go to”. We all feel like we’re in competition with each other; like there’s some secret contest to see which mom can juggle the best regardless of what’s thrown at them; the contest that awards the winner with admiration and awe from other mothers who only long to have the skills necessary to be her.

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When was your last mom´s night out?

Two weeks ago I went to the movies with four other mom-friends. We organized it at a children´s birthday party a few days earlier and then were all set to go for it. We left our homes at 3:30 pm to go to the next city where there are movie theaters. The price to pay to live in a paradise location usually includes not having a movie theater within at least 60 miles.

After watching “Tropa de Elite 2”, a very good Brazilian movie about the criminality, police and corruption inherent to the system in Rio de Janeiro, I told my friends a bit embarrassed that the last time I went to the movies was nine months ago. The other mom-friends haven´t been to a proper movie session in years! Yes, they all made their calculations and three of them haven´t been to the movies in 5 years!

If these mothers haven´t been to the movies in years, you can guess they haven´t done way much more of simple entertaining things like that.

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Stouffer’s Might Be Onto Something

I am sure many years ago you heard the Stouffer’s ad campaign, Let’s Fix Dinner.  The premise is that families who eat together at least once a week have healthier, happier children.  I grew up in a family where we ate dinner together, at the table, every night.

My mom made all our food, my siblings and I set the table, and my dad walked into the house after a long day in a suit and tie just as dinner was ready.  We sat at the table and talked about our days.  We would often stay at the table long after we had finished eating; our conversation had been that enjoyable.

That’s not to say that we never had arguments or hurt feelings or tears at the table.  We didn’t always like what my mom made us for dinner.  We weren’t always all together, especially as each of us kids grew a little older and a little more busy in the evenings after school.  But we are a fairly happy and healthy family.

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