0

Challenges of Being a Parent

Being a mom is the best thing that ever happened to me. I have a beautiful 17 months old baby girl, she makes my life worth living, but she also keeps me on my toes. That, however, isn’t the big challenge I’m going to talk about. The big C is trying NOT to be a parent to other kids and parents.

Do you ever notice when you talk to other parents that when you ask them a question or ask them for advice (and sometimes you don’t even have to ask) they decide to impose their believes and views on you? Those parent’s try to tell you how to run the show. I wonder how many of us, moms and dads, catch ourselves do it. How many of us tell ourselves to stop? I know that I do my best to be as objective as possible. There are times where the topic/issue would get me so excited because the results that my daughter and I achieved are so great, that I might sounds like I’m trying to tell the other parent how to raise their kids, BUT I am NOT trying to!

Every time someone asks me how my daughter and I did this, or what did I do with her to achieve that, I try to just give that information without sounding like THAT’S THE WAY TO GO! It is absolutely crucial to keep in mind that EVERY child is different, and so is every parent. Just because my story was successful, doesn’t mean that it will have the same results for the other child or parent. By making our way of parenting sound right, and questioning the other person’s way, we put unnecessary pressure and stress on that person’s shoulders. No one needs to be going home questioning themselves on whether they are doing a good job at being a parent. And if they do need to ask themselves that, they should do it because of their own desire to change, and their own understanding that what they are doing might not be a good option for their kid.

Obviously, it is always great to have someone to give you and advice or some guidance, why not? For as long as the person doesn’t decide to cross the line of giving an advice, and decides to put “YOU MUST” do it hat on.

There are times where I have to repeat the mantra of “Every Child is Different” over and over again. Usually it’s when my own mother tries to question my parenting skills, or tell me that my daughter is not doing this or that while I did all of the above when I was her age! Or when I see my friend and her daughter, who can count to 7 at the age of 18 months; I try to tell myself that there is nothing wrong with my 17 months old not being able to count to three. And so the mantra is on constant repeat.

My pet peeve though, is when other parents forget the fact that no child is the same, and they try to question your methods, or techniques, or even try to constantly compare the kids. Sure, maybe the general idea and steps or raising the infant/toddler are the same, but the parenting styles could be so different. When one parent lets their child to be independent and do everything on their own and learn from their mistakes, while another parent helicopters over their kid and tries to help every step of the way. At the end of the day, those parents might not even see eye to eye, so there is no point in comparing their kids at all, it would be like comparing spoons and forks. Both are utensils, both could be use for many foods, but each one of us has a choice of which utensil to use. So when parents start judging other parents on how they raise their kids, and start pointing fingers and shaming, they shouldn’t! Who said that your way of parenting is the RIGHT way?

I believe that majority of parents out there have their kids’ best interest at heart. Since every one of us is just as different as our kids are, we choose a different way to express our love, to care and a different way of parenting for our kids. So next time you feel tempted to tell a new parent on how they SHOULD do things, try using COULD instead, that might event make them consider using your advice 😉

Di

Advertisements
0

Looking for Mary Poppins

MP

According to a close friend of mine I should be blogging every day, if not twice a day to be a successful blogger…

Let me tell you something, for 9 months of my life I could barely eat twice a day, forget blogging. Being a mom is a full-time job and a half. I don’t know how anybody manages to blog every day when they have a little baby. I know that I would get through the day, and in the evening when I have an opportunity to blog my brain doesn’t really feel like it anymore. All I want to do, is sit and unwind.

That was just one example of many things I want to do, but have no energy to. And now that I am back to working full-time outside of my house I find myself not even having that time to unwind. I leave in a morning, work, come home to do my bed time routine with the little one (snack, bath time, dress her for bed, sing her a song etc.), then eat my dinner if it’s made. Better yet, make my dinner, eat it, prep food for the baby for the next day, prep my lunch, clean up the kitchen, get ready for bed! x 5

CRAZY!!!! if you ask me.

My magic solution was to find an au pair. Hopefully by having someone taking over my child will give me time to at least manage all the errands, and a couple of activities that will make me feel like I’m still alive, and not just a zombie.

Another thing, I have hard time trusting people with my child. Having someone who lives with us would at least give me an idea of who they are, and would allow us to have some control over how they do things and how they are with our daughter. Perhaps it will also help us keep her routine that she is getting comfortable with, and keeping her away from all the germs! Au pair it is!

So since me and my partner have decided that an au pair would be the best childcare option (and the most affordable. Daycare costs $1200+ and doesn’t start until a baby is 18 months old), I went on an au pair hunt. Of course internet was my number one source; specifically aupair world website. It is super easy to use, except for one downside – the membership that costs you almost $60 CAN lasts you only 6 weeks. Then you register online and create your family profile. You can select whichever categories you wish to put in your search credentials for your au pair. I’ve received tones of emails because I didn’t narrow down the countries where my au pair would be coming from; so I had to ignore a lot of them, which was breaking my heart and made me feel extremely rude. The website gives you a great automated message option if you are in a hurry but want to reply. You can’t however simply delete a message. It sends a notification to whomever emailed you and says that you are not interested in their services. Perhaps it is a good way to ensure no one is wasting their time, but it also seems a bit heartbreaking to read those messages.

Anyways. Our journey of finding our Mary Poppins was quite interesting. I had at least 5 candidates that I liked and that met my criteria (education in a childcare field or education field, non-smokers, previous experience with kids, from Europe). They all were super excited to be our au pair, and to be coming to Canada etc. But as things got closer to us having to finalize everything and to buying tickets, the list of candidates became really short. One has decided that instead of June she can only come join us in September. The other one realized that Canada is a little too far away from her home, and so as much as she wants to be our au pair, she won’t be traveling that far. And so on, and so forth….

Finally, there was one girl who agreed to come and rescue me and my little family! She will be joining us in July, unfortunately only for two months. Although, we don’t even know what it would feel like to have someone else living with us in our tiny house. It certainly limits our freedom and alternates our habits, but hopefully other benefits of having someone helping us with our little princess will outweigh all the cons. She is studying to be a kindergarten teacher, she is almost my age (a couple years younger than me), and seems like a very sweet easy going girl.

She already has her ticket (thank goodness). Now we are just waiting to finalize a few things and for her to get a travelling health insurance. Last thing we would want is to end up with ridiculous bills for health care in case anything happens to her (hopefully not, fingers crossed).

I’m looking forward to the summer full of adventure, and great time, as well as some time for myself. I can’t wait to pick up a brush and paint and start painting again.

Stay tuned for all the details on a life with an au pair!

Di

0

Necessity vs. Comfort

In the short 8.5 months of my daughter’s existence A LOT of purchases were made “for her”. I am sure most moms can relate. Some of us start purchasing things for our little once way before those even arrive.

I remember it all started with a pair of baby pants while I was pregnant… I can’t lie, I couldn’t and still can’t resist baby clothes. It’s like my curse. Every time I’m in the store I end up spending tones of money on the cute little outfits, and hairbands for my little muchkin. But the sad truth is, half of them only get worn once, if at all. And so those beautiful outfits go from the shelves at the store, to the hangers in my daughter’s closet, to the box with the stuff that no longer fits. How do I stop? Lately I’ve been trying to only buy her clothes and accessories she REALLY needs, like a sun hat, or socks, or pajamas that she outgrows within a blink of an eye.

I remember buying our stroller, and the car seat, and the crib… The amount of time I spent at the store choosing, and comparing, and running around trying to find something better, or cheaper, or whatever else it was. We ended up going with PegPerego Book for our stroller and a car seat. 800$+ later I was asking myself “was it absolutely necessary for my daughter to be riding in a stroller that is made in Italy?” Sure there were some needs that had to be met (making sure the stroller isn’t low for me to not kick it, etc.), but I feel like I could have easily spent 400$ and get the same basic functions. I guess I just felt like my baby deserves better than the cheapest option. I wonder how many other moms make that choice of preference vs. practicality.

People who buy those strollers that costs thousands of dollars and aren’t much more advanced than those that cost less, they don’t do it for necessity, I don’t think. They do it for comfort, perhaps even status. All I know is that at the end of the day those little bundles of joy don’t care what kind of stroller they are in, and how much it costs.

I must admit, there hasn’t been a time where I haven’t had a generational comparison of things we have now and thing our parents had. What about people in third world countries (I grew up in one of those)? They don’t have all the luxury of diapers, or bottle warmers, or wet wipes warmers. How did they manage? My mom has always told me that her and her sister shared all the baby clothes between their four kids, and no one cared what gender they were. So I wore things that belonged to boys, and my brother wore my hot pink overalls. Nobody cared! Now I can’t even put anything blue on my daughter without people assuming she is a boy. But that’s not the point.

Baby monitors, I am still debating if we NEED one or if it would be NICE TO HAVE? My parents survived without them, so did my grandparents and so did many generations before. This makes me realize that indeed it’s not a necessity (especially since we live in a smaller house and I can hear my child anywhere), it would be more of a comfort purchase.

Another thing is a mattress. Before my daughter was born I have red that coil mattress would make a better purchase then a foam, only to find out that it wasn’t true. Now I have to buy a new mattress for my little girl. Do I want to go to Babys R Us and buy a regular foam mattress, or do I go to a fancier store and buy organic, super advanced technology mattress that cost twice as much as the normal one?

Do I continue buying her toys that cost 3 times the price of toys from Walmart because they are super toxin free, and such. Or do I just look back at myself and say “nonsense, I played with regular Walmart kind of toys, and nothing has happened to me”?

I wonder what other mothers think or do? How do you rationalize your shopping for your little once? Do you care about gender oriented clothes, or do you mix and match?

Feel free to share your thoughts.

Di

0

Coconut Oil to the Rescue

Winter has barely passed, and with it the issues of dry skin and cracked lips.

My little 8 moths old started having eczema like spots on her arms and legs a few months ago. I’ve tried various baby lotions and creams, and balms, and baby oil. But nothing seemed to work. Her skin kept getting more and more dry.

One day I was talking to my ‘mommy’ friend, and I asked her what she was using for her daughter. She told me she used a virgin coconut oil.

At first I was skeptical, but I decided why not? It’s natural, and it wouldn’t hurt my little munchkin any way. I have tested in on a little spot on her skin to make sure she wasn’t allergic. When there was no reaction, I started to apply the oil every time after her bath. 3 days later, her skin was as soft as a peach.

I was so happy with the results, I started using the oil on my own self. It’s amazing what it does to my face, when I put a little bit of oil under my eyes overnight. When I wake up in the morning my eyes don’t look as tired and the wrinkles under don’t look as deep as usually. I also use it as a lip balm, and I like it much more than the balms or chap sticks that I have from various brands and stores.

Besides, it smells soooo good (if you like coconut) that I want to eat my child every time I put the oil on her.

Happy Baby, Happy Mamma

Di 🙂

0

The Feeding Phenomenon

Ever since my child turned six month old (which wasn’t even all that long ago), my mommy’s life gained one more challenge. It’s like a video game, the further you go, the harder it becomes lol. The challenge is – feeding my daughter solids!!!

Soooo, as many mothers know, you go through the introduction process where you give your baby little bit of one thing at a time for a few days. Eventually, when you are done trying out all the things that they can eat at that stage, you start mixing and matching in hopes to find that perfect combination that your child will agree to eat. This stage was fun; all the cute faces, head shakes of disapproval, confusion written all over her face as she decides whether she likes the texture or not. We finally got through all the things on the list.  She isn’t allergic to anything, which is great!!! But that’s not the difficult part…

Being that mom who decided not to buy things for my child prior to her arrival, I still do not own a high chair. Well, as you probably imagined by now, my daughter sits on my lap as she is being fed. YES, I end up wearing her food all over me!!! (Gross!) It is a constant fight, trying to keep her hands out of the bowl of cereal or yogurt. Especially when she squirms and tries to grab everything around her, or simply tries to get away from me. “God, give me strength” I think to myself every time I feed my little monster.

Even if we had a high chair (which are so ridiculously expensive, unless you decide to buy one that isn’t high end), the struggle wouldn’t be over. As I have red in one of the parenting books, I started the introduction of solids with cereal, since that would be the least favorite food for any baby. For the first week my child was devouring each bowl like it was the best thing in the world. “Awesome!” I thought to myself, and proceeded with the introduction of veggies. Those she didn’t like so much. No matter what I mix with what, she wouldn’t eat it. Not even sweet potatoes. I have to force it into her. But, she loooooves fruits. I guess which child doesn’t? So now to get my baby to eat, I have to mix fruit into EVERYTHING. She eats her goat yogurt with banana and whatever pureed berry I have on hand, for breakfast. Then organic pureed veggies mixed with apple or banana, or whichever else fruit the mix in those pouches you buy at the store, for lunch. And of course cereal mixed with pear or apple sauce for dinner. Except the dinner is the most challenging to get into her.

Ever since my daughter tried her fruit, cereal is just no longer good for her anymore. She fights me as hard as she can, putting up a huge fuss, crying like it’s the end of the world, and kicking her way out of my arms. I’ve tried switch up cereal (barley, oat, rice) but it doesn’t seem to make any difference. I tried mixing fruit into it, it still didn’t make it any more appealing. I’m out of ideas on how to get my daughter to eat her cereal… except for one! I give her a spoon to play with and chew on, and feed her in between her “playing”. Unfortunately that method takes forever!

But even this is not the end of my struggles. I wanted to be a good mom, and make food for my daughter from scratch rather than buy those little jars of pureed stuff. So I tried steaming the veggies and pureeing them in a blender. Except the blender wouldn’t do it for me. So I boiled the veggies and mashed them, then pureed them. Even then the blender decided to suck. So now I’m on a crossroad trying to decide whether I want to buy a baby bullet, or a new blender, or if I should continue buying that pureed food in jars from the store? What would you do?

I know that one of the struggles is easy to solve – go to the store and buy a high chair. But I still can’t figure out what to do with the other two? How do I make her like the cereal again? Do I buy a baby bullet and cook for my cuttie, or do I just make my life easier and buy ready to eat stuff from the store?

Decisions, decisions!!!

Di

0

Ticking Bomb

As I am sipping on glass of red, chasing it with some brie and olives, I realize that I have experienced another stage of motherhood that made me feel “bad-shit-crazy”. Now that it’s over I can’t recall how long it lasted. Few weeks, maybe a month. I felt as if my depression decided to pay a visit to me and my busy life. There were days where all I wanted to do was to sit in a corner and cry. I felt like a ticking bomb, ready to explode at any tiny move. Everything (or it sure felt like everything) was making me angry, or made me cry. I felt pregnant again with my major mood swings.

One night, my daughter felt like waking up every two hours. She just kept crying, and crying; it drove me insane. After getting up for however many’s time I broke down and cried. I cried like there was no tomorrow; like all the walls in the house collapsed; like the world was going to end right that moment. I didn’t know what to do, I just couldn’t take all that screaming anymore. I was exhausted and I wanted to sleep. I am on night shift duties when it comes to our daughter, and that was draining. There were days where I felt miserable, and it’s almost like my misery rubbed off on my child, so we both were unhappy.

I remember my “mommy” friend asking me to go for a walk, and all I wanted to do was to cry because I didn’t feel like moving, like putting myself together, or getting the child ready to go and dealing with her fuss. Being true friend, my “mommy” friend came over and told me that I’m not alone, I’m not crazy. She told me it was normal to feel the way I do (yes, I have read that before in some parenting book, but hearing it from someone else is different). She understood, she could relate. She gave me a big hug, and I almost broke down crying. I can’t stop wondering why was it so difficult for me to stay strong? Why couldn’t I accept the fact that it’s ok for my child to cry every now and then?

Based on the fact that my child finally established her sleeping routine, and that I get more time to do whatever I need without her being attached to my hip, I conclude that I was simply sleep deprived and annoyed. We started to sleep train our daughter after she turned 6 months. I must admit, it went much better than we imagined. She still nurses at night, but I manage to get solid hours of sleep without her sleeping next to me. (expect I’m so used to waking up every two hours that now I can’t sleep lol) It made a world of difference. I find that it’s not just me who is feeling happier, but also my partner, and even our daughter…. maybe even the cat LOL

Going through this phase made me understand why and how many women could be struggling with postpartum depression. When your hormones are out of wack, and you are beyond tired, your body begins to hate you and work against you. If I didn’t have good support system that I have, I would probably crack and end up battling real depression (and who ever went through it know it is no fun).

So now, that my life is back to normal, I can finally start concentrating on my goals. It feels great to be able to take care of ME again, and do things that make ME happy and keep me going. Big part of those things is possible because of my wonderful partner. Yes, we had our battles and disagreements, but eventually we found a middle ground and realized that we need to be more supportive of each other. If we won’t, then who will?

To all mommies out there – stay strong!!!! Just remember, it’s only temporarily. Enjoy every moment and try to embrace all the positive, as hard as it sometimes might be. They grow so fast, and one day we will probably wish we could go back to those tiny little problems that we had 😉

Give your little people hugs and kisses while you can.

Di

2

OCD aint got nothing on me!

Tired, Frustrated, but most of all Guilty – that’s how I feel these days.

Motherhood, as enjoyable as it is, could get extremely draining. A lot of the time I either don’t find time or desire to do a lot of things that have to be done. I find one of the biggest struggles, besides eating properly, is keeping the house organized. 75% of the time it’s a “beautiful” mess. I find myself trying to clean everything, and maintain it that way, but the mess just never ends. And my child is only 5.5 months old. What is going to happen when she can actually walk, and grab all her toys, and throw them around? I tried different methods: cleaning one room a day, cleaning half of the house at the time, clean every room a bit every day… But it all ends the same way, I just can’t keep up!!!

I’ve heard a lot of other mothers go through similar issues, where they have no time for anything. Perhaps I prioritize things poorly. I put my sanity and needs before the house. So exercising and relaxing is on the list before cleaning. My justification – I only have so little time for myself in between cooking, cleaning and taking care of the baby, so I try to put my needs before some things that could be sacrificed. In my case it’s cleaning the house. I know it’s not the best way to deal with the matter, but I can’t seem to find an alternative. At least not just yet.

Even though my wonderful little baby agrees to sit in her car seat now and watch me clean or cook, she still doesn’t have a good sleeping pattern. We end up wasting half of our morning trying to catch up on sleep (mostly me). Perhaps I could push my body to function on 3-4 hours of sleep, but where would that lead me? I would most likely end up getting sick, and having to stay in bed for the whole day. Speaking of sick… being a mom, you don’t even have time to be sick. I had to fight my cold for over a week, and still continue with all my duties. Perhaps that is why it took so long for me to get over it. Life felt miserable for a few days.

Should I still be feeling guilty, even tho all mothers have their own struggles, or do I just accept it? If I accept it, I am afraid this will become a bad habit; if I don’t, I might drive myself crazy. I guess the key is to find the perfect middle ground.

Makes me wonder what are other issues parents find themselves struggling with?

Di