Posted in Family, parenting, toddlers

Sleep deprived

I am so sick of reading articles about babies and children not sleeping; but at the same my kids won’t sleep so I end up reading them over and over again.

Routine?

Yes.

Teething and/or illness?

No.

Is their room in appropriate lighting?

Oh you mean the spotlight I have shinning in their faces? Totally.

Have you tried music?

Dear God, yes. And Ocean sounds. And rain sounds.

Have you tried oils?

Only like 19 of them but if you have more let me know.

Are you soothing too much?

Well, there’s two. So crying it out isn’t an option since they’re both loud enough to wake the neighbors, let alone each other.

Be stern. Tell them it’s bedtime and leave. Then come back in five minutes and blah blah blah…nothing works.

So upon my stumble I found this. Not so much advice, but at least I know it’s not just me.

Just wanted to share the article because it made me feel better, might help other parents struggling with sleep deprivation.

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Posted in Family, health, Mother's Day, Opinion, parenting, Social Change, teaching, toddlers, Uncategorized

World War Mommy

I know it’s probably been written about way too much in the past few years; however, it’s still amazing to me how much mom-shaming goes on via social media and other outlets. Yes, you should always be caring, nurturing, attentive, and loving (I would think that’s obvious) to your children. If they are being taken care of then it’s really no one else’s business on how/when/where/why.

I read an article the other day that finally made me want to write something on mom-shaming. Fed is Best Foundation has an article on their website by Mandy, who explains how she was basically starving her newborn. Her story is one that I know I can relate to and I’m sure plenty of other women out there can too. I think a lot of the hindrance to formula feed was due to the mom shaming that goes along with it. To think that poor baby could have suffered even worse that he did just from that is pretty heartbreaking.

So, here’s my list of topics that cause mom-shaming, mommy wars, mom blogging, judging, watching, look at the baby, look at the baby, and why they’re stupid to fight about. Ready to fight and go:

Breastfeeding

I guess we’ll just start there since that’s the kickoff idea I had to this article. When you’re asked about breastfeeding, if the “f” word starts to escape your lips, you may get that horrified face from some mothers that looks something like this:Image result for shocked face gif

You might as well tell them you are going to try and see how much arsenic a baby can handle.

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Breast is best. Yes, I agree. However, it’s not the only option. Some moms have a surplus supply. Some moms don’t. Some moms stay home and have time to pump and feed at will. Some moms don’t. Some moms feel the love and bonding that is supposed to come from breastfeeding. Some moms just plain don’t. Does that make them less of a mother? No. So that argument just needs to go away.

Personally, I think breastfeeding at least for the first few weeks (months if possible) is the best option for the baby. I get that argument. But again, I’m not going to shame a mom who just plain can’t do it. There are medical reasons, there are factors in the household that might make it impossible or too difficult, there are psychological reasons. For a mother who really wants to and can’t, to have to listen to this shaming over and over, I can imagine how heartbreaking that probably is.

On the same note, there’s the argument of how long. A year seems pretty standard. Over a year and some moms will start to make faces and avoid eye contact with you. Some moms go up into toddler years. Again, personally I would not do this but to each his own. I feel like this shouldn’t be a topic of debate.

Natural/Medicated Childbirth

You don’t love your child more because you suffered more. That’s my opinion on it. If you are doing it for self preservation reasons than fine. Stop shamming moms who used meds to keep their own sanity. Not to mention, a 12 hour birth is not the same as a 3 day one, so keep that in mind too.

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Epidurals are safe. Say it with me- epidurals are safe. It’s okay to request them. The most common side effects are fevers or spinal headaches for the mother. If you want a natural birth that’s beautiful. More power to you. Just keep that shaming thing to yourself.

Helicopter Parenting

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Are kids more spoiled now than they used to be? I think so. I also think that a lot of “bad” kids from decades past probably weren’t all bad. Emotional needs, mental disabilities, learning disabilities; these weren’t really considered problems until recently. So, in those regards some kids need to be helicoptered. In others, parents need to chill the hell out. Little Susie is going to fall and little Johnny is going to get sick from eating too much dirt. It just needs to happen for them to be normal kids.

Crying It Out

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Babies cry. Sometimes it’s your fault. Sometimes they need to learn things and then that in turn leads to more crying. Personally, I struggle with it to a point just because it’s hard to listen to. I don’t really blame moms who do it though if there’s an end goal in mind.

A lot of the older (early 1900s) parenting advice and mothering columns suggested basically training your six month old to sit quietly in the crib and that “the mother should stop (holding it) immediately if her arms feel tired”. Because you know, that’s just inconvenient and you got stuff to do.

Many argue that using the cry it out method causes psychological damage. I don’t think enough research has been done to prove this theory but I can definitely see where it stems from. Using a more supportive approach first I think is best for everyone involved and then if you don’t get any results, you are kind of on your own as far as what to do. The problem with the cry it out method is when does it get borderline neglectful? fifteen minutes? twenty minutes? a half hour? That sort of hazy distinction makes this argument a tough one. I never did it over the ten minute marker for my own sanity as well as the kids.

VACCINATIONS!

Holy moley vaccinations.

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Remember that kid in your class that died of Polio? No? Oh that’s right because it’s gone, thanks to science, research, and oh yeah, vaccinations.

I think the amount of testing and amount of vaccinations offered are a bit much, I will agree with that. But some of the more severe ones that are offered, I take it. You bet. Again though, mom shaming over vaccinations shouldn’t be an issue. You either believe that vaccinations could cause autism, or you don’t. You’re either worried your child will have an adverse reaction to them, or you’re not. Shaming the other side of a delicate issue like this is not going to solve anything. More studies are being done on the links between vaccinations and autism, and I imagine, they will continue for quite awhile. However, from what I know about them, most vaccines have little to no side effects. Either way, whether you’re choosing to get them or not, you’re doing what you think is best for your child. Ergo, so are other moms.

 

Working Moms

This is the mom shaming I take the most personally. I work. Full time. 40+ hours a week. I love my job (usually) and I love my side job even more (writing). I was lucky enough to stay home majority of the time with our daughter when she was born and only work part-time. The next time around I wasn’t so lucky. My husband is the one who works part-time and stays home with our son. Do I get jealous? Yes, of course I do. I want to be home with my baby, I’m not a monster. However, I have a good job. I make enough money that my husband can stay home, which wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

Having to work, or even choosing to work, does not make you a bad mom. So stop it. On the flip side, working moms are now striking back with little quips about “having two jobs” because of working all day and being a mom all night. Yes they’re both hard, please stop bitching about it.

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To me, the real shame is the lack of help for working moms. I know there’s resources for parents; WIC, parenting classes that are free, Medicaid if you’re eligible. But more employers should offer some sort of childcare help. I don’t even necessarily mean in an economical sense either. Some places like state hospitals, colleges, and other businesses will have on-site daycare for their employees. I feel if more places offered this, or at least had umbrella type of daycare establishments, it would help ease the struggle of working moms.

Co-Sleeping

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Every parent ever has had a Chris Farley night. Sometimes, it’s just easier to pop that kid or baby in your bed and tell them to “shhh” so you can both nod out for a few hours. Some parents prefer to do this every night because of the bonding. Some won’t let their children sleep in there bed no matter the circumstance.

NO RIGHT ANSWER

I know I’m a broken record now, but that’s the whole point of this post. It’s a personal choice. Yes, there are some dangers listed for parents who co-sleep, there are also dangers for children sleeping alone. Not to mention lack of sleep progressively building after several nights of battling your child to sleep in their crib or bed.

In many parts of the world, co-sleeping is the norm. I’ve read that some doctors argue for co-sleeping because it helps promote breast feeding. Other doctors say you could squish your baby. One argument is though, once your baby is older (past the first three or four months anyway) if they are still in your room but not in your bed is that co-sleeping? Yes it is, it’s not bed-sharing. Now, there are plenty of things available if you want to make bed-sharing a little safer. The one thing I think most professionals will veto is couch sharing.

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Many claim that they can’t sleep when they are away from their babies. Kind of the reverse of the what you normally think of for reasoning behind it. But that makes sense if you think about it. I have to get up at least 3-4 times a night for my kids and they’re both over 1. If they’re right next to you it’s so much easier. Does co-sleeping create bad sleeping habits? Maybe…I don’t know if there is enough research out there for it but I think I would argue yes it probably does. However, when you’re sleep deprived, it’s hard to care.

So what’s the point? I think I’ve said it…stop it.

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Posted in Education, Family, Library, literature, parenting, teaching

Goodnight Literacy

So the title may be a bit dramatic- however! I am an avid believer that reading to your infants and toddlers should not just be a night time activity. Part of my program Early Literacy Begins at Home, which I will be teaching through the Ocean City Library next year, will be discussing this and showing techniques for exciting reading!

But for now I would like to share some books that ARE good for night time reading and some that are NOT.

 

I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt and Cyd Moore

The story is about a little boy who is relentless in his pursuit to find out what he could be that would make his mother not love him anymore. Of course, he is shown that his mother would love him no matter what he became. Even a “super smelly skunk”. The story takes place at night and is about the boy getting ready for bed so a great bedtime story.

Llama, Llama, Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

Again, takes place at night, little llama having some separation issues (great to read for kids who are at that age where they are not staying in their beds at night). It does have rhyme and rhythm but not enough to make it distracting for those nighttime heavy eyes.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

You have to put it on here. I said in a past post that my daughter never really took to this story but I have heard from many others that this has helped completely transform nighttime routines. In the story the little rabbit says goodnight to everything before going to sleep. If you have a sleep fighter I have heard that reading this book and then letting your child say goodnight (goodnight lamp, goodnight couch, goodnight rug) to your house before going to bed might help.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague

I just need to say I love this whole series and so does Riley. This story is great because its funny and entertaining but is also teaching good bedtime routine.

On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman

I have probably mentioned this book in the past as well but this is one of my all time favorites. The art is extraordinary and the words are gorgeous. This was my first go to every night at bedtime for the first year. Tillman has had a couple more since this and the art is still beautiful but the words are not as captivating to me as in this book.

Books to NOT read at bedtime:

(Disclaimer: I am not saying don’t read these books so if you are just skimming at least know I still love titles to be read, just not before going to sleep)

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Obviously, a classic. Everyone should know the story. Even though this book takes place at nighttime I steer away from it as a bedtime book for one reason: roaring! If you are reading this correctly you should be roaring and causing the “wild ruckus”. I like this better for early in the day or after nap time.

Any Eric Carle Book Ever

Again, obviously classics. Eric Carle has a very unique style that is super recognizable and I love all the colors he uses in his art. However, because his art is so bright and vibrant I tend to say this is a day one as well. Also for titles like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You Hear, you’re going to be making some noises. Roaring, growling, ect.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr

This book has so much rhythm and rhyme going on if you are tired after reading it you’re not doing it right. You should be singing and thumping and clapping and whatever else it moves you to do.