Posts Tagged ‘
Thursday, October 4th, 2012
Fia’s hair is finally at chewing length. I noticed lately she’s been picking around at her tongue. When I’ve asked her what she’s doing, her reply is, “Eating my hair.”
“No Fia, you don’t eat hair, it’s bad for you,” I told her.
Now I seem to be repeating that sentence a couple times a day.
Yesterday I even saw hair in her poop. I wasn’t on an archeological dig in the toilet. I just happened to notice it while, well, wiping her.
Sure, I can put her hair up in a ponytail, but let’s face it, if you want to find a way to eat your hair, you will.
I’ve heard this is a really bad thing because hair doesn’t digest (as evidenced by my sewage excursion this week).
Can anyone offer me any suggestions? Appreciate it.
Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
When Fia was born, the internet saved me. Now, it’s killing me. Lately I have been writing about how I decided to unplug and what I discovered in unplugging. In short, my mind isn’t constantly racing and I feel more in-the-moment with my babies.
It was a different story with Fia. The web was my connection to the world. I would spend hours giving and getting advice from moms. I’d scour blogs and read everything from sleep training to reflux. I’d write about my own mental health. I’ve often said it wasn’t my husband or my therapist who pulled me through those early months. It was other moms. Many of whom I never met in person.
So it’s no surprise a recent study says that new moms who are in the blogosphere feel more connected, less alone, less stressed, even less depressed.
“That potentially is going to spill out into other aspects of their well being, including their marital relationship with their partner, the ways that they’re feeling about their parenting stress, and eventually into their levels of depression,” says Brandon T. McDaniel, graduate student in human development and family studies, Penn State.
He and his colleagues at Brigham Young University surveyed 157 new mothers who had babies under 18 months. They asked about their use of media, both in terms of blogging and social media like Facebook. The social media aspect didn’t have much impact. But writing and reading blogs did. I think therein lies the difference.
When you are texting and checking your phone all day for emails, your mind spins. You feel less-connected to just about everything. It becomes an addiction. When you’re blogging or reading blogs you feel more a part of something. I’m not tooting my own horn here. For me, the phone is my addiction, the blog is my salvation.
I think the author of the study explained it well. He pointed out several potential benefits for new mothers who blog:
- It gives moms a way to connect with family and friends who live far away.
- It gives moms a creative outlet. They can showcase their hobbies and accomplishments, especially the stay-at-home moms.
Both of these make sense to me. We moms often struggle with feeling under-appreciated. I know my blog gives me a sense of self that I may have lost otherwise.
In the study, the moms reported spending about three hours per day on the computer and using the Internet. That was only behind sleep at seven hours a day and caring for their babies at nine hours a day.
I think about the generations of moms before us. On the one hand, their lives seemed simpler. They weren’t checking iphones and texting all the time. What did they do with those extra three hours? I often wonder if they were more focused and present? Or if they were more stressed and depressed? We know by Betty Friedan’s, The Feminine Mystique
that many were questioning their purpose in life. Housewives were admitting their unhappiness and realizing motherhood wasn’t always enough. It still isn’t for many of us. In that regard, I think we are lucky to have all the technology at our fingertips. We can connect and feel connected. For many stay at home moms, blogging has even turned into a career.
How you manage it is the key.
There’s a fine line between fulfilling your life and dominating your life; between oversharenting
and not sharing enough. Should you be writing about your kids or spending time with them? I guess it comes down to finding your own personal balance. I know I’ve been working hard to find mine.
As for why social media like Facebook
did little for the moms? Here’s what I think: Social media, for all its good, is a time-suck
. I know it doesn’t leave me feeling content. Blogging, on the other hand, is writing. When I get to sit down and use my creative energy to put something organic out there, I feel purposeful and accomplished. Plus, if it helps others, I actually feel useful. Writing inspires me. It keeps my brain functioning in a way that diapers and breast pumps don’t.
But how do you embrace social media, disconnect from the internet/Blackberry, blog about motherhood, and not feel hypocritical?
I have said before that I’m going for quality over quantity. Set limits for your online time/your kid time/your wife time and stick to them. Put the phone away after a certain time of day. It takes discipline, but I think in this day and age, it’s the only way we can straddle all our worlds without losing sight of the most important one: our kids.
Image: Blog Pic via Shutterstock
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Must Read | Tags: addiction, blackberry, blog, blogging, blogs, emailing, facebook, ipad, iphone, myspace, oversharent, oversharenting, social media, technology, texting, twitter, unplug, unplugged
Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
Before Phil and I had kids, we used to joke that with our combined genes we shouldn’t procreate. Depression runs on both sides. Autism runs on his. Bipolar and addiction are strong on mine. And we both suffer from mild depression/anxiety ourselves. But despite these “bad genes,” what we really meant was we didn’t want kids. It was our excuse to remain selfish over selfless.
Thank god we changed our minds, because being selfless is far more gratifying. Plus, we have still retained plenty of our selfish lifestyle. We do date nights. But instead of coming home to an empty house, we get to kiss our babies while they sleep. There is nothing finer. We still take trips–we just take them with us. And frankly it’s far more fun. We still hike. Only now we each have a baby on our back (probably a better workout anyway). The things Fia sees in nature and her delight in something as simple as a spider web makes it far more interesting. But I digress. That’s not the point of this post.
In a recent interview, Sarah Silverman said she doesn’t want to have children for fear of passing on the depressive/mentally ill gene. Some called her brave and responsible for this. I call it ridiculous. An article in Time pointed out, rightfully so, that, “the same genes that can cause depression may also encourage the sensitivity and sensibility that gives Silverman her creative talent.”
I caused a decent amount of controversy when I wrote about my decision to stay on antidepressants while pregnant. Some called me selfish. Others said I shouldn’t procreate. But far more people came to my defense. Many were relieved to find they weren’t alone in their decision to do the same. Plus, studies show the drugs I am/was on had no greater chance of causing birth defects than pregnant women who don’t take anything.
I hope Fia and Emmett don’t struggle from depression or addiction. If they do though, I have the resources and information to get them proper help. I also believe that raising a child in a loving, stable, and nurturing environment counts for something. In my early formative years, my home was all that. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that things got a little ugly. Even so, I still turned out fine (I think). I contribute to society (I think). In fact, I have often said I’m grateful for the hardships I experienced. It made me the person I am today.
I have no doubt my kids will make this world a better place. They already have. Whether they end up suffering from a “bad gene” is beside the point.
Here’s who I don’t think should procreate: Abusive, neglectful people. I believe they will become abusive, neglectful parents. I’ll add lazy and inept to the list. And those who have more kids than they can afford who keep procreating because they’re probably too lazy or inept to use birth control. But a smart, witty, compassionate person who happens to suffer from mental illness, like Sarah Silverman? I bet she’d make a great mom and raise interesting, well-adjusted kids. There are plenty of reasons to not have biological children. And plenty of good, noble reasons to adopt. Or to just stay childless. But don’t make it because of a mental gene. There are far better excuses one could come up with.
Photo of Human Body via Shutterstock
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Losing a Parent, Mom Situations, Must Read | Tags: addiction, alcoholism, anxiety, autism, bipolar, depression, drug addiction, drugs, gene, gene pool, pregnancy, pregnant, procreate, Sarah Silverman, selfish, taking antidepressants when pregnant
Monday, June 25th, 2012
“Hello. My name is Jill and I am a Blackberry addict.”
Actually, I don’t think I’m as bad as some (we love to justify our bad behavior, don’t we?), but I did decide last week to unplug for a bit. I wrote about my plan (Is My Tech Addiction Making Me a Bad Mom?) and today is the follow-up.
In putting the brakes on my computer and blackberry, here’s what didn’t happen:
- The world didn’t fall apart.
- I didn’t lose out on any jobs.
- I didn’t lose any friends.
- I didn’t miss any important calls.
- I didn’t miss any deadlines.
- I didn’t have crazy mood swings (because I wasn’t checking email and text constantly).
Here’s what did happen:
- I felt focused and present with my babies.
- I felt focused and present with my husband.
- I felt focused and present with my writing.
- I felt focused and present with my life.
- In short: I felt happier. Because I was.
I can see how the addiction creeps up though. I found that after the first couple days of being really disciplined, I’d start to regress. I’d go into the mindset of: “I’ll just check my phone really quick. Just this one time.” It is such a habit I had to be incredibly self-aware and disciplined. I knew that if I just “started to check a few times here and there,” I would be back into full-blown crazy. It’s like a recovering alcoholic just having a “few sips.” It doesn’t work.
After my post I got some great comments from all of you. And not one of you disagreed with how plugged in we are. Universally, everyone had the same take: ie: Guilty of “checking in” with the phone and “checking out” with the kids. One mom said she almost missed her toddler’s first steps. Another says she is thinking of having a “phone basket” by the front door. It’s a place to put their phones when she and her husband come home from work.
My friend Teresa (who got me on this kick) told me to take this a step further. She brought up some excellent points. Not only are we getting scattered and blue checking our phones, but are we also:
1. Modeling behavior for kids who will think interacting involves constant detaching. Are these the kids who will sit at the table with an iPad all the time? Is that okay? In moderation, probably. All the time? No way. (Read fellow blogger Heather Morgan Shott’s recent blog about Smartphones becoming the new pacifier.)
2. Sending a message to our kids that other things are more important.
Granted, sometimes other things are more important, but maybe we shouldn’t constantly be at the beck and call of the world.
Unless you live in a cave, you all know what I’m getting at. And it’s not pretty. Agreed?
I’m continuing on my journey of unplugging in chunks and then doing a total blackout at night (not with the bottle. Then I’ll need another 12-step program!). Every afternoon I put my phone away starting at 3:30 pm. When Fia is asleep and Emmett is resting, I do one check around 7:30 or 8 for a maximum of ten minutes. Then that’s it until 9 a.m. the next day.
I won’t check my phone right before going to bed either. It can quickly get my mind racing. Not exactly conducive to falling asleep. These issues have been thoroughly documented. There’s even a book out now: Sleeping With Your Smart Phone. It’s all about how to break the 24/7 habit. An article in Time Magazine calls us a nation of “addicts” when it comes to our phones. It’s gross, isn’t it?
Did any of you come to different conclusions? Are you continuing on the path to unplug? Maybe we should start a movement called, “Unplugged: The Path to Present.” Thoughts?
Blackberry Picture via Shutterstock.
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Milestone Monday, Must Read | Tags: addiction, alcoholic, alcoholism, blackberry, computer, email, focused, ipad, iphone, milestone monday, oversharent, oversharenting, phone, present, sleep, technology, text, The Path To Present, unplug, unplugged
Monday, June 11th, 2012
I don’t think I’ve ever sat on a public toilet. I squat, but I don’t let my legs touch. My quads get a good workout. So does my brain. I will myself not to look at or think about the grime, the hair, and god-knows-what-else that is lurking. I have already been in hypnotherapy for my compulsive cleaning addiction. But training Fia to not only go into a public toilet, but to SIT on one, is going to be tough. However, doctor’s orders: Get over it!
At her 2.5-year check up last week he really set me straight.
“How’s she doing with potty training?” he asked.
“She does great with the poops, but we haven’t worked on pee as much.”
“Why not?” he asked.
“Because she will pee a lot more frequently, which means I have to deal with public bathrooms. And I’d prefer diapers to kneeling on a disgusting floor with her on a disgusting toilet. So I’ve been putting off the inevitable. With poop, it’s only once a day and usually in the evening, so we’re at home.”
“Ahhh…. this is very important to discuss then,” he said.
The short of it is: if you don’t train your children to go the bathroom–#1 or #2–in every scenario, then they will develop an aversion to using the bathroom outside of the house. He knows people who are prisoners to their own potty. They literally won’t leave their dwelling until they’ve shat.
“There’s a fire? Sorry, I can’t evacuate. I haven’t pooped yet.”
Basically, if I don’t teach her to go everywhere and anywhere, she could end up with a bathroom obsession. And lord only knows she probably already has many obsessive tendencies/genes. She doesn’t need anymore.
My next meditation will consist of positive imagery. I will envision us walking into the bathroom, dressed in fatigues, my head held high. I will properly line her toilet seat with paper. I will cheerlead. A cockroach might run past with a pubic hair in its mouth. “Look Mama look!” she’ll shout with excitement. “Wow, how neat!” I’ll say through clenched teeth. “Are you finished yet?”
My face will never show disgust.
We will sit for 15 minutes. She will pee a teaspoon. And damn it, I’ll enjoy every minute and drop.
Another good example Fia’s pediatrician gave:
He hates salmon. Every time they have it, his girls whine, “Daddy, do we have to eat the salmon?” He replies, “Of course you do. Salmon is yummy!” and puts a forkful in his mouth (even though he is cringing inside). If he took a different approach, i.e.: “I don’t like salmon either,” they may never eat that fish again. If they end up disliking it, fine. But don’t let it be because of you.
We all know kids are little mimes. As parents, we are asked to do the impossible: show them the way, even if it’s not our way, our preference. But when it comes to bodily functions, there really isn’t a choice.
For me, I want to travel the world with my kids. She’ll have to learn to squat over dirt holes in India, on bushes in Africa, and in outhouses in South Dakota. And I get to lead the way. From now on, I will see the filth and squat right next to it. I will smile at it.
In short, I will embrace the gross.
Grungy toilet via Shutterstock
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Milestone Monday | Tags: addiction, clean freak, cleaning, compulsive cleaning addiction, germs, hypnotherapy, milestone monday, obsession, obsessive, Pediatrician, pee, poop, potty training, pubic hair, public bathroom, public toilet