My mom has always said that I was the happiest baby the world’s ever seen. Perhaps she’s right: My baby book is filled with photos of me grinning from ear to ear. Still, I’ve always wondered if what she saw as “happy,” was really just normal. Normal, that is, compared to my older brother, Craig—who had colic.
I can’t imagine what it must be like to care for a baby whose cries fill the air for hours on end. But a new survey released in tandem with Born Free‘s second annual Colic Awareness Month tells me that it’s lonely: Eight out of 10 moms with colicky babies say that colic has moderately or significantly affected their ability to leave the house, and nearly 80 percent of them are hesitant to ask friends or family for help.
So what can we do? For starters, pledge to help a friend or family member who has a fussy newborn. Born Free’s request is simple: Commit one hour to assisting another mom. Wash her laundry, watch the baby while she gets some much-needed rest—whatever you can do. The important thing is to let her know that you care.
If you’re wondering how to dress that gorgeous, growing bump of yours, listen up: American Baby‘s resident maternity expert, senior lifestyle editor Jessica Hartshorn, is joining forces with maternity designer and Parents contributing editor Rosie Pope and Hollywood Hot Moms co-founder Natalie Klein for an all-things-maternity-wear Twitter chat, hosted by zulily, this Friday, March 1, from 12 to 1 p.m. EST.
Follow along at #zulilymaternitystyle, and don’t forget to bring your best 140-character questions and insights! One lucky participant will walk away with a $50 zulily gift card.
Nothing rocks a relationship quite like having a child. Last week, we asked readers on Facebook to send us their toughest questions. Joyce Marter, owner of Urban Balance LLC, a multi-site psychotherapy practice in Chicago, answers—just in time for Valentine’s Day.
My husband and I seem to fight all the time about who does more around the house. We’ve even tried tracking chores on a spreadsheet, but nothing seems to help. Any advice for how to alleviate this point of contention?
I agree that this is the biggest relationship challenge for parents of young children, myself included!
I recommend that you and your husband revisit the chores spreadsheet together, making sure you include all household, financial, social, and familial responsibilities. Also, map out your daily or weekly schedule and identify who is responsible for what on which days. The more specific and clear the delineation of responsibilities, the easier it is to make sure both partners are contributing equally.
When you’re finished with the spreadsheet of responsibilities and the weekly routine, discuss them. Does the plan feel fair? Is it realistic? Communicate assertively and respectfully, make any necessary changes, sign off on it, and post it in your kitchen. Agree to revisit it every Sunday, even if just for a 10-minute check-in.
It’s these follow-ups that are most important. Otherwise even the best laid plan won’t work. Make a point to acknowledge and express appreciation to one another for what you’ve both contributed.
Division of labor is something that will constantly need to be revisited and renegotiated as your children grow and your family’s needs and responsibilities change. Consistent and pro-active communication is the key to preventing arguments about who does more.
In my practice, I see many couples where the woman over-functions in the areas of caring for the kids and home, which leads to exhaustion and resentment. They are often seen by their male partners as negative and critical. It’s also common to see men under-functioning at home, but believing they do their fair share or at least more than most dads.
It’s important to seek a mutually supportive, loving partnership. Women need to stop enabling men to slack off on baby care, by instead setting clear expectations and boundaries, and allowing them to contribute without micromanaging or criticizing. Men need to step it up, realizing that the time and energy spent managing more responsibilities at home will be far less than that spent arguing. As they say, happy wife, happy life!
I’ve become a really light sleeper since having my daughter, and my husband’s snoring is just too loud. It’s causing resentment on my end because I’m the only one who gets up during the night with her, and I’m already exhausted. I’m considering separate bedrooms. Will this hurt our relationship even more?
Everything is harder when you are sleep-deprived, and snoring is the worst!
First, you need to insist that your husband try to resolve the snoring problem. There are many remedies (such as nose strips) that are easily available and perhaps worth a try. He may need to consult a doctor to rule out chronic sinus infection or even participate in a sleep study to make sure he doesn’t have sleep apnea or another condition. Alcohol use and being overweight can exacerbate snoring, so a healthy lifestyle can lessen the problem.
Second, you need to prioritize rest. That means getting to bed as early as you can and napping whenever possible (it’s more important to catch some Z’s than to empty the dishwasher). But it also means putting your foot down and asking your husband to help with your daughter during the night. I recommend that you agree on a routine so the expectations are clear. Additionally, perhaps he could tend to her first thing in the morning and allow you to snooze a bit later—at least on the days that both of you are off work. Even if you’re awake and he’s dead asleep, you need to insist that he get up. Otherwise your resentment will continue to damage your relationship. Ironically, it’s because you love him that you are making him help.
Finally, I do not recommend separate bedrooms. Sleeping separately can lead to serious disconnection that can be difficult to regain down the road, after it becomes clear how damaging it has been to the marriage. Physical and sexual intimacy is important in a relationship.
In fact, you might remind him that women who are well rested are more likely to want to have sex! (more…)
Around the world, at least one in three women has been abused—most often by a member of her own family. Shocking, isn’t it?
On International Women’s Day, I want to encourage you to take even the smallest step to put a stop to it. Last week, I was honored to attend the 2nd World Conference of Women’s Shelters in Washington, D.C. There actress Reese Witherspoon, who’s the honorary chairman of the Avon Foundation for Women, introduced Avon’s newest Empowerment product: the Circle of Support necklace ($5, avon.com). The circle is comprised of infinity symbols that represent the unlimited potential of women everywhere. More importantly, 100 percent of its net profits will be donated to the Avon Foundation for programs dedicated to ending violence against women.
So spare a few dollars, won’t you? Together we can make the world a safer place.
I’m a sucker for a sweet video, so when one of the people I follow on Twitter tweeted this one today, I just had to share. Yes, it’s an ad (for Google Chrome, to be exact), but it’s also one of the most aw-worthy displays of daddy-daughter love I’ve ever seen. What a great way to document your child’s life! Have you done something similar? We want to hear about it!
If passed, new guidelines from the federal government will give the food industry an ultimatum: Make your products healthier, or stop marketing them to children.
In an effort to end childhood obesity, the Federal Trade Commission would require manufacturers to include certain ingredients—like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and low-fat milk—in their products, while also avoiding unhealthy levels of sugar, saturated fat, trans fat and salt. Companies who choose to comply will likely have 5 to 10 years to do so. And ones that don’t will be asked to stop using kid-friendly themes and characters—likeFroot Loops’ Toucan Sam, for example—in their advertisements.
Proponents say it’s a huge step in fighting an industry that, in 2006, spent nearly $2.3 billion to market often-unhealthy foods to children in the U.S. What do you think? Are you in favor of having the standards passed?
Nearly two years after moving to New York City, I’ve finally kicked the culture shock long enough to think about my future here. And I’ve decided that I can be happy, but that may require me to alter my expectations a little. Maybe I’ll never build a house from the ground up like I always dreamed, or even own a house at all. (I mean, does a 2-bedroom apartment count?) What I end up with—personally and professionally—may not be everything I expected, but you know what? It’s going to be good enough.
And that’s from a girl who hasn’t even entered the turn-your-world-upside-down chaos of motherhood. Still, I’m adopting the mantra of the new book Good Enough is the New Perfect, released today. Co-written by Becky Beaupre Gillespie and Hollee Schwartz Temple (who I had the pleasure of meeting during my time at West Virginia University), the book draws on in-depth interviews and the latest research to help women find happiness and success in their roles as wives, mothers and professionals. Does that mean compromise? Sure. But it doesn’t mean settling for less: Becky and Hollee simply believe that “having it all” means creating an “all” that you love.
I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a bloomaholic—nothing makes me happier than filling my apartment with vases of fresh flowers. But without fail, a few days later (sooner if my cat gets her paws on them) I find them wilted and sad, and I know it’s time to toss them out.
So imagine my delight when one of my favorite bloggers posted a link to Flores del Sol, an Etsy shop that sells dried flower arrangements at prices just as reasonable as fresh flowers, if not more so. And because they’re preserved, you’ll be able to enjoy them longer. The perfect Mother’s Day gift, don’t you think? I want the little beauty on the right for my own place, and I’m considering Celeste for my mom and mother-in-law. What are you wishing for this Mother’s Day?