Maybe Mom Wasn’t That Crazy…

I know that there are a lot of women in the world who grow up, have a kid, and all of the sudden, they understand all of the insanity of their own mothers. My own mom even told me that when she was a new mom she called her mother one day to apologize and tell her that she now understood all of the crazy things she did and said and that they really weren’t all that crazy.

                I feel like I was lucky in a way because my dad told me his reasoning for all of the things he did as a parent and translated my mom’s reasoning as well because my mom was notorious for the “because I said so” mom line.

Everything was really put into perspective for me at a young age and I was given this sort of advantage in a way. Since my dad really laid everything out for me, I didn’t really feel like I needed to ask ‘why’ anymore and this saved my parents and me so much stress.

                Being called home from a party or sleepover a little early is the absolute worst when you’re having fun. But when you get home and slam your bedroom door and mutter all the nastiness you can think of under your breath, you’re safe. You’re at home and not on the road at the same time as the guy who had one too many drinks and then drove home. You’re not the girl at the party throwing back whatever drink you can find and passing out God knows where. You’re no longer out doing who knows what with who knows who and now your parents can sleep knowing you’re at home and not in any possible danger. This was a talk my dad gave me when I contested his strict curfew policy. I was nineteen and engaged to be married and I still had to be home at 10pm on weeknights and 11pm on weekends. But when he told me that he doesn’t go to sleep until he knows I’m home, I never questioned it again.

                Chores as a kid are really not originally intended to take any burden off your parents. I know that my brother and I hated our chores with a passion. Of course, I had way more and way bigger chores than he did, but regardless, everybody hates chores. One time a girl at school asked me, “why do you have to clean your mom’s house? It’s her house, so why should you clean it?” I told my dad what the girl had said, my dad’s response was eye opening. Some may disagree, but I never questioned again why I had to do things around their house. He told me that I don’t just live there for free. That girl was right that it is their house, not mine. Therefore, they allow me to live there. Meaning I don’t get any monetary allowance because my “allowance” is being allowed to live in their house, allowed to eat their food and allowed to wear the clothes that they buy for me with their money. In my dad’s words, I didn’t just live there for free. I worked for what I got. Meaning I cleaned the house to “earn my keep” so to speak. Why should he and mom go to work all day long to pay for all this stuff and then have to come home and do all the work in the house. That’s not fair. My outlook on it is that, regardless of earning one’s keep or whatever, chores teach kids responsibility and prepare them for real life. If my dad had never taught me how to sweep a floor as a kid, I’d have one nasty house. Leaving my brother and I with regular chores that had to be done every single day taught us to have responsibility to take care of the things we need and to take initiative when something needed to be done. No one should have to tell you to clean the kitchen if you know for a fact that you must do it every day. No has to tell you to go to work when you know that you go to work every day from 9 to 5. You just get up off your rear end and go to work because you know that is your responsibility.

                There are a lot of things that people may disagree with their parents about, but in the end, it can only be for your good. Do you know any reason for your parents to tell you to do something that’s going to get you hurt or put you in any bad situation? I can say that there are certain ways to go about different things and that, while an explanation is not always entirely necessary for everything you do, it would certainly help. My mom would tell me that she didn’t have to explain herself, that she was the mom and I was to do whatever she said just because she said so. My dad was really good at explaining his reasoning and points, making me a lot more respectful of what he said. There was always good reason behind it, even if I didn’t know what the reason was for everything, it didn’t matter to me because, based on all the times he did give a reason, it made perfect sense to me, so I trusted him and didn’t question him nearly as much. I feel like communication is the biggest thing in any relationship, even parent/child relationships. My dad and I communicated about everything within reason and my dad is my absolute best friend.

 

                Not all moms are crazy and not all moms are our best friends, but I’m sure all moms have made their kids mad at them in some way at some point. But the only thing to remember is that whatever she did or said to make her kids mad, probably had a good reason behind it. So now that you look back on your own childhood, maybe mom wasn’t that crazy… And maybe now you can learn from her and yourself as a child, to see if there’s anything you’d like to change about your relationship with your own kids or if there’s anything you’d like to try with your future children.

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Advice For New and Veteran Moms

Being a first-time mommy, I realize that there is a lot for me to learn. While of course I can learn a lot from my own mom, mother in law, and other moms in my family, but it has been quite a few years since they’ve had babies and things have changed over time, so having other mom friends of my own to share their experience and advice with me has definitely come in handy since I brought my little love into this world. Here is some of the advice I have gotten so far, and some advice other first-time moms have shared that may be a blessing to someone else too.

Cloth diapers. Yes, I know that’s what your grandma used on your moms and dads, but cloth diapering has come a long way from rags and pins. Modern cloth diapers are adjustable, snap-on diapers with absorbent cloth inserts to keep your little one’s hiney dry and comfy while saving mommy and daddy lots of money on disposable diapers. Just like the cloth diapers of old, just wash them and reuse again and again, even if you have another baby in a few years, you can use the same diapers on them, instead of buying all disposable diapers again.

Nap time for baby is nap time for mommy. I know that it seems like the only time you can get anything done around the house is when your baby is sleeping, but what good are you gonna do if you’re too tired to function and you accidentally start pouring coffee into the dog’s bowl and pour milk over a bowl of dog food because you mistook it for cereal? Mommies need sleep just as much as the next person, we just have different schedules on which we get it. So, snuggle up with that little munchkin and get you some rest! You’re gonna need it come dinner time, Lord knows.

No screaming over spilled milk. As your kids get older, you’ll come to realize that making messes and tearing things up is pretty much hardwired in their DNA. They’re going to make plenty of messes and break all kinds of things, they’re gonna break things you didn’t even know they could break. Just roll with it and use it as an opportunity to teach them. Maybe today’s lesson will be that cereal goes in bowls, not on a plate, or hold our cups with two hands. When they’re old enough, you can start teaching them to clean up their messes behind themselves. Granted, they may not get it all up, or they might just wipe their crumbs off the counter right into the floor, but at least their showing initiative and trying to help. That’s a big sign of maturity and responsibility. Help them, guide them, teach them, but don’t go yelling and screaming over tiny messes that can easily be cleaned up.

Not all advice is good advice. Everyone and their momma (literally) is going to be giving you advice and telling you all sorts of things that you should and should not be doing with and to your baby. Not all of their advice is going to be what’s right for you and your child. All of us women are pre-programmed with mother’s intuition on our factory hard drives. There will be times when someone is going to give you a piece of advice about the mothering of your baby and you are going to know in your heart and in your gut that it’s just not right, politely decline, disagree, or just smile and thank them for their suggestion, but you will know for a fact that is not something you should do. Always listen to your gut!

Photo ops are everything. Many moms feel like they’re constantly shoving cameras in everyone’s faces, do it anyway. You’re gonna want to remember all these little things because they’re not going to last forever. So take lots of pictures and have them printed to make albums, record videos and save them to a USB so your kids can watch them later down the road and reminisce on that little girl who used to live next door that always wore piggy tails and had that snaggle tooth, or the time they fell off their bike and thought it was the end of the world until daddy scooped them up and told them never to give up on themselves, or just those dress up tea parties that seemed to happen a lot more than occasionally. Whatever it is that makes your heart happy now, record it for the years to come. You’ll thank yourself.

Water and sunlight isn’t just for plants. A little H2O and some vitamin D can make a world of difference in both mom and baby. Health and mood benefits are definite pluses in my book! So, take that precious little human out in the stroller for a quick walk. I know it may seem like there’s no time, but I assure you the dishes can wait another thirty minutes. Grab a bottle of water for you, a bottle of milk for baby and go walk the neighborhood. It will make you feel a ton better, it’s good for baby’s immune system, and what a simple way to burn some calories and lose a little of that baby weight!

Don’t blink. It may be cliché but trust me. One day you’re going to be out shopping and see a child younger than your own and you’re going to look at them and say, “I remember when you were that little! What happened to my tiny baby!” Every stage they go through, every milestone and achievement is worth remembering, so take your time with them and really enjoy every moment.

We may be super hero moms, but we are still human, and humans make mistakes. Not everything you do or say is going to be right. Don’t spend too much time dwelling on something you can’t take back or change. Learn from your mistake, apologize or talk it out, and move on knowing that not everyone is perfect and you’re still learning just like your little one.

Sometimes babies just feel like crying. There are lots of moms who don’t pick their babies up every time they cry, and that’s okay. There will be times when their butts are clean, bellies are full, they’ve been burped and there’s nothing they could possibly be crying for. They’re just having a fuss. You don’t know why, they don’t know why, but stressing yourself out trying to calm them is just going to make it worse. Your baby can feel your emotions, your stress and your anxiety. If you’re frantically patting them and doing the freaked out “it’s okay, it’s okay!” they’re just going to freak out even more because they know mommy’s freaked out and that’s not cool! You can always put on some soft music and rub their little heads and talk to them gently to calm them, or just let them get it all out. Either way, you’re not a bad mom for letting your baby cry. I repeat, you are NOT a bad mom for letting your baby cry under these circumstances. The more you hold them and freak out with your frantic, anxious, mental and emotional overload, the more likely you are to hurt your baby and that’s definitely not good.

In all, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Nobody hands you a How-To Manual at the hospital when you have a baby and there is no real set of rules to follow, so if you need help, ask someone (Google and Siri included) for advice. Remember the smile and nod approach to the advice you feel doesn’t resonate with you personally, but don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. We all need a new perspective every now and then.

If you have any advice of your own to share, feel free to do so in the comments! I know there is lots of advice waiting to be shared from one mom to the next. Let me know if any of this advice helped you and if you need more, you know where to find me!

I Called My Doctor a Liar

Life seems to think it’s entertaining to throw us through some hoops here and there. Myself in particular can vouch for that first hand. I’ve had a pretty hoop-y life, and I’ve been through my fair share of hoops. The time I called my doctor a liar was, in fact, a particularly hoop-y time in my life. I had just recently been medically separated from the US Air Force, gotten engaged and moved in with my handsome new fiancé. But in order for me to tell the name calling story, I have to give you a little backstory, if not for your own understanding of the situation, then for me to justify calling this nice lady a liar to her face.

In the year 2011, I was a 15-year-old high school sophomore riding the bus home from school. Just like any other day, I was cracking jokes and laughing and carrying on with the other kids when I got a sudden sharp pain in my lower abdomen. It felt like I had been punched. When I got off at my bus stop I could hardly walk, but with no car, no cell phone, and a quarter mile between me and my house, I had no choice. So, I walked home and thankfully my mom was off work that day. I went inside and told her what happened, where it hurt, how bad it hurt, and showed her my swollen belly. And off to the Urgent Care Center we went. When I walked in, the receptionist asked me how far along I was, they thought I was going into preterm labor, I informed her that I was not pregnant, nor was it slightly possible for me to be. I was rushed in to see the doctor who said the only place for me was the ER. So off we went. To wrap this particular hoop story up, after a night spent in the hospital, lots of icky needles, a terrible experience with a particularly intrusive type of ultrasound, and one flirty male nurse it was determined that the pain I felt was the rupture of an ovarian cyst the size of a grapefruit on my right ovary. I was told that I had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and that I was to begin a birth control regimen to, hopefully, help fix the situation.

The next relevant hoop that life tossed at me from left field happened in the year 2014, I was a 17-year-old high school senior with my first car, first real job, and first serious (yet also awful) relationship. I had been living with these cysts on my ovaries for just over two years by now, so I was pretty accustomed to the routine: feel the pain, take a pill, wait it out. So, one day at work I felt the familiar stab in my abdomen, I took a pill and waited for the pain to ease. The next day I started to bleed very lightly, I later found out that it wasn’t my cycle like I’d thought. For a week I bled and thought for sure it would end soon because the pain was unlike any other monthly gift I’d gotten. Then one Sunday night after work, I was laying in the bathtub trying to prepare myself for Monday morning, when I felt a wave come over my body that I could only describe as a sudden draining, I was about to pass out. I kicked the plug from the drain and the next thing I knew, I was waking up in a dry, empty bathtub. Well that wasn’t good. I got up and grabbed my towel, I knew I needed to tell my mom. The next second I was waking up on the floor of the bathroom, towel splayed across my body, leaning up against the door frame. I made it down the hall to my room and laid on the bed under the fan a while, got dressed and practically crawled down the hall to my parents’ room where my dad was in the shower, but my mom was in bed watching tv. I told her of what happened, and it was decided that I shouldn’t be driving in that condition, so my brother would take the bus and I would stay home… I wound up going to school the next day because it was exam week and I couldn’t miss my final exams of the year. I made it into my first class of the day, Spanish 2. My teacher took one look at me and sent me home. I had a friend drive me and again, by the grace of God, my mom was off work and at home. We went, again, to the ER and immediately I was being worked up. I was given my first blood transfusion and moved into a room. Many tests and scans were done to find out why, but all that was known was that I was bleeding into my abdomen from and unknown source. An emergency surgery was scheduled for that next morning. The final account is that I was bleeding from a ruptured fallopian tube. The reason the doctor gave me for this was that after years of giant cysts bursting on my ovary (and apparently my fallopian tube as well), there was some irreparable damage done and that the ovary and fallopian tube on my right side were no longer productive members of my internal society, so he cut them out. So, there I was, 17 years old, and I had just half of my reproductive system. And the other half wasn’t in much better shape. Great.

Fast forward one year. It’s 2015, I’m an 18-year-old college student working as many hours as I can to try and put myself through classes with not much success. I worked at a retail store and on one day, I got sick. Not just a cold sick or my tummy hurt sick, but I was ripping the collar of my shirt because I felt like I was being choked sick, and sweating while shivering because I had the cold sweats sick. What? So, I called my mom to come get me, told my manager I needed to go, and I clocked out. The diagnosis this time was Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. That just means that I had a thyroid disease caused by the stress my body had gone through the year before when I went through my semi- pre- menopause. So now, I have one ovary that hardly works, cysts that attack said ovary, a negative blood type which makes pregnancy difficult, and a potentially detrimental disease in the case of pregnancy. Cool.

Jumping ahead to June 2016. Here’s where I can pick back up with my name-calling story. I had recently come home from the military, started a great new job, and moved in with my new fiancé. Life was a little hoop-y but I was doing the best I could and making it work. I was happy and had lots of good plans for a wedding in the fall of the next year. One day I got this strange… shifting feeling in my gut. There’s no other way for me to explain it but it was as if I could feel my insides shifting. It wasn’t painful at first, but it did eventually start to hurt. About a week later, it was around midnight when I woke up in so much pain that I couldn’t breathe. So that handsome man in the bed next to me told me to get some pants on, we’re going to the ER. I wasn’t gonna argue. We were there for what seemed like forever. I had answered all the same questions a million times, told them all about my history, gave a urine sample and a blood sample, got an IV port started (yuck), but I had been given nothing for the pain. What was up? Around 4 o’clock, the doctor came back, she asked me a few more questions for the 5th time, then she hit me with a new one. Was it possible that I could be pregnant? I felt like being miss sassy pants and hitting her with a real good smart allec remark, but instead I just told her that, however unlikely, it was in fact possible. Let me tell you what she said. This girl looked me dead in my face and just says, “Oh, cool, cause you are.” Uhhhhhh, excuse me? That was a bit of a strange way to go about breaking the news to someone… but I guess she did her best? My fiancé and I looked at her, stunned for a few minutes, then, in sync, we both said, ” No I’m/she’s not.” “There’s no way!” I said, but she assured me that, yes, I was in fact pregnant with a little nugget all my own.

After she left, my fiancé and I sat in shocked silence. “What are we gonna do?” we kept asking. I just called my doctor a liar, almost hoping she was joking. I know that’s a terrible thing to say, but I was terrified. We were in no place to be raising a baby! We could just comfortably support ourselves on our two incomes. But, that was that. The longer the information marinated in our minds, the more we started to smile and laugh and enjoy the knowledge that in the near future, we were gonna be a real-life family. The wedding was moved to the fall of 2016 instead of the next fall, so we were married on the 1st of October, 2016, we had plans to move into an actual home of our own instead of our apartment at the end of November, and my whole life felt like, no matter what hoops life threw at me, I could jump.