Motherhood is a beautiful new thing. You join a new community of “mothers” that offers so much advice and help. Although most people celebrate in your joy, unfortunately, whether intentionally or unintentionally, many people offer very awkward comments to new mothers. It becomes a rite of passage for new mothers that you aren’t officially a “new mom” until you received an awkward comment. Most of the comments are well-meaning, but that does not make them any less awkward!
I am a seasoned breastfeeding mother. I have been through the trenches not once, but twice. I have spent hours trying to get my babies to latch correctly, silently clenching my teeth, tears streaming down my face as stabbing pain shot through my raw, bleeding nipples. I’ve rocked hysterical babies through the wee hours of the night as they struggled with reflux, and sat in a zombie-like state for days, during marathon cluster feedings. I have a permanent scar on my left nipple from a newly sprouted tooth. I spent hours attached to a machine, urging my body to produce milk via pump, often with very little luck. I’ve compressed clogged ducts in the shower, painful to the slightest touch, and have woken up to rock hard breasts and drenched sheets. I’ve been there, Mama. I’ve been through it all. And I just want you, the new breastfeeding mom who’s struggling to get through the day, to know, it’s all going to be ok.
Lately, my children have been telling me that I look beautiful. I have to admit, I take a moment – just a few seconds – each time they look at me with those sparkling, wondrous eyes and truly genuine smiles, and compliment my appearance in unadulterated admiration and awe, and I bask in the feeling it gives me. It’s been a long time since someone has acknowledged my outer beauty. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know the reason why.
From the moment my son was born nearly 6 years ago, motherhood just swallowed me whole. It consumed all of me, wrapped me up in its massive arms and held me hostage. It took hold of my heart, and my love became singularly focused on my little creation. It syphoned my energy – every ounce of it – and left me with what so often in those early days felt like the shell of a person, depleted and barely functioning, but surviving on baby snuggles and a euphoric new sense of worth. In other, far less poetic words, I looked like a walking zombie.
Got mom-guilt while being a working mom with either a home business or a job? Feel judged by other moms who have the luxury of the exclusive home-maker life? Not certain if you can effectively raise your children and contribute financially using your natural or learned skill sets in a job or business? Relax, Mom, you are right where you need to be for yourself and especially for your children. Believe it or not, your children do benefit from having a working mom.
As parents, we so often take for granted the difference that an adult role model or mentor really makes in the life of a child. For most of us, we are either raising our children together with our spouse under one roof or as part of a larger blended family. Many of us have extended family as well with aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins either down the street or just a phone call away. Unfortunately, for a large part of our society, this is not the case. Take a walk through the inner-city streets, the projects or even just the low-income neighborhoods present in every city and state, and look around. There you will see young children through young adults who are trying to make it in this world virtually all alone. Whether it is kids living in foster care, living with an elderly grandparent, or living with an overtired, overworked single mom, there are millions of children in need of some quality adult attention. An invaluable resource for these children is a mentor. If you or someone you know wants to make a difference in the life of a child or teen, consider becoming a volunteer mentor.
If you missed part 1 & 2 of my surprising journey to better health and wellness, please read that first, here (part 1) and here (part 2). This is the conclusion to my 3-part story, but really, it is just the beginning of my journey!
We know that many of our loyal readers at Daily Mom are mom-turned-photographers, or professional photographers themselves. Every year, we strive to publish relevant information within the photography world such as gift guides, and informative posts. For many of us in the realm, we’ve made it through the busiest season of all: fall. From all the families that have to schedule a photo session to proudly display on their annual Christmas cards, to those brides and grooms that want that perfect, crisp, fall weather, we know first-hand that, come January, you’re ready for some down time. We’re here today to give you some amazing suggestions, and be the photographers guide on how to recoup from busy season burn-out.
You’re less judged than you realize. Where does this need to have the “house picked up” before friends or family come over come from? What was it your mother said (or MIL) to you that instills this cringing fear of OMG, the house is a mess and they’re coming over. First things first, messy is not the same as filthy. Messes tend to happen when children are running around daily and there’s a lovely collection of activity-induced materials strewn across the home. This is normal. Filth is literally like sludge, grime, pools and pools of dirt – an uncleanliness that can actually cause sickness. So let’s face it, Mom: Unless there’s a super-nanny-cleaner at the heels of your family members to pick up, dust off, wipe up, catch, prevent, and finally care enough till their dying day, having a messy home is simply: A part of a successful mom-life.
Should I breastfeed or bottle feed? Swaddle or co-sleep? Read to them every night or just hold them close? Never yell or keep my frustrations to myself? Gee, that’s a lot of questions to ask oneself! “Perfection” in terms of motherhood pretty much alludes to the best of us no matter how hard we try. And yet, we keep apologizing for our shortcomings that seem undoubtedly, normal. So, I stopped being the ‘perfect” mom; and just became, Mom.
If you missed part 1 of my surprising journey to better health and wellness, please read that first, here.
I left my doctor’s office, thinking I would just cure myself with nutrition and fitness (nevermind the fact that I loathed working out and loved donuts), and got myself on the wait list to begin the partial inpatient day hospital in January. And unexpectedly, things began to spiral really, really quickly. My mood worsened, and it took nothing to set me off. I was snapping at everyone, and basically woke up yelling. Sun up to sun down, I was yelling. If any one thing went slightly wrong, I collapsed into a puddle of tears. Every single tiny inconvenience – or anything really – even a child asking a question – was incredibly irritating to me. The process to get into the day hospital (read: insurance nightmare) was enormously challenging for my increasingly fragile state, and I remember standing at my kitchen island, ugly crying tears of frustration, so many times. I was starting to question my decision to skip medication, because I still hadn’t gotten off the couch, or removed my face from the piles of candy I was eating.
Eighteen years ago I began an annual Christmas tradition that to this day still means more to me than holiday decorations, cookie parties or Christmas carols. I chose a family, 3 girls all under the age of 5, to provide with Christmas gifts. Puffy pink jackets, purple shoes and dolls were just some of the fun and exciting girl presents I was able to purchase with my own hard earned money for the first time in my life.
These little girls with rhyming names never knew where these things came from, but for once in their young lives they were able to experience the magical moments of a Christmas morning with gifts under the tree.
Hi and welcome to Daily Mom’s brand new, first ever personal column – written by yours truly, Heather. I am beyond excited to share my health and wellness story with you, and you can follow along here on Daily Mom, and on Instagram. I’ve been on an interesting journey this past year, and this column, Wellness Wednesday with Heather, will take you along the journey with me. Overall, this column will be about where I’ve come from, where I’ve gone, and where I’m going – all related to health and wellness, fitness and nutrition.
Health and wellness – more specifically, fitness and nutrition, saved my life. I don’t say that to be dramatic, I say it because it’s true. Never in my life would I have expected to experience the journey I have lived over the past year – or more accurately, the past six years. But before we get into the here and now, we have to go way back six years ago, when my first son, Benjamin, was born.
Reading is a fundamental right to our culture and according to readingisfundamental.org, we as parents should start reading to them when they are young and stick with it. At just a few months of age, our children are able to look at pictures, listen to our voices, and even point at objects. This simple task of reading to my children, I must confess – I don’t do on a daily basis (or even weekly).
Whether you had an “oopsy” or methodically, thought out, well-planned pregnancy, your bundle of joy, snuggled in your womb is just waiting to be born. Your anticipation of the excitement, joys, scary ‘what if’ moments, and the over flowing emotions of love are ready and eager to pour out all over this child. Well… that is until just a few years later as their personality really is developing – it comes out… just like that water balloon that was filled just a wee bit too much. Next thing you know… POP! As clear as day, the voice of your mother fills your ears… just you wait till you have your own! They’ll turn out just like you. And she was right.
It’s 4 a.m. and still dark outside when my mother sneaks into my room and tells me to quickly get dressed…it is the infamous day after Thanksgiving – Black Friday! As the oldest of 5 and only girl, I get the privilege of leaving the house before everyone awakes with my mom to meet my grandmother and aunt at Toys ‘R Us where we will shop for my brothers and cousins. After Toys ‘R Us, we will eat an early breakfast at Cracker Barrel before heading to the mall for the rest of the day. With Christmas right around the corner and my mom not being one to plan ahead for such things, this month will be busy and exciting as we spend weekends and late nights preparing for the holidays. I await this time in anxious anticipation as I love to shop!