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If you’ve ever let an insensitive comment about your pregnancy or your parenting style instantly throw you into a bad mood, you’re definitely not alone. During both of my pregnancies, I’d say that was probably a daily event. Yep; it seems that just about anyone who’s either visibly pregnant or toting a baby around is fair game for loads of unsolicited advice – from friends, relatives, and even total strangers. But no matter who’s doling it out or why, it’s always tough to acknowledge someone’s good intentions while mentally rejecting his or her suggestion in the back of your mind.
So how do you deal? For me, I always try to remember that however frustrating, most of this advice is well-intentioned. Caring people generally want to “regift” their own parenting stories into a nugget of advice as a solution to your current situation (fussy infant, pregnancy heartburn, dream feed… you name it.).
I’ve had a very busy month, speaking at a fundraiser, hosting a huge event for my children’s school, and attending a conference for parenting writers. I knew it would feel like this (crazy!), and in the many recent moments that I had to deny my daughter’s request for attention, I reminded myself that she is learning from me.
She sees I am needed in other arenas, that people are counting on me to make decisions, that she can either solve her own problems or practice patience. And she did.
When I looked up from the donor checks I was organizing yesterday, and saw Scarlett, 7, reading the instruction booklet that came with her craft kit, I felt proud. Having my baby, now in second grade, ask for help, then decide that she can find her own answers, is like seeing her begin to walk for the first time. She’s reached a new developmental stage, and it’s given me some perspective.
In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m making note of five moments that new moms can look forward to – beyond first steps. More
As easily seduced as I am by a thoughtfully designed, aesthetically pleasing toy from a well-merchandised boutique, I am also thrilled when I find my kids playing with something totally random they’ve discovered in the house.
If you find yourself out and about with some cranky kids, or trapped inside on a rainy day when none of their “old” toys will entertain them, allow me to come to the rescue. Here are some easy, last-minute ways to keep little ones occupied in a pinch.
I love parenting blogs, and the honest moms and dads who write them, for pulling me out of my own day-to-day experience and sharing their lives with me. In mere moments, I can go from worrying about breastfeeding to laughing about someone else’s exploding diaper fiasco; from cursing the latest nighttime stall tactics of my own kids to nodding in agreement or sniffing back tears at another parent’s experience.
Whatever did our mothers do before the miracles of the Internet?
You may find comfort in writers who are at your same stage of parenting, but whatever you do, I highly encourage you to at least invite these bloggers to your virtual dinner party. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did. More
I don’t want to sound preachy, but exercise really can put you in a better mood for the rest of the day. Working out is energizing, not depleting, so if your excuse is that you barely got any sleep last night, set that one aside.
As your “been there, wiped that” friend, I will warn you that it’s easy to let the months – or let’s be honest, years – fly by without nailing down an exercise routine that works with your new role as Mom.
Here are 6 ways to make it work…
I have a wicked strong blender at home, which means I can pretty much turn almost anything into a yummy puree. This little trick is especially useful when I want to sneak some greens into a fruit smoothie or at this time of year, one of my favorite soups. (Shhh, don’t tell my little one there might be “salad” in his food.)
These warm, hearty soups are three of my favorites. They’re perfect for cold, chilly days, and for sharing with a curious toddler or spoon-feeding to a baby.
At the playground today, I teased my friend Karen that I was looking to her infant daughter Holly’s stroller to inspire me for this story about cold-weather baby gear. But she disappointed me, since the cozy layer spread over Baby Holly’s lap was her 4-year old brother’s fleece hoodie. Not exactly a noteworthy fashion statement.
Here are some more aesthetically pleasing ideas for keeping baby warm when you’re out and about. (That don’t involve just sticking them in their big brother’s over-sized hoodie.) More
Having been through the baby phase three times now, I have a vastly different perspective on creating a lovely (and practical!) baby bedroom these days. Now, I don’t want to rob you of any of the magic of choosing the ideal nursery; but I would like to steer you toward making three key choices so that your nursery can grow with your baby.
My first (rookie) nursery was exactly what I wanted at the time… and I was ready to trade it all in within two years. My mom and husband painted John Lennon sketches into a wall mural and I purchased matching everything. In hindsight, I carried my theme way too far. Rather than go overboard, I could have kept the mural and selected solid color bedding and accents. Better still – sorry, guys! – we could have replaced the mural with a few beloved wall prints.
The stress surrounding the holidays is the stuff of legend. Factor in some new mommy hormones and it’s enough to make me cry and clutch my chest just remembering. I wish I were kidding.
If you’re traveling with baby to visit grandparents in the snow or hosting all the cousins at your place, you deserve to carve out a few moments of solo time every single day. (Every. Day.) In fact, I suggest you aim for an hour each day. Even extroverts need to recharge.
The holidays can be stressful, especially when visits are long, houses are crowded, and cold weather keeps us huddled near our loved ones for hours on end. The interaction I find most challenging is maneuvering a larger-than-we’re-used-to group through any decision making process: how to spend our time and what to eat come to mind.
Here’s how I handle our togetherness-fest: