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Let's Talk On Motherhood Parenting

Discussing Race with My Daughter

In this climate we all hear a lot about the topic of race in a variety of ways. In the last year, I’ve seen different organizations and populations tackle ‘The Talk. If you don’t know, The Talk is a conversation that parents of color often have with their children to prime them for the discrimination and racism they will face as they grow up. Some of the videos are heartbreaking, and some infuriating. The fact remains that as a parent of color, I HAVE to make sure that my child is aware, much earlier than her peers, of all of the ways that her skin color will make things different for her. Whether your privilege allows you to scoff and stop reading here, or you’re interested in another take on it, here are three conversations that I’ve had with my daughter on race.

Why is Your Skin Brown?

Kids can be the most brutally honest critics and cheerleaders, not yet possessing a functional social filter. The lack of which provides for some of the most rich teaching moments. In our house we read. We read books with a variety of characters, human and animal alike, who are navigating all kinds of situations. I want her to see all of the different people, gender, skin colors, hair types, abilities, etc. So we read books with little brown girls and boys too. Through literature we’ve been able to talk about why we are brown; it all comes down to who our moms and dads are. That’s it for now, keep it simple right? So we are at dinner with some friends, and a new little girl we just met asks my daughter why her skin is brown. Her adults are a little panicky, but my daughter is unphased. “My skin is the color of chocolate, duh! My mom is brown so I’m brown too.” Simple as that. As she ages the complexities of genetics and DNA might come out, but for now playmate to playmate, that answer is good enough.

Why are some people so rude?

I might not have mentioned it but my daughter is five. There are naturally some things that I don’t show or share with her – but when she’s out of my care and in someone else’s I have little control sometimes. As we are laying on the bed doing some reflecting, she tells me about a news story she watched at Nana’s (insert Mom cringe here – come on Nana, the news?! Was Paw Patrol not on?) where someone was really rude to a brown-skinned girl who walked out with a doll. I had two choices here – remind her that we can’t walk out of stores with stuff we didn’t buy, give her my own opinion – she’s a child for goodness sakes just let her return it like the rest of us did at some point and move forward, or take a third route. When I asked her what she thought about it, without putting any context on it – we were able to have an age appropriate conversation about why some people are treated differently. And at the end she says, well that’s not fair. When I grow up I don’t want that to happen to me or my friends. See, through these conversations, allowing her to lead, giving her enough information to form her own opinions, I am creating the next generation of advocates. And I will continue to do so, and continue to allow her to explore her identity in her own ways.

They don’t want to play with me.

The hardest conversation that we have had together was over this past summer. We were at a park, and it was pretty dead except for a little girl and boy. They might have been siblings; I’m not sure. Their caregivers were across the park from me, and I never spoke to them. Now, I have a pretty outgoing kid. She’ll talk to anybody, ask anyone to be her friend and if they want to play, whether they are a bit younger than her or way older. If I had to guess, I’d say these kids were only a few years older, maybe 7 or 8.  My kid made multiple attempts to ask them to play, and have them join in with her, or ask if she can join them. At first they didn’t say anything they just ran away. And after five or so minutes the little boy finally said, No! we don’t want to play with you, you’re little and brown.

Of course, I don’t know if he was just annoyed, or if that was legitimately true. But the damage was done. How do you console a child after someone tells them that? I really want you to reflect on what you would do, if some child told your kid they wouldn’t play with them because they are [insert your own thing here]. My face got really hot, and I got up and played with her. I was angry, and I tried not to let it show. We played tag, and we raced down the slides, and we attempted to play hide and seek. And on the way home, we talked about kindness, and character. Someone else’s words and choices do not determine who we are as people. Brown is beautiful, and even when other people don’t see it we see it and we love it. Our skin, our hair, our attitude – we are beautiful. We can be kind. We can remember how it felt, and try our best not to make others feel the same way.

Conversation on race will only get harder over time. If she’s anything like me, and I’m told she is, being African American – the culture, the resilience, the joy – will lead her to pride, and to social justice.

Categories
Parenting Travel

8 Travel Accessories Every Traveler Must Have in 2020

Traveling is fun, but some accessories make it even better. While you should always try to travel light, you should also pack smart. The things you carry should increase your safety and add convenience. Traveling is more comfortable when you have the travel accessories with you. 

With all the technology and design advancements, there is no reason to undergo travel hardships in 2020. Here’s our top 8 travel accessories every traveler must have in 2020.

International power adapter

We love our gadgets, don’t we? However, devices are more than fun objects. We require the gadgets to show us our way and to increase our safety during our travels. It is disappointing and frustrating if we carry a charger to another country and we can’t plug it in. 

erson holding white USB cable
https://unsplash.com/photos/e1xIawdvjfM

Different countries have different power rules and the sockets may vary. An international power adapter is a convenient accessory. It ensures that you can connect your gadgets to a power source wherever you are.

Travel door alarm

This one is a brilliant invention. When you travel and rent places to stay, there are always keys to other people. You do not know who can access your room using the keys. The locks may or may not be secure. Travel door alarms alert the occupant about an attempt to intrude. These help keep you safe in unknown destinations. They are inexpensive and compact, therefore easily portable. You can now sleep in peace anywhere. The alarm is placed around the doorknob and rings when someone tries to enter your room. Reassure your safety with these compact, portable travel door alarms.

Camera lens for phones/tablets

All of us love to take travel pictures. The clearer they are, the better. Some of us want to preserve the memories of what we see. Some of us love posting travel pictures on social media with hashtags.

black Android smartphone capturing blue flower
https://unsplash.com/photos/-ebVuVUFc18

We want to share our travel experiences with family and friends. We want to show them evidence that we saw something or did something particular. The camera lenses for smartphones or tablets enable us to take quality pictures. We can go back home and show off the pictures. It provides you with ample opportunities to photograph what you love. You can get these printed and frame too.

Laundry soap sheets

In the past, we have had face wash sheets. There are additions to that line in the form of laundry, shaving and body wash versions. The most interesting one is the laundry soap sheet. Once you add this sheet to water, it dissolves and produces sufficient lather. You can wash your clothes anywhere. There is no need to carry extra clothes anymore. Pack a few clothes and tuck this sheet pack in. Your clothes will be clean and will smell fantastic anywhere, anytime. You never have to worry about smelly clothes or extra luggage anymore. 

Backpack with solar panels

These are great for travelers who love to go hiking or trekking. It is such an innovative and useful design. It is sheer genius. Once you have one of these, you can rest assured you won’t ever be caught outside with a low battery or a drained gadget. The solar panels are usually detachable. Travelers can charge multiple devices. As long as the sun shines, you will have a constant power source. You don’t have to worry about charging devices even in a remote place. 

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https://unsplash.com/photos/f7tZdKY0F28

Smart carry-on suitcase

Some accessories are so amazing that you won’t believe unless you see them. A smart suitcase is one such ingenious accessory. It comes with an in-built GPS which helps you locate it. Never lose your luggage or look for it at the airport ever again. 

These also have a no-lift built-in scale. You can weight it through an app! No more struggling to weigh a heavy suitcase. Remote digital lock guarantees you peace of mind wherever you are. If all those features weren’t reasons enough to get this suitcase, it also allows you to charge your devices. If there was an award for an ideal suitcase, this is the one that would receive it.

Water bottle with a built-in pill organizer

This one ensures that you have no excuse whatsoever for being dehydrated or missing your medicines. Your medicines and water travel with you with this compact and sleek water bottle. It is not only functional but also looks uber-stylish. Taking your medications never looked this cool before. It might just remind you to take your pills on time. Never be dehydrated or miss your dose ever again. These are compact enough to be carried in a purse or a hoodie. 

Packing cubes

Take your packing to the next level with the packing cubes. You can save space in your bag and even pack more stuff. These help keep your things organized on your travels. Repacking at the end of your tour also becomes easier because of these. 

This is by no means a complete list of all the amazing new travel accessories out there. But, it gives you an idea of what is possible and what is out there. If you notice, most of these are multifunctional accessories. They cater to varied needs. This is the mantra for travel accessories in 2020. Multifunctional accessories ensure that you travel light but always travel right. 

photo of assorted items on wooden table
https://unsplash.com/photos/W_-6PWGbYaU

Choose the perfect accessories for yourself, pack and you are good to go. These travel accessories will guarantee a good time on your travels. Choose accessories wisely and have a great time. 

For the time after your travel, it is a great idea to get a  scratch off map of the world. This map allows you to scratch off places that you have visited. You can display it on the wall for your family and friends to see. This kind of map keeps the joy of traveling alive long after you have reached home. Use it to plan your next adventure!

Categories
On Motherhood Parenting

Kicking Parental Guilt to the Curb

Getting Real with Dynisha Smith

Today I missed my kid’s bus stop. I don’t know about where you live, but here you have to be at the stop to collect your kindergarten student or they are taken back to school.

Thank gosh we are not the last stop or I might have lost it. I was maybe two minutes too late – I saw the bus headed to the next stop, and broke every traffic law short of Baby Driver to get two stops ahead of the bus. And you guys – I cried. Looking back now, I feel kind of dumb admitting that.

The Torture of Parental Guilt

I picked her up and talked her through her own emotions. I reminded her I will always, without fail, short of death (this I said silently) come for her. In that moment though, sitting in my car praying to every deity I could think of to please delay the bus a few minutes because I swear i’ll be a better person – all I could think about was what kind of failure doesn’t make it to the bus stop on time? Why did I go down this street? Why didn’t I run that light?

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had this kind of guilt over something. If your hand went up, you and I are not alone. Moms and Dads everywhere admit, albeit quietly at first, that they have had at least one moment of complete and utter panic over something to do with caring for their kids. Maybe you forgot your kids lunch, maybe you didn’t arrange transportation for something ahead of time… the list goes on. You let them cry over ‘spilled milk’ – whatever that means for you – until you just gave in. And then you feel like crap for giving in.

It Can’t Keep Going Like This

So what the flip are we supposed to do about this? Tediously I have to repeat myself, I don’t know about you but I cannot continue to live like this for the next thirteen years. Like most other single parents, I have probably come across multiple memes with a damned if you do, damned if you don’t message. Work, stay at home, spend more time with your kids, take better care of yourself, get more education to make more money, make better financial choices – move to another country and assume new alias. Okay that was just my solution – insert shrugging emoji here.

It is so much and it is so daunting. And with all of that off of my chest, I’m proposing a new litmus test for that damn parental guilt. Let’s ask ourselves – in reflection, because let’s be honest, we ain’t gonna remember these in the moment – these simple questions. Is our kid safe? Are their basic needs met? Is the damage irreversible? Can we commit to doing it differently next time? Do they still understand how loved they are? If you answered yes to most of these questions – keep kickin’ ass, your kid is fine, you are fine, and you ARE doing enough.

You ARE doing enough.

Categories
Travel

15 Travel Tips for Flying Alone with Young Children

Going out of town for the first time as a single parent?  Probably thinking it will be the worst flight ever.

We’ve done our research, prepared for the nightmare ahead of us, and put together the best list we could for flying alone with young children.

Below are 15 tips and age-based checklists to properly prepare you for traveling with a young child, both domestic and internationally.

Flying Alone with Young Children Under the Age of 2

Tip #1: Just because children under 2 fly for free (on your lap) does not mean it’s the best route to go.  Buy a seat, bring a pillow.

Tip #2: Check your stroller at the gate so that you have it until you board the plane and right when you get off the plane.

Tip #3: Bring food.  Bring milk.  Bring water. Bring tons of food and drink. As you go through security, you’ll simply need to have liquids stored separately in a clear plastic bag.

Tip #4: Magnesium or cold chamomile tea helps with teething by calming the nerves.

Tip #5: Bring your car seat, strap it in the airplane seat, let your little one sleep.

Checklist

  • Diapers
  • Baby Wipes
  • Blanket
  • Change(s) of clothes
  • Pacifiers
  • Toys
  • Plenty of snacks and bottles.
  • Extra zip-lock bag for soiled clothes.
  • Stroller
  • Milk, juice, and formula for a baby are exempt from the three-ounce liquid rule.
  • Car Seat

Tip #6: Make sure your baby chews on a pacifier or toddler chew gum during takeoff to help reduce pressure in the ears.

Traveling Alone with Children Ages 2 to 5

Tip #7: Inform the airline ahead of time about any allergies. Typically they’ll not serve nuts if there is a tree nut or peanut allergy on board.

Tip #8: If you’re traveling out of the country, you should get travel insurance as your primary health insurance doesn’t cover you or your dependents medically while abroad.

Tip #9: You should book for a row in the back of the plane to minimize attention. Usually, there are restrooms in the back, and your toddler can stretch.

Tip #10: Always book a direct flight as getting back onto a plane can add to the frustration or better yet, humiliation.

Tip #11: Some would say to pre-board before everyone else onto the plane. I disagree. The least amount of time on the plane the better.

Tip #12: Some airports have play areas for kids to get energy out prior to the flight.  Let your kids run the long walkways if the airport is empty.

Tip #13: If your child still takes a nap, flights during this time may help them sleep. If you can do a late-night flight, that may help too.

Book a window seat so the child can lean against the wall to sleep.

Tip #14: Download the GoGo Air app before your flight. Not all flights have entertainment provided. This app applies to most if not all airlines. Just in case the plane doesn’t have TV on the back of the seat, you can always access movies, shows, and games on your phone on this app for free.

Tip #15: Ask a flight attendant if they have wings to pin on their clothes to make them the child feel like they’re part of the flight crew.

Follow these tips, and you should be good to go on your next flight out!


About the Author:

Shawn Plummer is an insurance expert training advisors for over 10 years, a parent of a feisty little girl, and blogs for The Traveling Parent and The Annuity Expert.

Categories
Doing it Alone On Motherhood

3 Relationships That Change When You’re a Single Mom

Getting Real with Dynisha Smith

As a single mom, I engage differently. All of my relationships have mutated, mostly for the better, but change can be a hard pill to swallow. I can only hope I’m not alone, and this resonates with the other single parents, especially mothers, out there.

My Mother & I

My own mother ended up being a single mom after fourteen years of marriage – something that I don’t think was in the cards. She is a loyal, caring, yet demanding type of mother. Her expectations were high, her disappointment worse than any other consequence, but her praise and support greatly outweighed that pressure. I would never imagine finding myself asserting my own opinions, especially when it comes to my own daughter, with my mother. Not when we grew up ‘yes mam’ and ‘no mam’. But I do. I am fiercely assertive over my domain including the way I run my house, and the way I am choosing to raise my daughter – and thankfully overall my mom gets that and respects it – but we are on a different path than she is with her other kids. Our relationship isn’t better or worse, just different.

My Relationship with Romance

Dating is harder. I don’t have the ability to swipe right and meet that same night – not that it’s safe to do that – always meet in public and drop a pin fam. The spontaneity of dating is lost when you have the sole responsibility of a five year old on your plate. It’s almost like work. You find someone attractive, have some good conversation, meet once or twice – and then amongst all of the normal ‘work’ of dating, you get to play “Tell Them About My Kid Now or Later” game. Telling them now could speed up some processes – not everyone wants to date a parent – and lead to a quick end or a beautiful beginning. But telling them later also allows you to focus on YOU and gives back some power, at least to this woman. Either way it’s a hard choice that turns dating into more work for single parents. And why yes the word up top is romance – even your relationship with the word is different. The concept seems, per the reasons outlined above – almost comical, unicorn-like, something I attain to have but probably never will again.

Old and New Friendships

Friend Envy is Real. We all have that glamorous friend who spends more on mimosas, travel, and make up in one month than most of us single parents do all year. Their hair glistens and flows, their nails are always done, and their Instagram is regularly updated. You have a love hate relationship with this friend. Maybe you were this friend pre-single parenthood. Every once in a while, childless envy can rear its ugly head. Guess what? Its normal.

There isn’t a parent on this planet that doesn’t have some sort of nostalgia when your glamourous/single/unattached/bachelor friend comes into town. But guess what else? There are hundreds of people out there who get child-FULL envy – they wish they had a small child full of wonder to go through life with. So even when all your single friends are gearing up for a festival or a trip to Vegas that you can’t attend – that’s where your parent friends come in. These are those new (and sometimes old friends you reconnected with) friendships that you’ve made through daycare, Sunday school, playdates, etc. These are the times where getting together can help cut that envy time way down. My relationship with friends is completely different, but honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Categories
Healthy Eating Recipe Corner

Tips for Planning Meals with a Busy Schedule

Figuring out what to make can be the toughest part of putting a meal together. As a busy mom, you have a hard enough time getting everyone together for a meal, and then you don’t even know what to cook on any given night. 

This can often lead you to choose something quick and easy or you may find that you are eating the same meals repeatedly. The best solution to this problem is to start meal planning, and to look into other convenient options, like having kids meals delivered. With a little bit of planning, you can add some variety to your meals and take some of the stress out of putting them together.

If you’re not into the idea of sitting down once a week and making a formal meal plan, that is okay – you can use the following tips to help streamline the meal planning process.

Set a Time Limit

If you let meal planning take too long, it will become unmanageable. Set aside ten minutes a week to come up with seven dinner ideas. Make quick decisions about what to eat on different days and stick to your choices. If you don’t feel like planning the whole week of dinners at once, you could just give yourself a few minutes in the morning to pick a dinner idea for later that night. When you know what you are making beforehand, it will save you time and cut down on the stress that comes with preparing dinner.

Get Help from the Family

There is no reason to think that you have to make all of the decisions yourself. Get your partner and the kids involved in choosing dinners. If you assign everyone a night to pick the dinner they want to have, it will make the task easier for you. You can even set a rule that doesn’t allow anyone to pick the same meal two weeks in a row. 

Save Recipes that Work Well

Keep track of all of the recipes that work well in your meal plan. You might save some because they offer a meal that the whole family likes. In other cases, it might be a recipe that is quick and easy for the nights where you have less time. If you save all of the best recipes in one place, it will also make for a handy reference when you are trying to plan meals.

Make Extra

With some meals or food items, making extra can save time. Some meals can be frozen and then reheated as leftovers if you make twice as much the first time you cook. For basic staples like rice and pasta, you could also cook twice as much and use the leftover with a different meal later in the week. By cooking extra, you can cut down on some of the work. This is also a way to plan two nights of dinner at the same time.

Try Themed Meals

Everyone has heard of taco Tuesdays, but there are plenty of themed dinner ideas that can make your meal planning easier. You could plan a pizza night, a pasta night, or you could even do breakfast for dinner. It’s not the theme that matters –the idea is to narrow the options for that night and make it easier to pick a meal. You could even pick one night of the week that is a themed night and change the theme from week to week.

The main point to remember is that meal planning doesn’t need to be as stressful as it may seem. By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll save a lot of time, no matter how busy your schedule is.

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Making Memories Sponsored Content

Paperless Post Makes Celebrating Easier

Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

This weekend was my 30th class reunion. I couldn’t attend, living across the country from where I graduated and having too many things going on to manage the 12 hours of driving and flying required to get there.

Also this weekend, my granddaughter went to a birthday party. There was face painting and cake and so much fun. She’s 3 and at the beginning of a long age of wonder and fun with birthdays.

Photos Keep Us Connected

In both instances, phones played a big role in making the events fun. In the case of my reunion, I was able to enjoy it vicariously thanks to all my friends who took pictures throughout the weekend and shared them in our Facebook group. It was almost like I was there – except that I could laugh at all the bald heads.

At the birthday party my grandaughter attended, they had a background set up for photo ops for the birthday girl and all her friends. There again, even though I was not there, I had the opportunity to experience the special moment through instant photos.

Embracing the Digital Age

Everyone complains about people being glued to their phones, but I love the opportunity it gives us to share. I have family and friends all over the world, and as much as I love to travel, I can’t be everywhere – but my photos can. I’m closer to my friends and family who are physically far away because we’re able to share this way.

More than Just Photos

When my child graduated from high school this year, I didn’t have to pay exorbitant postage costs or even buy the boring graduation announcements. I created the announcement online, customized with photos and information about their future. It gave me a lot more control and the ability to send it to people I knew would want it without paying international postage fees or having to track down mailing addresses I didn’t have.

Creating Invitations and Announcements Online

I recently discovered Paperless Post, and they invited me to try their service by giving me credits to use on their website. Paperless Post offers already-designed or custom-made invitations, announcements, and flyers as well as invitation and guest management. You just choose or upload a design, add your guest list, and click send.

Here’s how it works (from their website):

CHOOSE THE PERFECT DESIGN
Find a free or premium invitation that’s perfect for your event.

START SPREADING THE NEWS
Add your event’s details, make or import a guest list, and send with a click.

PLAN FOR A CROWD
Track RSVPs and keep in touch with guests on the go.

You can personalize the designs with your own photos and backgrounds and edit the text, too.

Any event you can imagine – both personally and professionally – can be handled with Paperless Post: birthdays, baby showers, dinner parties, wedding invites, save the date reminders, conferences and events, anniversaries, and graduations.

And, because they’re digital, you can add exciting touches like animation.

Categories
Breastfeeding

5 Nipple Care Tips for Breastfeeding Moms

As a new mother, you tend to focus completely on your baby’s needs and often forget to care for yourself. Breastfeeding is bound to cause some amount of discomfort but it shouldn’t be a source of constant pain. Ignoring nipple care, especially during the first few weeks of nursing can lead to sore, tender and even cracked nipples. Nipple care is important because it ensures that nursing is a time of bonding between you and your baby.

5 things you need to know about nipple care when breastfeeding

Your breasts will undergo several changes once you start breastfeeding. For the first few days after your baby is born, you will produce less milk (called colostrum) that is yellowish in color but within 5 days, your body will start to produce mature milk. This can will make your breasts feel fell and firm and even tender to the touch. It is during the first few weeks that you are likely to develop some amount of nipple soreness. You are also likely to experience soreness after about 6 months, when your baby starts teething. The good news is that there are several steps that you can take to prevent as well as treat sore nipples while breastfeeding.

Get a good latch

A poor latch results in poor milk transfer which will cause your baby to suckle harder which will lead to sore and cracked nipples. Make sure that your baby latches on correctly as this will minimize nipple discomfort while breastfeeding. To ensure that your little one gets a good latch, aim your nipple towards the roof of your baby’s mouth when his mouth is wide open so that he latches on to your nipple as well as the area around it (areola). Lasting pain or a pinching sensation is an indication of a poor latch so when this happens place a clean finger into your baby’s mouth to help him latch on correctly.

Avoid soap and shower gel

The small bumps on your areolas (called Montgomery tubercles) are sebaceous glands that help to moisturize and protect your nipples. Soaps and gels can strip your skin of these natural oils and can cause further irritation to cracked nipples so avoid using them on your nipples. The skin on your nipples is thin and delicate so be very gentle when cleaning them. Rubbing your nipples to “toughen” them up is an old wives tale and should be avoided at all costs. Wash your nipples with warm running water and then dab them gently with a towel or let them air dry.

Use homemade nipple creams

As any nursing mum will tell you, nipple cream is an absolute must-have! Constant breastfeeding can leave your nipples sore, dry and even cracking. A nipple cream helps to soothe your chaffed nipples and keeps your skin soft and moisturized. However, some of the most popular nipple creams available in the market today contain ingredients that can cause respiratory distress, vomiting and diarrhea in infants. You can make your own nipple balm by crushing calendula flowers in a little olive oil. Apply this mixture to your nipples after nursing and about an hour before your shower. Olive oil prevents drying and cracking while calendula will help to soothe inflamed skin. Use this homemade nipple cream on a daily basis to reduce nipple irritation.

Apply breast milk to your nipples

Breast milk contains 3-5% fat so applying it to your nipples after each feed will help to keep your skin soft and prevent cracking. Researchers found that women who applied their own breast milk to their nipples experienced less irritation and quicker healing compared to women who used lanolin – the most common ingredient in nipple care products. Apply a little breast milk to your nipples after nursing and then rinse your nipples and let them air dry just before your baby’s next feed.

Express a little milk before nursing

Babies can suckle quite vigorously at the start of a feed in an attempt to increase the flow of milk. This increases nipple soreness and can even be downright painful. A simple way to prevent this problem is to express a little milk right before you breastfeed your baby. This will help to increase milk flow which means that your baby will not suckle as vigorously. You can also apply a warm compress  to your breasts before nursing as this helps the milk to flow. Apply a cold compress right after a feed to reduce soreness and swelling.

Breastfeeding offers several health benefits from a lowered risk of asthma and allergies to fewer bouts of ear infection, diarrhea and respiratory infections. Researchers also found that breastfeeding can decrease the severity of pneumonia in children under 1 year. Some studies indicate that breastfeeding may also be linked to higher IQ levels later on in life. Breastfeeding is an important part of your child’s growth and development so take steps to ensure that nursing is a pain-free experience for both you and your baby.

Categories
Parenting Toddlers

Want to Practice “Time-In” Instead of “Time-Out”? Here’s How.

Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

I will be the first to admit, the transition from one to two kids has been less than pleasant. My heart became fuller than I ever imagined, but my patience became shorter than I had ever thought possible. My toddler, already a challenge from the second she was born, had really ramped it up.

This was also happening while I was doing my best to recover from my postpartum anxiety. I had a too-snuggly infant, a toddler hell-bent on pushing every button ever, and time-out was doing absolute shit for our problems.

Time-out has never been our first response. Distractions, positive reinforcement, anything else. But hello. When my toddler is impulse-biting my infant, I start running out of options. When listening capacities are at literally zero, what am I supposed to do? Time-out sounds great, but with my child, all it did was add to the chaos. Screaming, stomping, spiraling.

Do you know how long my child can tantrum? I finally caved at 30 minutes. I was crying, she was crying, and it wasn’t working. I can only imagine how long she would go if I let her.

My child wasn’t being left alone. I was there the whole time when she was in “time-out.” I was there to support her, offer cuddles, ask her if she wanted to talk or even hit some freaking stuffed animals. It didn’t matter. Time-out was failing, and I’ve been hearing all about this fancy new concept called “time-in.”

Now, as far as I was concerned, I was doing everything that “time-in” advocates talked about. My child wasn’t being isolated. There was no yelling (most of the time) and I was using all the right language. Wasn’t I?

Obviously not for my feisty girl.

I was venting to my friend about the latest incident of rage peeing (it’s a thing for potty training gremlins who realize the power they now hold) and we talked about this genius idea of a quiet reading corner. I did ask my child if she wanted to read stories, which of course was a screaming “no,” and that’s when I realized I was giving my toddler the wrong kind of power.

To achieve the “time-in” that I was searching for, I gave the choice. Take a “time-out” or read three stories.

Holy shit.

It has made the biggest difference.

Obviously, my toddler is going to do everything to avoid time-out, and is three stories really that bad? Nope. And what happens is magical.

Often, my child will sit and read for up to 30 minutes by her own choice. Not only has she completed her “punishment” for whatever transgression, but her mindset has calmed. It’s the perfect distraction and the most amazing reset. She comes out of it a different kid.

I’m not saying every child loves to read, so this “time-in” strategy isn’t going to work for everyone. A child could color 3 pages in their favorite coloring book. Stack blocks 10 blocks high. Whatever quiet activity keeps your child calm, use it. A consequence doesn’t have to be a chair in the corner, and it’s not worth a screaming battle. You’re not trying to “win” here, so let the time-out go and reach for a calmer solution.

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On Motherhood Parenting

4 Realities Sick Moms are Guilty Of

There are two primary things that kids give zero fucks about:

  1. Hangovers
  2. Parental Illness

I haven’t been slamming margaritas lately (unfortunately – damn you, breastfeeding), but I am a regular victim of the common cold. It’s that time of year, and although I do my best to continue functioning, I’m not firing on all cylinders. Illness of some kind shifts the entire dynamic of my household, and I’m guilty of things that on a normal day would never fly.

Unlimited screen time.

Yep. If my little darlings want to stare at a screen while I stuff tampons up my nose like an MMA fighter to stop the flow of snot, you bet that’s exactly what I’m going to allow. You want to watch Moana again? Have at it. I’ll sing every song with you if my butt gets to remain on this couch while I nurse a sinus headache.

Free-for-all meals.

It’s snack time! Normally I would insist on an apple with peanut butter or some other healthy fare, but today, the child wants a sucker. Of course. Have three. But snag that apple off the counter and eat it like a big kid, too, ok? Let’s all pretend that we’re trying here. Cereal and goldfish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Just kidding, I’ll still prepare a meal of some sort, but it’s not Rachel Ray worthy. But is my cooking ever? So, it’s not really a loss.

Concern for cleanliness vanishes.

I don’t care that blocks are in every corner of the house. I’m not as concerned as I normally would be about dirty underwear on the floor as long as the child is wearing clean ones. Laundry? Wouldn’t bet on it. The house will look like a hurricane struck, with banana peels and sucker wrappers on the counter, and I’m not sorry. This includes children. If it was bath time today, it’s shower time tomorrow.

Pajamas all day.

If I’m sick, we’re all in pajamas. It doesn’t even matter if we have to hit the grocery store out of desperation, in case we’re out of cold meds and milk. We’re about to take this pajama party on the road, and in that case, I might have enough dignity/energy to at least put sweatpants on. Depends on how sick I am, and if I’m sick enough to publicly rock the leopard print pajama bottoms, you better think twice before mentioning it.

Moms don’t get sick days, so we have to roll with it as best we can. Hopefully the utter despair only lasts a couple days, and you can go ham cleaning the house and getting everything back in order. Besides, it’s refreshing to toss the rules out for a day or two, right? Right.