Eight Ideas for Beating Morning Sickness

The first four months of my second pregnancy were rough. Just when I thought I would somehow escape morning sickness, it started like clockwork at the beginning of week six. And when I say I had morning sickness, I mean all day sickness. 

After about two weeks of laying on the couch and feeling like death, I decided that for my sanity (and my stomach) I had to do my best to find morning sickness solutions.

Was I totally successful? Uh, no. But, I did feel well enough to keep up with my four-year-old most of the time, and that was a start.

Just keep trying…

Not all of the ideas below worked for me all of the time. Sometimes something would work for a while, then suddenly not be as effective, and I’d have to switch to something else. Give things a try and don’t be discouraged if certain things just don’t help.

If you have hyperemesis gravidarum, I’m so sorry. My morning sickness has never been that severe, but I hope this list will offer some ideas to take the edge off of your symptoms a bit.

Also, and this is super important, I’m not a doctor. Or a nurse. Or a midwife. I have no medical training. I’m just a mom with way too much experience feeling nauseous during pregnancy. You should talk to your doctor to see if these solutions are right for you.

Without further ado, my queasy friends, I bring you my list of morning sickness solutions…

I started taking Unisom and B6.

My nurse-midwife gave me Unisom and B6. Here’s the thing though, the Unisom has to contain Doxylamine Succinate, which is found in Unisom SleepTabs. Talk to your doctor about dosages for both.

As a nurse explained to me, the key is to maintain a consistent amount of B6 in your body, but not too much because it can cause nerve damage. I was also taking Unisom throughout the day but eventually was able to go down to only a night time dose.

I stayed hydrated.

I sipped ice-cold water out of an insulated water bottle all day. The water had to be super cold and I had to sip small amounts. If I let myself get thirsty and gulped water my stomach would make sure I was punished.

I’ve seen a lot of women recommend putting lemon or lime in water, saying that the added flavor helped them, but that just didn’t taste good to me. Sometimes mixing 50/50 Gatorade with water was a nice change of pace, but mostly I drank just water.

I ate on a schedule.

I know how gross this sounds when you’re feeling sick. I ate something every 1.5 to 2 hours and wow, it made a big difference. I had to try different types of food and found that a mix of high protein foods and carbs helped me feel better.

I got more sleep and rest.

If I didn’t get a good night’s rest then the next day was Queasy City all day. Other times, I’d get a good amount of sleep at night but suddenly feel sick in the late afternoon. I found that laying down on the couch for 15 minutes was all I needed to feel okay again.

I used Preggie Pop Drops.

When the morning sickness first hit, my friend gave me a container of sour fruit candies. They really helped me to fend off the sick feeling, but they left a yucky film on my teeth from the sugar and the acidity made my tongue feel burned.

I found Preggie Pop Drops on Amazon (not an affiliate link) and they helped a lot, without the funny feeling teeth or burned tongue. They are pretty big though, so I’d break them up a bit and eat smaller pieces sometimes.

I stopped eating greasy foods.

I craved greasy foods during my first trimester, but I read article after article that explained that greasy foods can make first trimester morning sickness and heartburn worse.

Sure enough, when I resisted my cravings and stuck to non-greasy, non-fried foods, I did feel quite a bit better.

I used essential oils in the shower and at work.

One day as I was sobbing and getting sick in the bathroom my husband started his own research on morning sickness and read that lemon essential oil can help.

I started by putting a few drops of lemon essential oil on the shower floor each night and as I’d inhale the steam from the shower, I’d also smell the refreshing lemon scent. This helped me a lot since the late evening seemed to be a time when my nausea would peak.

I also used a lavender essential oil roller at work. I worked with very loving but stinky-from-gym-class tweens in the afternoons. I’d put a dab of oil from the roller under my nose or on my wrists, and that helped me manage any smells I’d encounter.

Essential oils can impact your health and pregnancy, so it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor and/or an herbalist to understand which are best for you.

I researched the reasons for morning sickness.

Understanding why I was feeling horrible, and when it might end, really gave me hope. There are a lot of fact-filled articles about why women experience morning sickness. I managed to find two important facts that I clung to for hope: 1) morning sickness ends for most women around Week 16 and 2) one reason that morning sickness improves is that the placenta becomes fully developed and “kicks-in” to do its job in hormone creation and management.

Somehow, counting the days to Week 16 and begging my body to grow the placenta more quickly made me feel better. I could see an end in sight, even if it seemed soooo far away some days!

You will make it through this, my nauseous friend!

I hope that you find some help in the above suggestions. If you have other things that worked for you, please share them in the comments!

 

Time management tools (and apps!) for the TPAD afflicted…

I got me a serious case of TPAD. TPAD stands for Time Passage Awareness Disorder. It’s a made-up term for a very real thing. I take no credit for the naming of TPAD. Dana K. White, the brilliant and funny lady behind the blog A Slob Comes Clean named TPAD. 

Naming TPAD is like naming gravity. Everyone knew that gravity was a thing, but no one had a name for it and then BOOM – Isaac Newton names it. Dana is the Issac Newton of TPAD. Someone get this woman a Nobel Prize. Or a Webby.

Those of you with TPAD will relate to the following scenarios:

  • You put off doing something because you’re sure it will take hours, then you actually do the thing and it takes 15 minutes.
  • You start a project, certain it will take ten minutes and three hours later you’re still hard at work and mad about it.
  • You are always quite late or quite early but almost never right on time.

If these seem like totally legit scenarios to you, then you might have TPAD. Sorry, bruh. But, welcome to the club! We’re fun! And frantic.

I don’t like feeling frantic and as I raise my son, I don’t want him to feel rushed because of my inability to manage time. I also want to be on time more because being late is just plain rude.

It’s taken me a while, but I’ve narrowed down some tools (mostly iPhone apps) that help me to manage and understand time. I hope these are a help to you too!

A paper calendar and iPhone calendar.
Yes. Both. I know it’s slight overkill, but here’s why it works for me:

The paper calendar lets me see everything at the same time. I’m a very visual person and seeing everything written down for the week or the month is a huge help to me.

But I can’t carry the paper calendar everywhere. Whenever I write something in the paper calendar I input it into my iPhone calendar. And about once a week I sit down and compare the two, which is a great way to force me to review the upcoming week/month.

My Fitbit Watch timer.
I have a Fitbit Blaze which allows me to set alarms and timers. When the timer or alarm goes off, the watch vibrates. This is handy if I don’t have my iPhone available or I’m out and about.

For instance, if I’m at the park with my son and I want to make sure we leave at a certain time, I set an alarm on my watch. That way we can play and I don’t have to have my phone with me.

The iPhone timer and alarms.

What did we do before iPhone alarms? Well, we got by, but that’s not the point.

Setting multiple iPhone alarms helps me to segment and manage my time. You can see my screenshot here. The 3:01 alarm is my reminder to walk my dogs. The 4:10 alarm is when I need to start wrapping up my work. The 4:15 alarm is when I need to start heading out the door to get my son from daycare and ensure I’m a couple minutes early.

I need a lot of reminders to keep moving and complete tasks, so this is a help to me, but you might find you don’t need alarms in five-minute increments. I’m just extra like that. 😉

HoursTracker (for iPhone and Android)
I work a job with flexible hours. Problem is, I used to try to do work in whenever I had a free minute and didn’t really track my time worked. My employer got a lot of free work out of me.

Once I realized just how much I was screwing myself financially, I started to dedicate large blocks of time to work and don’t let myself work on “work stuff” in those moments of free time.

Enter HoursTracker. The app lets me “clock-in” and “clock-out” and enter hours worked if I forget to clock in. It also tracks how much I make and calculates for taxes and fees, so I have a weekly estimate of my income.

HoursTracker can even track multiple jobs. If you work at a physical office, HoursTracker can be set to automatically track your time when you get to the office (Holy GPS technology, Batman!) It’s a great app and the free version is loaded with cool features.

FocusKeeper (iPhone only)
FocusKeeper is a flexible, easy-to-use Pomodoro timer. Pomodoro timers time your work for 25 minutes, and then time a five-minute break. This technique is effective as it focuses your thoughts and works and then gives you time to take a mental break.

I like FocusKeeper because you can change the time increments for work sessions and break sessions. And you can set a goal for how many work/break cycles you want to successfully complete.

I use this when I’m writing, working on a project, or decluttering.

MultiTimer (iPhone only)
MultiTimer lets you track multiple tasks at once. It helps me when I’m cooking meals like Thanksgiving (time the green beans, the turkey, and the pie all in one app!). We host dinners at our house quite a bit so this is a scenario that plays out quite a bit in my house, albeit with different menus.

I used to have multiple timers going – my iPhone countdown timer, my Fitbit, and my stove timer. MultiTimer puts all of these timers in one place. So convenient to them all at once!

A Note About the Apps I don’t use all of these apps at the same time. But I find that at different times, different apps are more helpful than others. I recommend checking them out and seeing what works for you!

In praise of lazy parenting days…

Most days I’m that mom with the schedule. The one who is timing how much television my kid watches so it doesn’t exceed two hours. We eat healthy meals and we play outside. We read books, we play with toys. We go to daycare or the pool or the library…we’re busy, engaged, blah blah blah.

And then some days it all goes to hell, and there goes the schedule, folks. We eat Cheetos…lots of Cheetos. So many Cheetos. Okay, the whole damn bag of Cheetos. The tv is on for too long.  I’m on my phone looking at Instagram and Pinterest for longer than I should be. Side note: So many cute mason jar crafts that I’ll never do, but still, *swoon* at how adorbs they are.

It’s just a totally unstructured day and it’s perfect and gives us the mental break we need.

Those types of days happen a couple times a month and I’ve stopped beating myself up about them.

You know those days where you go to work at the office (or remember back to when you worked at an office) and the whole day goes off the rails and you get zero done? You basically just socialize all day and at the end you’re like “What the hell just happened?”

Well, Cheetos and TV days are like that for stay at home parents.

Look, it’d be great if we could all be perfect parents, but we’re not. None of us are. We’re all striving for “perfect” – whatever that means. It’s exhausting. Sometimes I need a break from all of it and so does my kid. There are loads of completely unscientific articles (like this one, this one, and this kid-specific one) explaining the benefits of a lazy day.

Next time you’re having a lazy day, roll with it. No guilt. No worries. Just Cheetos and pajamas and sitting on the couch with your littles. Just do it. Or, rather, just don’t do anything.

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

 

Potty Training Impatience

Are you a relaxed parent? I am. I’d like to say I’m this way because I’m so awesome, but no. I’m this way because I have a child with a stubborn streak like a grumpy attorney. Push him too hard and he digs in…he knows I’m trying to manipulate him and no freaking way, is that happening on his watch.

I’m not saying I let him go off and play in traffic and binge on candy all day. I just mean that when I try to push the timeline on milestones, it doesn’t go well for anyone involved.

Now, I hesitate to use the word stubborn, because I think potty training is something that is age and maturity dependent. Guidance helps, but if they aren’t ready, then sometimes they simply aren’t ready. “Stubborn” indicates some level of intent.

For some kids, they aren’t being stubborn, they’re just learning on their own timeline.

And for some kids, it means they’ve realized that the ability to take a leak literally anywhere, at anytime, is not something that should be easily given up. I can’t blame them.

But back to my tiny, grumpy attorney: If you have a kid like this, you know what I mean. Some might call them “spirited” or “strong-willed” or “a good reason to day drink”.

Potty training has been a real test of this forced-relaxation parenting style of mine. I’m fortunate that Little Dude is not in daycare, so we didn’t have some hard and fast deadline to meet for potty training. Pretty sure we wouldn’t have made it. Bless you parents who are able to/have to meet such deadlines. I salute you.

That said, he’s at the older end of the potty training timeline. And while I try not to compare my child to other children, I’m totally comparing my child to other children. A lot of them are in underwear. But I’ve also noticed that a lot of the kids in underwear are having potty accidents on the regular, which leads me to believe that there are a lot more older-ish toddlers who are still working on potty training.

Note to smug potty training parents: if your kid is wearing underwear but is having accidents daily, they aren’t potty trained. Sorry to piss in your cornflakes.

I’ve spoken to some older parents who also had stubborn potty trainers and they’ve assured me that one day using the toilet just “clicked” for their kids and none of their 40-year-olds are still using pull-ups or diapers. So, there’s that.

I really, really want to get to this child fully potty trained but I’m trying not to force the issue. This isn’t the topic I want to fight with my kid about. I’m saving that angst for things like a shitty girlfriend or choosing a useless college major. So, after many phases of potty training including:
– guiding to the potty every hour
– potty seats everywhere
– no pants or pull-ups in the house

We’re at: BRIBERY.

Pee in the potty consistently, small human, and the key to the kingdom will be yours. Or, pretty much every Paw Patrol toy in Wal-mart will be yours. Because the cost savings of no longer buying pull-ups and nighttime diapers will more than cover the toys.

Do I think parenting by bribery is a good thing? No, definitely not.

Am I proud of this decision? Just a little bit.

We’ll see how it goes. He starts high school in about 11 years, so we’ll definitely have this potty thing on lock by then.

So long, staph infections…

File this under “things I never thought I’d share on the internet”. I’m going to tell you how my family and I managed to get never-ending staph infections under control. It wasn’t easy, but it’s possible, and it’s so nice to not have painful skin infections.

Before I share, let me say the following:

  1. I’m not a doctor or a nurse or a medical practitioner. I have had a lot of staph infections and I’ve spoken to multiple nurses, physicians assistants, and doctors about how to minimize the risk of getting staph infections. I’ve also done a lot of research. That doesn’t make me an expert which brings me my next point…
  2. If you think you have a staph infection right now you need to go to the doctor. NOW. Stop reading this. Go make the appointment or go to urgent care. Staph infections can get to be serious in no time at all.

Enough disclaimers. Here are the details:

My husband and I used to get staph infections frequently. Staph is what as known as a “community associated illness”. It means that when you’re around a lot of people in population dense environments, you can get it. Military communities are a prime petri dish for staph. I used to feel terrible about it, like, what am I doing wrong? Am I not cleaning my home well? Am I failing at taking showers? Turns out, it’s quite common to get a staph infection. It’s not you, it’s just that staph is the worst and it’s everywhere. Some people get skin infections from staph, some don’t, and you can have the staph bacteria on your body for years without ever having an issue. Thems the breaks, kids!

Just one more note: the few times we had our staph infections tested, we had Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA), not Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The preventative steps that you would take at home seem to be the same based on my research.

For many reasons my husband and I never were on the staph protocol that is given by doctors. It involves medicine, body washes, etc. If you haven’t spoken with your doctor about it, you should. It is quite effective, from what I’ve read about it. But, as I said, for multiple reasons we were never on the staph protocol prescribed by docs. Eventually, I started taking steps of my own to banish the bug. It’s worked for us so far and we haven’t had staph in over a year. Do I know for certain that we don’t have staph in our home? Oh no, I have no way of knowing and I bet there’s staph bacteria somewhere on our bodies or maybe in our home, but we’ve reduced the skin infections caused by staph, and that’s what matters to me. Here are some of the steps we have taken:

Wash your towels daily. Wash sheets daily, if you can, or at least once a week if you don’t do so already. Wash all of your clothing in hot water and the recommended cleaners above, if you can. Then dry everything in the dryer. Don’t air dry.

We don’t wash our clothes in hot water anymore, just my husband’s uniforms and everyone’s bedding.

We still wash towels daily in hot water with bleach. That might seem excessive, but I can’t run the risk of getting more staph infections, so it’s worth it to me.

  • Wash your bathroom down with bleach and hot water, if you can. If not, use an antibacterial wash of some sort and follow the directions on the bottle with care.

The bathtub, shower, sinks, countertops, floors, cabinet fronts, doorknobs…anything you touch. I actually try to wipe down as many hard surfaces in my house with an antibacterial spray/wipes when staph recurs in our house. But the bathrooms are of particular focus because the humidity in that room makes it a prime spot for staph bacteria to thrive.

I do this once a week.

  • Toss your razors and always air-dry the new ones after giving them a dip in alcohol or bleach.

This is a big one because staph often infects hair follicles and shaving irritates your skin and hair follicles. Shave, then take razor out of your bathtub/shower, give it a dip in bleach and water or rubbing alcohol, rinse it, and let it dry. Don’t place the razor back in the humidity of the shower area where it might not get thoroughly dry.

We do this every day. The drying part, not the tossing part.

  • Ditto for your body scrubbers, poofs, exfoliators. 

You’ll need to toss these (preferred) or disinfect them if possible. Don’t use this sort of thing while you have a staph infection – you don’t want to scratch your skin or create any sort of openings on the skin surface. Exfoliators and poofs create very tiny scratches in the skin surface.

  • Take a bleach or vinegar bath.

This is an excellent study about different methods for preventing recurring staph infections. They recommend a solution of “¼ cup household bleach in ¼ bathtub (~13 gal) of water”. We soaked for about 15 minutes at a time. I’ve also been told vinegar can be used instead of bleach, but I haven’t tried that. One doctor who helped me with a particularly bad staph infection told me that the bleach bath is about the same strength as a chlorinated pool. So, if the bleach idea worries you, think of it as being in a tiny pool and jump in. Rinsing yourself off well afterward to reduce the drying effect the bleach or vinegar will have on your skin.

We don’t currently do this step.

You can purchase surgical scrub and wash with it once a week or so if the bleach bath idea makes you cringe. Surgical scrub can stain, so don’t get it on fabrics. I heard this idea from a physician’s assistant who worked in a wound care clinic. He is regularly exposed to staph and he felt that a full body wash with surgical scrub has helped him reduce his risk of staph infections.

We don’t currently do this step.

  • Use antibacterial ointment on your ears and nostrils.

To staph bacteria, your ears and nostrils are a warm cozy spot to hang out. You could have staph bacteria living there and not have an infection. Put antibacterial ointment on q-tips and swab your nose and ears. We did this once a day for two to three weeks when we had a staph infection. We don’t currently do this.

  • Wash your hands and body with antibacterial soap (optional).

I have never been a big fan of antibacterial products. Antibacterial products actually have created the antibiotic-resistant bacteria we deal with now! When we had an active infection in our house, we used antibacterial everything. Once I felt we had it back under control, we went back to regular soaps. According to the FDA you don’t really need to use antibacterial products to effectively battle most bacteria. I probably won’t repeat this step if we ever have staph infections in our house again.

  • Stock up on alcohol-based hand sanitizer and use it.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers have been shown to be more effective than chemical-based hand sanitizers at killing germs. Alcohol-based sanitizers also don’t contribute to the antibiotic resistance of bacteria, so that’s a good thing!

I carry hand sanitizer in my backpack for when we’re out and about.

  • Don’t itch and if you touch the infected area wash your hands immediately.

I get a bit crazy about this when my husband or I have a skin infection. If you have an itch you just have to scratch then rub it with your fingertips – not your nails. Then wash your hands immediately.

I hope this post helps you stop recurring staph infections in your home. If you have steps you’ve taken in your home to help prevent staph, please share in the comments!

Photo Credit: NIAID under Creative Commons License

 

 

 

Holiday Gift Ideas From Veteran-Owned Businesses

The holidays are here! If you’re working on your Christmas gift list, consider shopping with veteran-owned businesses. The companies listed below are owned by veterans, most employ veterans, and all give a portion of their earnings to various charities supporting a variety of causes. It’s a great way to complete your holiday shopping while supporting your fellow Americans.

I’m not an affiliate of any of these companies – I just think they’re pretty awesome. If you think I missed a great veteran-owned business, please let me know in the comments!

Delicious Drinks

Counter-Strike Coffee – https://counterstrikecoffeecompany.com/
Buy coffee and coffee-related gear from this Cypress, Texas-based roastery. If you know a true coffee addict, consider giving them a membership to the Counter-Strike Coffee subscription service so they can receive coffee by mail year-round. The owner is a combat veteran who gives a portion of all earnings to veterans organizations. I’ve recently heard a lot of great buzz (pun soooo intended) about this coffee on social media. Lots of people really like them and I’m looking forward to trying a cup or ten.

Heroes Vodka — http://www.heroesvodka.com/
This Nashville-based distillery is crafting award-winning vodka. Founded by a Marine Corps veteran the company dedicates itself “to deliver exceptional taste and superior value to consumers, while honoring Veterans and other American service organizations through charitable contributions.” I look forward to making a Heroes vodka martini and relaxing by the Christmas tree.

Clothing, Footwear, Gear

Bottle Breacher http://bottlebreacher.com/
Looking for a cool stocking stuffer? Then check out Bottle Breacher. This Tucson-based company makes bottle openers and pens from .50 caliber bullets. You can have your purchase engraved or pair it with other Bottle Breacher items like tee shirts, hats, and gear. They give back 20% of their earnings to many types of charities. These are so cool and perfect when you want an engraved gift with a special holiday message. Note to self: great promotion and retirement gifts for military friends.

huib-scholten-403238Combat Flip Flopshttps://www.combatflipflops.com/
Founded by two Army Rangers, Combat Flip Flops is guided by the idea that providing income to people living in dangerous areas of the world provides them with steady income and contributes to regional stability – “business not bullets”. You’ll find flip flops, shoes, clothes, jewelry, and other accessories on their website. A portion of their sales help a variety of charities around the world. I love the unique scarves and jewelry especially. They’re beautiful.

Oscar Mike – https://www.oscarmike.org/
Based in Marengo, Illinois, Oscar Mike sells all kinds of military-themed apparel for men, women, and children. Proceeds support the Oscar Mike Foundation, which “…wants to see all injured Veterans utilize their full potential and live rewarding and productive lives.” Their shirts represent every branch of service and they have tons of unique designs – you’ll be scrolling forever.

Purses, Bags, Jewelry

Sword and Plowhttps://www.swordandplough.com/
Veteran-owned Sword and Plow sells bags, purses, tote bags, jewelry, and other accessories made from military uniforms, bullet casings, and more. This Denver-based company “recycles military surplus, incorporates that fabric into stylish bag designs and donates 10% of profits back to veteran organizations.” Everything they make is gorgeous.

Beauty/Personal Care

Doc Spartan – https://docspartan.com/
Doc Spartan makes personal care items for both men and women – lotions, ointments, scrubs, and even deodorant. They also have a beard-care line for the hairy man in your life. Based in Portsmouth, Ohio this unique veteran-owned business gives a portion of their sales to a variety of veterans-related causes. Their Invader Coffee-Infused Body Scrub is calling my name.

Have an extra- long list and need even more shops to choose from? Find other veteran-owned business using these services:

http://www.buyveteran.com/

https://www.veteranownedbusiness.com/

Here’s to a stress-free holiday season and a very Veteran Christmas!

I can’t take any credit for the awesome photos you see here. That goes to:
Bokeh – Jad Limcaco on Unsplash
Coffee photo – Mike Marquez on Unsplash
Afghanistan – Photo by Huib Scholten on Unsplash

You can always find the mothers…

I recently had the joy of dealing with a nuclear-level toddler melt down in the middle of a fairly nice restaurant. And by nice restaurant I mean they had cloth napkins and a hipster bartender.

In defense of the Little Dude, we sort of set him up for the perfect storm. We had been on a long car ride home after nearly two weeks away. We were all hungry and all tired and it was dinner time. While Little Dude hung in there as long as he could, he just couldn’t take much more.

After eating a lot of fast food, we decided to stop in a restaurant with printed menus and an actual wait staff. That, too, was probably too much to expect, but we had high (and naive) hopes. We ordered our food and then I took Little Dude to the bathroom for a diaper change. Then it happened – there was an automatic soap dispenser, and he couldn’t get enough of it. Such wizardry!

There was only one bathroom and we couldn’t be in there all day, so I pulled him away from the bathroom as he started to scream. I saw our waitress (who mentioned she was a mother of five herself) go into high-speed food delivery mode, employing two bus boys to get our plates to us. But it was too late. Little Dude was tired, hungry, and wanted liquid soap dispensed via the magic motion-detecting soap dispenser. I felt my lips purse to the point that I thought I was going to suck my lips and cheeks clear off my face. As he arched his back and screamed, I felt my face flush red and I looked across the dining room to see four or five heads pop up – some with looks of understanding, some worried, some wondering if I was about to beat my child because I clearly looked like I was about to go insane. They were the mothers. And I could tell they all got it. They all had been there. (The hipster bartender scowled at us, by the way.)

I made my way to the door with him, hissing at The Sarge, “We’re going outside, I’m not going to let this happen in here”.

We went out the front door in a screaming, shushing flurry, and I put Little Dude on a bench. His tantrum immediately ended. He saw a mailbox and went to play hide and seek behind it. To the casual onlooker, I held a conversation with a giant blue mailbox for about 15 minutes.

Finally, I asked, “Are you hungry? Because I’m hungry. But we have to sit and be good in the restaurant, okay?” And he nodded, and we went back inside. He gobbled at his spaghetti and declared he was done, so The Sarge took him back outside. The waitress re-appeared, touched my shoulder and asked, “Are you okay?” It was the kindest thing anyone could have done for me in that moment. One mom just checking in on another in the most gentle way possible. I said yes, asked for the bill, and left a big tip.

I learned a valuable lesson in how not to set us all up for failure and unavoidable hunger-related tantrums. I’m also glad that in a moment of what felt like a parenting fail I experienced a moment of kindness from a stranger. Note to self: Return the favor…again and again.

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

Goalpaper: You’re plenty sweet!

What do you put on your smartphone lock screen? Pictures of your kids? Cool scenery? Cute designs? I put my goals on my lock screen, because I’m constantly looking at the damn thing, so I may as well make good use of it.

Whenever I make my goalpapers (goals + wallpaper = goalpaper! wahoo!) I try to make them say something that’s meaningful to me but really doesn’t mean much to anyone else who may glance at my phone. You know, snoopy people.

Lately, I’ve been trying to eat less sugar. I went on a bender for most of April and May. And June and July. Okay, I basically have been living life as a human chipper-shredder of all things sugar. I let myself eat whatever, and now I’m sitting here in shorts that are just a bit snug and I don’t appreciate the wedgie. I know that when I stick to the World Health Organization suggestion of 25 grams of sugar a day or less, I stay at a healthy weight. (Technically the recommendation is 10% of your intake of calories should come from sugar, or between 25 and 50 grams.)

My goalpaper this week is a reminder that I’m plenty sweet without more sugar. I hope you find it to be a good reminder too!

I made this cute iPhone 6 wallpaper using Canva. You can click on the image below to download it for your phone.

Featured image thanks to Gili Benita on Unsplash
iPhone 6 wallpaper/goalpaper by me, Christine, using Canva.

When you need a win…

I’ve been talking to people lately about those times when you just need a win. Well, not people. Me, I’ve been talking to myself, a lot, about this topic.

You deserve a WIN.

You know the feeling. Those days, weeks, months, where nothing happens for long, long stretches of time. I think it’s a common stay at home mom malady. Yes, you’re raising children and that’s important. You love them and everything is going great, they eat well, and they sometimes have manners. But, let’s face it, you really don’t know how that project is going to turn out for at least another 15 years. You should be happy with that and pleased. You are rocking as a mom. But there is a part of you, the non-mom part of you, that is still there under the yoga pants and ponytail that wants a win. The type of win you got when you were a working gal.

Slam dunk! IN YO FACE!

You know those days when you really killed it at the office? You gave a killer presentation to the VP. Or you got the entire contents of the back storage room out on to the sales floor, and everything was stocked and staged and beautiful? Or you captivated your classroom with a history lesson that entertained and educated? Or you led a yoga lesson that was so frickin’ zen you think half the class officially reached enlightenment?  Or you simply had a day at work that was so busy it felt like time flew, and when you got into your car you felt competent, needed, and empowered.

And I mean “competent, needed, and empowered” in a different way than it feels to be a mom. You’re competent, needed, and empowered as a mom. But let’s face it, it’s because you and I are the ones who know how to make the macaroni and cheese and can stop the shower from making that weird screeching sound.

Man, I want that feeling. I need that feeling.

I really want that feeling. I really need it. For my sanity, and for my sense of self-worth. I’m not quite sure how to get that feeling. I’m working on it though, and when I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, I’m going to celebrate little victories, like getting my eyeliner to look on point every morning, and actually getting the folded laundry from the dryer to the proper drawers, and trying to not cook pasta like five days in a row.

Gotta start somewhere right?

Because I’m not a great photographer I rely on the talent of others. Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash. Thanks, Nik.

 

The best parenting advice I’ve ever been given

So, I want to share the best parenting advice I’ve ever been given. Forgive me for being a hypocrite. I don’t like when people give me unsolicited parenting advice. Who does, really? Let’s face it, usually when someone gives parenting advice there is some small strain of superiority involved. However, there are some people I listen to because a) they know their stuff and b) they aren’t a smug know-it-all.  In this case, my friend J is a Montessori school teacher and most certainly not a smug know-it-all. She gave me this advice, and it’s been pretty helpful. Here it is:

Tell your kid what to do, not what not to do.

Wut? You know, when your kid is kicking you and you yell “STOP THAT!” and they just keep. on. kicking. Well, I still say “STOP THAT!” (because, human nature) when Little Dude is kicking the crap out of me, but then I follow up with:
“What do we do with our feet? What do we do with our legs? We jump! We walk! We run! But we don’t kick! Tell me, what do we do with our feet?”
And then he usually chimes in with his own list of things that he should do with his feet and is so distracted trying to think of things he stops kicking.

Another example is when Little Dude is drawing on, say, the dog. So I say, “Hey! We draw on the easel! We draw on paper! Let’s go back to the easel!” 

At first, I thought this was utter crap.

It didn’t work the first few times. Then one day, Little Dude, dear sweet boy that he is, was kicking the dog. So I said “Stop that, please! What do we…” and before I could finish he said “We jump! We run!” and he ran to get his toy from the other room. Whoa.

Do you know what all of your electronic stuff does?

I’m asking because I figured out why J’s advice works. It works because your kid, my kid, they’re like what, 2 or 3 years old? Newsflash – they’re working with new equipment. And what happens when you get new equipment? It takes time to learn all the bells and whistles. It takes time to learn when to use the features in the right place at the right time. Like when your friend gets an iPhone and insists on Facetiming you when they’re in a public place. (Most times, inappropriate. Do not do. We Facetime from home or private places!) It takes time to learn about new equipment…whether it’s your smart tv, your iPhone, or those new arms and legs that you just recently learned how to control. Kids need to hear what to do with all that stuff, not just what not to do.

Disclaimer: It doesn’t always work.

Mostly, I’ve had positive success with this advice. But, I’m not sure if you’ve heard, kids don’t always do what we want them to do. So, yeah, it doesn’t always work. When it doesn’t work, I usually say something like, “Since you don’t want to use the markers on the easel or paper, I’m going to put them over on the easel for now, and we can do something else for a while.” While the now-blue dog looks at me thankfully. Little Dude is starting to get that he should probably do what you’re supposed to do or we have to move on to a new activity or we have to stop for a time-in. As he’s getting older, he’s getting it.

What has been the best parenting advice you’ve been given?

Photo by Andrew Branch on Unsplash