Thursday, July 29, 2010
He can go from being happy and loving to completely outraged in a moments time. I am pretty sure its common among kids, but three years olds are at an age where they are balancing between being a baby and being a kid. These mood swings have become common at my house. My son, Alex, can go from telling me how much he missed me to telling me I am a “Meanie Mommy” in seconds.
I have enough children at home not to take his sentiments personally, and I know for a fact that he is actually a sweet kid who loves his family. For a first or even second time mom, I know that it is hard not to have your feelings hurt when your baby suddenly turns on you for the first time. I think that these outbursts are actually an important part of growing up and learning how to assess and express your feelings.
As a parent, I feel that the best thing to do is talk to your kids about why they feel this way. At 3 years old, they may not be able to tell you but once they become a five year old, they will be able to tell you exactly what the problem is. It’s easy to feel guilty or sad when your child says they hate you, or that you are the meanest mom in the world. But what they are really trying to tell you is that they are frustrated, and just don’t know how else to say it.
I am also a mom of two teenagers, and let me tell you that being called a meanie may get worse before it gets better. Even at this stage, talking to your kids is the best way to find out how they feel. The change from pre-teen to teen was complete the day that I noticed my son, who is 14, no longer told me everything about his life. I was, and am, sad that he is growing away from me but I am also proud that he is becoming an adult. I know that once he is grown, he will open up again.
Communication is something that is vital for all relationships, and even more so with children. It may be hard to accept their feelings without reprimanding them, but honestly, they don’t hate you. Being a mom is never harder than when you have to stick to your guns, but I hope that later my kids will thank me for letting them express themselves. How do you communicate with your kids, whatever their age may be?
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
A quick perusal of "authority" in the Oxford English Dictionary shows an etymology that supports this assumption. What you aren't a supernerd with two, incredibly useful degrees in English? The Oxford English Dictionary is a massive collection of the history of words, their changing uses, and examples from written works from the dawn of the English language. No, really, the dawn. I said it was massive.
The word "authority" is recorded as early as 1303, when it meant the ability to inspire belief. By the end of that century it was being used to mean the power to enforce obedience. But upon further delving into the word's history I found a record of it's use in 1230 to refer to a book or evidence that was used to settle a question of opinion or give conclusive testimony. All of these meanings come from the same ideas - power and influence. That is not to say, however, that authority = power, although it may be a component.
As parents we should strive to be experts not control freaks. I know all too often I have gotten caught up in the "he won't listens" and "don't know what to do with hims." We're taught that we should control our children's behavior. There should never be screaming at a restaurant or a mad dash across the grocery store - we should be in control. Oh, and it should look effortless.
The problem is that we have gotten so caught up in having control and perfectly behaved children that we're squashing the child right out of them. Children are expected to "mind, " and have perfect manners. They "should be seen and not heard." I'm as guilty as anyone. I find myself apologizing for the slightest childlike impulses of Connected Son when we're in public. Connected Dad gets caught up in Connected Son "listening." I listened to him trying to express concern to him the other night for fifteen minutes and counted the use of "I need you to listen" over ten times. He wasn't getting through, because he wasn't modeling listening to Connected Son. He was interrupting and talking over him. He wasn't being an authority or an expert. He was attempting to control Connected Son's attention, and we all know how fruitless that is with a 3 year-old!
Parents need to be authority figures by sharing our expertise with our kids. After all, we're experts in using the potty, being polite, going to bed, and picking up our messes - or we should be! When your children look to you as authority figures do you want them to see you as a dominating force or a sage guide? We can demonstrate authority in our little one's lives without controlling them.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
When I first heard about the practice of Elimination Communication (an alternative practice to diapering in which the caregiver anticipates the infant or child's elimination needs and takes appropriate action to 'catch' the elimination.) I have to admit that my first reaction was far from open minded and accepting.
I am pretty crunchy, I thought to myself but I am not THAT crunchy.
Much of my first impressions were uninformed and admittedly motivated by my own natural aversion feelings towards elimination. The words ‘unsanitary’, ‘impossible’, and even ‘uncivilized’ (much to my embarrassment as I’d like to think I don’t make judgments like that) all came to mind and I immediately dismissed the idea as being far outside the realm of what was right for our family.
Fast forward to July 10, 2010; My 10 month old son, Oliver, has the worst diaper rash he has ever had; it is a big chapped festering rash that no frequency of diaper changes and no amount of Zinc Oxide or antibacterial/anti-fungal creams seem to be clearing. Oliver is fussy and irritable, and many of our favorite baby wearing and holding positions are uncomfortable for him, so in desperation I take a walk to my local pharmacist who tells me that air can sometimes help more than any over the counter diaper cream. For the next two days Oliver spends as much time as possible bare bottomed.
Not only did Oliver love ‘running free’ and his rash clear with amazing speed, but over those two days I began to notice two things.
1) Behaviors that I used to think were just funny run of the mill 10 month old idiosyncrasies were actually signs that he had to or was in the process of 'eliminating'.
2) That my son didn’t 'pee all the time’ or very frequently as I had imagined and come to believe, but rather a larger amount at a time with less frequency. In fact, somewhere around lunch of the second day I realized that Oliver’s elimination rhythms were eerily in time with my own.
I would come to find further encouragement, on websites like DiaperFreeBaby.org and TribalBaby.org, that I wasn’t imagining things. They confirmed my sudden suspicion that contrary to what our diaper culture would have me believe babies do have bladder and sphincter control and predictable elimination rhythms.
Both websites also assured me that it was possible to implement elimination communication (EC) on a part time or even casual basis; I did not have to make a full-time round the clock commitment to EC. This was awesome to hear, because committing to such a giant undertaking as being hyper-vigilant to my son’s excrement 24/7 sounded unpleasant and exhausting.
After two days nearly diaper free and the reading that I was doing, the prospect of implementing EC was beginning to sound a lot less ‘unsanitary’, ‘impossible’, and ‘uncivilized’. In fact, the thought of my son sitting around in his own excrement waiting to be changed was starting to sound a lot less sanitary and a lot less civilized, and the price of diapers and diapering supplies certainly feels impossible some months with our family living on only one income.
My EC research was also leading me towards the answers to future parenting problems that I had been nervous about. “Potty training” is a term, and idea that I am not entirely comfortable with as a) I despise the use of words like ‘training’ in relation to raising children, and b) it seems to me that much of the modern day potty training dogma relies heavily on coercion and reward systems that I feel are not entirely beneficial or effective. In short, I was having trouble finding a potty training program that would fit my “gentle parenting” style.¹ EC respects children and, as quoted from DiaperFreeBaby.org’s “75 Benefits of EC”:
“Reduces confusion about rules and creates consistency: rather than preventing a baby from entering a bathroom and then later requiring a toddler to use the bathroom, the bathroom is made a welcome and safe place from the very beginning.”
Where I had once dismissed EC as an unsanitary, impossible, uncivilized practice in which only the most radical of the crunchy moms partook (funny how my long ago definition of radical is sounding more like me every day), I was now starting to think that the practice (or at least a modified form of it) may just be perfect for my family.
So it was decided that Thursday July 15, 2010 would be our first day of EC. Our game plan was relatively simple; I would ‘offer the potty’ upon waking in the morning and from naps, as well as immediately following long nursing sessions. The rest of the day I would watch Oliver for signs that he needed to eliminate then ‘offer the potty’, and I would create an association sound (I chose to go with the traditional ‘Pssst’ sound) by making said sound every time I noticed him eliminating.
I also chose to keep an ‘elimination journal’ for the first few days or so. On none of the sites I researched did I find the suggestion to keep such a journal, but I found a journal to be a useful tool in the past. A journal helps me to recognize patterns that I may have otherwise missed.
Our first days were interesting to say the least. The awkwardness and small moments of frustration remind me very much of the early breastfeeding days when Oliver and I were both learning with and from each other. It is essentially the same thing (though perhaps in reverse). Oliver and I are learning a skill; while this new skill does not yet come naturally to us learning this skill is far from ‘unpleasant and exhausting’ as I once thought it would be. In fact, I feel like becoming even more in tune with Oliver’s moment to moment needs is having positive effects on our day to day activities, and our relationship over all.
In little over 10 days since implementing EC practices I was not expecting measurable results. We are late starters, and even if we had started EC in the early days of infancy it is still a gradual process. My aim is not to loose the diapers full time, or to be able to brag that my child ‘potty trained’ early, but to become more in tune with my child’s elimination needs so that our future full time transition from diaper to toilet is a smooth, natural, and gentle one.
Why do you (or do you not), practice elimination communication in your family? Do you have any tips for beginners or late starters to share? Is there anything you do with your children that you had originally dismissed in your pre-parenting days?
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Pregnancy loss is real loss. Those who are here and those of us who have passed through have experienced death. It's not what society generally considers death, but that is only because society as a whole chooses to ignore pregnancy loss. It's uncomfortable, surreal, and scary for those who have not experienced it. There was no person, no life, no accomplishments to remember fondly and mourn. People do not ask about our babies. People often do not know about them. Society says things like "it wasn't the right time" or "it's better this way" or "God has a reason," and then they drop it and expect that it never has to be mentioned again.
But these deaths for us are very real. As real as the loss of any grandparent, friend, or loved one. The baby that no one knew was known by its mother, even if only for a moment. We carried these lost children, and we loved them. We loved them with a fervor that is matched by the love of any parent. We wanted them. We wished for them. We prayed for them. Some of us waited days in limbo to find out the worst. For others a moment shattered everything.
But for most of us, the mourning has been done alone. There is no funeral, no memorial to remember the life lost. Many of us experience postpartum depression in the cruelest of all tricks, because our pregnancies ended too. However, unlike those who society sees as having a "right" to postpartum depression, there is no baby to be the light at the end of the tunnel. And because this death was not acknowledged, people forget. They tell us about their pregnancies, they avoid us because we're still "not over it," they call us out for having sad days or bitter days as though we should have more control than others over the grieving process.
I have the bittersweet experience of knowing all sides of the equation. I have been blessed with a child. I have lost pregnancies. I have been blessed again. I have known the sheer madness of grief, the pure joy of expectation, the momentary solace of hope in the face of uncertainty, and the crushing hopelessness of loss, and it is enough to drive one insane.
May you never experience it. I truly hope you do not. I hope this is only something you can read and learn to sympathize with. That the next time you hear another woman say something bitter or roll your eyes at the woman with downcast eyes at your OB's office or lurk on a message board that you look closer and see the pain behind these simple, insignificant moments and sympathize instead of criticize or condescend or preach to them.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Over 700 people have viewed that piece, and I hope I changed some minds. This morning an anonymous commentator left the following:
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Snort and belly laugh at big brother's silliness.
Kick your feet out with excitement when you see someone you love.
Blow raspberries back at Daddy.
Throw your arms over your eyes when big brother tries to wake us up in the morning. You get this from mommy.
Finally wake up with a huge grin.
Want to stand up all the time and can actually pull up to stand on our laps.
Roll and scoot all over the living room.
Have two perfect dimples!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
The one thing I always hear when I recommend a woman hire a doula is, “Why can’t my husband just do it?” And from the men, “If there is a doula there, I won’t be needed, so why should I even go?”
Men are very protective by nature. They protect their wives, provide for their wives, are there for their wives, all because they love and support her. When a woman comes along saying a woman should get a doula for support during her labor, it can be a threat to the husband’s masculinity and protective nature. If he can’t protect and support his wife, what role does he truly play?
The couple has probably taken childbirth classes, and feel decently prepared for labor and birth.
The one problem: Neither person has been present at birth before (this is the majority, a few have actually attended and helped a births before they themselves have children).
No matter how much you prepare, the woman will more than likely be completely centered inward and trying to work through her labor and won’t remember much from the classes. Her body will instinctively tell her what positions work and what don’t by decreasing her pain, but she will still be in some level of discomfort.
What husband do you know isn’t concerned when his wife is in pain? What husband would be completely okay with seeing their wife in the most discomfort she has been in in her entire life, and working harder than she has ever worked? I know very few that are completely level-headed when their wives are in pain. Even if they truly want to help, sometimes their protective nature overcomes their logic and they try to control the problem rather than work with it.
Another problem is that when you are in the heat of the moment, you forget the important things. In labor, you are tired, hungry, and worried. The husband forgets what positions are good for labor and pushing, what things help with pain relief, what can truly help their wives or partners get through labor and birth the way they want to.
In addition to forgetting this, what partner truly knows the ins and outs of every intervention and pain medication that a doctor would advise so as to make an informed decision with the laboring woman?
There is truly a difference between preparing for labor and truly experiencing labor. You do not know how your contractions will feel or what will help you the most. It is a completely new sphere.
With that being said, a doula is not there just to help the mother cope with her labor. The doula is also there to help the partner or husband so that he is able to completely help his wife or partner in the way that is best suited to him.
A doula can help a husband by:
1. Reaffirming that labor truly is normal. The body does an incredible amount of work during labor and delivery. The uterus contracts at amazing strengths to dilate and push a baby out. If you have never experienced labor before, the strength and power of the contractions can quickly overcome anyone and have them wonder if this truly is normal. A doula makes sure the couple knows that this truly is a normal, natural body function and also recognizes when things truly do get out of hand.
2. Helping keep the privacy of the room during labor by dealing with the hospital staff. In the hospital, most nurses and doctors will not knock before entering a room. Imagine you are in the bathroom at your house and someone you probably do not know just walks in in the middle of you having a bowel movement. You would be very embarrassed and most likely unable to finish while they are there. It is the same during labor. If you are interrupted during this process, it can slow or stop completely. Another issue is nurses or doctors trying to talk to a laboring woman during a contraction, whether it is just beginning or just ending it is still distracting. If you lose your concentration during a contraction, it is incredibly hard getting it back. The doula can occupy the nurse’s or doctor’s time during the contraction so the woman isn’t interrupted (and the husband can help without worrying about the nurse or doctor) and after they can discuss the options the nurse or doctor came to talk about.
3. Showing how best he can support the mother. A husband wants to help his wife, but sometimes gets stuck wondering which comfort measure can help his wife during her stage of labor. A doula, being trained in comfort measures during labor, can show the husband how best he can help his wife. This will give the husband confidence he is doing what will help rather than hinder his wife, and know that he is the one truly helping her during her labor.
4. Giving him a break during labor. Labor can last hours or even days. Even if the woman has no interest in eating, the husband still has to keep up his strength, not to mention have sleeping and bathroom breaks every once in awhile. If the woman and husband are the only two there, if he leaves, the woman will be completely alone during her labor, whether it is early labor or transition. If they have a doula with them, the husband can take breaks as needed without worrying if the laboring woman will be alone.
5. Providing truly trained “labor sitting”. Before labor and delivery moved to the hospital, doctors and midwives provided support through all of labor, not just during the last few pushes of labor. This practice has gone by the wayside so the woman is left with just her and her partner alone in a room with nurses coming every few hours to check on them. A doula provides the labor sitting that has become a forgotten art. Even if the couple has everything under control, the doula can sit by and wait until they are needed. And even if they aren’t needed to help cope with labor, they have read multiple labor and birth books so they can give trained advice and know the risks and benefits of every procedure.
6. Making sure the mother’s wishes are honored. There is a common joke with a lot of obstetricians that if a woman brings a birth plan, she is on the fast track to a cesarean section. Even if this isn’t a joke in your hospital or with your doctor, it is very hard to ‘fight’ for what you want during labor and have your wishes truly honored. A doula can help keep your birth plan. They can peacefully keep your wishes in mind of the doctor and nurses so that they do not unnecessarily do something you did not wish for, and you do not have to fight for it.
7. Knowing many comfort measures that can be used during labor. Since this is their job, they research constantly and know a plethora of comfort techniques. Even if the husband studies thoroughly, he won’t be as invested as a doula. Having a greater knowledge of comfort can only help the laboring woman and her husband.
8. Doulas have an incredible record for keeping down interventions and helping the woman have a better birth experience. The presence of a doula results in:
• Reduced cesarean birth rates by 50%
• Reduced length of labor by 25%
• Reduced use of Oxytocin by 40%
• Reduced requests for pain medication by 30%
• Reduced the rate of Epidural usage by 60%
• Babies had fewer health problems at six weeks than the infants of women who had not had a doula present during labor.
• Babies had fewer neonatal complications
• Babies had fewer workups for sepsis
This just truly stands on its own two feet.
A doula truly is not there just for the laboring woman. They are hired by the couple, to help the couple meet their baby for the first time the way they want to. Labor and delivery is an intimate time between two people, and a doula can keep that privacy and intimacy so your baby is greeted in the atmosphere best for the family.
Even though I am a doula, I won’t ever labor without one in the future. Knowing what I know about labor and delivery, I would not go into labor without a trained professional at my side.
You hire a professional to do your hair, to install your cable, and to help you ‘deliver’ your baby. Why not hire one to help you through the hardest work you have ever had to do?
Monday, July 19, 2010
Scene - Triage room in L&D, 35 weeks pregnant, checking for preterm labor
Nurse: Let's do your preadmission
Me: Ok.......(skip ahead)
Nurse: Do you know the sex?
Me: It's a boy.
Nurse: Will you circumcise?
Me: (looks to Connected Dad)
Connected Dad: Yes
Three weeks later when I finally gave birth, the on-call doctor told me she didn't
When we were expecting Connected Daughter, I tentatively brought up circumcision to Connected Dad. I knew I would not allow another boy to be circumcised and was concerned that he might be upset. After all, I had left the initial decision up to him. Instead he agreed. He'd read about circumcision in a book and was horrified that he'd agreed to let Connected Son be circumcised.
And all of this leads up to what I mean when I say someday we will have the circumcision talk. I have no idea how it will come up. But someday I will apologize to my son for circumcising him, and I will explain to him that he was born perfectly healthy and I made a decision that was not my place to make. There are those that would laugh at this I'm sure, but my motivation is not to alleviate my guilt or traumatize my son, it's to stress the importance of leaving his own sons intact. I imagine the conversation may occur if we are blessed with another son in the future. I have no qualms about leaving that son intact. I'm not hung-up on a future son looking like his brother or father. Instead it will be a chance for me to admit my own mistake and stress to my children the importance of making educated decisions about parenting and birth. If I had been informed, I never would have agreed to circumcision.
Now I could list all the medical reasons why circumcision is not only unnecessary but dangerous. I could share with you the horrible statistics of infant boys who die, are seriously injured, or become ill from an unnecessary procedure. But I won't. If you need to read statistics or hear more stories, Peaceful Parenting has put together a tremendous resource list of books, articles, and websites with accurate information for parents. You can view it here.
In the end it all comes down to one thing - leaving your son intact is a matter of ethical integrity. Americans are horrified by the practice of female genital mutilation in other cultures. Amnesty International has spoken out against it. Yet, circumcision is an accepted medical practice in the U.S. If we can be honest with ourselves, it is no different than female genital mutilation. Regardless of whether you circumcised your son, like I did, or left them intact, it's time to accept that reality and demand an end to a procedure that is dangerous, medically unnecessary, and psychologically traumatic. We cannot hide behind the guise of tradition. And if that's not enough to convince you, imagine being strapped down, days old, and having the most sensitive area of your body partially removed by a knife. Could you do that to your child?
Sunday, July 18, 2010
From Julian: I think she is doing such an amazing job addressing the myths and misconceptions of extended breastfeeding and providing genuine, fact based, and honest answers to questions many have about the practice. She's just posted #4 in the series and plans to continue. Extended Breastfeeding Myth #4: A Boys Sexuality from Mommypatomus
Also from Julian: Second is Hobo Mama's post about manners, it was really informative and got me thinking about the manners I model to Oliver: Dropping the "say" please script
A friend of mine shared this enlightening look at the state of education in American society. I thoroughly agree: Anti-Intellectualism and Public Views of Education and Inquiry
Nursing Freedom is offering awesome state specific breastfeeding law cards. A great gift for baby showers or your own bag, and the proceeds help defray the cost of running Nursing Freedom!
I'm pretty behind on blogs right now, but I really wanted to share these great resources!
Saturday, July 17, 2010
To read why nursing in public is the green way to feed baby, check out my full guest post on NursingFreedom.org
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Cloth diapering is one of the choices that I have made that has allowed us to reduce our impact on the environment exponentially, but if you are just starting out you may feel overwhelmed by the choices that are out there. I didn't understand pockets, or AIO's until I actually had one in my hand to try out for myself. There are several basic types of diapers, but my advice is to start simple.
Prefolds and covers are super easy to use and care for, so my advice is to start there and then gather different kinds of diapers until you find out which types you prefer. The best thing you can do if you need to find out which diapers you prefer is to buy a sampler or starter pack. They might seem expensive, but they are worth every dollar since you will have one of each type of diaper to try out for yourself. If you are on a budget, like I was, then look for deals on cloth diaper forums and auction sites.
Starting simple is cost effective, too. You can get 2 dozen prefolds and 10 covers for under $200, and these diapers will last for several years or more. Prefolds can also double as dust rags and can be used in the kitchen as a substitute for paper towels after your baby outgrows them, too.
If you know that you want to use another type of diaper, such as pocket diapers, then look for package deals that allow you to save. A 12 pack of cloth diapers is less than $300, and can be used through potty training if you choose a one-sized diaper.
Don't get overwhelmed by trying to stock up too fast. Take your time and try the many different types of cloth diapers out as your budget allows you. In no time, you will have a full stash and will start seeing the savings build up once your stash is complete. I haven't had to buy a diaper in several months, which means more money in my pocket and less trash in a landfill. If you have any questions about starting your stash, feel free to ask.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
One thing I thought was particularly interesting was the insight from Mandy from Living Peacefully with Children about the allegory of war in reference to parenting and the message using terms like "fighting" and "battles" sends. It reminds me of a spontaneous discussion that sprung up recently on a message board about the term "spare the rod." Long story short, it was argued that the rod didn't necessarily mean corporal punishment. Dr. Sears himself gets on on this action in his article on spanking. I'm not sure I agree that this phrase is harmless or misunderstood. How do you interpret it? Words hold a lot of meaning and we often throw them around carelessly oblivious to how they affect others. The Mom who complains about her kids to a friend struggling with infertility. The woman calling herself fat to a friend with an eating disorder. The parent joking about his "brat" of a kid. They're just words to the speaker.
So choose your words carefully. Your words affect others, especially your children.
Monday, July 12, 2010
On the first of every month our Connected Mom magazine issue will go live. The topic calendar can be found above!
Please join me in welcoming the new authors!
Tammy: I live in western Canada with my American husband. We have been married for 3.5 years. He is my love, my supporter and my best friend. Together we are raising two, busy and incredible little boys. Tolliver is 2, and Holliday just turned 6 months *sniff* My boys define the person I am today, and I couldn't be more proud of the little people they are. I am lucky enough to be a SAHM and witness each and every moment of discovery and accomplishments. I take great pride in providing a loving, healthy, happy home for my family, and I think I am doing a pretty great job of it.
Kayce: I am a homebirth midwifery apprentice and doula in Southern Utah. As of right now, my life revolves around learning about pregnancy, birth, raising my three year old daughter and the baby growing in my womb.
Julian: I am an aspiring writer and proud new mom to Oliver born September, 2009. With the birth of my son came a new found motivation to live a more thoughtful, mindful, and harmonious life. You can find more of my musings on life and parenthood on my personal blog, Pocket.Buddha. (pocketbuddha.ca)
Amanda: I'm passionate about green living, especially making the switch to ALL cloth. I have a B.A from MSSU, I am a mom to 6. I work online as a professional SEO and content provider for businesses and in my spare time I love sewing, scrapbooking, and blogging.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
You can win your own set by leaving your best green living tip to our facebook page. Best tip wins! And we'll be featuring your best tips in the September Eco-friendly Family issue!
To share your best tip, visit our page: Connected Mom on Facebook
Friday, July 9, 2010
As a cloth diapering mom, unless I change a diaper in public, people don't know I'm cloth diapering. I'm sure my neighbors don't know or many of my family or friends. It's just not the kind of thing that comes up all that often and finding organic ways to bring it up can be hard.
One of the reasons reusable bags have taken off is visibility. People see others using them. It works in three ways: 1) it's cool 2) public shaming - sort of like the whole Scarlet Letter thing 3) people become aware it's an option
So here's a great way to gain cloth diaper visibility - put up a clothesline. Is there anything cuter than a bunch of cleans dipes swaying in the wind on a sunny afternoon? This is a great way to say "ask me about cloth diapering!" Don't cloth diaper anymore? Well, I'm sure you wash clothes and hang drying doesn't just advocate for cloth diapering, it also promotes greener living. How much energy are you saving by not running your dryer? Drying in your machine can account for 10 percent of your energy use each year. Sun light is environmentally-friendly, free, and readily available (sorry to those of you living in Forks).
But won't it be an eyesore? You ask. From the number of people I know who's Homeowner's Association has banned clothesline, I guess this is a common complaint. Personally, I take real issue with anyone telling someone else how to use their land. As far as an eyesore, sure if you put clothes and leave them for days on end, it might be. A couple hours of clothes flapping in the sun isn't hard on anyone's eyes. Personally, I think disposable diapers in a landfill, cigarettes littering sidewalks, and smog are much more of an eyesore, don't you?
So, come on, Connected Moms, imagine if we got everyone out there using reusable bags to hang dry their clothes - what a remarkable environmental impact!
What do you think?
Thursday, July 8, 2010
What do you think?
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
What do you think?
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at NursingFreedom.org. All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public ("NIP"). See the bottom of this post for more information.
These stories are not my stories though.
Sometimes I wonder what sort of strange cosmic joke it is that someone so geared up to be confronted while nursing in public is never confronted. Not only am I not confronted, I'm praised.
I should clarify something. I generally don't "cover-up" when I nurse in public. I may throw the tail of my sling up to encourage Connected Daughter to sleep or place a blanket over her body, but I don't own a cover. That said I don't let it all hang out, but that's mostly in an effort to hide my stretch marks, or as I prefer to call them mommy stripes. I just nurse in the easiest way possible for whatever I'm wearing.
So what has my experience nursing in public been? A really, really positive one. People help me out, smile at me, offer kind words. Apart from flabbergasting a teenage waitress once and confusing a 4 year-old at the mall, no one has ever said anything negative. I was stopped three times in one week while nursing Connected Daughter in her sling by women wanting to tell me that they were proud of me. Complete strangers are proud of me. It's sort of mind-blowing.
My favorite nursing in public experience involved a woman at the grocery store. She stopped me to tell me it was awesome to see me nursing, adding in a hushed voice that she would have never had the guts when she was nursing her children and she's so proud of women who do. Then she asked if I would ever participate in one of those nurse-in's. When I responded yes, she agreed that she would at this point in her life too.
I walked away from this encounter and realized something. She'd given me something she hadn't been given, Support. A stranger had taken the time to be encouraging so that I could have a good experience nursing in public.
I don't have anything provocative to say here. It took me several days to write this and in that time I had several more positive public experiences. A woman smiled as we took the picture in the park above. Families and children continued playing in the spraygrounds. People walked their dogs. We were all there just living our lives and enjoying ourselves. I happened to be nursing. My point is pretty simple. It's easy not to appreciate all the wonderful, supportive people there are out there. If you never nurse in public, you'll never know. If you do, look around, make eye contact, and see what happens. People might surprise you. And if you see a nursing mom out and about, take the time to smile and share a kind word. Share your positive nursing stories. Together we can make it the norm to have good breastfeeding experiences.
Welcome to the Carnival of Nursing in Public
Please join us all week, July 5-9, as we celebrate and support breastfeeding mothers. And visit NursingFreedom.org any time to connect with other breastfeeding supporters, learn more about your legal right to nurse in public, and read (and contribute!) articles about breastfeeding and N.I.P.
Do you support breastfeeding in public? Grab this badge for your blog or website to show your support and encourage others to educate themselves about the benefits of breastfeeding and the rights of breastfeeding mothers and children.
This post is just one of many being featured as part of the Carnival of Nursing in Public. Please visit our other writers each day of the Carnival. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts - new articles will be posted on the following days:
July 5 - Making Breastfeeding the Norm: Creating a Culture of Breastfeeding in a Hyper-Sexualized World
July 6 – Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers: the New, the Experienced, and the Mothers of More Than One Nursing Child
July 7 – Creating a Supportive Network: Your Stories and Celebrations of N.I.P.
July 8 – Breastfeeding: International and Religious Perspectives
July 9 – Your Legal Right to Nurse in Public, and How to Respond to Anyone Who Questions It
Monday, July 5, 2010
Today's reading: http://www.marriedromance.com/articles/marriage-iq.htm
What do you think?
This picture is who I am as a birth advocate, but I felt compelled to make one more when I saw it. So I made this picture.
It's the birth story I posted when this blog was in its infancy. I wanted to get it in writing. I thought seeing it would be hard, devastating even. I imagined the words c-section, failure, epidural - everything horrible and unwanted about that birth - would take center stage. And I was surprised.
I was surprised because it just looked like birth. And strangely for the first time I really realized that I birthed my babies. Not in the way I had hoped and I pray this is not how future births look, but look at those words - contractions, pain, cervix, hours. I gave birth to my children.
Words hold power to me. The labels we use to describe ourselves. The notes on our charts, margins, scraps of paper. The stories in our books. I love words. I love the stories they tell. These are my birth stories - my birth art.
In the future I will add these words - joy, power, vagina, trust - and all the words that come with them.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
I love the Toddler Activities series on CN:M, because it gives me ideas for things to do with Connected Son. With a new baby in the house, my brain is a little overwhelmed. Thankfully there are resources like this to give me ideas or we'd all just sit and twiddle our thumbs.
Ok, another post by Dionna of CN:M, hosted on one of my favorite new blogs, Hobo Mama. I don't know any parent of a toddler who couldn't use this post. Eventually when you are the parent of a toddler you will begin to suspect your toddler is an evil genius secretly subjecting you to psych experiments, this post will assure you its not true.
I was humbled by this post by Alexis of Surfacing after Silence. Alexis, who is not a mom herself, read my post on labor induction this week and found it spoke to her own battle with an eating disorder and self image. Alexis's post has given me a lot to think about in regards to my own body image and I how I approach it.
This Week on Connected Mom:
Over here on Connected Mom, I was hopping this week! I unveiled our new cloth diaper guide, CD 101 , as well as my July edition of magazine style posts devoted to cloth diapering. I also announced my next giveaway, Bummas cloth wipes. I started a daily reading group, posted 5-7 times a week in the morning designed to help you start the day with a new perspective on your parenting relationship. I'd love to hear if you are enjoying it. I was inspired to write A Call to Labor after a friend was induced for big baby this week, days shy of her due date. Look forward to some tips on parenting siblings, moms and body image, and some more cloth diaper tips!
Friday, July 2, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Modern Cloth Diapers
There's a revolution going on. Read my interview with Jessica from The Cloth Diaper Revolution
Our new cloth diaper guide is live! Check it out and learn the difference between AIOs and fitteds, how to get rid of stains and read reviews of popular laundry soaps like Rockin' Green.
Read my review of Bummas cloth wipes and enter to win your own set!
See the Finalists for the Full of Fashion Photo Activism Contest sponsored by Buddha Bunz!